Ceremony for city’s sunken wartime sub

HMS Olympus
HMS Olympus
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A memorial to 89 sailors who lost their lives in a submarine paid for by the people of Peterborough will be unveiled in Malta this week.

Most of the crew of HMS Olympus perished when it hit a mine seven miles from shore in May 1942 in waters around Malta while on the way to Gibralta under the cover of darkness.

Just nine men managed to swim to shore.

The submarine had been paid for residents in Peterborough just six months before, thanks to a week long campaign which raised £410,000 – the equivalent of £16 million in today’s money.

The money was raised during ‘Warship Week’ held in towns and cities across the country to fund the naval effort.

A memorial plaque to the submarine , as well as a photograph of the crew, is still on display in Peterborough Town Hall.

Now, 75 years after the disaster, a memorial is set to be unveiled near where the 283ft wreckage remains.

A ceremony took place yesterday (Wednesday) at sea, attended by the Commander Armed Forces of Malta, British High Commissioner in Malta and other dignitaries.

The ceremony saw a plaque left at the submarine’s final resting place.

A second ceremony will take place on land tomorrow (Friday). Wreaths will be laid at Ta’ Xbiex Water Front, with the Prime Minister of Malta and the Minister of Tourism in Malta joining the Commander of Armed Forces and the High Commissioner.

Mayor of Peterborough Cllr David Sanders said: “The submarine was funded by the people of Peterborough putting their hands in their pockets – it is very much ‘our submarine’ and is still remembered at the Town Hall.

“We took things like that very seriously, and I am extremely pleased for the crew who lost their lives, and those who survived, that there is a permanent memorial to them being unveiled.”