Submarine Chaser

50 34.991N, 001 56.224W

Free French Navy

The Carentan was the first of twelve similar ships built in the same programme in 1937.  Her sister ships CH 6 and CH 7 were also lost earlier in the war.
The British had seized her in 1940 and handed her over to the Free French Navy to be used to patrol the south coast of England as an anti-submarine vessel.
She was based in Brixham and on the 18th December 1943 she left Brixham on here first job in the Channel heading for Falmouth with the job of escorting the submarine HMS Rorqual back to Portsmouth via Portland. HMS Rorqual had arrived in Falmouth from the Mediterranean.
After leaving Portland the weather worsoned withe the sea becomming rough when the Canrentan caught a wave and broached causing her to take on water and sink. Three of the frozen survivors were taken on board the submarine.

The court of enquiry determined that  Rear Admiral Swabey was partly to blame for ordering them to sail in such bad conditions and Lietenant De Vaisseau Sampson (Who had died during the incident) was also criticised for not turning back.

Today the Carentan lies on her port side in 30m of water about three quarters of a mile off Anvil Point. She contains a considerable amount of munitions and her propeller was legally removed in the 80’s.

HMS Rarqual

Ships Details

Nationality:         french

Type:     submarine chaser

propulsion:         motor vessel (diesel)

Date built:           1940

Builder                  Ateliers et Chantiers De France, Dunkerque (Dunkirk)

Tonnage:             107  disp (surf)

dimensions:        37.1 x 5.66 x 1.95 m

Material:              steel

Engine: 2 x MAN Diesel engines, dual shaft, 2 screws.

Armament:         1 x 1 – 75/35 M1897, 2 x 1 – 8/80, 4 DCT, 1 DCR (10), sweeps

Power: 1130  h.p. (rhp)

Speed: 15.5  knots