Lieutenant Commander Andrew Prideaux – obituary

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lieutenant-commander-andrew-prideaux –-obituary

Lieutenant Commander Andrew Prideaux, who has died aged 98, fought in two submarines of the “Preventing Tenth” flotilla based mostly in Malta earlier than retiring from the Navy to develop into a solicitor.

From April 1942 to April 1943 he was first lieutenant of the submarine Unrivalled, one in every of 26 American and British submarines which have been positioned as navigation beacons to information Allied touchdown forces to the seashores of North Africa in November 1942, and to intercept makes an attempt by the enemy to intrude with touchdown operations.

Within the first section of the operation Unrivalled’s station was off Algiers, till on November 9/10, when she was moved to the west of Sicily to bolster the patrol line there. Then, over Christmas 1942, she joined the well-known “Preventing Tenth” submarine flotilla based mostly in Malta. Within the New Yr, Unrivalled patrolled the Gulf of Hammamet, the place she engaged a tug along with her gun and drove it ashore, however was pressured to dive by hearth from shore batteries. Later she harried enemy transport by gunfire, torpedo and scuttling expenses.

In February, south of Messina, Unrivalled sank a number of ships and was counter-attacked by the enemy utilizing depth expenses. Early in March she carried out the primary of a number of surveys of the shores of Sicily by launching “folbots” – folding canoes with two-man crews from COPP (Mixed Operations Pilotage Events), however in operations between March 4 and 6 all of the folbots have been misplaced. The official historical past recorded that “miraculously the touchdown locations didn’t appear to be compromised and despite these difficulties the surviving COPPs introduced again sufficient data”, however Prideaux remained haunted by the lack of so many courageous males.

The following patrol was towards transport off Palermo when Unrivalled was closely counter-attacked by anti-submarine vessels however was capable of withdraw undamaged. On April 1 she was en path to a brand new patrol towards transport within the Tyrrhenian Sea. Turner watched whereas 4 RAF Blenheims tried to sink an Italian cargo ship after which surfaced and despatched Prideaux to board and sink it with scuttling expenses.

In a subsequent assault on a tanker escorted by three ships, she fired 4 torpedoes, hitting with all 4. The primary goal, the Italian Bivona disintegrated however Unrivalled suffered an correct counter assault, and with just one torpedo left and never but in her patrol space, she was recalled to Malta.

Prideaux then returned to Britain the place he attended the “perisher”, the demanding course wanted earlier than he may qualify for submarine command.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for seven profitable submarine patrols within the Mediterranean.

The son of a solicitor, Andrew George Prideaux was born on March 10 1918 in west London. He was educated at Eton and entered the Royal Navy as particular entry cadet in 1936.

He served as a midshipman within the warships Rochester, Norfolk and Rodney. A lot of his early seatime was spent within the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, however the outbreak of battle discovered him within the cruiser Dunedin within the South Atlantic. Prideaux at all times wished to be a submariner, an ambition which was strengthened when he discovered that he suffered from seasickness in heavy climate and he realised that submarines have been steadier when submerged. He was horrified, nonetheless, when he heard that Dunedin had been sunk in November 1941 with the lack of a lot of his mates.

After finishing his submarine coaching in August 1941 and following a quick spell as a spare officer within the submarine Ambrose, Prideaux joined the submarine P36 which was based mostly within the besieged island of Malta.

On February 15 1942 P36 torpedoed and broken the Italian destroyer Carabiniere off Taranto. However eight days after he had left her, P36 was bombed and sunk in Sliema harbour. Prideaux now joined P45, which, following a decree by Churchill that submarines ought to have names not numbers, was renamed Unrivalled.

In Might 1943 he took command of the submarine L26 with directions to ship the boat to Halifax, Nova Scotia. With a younger crew and an aged boat, he relied on primary navigation expertise and used a lead line with a plummet to repair his place off the fogbound coast of Nova Scotia.

In America in 1944 he met and married Eleanor Broome, of Philadelphia. His new spouse adopted him by air to the Bahamas the place L26 was coaching, and there she insisted he purchase Nibby, the primary of many black cocker spaniels, who travelled to Canada in Prideaux’s boat. When the escort service Patroller introduced younger brides as passengers from america, Nibby got here too.

In 1945 Prideaux took command of the submarine Seneschal however the Pacific battle ended earlier than she was prepared for sea. The next yr he joined the British Mission in Greece, working with the Greek Navy of their submarine base in Salamis. Later he briefly commanded the submarine Tantalus, earlier than spending two years in Naval Intelligence. He was subsequently liable for Submarine Escape Tank Coaching, making the primary ascent in a newly constructed tank on July 23 1954.

Andrew Prideaux was a eager supporter of the Submarine Museum at Gosport. When visiting the museum ship Alliance with youthful members of his household it was clear that he had by no means forgotten how the boat labored.

After leaving the Navy in 1957 he turned a solicitor and lived at Eridge, East Sussex. Prideaux’s spouse predeceased him as did a daughter in 2014. He’s survived by his son.

Lt Cdr Andrew Prideaux, born March 10 1918, died Might 17 2016

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