Bridgend Bridge

HMS Urge

A submarine paid for by the people of Bridgend during World War 2

Throughout 1942-42 the nation held savings campaigns called Warship Weeks, in an effort to raise extra funds for the Royal Navy. The aim was for cities to adopt battleships and aircraft carriers, while towns and villages would focus on cruisers and destroyers. Once the target money was raised the community would adopt the ship and support its crew.

Bridgend and District Warship Week was held from 15th November to 22nd November 1941 and raised £300,000 (the equivalent of about £15 Million today).

H.M.S. Urge was the first ship adopted by Bridgend, however, the money raised in the area during Warship Week also enabled the adoption of H.M.S. Tudor, H.M.S Mallow and His Majesty's Motor Torpedo Boat 47.

HMS Urge

Lieutenant Commander Tomkinson And Mrstomkinson Image Credit Francis Dickinson Sml Image credit Lieutenant Commander Tomkinson and MrsTomkinson (Image credit: Francis Dickinson)


H.M.S. Urge was commanded by Lieutenant Commander E.P. Tomkinson DSO RN, one of the Royal Navy’s top ten ‘Submarine Ace’s’, and saw active service in the Mediterranean, where she damaged or sank a number of enemy vessels.

H.M.S. Urge left Malta on her final mission on 27 April 1942, bound for Alexandria in Egypt. Aboard were not just her 32 crew, but 11 other naval personnel and a war correspondent. Sadly, H.M.S. Urge was lost shortly after. It is believed that she struck a mine off the coast of Malta.

In October 2019 the grandson of Lt Cdr Tomkinson, Mr Francis Dickinson was part of a marine archaeology project involving a search team from The University of Malta. They discovered the wreck of HMS Urge off the coast of Malta.

On 2nd October, 1941 Sub-Lieutenant Brian Lloyd (a Bridgend resident) was killed on a special operations mission when operating from HMS Urge. The HMS Urge Familes Group have always been strongly of the view that Brian Lloyd should be commemorated on the Urge memorial and included in the roll call. However, he was not lost on the day HMS Urge was lost off the coast of Malta. Further information can be found on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry: https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2819254/lloyd,-brian-neville-thornley

In April 2020 a commemoration service was due to be held in Malta. This service had been planned by families of the crew to mark the tragedy and the rediscovery of HMS Urge. Unfortunately, due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, these plans have been postponed.

Despite the current situation, Bridgend will still remember those that lost their lives on board HMS Urge on 27th April 2020, to mark the anniversary of the day she left Malta on her final mission.

The Mayor of Bridgend Town Council, Cllr Alan Wathan, will remotely join the family of crew members, friends and supporters of HMS Urge for a two minute silence at 11am. Members of the public are also encouraged to observe the two minute silence from the safety of their own homes.

The Armed Forces Chaplain for Bridgend, The Reverend Rachel Wheeler has recorded a very moving Service of Remembrance for this anniversary. The service includes a roll call of the manifest.  

The HMS Urge Remembrance Service can be viewed online at: https://youtu.be/K0aABWMxKCw

We will remember:

David Allen

Harold Ashford

William Ashford

Robert Attewell

Leslie Baxter

Henry Botting

Cyril Brown

Albert Bryant

Sidney Chamberlain

Robert Davison

Frederick Day

Ronald Goss

Bernard Gray

Laurence Groves

Stanley Harman

Reginald Hellyer

Charley Jackman

James Lamb

Eric Law

Ronald Leeke

Brian Lloyd

John Maidment

Frederick McDiarmid

Joseph Mcmillan

Frederick Morris

Jesse Norris

John O'Neill

Herbert Osborn

John Parkinson

James Poole

John Ransome

Ray Rogers

John Rowley

Ronald Rutter

Marcus Stanger

Edward Tomkinson

Charles Toms

Henry Twist

Eric Varley

Henry Watts

William White

Richard Wildman

Samuel Wilkes

Peter Wiseman

John Woolrich

Press releases: 

HMS Urge - Remembrance Service and Roll Call
(Published: 27th April 2020)

HMS Urge - 44 Heroes will be remembered on Monday 27th April 11am 
(Published: 24th April 2020)

Useful Links:

Further details about the discovery of HMS Urge can be found on the Royal Navy website: www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2019/october/31/191031-ww2-submarine-urge-found-off-malta

An article about HMS Urge can be found on the Friends of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum website:

https://www.rnsubmusfriends.org.uk/remembering-hms-urge-on-27th-april

An article about HMS Urge can be found on the Malta George Cross Island Assosiation website:

http://www.georgecrossisland.org.uk/news/hmsurgeremembranceonapril27thanniversary