HMS Turbulent was a Royal Navy T-class submarine. From its launch in May 1941 to when it was lost at sea, along with its entire crew, in March 1943, it was responsible for the sinking of nearly 100,000 tons of enemy shipping.
Besides the number of enemy vessels it sunk, HMS Turbulent has gone down in history for the attack on the Italian merchant vessel the Nino Bixio, which at the time was carrying more than 3,000 Allied POWS who had been captured during the fighting in North Africa.
Having left the Libyan port of Benghazi on 16 August 1942, accompanied by the Italian cargo vessel the Sestriere, the Nino Bixio was attacked the following day. A total of 336 Allied POWs, most of whom were either Australian or New Zealanders, were killed or died of their wounds in the explosion.
Although badly damaged, the Nino Bixio stayed afloat and was towed to Navarino, in southern Greece, where the surviving POWs disembarked. The wounded were treated in hospital, while the rest were shipped on to POW camps in Bari, Italy.
Although there have been different theories put forward as to how HMS Turbulent met its end off the Italian coast in 1943, there is still no absolute certainty as to where, when and how the boat and its crew were lost.
Author(s): Stephen Wynn
First Publishment Date: 30 January 2023