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HMS XE-3 in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

HMS XE-3



31st Jul 1944 Attack Made


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Those known to have sailed in

HMS XE-3

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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Lt.Comm. Ian Edward Fraser VC. HMS Sahib

Ian Edward Fraser was born in Ealing, London. After working on merchant ships and serving in the Royal Naval Reserve, he joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War. Whilst serving on the submarine HMS Sahib in 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "bravery and skill in successful submarine patrols." In 1944, at age 24, he became a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, and volunteered to serve on the X craft midget submarine depot ship HMS Bonaventure from 7 November 1944 to July 1945.

The citation for his VC was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 13th November 1945 and reads: "The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Victoria Cross for valour to: Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser, D.S.C., R.N.R. Lieutenant Fraser commanded His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 in a successful attack on a Japanese heavy cruiser of the Atago class at her moorings in Johore Strait, Singapore, on 31st July, 1945. During the long approach up the Singapore Straits XE-3 deliberately left the believed safe channel and entered mined waters to avoid suspected hydrophone posts. The target was aground, or nearly aground, both fore and aft, and only under the midship portion was there just sufficient water for XE-3 to place herself under the cruiser. For forty minutes XE-3 pushed her way along the seabed until finally Lieutenant Fraser managed to force her right under the centre of the cruiser.

Here he placed the limpets and dropped his main side charge. Great difficulty was experienced in extricating the craft after the attack had been completed, but finally XE-3 was clear, and commenced her long return journey out to sea. The courage and determination of Lieutenant Fraser are beyond all praise. Any man not possessed of his relentless determination to achieve his object in full, regardless of all consequences, would have dropped his side charge alongside the target instead of persisting until he had forced his submarine right under the cruiser. The approach and withdrawal entailed a passage of 80 miles through water which had been mined by both the enemy and ourselves, past hydrophone positions, over loops and controlled minefields, and through an anti-submarine boom." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Edward_Fraser

S. Flynn







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