Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The wreckage of a British submarine that sank during World War II has been found off the coast of Malta after nearly 80 years, marine archaeologists announced Thursday.
The shipwreck is believed to be the HMS Urge, which was sunk some time between April 27 and May 6, 1942. Forty-three were aboard the vessel, which was on its way to Alexandria, Egypt. There were no survivors.
The grandson of HMS Urge's commander requested the University of Malta search an area that was heavily mined during the war. The university partnered with the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage to form a search expedition.
A sonar image found the wreckage 426 feet down and two miles off the coast of Malta.
"The damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion ... indicating that the ship would have sank very fast giving no chance to anybody to survive from this tragedy," Professor Timmy Gambin told a Maltese broadcaster. "Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition. It is sitting upright on the seabed, very proud, in the direction that it was ordered to take on its way to Alexandria."
British journalist Bernard Gray was on the Urge when it sank, the nation's only journalist to have died on a submarine during World War II.
A ceremony is planned next year at the site to declare it an official war grave. The daughter of Urge captain Lt. Cmndr E.P. Tomkinson is expected to attend.
The submarine was involved in many successful attacks against German and Italian ships in the Mediterranean Sea -- including the Italian cruiser Giovanni Delle Bande Nere, near Sicily, just days before it disappeared.