23 Haziran 2018 Cumartesi
TNT History Archives: WW II Intrigue - The Sinking of the 'Refah'
türkçe links to original Turkish article
(Milliyet Newspaper, 23 June 2018)
In 1939 Turkey ordered 4 'Reis'-class submarines from England and
at the end of 1941, 199 Turkish sailors boarded the Refah steamer to
go to Port Said in Egypt to take delivery of the completed submarines.
19 naval officers, 63 NCO's, 68 sailors, an Air Force officer and 20
Air War College students were on the Refah when it departed the
port of Mersin.
Five hours later, a devastating explosion sunk the Refah and only
4 officers, 15 NCOs, 5 sailors, the Air Force officer, 4 Air War
College students and 3 crew members could be saved. A total of
170 military personnel and 28 crew members have been at the
bottom of the Mediterranean Sea in waters 100-500 meters deep
for the last 77 years.
In the months ahead the Turkish Navy's foremost salvage ship,
the 'Alemdar'*, along with the tugboats 'Akın' and 'Işın', will
search for the Refah at the coordinates where the steamer is
thought to have sunk.
*Alemdar see this for more about the first 'Alemdar', 100
or so years ago.
At the outbreak of World War II, Turkey ordered 4 submarines
and 4 destroyers from England to strengthen the Turkish Navy.
In 1941 Turkish President İsmet İnönü signed a non-aggression
pact with Adolf Hitler's Germany. While the English waited
at Port Said to deliver the submarines to the Turkish Navy
personnel, the Refah was sunk.
The submarines Oruç Reis, Murat Reis and Burak Reis later
joined the Turkish fleet. Naval historian Osman Öndeş in
his book "Refah Faciası" (Tragedy of the Refah), proved that
the ship was sunk by Italian underwater commando and spy
Luigi Ferraro. Öndeş wrote that "while the Refah was in port
(Mersin), magnetic mines called 'Limpet Mines' were attached
to it. The mines exploded 25-40 miles out at sea. In other
words, it was a spy-sabotage operation. With today's technology
the Refah can be found and, although it would be expensive,
it is very important that our martyrs be recovered."
Mersin, aka İçel, on the Turkish Med coast,
Port Said at the head of the Suez Canal.