Correspondent’s fate confirmed after wreckage discovery

Bernard Gray's fate has now been confirmed. (Photo: Times of Malta)Bernard Gray's fate has now been confirmed. (Photo: Times of Malta)
Bernard Gray's fate has now been confirmed. (Photo: Times of Malta)
The fate of a Donington on Bain war correspondent has finally been established, more than 75 years after the submarine he was travelling on vanished.

The submarine ‘HMS Urge’ disappeared in April 1942 after being ordered to sail from Malta to Egypt, with the loss of all 32 crew, 11 Royal Navy passengers, and British journalist Bernard Gray who was born to a farming family in Donington on Bain in 1906.

Mr Gray was a well-respected war correspondent, working for the Sunday Pictorial (a predecessor to the Sunday Mirror) at the time.

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His presence on the submarine was only confirmed following an inquiry in 2002.

The circumstances behind the disappearance of HMS Urge remained a mystery for almost eight decades until just three weeks ago, when an investigation by a University of Malta survey team discovered the sunken vessel two miles off the coast of the island.

Analysis of the wreckage has confirmed the long-held suspicion that the submarine was sunk by a mine shortly after setting off on its journey.

Just a few days after the discovery of the wreckage in late October, Mr Gray’s niece, Jill Matthews, who lives in Boston, wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph in which she expressed the ‘relief’ that would be felt by surviving relatives of those who had been on board HMS Urge.

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Ms Matthews, whose father was Mr Gray’s brother, wrote: “I feel a renewed sadness that his family are no longer with us to know the truth of his loss, and also take huge pride in his courage and tenacity. Relief will be great for relatives of all the crew.

“Grateful thanks to the archivists at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum for pursuing the inquiry.”

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