In Memoriam        Frederick Walter Furr                                                                        Home


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Arthur Ernest Abbott William John Berrill Peter (F.C.) Causebrook Harold Cheaseman
Gordon Roy Coe Jack Dunkley Gordon George Elderton Peter Gifford Felce

Frederick Furr

Harold Philip Gardiner

Anthony Robert Gillitt

Ronald Douglas Hales

Norman Leonard Hornsey

Robert Howard

Edwin Hudson John Arthur Paul Loake
Richard Saxby Mutimer Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters

HMS Unbeaten's Detailed Career      HMS Unbeaten's Details    Problems at Malta for HMS Unbeaten.

FREDERICK WALTER FURR, born 15.11.1918, entered the School in September 1930.  He played for the 1st Rugby XV and the 1st Cricket XI. 


In July 1934, he left School and joined the Royal Navy.  He was posted to China Station in 1935, returning to Home Station in 1938.  In 1939 he was posted to Mediterranean Station and served -in H.M.Submarine “Unbeaten”.  He was mentioned in Despatches in March 1942, for Gallantry and steadfast devotion to duty while serving in H.M.Submarine “Unbeaten’. 


In November 1942 the “Unbeaten” was lost while on patrol in the Bay of Biscay.  He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Furr, 2 High Street, Bozeat.    `In Memoriam` Book


Unlike most  of the Old Grammarians who died in the armed forces, Frederick Furr was a professional sailor.  He joined the Royal Navy in 1934 after leaving school and was posted to the China Station in 1935, and returned to the Home Station in 1938. In 1939 he was posted, with the rank of telegraphist, to the Mediterranean Station and served in HM Submarine ‘Unbeaten’. He was mentioned in despatches in March 1942 for gallantry and steadfast devotion to duty. In November 1942 the ‘Unbeaten’ was lost while on patrol in the Bay of Biscay.

Telegraphist, C/JX142498, Frederick Walter Furr, HM Submarine Unbeaten, Royal Navy. Killed in action 11-11-42, aged 24. Son of Annie Furr, Bozeat, Northants. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Panel 59, Column 02.





HMS Unbeaten

moored alongside a dock in Malta.



Bay of BISCAY 1942 RU.HTM


HMS Unbeaten was a British U Class submarine of 540 tons displacement launched and sunk during the Second World War. HMS Unbeaten was powered by two Davey Paxman diesel engines providing a top speed of 11 knots surfaced and two electric motors providing a top speed of 9 knots submerged. She carried a complement of 31 was armed with one 3 inch gun; three machine-guns and four 21 inch bow torpedo tubes.


HM Submarine Unbeaten left Holy Loch on 23'd October 1942 to carry out an SOE mission to land a party just north of Vigo in Spain. On the night of 11th  November she reported mission successful.  She was then ordered to patrol the Bay of Biscay.  HM Unbeaten did not make a pre- arranged rendezvous off the Bishop Rock Light on 12 November; nothing more was heard from her.

Problems at Malta for HMS Unbeaten.            

During World War Two, German and Italian air forces targeted the submarine base at HMS Talbot. Raids in 1942 caused substantial damage to the mess decks, sick bay, laundry, base cinema, wardrooms, stores and offices. On Friday the 13 February, parachute mines fell on the Island wrecking the submarine base barracks and killing three men. During a German raid in May the submarines submerged themselves and lay on the harbour bottom to minimise the risk of damage. The enemy bombs, however, struck the submarines P36 and HMS Unbeaten, while under the water. Following the raid officers moved into an empty, heavy oil tank. They would operate from this ‘stinking’ cavern for more than two more months before the air raids finally forced a partial evacuation of the base.


The excellent description of the submarine below comes from Brighton and Hove's web site:


Frederick Furr  is, I believe, fourth from the left in the middle row on the photograph on the right

The web site uses materials originally supplied to the office of the Mayor of Brighton & Hove by Mrs, Barbara Woodward, widow of the late Commander 'Teddy' Woodward D.S.O.  ** Unbeaten's first commanding officer.  Special thanks to Mrs Pat Dines, Mayoral Secretary for allowing access to this material.   During the second week of March 1942 the Hove Borough Council ran a National Savings 'Warship Week' campaign to raise funds for the war effort, their target was £425,000, on achieving this goal the town was able to "adopt" a warship. The final tally of funds raised was £521,000 and the submarine H.M.S. Unbeaten was "adopted" by the town.


H.M. S. Unbeaten was a 'U' class submarine built by Vickers Armstrong ship builders in Barrow-in-Furness and she entered service on November 10th 1940 At the time of her "adoption" H.M.S. Unbeaten was operating in the Mediterranean as part of the 10th Submarine Flotilla under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Edward 'Tedddy' Woodward, DSO, RN and was engaged in anti-shipping operations against German and Italian vessels.


A silent hunter, a distinguished record
Between December 1940 and July 1942 the Unbeaten had sunk the German submarine U-374 and the Italian submarine Guglielmotti, the Italian sailing vessel V 51 / Alfa, and the Vichy-French merchantman PLM 20.  She also torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchantman Vettor Pisani which was later sunk by British aircraft. She returned to the UK in August 1942 for repairs and a refit after being damaged in Malta



Presentation of the 'Jolly Roger'
Shortly after their return to the UK the commanding officer and some of the officers and crew were entertained privately to lunch at Hove. Speaking to the Brighton & Hove Herald about the occasion the Mayor said "as long as our destiny and our fate rest upon the efforts of such men as I met  we need have no fear of the ultimate outcome of the present grim struggle." During this meeting the ships 'Jolly Roger' flag was presented to the Mayor. This was a special flag unique to submarines; permission to fly the Jolly Roger was normally granted to a submarine after her first successful patrol by the Flotilla Commanding Officer.  The crew would then sew on the appropriate emblems following each successful action; the flag would then be flown when entering harbour at the end of each patrol to signify the success of the patrol. Unfortunately this special gift was lost when the Hove Town Hall was bombed during a German air raid.


A commemorative plaque
Later, on Wednesday December 9th, an impressive ceremony was held in the Hove Town Hall at which a commemorative plaque from the residents of Hove was exchanged for a replica of the ships badge by the Mayer of Hove Councillor A. H. Clarke, and Rear Admiral D. W. Boyd, -C.B.10., D.5 C., representing the Admiralty and the Unbeaten which had left the UK early in November to return to Malta.  Hove's plaque, to be placed in the submarine, bore the inscription that the sum raised in Warship Week was equivalent to £10 per head of population, men, women and children.

Tragedy at sea
Sadly at the time of this presentation dinner HMS Unbeaten has been reported lost, a fact that was not made public until December 19th when the  Brighton & Hove Herald carried the story that the Admiralty had announced the submarine was "overdue and must be considered lost". Unbeaten had sailed for the Mediterranean via Gibraltar after a refit in Britain under the command of her now C.O. Lieutenant. Donald E. O. Watson, DSC, RN. On 11 November 1942 she was attacked and sunk in error by an RAF Wellington of No. 172 Squadron, Coastal Command while in the Bay of Biscay. She was lost with all hands.


HMS Unbeaten's Detailed Career

Her initial patrols were uneventful as far as sinking records relate although in July she took part in a joint operation to intercept an Italian troop convoys including several large liners. Her torpedo attack on the liner OCEANIA failed. The next month during patrol off Augusta she sank a supply ship and during a joint operation with other submarines of the Flotilla sighted another important troop convoy in the eastern Mediterranean, As a result HM Submarine UPHOLDER carried out successful attacks sinking the liners OCEANIA and NEPTUNIA. This submarine was the deployed to carry out patrols to intercept Italian warships on passage to intercept the HALBERD relief convoy to Malta In December 1941 she was deployed to intercept an Italian supply convoy M41 against which units of the Mediterranean Fleet were also carrying out a major search operation. In January she carried out patrol in the western Mediterranean and on 12th of that month sighted the German submarine U374 off Catania, Sardinia which she attacked and sank.. She rescued the sole survivor. Three months later she sank a supply ship off Tunisia and on 17th March the Italian submarine GUGLIEMOTTI. On return to Malta she was damaged during an air raid whilst part submerged in Lazaretto Creek. A stick of bombs exploded near enough to cause serious damage to her torpedo tubes rendering them unusable. Despite this disability she was deployed for a special duty to collect an army officer from HM Submarine UPHOLDER after which she was released from Mediterranean service and returned to UK for repair to her damaged torpedo tubes.


She was deployed in Home waters on completion and sailed from the Clyde for patrol in the Bay of Biscay on 23rd October 1942. After landing an intelligence agent near Vigo she began her anti-submarine patrol and on 6th November was ordered to intercept a enemy blockade runner known to be on passage from the Far East to France. This ship had earlier been under air attacks and her interception position was reported. The submarine was then ordered to meet another submarine with a convoy in the Bishops Rock area and foiled to arrive. Her loss may have been caused by depth charges from an RAF WELLINGTON aircraft which reported an attack on a submarine on 12th November. This has never been fully established. The Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Commander EA Woodward RN during her outstanding Mediterranean service and by Lieutenant D E O Watson at the time of her loss.


HMS Unbeaten's Details (from Wikipedia)

A British U class submarine, of the second group of that class, built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness. She was laid down on 22 November 1939 and was commissioned on 10 November 1940. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name Unbeaten.


RN Ensign


HMS Unbeaten


Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness

Laid down:

22 November 1939


9 July 1940


10 November 1940


sunk 11 November 1942

General characteristics


Surfaced - 540 tons standard, 630 tons full load.     Submerged - 730 tons


58.22 m (191 feet)


4.90 m (16 ft 1 in)


4.62 m (15 ft 2 in)


2 shaft diesel-electric.  2 Paxman Ricardo diesel generators + electric motors 615 / 825 hp


11.25 knots max surfaced.    10 knots max submerged




4 bow internal 21 inch torpedo tubes - 8 - 10 torpedoes.   1 - 3 inch gun


Submarine of the U class    Additional details from^t

Loss position

46.50N, 06.51W


On 11 November 1942 HMS Unbeaten (Lt. Donald Eric Ogilvy Watson, DSC, RN) was attacked and sunk in error by an RAF Wellington of No. 172 Squadron, Coastal Command in the Bay of Biscay in position 46º50'N, 06º51'W. She was on passage to Gibraltar after being refitted in the U.K. The entire crew went down with the ship.

Commanding Officers:
Lt. Edward Arthur Woodward, DSO, RN    14 September 1940 - August 1942

Lt. Donald Eric Ogilvy Watson, DSC, RN    August 1942 - 11 November 1942+ 










Noteable events involving Unbeaten include                 Source:

19 May, 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) attacks the Italian merchant Silvio Scaroni (1367 GRT) off Tagiura, Libya in position 32º46'N, 14º06'E. with a spread of 4 torpedoes. However all torpedoes miss the target.

16 Jun, 1941
While on patrol south of the Messina Strait in position 3751'N, 1526'E HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) fires four torpedoes at a big Italian troop transport, thought to be either Oceania or Neptunia. The torpedoes however miss the target.

At 0819 hours (time zone -2) Unbeaten sighted the masts of a convoy. 10 minutes it was established that the convoy was made up of three merchant vessels of about 2000 tons and a very large liner.

Lt.Cdr. Woodward closed at high speed to attack the liner. At 0909 hours four torpedoes were fired. Two hits were claimed. At 0926 hours 9 depth charges were dropped. Lt.Cdr. Woodward decided to stay deep and only returned to periscope depth at 1200 hours.

15 Jul, 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) claims two schooners sunk with gunfire at Marsa Zuag roads, Libya.

The attack by Unbeaten was at 2000-2010 hours. Fire was opened at 700 yards. 43 rounds were fired. 20 hits were obtained. At the moment there is no confirmation from Italian or German sources as to the identity of the vessels attacked. It is also quite possible that the vessels were only damaged.

19 Aug, 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) fires three torpedoes against the Italian troop transport Esperia (11.398 GRT) 15 nautical miles north of Pantelleria. All torpedoes fired missed their target.

30 Aug, 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian sailing vessel V 51 / Alfa (373 GRT) about 25 nautical miles south of Capo dell'Armi, Italy in position 37º57'N, 15º70'E.

12 Jan, 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) torpedoes and sinks the German submarineU-374 south-west of Cape Spartivento, Calabria, Italy in position 37º50'N, 16º00'E.

1 Mar, 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Vichy-French merchant PLM 20 (5417 GRT) about 5 nautical miles east of Mehedia, Tunisia.

16 Mar, 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) fires four torpedoes against the Italian merchant Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT) off Cape Buzzano, Calabria, Italy. All torpedoes however missed their target.

17 Mar, 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) torpedoes and sinks the Italian submarine Guglielmotti off Cape Dell'Armi, Italy in position 37º42'N, 15º58'E.

24 Jul, 1942
HMS Unbeaten (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodward, DSO, RN) torpedoes and damages the Italian merchant Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT) off Argostoli, Greece in position 38º05'N, 20º12'E. The damaged Vettor Pisani sunk later that day by British aircraft.






 F W


 United Kingdom




 Royal Navy

Unit Text  

 H.M. Submarine Unbeaten



Date of Death  


Service No  

 C/JX 142498


 Mentioned in Despatches

Additional information  

 Son of Annie Furr, of Bozeat, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type  

 Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference  

 59, 2.