Date: 27/11/1942
Squadron Code: 'T'
Serial Number: Liberator FL931
U-Boat details : U-263 type VIIC - attacked/no damages/survived
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: St. Eval
Time Up: 1031- Time Down: 2123 - Duration: 10hrs 52 mins
Op: A/S Patrol

Airbourne St. Eval. 12 x 250 G.P. bombs carried. At 1732, sighted at 43.20N 01.47W, one naval unit, possibly DR. 3 m/v’s of Memel type, possibly U-boat tenders. Course 180 T. 8/10 knots. Aircraft investigated and sighted U-boat fully surfaced, 200 yards N. of Point Francis, heading into mouth of Bidasoa River, with naval unit of CR or DR type. Aircraft at 200ft. Aircraft climbed and circled for attack. Released 6 bombs at DR and 6 at U-boat, under intense flak fire. Immediately on releasing, aircraft took cloud cover at 1,800 feet, and flew over Hendaye. Unidentified vessel in harbour appeared to be signalling by lamp to DR. Flak was encountered from all 3 m/v’s, DR and vessel in harbour, but all of light type, suspected to be M.G. cannon or Bofors. Red and Green tracer also seen. Visibility was poor, due to haze and low visibility in gathering dusk. Results not observed. References: PL/G2/26/11/42, STE/01/28/11/42

An excerpt from Endurance (Alwyn Jay): The war diary of U-263 contains possible reasons for the failure of this bombing attack: at the time the boat only had one metre of water below the keel, far too shallow for depth-charges to be activated and the bombing height was not enough for the bombs to arm... makes no mention of the above attack, or of another attack by a Halifax 405/J on the same day at 1115hrs. According to the attacks it does list: On the 20 Nov, U-263 had been severely damaged by surface escorts and was on her way back to port, when on the 24th she was attacked by a Hudson of 223 Sqn and received further extensive damages and was left unable to dive. The boat was given the option of sailing for Spain, (additional info from Alwyn Jay) when on the 27th she was attacked by 59 and 405 Sqn aircraft off the Franco-Spanish coast. The boat made it back to port in France on the 29th and was out of service for 13 months.

:::: More U-boat Details ::::....



Ordered 15 Aug, 1940

Laid down 8 Jun, 1941
Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft, Bremen-Vegesack (werk 28)

Launched 18 Mar, 1942

Commissioned 6 May, 1942

Career 2 patrols

6 May, 1942 - 31 Oct, 1942 8. Flottille (training)
1 Nov, 1942 - 20 Jan, 1944 1. Flottille (front boat)

Successes 2 ships sunk for a total of 12,376 GRT


Sunk 20 Jan, 1944 in the Bay of Biscay near La Rochelle, France, in position 46.06N, 01.36W, during a deep dive trials. 51 dead (all hands lost).

See the 2 ships hit by U-263 - View the 2 war patrols

The boat was lost only 2 days out from its base. During deep diving trials the boat reported that its external portside no 2 fuel tank had collapsed and that the boat needed immediate help. Search for the boat and its crew found nothing.

Attacks on this boat

20 Nov, 1942
While attacking 2 freighters the boat was attacked by surface escorts dropping 119 depth charges towards the boat. The boat suffered serious damages and had to abort to port. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 114.)

24 Nov, 1942
Only 4 days after being seriously damaged by surface escorts and inbound to France the boat was located and attacked with 4 depth charges from a British Hudson bomber (Sqdn 233, pilot Eric Smith). This attack caused extensive additional damages to the boat, leaving her unable to dive. Initially the boat was given the option of sailing for Spain but managed to reach France on 29 Nov. The boat spent 13 months in repairs. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 114)

26 Nov, 1942
The damaged inbound U-263 met an enemy submarine, which fired two torpedoes, but both missed their target.

3 recorded attacks on this boat.

:::: Source - & 59 Sqn ORB - Endurance - Alwyn Jay ::::....

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950