Lennox Napier

Lennox Napier

Lennox Napier was born on 2nd May, 1944. At the age of thirteen he joined the Royal Navy as a Dartmouth cadet. He later joined the submarine service.

On the outbreak of the Second World War he had reached the rank of first lieutenant and in 1941 was given the command of Rorqual. Over the next three years Napier played a prominent role in the underwater campaign in the Mediterranean laying over 1,300 mines. His submarine also helped deliver supplies to the beleaguered island of Malta.

The mines laid off Athens accounted for two Italian torpedo boats in October 1941. Napier also sank the German transport Ankara off the Tunisian coast at the end of 1942.

One of Napier's most important successes was the sinking of a German tanker in the central Mediterranean in the summer of 1943. This was followed by the sinking of the Wilhelmsburg in the Aegean in April 1944. Soon afterwards Napier returned to Britain to train other submarine skippers.

After the war Napier held several staff posts and commanded two submarine squadrons as a captain before leaving the Royal Navy in 1962. Lennox Napier died on 19th August 2001.

Primary Sources

(1) Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (1947)

Last spring the Germans had constructed huge tents in an open space in the Lager. For the whole of the good season each of them had catered for over 1,000 men: now the tents had been taken down, and an excess 2,000 guests crowded our huts. We old prisoners knew that the Germans did not like these irregularities and that something would soon happen to reduce our number.