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Their Wellington suffered engine failure at night over the Bay of Biscay and Triggs successfully ditched in complete darkness.
Triggs then personally rescued his second pilot, released a malfunctioning liferaft and swam to retrieve their vital emergency supplies, which they had to depend on for the next five days in the liferaft.
Even after rescue, their tribulations continued; their launch had to fight off a strafing attack by six German aircraft.
Four days on from its Leigh-Light ordeal, on 7 June, the damaged Torrelli was spotted limping through the Bay of Biscay (on the surface) by RAAF 10 Squadron Sunderland 10/X (pilot Tom Egerton).
he Sunderland's depth-charges explode near U-26 - well outside lethal range, but they did serve to convince the U-boat crew of the hopelessness of their situation.
[Right:] A painting of the action from the Australian War Memorial. (At the time the Sunderland crew believed they had made an unsuccessful attack on the German U-77, because of markings on the hull.) This victory re-writes Australian official history - becoming the first Axis submarine sunk solely by the RAAF.
The Sunderland was flying too high to execute an immediate attack and while manoeuvring into position, Malaspina began to submerge.
A significant nucleus of experienced airmen from No.10 Squadron came across to 461.
Despite the fact that the Australian continent is situated at the opposite end of the Earth from the North Atlantic Ocean (quite literally!
), Australian airmen were heavily involved in the 'Battle of the Atlantic' throughout World War II.
Italian Submarine Alessandro Malaspina Sunk 10 September 1941 Italian historian Lorenzo Colombo has recently sent us the details of a long-neglected RAAF success against the Italian submarine Alessandro Malaspina by Sunderland W3986, aircraft U of 10 Squadron RAAF, captained by Flt. On September 7th, 1941, Malaspina had left Bordeaux for a patrol west of Gibraltar, but she was never heard of again.
After the war it was mistakenly assumed that she had been sunk on 24 September 1941 by HMS Vimy, but it was later discovered that Vimy had actually attacked, and heavily damaged, the Italian submarine Luigi Torelli, a sister boat to the Malaspina.
He attacked with depth-charges and then homed-in another Australian Sunderland, 10/A, flown by Flight Lieutenant Eddie Yeoman.