He was Britain’s deadliest submarine commander ... and he was from Milton of Campsie

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TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the greatest submariners ever to delve beneath the waves.

Captain George Hunt sunk more enemy ships than any other Briton in World War II.

He died last month and there have been calls for him to be remembered in the village where he was born.

Rammed twice, sunk once and bombarded with hundreds of depth charges, the unstoppable captain sunk 28 enemy vessels.

He was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses (DSC) and two Distinguished Service Orders (DSO), and was twice mentioned in despatches.

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament praising George.

His story seems as if it has been ripped straight from the pages of ‘The Victor’ or ‘Commando’, but it is all true.

George Hunt was born on July 4, 1916, in Milton of Campsie. His grandfather, John Hunt, was involved in the calico industry locally and his family lived in the area.

But George always treasured the idea of going to sea. By the time of World War II in 1939 he was serving in submarines and his destiny lay below the waves.

George was on board the submarine Unity in 1940 when she was rammed - four men were lost, but George kept the rest of the crew together until they could be rescued. Later that year he helped to protect the troops during the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940.

In 1942 he took command of the submarine with which he would cement his reputation - the Ultor.

He and his crew accounted for an astonishing 20 enemy vessels sunk by torpedo and eight by gunfire, as well as damaging another four ships.

His most famous mission was described by the Admiralty as “unsurpassed in the annals of the Mediterranean submarine flotilla”.

On June 27, 1944, he spotted the 3,317-ton cargo ship Cap Blanc close to Cap Antibes - sinking her despite the deadly attentions of her escorts.

He was hunted for an hour, but evaded the depth charges and as he was drawing away, he spotted the 5,260-ton tanker Pallas – protected by nine ship escorts and five aircraft.

Despite the peril, George and the Ultor daringly wove their way through the escort ‘screen’ and fired two lethal torpedoes into the Pallas.

The Ultor immediately dove to 300ft - near to maximum diving depth - and awaited the onslaught.

It arrived with a vengeance - George stopped counting the deadly depth charges after the first 100. Miraculously, the Ultor survived with only a few leaks and crept away to safety.

George held various high-ranking positions within the Navy after the war, emigrating to Australia in 1963 with his wife Phoebe and daughter Susan.

Phoebe died in 2005. George passed away on August 16 this year. They are survived by one daughter and two grandchildren.

* The book ‘Diving Stations – The Story of Captain George Hunt and the Ultor’ by Peter Dornan is available from www.pen-and-sword.co.uk