THE wreck of a World War Two submarine which was built in Barrow has been discovered after 77 years.

The U-class submarine HMS Urge disappeared in 1942 after reportedly running into an enemy minefield.

However, almost 80 years later, the vessel has been located on the Mediterranean seabed off the coast of Malta by a marine archaeology survey team.

HMS Urge was built by Vickers Armstrong in Barrow and was first laid down on October 30 1939.

It was commissioned in December 1940, and had been paid for by money raised by the people of Bridgend, South Wales.

The U-class submarine left Malta for the north coast of Egypt on 27 April 1942 but never made it to its rendezvous in Alexandria on May 6.

The submarine was one of 19 U-class boats which were sunk in the Second World War.

Its crew of 32 included Leading Seaman Jesse Norris, from Rochester, and Leading Telegraphist Roy Rogers, from Whitstable.

Also on board were 11 Royal Navy passengers and a journalist.

The fate of HMS Urge remained a mystery until a team from the University of Malta found the sub’s wreck two miles off the island’s coast.

The discovery came after Francis Dickinson, the grandson of the submarine's captain, requested the university team search an area that had been heavily mined during World War Two.

Professor Timothy Gambin, who led the team, told Malta's PBS that the damage to the submarine indicated a 'very violent explosion' had taken place.

He said: "The damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion, indicating that the ship would have sunk very fast giving no chance to anybody to survive from this tragedy.

"Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition.

"It is sitting upright on the seabed, very proud, in the direction that it was ordered to take on its way to Alexandria."

In 2015, a Belgian diver claimed to have found the sub’s wreck off the Libyan coast but it was not HMS Urge.

In its short career it had a number of successes, including sinking an Italian cruiser earlier in 1942.

A ceremony is planned for 2020 to declare the site an official war grave.

It is hoped the daughter of HMS Urge’s captain will be present.