The keel for the Netherlands Royal Navy submarine O 22 was laid in 1937 at the Royal Schelde Company's wharf in Flushing. Three years later, on the eve of the German attack on the Netherlands, the ship was launched.
When the attack came, on May 10th, 1940, the ship was not yet fully completed and therefore made its escape to the United Kingdom. As there was barely any time for preparations, the crew had to rely on old German fishery maps obtained from a Groningen skipper to find their way.
Nevertheless, O 22 reached its destination and operated from the UK for several months. From Dundee, the submarine carried out several patrols of the Norwegian coast, but did not succeed to sink any enemy ships.
On the 5th of November, 1940, O 22 departed for her fifth patrol with 42 Dutch and 3 British sailors on board, and was never seen again.
In August 1993, a survey vessel of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate located a wreck. 40 miles south-west of the Norwegian coast and at a water depth of about 180 meters. An inspection using a remotely operated vehicle revealed that it was the wreck of the O 22. The ship was found very much intact, suggesting that technical difficulties were to be blamed for the loss.
On 2 November, 1996, a ceremony was held at the location of the O-22 wreck, in remembrance of the sailors who lost their lives.
Originally intended as K XXII for service in Dutch East India, renamed Hr. Ms. O 22.
Built: 1937-januari 1940, Vlissingse scheepswerf Koninklijke Maatschappij de Schelde. Not yet finished in May 1940.
Length: 77.7 m
Armament: 8x 21" torpedo's
The wreck of the O 22 is a designated war grave. Although this is never a guarantee against illegal salvage operations, the great depth at which the wreck lies offers some protection.