Dakar was purchased by Israel in 1965, together with her 2 sister submarines, from the British Navy. The submarine was built by H.M. Dockyard in Davenport and was launched as H.M.S. Totem on 28th September 1943. In the mid 50's the submarine was renewed and refitted. 12 feet were added to the length of the pressure hull. The deck gun was removed, 2 more electrical motors were put in and the boat was streamlined with an enclosed new conning tower and a new bridge.

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H.M.S. Totem during the
H.M.S. Totem after modification of the 50's
On November 10th 1967 she was commissioned by the Israeli Navy. Under the command of Lieutenant Commander Ya'acov Ra'anan(Frisch) the Israeli Navy ensign was hoisted and she was given a Hebrew name, DAKAR. Right after the commission ceremony Dakar left for Scotland for her sea and dive trials.
Submarine changes hands. Totem becomes Dakar as the British flag is taken down the Israeli one is hoisted over the bow of the boat

Dakar stayed in Scotland for 2 months and passed her sea and dive trials under the supervision of the experts of Israeli and Royal Navy. Towards the end of the year 1967 Dakar returned to Portsmouth and made preparations for her voyage to Israel.
Right after the commission ceremony Dakar's crew members embark their boat. Dakar left right after the ceremony to Scotland
On January 9th 1968 Dakar was ready to cast off and leave for her long voyage to Israel. Just before her departure another ceremony took place. A third "T" class submarine was purchased; H.M.S. Truncheon became INS Dolphin and delivered to the Israeli Navy on the same day. After a short ceremony, on a gray wintry snowy day, INS Dakar left slowly the submarine pier at H.M.S. Dolphin at Portsmouth and started her ill-fated journey.
Last pictures of the Dakar, 9th January 1968
After the ceremony submariners return to their subs. The British crew is still on board the Dolphin
Dakar at the far left, Dolphin in the middle and unknown British submarine attached to the pier
Two Israeli flags are hoisted over the bows as Daker casts off the Dolphin
Last known picture of the Dakar, with a slow maneuver backwards she sails for her last voyage
Six days later, on the morning of January 15th Dakar enters Gibraltar. At midnight on the same day Dakar cast off and left Gibraltar. It was the last time that the Dakar and her crew were seen.
Ya'acov Ra'anan, skipper of the Dakar had received his orders from the Navy headquarters in Haifa and Dakar should have made her way across the Mediterranean submerged, using her snorkel. According to established submarine procedure Dakar radioed her position to the HQ in Haifa, every 24 hours, and radioed a control telegram every 6 hours. Dakar should have entered her home base on Friday, February 2nd. As the Dakar was making a faster progress than expected, Ra'anan requested permission to enter port earlier. He got an approval to enter on January 29th. Later Ra'anan requested to enter yet another day earlier, on January 28th. This request was denied by the HQ, as the welcoming ceremony had already been planned.
Mizrachi, Ra'anan, Har-Even
Over the bridge of the Dakar
At 0610 hours, on the 24th of January 1968, Dakar just passed Crete and transmitted her last known position, 34.16N 26.26E. In the next 18 hours Dakar radioed 3 more times. All of them   were control transmissions, which did not include her position. Two minutes after midnight on the 25th of January 1968, Navy HQ received the last coded telegram from the Dakar. The next radio message should have been received at 0600 hours, on the next morning, Israeli time. Nothing was received from the Dakar at that time. Listening for the Dakar was intensified and radio messages were sent to her.  It was assumed that she was experiencing communications difficulties. During that day, Dakar was repeatedly called using her international call sign, 4XP-Z. No further signals came from Dakar.
Click on PLAY in order to view Dakar's route (9th January - 25th January 1968)
On the morning of the 26th of January an international Search And Rescue operation was launched. All available Israeli ships and airplanes joined the SAR efforts. Navy and air units from Great Britain, the USA, Greece, Turkey and even Lebanon took part in the SAR efforts. On the 27th of January, a radio station in Nicosia, Cyprus, received a SOS call on the frequency of Dakar’s emergency buoy . It was assumed that the transmission was sent somewhere from south east to Cyprus. This area was searched without any results. On January 30th, the search and rescue operation HQ in Cyprus determined that chances for the submarine still to survive were close to nil. It was decided to stop all search efforts 24 hours later. All foreign forces ceased the search at the sunset of the 31st. Israeli forces continued the search for another four days. As the sun went down on the day of February 4th, 1968 all ships and planes returned to their home bases. The search for the INS Dakar was called off.

Farewell Shipmates

On March 6th, Israel's defense minister, Moshe Dayan gave an official statement at the Kneset (Israeli Parliament) about the loss of INS Dakar and her crew. A day of national mourning was proclaimed. The Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi declared that all of the sixty-nine missing sailors would be considered dead according to the Halacha
(Jewish law).

On Mount Herzel in Jerusalem within Israel's national and military cemetery there is a monument to the Dakar and her crew. Sixty-nine names are engraved on a submarine-like tomb. Every year, on the Hebrew date, 7th of Adar, the day of the death of the prophet Moses whose grave is known only to God, Israel mourns and remembers her missing soldiers, airmen and sailors. Among those who will always be remembered are Dakar's sixty-nine men.

An Indian Legend

The Royal Navy submarine museum is located in Gosport, not far from the submarine pier that Dakar cast off on 9th of January 1968. The museum dedicates a corner to Dakar and her crew:
Before transfered to the Israeli Navy the Dakar was a British submarine named Totem. In 1945 HMS Totem is in her first commission and she is presented with a totem pole by the Cowichan Tribe in Canada. The legened attached is that as long as the totem pole sails with HMS Totem, she will come to no harm. Over twenty years the pole with its figures representing the Thunderbird, the Grisly Bear, the Killer Whale and the Fire God is fitted to the front of the bridge when entering and leaving harbour. After refit in 1967, HMS Totem is trasfered to the Israeli Navy and renamed Dakar. She is lost with all hands in the Mediterranean whilst enroute from Portsmouth to Haifa.

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