A LONG-lost submarine which sank in World War Two with a Hampshire commander has been found by divers.

The Royal Navy is investigating after an Italian diver claimed to have found the wreckage of HM Submarine P311.

War hero Commander Richard Cayley, from Yateley, was among the 71 crew.

He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order for missions in the Mediterranean.

The vessel vanished after leaving Malta in December 1942 to take part in Operation Principle, an Allied attack on Italian warships off the coast of the Mediterranean island.

Diver Massimo Bondone reportedly said he found the P311 at a depth of 80 metres (262 feet) off the isle of Tavolara last weekend.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We are examining our records to determine whether or not this is a Royal Navy submarine."

Commander Cayley's daughter, Jennifer Barker, 82, said: "If it is intact it probably means all of the bodies are still inside.

"I just hope they leave her where she is and don't try to raise her.

"It's a war grave and should be respected as such."

The P311 was lost between December 30 1942 and January 8 1943, when she was reported missing after failing to return to base.

She was en route to La Maddalena, Sardinia, to attack two Italian gun cruisers as part of operation Principle.

Her last signal was sent on December 31 1942 and the P311 is believed to have been sunk by Italian mines on or around two days later.

The T-class submarine was fitted with two Chariot manned torpedoes and was the only boat in her class never to be given a name.

The submarine was due to be named Tutankhamun, after the Egyptian pharaoh, but was lost before she could be officially named.

None of the vessel's crew were ever found.