Historik Orders, Ltd.

British Campaign Medals and Orders Singles and Groups, Russian Badges and Medal Gallery

SUBMARINE // WWII // ATLANTIC // BRITISH

Of all the branches of men in the Forces, there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariner. Great deeds are done in the air and on the land; nevertheless, nothing surpasses your exploits
Winston Churchill
DSM. WITH BAR NAMED (Impressed) TO: SSX 18918 G. GREER. A/1 P.O. LONG SERVICE AND GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL NAMED TO: JX. 777874. G. GREER. D.S.M. C.P.O. H.M.S. THOROUGH. D.S.M. published in the London Gazette Supplement of 10th August, 1943.Given for " Distinguished Service for outstanding zeal and efficiency as a "look-out" in H.M.S. TRUCULENT in an offensive War Patrol in June, 1943, during which a German U-boat was destroyed".U308 Sunk 4 June, 1943 in the Norwegian sea north-east of the Faeroes, in position 64.28N, 03.09W, by torpedoes from the British submarine H.M.S. Truculent 44 dead (all hands lost).Bar on D.S.M. published in the London Gazette Supplement of 21st. August 1945."Grant of bar to the D.S.M. medal for extreme cheerfulness, courage and efficiency shown while serving as Coxswain in His Majestry's Submarine, Rorqual, during hazardous patrols in the Far East from January to May 1945."Also awarded 1939-45 War medal, Atlantic Star, Burma Star with Pacific bar.

Distinguished Service Medal (DSM)Founded by King George V in October 1914 as a junior award to the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for acts of gallantry by Petty Officers and men of the Royal Navy and NCO's and men of the Royal Marines.

It may also be awarded to men of equivalent rank in the other two services and the Merchant Navy, when serving afloat. A 2nd award bar is also available



"You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; without victory, there is no survival."Winston Churchill

The Truculent.

Sinks German s/m U308 north of the Faeroe Islands 4-June-1943. Towing submarine for midget raid on Tirpitz, Kå fjord, Norway, September 1943. (Lt. C.P. Bowers) Collision in Thames Estuary 12/1/50, with MV Dvina. Truculent was returning to Sheerness from refit in Chatham. 57 crew swept away in current, after a premature escape attempt. 15 survivors - 10 by a boat from Dvina, 5 by Dutch ship Almdijk. Salvaged 14 March 1950 - using ex-German lifting vessels Energie and Ausdauer. Beached at Cheney Spit. Wreck moved inshore following day, where 10 bodies were recovered. Re-floated 23rd and towed into Sheerness Dockyard. An inquiry attributed 75% of the blame to Truculent and 25% to Dvina. The loss led to the introduction of the 'Truculent light', an extra steaming light at the after end of the fin, on British submarines. Builder Vickers Armstrong Barrow. 15 submarines of the T class lost.

Laid down: 28th December 1941 at Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness.

Launched: 12th September 1942.
Pennant No.: P.315

Displacement: Surface:1300 tons.
Submerged 1575 tons.

Dimensions: 275 feet x 26.5 feet x 16.25 feet.

Machinery: 2 Shaft Diesel/Electric motors.
2500/1450 BHP 15 knots Surface, 9 knots submerged.
Armament: 1 x 4 inch gun. 1 x 20mm Oerlikon. 3 x Vickers machine guns.

Torpedoes: 6 internal and 6 reloads.
2 Bow external. 3 Stern external.
12 'M' Mk11 ground mines could be carried in lieu of the internal torpedoes.

Complement: 65
Range: 8000 miles at 10 knots surfaced. (Later increased to 1100 miles).

Diving Depth: 350 feet

Note: The engines were the first Vickers 'T' engines to be built under license by John Brown. They arrived in Barrow by train.

Senior Complement:

Captain:

Lt. R.L. Alexander. D.S.C.

E.O. LT. (E) Lane.

First Lt.: Lt. Atkinson.



Gunnery: S/Lt. Shaw.
Navigator: Lt. Nixon.

Coxswain: Solly Stoppard.

CERA H. Matthews.

OERA R. King.



Chief Stoker: J. Dore.
T.G.M. Tom Jeffries.

E.A. R. Carline.

2nd Coxswain: Ldg. Seaman Drake.

Stoker P.O. Martin. (Later to be lost on Stonehenge)



Truculent left Barrow on the 29th of December 1942 for Dunoon. The first few weeks of the new year were spent carrying out engine, deep diving, torpedo and noise trials.

0



First Patrol:

15th February 1943 to 11th March 1943.

Left Lerwick on a patrol to cover the passage of North Russian convoy at 1800 in very bad weather. The submarine was pooped several times and the bird bath was permanently rigged.

16th February.
2040. Sighted two floating mines. 291 radar completely out of action.
20th February.
Entered patrol area in a snow storm. 0600 Dived. Patrolled at 90 feet due to heavy swell.
Patrolling off Hjelmsoy.

25th February.
In Forenoon heard explosions. This was unsuccessful attack on JW53 convoy.

8th March.
Left patrol area. 1800 Received orders to a new patrol area.
1815. Dived for trim. Foreplanes would not turn out. Pooped twice trying to get man on fore casing.
Sperry out of action. Party on fore casing to free after guard from foreplanes. Now working OK.
2300 Left patrol area.

PRECIS of the patrol:
Truculent sailed with Seanymph, Sportsman and Simoom and soon ran into very foul weather. All four submarines reached their station off the exits to Alten Fjord to the northeast and northwest SOROY by the 22nd February.
Receipt of reports that heavy German ships were on the move up the Norwegian coast led to Truculent and Simoom being ordered to take up patrol positions off the southern approaches to Trondheim on the 8th March. Simoom reached her area on the morning of the 9th March, Truculent, who encountered worse weather only got to thirty miles of her position before both submarines were recalled on the evening of the 9th March. Because of bad weather an opportunity was missed to make contact with Scharnhorst and her destroyer escorts who had left Gotenhaven on the 6th of March, passing Stavanger early on the morning of the 8th March. Arriving Narvik during the afternoon of the 9th March.

The following is an extract taken from BR1736:
The disposition of the German main units in the middle of February 1943 did not seem to presage an attack on future Russian convoys by heavy ships. Only Lutzow and two destroyers were reported at Alten Fjord, Tirpitz was at Trondheim, Hipper and Koln had gone south to home ports, while Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen although operationally fit were still the safe side of the Kattegat.
Scheer was refitting at Willhelshaven, Burberg, although reported at Narvik was considered as being chiefly used for training purposes.
Admiral Submarine's directive remained unchanged however so Seanymph, Sportsman, Simoom and Truculent left Lerwick on 15th February and ran into the usual foul weather. All four submarines reached their stations off the exits to Alten Fjord to the northeast and northwest of Soroy by the 22nd, being recalled after an uneventful patrol on the 5th and 6th of March. Receipt of reports that German heavy ships were on the move up the Norwegian coast led to the Truculent and Simoom being ordered to take up patrol positions off the southern approaches to Trondheim on the 8th of March. Simoom reached her area on the morning of the 9th but Truculent who had encountered worse weather only got to within 30 miles of her position before both submarines were recalled on the evening of the 9th. Scharnhorst left Goten Haven on the 6th of March and after various manouvres with destroyer escorts passed Stavanger early on the morning of the 8th followed a track well clear of the coast, in the same manner as Lutzow had the previous December made, at high speed for Narvick where she arrived in the early afternoon of the following day. Thus she passed the only possible contact with our submarines during the dark hours and in foul weather.

Second Patrol:

20th March 1943 to 9th April 1943.

Left Lerwick at 2100. Object to attack and report enemy main units in Lofoten area 69 North 15 East Landmarks Andoy Langoy.

6th April.
Left patrol area. Only trawlers sighted.
Truculent and Seanympth sailed Lerwick and reached their patrol billets (Lofoten Islands) on the 23rd and 24th March respectively. Truculent was reinforced by Templer on the 26th. By which time the German forces had made the passage from Narvik to Alten Fjord, keeping well to the seaward. The patrol continued to the 6th when all three submarines returned to base. (Source B41736).

Third Patrol

3rd May 1943 to 21st May 1943.

Left Lerwick on passage 0400.

7th May.
Dived to clear heavy ice formation on gun, bridge and aerials.
66 58 North 13 52 West. Truculent maintained anti breakout patrol in Denmark Straits and had a dull time in poor weather.

17th May.
Ordered to proceed to position 65 10 North 08 West to carry out anti U-boat hunt.

19th May.
Left patrol area at 2100.

21st May.
Arrived Lerwick at 0400.

Fourth Patrol:

2nd June 1943 to 17th June 1943

Left Lerwick to commence anti U-boat patrol. Whilst on passage to the patrol area, received an intelligence report indicating presence of 4 to 5 U-boats making for the Arctic convoy routes. Proceeding Northwards on surface in the hope of making contact. Early on the morning of the fourth while on the surface one of the lookouts, Able seaman Banks sighted what appeared to be a U-boat. Dived and the sighting was confirmed through the periscope, range about three to four miles. The attack was commenced and all six bow tubes brought to the ready. As the target came onto the firing angle all six torpedoes began to leave their tubes at pre determined intervals. In the event number six was not fired.

The first passed ahead of the target, the next two found their mark, four and five passed astern. Five minutes after the torpedoes struck home the U-boat blew up and sank immediately. Truculent surfaced eleven minutes after firing and observed a large patch of oil on the surface but no sign of any survivors. Later during the evening of the 4th another U-boat report was received from the Admiralty, but after another change of area in very poor visibility no further contact was made.

16th May.
Left patrol area at 1900 for Muckle Flugga.

17th May.
Arrived Lerwick at 0850.

Note: The loss of U-308 which left Kiel about 29th of May does not seem to have been suspected until 18th June when her loss was attributed to air attacks during her passage past Iceland.

Precis of the attack on U-boat on 4th June 1943 obtained from the P.R.O. Kew on 5th August 1997. Source: ADM199/1868.

Truculent 4th Patrol track charts from 1400 4th June to 0400 15th June 1943 show position of sinking of U-boat between diving at 1421/4 and surfacing 1456/4. Enemy course 282 speed 8 knots. Vicinity of 64 27.4 North 03 09 West Range 1300 yards. TA 102 DA 10 degrees. Fired torpedoes 12 minutes 30 seconds after commencement of attack.

0738 OOW sighted U-boat bearing 070 range 7-8 miles. Dived and closed at speed after 20 minutes and coming up to 20 feet nothing was sighted and no HE heard.

0921 Surfaced to charge.

1220 Forward lookout on the periscope standards sighted U-boat bearing 060 at 7000 yards. Closed the enemy and at 1245 6 torpedoes were fired from the bow internal tubes at range 1300 yards. The first four were fired by aiming, last two by time interval. The second was seen to wander left and appeared to run 15 degrees to port of firing course. The third hit with a vivid flash and a column of black smoke nearly under the gun. Three explosions were heard 7 or 8 minutes after firing were torpedoes probably exploding at the end of run. A further 5 or 6 explosions were heard 2 minutes later. Asdic HE stopped after first hit (Enemy had been doing 200 revs).

Surface Evidence:
Quantities of shattered wooden wreckage, sea-boots, watch coats and loaves of bread found in area of sinking also large patch of oil. There were no survivors.

Remarks by Captain S3:
This successful encounter with a U-boat was made possible only by the keenness and efficiency of the lookouts in obtaining the first sighting and by the prompt action taken by the OOW enabling Truculent to dive unseen. The attack was skillfully conducted resulting in 2 torpedo hits at the "point of aim" and the Certain destruction of the U-boat.



Submarines versus U-boats.......................................................Truculent versus U-308



After six days at sea U-308 was 160 miles northeast of the Faeroes and entering the danger zone. It's commander was hoping that all the lessons taught in practice and exercises would bear fruit - he would soon find out.
Truculent had left Lerwick in the evening of Wednesday 2nd June on an anti-U-boat patrol. On a previous patrol, Lt. Alexander had been surprised to learn that his signals had been picked up by another submarine on patrol over fifty miles distant, so on this patrol he imposed a radio silence to make sure no U-boat could pick Truculent by these means.
One day out to sea Truculent received a report of four to five U-boats westbound, making for the Atlantic convoy lines. The captain decided to press on a speed to the Northward in the hope of getting across their tracks. After making good progress on the surface Truculent dived just before midnight.

Truculent had not long been surfaced the next morning when the officer of the watch reported sighting a U-boat at long range bearing approximately 070 degrees. Truculent dived and closed at speed.

The captain reported:
I did not wait to pick it up myself and consider now that I might Have delayed diving a few seconds until I had confirmed the sighting. However I had been impressing on the watch officers that they should dive immediately on sighting a suspected U-boat. The watch officer gave the distance as between 7 and 8 miles, a long range sighting for a U-boat.
After closing for twenty minutes and coming up to twenty feet nothing was sighted nor was any HE heard. The target was presumably on an easterly course.

In the late morning Truculent surfaced and began a battery charge. After three hours a lookout sighted a U-boat. Truculent turned towards it, dived and closed at full speed on a course of 050 degrees. The captain had been able to confirm the sighting through the periscope while diving and estimated the range at three to four miles. Five minutes after the sighting, six torpedoes were fired and at least two struck the target, U308. Seven minutes after firing three explosions were heard fairly close together and two minutes later five or six heavy explosions were heard. Eleven after the torpedoes had been fired Truculent surfaced. In a large patch of oil fuel there was considerable amount of wreckage, shattered woodwork, watch coats, sea boots, paper and loaves of bread. There were no survivors. The sea was then rising and made the recover of relics difficult. Attempts to take a sample of fuel were abandoned as this continually upset on the saddle tanks of Truculent.

Lt. Alexander commented:
This encounter was an interesting sidelight on the efficiency of the lookout of the Herrenvolk - both boats having been on the surface. The sub Lieutenant officer of the watch, additional on his first patrol, stated that he was impressed with the nearness of the U-boat. He took prompt and correct action. It is possible that it had just surfaced and as the visibility at the time was good and the sun was out.

At 1515 Truculent dived deep owing to the rising sea and remained submerged until just before midnight. At 0440 on 5th June Truculent again went deep as the weather was poor and it was blowing hard from the Northwest. The captain decided that a deep patrol relying on HE gave a better chance to attack U-boats than remaining on the surface with a problematical lookout, in these weather conditions. The submarine surfaced for some hours in the evening while charging before diving all night in the hope that the enemy would be on the surface then, if he was doing any diving in the area.
Late the next evening the Admiralty gave another U-boat report and Truculent changed position to the southern end of the area. However, for five days there was poor visibility and often a dense fog so Truculent continued on a listening watch. By the 12th June visibility had improved considerably but only the call-sign from Alesund was heard. Early on 14th June a foreign language conversation was intercepted, but ignored, as it was not in German. Later in the day the Admiralty informed Truculent that a U-boat was within fifty miles of the British submarine. Truculent surfaced again early on the 15th for three hours and again at 2100. The boat was on its way back to base where it arrived in the forenoon of the 17th.

Fifth Patrol:

10th July 1943

BR1736:
Tuna and Truculent sailed for a special reconnaissance patrol off the Azores but, were recalled a few days later when it became evident that the Portuguese were prepared to grant us without coercion the facilities we required in that area for the furtherance of the U-boat war.

Sixth Patrol:

15th August 1943 to 26th August 1943

BR1736:
15th August:
Slipped and proceeded to Loch Long for dive in company with Loch Monteith and Tuna then proceeded to patrol an area in the Bay of Biscay. Truculent and Tuna were the last pair of submarines to patrol the Bay of Biscay during August but Truculent saw nothing but fishing vessels. Tuna on the other hand was lucky enough to sight a U-boat whilst crossing our recently vacated billet whilst on her way back to base and carried out a successful attack.





The British boats used guns a lot in their stalking of small Japanese-manned and or controlled ships in the Far East - mainly to the west of Singapore - from 1943 to 1945. Daylight hours were usually passed as periscope depth and a practice was perfected of not surfacing until the very last moment and then opening fire immediately.

The drill was exciting and several of the crew who did not usually see action were able to lend a hand even if only in the ammunition chain. Into the 1970s, with the last few remaining gun-fitted submarines, like the Auriga and the Andrew, of the A Class, these drills were still carried out and gave considerable excitement to the crews on a dull day.

On sighting a suitable target through the periscope, 'Stand By Gun Action' was ordered and the crew raced to diving stations while the magazine hatch was wrenched off, leaving a large manhole in the centre of the passageway.

The Gunlayer and Trainer inspected the target through the periscope while the captain estimated range, angle-on-the-bow and target speed in the usual way so that range and deflection could be set on the control room transmitter or passed directly to the sight-setter.

With the boat still at Periscope depth, the captain gave the executive order 'Salvoes shoot' followed by 'Man the gun tower'. (The British 'S' and 'T' Classes had gun towers - in 'U' Class submarines, which had no separate gun-tower, the gun's crew had to climb up the conning-tower hatch, with the captain and lookouts.

At 'Stand by to surface', the gunlayer removed both safety pins that secured the upper guntower hatch and reported 'Tower manned, pins out'. The First Lieutenant (XO) bled HP air into the boat until three or four inches above normal pressure. The motors were put into Half Ahead Group Up (about 7 knots) for the hydroplanes to have maximum effect, and the captain ordered 'Surface' and all the tanks were blown. When, despite the hydroplanes, the boat could no longer be held down against the rapidly increasing buoyancy and when the depth gauge was passing the 20-foot mark, the XO would blow a whistle. The gunlayer released the last hatch clip; the planesman put the plane hard a-rise; the hatch, still under water but very close to the surface now, flung itself open with the pressure from inside and the gun's crew followed, jet-propelled, as the air rushed out around them. The first shell was away before the boat had settled on the surface.

The first round cleaned the gun; the second was the one to watch for, and by that time an officer on the bridge would take over spotting corrections.



4 Jun, 1943
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) torpedoes and sinks U-Boat 308 in the Norwegian sea north-east of the Faeroes, in position 64.28N, 03.09W. U-308 had left Kiel on her first war patrol on 29 May 1943. There were no survivors
28 Mar, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) torpedoes and sinks the Japanese army cargo ship Yasushima Maru (1910 BRT) in the Strait of Malacca in position 03.38N, 100.50E.

1 Apr, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) sinks the small Japanese vessel Mantai with scuttling charges in the Strait of Malacca.

17 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) sinks a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in the Strait of Malacca.

24 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) lays mines in the Strait of Malacca.

25 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) sinks a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in the Malacca Strait.

25 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) torpedoes and sinks the Japanese merchant cargo ship Harugiku Maru (3040 BRT) some 60 miles south-east of Medan, Sumatra in position 03.15N, 99.46E.

27 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) sinks a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in the Malacca Strait.

28 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) sinks a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in the Malacca Strait.

29 Jun, 1944
HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) sinks a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in the Malacca Strait.

3 Aug, 1944
The Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka (1860 tons) is damaged when she hits a mine laid by the British submarine HMS Truculent (Lt. R.L. Alexander) on 24 June 1944 in Klang Strait in position 02.51N, 101.15E.



During the 1930s, the construction of over seas patrol submarines waned considerably, and so the Admiralty decided, in 1934-35, to build a new ocean-going boat to replace the Oberon, Parthian and Rainbow Classes - which had not lived up to expectations.
Requirements for the new class (defined as Patrol Submarines) demanded that they have a strong armament and a patrol duration of at least 42 days. Restricted by the limitations imposed by the London Naval Treaty, which allowed only 16 500 tons total of new construction submarines, the class was designed to have a displacement of about 100(1 tons so that a sufficient number could be built. The first-of-class, approved in the 1935 Programme, was built at Vickers and entered service in December 1938 under the name of Triton.

Fifty-three T Class submarines were eventually constructed, making it the largest class of ocean-going submarines ever built for the Royal Navy: the original order for the class was made under the growing threat of war, which forced the Admiralty to open its purse strings, and no fewer than 21 riveted-hull T boats, built between 1937 and 1941, followed Triton.

Displacing almost 400 tons less than the O., P and R. Classes, this first group of 22 T Class submarines were noted for their simplicity of construction. They were superior to the O, P and R's in that they had greater submerged speed, better surface and underwater handling and more torpedo tubes. However, because the displacement limitations restricted the size and power of their engines to 2500 hp (surfaced) (1450 hp submerged), the maximum surface speed was lower.

The first T Class submarines were 275 feet long and displaced 1327 tons surfaced. Their 'surface' armament included one 4-inch gun and three 0.303-inch machine-guns, which were later replaced by, or supplemented by, one 20mm Oerlikon cannon. They were the last Royal Navy submarines designed for overseas patrol to have insufficient range for the Pacific.

One of the most distinguishing features of the Group 1 T boats was their high number of torpedo tubes: six bow tubes, which were reloadable from inside the pressure hull; two external bow tubes, contained in a bulbous bow casing; and two external tubes situated amidships, and so arranged as to fire ahead. This gave the class the phenomenal bow salvo of ten torpedo tubes, which the Royal Navy believed, would compensate for the inevitable errors that accompanied long-range attacks. As an alternative to this armament, a load of 18 mines could be carried.

Perhaps the most famous of the early T Class submarines was the ill-fated Thetis. Sailing, prior to handover, in Liverpool Bay on the morning of 1st June, 1939, Thetis had on board her 53-man crew and 50 passengers (Shipyard and Admiralty men concerned with the trials).

For her trial dive, Thetis was reluctant to submerge, and so her six bow tubes were checked. When Numbers 1 to 4 were correctly found empty, Numbers 5 and 6 were tested to confirm that each contained seawater. The test cock of No 6 tube squirted water but, strangely, the test cock of No 5 did not, and so was apparently empty. As there was only one way to be sure, the door was opened - and the sea roared in. Jammed by one of its clips, the watertight door couldn't be closed and, as two compartments flooded, Thetis nose-dived to the seabed 160 feet below,

With her stern protruding from the waves. Thetis remained undiscovered for a whole day and, although four men managed to escape, she became a tomb for the 99 men on board - despite the efforts of rescuers.

When Thetis was raised in November 1939, an investigation into the cause of this tragic accident revealed an incorrectly-wired bow cap indicator - showing the bow cap to be shut when it was open - and that the vital test cock was blocked with paint. To avoid any suggestion of a jinx on the boat, the Admiralty refitted and commissioned her, in November 1940, as Thunderbolt and, as an epitaph to her 'previous life', she entered service with a diagonal rusty line on her hull that could not be hidden.

THE WAR YEARS

Under the 1940 War Programme came the decision to build nine slightly modified T Class submarines. These modifications were made in the light of experience gained with the first group of T boats and the main changes were in the number and disposition of torpedo tubes, the outer hull shape and the use, in most of the modified vessels, of an electrically welded, rather than a riveted, construction. The latter change assisted deeper diving, improved the resistance to depth charge attack, and also enabled the shipbuilder to adopt the new technique of prefabricating the hull in sections in the shops and assembling large units at the building berth.


To this modified group of submarines was fitted, at the extreme stern, an additional external torpedo tube, whilst the two tubes amidships were repositioned aft of the conning tower, angled to fire astern. These changes altered the shape and silhouette of the class, as did the removal of the bulbous bow casing which had created a notable bow wave which, when running at periscope depth, hampered visibility and the correct trim of the boat. As a result of these alterations, the second group of boats were more streamlined, and the openings for the two external tubes were more clearly visible.

In addition to their eleven 21-inch torpedo tubes. Group 2 T Class submarines were fitted with a 4-inch gun, a 20mm Oerlikon cannon on a platform aft of the periscopes and three 0.303-inch machine-guns on removable mountings.

Additional orders in the 1941 and 1942 programs meant that a total of 31 modified T Class submarines entered service between 1942 and 1946. 21 of which were laid down at Vickers, although a number of these were completed at other yards. Of the 22 Group 1 submarines constructed, eight were built exclusively at Barrow, along with other British submarines. The T boats ordered in the 1941 and 1942 programs were fitted with surface and air search radar sets.

During the Second World War, T Class submarines operated successfully in all the theatres in which the Royal Navy was committed and many of the Group 2 boats were further modified for employment in the Far East - several ballast tanks were changed into fuel tanks, thereby increasing the fuel load from 132 to 230 tons and surface range from 8000 to 11 000 miles at 10 knots. In a theatre where it took up to a week to sail from base to the operational area. This increase in range, together with increased stores capacity enabled long patrols to be carried out - the record being 56 days by the Barrow-built Tantalus, 40 days of which were spent in the patrol area.

Although the T Class obtained satisfactory results, the fact that they were one of the classes which bore the brunt of Second World War submarine operations meant that they were subjected to the highest loss rate. For example, 13 boats were lost in the Mediterranean, despite the fact that large enemy vessels were very vulnerable in that sea. Nevertheless, the T Class were particularly successful against submarines, and 13 boats (six of which were Barrow-built) sank 13 enemy submarines: six Italian, four German and three Japanese.

In January 1943, Thunderbolt, ex Thetis, transported 'chariot' type assault craft which penetrated the harbour of Palermo and sank the hull of the Italian light cruiser Ulpio Traiano, which was being fitted out. Other major successes included the sinking of two cruisers - the 5700-ton Kuma and the 13 000-ton Ashigara - by the 'Barrovians' Tallyho and Trenchant respectively, whilst, in August 1941, another Vickers boat, the Triumph, managed to seriously damage the 12 000-ton cruiser Bolzano.



At the end of the war, most T Class submarines were placed in reserve, taken out of service or ceded to other countries. Most of the early T Class, with riveted hulls, could not be fully modernised, but five - Tireless, Token and the Barrow-built Tapir, Talent and Teredo - were streamlined and completely refitted with six bow tubes, modern sonar and a fin-shaped conning tower. In 1951-56, eight of the welded-hull boats were completely rebuilt in a manner similar to the American 'Guppy' programme. The eight converted were: Tabard, Truncheon, Thermopylae, Totem, Turpin and the Vickers-built Trump, Tiptoe and Taciturn. Their hulls were cut in two and new sections added to their length, they were streamlined and their underwater propulsion capacity was increased enormously to give twice the previous submerged speed, and increased endurance. At the same time, sensing and detection equipment was updated.

Although in later years their speed of 15 to 25 knots surfaced and 9 knots submerged was judged to be inadequate, a proof of their high reputation for reliability is demonstrated by T Class submarines, which after many refits, were still in active service with a Foreign Navy in the early 1970s.