Midget Submarine Depot ship
built for mercantile use by the Clan Line and purchased by the Admiralty in
1942. The ship was launched on 27th October 1942 by Greenock Shipyard and when
completed was converted for use as a Depot Ship by Scotts
of Greenock. Commissioned on 26th January 1943 she was named HMS BONAVENTURE
and was the 11th RN ship to carry the name, introduced in 1489. The name had
previously been used by a DIDO Class cruiser launched in 1939 and completed in
May 1940. The cruiser was sunk by Italian submarine ABRA north of Sollum on
31st March 1941.
B a t t
l e H o n o u r s
LOWESTOFT 1665 - FOUR DAYS BATTLE 1666 - ORFORDNESS 1666 - SOLEBAY 1672 - SCHOONEVELD
1673 - TEXEL 1673 - BEACHY HEAD
1690 - BARFLEUR 1692 - CHINA 1900
- MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42.
H e r
a l d i c D a
Badge:: On a Field: Barry
wavy of 6 white and blue: within a horse shoe
inverted Gold, a Griffin red.
S u m m
a r y o f
W a r S e r v i c
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 4 3
January Under conversion.
for RN service as HMS BONAVENTURE.
February Under conversion.
to On completion of
trials took passage to Loch Striven on west bank of Clyde for
July service as main
training base and depot ship for midget submarines
Deployed at Loch Striven.
(Note: During this period
passage and trials crews of Midget submarines X5, X6,
September X7, X8, X9 and X10 were
prepared for an operation to attack the German
battleship T1RPITZ in Altenfjord, Norway.
HM Submarines THRASHER, TRUCULENT. STUBBORN, SYRTIS,
SEA NYMPH each towed a midget submarine to Norwegian waters
Training of crews of the midget submarines and preparation for this
carried out at
During Operation SOURCE on 22nd September X9 and X8 are were lost when
passage. X10 had to
return to parent submarine because of a failure of equipment
and later was lost during return tow.
Although X5, X6 and X7 entered the fjord, only X6 and X7 are able to put
Limpet mines on
TIRPITZ which sustained major damaged and was not able
to be deployed operationally for almost six months.
Crews of X6 and X7 were taken prisoner and their commanding officers
the Victoria Cross.
The fate of X5 and her crew is not certain but possibly sank after hitting
(See THE MYSTERY OF X5 by F Walker and P Mellor.) It has been suggested
that X5 placed mines on TIRPITZ and was sunk on return
passage down the Fjord
For details of Operation SOURCE see Naval Staff History, BR1756(22),)
October Passage to Govan for
refit by Alex. Stephens
taken in hand
November Under refit including fit of
1 9 4 4
2nd Refit work completed
planned work was not completed, presumably because of operational need.
22nd Re-commissioned for service with
British Pacific Fleet.
Deployed at Loch Striven
to prepare for operational use.
February Loch Striven
deployment in continuation.
March Passage to Govan to complete
outstanding dockyard work.
April Under refit.
September On completion of post refit trials took passage to Loch Striven
October Deployed at Loch Striven for training.
to (Note: During this period a modified
design of midget submarine (XE Type) ordered in
November January 1944
became available for use in SW Pacific and were embarked for
operations against targets
in the Far East.)
December Preparation in continuation.
Nominated for deployment
as Depot Ship for the 14th Submarine Flotilla in SW Pacific.
January Departure delayed.
Embarked six XE
21st Took passage to Australia via Panama.
March Passage across Pacific from Panama.
7th At Pearl Harbour.
Attitude of US Navy was most discouraging and the use of this type of submarine was
not looked on with any enthusiasm.)
April Passage from Pearl Harbour to Australia.
27th Arrived at Brisbane.
Approval was given to move nearer the operational area and to approach the local US
May Took passage to Townsville, Queensland.
Visit by Senior Officer 14th Flotilla to US Navy Base at Subic Bay did not improve the
and it was suggested that the ship be used in Fleet
Train after conversion for a
Proposal made to use
midget submarines for cutting Japanese telegraph cables.
June Transferred to Hervey
Bay, Queensland (250 miles from Brisbane ) and thence
to south of
prepare for cable cutting operations.
(For details of this change of policy see THE
SEA OUR SHIELD by WR Fell)
Carried out extensive training and
experiments in Hervey Bay using a disused telegraph
Australia and New Guinea.
divers lost their lives by oxygen poisoning.)
targets selected and approved.
Passage from Hervey Bay to Labuan, Borneo.
July Prepared for three operations.
Operation STRUGGLE - To place Limpet
Mines on two Japanese cruisers MYOKO and
TAKAO based at Singapore in 10th Fleet.
Operation FOIL - To cut telegraph cables
in Lamma Channel, Hong Kong
. Operation SABRE - To cut
telegraph cables at Cap St Jaques, Saigon.
cables were vital to Japanese signal security as all radio signals were being
deciphered by US authorities.)
26th HM Submarine STYGIAN sailed from
Labuan for Singapore with XE3 in tow.
HM Submarine SPARK sailed from Labuan
for Singapore with XE1 in tow.
(Operation STRUGGLE - Cruiser TAKAO
was badly damaged and sank to sea bed.
MYOKO attack failed.)
HM Submarine SPEARHEAD sailed from
Labuan for Saigon with XE4 in tow.
Operation SABRE - Two cables were cut
and sections brought back to BONAVENTURE).
Operation FOIL to cut cables at Hong Kong was carried out by XE5.
HM Submarine SELENE was used for tow
and XE5 was deployed from HM Depot
which was based at Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Tow of XE5 failed but submarine
managed to proceed to target area under own power
in severing cable although this result was not confirmed
until after Hong
Kong was re-occupied.)
3rd XE4 returned in tow of HM Submarine
4th XE5 returned in tow of HM Submarine
XE3 returned in tow of HM Submarine
5th XE1 returned in tow of HM Submarine
20th Passage to Sydney from Labuan.
P o s t
W a r N o t e s
HMS BONAVENTURE returned to UK from Australia and was retained in RN service until placed on
List in 1948. She was sold to the Clan Line and after
conversion back to a mercantile role deployed in
trade until sold during 1963 for demolition at Hong Kong.