PORPOISE-Class submarines ordered on 11th June 1931 from Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow and
laid down on 22nd September 1931. This minelaying submarine was launched 30th
August 1932 and was the first of the Class. The eighth RN ships to carry the
name, introduced in 1777 when given to a Sloop had all been surface
warships. It had last been used by a
destroyer built in 1913 and sold to Brazil in 1920. She was the only submarine
of the Class to carry her fuel in external tanks which terminated some 6o feet
short of the bow structure, making her easy to identify. Build was completed on
11th March 1933 and she then commissioned for service. In 1938 she was serving with the 5th Submarine Flotilla in the Home Fleet. After the outbreak of war in September 1939 she was
deployed for convoy defence. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings
campaign in February 1942 this submarine was
adopted by the civil community of Workington, Cumberland.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
- ATLANTIC 1940-41 -
MEDITERRANEAN 1941 -
CONVOYS 1942 -
Mo t t o
'Purpose is power'
S u m m a r y o f W a r
S e r v i c e
1 9 3 9
September Deployed for convoy defence
in Home waters.
Lieut Cdr P Q Roberts, RN
1 9 4 0
January Convoy defence duties in
Transferred to Home Fleet service in support of planned minelaying operation off
prevent enemy use of
Norwegian Leads for iron ore traffic (Operation WILFRED)
Nominated for minelaying duties with HM Submarine NARWHAL.
(Note: HM Submarines SWORDFISH, TETRARCH and SEAL joined Home Fleet
station off Norway.
out torpedo attack on U3 which failed.
(Note: This was initially reported as U1 but post war records amended this action.)
May Home Fleet
minelaying duties in continuation.
out lay of 50 MkXVI mines off Hovden Island, Norway 48 (Operation FD11.)
out lay of 50 MkXVI mines off Ramsoy Fjord, Norway 50 (Operation FD18.)
(Note: The German minesweeper M5 was sunk in this field on 18th June.)
out lay of 50 Mk XVI mines in Heligoland Bight (Operation FD23.)
August Home Fleet
deployment in North Sea in continuation
Transferred for interception patrol in English
1 9 4 1
deployment in continuation.
in North Atlantic for defence of SC and HX series Convoys with HM Submarines
THUNDERBOLT, TRIBUNE and TALISMAN.
May Home Fleet
deployment in continuation.
Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean Fleet
August Deployed with
1st Submarine Flotilla based at Alexandria with support from HM Depot Ship
deployment in eastern Mediterranean in continuation.
Commanding Officer Lieut Cdr Pizey, RN.
Italian mv SEBASTIANO VENIER of 6,311 tons in a torpedo attack.
(Note: This ship was carrying 2,000 prisoners of war, including British
Benghazi. and was escorted by two
destroyers and a torpedo boat sunk on 15th by HM
1 9 4 2
out lay of 46 Mk XVI mines in Suda Bay, Crete.
field claimed a ship of 2,417 tons on 11th.)
deployment based at Alexandria in continuation
Nominated for support of planned Malta relief convoy operation
with HM Submarines PROTEUS, THORN, TAKU, THRASHER,
UNA, P32, P34
and P35 in
positions east of Sicily to provide cover against any attempt by major Italian
Fleet units to attack
Convoy MW11 during passage to Malta from Alexandria (Operation
to Alexandria when VIGOROUS was abandoned
MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodward and THE BATTLE FOR THE
MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre.)
for transport of petrol and essential stores to Malta (Operation MAGIC
CARPET) (Note: Flotilla was transferred to Haifa after German threat to Alexandria.)
August MAGIC CARPET
deployment with HM Submarines PARTHIAN, REGENT and RORQUAL
out lay of 46 Type XVI mines off Ras-el-Tin, Cyrenaica.
(Note: This field later claimed Italian torpedo boat GENERALE ANTONIO CANTORE
Officer Commander Bennington
out lay of 46 MkXVI mines west of Tobruk
November Deployed with
HM Submarines TRAVELLER, PARTHIAN, CLYDE, THRASHER and
PROTEUS for further
transport of petrol and supplies to Malta (Operation MAGIC
for patrol to intercept any Italian warships attempting to interfere with allied
landing operations in Algeria
(Operation TORCH – See Naval Staff History for details.)
Italian tanker GIUILO GIORDANI by torpedo attack.
(Note: This ship was escorted by two Italian destroyers.)
December Flotilla duties
1 9 4 3
Mediterranean deployment in continuation
to UK for refit.
December Under refit
1 9 4 4
in Home waters on completion of post refit trials to be investigated.
Nominated for service in 2nd Submarine Flotilla, Eastern Fleet based at
passage to Trincomalee
Flotilla with support from HM Depot Ship WOLFE.
for minelaying and interception patrols.
in Malacca Strain and sank small junk by surface gunfire whilst on passage for
out minelay of 30 MkXVI mines in mouth of
Deli River, Sumatra
out lay of 10 MKII in Malacca Straits
completion carried out lay of another 16 XVI mines in mouth of Deli River
August Eastern Fleet
deployment with Flotilla in continuation.
Nominated for service with 8th Submarine Flotilla, Pacific Fleet
Passage to Fremantle, Western Australia to join Flotilla
(Note: HMS MAIDSTONE was deployed to provide support.
Flotilla comprised 12 RN and one Dutch submarine.)
Commanding Officer, Lieut Cdr H B Turner, RN
September Nominated for
special operation to carry out attack by Special Service Unit on Japanese
shipping in Singapore
Roads (Operation RIMAU.)
Embarked 13 one man submersible canoes, 25 men and 8.5 tons of stores
details see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winston and Naval Staff History.
passage from Fremantle.
Passengers transferred to junk for passage to
(Note: RIMAU was a total failure as all the attacking party were captured and
executed by the Japanese. See WINNING
HAZARD by N Wynyard and RETURN OF
THE CONDOR by B Connel.)
duties based at Fremantle in continuation.
out two interception patrols in
December Deployed for
out lay of 12 M MkII mines off Penang
Carried out further lay of 49 Mk XVI mines in same area.
Sailing ship vessel was sunk by surface gunfire.
1 9 4 5
out lay of 12 MkII mines off
Carried out further lay of 49 MkXVI off
under air attack off Penang and sunk without survivors.
Commanding Officer, Lieut Cdr H B Turner DSC RN.
P o s t
W a r N o t e s
HMS PORPOISE was the last and 75th RN
conventional submarine lost during WW2. On 25th April 1956 this name was carried forward when given to
another submarine built at Barrow.