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Diesel Submarines 1948 - 1958

The Diesel Submarines Of The Royal Navy Available To Engage In A Major War In The Period 1948 to 1958

Compiled by P.D. Hulme with additional notes. Acknowledgements for information and advice to John Eade, Ian Buxton, George Malcomson (Royal Naval Submarine Museum) and Roger Fry.

Submarines are mentioned in this article that were lost in war and peace
We will remember them

Extract from Submariner by Commander John Coote Royal Navy (deceased), former C.O. of the extended Totem, foreword by Submarine Admiral I.J. Galantin US Navy (Retired):

By the 1980's surveillance of NATO naval units by Soviet submarines was taken for granted. Electronic spy ships passed happily through our fleet formations, whilst their maritime aircraft buzzed over them without hindrance. But in the early 'fifties following hard on the heels of the Berlin airlift and at a time of explosive growth of Soviet sea power, sterner attitudes prevailed. I recall a confidential memorandum on the subject circulated to the Fleet at the time which reminded Escort Force Commanders that there were no prohibitions on firing depth charge patterns to test them at any time. Exactly what similar orders had gone out to the Red Navy remained a matter of conjecture, but no one fancied being the first to find out, as Gary Powers did on his U2 flight over Mother Russia.

Norman Friedman, US Naval author:

Office of Naval Intelligence (US Navy) found the future bleak; by 1951 it expected 356 Soviet submarines. It later proved to be an over estimate. ONI in 1954 credited the Soviets with 345 operational units including 83 obsolete submersibles.

Preamble

The data bases of British submarines while very useful can be confusing when trying to estimate the actual fighting strength of the Submarine Service over any particular period, in this case 1948-1958.

This period, as it will referred to throughout the list and commentary, was chosen because in 1958 the first new operational submarine since the war, Porpoise joined the fleet to be followed by the rest of her class. Other major changes were in the offing, not the least the first British nuclear submarine , but of more immediate influence, new sonar and torpedoes were finally to become a reality.

1948 was chosen as the start of the 'period of interest' for historical reasons but there was also an important practical motive - most of the disposal and scrapping of WWII vessels was complete.

Historically the 1948 Berlin Airlift symbolised the start of confrontation between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union - the Cold War.

NATO came into being the next year and the submarine started to take its place as a key player in the conduct of this trial of resolve between East and West. However while the story from about 1960 onward is well known as are the submarines involved, the active units that made up the submarine fleet of the Royal Navy when the possibility of a 'Hot War' was very real, are not as well known and this list is intended to correct that with data and photographs.

Royal Naval Submarine Museum archives has documents that already define the fleet but these are not readily available to me to use in a publication for this web site.

Of great value have been the relevant pages of the official Particulars of War Vessels 1959 CB 04826 supplied to me by Ian Buxton. These pages have provided a lot of the detail about each vessel at the close of the period and confirms what submarines were still in active service.

Including submarines temporarily in the dockyard or reserve, in 1953 (the halfway point in the period) there were 50 apparently operational diesel - electric submarines in the Royal Navy.

According to PoWV 1959, all were armed with Mk 8** torpedoes of the type used in WW II with the option of mines, but according to FOSM correspondence of 1948, the electric Mk 11 torpedo was also to be carried in the extended T Class. A Mk 20 (BIDDER) passive homing torpedo was in service in 1955 but does not appear to have been considered a successful weapon. Neither the Mk 11 and the Mk 20 are mentioned in the PoV 1959.

The Mk 8** though apparently old in design was quite a sophisticated and reliable piece of machinery, but from today's point of view it was basically just an 'aim and fire' weapon. The running depth could be manually set while in the tube before firing, as could a gyro angle controlled course, commecing 40 yards after leaving the tube, but limited to three settings; 90 degrees left or zero or 90 degrees right. Most WWII RN submarine captains emphasise in their memoirs that the simple "point bow and fire" method was used for their attacks, but there is an official record of HMS Narwhal using 90 degree right gyro angle to make an attack early in WWII.

The Mk 8** was propelled by a burner-cycle combustion engine fuelled by shale oil and compressed air, and could run for 5,000 yards at 45.5 knots. 805 lb of Torpex explosive in the warhead. Diameter 21'. Weight 3,452 lbs. Overall Length 259 in. A large weapon to store and manhandle in the confines of these submarines. They were indeed submersible torpedo boats!

Books such as Naval Weapons of World War Two by John Campbell give a more detailed description of this torpedo and figures for torpedo success - briefly 5421 torpedoes fired, 1040 certain hits. The Alliance book by Lambert and Hill has detailed drawings of the torpedo and the tube firing system but little text discussion.

It would have been interesting to know if there were sufficient torpedoes to fully load all the submarines and if there were sufficient again to reload. Another useful logistical figure would have been the crew strength in the period. But these vital figures have proved difficult to obtain.

It is known from reliable anecdotes that early in the period small designated groups of mainly S Class were held in active reserve in different locations, with one crew looking after each group. It has been suggested but not confirmed, that at the same time, some T Class were held in the Dockyards.

No attempt has been made at this stage, to take on the difficult task of determining the disposition, year by year of each submarine. It well known that submarines were committed to Australia and Canada for training for long periods, however they represented a relatively small percentage of the total fleet and in principle could return to the UK if crisis circumstances arose.

'The Politics of British Defence Policy 1945 - 1962' by William P Snyder (1964) will tell the reader nothing about diesel submarines but this American military author does provide a picture of the defence politics of the period and confirms that a Soviet attack in Europe was then considered very likely (Page 19). The comment is made in the context of commitments to the Korean War.

The List With Commentary

The intention is to identify each submarine and its condition as clearly as possible. Submarines still around in the period but not sensibly available for active service, are accounted for in separate sections.

ASDIC sets in Sections 1 to 4b were of the type used in WWII. Refer to the extended T Class notes Section 4d for comment on the ASDIC and T.C.S. of the latter part of the period of interest.

There is insufficient information available to offer comment on the radar sets. Norman Friedman, 1981. Naval Radar. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870219677, may prove helpful to interested readers.

PoWV 1959 refers to the official document - Particulars of War Vessels 1959 CB 04826, relevant submarine pages provided by Ian Buxton.

The Submarines

For a broader historical view of the disposition of the Submarines of the Royal Navy at this time, the following two sources are suggested. Norman Friedman 'The Post War Naval Revolution, Chapter 8, Submarines' and Eric Grove 'Vanguard to Trident 1945-1985. Chapter 6 - Peroxide to Polaris'.

Thanks to John Eade and Ian Buxton who checked and where required, corrected the basic submarine data using their sources.

Section 1: Two U Class Submarines

Two U Class Submarines - 730 tons sm. Mike Critchley - 'British Warships Since 1945', has photographs of both of these submarines that played such an important role in WWII.

They are shown in 1957 flying the White Ensign. Guns removed and a modern ASDIC domes. No pennant number displayed. Apparently the last of the large fleet of 51 small 'U' submarines, all built by Vickers Armstrong during WWII. There were 22 war losses. In addition Vickers Armstrong built 22 very similar V Class.

HMS Upstart shown here post war without a gun. Note modern ASDIC dome aft.
HMS Upstart shown here post war without a gun. Note modern ASDIC dome aft.

These submarines by name and number.

Untiring P59.
Completed 1943 Vickers Armstrong.
Loaned to Greece as Xifias 1945.
Returned to Royal Navy 1952.
Expended as A/S target off Start Point 25 July 1957.

Upstart P65.
Completed 1943 Vickers Armstrong.
Became Greek Amfitrite 1945.
Returned to Royal Navy 1952.
Expended as A/S target off Isle of Wight 19 July 1957.

Section 2: The introduction of a snort system in the Royal Navy

This topic is briefly introduced at this point to give some idea how soon after the war a snort system was available for fitting in all Royal Navy active submarines.

The first successful snort system in the Royal Navy is reported as being fitted in Truant N68. She was a relatively old Group 1 T Class. Completed 1939 Vickers Armstrong. Decommissioned 1945. Wrecked off Cherbourg en route to scrapping, December 1946.

For technical detail on snorting see Snorting in the Royal Navy 1945 Onwards.

HMS Truant a group one T Class completed in 1939. Seen here with snort mast raised. The additional pipe to starboard indicates this was an experimental setup. Decommissioned in 1945 and lost under tow to the scrap yard in 1946, these dates give some idea as to when the Royal Navy began snort experiments.
HMS Truant a group one T Class completed in 1939. Seen here with snort mast raised. The additional pipe to starboard indicates this was an experimental setup. Decommissioned in 1945 and lost under tow to the scrap yard in 1946, these dates give some idea as to when the Royal Navy began snort experiments.

The T Class and S Class were fitted with 'fold down' combined exhaust and induction masts mast as were the initial installations on the Amphion Class. This quickly changed on the Amphion Class with the exhaust fixed to the after standards and only the induction mast folding down on to the after casing.

Further detail in each section.

Section 3a: The S Class Submarine

Construction of this substantial fleet of (990 tons sm.) submarines was commenced with the laying down of the Sturgeon in 1931. However the submarines of interest in the period 1948-1958 came from the surviving 40 that were part of Group III construction 1941 to 1945.

There were 9 war losses from this group.

There are obvious features introduced in WWII but not fitted to all the GIII submarines. No doubt due to Dockyard opportunities etc.

One was the Oerlikon gun fitted on a raised, railed 'Bandstand' - aft of the conning tower, the example below shows the conning tower of Splendid P228 (Lost in 1943)

HMS Splendid shown with a 'Bandstand' & Oerlikon gun. The platform is supported by a column mounted on the hull
HMS Splendid shown with a 'Bandstand' & Oerlikon gun. The platform is supported by a column mounted on the hull

The following image shows Sahib P212 without this feature (lost in 1943). Another feature was the single external torpedo seen clearly on this image of Sahib but not on all the class. This was the only external tube fitted to the S Class.

HMS Sahib note the absence of a 'Bandstand' & Oerlikon gun. Deck gun can be seen as can the aft torpedo tube
HMS Sahib note the absence of a 'Bandstand' & Oerlikon gun. Deck gun can be seen as can the aft torpedo tube
HMS Scotsman showing the shielded platform fitted to some S Class
HMS Scotsman showing the shielded platform fitted to some S Class

The GIII S Class were fitted with a 3' and later a 4' gun. It was thought the latter would be more effective against small ships, particularly in the Far East, (The Design and Construction of British Warships 1939-1945). The 3' mounts seem to have all been simple unshielded deck guns, again as shown on Sahib but the 4' gun appears to have had a platform mount and shield as seen in Sea Devil in the post war photograph below and a grainy but clear close-up of the gun and conning tower of the Scotsman P243, 1946 on the right.

HMS Sea Devil in 1949. Note she still has the 'Bandstand' but no snort. No pennant number is displayed
HMS Sea Devil in 1949. Note she still has the 'Bandstand' but no snort. No pennant number is displayed

Post-war many of the S Class were transferred to other navies or scrapped and it is history of the survivors that went on to serve in the critical 1948-1958 period before new submarines came into service that is of interest.

As will be shown in the following sections on the T Class and Amphion Class submarines, snort systems were quickly fitted to these submarines shortly after the war, but the situation regarding the S Class is not quite so clear from the data available to the author. Indeed Mike Critchley shows the Sea Scout in 1948 in his 'British Warships since 1945'. She has a gun but no 'bandstand' but more importantly no snort. The white standards and no pennant number displayed, confirm the date. However there is one undisputed example of snort being fitted to S Class submarines in the mid-1940's, the Sirdar

Sirdar P226 (S76)
Launched Scotts, completed Vickers Armstrong 1943.
31-May-1965 arrived for scrap P&W MacLellan, Bo'ness.
1 Feb 1953, Sirdar was swamped by floods while in dry dock at the naval dockyard at Sheerness, Kent, and later sank
1959 Used in experiments by the Naval Construction Research Establishment.
Scrapped 1965.

The photo below shows she was in full commission in 1946 still fitted with a gun and access tower but also a snort mast. That the pennant number is displayed confirms the date and identity. A second similar photograph is on file showing the standards painted white and the pennant number painted out, this would be about a year or so later.

HMS Sirdar completed 1943. Seen with snort mast but no Oerlikon gun on bandstand. Apart from the post war snort mast, the arrangement has a post war look with the distinctive 'X' A.R.T forward & aft. The Christmas Tree D.F. antenna remain fitted. She still has her P226 pennant and this would indicate the photo was taken no later than 1946/47. The step stern means no external tube
HMS Sirdar completed 1943. Seen with snort mast but no Oerlikon gun on bandstand. Apart from the post war snort mast, the arrangement has a post war look with the distinctive 'X' A.R.T forward & aft. The Christmas Tree D.F. antenna remain fitted. She still has her P226 pennant and this would indicate the photo was taken no later than 1946/47. The step stern means no external tube

In both photographs, the WWII 'Bandstand' has been removed and a study of an official drawing for Syrtis (lost 1944) fitted with a 'Bandstand' shows that this may well have been a requirement to enable the various fittings of the snort system to be installed. This seemed to apply equally to the T Class and Amphion Class with snort. Paul Kemp in his book 'The T Class Submarine' confirms this point.

Presumably the reason the U-Boat designers of WWII chose to fold the schnorkel mast into a well in the fore casing, fixing to the forward conning tower when erect, was to enable the retention of the 'Bandstand' or more correctly in German parlance, the 'Wintergarten' flak battery in those desperate times. Perhaps noting the failure of the U-Boats to successfully take on the Allied AWS aircraft with the gun on the surface, the 'Bandstand ' gun platform quickly disappeared from all submarines of the Royal Navy after 1945.

Sirdar appears not to have had a stern tube, but in any case John Eade suggests that the installation of the snort required the removal of the stern tube (when fitted) to improve surface stability. This seems to be confirmed by the need to remove the stern tube for stability reasons when a 4' gun was fitted, (The Design and Construction of British Warships 1939-1945).

She is reported to have assisted in the search for the lost Affray in 1951, by sitting on the bottom of the sea off Portland to give the searchers experience in locating a sunken submarine.

This submarine was obviously in active service in 1951 and may well have been modernised in 1953 but for the dockyard incident?

Recap

Without considerable unjustifiable and expensive searching of the archives, it can be reasonably assumed that the S Class serving from 1948 to about 1952 were either like Sea Scout with gun and no snort or Sirdar with both. The modernisation programme as described in Section 3b largely removed any uncertainty by bringing uniformity.

Section 3b: Eleven S Class modernised submarines

11 - S Class Submarines modernised in 1952/1953. PoWV 1959 description - Submersible (Snort fitted)

Sidon was lost in 1955, leaving 10 vessels for the remainder of the period.

Modernisation is identifiable by the absence of a gun, the removal of raised gun access tower forward of conning tower and the raised fairing over the snort mast raise/lower mechanism. A modern ASDIC dome is fitted.

HMS Sidon in 1952 following modernisation. Snort fitted & gun removed along with gun tower. Modern ASDIC dome
HMS Sidon in 1952 following modernisation. Snort fitted & gun removed along with gun tower. Modern ASDIC dome

According to PoWV 1959 - 6 internal forward torpedo tubes. Twelve Mk 8** torpedoes. Alternatively mines, 18 - M Mk 5 or 12 - S Mk 6. All the submarines in this section were fitted with ASDIC 129 ARD or AR, 138F. U.T./ E or U.T/E (X). T.C.S. (S) Mk 1 or Mk 2, mod 1. 267PW radar. 350 ft maximum depth, suggesting all an welded construction.

This modernised group of submarines remained in active service for the whole of the period of interest and most well beyond into the sixties. It is reasonable to assume that amongst other duties they met many of the Submarines Services obligations to provide ASW targets. Their long range capabilities demonstrated in WWII in the Far East in most arduous conditions, may well have seen them as effective snort units in a conflict in Northern Waters closer to the UK than the larger submarines on this list.

A detailed official drawing is to hand of the modernised Subtle 1953. The drawing shows gun and access tower removed, no external tubes.

No increase in submerged propulsion power. PoWV 1959 recorded speeds remained as built but likely higher capacity battery cells were installed for a moderate improvement in endurance. The vessels named in this list align with a brief list in an Royal Naval Submarine Museum archive document A1996/381.

These submarines by name and number

Scythian P237 (S137)
Completed Scotts 1944.
08-Aug-1960 arrived for scrap Ship breaking Industries, Charlestown Fife.
Photograph shows modernised. PoWV 1959 confirms modernised 1953.

Sea Devil P244 (S44)
Completed Scotts. Dec' 1945.
15-Dec-1965 arrived for scrap Metal Recoveries, Newhaven.
Photograph shows modernised. PoWV 1959 confirms 1952.
Said to be the last operational submarine of the S Class.

Sturdy P248 (S48)
Completed 1943 Cammell Laird.
9 Jul 1955 suffered an battery explosion.
Royal Naval Submarine Museum Archive indicates modernised. Photograph shows modernised.
Sold for scrap July 1957 at Malta, 09-May-1958 arrived for scrap Clayton & Davie, Dunston

Subtle P251(S51)
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird.
June 1959 arrived for scrap to Ship breaking Industries, Charlestown.
PoWV 1959 confirms modernised.

Sea Scout P253 (S153)
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird.
Paid Off 1963.
09-Dec-1965 sold for scrap to T.W. Ward, Briton Ferry.
PoWV 1959 confirms modified 1953.
The photo below shows an example of the modernised class towards the end of their long service.

HMS Sea Scout first commissioned 1944, here shown about 1961 with modern sonar and pennant number. A modernised group 3 S Class painted black with snort. This would likely be the appearance of the 8 S Class recorded as in service in 1958. The last Sea Devil went out of service in 1966
HMS Sea Scout first commissioned 1944, here shown about 1961 with modern sonar and pennant number. A modernised group 3 S Class painted black with snort. This would likely be the appearance of the 8 S Class recorded as in service in 1958. The last Sea Devil went out of service in 1966

Seneschal P255 (S75)
Completed 1945 Scotts.
Aug-1960 arrived for scrap Clayton & Davie, Dunston.
Photograph shows modernised.
PoWV 1959 confirms modernised 1952 and to be scrapped.

Sentinel P256 (S56)
Completed 1945 Scotts.
28-Feb-1962 sold for scrap to Lynch at Rochester and broken up at Gillingham.
Photograph shows modernised.
Listed in PoWV 1959 not shown as modernised.

Scorcher P258 (S58)
Completed 1945 Cammell Laird.
14-Sept-1962 arrived for scrap to Ship breaking Industries Charlestown, Fife.
PoWV 1959 confirms modernised 1952.
Barrow list says hull retained for experimental purposes 1961.

Sidon P259
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird.
Lost 1955 due to 'fancy' torpedo explosion Portland.
Photograph shows modernised.
The sinking of HMS Sidon

Springer P264 (S64)
Completed 1945 Cammell Laird.
Sold to Israel 1958 delivered Dec' 1959, renamed Tanin.
Photograph shows modernised.
Then later as Tanin with 3' or 4' deck gun and possibly a light AA gun in bandstand.

Sanguine P266.(S66)
Completed 1945 Cammell Laird.
Sold to Israel 1958 delivered 1960, renamed Rahav.
Photograph shows modernised apparently while in Royal Navy service.
Later Israeli photograph shows 3' or 4' deck gun.

Section 3c: Four S Class submarines to France 1951/1952

These submarines by name and number

Statesman N22, P246
Completed 1943 Cammell Laird. Streamlined as Seraph .
To French 1951 as Sultane according to PoWV 1959.
03-Jan-1961 sold for scrap to HG Pounds Porchester.

Satyr P214
Completd 1943 Scotts.
Streamlined as Seraph .
To French 1951 to 1961 as Saphir.
PoWV 1959 says for scrap.
04-Apr-1962 arrived for scrap Ship breaking Industries, Charlestown Fife

Spiteful P227
Completed 1943 Scotts.
Loaned to France as Sirene 1952-1958.
No indications she was modernised.
24-Oct-1958 returned
15-Jul-1963 sold for scrap to Metal Industries Faslane

Sportsman P 229
Completed 1942 HM Dockyard Chatham.
Loaned to France as Sybille 1951
Lost 23 Sept 1953.

Section 3d: Six S Class Submarines, scrapped by 1950

These submarines by name and number

Sceptre P215
Completed 1943 Scotts.
Streamlined as Seraph .
08-Aug-1949 damaged by battery explosion.
Sept 1949 sold for scrap to J.J. King, Gateshead

Stoic P231
Completed 1943 Cammell Laird.
1948, expended as depth trial hull at Kyle, Scotland. A large fleet assembled including HMS Flamborough Head an 8580 ton maintenance ship, two lifting craft, a floating science laboratory and a number of other support vessels. Collapsed at 162 metres.
July 1950 sold for scrap to WH Arnott Young, Dalmuir. Broken up on the beach at Loch Alsh?

Supreme P252
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird.
17-Jun-1947 expended as depth trial hull collapsed at 197.5 metres. It is not clear if the support fleet was similar to Stoic.
12-Jul-1949 sold for scrap to West of Scotland Ship breaking, Troon. Broken up on the beach.

Spirit P245
Completed 1943 Cammell Laird.
04-Jul-1950 Arrived for scrap T.W. Ward, Grays.

Shalimar P 242
Completed 1944 HM Dockyard Chatham.
Only one commission.
Laid up at Harwich 1945-50 until scrapped at Troon.

Sea Rover P218
Launched Scotts, completed Vickers Armstrong 1943.
Collided with HMAS Bunbury off Fremantle, December 17, 1944.
07-Jun-1950 arrived for scrap Metal Industries Faslane.

Section 3e: Four S Class as streamlined, un-armed ASW targets

These submarines starting with the Seraph in 1944, were streamlined with tubes blanked off. See link for full detail of modifications.

There were originally seven conversions. See Sceptre (Section 3d).

They were active as targets in the early part of the period, but noting two of these conversions were transferred to France in 1951 (Section C), it seems that apart from Seraph, they were of decreasing value. However it has to be considered that earlier in the period, in time of war, with their torpedo tubes still in place but blanked off for streamlining, they could have been restored to full operation without taking up too much dockyard time.

These submarines by name and number

Seraph P219 (S119?) S89.
Completed 1942 Vickers Armstrong.
20-Dec-1965 arrived for scrap to T.W. Ward, Briton Ferry.
Trials with HM Submarine Seraph

Photograph in Mike Critchley's 'British Warships Since 1945' shows her smartly painted modern black, June 1962, still with aerial torpedo armour, displaying S89, apparently a post 1961 number. She was photographed in 1944 after streamlining with P219 on conning tower. In 1951 presumably changed to S119 to avoid duplication. PoWV 1959 confirms as a padded target with ASDIC and U.T. as for modernised boats, (Section 3b). No T.C.S. 300 ft.

HMS Seraph 1944 converted to a fast ASW target. The pennant number on the fin means the photo was taken before 1946/47 when all pennant numbers were removed
HMS Seraph 1944 converted to a fast ASW target. The pennant number on the fin means the photo was taken before 1946/47 when all pennant numbers were removed

Solent P262 (S62)
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird.
28-Aug-1961 arrived for scrap West of Scotland Ship breaking, Troon..
Likely had been out of commission for quite some time.
Anecdote - had been charging Scotsman until 1959 then to Portsmouth in poor condition.
PoWV 1959 - has all the ASDIC/ U.T. listed for the modernised S Class in Section 3b and T.C.S. PoV 1959 says to be scrapped.

Selene P254
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird.
06-Jun-1961 arrived for scrap J.J. King, Gateshead. (Likely out of commission for quite some time before being scrapped)
PoWV 1959 - has ASDIC/ U.T. listed for the modernised S Class Section 3b. But no T.C.S. PoV 1959 says for disposal.

Sleuth P261 (61)
Completed 1944 Cammell Laird
15-Sept-1958 arrived for scrap Ship breaking Industries. Charlestown Fife. (Likely out of commission for quite some time before being scrapped).
No PoWV 1959 data recorded.

Section 4a: Ten - Group III T Class Submarines. 1571 tons sm

Truculent was lost 1950.

Taurus rejoined the Royal Navy in 1953 bringing the total from then on to 9. PoWV 1959 description - Submersible (Snort fitted)

HMS Tabard P342 as she would have appeared when commissioned in 1946. The fully shielded gun can be seen as can the 'bandstand' gun platform. The amidships and stern external tube doors are open. The dustbin like object aft of the fin is the 138 ASDIC. No snort!
HMS Tabard P342 as she would have appeared when commissioned in 1946. The fully shielded gun can be seen as can the 'bandstand' gun platform. The amidships and stern external tube doors are open. The dustbin like object aft of the fin is the 138 ASDIC. No snort!

This group of submarines during the period and beyond, appeared largely as built here as shown in the photograph to the right, but with the Oerlikon 'Bandstand' removed and a snort system fitted as shown in the photograph in the list entry for Thule

All retained their 6 forward internal tubes with 12 Mk 8** torpedoes plus the option of a maximum number 18 Mk Mk 5 or 12 Mk 12 S mines. All retained their amidships, angled and stern facing external tubes, a distinctive feature of this class added early in WWII.

The two forward and/or the single aft external tubes were often removed and the apertures blanked off on different submarines throughout the period.

The details below are taken from the PoWV 1959 therefore describing their armament etc, at the end of the 'period. The maximum depth of 300 ft indicates these submarines were of part welded construction.

If a conflict had arisen in the period. here does not seem to be any particular reason to suppose these submarines with 6 re-load tubes forward would be any less effective as snorting submarines than the Amphion Class , not modernised.

The obvious differences were the Amphion Class having almost twice the maximum depth and two re-load stern tubes but against that, only 4 re-load tubes forward.

The extended T Class, the pride of the submarine fleet of the 'period, was limited to 350 ft as opposed to the 500 ft of the Amphion Class and that taking the First of Class trials, was likely conservative and could be 600 ft.

One assumes the big engine advantage of the Amphion Class would not be significant snorting as the extended T Class had the same engines as the T Class not modified and this was apparently acceptable.

These submarines by name and number

Trespasser P312.(S12)
Completed 1942 Vickers Armstrong.
26-Sept-1961 arrived for scrap to J.J. King, Gateshead.
PoWV 1959. 4' gun still fitted on S2 mount. Stern external tube removed. Forward and amidships tubes remain. 16 Mk 8** torpedoes or mines option. 129AR, 138F ASDIC. U.T./E (X). 267PW radar. T.C.S (S) Mk 1. 300 ft

Tactician P314 (S14)
Completed 1942 Vickers Armstrong.
6 Dec 1963 sold to J. Cashmore and arrived Newport to be broken up.
PoWV 1959.4' gun still fitted on S2 mount. Stern external tube removed. Forward and amidships tubes remain. 16 Mk 8** torpedoes or mines option. 129 ARD, 138BR ASDIC. U.T./E (X). 267PW radar. T.C.S (S) Mk 1. 300 ft

Truculent P315
Completed 1942 Vickers Armstrong
Lost while carrying out trials following a refit RYD Chatham. Collided with mercantile Dvina off The Nore 12/1/50.
Salvaged 14/3/50.
Scrapped 1950 Grays (on Thames).
Included in this list as the intention to keep her in commission was signalled by the refit. The loss led to the introduction of the 'Truculent Light', extra steaming lights fore and aft as shown below. .

Note. The sad photograph of the boat being raised shows she had white conning tower wind-breaker and standards in 1950. From photographs of other submarines this would appear be the year this paint scheme was phased out. For example,Artemis in 1950 shown in Section 5 below.

Telemachus P321(S21)
Completed 1943 Vickers Armstrong.
28-Jun-1961 arrived for scrap Ship breaking Industries, Charlestown Fife.
PoWV 1959. 4' gun on S2 mount still fitted. Stern external tube removed. Forward and amidships tubes remain. 16 Mk 8** torpedoes or mines option. 128ARD, 138F ASDIC. U. T./E. 267PW radar. T.C.S. (S) Mk 1. 300 ft.
Memories of (Buckwheat) Harris

Thorough P324 (S24)
Completed 1944 Vickers Armstrong.
29-Jun-1961 arrived for scrap Clayton & Davie, Dunston on Tyne
PoWV 1959. 4' gun removed. Stern external tube removed, forward and amidships tubes remain. 16 Mk 8** torpedoes or mines option. 129ARD, 138 F ASDIC. U.T. /E(X). T.C.S. (S) Mk 1. 267W radar. 300 ft. To be scrapped.
First submarine to circumnavigate the globe, returning to Gosport 16 Dec 57.

HMS Thule with fully shielded gun platform. 'Bandstand' removed & snort mast fitted. Mast can be seen folded down on the aft casing. The object sticking up above the snort head is the 138 ASDIC cover. She appears to be fitted with Truculent lights far forward and aft, thus this is a post 1950 photo with no pennant number displayed. She still has the forward external tubes.
HMS Thule with fully shielded gun platform. 'Bandstand' removed & snort mast fitted. Mast can be seen folded down on the aft casing. The object sticking up above the snort head is the 138 ASDIC cover. She appears to be fitted with Truculent lights far forward and aft, thus this is a post 1950 photo with no pennant number displayed. She still has the forward external tubes.

Thule P325 (S25)

Completed 1944 HM Dockyard, Devonport.
18-Nov-1960 Damaged by 'RFA Black Ranger' whilst surfacing during exercises in English Channel.
14-Sept-1962 arrived for scrap T.W. Ward, Inverkeithing
PoWV 1959. 4' gun removed. Amidships external tubes only remain fitted. 14 Mk 8 **torpedoes or mine option. 129AR, 138 F ASDIC. U.T./E (X). 267 PW radar. T.C.S. (S) Mk 2, Mod 1. 300 ft
Painted black with S25 on conning tower.

HMS Thule painted black with S25 pennant number (previously P325). The forward torpedo tubes have been removed as recoded in PoWV 1959. Additional dome forward.
HMS Thule painted black with S25 pennant number (previously P325). The forward torpedo tubes have been removed as recoded in PoWV 1959. Additional dome forward.

In January 1955, the Thule having been modified by having the gun removed, was temporarily fitted with the Type 186 passive hydrophone ASDIC set (code name Knout) for trials. A long array of about 9m by 0.75m was attached to the upper fore casing and similar on the after casing. No later than 1957, the Thule was restored and refitted with her gun. The 1959 PoWV states a gun was not fitted to Thule. This is at odds with the later photograph shown here with her pennant number displayed.

HMS Thule fitted with Type 186 hydrophone set (Knout) for trial, 1955.
HMS Thule fitted with Type 186 hydrophone set (Knout) for trial, 1955.

Tudor P326 (126)
Completed HM Dockyard, Devonport 1944.
01-07-1963 sold for scrap,
23-Jul-1963 arrived Metal Industries, Faslane.
PoWV 1959. 4' gun still fitted on S2 mount. Forward and stern external tubes removed. Amidships tubes remain fitted. 14 Mk 8** torpedoes or mine option. 128 AR, 138BR ASDIC. U.T./E. 267W radar. No T.C.S. recorded. 300 ft.
G. Chalcraft - 1946, made available to scientists engaged in exploring sea bed, mainly off West Coast of UK.

Tally Ho P317 (S87)
Completed 1942 Vickers Armstrong.
10-Feb-1967 arrived for scrap T.W. Ward, Briton Ferry.
PoWV 1959. 4' gun still fitted on S2 mount. Stern tube removed. Forward and amidships tubes remain. 16 Mk 8** torpedoes or mines option. 129ARD, 138F ASDIC, U.T/E (X).T.C.S. (S), Mk 2, Mod 1. 267 PW radar. 300 ft.
Tally-Ho, The Boat With a Charmed Life

Trenchant P331(S31).
Completed 1944 HM Dockyard, Chatham.
01-Jul-1963 sold for scrap
23-Jul-1963 arrived Metal Industries, Faslane.
PoWV 1959. 4' gun still fitted on S2 mount. Forward and Stern external tubes removed. Amidships tubes still fitted. 14 Mk 8 ** torpedoes or mine option. 129 ARD, 138BR ASDIC. U.T./E. T.C.S. (S) Mk 1. 267PW radar. 300 ft.

Taurus P339 (S39)
Completed 1942 Vickers Armstrong.
To Netherlands as Dolfijn, 1948-1953.
April 1960 arrived for scrap Clayton & Davie, Dunston.
PoWV 1959. 4' gun fitted on S2 mount. All five external tubes fitted. 17 Mk 8** torpedoes or mines option. 129AR 138BR ASDIC.. No U.T. fitted, 267PW radar. To be scrapped. The lack of U.T. raises a small doubt as to whether she went back into active service with the Royal Navy before being scrapped. However errors of omission like this do very occasionally occur in the PoWV 1959.

Section 4b: Accounting for T Class to early scrap or loan

These submarines are included to account for vessels that were still in existence early in the 1948 to 1958 period.It is not at all clear why these apparently serviceable T Class submarines were scrapped, especially the first three?

These submarines by name and number

Templar P316
Completed 1943 Vickers Armstrong.
Sunk as Target in Loch Striven, Scotland, 1954.
Salvaged 4-Dec-58.
19-July-59 arrived Troon to be broken up.
It has not been possible to determine if she was fitted with snort and in service post war.
Moored torpedo target, RNSM A1996/381. Date?

Tantalus P318
Completed 1943 Vickers Armstrong.
Scrapped 1950 T.W. Ward Ltd, Milford Haven.
Recently a photograph was located with the name and date handwritten on the image. She is shown moored to a buoy with a snort fitted, flying a jack and an ensign, with the bridge manned. No pennant number and standards painted white tend to confirm the date, apparently in normal service three years after the war. Why she was scrapped two years later is not known.

Tantivy P319
Completed 1943 Vickers Armstrong.
Expended as target in Cromarty Firth, 1951.
There is an undated photograph on file showing her apparently in Malta, fitted with appears to be a white painted snort mast, most unusual. The standards are white, this with no pennant number displayed indicates about 1948. The wreck of this submarine is apparently owned by local divers George Brown and Bruce Greig of Moray Firth Diving, who bought it 20 years ago to keep it safe from salvors for leisure divers.

Tarn P336
Completed 1945 Vickers Armstrong Vickers.
To Netherlands as Tijerhai, 1945-1962
Returned & scrapped 1966.

Section 4c: Eight T Class extended hull, fast battery submarines 1680 Tons sm

For more technical detail see article T Class Conversion

The PoWV 1959 described these submarines as INTERMEDIATE SUBMARINE (B) as it did the new Porpoise Class .

In service the extended T Class were often referred to as 'Super Ts'.

Strictly speaking in terms of service availability from the start of the period in 1948, the eight submarines in this list belong in Section 4a before entering the dockyard each to emerged two years later as a modern submarine. (I served on both Tiptoe and Truncheon before they were converted.)

Their conversion into fast battery submarines was the major diesel submarine construction programme of the 1948-1958 period. The hull was lengthened and additional motors installed. The only torpedo tubes left were the original six. forward internal 21 inch tubes. 12 Mk 8** torpedoes plus the option of mines. The gun was removed.

The FOSM in 1948 was concerned about the loss of external stern shots but accepted it as an inevitable consequence of modernisation.

Construction notes

The first telescopic snort masts in the Royal Navy were fitted in the fin.

All conversions took place at HM Dockyard, Chatham in more or less, sequential pairs. Each conversion took about two years, improving with experience. All welded - 350 ft.

The later HMS Trump with upper con' on fin.
The later HMS Trump with upper con' on fin.

The last four had a 3.5ft extension in the control room in addition to the 14 feet added to engine room of all eight submarines. For structural reasons, the CR extension involved the removal of a small section of the original hull complete with the ER/CR bulkhead. This meant the new 20 ft hull insert had to be fabricated complete with the recovered ER/CR bulkhead. Thus the hull was extended by 17.5 ft. (This information from Roger Fry who researched this aspect of the conversion in great detail.)

The first six had the lower conning 'cab' as shown below while the final two dispensed with the cab and the conning position was placed atop the fin as shown on the right. A feature that was carried forward in the Amphion modification and all new construction. Why the Admiralty did not modify the first six is inexplicable.

HMS Truncheon following 1953 conversion for greater speed.
HMS Truncheon following 1953 conversion for greater speed.

The US Navy Guppy programme suffered from this same problem and were tardy in moving to upper con' positions - i.e. the GIII conversions. The first two had a rounded bow, while the remaining six had a splayed bow with broader casing for a future large sonar dome - see following ASDIC notes.

ASDIC and T.C.S. notes

At this point some notes on ASDIC are appropriate as in 1948 the Flag Officer Submarines was anxious to have these extended submarines fitted with the best available sets.

The original ASDIC sets intended in 1948 for the extended Taciturn were the wartime 129 ARD and 138BR sets together with a new 171 set.

The authoritative Hackmann in his book 'Seek and Strike' H.M.S.O. states that in 1953 Thermopylae was fitted with an experimental 'Four Square' set (171) and 718 hydrophone combination that was planned to become operational in 1959, but after review the Navy Staff could not envisage a clear role for this set and decided it was only useful for mine detection. The type 171 was cancelled.

Hackmann also states that Aurochs in 1950, tested the 169 set that was to replace the wartime 129 attack set. A 168 set was also fitted to replace the 138 listening set. They were the last of the 'Searchlight' sets developed before the war.

At some point in the period, 169A/168 sets were fitted in all these submarines, the modernised T Class and later the modernised Amphion Class submarines

In the author's limited experience, Underwater Telephones were not a widespread fit at the beginning of the period and recalls a temporary fitting of a US set for trial about 1950.

Hackmann tells of the future beyond the period the large split beam 718 hydro phone was given a mine detection capability and reclassified as the 187 set It was 5 feet wide using using magnetostrictive principles and rotated in a large streamlined dome (A/S 79). Later it seems Barium Titanate was used in this set.

It should noted that the forward ASDIC dome in 1953 (Totem - Commander Coote) is quite small compared to those fitted to these submarines in the sixties.

This was followed by the first British hydrophone array, Type 167. A development of German GHG wartime technology that the US had utilised more quickly, installing sets in submarines in 1949/50. But now back to the period.

Obtaining information on the various marks of T.C.S. has proven difficult but here are a few notes about the latest mark appearing in the PoWV 1959, thus at the end of the period.

The Torpedo Control System was a further development of the ISWAS or 'Fruit Machine' fitted earlier in the period. In essence a mechanical analogue computer, a simple version of the Fire Control found on surface ships.

The basic purpose was to take all the data on target course and range from the periscope and manually feed it into the machine. The course and the speed of the submarine was also fed in. The output was to the torpedo operators who adjusted angle of the torpedo in the tube as instructed. Running depth could also be adjusted.

Usually a manual plot was kept during the action. All fairly basic.

Apparently the T.C.S. (S) 3 was an improved version with a direct feed from the gyro compass and manually set inputs from the ASDIC, Radar and visual from the periscope or from the Time Bearing Plot. Torpedo angle output and depths could be set. It could only produce one firing solution at a time. Apparently it was first fitted to Thermopylae for trials in 1954 but the first operational fit was Tabard in May 1955. The limitations of the mechanical operation were not removed until the arrival of semiconductor kit in the sixties and of course the wire guided torpedo. Click here for a detailed description of the US Navy unit about 1945-50. It seems to be more advanced than were the Royal Navy units of that time.

PoWV 1959 states all eight submarines were fitted with T.C.S, (S) Mk 3, mod 1. 169A and 168 ASDIC sets. U.T./E (X) Underwater Telephone sets. 1000 type radar sets

These submarines by name and number

Taciturn P334 (S34)
Completed 1944. Vickers Armstrong.
Conversion November 1948 to March 1951.
23-Jul-1971 sold for scrap to T.W. Ward, Briton Ferry.

Turpin P354 (S54)
Completed 1944 HM Dockyard Chatham.
Conversion June 1949 to September 1951.
To Israel 19-May-1967 as Leviathan

Totem P352 (S52)
Completed 1945 HM Dockyard Devonport
Conversion May 1951 to May 1953.
To Israel 1964, as Dakar. Loss on the trip to Israel in Mediterranean remains largely unexplained, 25/1/68
Totem mystery solved by Titanic hunters

Thermopylae P355 (S55)
Completed 1945 HM Dockyard Chatham.
Conversion September 1951 to September 1953.
03-Jul-1970 arrived West of Scotland Ship breaking, Troon for scrapping.

Truncheon P353 (S53)
Completed 1945 Devonport RDY.
Converted September 1951 to December 1953.
To Israel 9 Jan,1968 as Dolphin.
NOTE. A photograph shows fin converted in Israeli service to con' atop the fin.

Prior to conversion she took part in submarine vs. submarine trials with Alcide. More detail about this trial in references in A Fresh Look at the Five streamlined T Class Submarine of the 1950s .

HMS Truncheon in 1951, prior to her conversion to an extended T boat, with minor structural modifications and a US Navy JT type sonar (tee shaped device on forward casing.
HMS Truncheon in 1951, prior to her conversion to an extended T boat, with minor structural modifications and a US Navy JT type sonar (tee shaped device on forward casing.

Tiptoe P332 (S32)
Completed 1944 Vickers Armstrong.
Converted July 1952 to September 1954.
29-Aug-1969 de-commissioned
16-Apr-1971 Sold to H.G. Pounds at Portsmouth for scrapping
The last T Class in sea service. Her anchor is at Blyth, commemorating Blyth's links with submarines.

Tabard P342,(S42)
Completed Scotts 1946
Conversion March 1953 to May 1955.
02-Jan-1974 sold
14-Mar-1974 arrived J Cashmore Newport for scrapping

Trump P333 (S33) (S21)
Completed 1944 Vickers Armstrong.
Conversion February 1954 to June 1956.
23-Jul-1971 sold for scrap to J Cashmore Newport.

Section 4d: Five - Streamlined T Class submarines

PoWV 1959 description - Submersible (Snort fitted) Streamlined. 1573 tons sm.

These submarines are discussed in detail in A Fresh Look at the Five streamlined T Class Submarine of the 1950s

Notes.

The gun and all external tubes removed on all five submarines leaving 6 only forward internal tubes - 12 Mk 8** torpedoes plus option of mines. No stern shots. Considered a disadvantage without the modern wire guided torpedoes that were yet to come. The PoWV dates for streamlining are confusing and I suggest the explanation is that stated in the Tireless entry and in all cases the earlier date is correct for the original streamlining.

The collecting of the detail for 'Particulars of War Vessels' each year must have been a monumental effort relying on many other people; the odd error has been noted.

PoWV 1959 states all fitted with ASDIC 169A and 168 sets. U.T./E (X). T.C.S. (S) Mk 3 Mod 1. 267 PW radar.

The PoWV 1959 states the depths, the statements about welding are from other sources though the 2 depths of 300 and 350 feet are related to the welding.

Later photographs of Tireless (see below) seem to show a simple modern induction mast that does not combine with an exhaust mast as it did prior to modernisation. It is possible that during modernisation, the exhaust was arranged in the after fin as in the streamlined Amphion Class.

HMS Tireless streamlined with snort mast raised.
HMS Tireless streamlined with snort mast raised.

The submarines by name and number

Tireless P327 (S27?) (S77)
Completed 1945 HM Dockyard Portsmouth.
Streamlining conversion 10-Jul-1951 to 11-Aug-1952. (probably Chatham).
20-Sept-1968 sold for scrap to J Cashmore Newport.
PoWV 1959. Modernised 1958.
Part welded 300ft max.

(There is little doubt that the original modification was completed in 1952 and that 1958 likely refers to modifications to upgrades. The listed photographs of the later bow shape tend to confirm this, as does a more modern snort mast.)

The later HMS Tireless. One of the five group three T Class streamlined in the early fifties. The bow shape is similar to later members of the five. Earlier it was a more conventional S Class shape. photographed at the end of her life as the school submarine at HMS Dolphin.
The later HMS Tireless. One of the five group three T Class streamlined in the early fifties. The bow shape is similar to later members of the five. Earlier it was a more conventional S Class shape. photographed at the end of her life as the school submarine at HMS Dolphin.

Tapir P335 (S35)
Completed 1944 Vickers Armstrong.
18-Jun-1948 loaned to Dutch Navy renamed 'Zeehond'
16-Jul-1953, returned.
Streamlining conversion. 16-Dec-1953 to Sept-1954 HM Dockyard Chatham
14-Dec-1966, arrived for scrap Ship breaking Industries, Faslane
PoWV 1959. Modernised 1958. All welded 350 ft.

Token P328 (S28)
Completed 1945 HM Dockyard Portsmouth.
Streamlining conversion Apr-1954 to Jan-1956. (probably Chatham)
Kemp in his book 'The T Class Submarine' has a photograph of a streamlined T Class, said to be Token 6-1-56, following streamlining showing forward, a deck level railed platform for a gun. Shot is from the stern but a gun is apparently not fitted. Later pictures show no gun.
Last dive at Portland 8 Sep 67.
18-Feb-1970 sold for scrap HG Pounds Portsmouth.
PoWV 1959. Modernised 1958. Part welded 300ft max.
Token - Gone Fishing

Note. Here is a photograph before streamlining, with a substantial strange boxlike structure where the gun and gun access hatch would be on a standard T Class submarine?

This photograph of HMS Token showing what seems to be an open-topped enclosure with four large apertures on the forward plate mounted on the gun tower hatch. The photo is dated about 1948 due to the conning tower wind breaker being painted white.
This photograph of HMS Token showing what seems to be an open-topped enclosure with four large apertures on the forward plate mounted on the gun tower hatch. The photo is dated about 1948 due to the conning tower wind breaker being painted white.
This photo came to light as part of an article about Commander Crabbe RNR, a well-known figure in the RN. This picture shows usual twin gun hatches of a T Class boat with divers emerging wearing the DESA sets and jerseys of the period. The hatches seem to be surrounded by an unusual open enclosure that could that shown fitted to Token above. A typical foot hole can be made out by the right hand divers head. A similar hole can be seen on the outside encosure in the Token photo. There was a breif caption making reference to DESA and it is reasonable to assume the enclosure in the photo is also of Token during some early temporary conversion of a gun tower to a diving lock-out chamber.
This photo came to light as part of an article about Commander Crabbe RNR, a well-known figure in the RN. This picture shows usual twin gun hatches of a T Class boat with divers emerging wearing the DESA sets and jerseys of the period. The hatches seem to be surrounded by an unusual open enclosure that could that shown fitted to Token above. A typical foot hole can be made out by the right hand divers head. A similar hole can be seen on the outside encosure in the Token photo. There was a breif caption making reference to DESA and it is reasonable to assume the enclosure in the photo is also of Token during some early temporary conversion of a gun tower to a diving lock-out chamber.

Talent P337 (S37) was Tasman.
Completed 1945 Vickers Armstrong.
Streamlining conversion 11-Jun-1954 to 13-Feb-1956 HM Dockyard Chatham.
28-Feb-1970 arrived West of Scotland Ship breaking, Troon for scrapping.
PoWV 1959. Modernised 1956. All welded 350 ft.

Teredo P338,S38.
Completed 1946 Vickers Armstrong.
Streamlining conversion 09-Jun-1955 to Mar-1957 HM Dockyard Chatham
05-Jun-1965 arrived T.W. Ward, Briton Ferry for scrapping.
PoWV 1959. Modernised 1957. All welded 350 ft.
G Chalcraft - Gravity test for Royal Society 1950 prior to modernisation, laying the foundations for the Ships Inertial Navigation System (SINS) used in later nuclear boats.
Visited by 33,000 people during a month long publicity trip around the south and east coasts of England, October 1960

Section 5: Sixteen Amphion Class submarines 1620 tons sm

Affray lost 1951 leaving 15 vessels in service for the rest of the period.

NOTES

Prior to the period of interest 1948 to 1958, the majority of the submarines of this class would be appear as shown in this photograph of Affray.

HMS Affray as she was completed with Oerlikon 'bandstand' seen aft of the fin. Snort has yet to be fitted. The guard rails & stanchions are interesting - the authors failing memory recalls that the stanchions were left in place while at sea to provide identification during the Summer Wars where the fleet was divided into two opposing sides.
HMS Affray as she was completed with Oerlikon 'bandstand' seen aft of the fin. Snort has yet to be fitted. The guard rails & stanchions are interesting - the authors failing memory recalls that the stanchions were left in place while at sea to provide identification during the Summer Wars where the fleet was divided into two opposing sides.

Each submarine had a pair of external torpedo tubes forward and aft. The whole class would progressively have the 'Bandstand' Oerlikon gun removed and a snort system fitted as shown below.

HMS Artemis in 1950 taking part in a media exercise with a carrier. Demonstrations of snort etc. The largely redundant gun access tower hatch can be seen as can the folded snort mast with the camouflaged float valve head and exhaust pipe fixed to the aft standards. in a bow angle shot taken at the same time the external bow tube apertures are still there. The 'dustbin' cover near the Christmas Tree DF antenna belongs to the 138 ASDIC. The mounted guard rail stanchions were part of the 'Summer War' identity.
HMS Artemis in 1950 taking part in a media exercise with a carrier. Demonstrations of snort etc. The largely redundant gun access tower hatch can be seen as can the folded snort mast with the camouflaged float valve head and exhaust pipe fixed to the aft standards. in a bow angle shot taken at the same time the external bow tube apertures are still there. The 'dustbin' cover near the Christmas Tree DF antenna belongs to the 138 ASDIC. The mounted guard rail stanchions were part of the 'Summer War' identity.

This is Artemis in 1950 when the author was serving aboard her, it is notable the 4' gun is not fitted, she still had her forward external tubes and likely the pair in the stern but memory fades.

Some Amphion Class submarines would retain their original 4' guns until the later streamlining programme that commenced in 1955 while the external torpedo tubes would be progressively removed and apertures blanked off in each submarine.

PoWV 1959 shows all vessels have the external tubes removed. Only the four forward and the two after re-loadable tubes remain - 16 Mk 8** torpedoes.

Though the author recalls electric torpedo charging units in the fore ends of Artemis in 1950. Reviewing the history, these would be Mk 11. Alternative mine load - 26 Mk 5 mines or 16 S Mk 6 mines.

From about 1955 individual submarines were progressively streamlined complete with a fin and the old prominent bow buoyancy tank removed giving the submarine a very modern appearance.

HMS Artemis modernised and photographed in the sixties, but unlike some of the class retained the fold down snort mast. the gun is quite different from the more elaborate original and has been added some time after modernisation.
HMS Artemis modernised and photographed in the sixties, but unlike some of the class retained the fold down snort mast. the gun is quite different from the more elaborate original and has been added some time after modernisation.

The conversion programme seems to have applied to all the class by early 1960 apart from Aurochs, being considered in too poor a condition, but notably continued in service well into the Sixties - see entry item comments.

PoWV 1959 shows an increase in maximum submerged speed from 8 knots at 1250shp to 10 knots at 1600 shp. No known alterations were made to the electric motors. The cells were changed to higher capacity types.

For detailed discussion on Amphion Class motors see HMS Scotsman - 1948 Trials and Experimental Submarine

The later introduction of telescopic snort to some of this class, while of no consequence in the earlier period that is the focus of this list, it does indicate that these older submarine were valued in the sixties - perhaps even more than in the early fifties?

PoWV 1959 entries for Amphion, Astute and Artful state designed depth 500 feet, tested depth 600 ft. I recall a test dive on Artemis in 1950 of 525 ft.

These submarines by name and number

Amphion P439 (S 39?) (S43)
Completed March 1945 Vickers Armstrong.
06-Jul-1971 sold to T.W. Ward Ltd, Inverkeithling for scrapping.
PoWV 1959 states that a 4' gun on S2 mount was still fitted. T.C.S (S) Mk 2, mod 2. 129 RD and 138 ASDIC. U.T. /E. 267 PW radar. Being modernised.
Spread Awnings

Astute P455 (S55?) (S47)
Completed June 1945. Vickers Armstrong.
01-Oct-1970 sold, 02-Sept-1970 arrived Clayton & Davie Dunston for scrapping.
PoWV 1959, makes no comment about modernisation, but all the data indicates she had been modernised. No gun fitted. T.C.S (S) Mk 1. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E. 267 PW radar. (The T.C.S. entry could be an error?)

Alderney P416 (S16) (S66)
Completed December 1946 Vickers Armstrong.
Image on file showing fore and aft ext' tubes blanked. Gun fitted. Modern ASDIC dome.
06-Jun-1972 sold to Ship breaking (Queenborough) Ltd, Cairnryan.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1958. No gun fitted. T.C.S (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar

Affray P421.
Completed November 1945 by Vickers Armstrong.
Lost 1951 with all hands.
Likely fitted with 129 and 138 ASDIC. 267 PW radar.
The earlier photgraph shows her with 4' gun, 'Bandstand' aft of conning tower, therefore no snort. Forward external tubes fitted. Debbie Corner, Photographic Archivist, Royal Naval Submarine Museum has provided an similar image showing the 4' gun and 'bandstand' gone and snort fitted. circa 1950. Much like her sister, Artemis in 1950.
Affray - Disaster Beneath the Waves
Divers try to solve riddle of the Affray

Auriga P419 (S19?) (S69)
Completed January 1946 Vickers Armstrong.
12-02-1970 Battery explosion
14-Nov-1974 sold to J Cashmore, Newport for scrap.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1956. No gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar

Aeneas P427 (S27)
Completed July 1946 Cammell Laird.
14-Nov-1974 sold, 13-Dec-1974 arrived Clayton & Davie Dunston for scrapping.
A photograph of the as yet un-streamlined submarine is on file clearly showing S27 on the side of the conning tower.
PoWV 1959 states no gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 1. 129 RD and 138F ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar. No mention of modernisation though later this was carried out.

Alcide P415 (S15) (S65)
Completed October 1946 Vickers Armstrong.
18-Jun-1974 sold to Draper & Sons Hull for scrapping.
PoWV 1959 states a 4' gun on S2 mount was still fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 129 RD and 138F ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar. No mention of modernisation though later this was carried out.

Alaric P441 (S41)
Completed February 1947 Cammell Laird.
06-Jul-1971 arrived T.W. Ward Inverkeithing for scrapping.
PoWV 1959 states no gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 1. 129 RD and 138F ASDIC. U.T. /E. 267 PW radar. No mention or suggestion of modernisation.

Aurochs P 426 (S26)
Completed February 1947 Vickers Armstrong.
Completed with snort.
07-Feb-1967 arrived West of Scotland Ship breaking Troon for scrapping.
A photograph is on file clearly showing S26 on the side of the conning tower.
PoWV 1959 states 4' inch gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk mod 1. 129 RD and 138F ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar. Being modernised.

However it is reported (The Submarine Alliance - Lambert and Hill) that the submarine was eventually considered unfit for modernisation and was the only exception in the whole class. Steve McNeil, 2nd Coxswain - 'Streamlined - no I don't she was. She was the last boat with a forward gun mounting that I know of. She was decommissioned in 1964 or perhaps early 1965. And yes, she was a bit of a wreck at that stage. In fact Steve sent a photograph of himself on Aurochs in front of the old style gun. He also published an article in CPOA newsletter Crown and Anchor about his joining the Royal Navy Submarine Service from the Royal Canadian Navy and then Aurochs, coming out of refit in 1962. Key points are widespread service including exercises with Token off Gibraltar and trips to Spain and the Mediterranean. On commissioning Aurochs did the usual deep dive to 500 feet - one wonders what was found wrong with that made her unsuitable for streamlining?

Alliance P417 (S17) (S67)
Completed May1947 Vickers Armstrong.
Completed with snort.
Preserved at Royal Naval Submarine Museum, Gosport, England.
PoWV 1959 states no gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 2, mod 2. 129 RD and 138F ASDIC. U.T. /E. 267 PW radar. Being modernised.

Ambush P418 (S18) (S68)
Completed July 1947 Vickers Armstrong.
Completed with snort
05-Jul-1971 arrived T.W. Ward, Inverkeithling for scrapping.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1957. Gun removed. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar
Ambush - Surface Gun Action

Artemis P449 (S49)
Completed August 1947 Scotts.
01-Jul-1971 sank alongside HMS Dolphin
12-Dec-1971 sold for scrap to HG Pounds, Portsmouth.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1958. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 129A (this is perhaps a typo and should be 169?) and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar.

Anchorite P422 (S22) (S64)
Completed November 1947 Vickers Armstrong.
Completed with snort.
24-Aug-1970 sold, 06-Jul-1971 arrived West of Scotland Ship breaking, Troon for scrapping.
03-Oct-1960 Struck uncharted rock whilst submerged off New Zealand.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1956. No gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar.
Hackmann 'Seek and Strike' states - in 1950, this submarine tested the 169 set that was to replace the older 129 set. A 168 set was also fitted to replace the 138 set.

Andrew P423 (S23) (S54)
Completed March 1948 Vickers Armstrong.
Completed with snort.
04-May-1977 arrived Davis & Cam, Plymouth for scrapping.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1956. No gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar.
It is reported (The Submarine Alliance - Lambert and Hill) that this submarine was completed with 4' gun but without the 'Bandstand ' and Oerlikon gun.

Artful P456 (S26?) (S96)
Completed February 1948, Scotts.
16-Jun-1972 sold for scrap to Ship breaking (Queensborough) Cairnryan.
PoWV 1959 states modernised 1955. No gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 3, mod 2. 169A and 168 ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar.
It is reported (The Submarine Alliance - Lambert and Hill) that this submarine was completed with snort but without a four inch gun and 'Bandstand' Oerlikon.
Pooped aboard HMS
Artful

Acheron P411 (S11) (S61)
Completed April 1948 HM Dockyard, Chatham.
25-Jan-1972 sold, 15-Feb-1972 arrived J Cashmore, Newport for scrapping.
PoWV 1959 states no gun fitted. T.C.S. (S) Mk 1. 129 RD and 138F ASDIC. U.T. /E (X). 267 PW radar. No mention of modernisation. However she was later modernised. It is reported (The Submarine Alliance - Lambert and Hill) that she was originally completed with snort and that the gun was removed shortly after completion.

Section 6: The Porpoise Class

1958 - The Porpoise S01. Completed April 1958 Vickers Armstrong.

The Porpoise Class, and the later, similar class Oberon, were in their time, considered one of the quietest submarine classes in the world.

The PoWV 1959 describes these submarines as INTERMEDIATE SUBMARINE (B), the same description as the extended T Class .

They were large submarines at 2400 tons sm, with six forward internal tubes and two stern that were eventually redundant when the long awaited modern sophisticated torpedoes finally came into reliable service.

The PoWV 1959 states that they had the same ASDIC kit etc as the extended T Class and modernised Amphion. In particular the 169 and 168 sets. It is notable that the radar column in the PoWV 1959 is blank.

The diving depth is stated as 500 ft. It is understood the steel used in the Oberon Class allowed something approaching 1000 ft

The PoWV 1959 does not mention the type of torpedo as had been case for all the earlier entries.

The Porpoise Class are included here because their appearance signalled the end of the 'period of interest that began in 1948. They were the first new operational diesel submarine since the Amphion Class were designed and mainly constructed in WW II.

Section 7: Special Experimental and Trials Submarines.

Scotsman P243 (S143)
Completed 1944 Scotts.
Sunk in Kames Bay, Bute 1964 as a lifting trial.
Scrapped West of Scotland Ship breaking Co. Troon.
Modified in 1948 as a special trials and experimental submarine. PoWV 1959 - had ASDIC/ U.T. as listed for the modernised S Class. No T.C.S. PoV says to scrap.
For detail see HMS Scotsman - 1948 Trials and Experimental Submarine

Tradewind P329
Completed 1943 HM Dockyard Chatham
Scrapped 1955.
Converted to acoustic trials submarine. All armament removed or blanked off with the exception of two torpedo tubes. Given a reduced and faired bridge structure. British ASDIC sets replaced by German Balkon passive hydrophone in the keel, and a Nieblung transducer in a fairing forward of the conning tower.
Tradewind joined 7th submarine flotilla at Portland in August 1946
Later the fold down snort removed from the converted Taciturn (about 1948) was fitted for snort acoustic trials. (Source Roger Fry, article February 1992 'Ships Monthly'). This seems to be confirmed by scrutiny of the photographs below.
Broken up at Charlestown, Fife 1955.

HMS Tradewind. It is reported that a snort mast was eventually fitted for snorting noise trials. The upper image clearly has no snort mast while the lower image appears to have a folded down mast just aft of the fin.
HMS Tradewind. It is reported that a snort mast was eventually fitted for snorting noise trials. The upper image clearly has no snort mast while the lower image appears to have a folded down mast just aft of the fin.

This submarine gives an important guide to Royal Navy ASDIC policy through this 1948-1958 period, as clearly the advances and particular techniques of German Sonar were not ignored. But unlike the US Navy who developed their own versions of these German sets, the Royal Navy apparently continued to improve the older submarine 'searchlight' sets 129 and 138, introducing the improved versions in the modernised submarines throughout the period as 169A and 168 sets as the list detail shows

Section 8: The Hydrogen Peroxide propulsion programme of the Royal Navy

This programme picked up where the Germans stopped, using first the captured submarine HMS Meteorite 357 tons sm, scrapped 1949.The program designed and built Explorer completed Dec 1956 Vickers Armstrong and Excalibur completed 1958 Vickers Armstrong. Each 1000 tons sm.

Had the nuclear submarine had not proved feasible obviously the British would have continued with the technically difficult HTP submarine technology until perhaps an operational submarine appeared in the sixties. The future of the diesel-electric submarine if HTP submarines had been built in numbers, is hard to forecast. Equally hard to forecast is the benefit to the diesel fleet in the 'period' if there had not been the promise and distraction of HTP submarines.

This programme was always in the background through and beyond the period and for this reason is listed here. Though apart from use as fast ASW targets it is difficult to see an operational role for the two unarmed Ex submarines when they finally came into service towards the end of the period.

A personal view is that the HTP programme had significant policy influences on the perception of the future submarines and the role of the diesel-electric submarines. A view that appears to be supported by this comment by Norman Friedman in his book, Postwar Naval Revolution, P.196. 'The Royal Navy considered the HTP submarine to be the weapon of the future. It consistently referred to fast battery-driven submarines as intermediate and did not design an operational unit of that type (the Porpoise ) until it became clear that HTP would be relatively difficult to employ. Hence it lacked such craft during the period

It is worth noting that members of the converted T Class and the new Porpoise Class were described in the PoWV 1959 as Intermediate Submarine 'B'

Admiral I J Galantin, US Navy (ret), a successful WWII submarine commander, tells in his book 'Submarine Admiral' of an official 1950 visit to the US plant of the supplier of hydrogen peroxide to determine the cost of this exotic fuel. He comments, the cost of hydrogen peroxide to run a German Type XXIV boat for its endurance of 6.5 hours. was $200,000, (presumably in 1950 dollars US). He also comments that when the HTP was exhausted you were left with a diesel-electric submarine of degraded performance!

At wars end the US Navy was operating a captured German 2500 hp HTP plant at the shore based Engineering Experimental Station in Annapolis. The proven success of nuclear propulsion was yet to come at this time.

Explorer - More Haste Less Speed

Section 9: Personal observations on streamlining and guns in the period.

Admiralty Policy Statement 1948:

The primary task of our submarine fleet is to hunt and kill other submarines.

Source, Royal Naval Submarine Museum archive A1997/1.

US Navy also promoted a similar submarine vs. submarine policy on a significant scale both in regard to sonar development and streamlining.

Eric Groves in his book 'Vanguard to Trident' page 228 states the new Porpoise Class were intended primarily for ASW duties.

Streamlining Principles

I have avoided any technical references as to why the Royal Navy saw fit to streamline the T Class and Amphion Class. The fact is I really don't know, lacking the official documents and intelligent guessing serves little purpose.

The gain in maximum speed submerged for the T Class was from 8 to 9.25 knots. The improvement for the Amphion was from 8 to 10 knots.

How much weight was placed on these modest gains in speed as opposed to the reduction in flow noise is simply not known to me.

The subject of flow noise etc is well documented in the literature and on the web but much of what is written is the result of intensive work over the 50 years that have elapsed since a Constructor in the DNC put forward the design figures and drawings for streamlining of these submarines, originally designed before or during WWII..

A member of the FOSM's staff then probably put forward a staff requirement. This we don't have.

Knowing the precise reasons for the streamlining, changes little in regard to determining their place in the period as operational submarines. For our purposes it is enough to know that streamlining was eventually carried at not inconsiderable cost, on half the submarines listed.

The New Threat

It is difficult to reconcile the new submarine vs. submarine role of the submarines of the Royal Navy with what seems to be a reluctance in 1948 to quickly streamline the majority of the existing submarine fleet.

This at a time when there was a perceived threat from the growing submarine fleet of the Red Navy to be countered.

It should be noted from the list that all of the submarines in service in 1948 were completed no later than 1942 and most were more recent, but all had been designed with little regard to submerged streamlining - the practice of all navies leading up to WWII until the failure of the U-Boats revealed the need for new approach that the Germans took, but could not bring to the battle before war's end - the XXI U-boat. All well documented history!

As is also well documented, the lessons had not gone unobserved by the British Directorate of Naval Construction. In 1944 the streamlining of the first S Class Seraph was completed

Section 3e, These conversions were followed by the design and conversion of the fast (16 knot) Scotsman conversion. (Section 7).

In 1948 the DNC could confidently offer streamline solutions for a fast battery submarine conversion that emerged in 1951 as the Taciturn. (Section 4c).

Earlier the Tradewind (Section 7), was clearly modified in 1945/46 to reduce 'noise' in her role as an acoustic trials submarine and in 1951 there were the submarine vs. submarine trials of the moderately streamlined Truncheon. (Section 4e).

Both these two early trials submarines surely give the layman of today reason to believe that streamlining was considered beneficial in the new role of the submarine as an ASW vessel proceeding at moderate speeds.

The 1952 modernisation of the 'Tireless ' (slowly followed by 4 more until the last two were completed in 1956), further demonstrates there was a clear technical view of what could be done at a relatively modest cost without major alterations to the basic submarine hull and its propulsion machinery.

The technical possibilities were further demonstrated by the belated but successful modernisation of the Amphion Class fleet commenced in 1956 and completed over the following 5or 6 years, but some 8 long years after the declaration that the submarine fleet's role would be anti-submarine.

As modernised Image 19, streamlined submarines, 14 Amphion Class successfully served through the sixties into the early seventies, retaining their old shape and structure through the early fifties when the danger of actual diesel submarine conflict was apparently at its height.

Gun Policy

Despite the considerable success of the submarines of the Royal Navy in the Far East in sinking many small ships by gun action, the Admiralty submarine gun policy during the period is hard to understand as WWII experience in Europe had shown that ASW or indeed inshore, any aircraft, had made gun action increasingly dangerous, if not impossible and in any case what targets were intended to be attacked in this period of growing confrontation with the Soviet Union?

The U-Boats in desperation had focussed on flak gun batteries to try and find a solution to ASW aircraft that were taking such a terrible toll - certainly not seeking 'soft ' targets to sink with their heavy deck guns as in earlier times.

Few if any guns were retained on the large number of US Navy Fleet Submarines in the period. Certainly none on the submarines listed in US Navy Guppy Submarine Conversions 1947-1950. This despite a significant increase in the number of guns carried as the WWII progressed.

What is even more difficult to understand is an apparently deliberate 'mix' of submarines with and without guns

The modernised S Class had no guns, circa 1953, but more importantly the gun access towers were removed, with no provision for a deck gun platform below the casing. (Section 3b)

Kemp in his book 'The T Class Submarine' has a photograph of a streamlined T Class submarine, said to be Token, 6th January 1956, following streamlining, showing gun platform rails forward of the conning tower. The view is from astern and obscured but no gun seems to be fitted. Kemp tell us it is for the Mk XXIII gun. This was the standard 4' gun fitted to T Class and all but one Amphion Class when first completed, with an S2 mount, on a raised shield platform.

Here on Token the railed area on the casing indicates the intention, following streamlining, to enable a simple deck gun mounting if required in the future.

It would useful at this point to cover the T Class and Amphion gun situation just after WWII

The Alliance book by Lambert and Hill, has a full description of the XXIII 4' gun on an S2 mount, mounted on the shielded platform as in Image 17 and states that round about 1945, the XXIII gun on S2 mount was replacing the older XII 4' gun on S1 mount on T Class and Amphion Class submarines and some Amphion could have been completed with the older gun to be later replaced with the XXIII.

Most, if not all, GIII T Class had much the same gun platform and shield arrangement as the Amphion Class , though often the shield was not as high. Image 11b.

Moving to the latter part of the period, the Alliance book also shows a drawing of the streamlined Amphion Class . The gun access tower is still there and a gun platform base is shown below the casing. Only submarines actually fitted with guns, had the rails and platform overhangs to create a 'bandstand' level with the fore casing.

Photographs are shown in the book of streamlined Amphion Class fitted with 4'guns and some with 20mm Mk VIIA, (Oerlikon used in earlier times on after bandstand). All are simple deck guns just forward of the conning tower where the original platform had been, obviously mounted on the base mentioned above. A number of the photographs were taken in the Far East during the Indonesian Conflict when there was a reversion to an older style of submarine warfare requiring deck guns.

There is a sense of irony when comparing the two images of Artemis, separated in time by about 12 years - Image 18 in 1950 with no gun and Image 19 streamlined with a gun in the sixties

It does seems to be that there was a policy of fitting the basic structure of a deck mount under the casing of all streamlined T Class Sections 4 d and Amphion Class, Section 5. All these submarines retained their gun access tower.

No provision for a gun seems to have been made on the extended T Class. Section 4c, hardly surprising on submarines converted for high submerged speeds.

Many Royal Navy submarines, still to be modernised, retained their guns through much of the period and sometimes beyond.

The PoWV 1959 shows the Amphion and Alcide had retained their 4' guns on S2 mounts that would only be removed when finally streamlined beyond the end of the period.

The Alliance book states that Amphion, Astute, Aurochs , Alliance, Ambush, Anchorite and Andrew retained there original guns until streamlined. Their list is flawed by 3 omissions, Alderney, Auriga, Alcide.

The PoWV 1959 states Alliance had no gun and was being modernised.

The other data suggests this is a pre-modernisation situation?

Artful, Artemis, Alaric, Aeneas and Acheron had no guns fitted for the whole of the period prior to streamlining. Affray did not have a gun at the time she was lost. See list entry. Artful was in fact completed without guns.

4 - Amphion Class had their guns removed by 1949, perhaps earlier. All 6 confirmed by photographs

So to restate the position in 1950 - 10 in total Amphion Class had their original 4' guns and 6 didn't (Affray is included).

How this deliberate division of guns in the important Amphion Class fleet was decided is not known.

Of the T Class that remained largely as built Section 4a, 7 out of 9 are shown in the PoWV 1959 as having retained 4' guns on S2 mounts and no doubt would have continue to do so until finally scrapped - most in the early sixties.

Truncheon, an operational submarine, fitted with US Navy JT sonar and engaged in special submarine vs. submarine trials in 1951 (before entering the dockyard for major conversion), had no gun and modest streamlining (Image 16), yet her partner in the trials Alcide still had her gun - one can only assume there was some method in this apparent madness, such as determining the advantage of modest streamlining by comparison?

It is difficult to see what purpose was served by retaining the guns on so many submarines throughout the period.

Removal was not a major task and, when accompanied by blanking the forward external tubes etc, there would surely be a worthwhile move towards the benefits achieved by the complete streamlining of the modernisation programmes.

Then there was the not insignificant space made available in the control room when the main need for a magazine had gone. And there would be no need to carry any crew skilled in gunnery.

There may well be Admiralty policy documents of the time in the archives that explain the submarine gun policy post WWII but they are unfortunately out my reach.

However by chance I recently noted the following by Friedman in his book 'The Post War Naval Revolution', pages 190-191 reporting on the 1952 views of British Director of Plans questioning the need for fast submarines of the Type XXI U-Boat style like the proposed Porpoise Class.

Page 191 gives a clue about the thinking within in the Royal Navy when discussing a proposition for a large fleet of small submarines for use in areas such as the Norwegian coast or the Baltic.

'A gun would be needed to deal with enemy coastal traffic which might be heavy when supporting army operations'

'Staff Requirements showed one 4' Mk XXIII gun and four twin 0.303 Lewis guns. The 4' gun would not be mounted when the submarines was employed in her primary ASW role.'

Though this new gun submarine never happened perhaps this early view of the role of the submarine in a war with the Soviets was applied to the existing fleet in the period? It is not too extreme to suggest the gun argument was made to support submarine funding at time when the public purse was stretched to the limit and each branch of the Armed Forces was stressing the importance of their role in any future war when lobbying for funds.

Friedman makes the sensible comment that 'The air threat would probably limit opportunities to use a gun and it would be wrong in principle for a submarine commander not to try to remain unobserved.'

Summary

Ironically, during the period, the planning and design was going on in the background for what would be later acclaimed as the quietest submarines in the world, the Porpoise Class followed by the improved but similar Oberon Class!

It could argued that following the war there must have been considerable, idle small ship capacity in the British Shipyards following WWII, to carry out submarine streamlining. The Vickers Armstrong WWII record for building submarines is to say the least remarkable and one might suppose there was available in 1948, surplus yard capacity to quickly modernise, that is streamline with no major changes to the electrical propulsion, all the submarines of the Royal Navy ready to face the Red Navy if the feared conflict had arisen.

But John Eade has reminded me that there was a large merchant ship building programme to replace the appalling losses of WWII. Ian Buxton confirms that the Vickers-Armstrong shipbuilding capacity post WW2, concentrated on merchant ships. And we should not overlook the programme that converted destroyers into ASW frigates. 23 destroyers were converted to Type 15 between 1949 to 1957, 11 in the HM Dockyards. The 10 Type 16 frigates were a similar but far more modest conversion, notably limited by budget restraints, 1949 to 1954. 4 were converted in HM Dockyards.

Perhaps the established surface ASW need took priority over the newer, untried concept of submarine vs. submarine when it came to money and dockyard priorities? There may well have been other critical elements in post-war Britain, the Admiralty appears to have faced an apparent loss of efficiency in the Dockyards compared to the war production.

In the midst of a war it took 16 months to build the first Amphion Class Amphion, starting in 1943, a new design of all welded vessel when the war was still a desperate business, yet the streamlining time of each of the five T Class seemed to get subsequently longer Some 13 months for Tireless starting in 1951 and 24 months for Teredo starting in 1955. Obviously it doesn't do to read too much into these construction and modification times without a full study but it does give pause for thought!

The point is made and there is no purpose in pursuing the matter further, except to say that the streamlining programme for both T Class and Amphion seemed to accelerate towards the end of the period. I leave the reader to speculate why this happened later rather than at the earlier time when a 'hot' war faced the submarines and their crews of the Royal Navy.

Here I must declare a personal interest, being a crew member on T Class and Amphion Class during the period, quite unaware of why we did or did not have a gun or that our prime role was in submarine vs. submarine and knew nothing about the streamlining of submarines other than observing the 'slippery S' conversions alongside. However looking back one could be forgiven for gaining the impression that the bold Admiralty policy statement about submarine vs. submarine, made in 1948, was not capable of serious implementation until 1958 onwards.

This article is closely related to the four listed below covering Royal Navy and US Navy submarine development in the immediate post war period up until 1958.

Appendix: Pennant numbers

To aid submarine identification I tried to obtain official documents in relation to pennant numbers in an attempt to present an authoritative explanation. Unfortunately there none available in the Royal Naval Submarine Museum archives and a search at Kew is not practical for me, so here is an addendum containing a 'best endeavours' description based on the obvious facts and some assumptions.

The system at the end of the war obviously worked this way - 'U' - PXX, 'S' - P2XX, 'T' P3XX and 'A' - P4XX.

Apparently in 1961 a new system was devised to give all submarines a simple SXX number. This involved simply taking the last two digits of the original 'P' system.

Unfortunately this resulted in duplication, even triplication of numbers as the last two digits were, apparently by chance, used in each class previously distinguished by the first class digit in the old P system.

Discerning the solution used is made difficult by the decision not to display the pennant number from about 1947/48 to about 1957/8, hence no photographs!

However there are sufficient examples on this list to suggest that one solution was to simply insert another single digit as required, always number 1 - P1XX.

In 1961 the system change again to allow a fresh start for the new submarines i.e. Porpoise was S 01 and so on.

This allocation of new SXX numbers in 1961, are as recorded in 'The Submarine Alliance - Lambert and Hill' and are confirmed by several file photographs of the sixties. Three examples are noted in the list of Amphion Class submarines of the progression that have been proven by photographs.

The number explanation in the Alliance book mentioned, is however misleading as it assumes a change from the PXXX numbers of about 1951 to the SXX of 1961, missing out the intermediate number system SXX using the last two digits of the earlier PXXX class system.

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