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Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: M
Fate: Foundered due to a leak in the hangar door on 26th January 1932

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Started life as K19.

M2 and M3 had their large 12-inch guns removed in the late 1920s to conform with the Washington Disarmament Treaty, which stated that no submarine should have larger than 8-inch calibre guns. M2 was refitted with a seaplane hangar forward of the conning tower and a catapult to launch a small Parnall Peto seaplane.

Specially designed for M2's hanger, the Parnell Peto Seaplane had a 135 hp engine and an endurance of about two hours at 70 knots
Specially designed for M2's hanger, the Parnell Peto Seaplane had a 135 hp engine and an endurance of about two hours at 70 knots

This conversion was a success, and M2 could surface from periscope depth, open the hangar door, catapult the plane, close the door and dive again within five minutes. She was subsequently lost during exercises in the English Channel in 1932 when her hangar door was left open.

Roll of Honour

Name Rank Number Hons Age
Arbuthnot, Crofton Keith  Lieutenant Commander      30
Back, Leonard Stanley  Electrical Artificer 3rd Class  M 37056    26
Banks, Sydney Wilfred  Petty Officer  J 48971    33
At birth Banks, Sydney Wilfrid Served as Banks, Sydney Wilfred.
Blake, Frederick James  Petty Officer  J 46983    33
Brown, Dougal McPherson  Leading Steward  L 12605    30
Burridge, Jack  Leading Telegraphist  J 60943    32
Butcher, Harold Frederick  Able Seaman  J 91916    30
Chapman, Cecil  Able Seaman  JX 126505    23
Clarke, Allan  Petty Officer  J 43273    32
Coleshill, Charles Jeffrey  Able Seaman  J 102918    26
Drummond, James  Stoker 1st Class  K 62886    29
Edwards, John Herbert  Able Seaman  J 106978    25
Ellis, Stanley Gilbert  Petty Officer Telegraphist  J 29040    34
England, George  Able Seaman  J 58560    31
Estcourt, George  Stoker Petty Officer  K 65495    31
Ferguson, Douglas  Stoker 1st Class  KX 79049    23
Gregory, Leslie  Leading Aircraftsman (RAF)  364018    29
Hardy, Charles Percy  Engine Room Artificer 1st Class  M 31105    37
Harman, Frank James  Leading Aircraftsman (RAF)  364868    27
Hayes, William Alfred  Warrant Engineer      39
Head, Hamilton Charles Wrightson  Lieutenant      23
Horn, Stanley Charles Albert  Engine Room Artificer 1st Class  M 21453    36
RN DoB 24/02/1895. Actual 24/02/1897
Jackson, Edward Victor  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class  M 39396    22
Jacobs, Albert Ernest  Leading Seaman  J 96297    29
Jarrett, Sidney Reginald Williams  Able Seaman  J 100140    29
King, James  Chief Petty Officer  J 18133    37
Lakin, John William  Leading Stoker  K 59059    31
RN DoB 08/02/1901. Actual 08/02/1902 (Sheffield Yorkshire)
Leathes, John Duncan de Mussenden  Lieutenant Commander      36
Commanding Officer
Leavy, Frederick William  Signalman  J 94973    29
Lewis, John William James  Stoker 1st Class  K 63662    26
MacDonald, Louis Peter  Stoker Petty Officer  K 16558    38
At birth McDonald, Louis Peter Served as MacDonald, Louis Peter
Macdonald, Somerled  Lieutenant      23
Matthews, Edward  Stoker 1st Class  K 64672    30
Morris, Thomas  Able Seaman  J 96156    30
O'Dwyer, Albert Anthony Edward  Able Seaman  J 102310    27
Oliver, Frank Henry Joseph  Leading Steward  L 12825    30
Peplow, William  Able Seaman  J 101056    27
Powell, Henry  Leading Stoker  K 60855    33
Rawlings, William Herbert  Able Seaman  J 108253    25
Ready, Frank  Able Seaman  J 25478    35
Sharpe, George  Leading Stoker  K 59370    31
At birth Sharp, George Served as Sharpe, George. RN DoB 09/07/1901. Actual 09/07/1904
Sims, John Harold  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class  M 35324    28
Smales, Joseph Frederick  Yeoman of Signals  J 22885    36
Smith, Reginald  Able Seaman  J 99442    27
Sweetland, Cecil Sydney  Stoker 1st Class  KX 75588    28
Thomas, Ernest Joel  Telegraphist  J 76817    31
Thornton, Thomas  Able Seaman  JX 128413    22
Threlfall, Charles Harold  Stoker 1st Class  KX 75873    28
Toppin, Henry Castlehow  Lieutenant      28
Totterdell, James Henry Francis  Leading Stoker  K 61157    28
Townsend, Claud Richard  Lieutenant      29
Treacy, Philip  Leading Seaman  J 105646    27
Vincent, Arthur John  Able Seaman  J 24276    34
Walker, Ralph  Stoker 1st Class  KX 78023    23
Watson, William Alan  Stoker 1st Class  K 67092    24
Whiting, Francis Charles  Able Seaman  JX 127947    22
Williams, Leonard Walter  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class  M 36709    26
Winfield, Harold  Able Seaman  JX 128093    22
Woodhouse, Frank Leslie  Stoker 1st Class  K 60100    28
Wrathmall, Charles  Able Seaman  J 37310    33
Real name, AKA John Edward Wrathmall


13-07-1916 : Laid Down
19-10-1918 : Launched
14-02-1920 : Completed
26-01-1932 : Foundered due to a leak in the hangar door on 26th January 1932

At 9 o'clock on the morning of 26th January 1932 HMS M2 left Portland to take part in routine exercises. At 1011 she signalled her intention to dive at 1030. This was the last communication with the submarine. The loss of radio communication did not cause any consternation until M2 failed to return to port as expected at 1615. Search vessels were dispatched but there was no sign of the submarine or her crew. No explanation could be found for her loss until the Admiralty received a report from the captain of the coaster Tynesider which reported seeing a submarine diving stern first off Portland. This had caused the Captain some anxiety but he thought he saw the same submarine a short time later. M2's exact position remained a mystery for a week until the Destroyer Torrid picked up sonar sounds that indicated a sunken submarine; divers confirmed this to be M2 lying with her stern in the sand at a depth of 90ft

Two bodies were recovered from the wreck during the next week. A number of attempts were made to raise the vessel but all failed.

1 comment

My Grandfather is Harold Frederick Butcher J91916.

Prior to transferring to the submarine HMS M2, my grandfather served on various ships and land-based facilities. In 1929 he was with HMS Pembroke, during this time he took part in the Royal Tournament Field Gun Competition, he won two solid silver medals for best aggregate score and Fastest Run.

I am the proud custodian of these medals plus various memorabilia relating to the sinking of the M2, these passed into my possession on the death of my father, my grandfather's only son. My Grandfather had just had his thirtieth birthday when he met his fate in the M2.
   Melanie Bishop Fri, 26 Aug 2022

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