Shark (N54)

Built By: Chatham Dockyard (Medway)
Build Group: S Group 2
Fate: HMS Shark was sunk on 6th July 1940 after being caught on the surface off the coast of Norway.

Several bombs exploded close astern and severely damaged the propulsion. The Submarine dived in an attempt to get to safety but resurfaced in order to charge up the batteries and attempt to escape under cover of darkness. Both engines were restarted but the Port Engine was out of line and the rudder was jammed hard to port. The Submarine was relocated by enemy aircraft and attacked again.

Unable to dive owing to a lack of high-pressure air, a low battery and flooding the Commanding Officer attempted to fight his way out but was forced, eventually, to surrender.

27 of the crew were uninjured, 12 (including the Commanding Officer) were wounded and 2 were killed. HMS Shark sank as the Germans were attempting to tow it to Stavanger.

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By Dr Peter Schofield

Surrey Advertiser, Saturday 19 February 1940
The Esher division of the Girl Guides has adopted the submarine HMS Shark and all Rangers, Guides and Brownies have been asked to send parcels to the crew as soon as possible. Claygate Company is to send a parcel shortly.

Birmingham Post, Thursday 1 August 1940
The Esher division of the Girl Guides is sorrowing for the loss of HMS Shark. At the start of the war, the division adopted the Shark, sent parcels to the men and wrote regularly to them and their families. The commander presented the guides with photographs of the submarine and her company, and the crew made them a white ensign with a submarine embroidered in one corner and the Shark motto, 'Celer et Audax' (Swift and Bold) in the other. Now the Guides are in touch with the family of every sailor lost in the Shark, and are taking all opportunities to help them.

Related Pages
RN Submarines scuttled or captured in WWII
Descriptions of the events in WWII that led to the loss of Royal Navy Submarines in actions where the submarines were sunk, usually by scuttling, with the captains and crew taken prisoner. Included are two variations - in one case the submarine was captured and in another the captain was killed in action.

Roll of Honour

Name Rank Number Hons Age
Benton, Richard Henry  Able Seaman  C/SSX 18137    21
Died when POW Buried in Berlin
Foster, Eric  Stoker 1st Class  P/KX 82041    26
Buried in SOLA Norway
Gibson, James Sturrock  Petty Officer  C/JX 127523    29
Walsh, James Joseph  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 92110    22
Buried in EIGANES, Stavanger Norway


12-06-1933 : Laid Down
31-05-1934 : Launched
31-12-1934 : Completed
06-07-1940 : While on patrol and minelaying operation off Skudesnes, SW Norway, HMS Shark was on the surface when a seaplane was sighted astern. As the submarine submerged to avoid the aircraft two or three bombs exploded close to the stern, followed closely by at least two more. The explosions caused considerable damage.

Without steering gear and the hydroplanes jammed hard to rise, the submarine's bow broached the surface to be greeted by more bombs. The submarine began to sink by the stern and all high-pressure air was used to return her to the surface.

Once on the surface Shark got underway steering on main engines. Being sighted yet again the submarine came under sustained attack and No. 4 ballast tank was holed. Finally more aircraft arrived and Shark had no option but to capitulate.

At about 0400 hours the next day German minesweeping trawlers M-1803, M1806 and M-1807 arrived to take Shark under tow but the submarine was beyond saving and she began to sink stern first


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