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Tarpon (N17)

Built By: Scotts (Clyde)
Build Group: T Group 1
Fate: 10 April 1940 - Sunk in North Sea by German Q ship Schiff 40 in the Skagerrak following failed attack. Tarpon was probably the first British submarine to be lost to depth charges in WW2.

Roll of Honour

A Alexander  Able Seaman
F Allison  Stoker 1st Class
W Andrew  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
E Banfield  Chief Petty Officer
G Barrett  Leading Stoker
A Beaumont  Able Seaman
A Brewer  Telegraphist
C Cadby  Leading Signalman
H Caldwell  Lieutenant Commander
J Cavaye  Petty Officer Cook
G Chadwick  Telegraphist
S Chilton  Stoker 1st Class
L Collins  Chief Petty Officer
J Davidson  Able Seaman
T Davies  Stoker 1st Class
T Davies  Stoker 1st Class
S Endersby  Petty Officer
G Etheridge  Engine Room Artificer 1st Class
J Ferguson  Able Seaman
W Fleming  Petty Officer
J Gathergood  Leading Stoker
S Globe  Stoker 1st Class
T Goodall  Able Seaman
A Gregory  Petty Officer
A Hammersley  Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class
T Harrison  Able Seaman
G Hart  Able Seaman
L Harvey  Leading Telegraphist
A Hills  Able Seaman
H Hoggett  Chief Engine Room Artificer
W Holliday  Leading Steward
F Hubbard  Able Seaman
W Hussey  Leading Stoker
W Jope  Stoker 1st Class
R Joss  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
R Kellond  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
L Kettle  Lieutenant
W Leonard  Leading Stoker
R Luff  Stoker 1st Class
JGW Paterson  Chief Engine Room Artificer
L Perkins  Leading Telegraphist
A Raggett  Chief Stoker
R Sherry  Lieutenant Commissioned Engineer
J Smith  Leading Seaman
S Snell  Stoker 1st Class
E Spurden  Leading Seaman
J Tatlock  Able Seaman
G Templeton  Stoker 1st Class
W Thomas  Stoker 1st Class
P Trott  Stoker 1st Class
R Walker  Leading Stoker
R Walsh  Commd Engineer
H Weatherall  Sub-Lieutenant
C Wren  Lieutenant Commander RNR


In March 2016 the wreck of HAMS Tarpon was discovered 40 metres beneath the waves off the coast of Denmark.

The divers found some of the hatches open, the glass in the periscope shattered and severe destruction below the tower where it appeared to have been hit by a depth charge. There was also evidence of a battle, with two of its torpedo tubes empty. German naval records suggest the Tarpon had fired twice at a German merchant ship before being sunk in a devastating counterattack.

The submarine was discovered in March by a Danish war museum owner, Gert Normann Andersen, and a UK marine archaeologist, Dr Innes McCartney.

McCartney, a veteran submarine finder, who was on board the explorer ship when divers filmed the wreck stated:.

No one even knew it was there, It looked very bad. They had depth charged it on several occasions. The damage was so severe behind the conning tower it would have flooded in seconds.

There was also a crater on the seabed, a rare phenomenon apparently created by one of the powerful depth charges.

The submarine stood almost upright on the seabed and had attracted shoals of cod as well as ocean debris including ropes and fishing nets, some of which had to be cleared before filming.


05-10-1937 : Laid Down
07-10-1938 : Launched
08-03-1940 : Completed
10-04-1940 : Lost.

On 5th April 1940 HMS Tarpon left Portsmouth for Rosyth in company with HMS Severn. The following day they were ordered to Norway. On the 10th Tarpon was signaled to take up a new position. Unknown to the Admiralty the submarine had already been lost.

Post War German records showed that Tarpon attacked the Q-ship Schiff 40 at 0724: the first torpedo missed as did a second. The Q-ship picked up the Tarpon on her sonar and her periscope was sighted, depth charges were dropped. The counter attack went on most of the morning until finally at 1252 a pattern of depth charges brought wreckage to the surface. The Schiff remained on the scene until 0500 the next morning secure in the knowledge that she had sunk the submarine.


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