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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.
Tarpon (N17)
Tarpon (N17)

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In March 2016 the wreck of HMS 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.

Roll of Honour

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


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.

1 comment

My grandmother Eliza Howarth ne Tatlock lost her son James Tatlock on the HMS Tarpon no c/ssx.16071 .She was notified on 29th may 1940 he was presumed dead as all hope had been given up. Its a comfort to read the informatio about his final resting place. Thankyou. Anne Parkes ( neice)
   Hazel Parkes Tue, 15 Jan 2019

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