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Tarpon (N17)

Built By: Scotts (Clyde)
Build Group: T Group 1
Fate: HMS Tarpon left Portsmouth for Rosyth on 5th April 1940. She was diverted to patrol around Norway on 6th April 1940. Around 0600 hours on 10th April 1940 by the Tarpon encountered the German 'Q-ship' Schiff 40 (Schürbek) west of Jutland, Denmark in approximate position 56º43'N, 06º33'5"E.

Tarpon attacked the German vessel with two torpedoes both of which missed. It is assumed that Tarpon was sunk with all hands by depth charges in a counter-attack by Schiff 40.

Tarpon was reported overdue on 22nd April 1940.

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

Name Rank Number Hons Age
Alexander, Arthur George  Able Seaman  P/J 93213    37
Allison, Francis  Stoker 1st Class  C/KX 83188    24
Andrew, Walter  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class  D/MX 51926    26
Banfield, Edgar  Chief Petty Officer  D/J 77988    37
Barrett, George James  Leading Stoker  C/KX 80350    28
Beaumont, Alan Arthur  Able Seaman  P/JX 142308    21
Brewer, Alfred Cornelius  Telegraphist  P/J 109329    32
Cadby, Cyril George  Leading Signalman  D/JX 139976    22
Caldwell, Herbert James  Lieutenant Commander      34
Commanding Officer
Cavaye, James  Petty Officer Cook  P/M 38605    34
Chadwick, George James  Telegraphist  P/JX 135579    24
Chilton, Stanley  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 86850    23
Collins, Leslie Alban  Chief Petty Officer  C/J 103082    34
Davidson, James Kennedy  Able Seaman  P/SSX 14483    24
Davies, Thomas Eirwyn  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 84743    24
Davies, Thomas Walter  Stoker 1st Class  C/KX 80223    30
Ede, William James Ewart  Petty Officer Telegraphist  P/J 114117    30
Endersby, Sidney Claude  Petty Officer  P/J 113098    30
Etheridge, George Davis  Chief Engine Room Artificer 1st Class  P/M 34444    36
Ferguson, John  Able Seaman  D/JX 164945    41
Fleming, William Henry  Petty Officer  C/JX 128503    28
Gathergood, Joseph Albert  Leading Stoker  C/KX 98416    43
Globe, Sydney  Stoker 1st Class  C/K 65252    35
Goodall, Thomas  Able Seaman  C/JX 138369    23
Gregory, Albert Edward  Petty Officer  C/JX 126436    29
Hammersley, Arthur Frank Cullimore  Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class  D/MX 46764    32
Harrison, Thomas Carty  Able Seaman  D/J 107568    32
Hart, George Albert  Able Seaman  C/J 113010    32
Harvey, Leslie James  Leading Telegraphist  D/JX 136108    24
Hills, Arthur Alfred  Able Seaman  D/J 108275    33
Hoggett, Harry John Rosce  Chief Engine Room Artificer  P/M 27357    38
Holliday, William  Leading Steward  C/LX 21265    28
Hubbard, Frank Philip David  Able Seaman  P/J 45401    39
Jope, William Birtwhistle  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 91430    20
Kellond, Reginald  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class  D/M 38362    31
Kettle, Lawrence Henry  Lieutenant      26
Leonard, William  Leading Stoker  C/KX 83072    25
Luff, Ronald  Stoker 1st Class  P/KX 83269    29
Paterson, James George Wallace  Chief Engine Room Artificer  P/M 39375    30
Perkins, Leslie William  Leading Telegraphist  C/JX 131917    28
Raggett, Archibald Fred  Chief Stoker  P/K 57325    39
Sherry, Rodney William  Warrant Engineer      40
Smith, John  Leading Seaman  C/J 105724    33
Snell, Stanley Raymond  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 89519    24
Spurden, Ernest George Victor  Leading Seaman  C/J 127480    30
Tatlock, James  Able Seaman  C/SSX 16071    23
Templeton, George Edward  Stoker 1st Class  D/K 64242    34
Thomas, William Ninian Crichton  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 86588    23
Trott, Philip Michael John  Stoker 1st Class  D/KX 81624    26
Walker, Roderic John  Leading Stoker  C/KX 83031    25
Walsh, Harold  Stoker Petty Officer  P/KX 76676    34
Weatherall, Hugh Derek Andre  Sub Lieutenant      21
Wren, Charles Bate Limpright  Lieutenant Commander (RNR)      31


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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