HMS Opossum (S19)

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HMS Opossum returning to RN submarine base HMS Dolphin, Gosport, following combat operations in the Gulf War (1990–91)
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Opossum
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Laid down: 21 December 1961
Launched: 23 May 1963
Commissioned: 5 June 1964
Decommissioned: August 1993
Fate: Paid off for disposal
General characteristics
Class & type: Oberon-class submarine
Displacement: 2,030 tons surfaced
2,400 tons submerged
Length: 295 ft 3 in (89.99 m)
Beam: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
Draught: 18 ft (5.5 m)
Propulsion: 2 diesels 3,680 bhp (2,744 kW)
2 electric motors of 6,000 shp
2 shafts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h) surfaced
17 knots (31 km/h) submerged
Range: 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 68 (6 officers, 62 petty officers and ratings)
Armament: 8 × 21 inch torpedo tubes (6 bow, 2 stern)

HMS Opossum (S19) was an Oberon-class submarine in service with the Royal Navy from 1964 to 1993.

Design and construction[edit]

Opossum was the eleventh Oberon-class boat commissioned by the Royal Navy. She was built by Cammell Laird shipbuilder at Birkenhead and launched on 23 May 1963. She was commissioned on 5 June 1964.

Opossum was originally armed with Mk 8 torpedoes and later with Mark 24 Tigerfish torpedoes. The class was also capable of firing the Harpoon anti-ship missile.

Operational history[edit]

In 1990, Opossum took part in the bicentennial celebrations at Pitcairn Island, marking the occasion with a two day visit in September.[1]

Otus was deployed to the Persian Gulf during the 1991 Gulf War under Operation Granby. On her return to Gosport, she was flying a Jolly Roger; the only indication that the submarine had been involved in deploying and recovering Special Air Service and Special Boat Service personnel.[2][3]

On 14 July 1993, Opossum (which was travelling on the surface at the time) collided with the fishing vessel Amber Rose off the coast of Scotland.[4]


On paying off in 1993, the nameplate from HMS Opossum was given to St Edmundsbury council in commemoration of the submarine's association with the town of Bury St. Edmunds.[5]

The HMS Opossum Association is the veterans association for those who served on HMS Opossum. The association's members include submariners, and earlier veterans who served on the sloop/frigate HMS Opossum (U33).


  1. ^ Bicentenary Celebrations
  2. ^ Richards, Bill; Smith, Peter (December 2006). "Onslow's Jolly Roger". Signals (Australian National Maritime Museum) (77): 11. ISSN 1033-4688. 
  3. ^ Oliver, Sarah (2 April). "Return of the Triumph: With the skull and crossbones flying defiantly at its mast, submarine that launched attack on Gaddafi comes home". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "18 January 1994". Jeremy HanleyMinister of State for the Armed Forces. Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (United Kingdom: House of Commons). col. 506. .
  5. ^ "27 October 1994". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (United Kingdom: House of Commons). col. 739–740. .

External links[edit]