HMS Spearfish (69S)

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Career Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: S-class submarine
Name: HMS Spearfish
Builder: Cammell Laird & Co Limited, Birkenhead
Laid down: 23 May 1935
Launched: 21 April 1936
Commissioned: 11 December 1936
Fate: Sunk 1 August 1940
General characteristics
Displacement: 670 tons surfaced
960 tons submerged
Length: 208 ft 9 in (63.63 m)
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Draught: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Propulsion: Twin diesel/electric
Speed: 13.75 knots surfaced
10 knots submerged
Complement: 39 officers and men
Armament: 6 x forward 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
12 torpedoes
one three-inch gun
one .303-calibre machine gun
SPEARFISH badge-1-.jpg

HMS Spearfish was a Royal Navy S-class submarine which was launched 21 April 1936 and fought in World War II. Spearfish is one of 12 boats named in the song Twelve Little S-Boats. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to be named Spearfish.

Her wartime career started inauspiciously, when on 24 September 1939, she was heavily damaged by German warships off Horns Reef. She was unable to submerge but nevertheless managed to escape. A rescue mission was undertaken by the British Humber force and Home Fleet, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, and the battleship HMS Nelson, which performed escort duty whilst search and rescue attempts were made. Spearfish safely put in Rosyth on the 26th, and repairs were completed in early March 1940.

Lutzow in Kiel after being torpedoed by Spearfish on her way back from Norway.

Another notable action occurred on 11 April 1940, whilst patrolling in the Kattegat, under the command of Lieutenant Commander John Hay Forbes, she torpedoed and damaged the German Pocket battleship Lützow, putting her out of action for over a year.[1][2] At the time it was reported that she sank her sister ship the Admiral Scheer.[3] Later that year, on 20 May, she sank two Danish fishing vessels S. 130 and S.175 with gunfire in the North Sea.[1]

Spearfish sailed from Rosyth on 31 July 1940, still under the command of "Jock" Forbes, to patrol off the Norwegian coast. On 1 August she was spotted on the surface by U-34 under the command of Wilhelm Rollmann who attacked and sank her, about 180 miles west-southwest of Stavanger.[4] There was only one survivor,[5] Able Seaman William V. Pester.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b HMS Spearfish, Uboat.net
  2. ^ (Dutch) - Go2War2.nl - Deutschland
  3. ^ I Was There! - We Knew We Had Hit The 'Scheer', The War Illustrated, 3 May 1940.
  4. ^ a b "uboat.net". Retrieved 31 Jul 2012. 
  5. ^ Submarine losses 1904 to present day, RN Submarine Museum, Gosport

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 57°50′N 11°00′E / 57.833°N 11.000°E / 57.833; 11.000