HMS Spearfish (69S)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hms spearfish 69s.jpg
HMS Spearfish
United Kingdom
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
SPEARFISH badge-1-.jpg
General characteristics
Class and type: S-class submarine
  • 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
  • 13.75 knots (25.47 km/h; 15.82 mph) surfaced
  • 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) submerged
Complement: 39 officers and men
  • 6 × forward 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
  • 12 torpedoes
  • one three-inch gun
  • one .303-calibre machine gun

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.

Service history[edit]

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. The fleet was attacked by Junkers Ju 88 bombers of the Luftwaffe's Kampfgeschwader 30, and a bomb caused slight damage to HMS Hood. Spearfish safely put in Rosyth on 26 September, and repairs were completed in early March 1940.

Lutzow in Kiel harbor 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, 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 the German submarine U-34 under the command of Wilhelm Rollmann who attacked and sank her, about 180 miles (290 km) west-southwest of Stavanger.[4] There was only one survivor,[5] Able Seaman William V. Pester.[4]

See also[edit]


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