HMS Starfish (19S)

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HMS Starfish.jpg
HMS Starfish
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Starfish
Builder: Chatham Dockyard
Laid down: 26 September 1931
Launched: 14 March 1933
Commissioned: 3 July 1933
Fate: Sunk 9 January 1940
Badge: STARFISH badge-1-.jpg
General characteristics
Class and type: S-class submarine
  • 730 long tons (740 t) surfaced
  • 927 long tons (942 t) submerged
Length: 202 ft 6 in (61.7 m)
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Draught: 11 ft 11 in (3.6 m)
Installed power:
  • 1,550 bhp (1,160 kW) (diesel)
  • 1,300 hp (970 kW) (electric)
  • 13.75 knots (25.47 km/h; 15.82 mph) surfaced
  • 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) submerged
Range: 3,700 nmi (6,900 km; 4,300 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) surface; 64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) submerged
Test depth: 300 feet (91.4 m)
Complement: 38

HMS Starfish was a first-batch S-class submarine (often called the Swordfish class) built for the Royal Navy during the 1930s. She was sunk by German ships in 1940.

Design and description[edit]

The S-class submarines were designed as successors to the L class and were intended to operate in the North and Baltic Seas.[1] The submarines had a length of 202 feet 6 inches (61.7 m) overall, a beam of 24 feet (7.3 m) and a mean draft of 11 feet 11 inches (3.6 m). They displaced 730 long tons (740 t) on the surface and 927 long tons (942 t) submerged.[2] The S-class submarines had a crew of 38 officers and ratings. They had a diving depth of 300 feet (91.4 m).[3]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 775-brake-horsepower (578 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 650-horsepower (485 kW) electric motor. They could reach 13.75 knots (25.47 km/h; 15.82 mph) on the surface and 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) underwater.[4] On the surface, the first-batch boats had a range of 3,700 nautical miles (6,900 km; 4,300 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) and 64 nmi (119 km; 74 mi) at 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) submerged.[3]

The boats were armed with six 21-inch torpedo tubes in the bow. They carried six reload torpedoes for a grand total of a dozen torpedoes. They were also armed with a 3-inch (76 mm) deck gun.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

HMS Starfish was built by Chatham Royal Dockyard and was launched on 14 March 1933.[2]

At the onset of the Second World War, Starfish was a member of the 2nd Submarine Flotilla. From 23-26 August 1939, the 2nd Submarine Flotilla deployed to the war bases at Dundee and Blyth.[5]

The boat sailed from Blyth for patrol on 5 January 1940. On 9 January, she sighted a German destroyer in the Heligoland Bight and attacked it. A communication problem caused the first attack to fail and as the submarine returned to periscope depth to carry out another attack she was attacked by depth charges. Further depth charge attacks forced Starfish to settle on the bottom and wait for the enemy to move on. At 18:15 Starfish returned to the surface, all confidential documents were destroyed and the submarine scuttled. The ship’s company were picked up by the waiting ships and taken as prisoners of war.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harrison, Chapter 16
  2. ^ a b c Chesneau, p. 49
  3. ^ a b McCartney, p. 4
  4. ^ Bagnasco, p. 110
  5. ^ Rohwer, p.1
  6. ^ Submarine losses 1904 to present day, RN Submarine Museum, Gosport
  7. ^ HMS Starfish,


Coordinates: 55°00′N 7°10′E / 55.000°N 7.167°E / 55.000; 7.167