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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006


HMS CLYDE (12 F) - Thames-class Submarine

HM S/M Thames, sister-boat (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Third THAMES-Class of Fleet Submarines ordered on 30th December 1932 from Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow and laid down on 15th March 1933. This submarine was launched on 15th March 1934 and was the 7th RN warship to use the name introduced in 1796 for a 5th Rate 38 gun ship. It was used in 1904 for a Base Ship until renamed COLUMBINE in 1913. Two minesweepers requisition during WW1 also carried this name.  Build was completed on 12th April 1935. In November 1938 she was deployed in the Mediterranean with the1st Submarine Flotilla based at Malta.


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue a signet ring Gold.


M o t t o

'Be strong'


S u m m a r y   o f  W a r   S e r v i c e


1 9 3 9


August                  Deployed in Malta with 1st Submarine Flotilla.

                                Nominated for transfer to Freetown for convoy defence duties.


September             Arrived at Freetown and deployed as part of the Ocean Escort for convoys to Indian Ocean

to                            (Note: This was primarily due to threat of attacks by commerce raiders.)



1 9 4 0


January                  Freetown deployment in continuation.

to                            Nominated for transfer to Home waters and took passage for service in North Sea.

March                    Commanding Officer: Lieut Cdr Ingram.


April                       On arrival in UK nominated for support of planned British minelaying operations to prevent

                                use of Norwegian Leads by enemy iron ore traffic (Operation WILFRED)

                9th          Took up station in North Sea for interception of German interference to WILFRED.

                                Remained in North Sea for interception patrol and support of allied operations after German

                                landings in Norway.

                                (HM Submarines SEVERN, SEALION, SPEARFISH, PORPOISE, NARWHAL, TRIDENT,

                                TRUANT, TAKU, TETRARCH, and French RUBIS were also deployed.)


May                        North Sea deployment in continuation.

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to N12.



                21st         Carried out successful torpedo attack on German battleship GNEISENAU and cruiser HIPPER

                                on passage from Trondheim for attacks on Atlantic convoys

                                Torpedo hit bows of GNEISENAU which was forced to return to harbour and enemy operation

                                was abandoned.

                                (Note: Repair lasted six months.)


July                         Deployed for interception patrol in North Sea.

                                Carried out erroneous torpedo attack on HM Submarine TRUANT during patrol which

                                fortunately missed.


August                  North Sea deployment in continuation




1 9 4 1


January                  Home waters deployment for interception in continuation.

to                            (Service in Bay of Biscay for surveillance of enemy warship movements to be confirmed.)

May                        Transferred to Mediterranean.


June                        Deployed with HM Submarine SEVERN and three Dutch submarines in 8th Submarine

                                Flotilla based at Gibraltar for interception of enemy convoys in western Mediterranean

                                (Note: HM Depot Ship MAIDSTONE provided support.)

                1st           Sank mercantile of 3,076 tons but another  later attack fails.

                2nd         Carried out two unsuccessful torpedo attacks on mercantiles

                8th          Carried out two torpedo attacks only on of which was successful

                16th        Sank sailing vessel of 3, 431 tons (?), possibly by surface gunfire.


July                         Flotilla duties at Gibraltar in continuation


August                  Deployed as part of escort for homeward convoy HGG70 during passage from Gibraltar to



September             Deployed for operations to intercept U-Boats active against Atlantic traffic

                                (Note: This was as a result of success in decyphering enemy wireless signals in GCHQ.)

                28th        Surprised two U-Boats being re-fuelled in Tarafal Bay, Cape Verde Islands and carried out

                                torpedo attack which regrettably failed when weapons exploded prematurely .


October                  Gibraltar deployment in continuation.




December              Carried out transport of stores to Malta and interception patrol duties.


1 9 4 2


January                  Gibraltar deployment in continuation.




April                       Nominated for transport of essential supplies to Malta.

                                (Note: Further details are available in MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

                16th        Passage from Gibraltar with fuel and ammunition.

                19th        Arrived in Malta.

                                Taken in hand for repair to forward hydroplanes

                26th        Sailed from Malta for return passage to Gibraltar.


May                        Gibraltar duties in continuation.




July                         Deployed at Gibraltar with HM Submarines SAFARI, P222 and PARTHIAN of 8th Flotilla..

                                Carried out transport of stores to Malta and returned with passengers in rotation with HMS


                                Commanding Officer: Lieut. Brookes.


August                  Malta stores transfer in continuation with HM Submarines OTUS and RORQUAL.





                10th        Carried out unsuccessful attack on U605.

                                Deployed with HM Submarines PARTHIAN, THRASHER* and TRAVELLER* for

                                transport of stores to Malta.

                                (* Submarines on passage to join 1st Flotilla in eastern Mediterranean which also

                                carried stores.)


November              Malta stores transport in continuation.


December              Flotilla interception duties in continuation at Gibraltar


1 9 4 3


January                  Nominated for refit.

to                            Under refit.

December              On completion of post refit trials and working-up for operational service deployed in Home



1 9 4 4


January                  Nominated for service in Eastern Fleet based at Trincomalee

to                            Passage to join 2nd Submarine Flotilla in Indian Ocean

May                        On arrival deployed for interception patrols.

                                Nominated for deployment with HM Submarine TANTIVY for support of planned Fleet



June                        Deployed with HMS TANTIVY to provide air-sea rescue duties during air attacks on Port

                                Blair in Andamans by HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS (Operation PEDAL).

                                During patrol carried out torpedo attack which damaged a mercantile.


July                         Flotilla deployment in continuation.





December              Embarked SOE personnel who were landed in Andamans for covert operation (Operation



1 9 4 5


January                  Flotilla deployment for interception patrol and support of covert operations

to                            Commanding Officer: Lieut R H Bull RN



March                    Carried out interception patrol during which a small mercantile and junk were sunk by

to                            surface gunfire.

April                       On release retuned to Trincomalee.



                9th          Sailed from Trincomalee for final patrol with two SOE parties who were to be landed in

                                the Andaman Islands for covert operations.

                                (Note: This was her 36th war patrol.)

                                Second SOE landing operation cancelled after defect in hydrophone equipment

                                Passage to Mombasa for repairs.


June                        Arrived at Kilindini.

                                Taken in hand for repair.


July                         On completion remained in area.


August                  Paid off in Durban and reduced to Reserve status after VJ Day.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS CLYDE was placed on the Disposal  List and sold to Joubert on 30th June 1946 for demolition. Later that year she was towed to the breakers yard in Durban. The name was reintroduced after 1947 when used by the RNVR training ship in Glasgow (Ex HMS CRICHTON).


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revised 25/11/10
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