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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005


HMS NARWHAL (45 M) - Grampus-class Minelaying Submarine

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

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PORPOISE-Class submarine ordered on 15th  March 1934  from Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow and laid down on 19th May 1934. This minelaying submarine was launched on 29th August 1935 and was the 2nd RN warship to bear  the name which was introduced in 1915 when given to an M-Class destroyer broken-up in 1920. Build was completed on 28th February 1937 and this submarine was then commissioned for service. In 1938 she was serving with the 5th Submarine Flotilla in the Home Fleet. After the outbreak of war in September 1939 she was deployed for convoy defence.


B a t t l e    H o n o u r  s


JUTLAND 1916 - ATLANTIC 1939 - NORTH SEA 1940 - NORWAY 1940


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Green, a Grampus Silver

(Note: After 1950 in a circular frame.)


M o t t o

Cave Quum Feriam: 'Beware when I strike'


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


1 9 3 9


September             Deployed for convoy defence in Home waters.

to November


December              Deployed in Atlantic with HM Submarine SEAL and four French submarines for escort of

                                HX Series of troop convoys during passage from Halifax to Clyde.

                                (Note: These convoys were subject to threat of surface attack by major German surface

                                warships as demonstrated by earlier loss of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser

                                RAWALPINDI in defence of an Atlantic convoy in November 1939.)


1 9 4 0


January                  Home Fleet deployment for convoy defence in NW Approaches


February                Deployed with HM Destroyers ESCAPADE, ESCORT, IMOGEN and INGLEFIELD as

                                escort for Convoy HN14 during passage to Norway in North Sea.

                25th        Sighted U63 on surface which dived.

                                (Note: U63 was surfaced after sustained depth charge attacks by the destroyers which

                                picked up 24 survivors. For details see U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)


March                    Nominated for minelaying operations off Norway based at Immingham.


April                       Commanding Officer Lieut. Cdr. RJ Burch, Royal Navy.

                4th          Deployed with HM Submarine PORPOISE for minelay off Norwegian coast to deny use of

                                Norwegian Leads for German mercantile iron ore traffic Part of Home Fleet operation


                                (Note: HM Submarine SEAL was deployed later after German invasion of Norway.)

                29th        Carried out minelay off Frederickstad.

                                (Note: This Field later claimed several sinkings.)


May                        Transferred to Blyth for future North Sea deployment.

                1st           Sank by torpedo, mercantile ss BUENOS AIRES and damaged mercantile BAHIA

                                BLANCA during  passage in southern North Sea to carry out minelay.

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to N45.


June                        Commanding Officer awarded DSO for conduct in successful hazardous submarine


                3rd          Carried out minelay off Feiestein.

                                (Note: German minesweeper M11 was sunk and two mercantiles damaged in this field on

                               6th June.)

                12th        Carried out minelay off Utsire.

                                (Note: This minefield later claimed one mercantile.)



                22nd       Sailed from Blyth to carry out minelay (FD22) off Kristiansund

                                (Note: Ordered to remain on surface during initial stage of passage.)

                23rd        Sunk by attack from Do17 aircraft whilst surfaced.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


This name was re-introduced in October 1957 when given to a patrol submarine launched by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow. She was deployed in the Active Fleet until placed on the Disposal List and sunk for use as an anti-submarine weapon target in 1982.


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