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


HMS TERRAPIN - T-class Submarine

HM S/M Telemachus, sister-boat (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 NORWAY 1944


Completed in January 1943 this submarine was first RN ship to carry the name. She joined the Home Fleet for patrol duties off the coast of Norway in March that year and on 24th carried out successful torpedo attacks sinking a transport and the catapult ship SCHWABENLAND off Egersund.


Transferred to the 4th Submarine Flotilla in the Eastern Fleet based at Colombo as part of the reinforcement she joined the station in the middle of 1944 and was deployed for the interception of coastal shipping off the Burma, Siam and in the Malacca Straits. On an early patrol she sank two small ships in the Malacca Straits and later in November sank the Japanese minesweeper SOKAITEI (W5), a transport and three small craft in the same area. Joint patrols were carried out with HMS TRENCHANT in December 1944 and in February to March 1945. Lt Commander Martin who had commanded since commissioning was relieved by Lieut. RHH Brunner in 1945. Whilst on the first joint patrol between 22nd Dec. 1944 and 4th January the two submarines sank 2 transports, 3 coasters and as several smaller vessels by surface gun attacks in the Malacca Straits. Further successes were achieved in February when five coastal ships were sunk and three junks. Transferred with the Flotilla to Fremantle in April 1945 this submarine was deployed for patrols in the Java Sea from 3rd May having sunk the Japanese submarine chaser KUSENTAI during a Malacca Straits patrol in March.


On the first operation from Fremantle she was deployed in the west Java Sea and grounded on May 15th on Arnemuiden Bank for two hours. She managed to break clear after discharging ballast, several thousand gallons of fuel and firing two forward torpedoes. Four days later she prepared to carry out a torpedo attack on tanker escorted by a two warships but again grounded and was subjected to persistent depth charge attacks which caused extensive damage to the pressure hull. As any attempt to surface in daylight would result in more attacks from the heavily armed frigate it was decided to remain submerged. On surfacing after dark the submarine was able to escape but unable to request assistance. On 21st May she met the US submarine USS CAVALLA which escorted her to Fremantle. Inspection revealed extensive structural damage and she was withdrawn from operational service. Declared a constructive loss she returned to UK in 1946 for demolition.


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