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


HMS TRUANT - T-class Submarine

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

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B a t t l e    H o n o u r s




First use of the name was for a destroyer built in 1915 and sold in 1931 before being given to this submarine in May 1939. Commissioned in September that year she was deployed with the 2nd Submarine Flotilla for North Sea patrols.


In March 1940 she sank a transport off the Danish coast and on 9th April carried out a torpedo attack off Kristiansund on the German cruiser KARLSRUHE which was so badly damaged that she had to be sunk by the torpedo boat GRIEF four hours later. Patrols off Norway continued and in June she sank a supply ship. The next month on 22nd July she was involved in an incident with HM Submarine CLYDE which carried out an attack. On her last North Sea patrol she intercepted a German freighter TROPIC SEA which was carrying 40 British prisoners who were rescued when the enemy mercantile scuttled.


After transfer to the Mediterranean she sank a ship off Ischia and later two more during a patrol in the Aegean off Albania. Her successes continued during 1941 whilst carrying out patrols off North Africa in the eastern Mediterranean. Between January and June that year she sank five ships and then operated from Alexandria with the 1st Submarine Flotilla. In an attack on a coastal convoy during October this submarine sank three of the ships under escort and on 11th December attacked the Italian torpedo boat ALCIONE which had her after structure blown off. This ship was later towed to the south coast of Crete and beached.


Despite the loss of eight RN submarines in the Mediterranean during 1941 she was transferred to join the Fleet at Singapore and sailed from Alexandria on 3rd January 1942. As Singapore had been abandoned she went to Sourabya and was deployed with Dutch and American submarines in the defence of the Dutch East Indies. During attacks on invasion convoys she sustained damage and after the fall of Java returned to Ceylon for service with the newly formed Eastern Fleet In March she carried out a patrol in the Malacca Straits and sank two Japanese mercantiles, YAE MARU (6,781 tons) and SHUNSEI MARU (4,939 tons) early the next month. On 9th April whilst returning to Colombo was diverted to carry out an attack on Japanese warships on passage to Ceylon to attack shore targets. This was unsuccessful. One source records that a refit was carried out at Ceylon during 1942 but as she was refitted with an experimental SCHNORKEL mast during 1944 but this was not retained and she reverted to normal design.


This submarine is not recorded as part of the Eastern Fleet after 1942 and must have returned to UK for an extensive refit. The award of the Battle Honour ATLANTIC 1944 may refer to an incident during deployment in Home waters or on the return passage to Ceylon. This submarine is recorded as having sunk an auxiliary Japanese minesweeper in May 1945 it suggests she had resumed service with the new East Indies Fleet by that time. However she is not recorded as being part of the Eastern Fleet in August 1945 which suggests a return to UK before VJ Day.


One final matter for record is that after being sold for demolition by T W Ward at Briton Ferry in December 1945 she broke from tow to the breakers yard a year later in a gale on 8th December 1946 and eventually was wrecked on the French coast near Cherbourg. Her early sale suggests that she was not considered worth retaining on the Active List. The Commanding Officer in 1945 was Commander A R Hezlet, RN (Later Vice Admiral Sir Arthur KBE, DSO, DSC*)


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revised 28/11/10
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