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


HMS TORBAY (N 79) - T-class Submarine

HM S/M Torbay (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Part of 1st Group of T-Class Submarines and second of this Class ordered from HM Dockyard, Chatham on 15th June  1938 and laid down on 21st November 1938. This submarine was launched on 9th April 1940 as the 5th RN vessel to bear the name, introduced in 1693 for a 2nd Rate 80 Gun ship . The last to carry the name was a destroyer built in 1918 and transferred to Canada as HMCS CHAMPLAIN in 1928. Build was completed on 14th January and Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes had been changed to 79T. Acceptance Trials were carried out in the Clyde After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign  This  boat was adopted by the civil community of Paignton,  Devon in February 1942. This submarine which survived WW2 was probably the most successful and best known off all Chatham built submarines and had very extensive world wide deployments.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

VIGA 1702 - VELEZ MALAGA 1704 - QUIBERON BAY 1759 - BELLE ISLE 1759 - ST KITTS 1782 - THE SAINTS 1782 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941-43 - ARCTIC 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - AEGEAN 1943 - ATLANTIC 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944 - MALAYA 1945

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a field Gold, A bugle Blue, banded Red.


M o t t o

 Je maintendrai :   'I will maintain'


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


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January                  Commissioned for trials as part of 2nd Submarine Flotilla

                                Passage to Clyde to carry out Acceptance Trials

                                Commanding Officer Lieut. Cdr A C C Miers, RN


February                On completion joined 3rd Submarine Flotilla based in Clyde




                22nd       Deployed with Flotilla and carried out Bay of Biscay patrol for surveillance of

                                Nominated for service in Mediterranean with 1st Submarine Flotilla.

                                Passage to Mediterranean to join Flotilla.


April                       Joined Flotilla at Gibraltar

                                Carried out first patrol in Mediterranean

                                Attack on supply ship off Cape Ferranto failed when only one torpedo of a salvo of three

                                ordered was discharged.

                                (Note: One source records that this was not successful, mainly due to lack of drill.)

                                On completion took passage to Alexandria where Flotilla was based.


May.                       Deployed for interception patrols in the Dardanelles and Aegean.



                1st           Sank caique

                2nd         Sank another caique.

                6th          During subsequent patrol off Cape Helles torpedoed Vichy French tanker ALBERTA.

                                As the vessel did not immediately sink she was later destroyed by gun fire.

                10th .      Carried out unsuccessful torpedo attack on transport UTILITAS but sank Italian

                                tanker GUISEPPINI GHIRADI.

                11th        Sank caique.

                12th        Sank schooner GESURE E MARIA.

                16th        Returned to Alexandria

                28th        Sailed Alexandria for interception patrol in southern Aegean.

                                (Note: Other submarines in 1st Flotilla were:

                                TRUANT, TRIUMPH, TAKU, TERACH, REGENT, ROVER, OSIRIS, OTUS

                                RORQUAL, CACHALOT, PARTHIAN, PERSEUS, PANDORA, and Greek

                                KATSONIS., PAPANICOLIS, NEREUS, TRITON and GLAVKOS.


July                         During patrol carried out successful attacks sinking mercantile CITTA DI TRIPOLI,

                                 Italian submarine JANTINA and two caiques.


August                  Sailed for interception patrol during which 120 British troops were rescued from

                                Paxamadia off Crete.

                12th        Carried out unsuccessful attack on convoy and under sustained depth charge attacks by

                                escorting torpedo boat PARTENOPE.

                16th        Sank small sailing vessel.


September             Carried out interception patrol during which two attacks in Aegean failed.



                14th        Deployed with HM Submarine TALISMAN to landed commando units for raid on General

                                Rommelís headquarters.




December              Sank 8 small sailing vessels during patrol.

                15th        Sank Italian mercantile SEBASTIANO VENIER off North African coast

                                (Note: Regrettably this ship was carrying some 2,000 British PoW and 309 lost their lives.

                                This ship had been damaged by HM Submarine PORPOISE on 10th December.)

                23rd        Carried out attack on Italian destroyer AVIERI IN Navarino Bay.


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                27th        During attack on convoy, missed tanker but later seriously damaged 1,243 ton mercantile


March                    Deployed for interception patrol

                4th          Attack on destroyer failed.

                5th          After sight a northbound convoy in the Ionian Sea entered Corfu Roads to make a

                                torpedo  attack. Fired torpedoes at supply ships which was damaged despite continuous

                                depth charge attacks. (Note:  Lieut Cdr A C C Miers was awarded the Victoria Cross for

                                this daring exploit.)


April                       Nominated for return to UK to refit.

                9th          Sank small mercantiles off Corfu

                11th        Sank another small mercantile off Taranto

                                (Note: This was the last patrol under command of Lieut Cdr Miers.)

                19th        Sank small escort after pursuit of a convoy.


May                        On arrival in UK detached for temporary service with 5th Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth

to                            Deployed for interception patrol in Home waters.



August                  Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Devonport.




November              On completion of post refit trials worked-up for operational service with 3rd Flotilla in

                                Clyde. Commanding Officer, Lieut R J Clutterbuck RN.


December              Deployed with HM Submarines SEANYMPH, TAURUS and Polish submarine SOKOL

                                for patrol off Bear Island to provide support for passage of Russian Convoy JW51B to

                                Kola Inlet.

                                Nominated for return to Mediterranean


1 9 4 3


January                  Passage to Mediterranean for service based at Algiers.

                                Deployed for patrol off Valencia.


February                Mediterranean deployment based at Algiers in continuation..

to March.               During patrol in Tyrrhenean Sea sank four mercantiles totalling 11,552 tons , including

                                LILLOIS of 3,681 tons.

                                One other mercantile was torpedoed and sustained damage.


April                       Returned to Algiers from patrol during which one mercantile of 3,681 was sunk

                18th.       Sustained damage during an air raid at Algiers.

                                Towed to Gibraltar for repairs.


May                        Under repair by HM Dockyard Gibraltar.

to                             Nominated for support of planned allied landings in Sicily

July                         Operation HUSKY)


August.                 On completion of post repair trials resumed duties at Algiers

                                Carried out patrol off Elba in support of HUSKY and sank one mercantile of

                                2,609 tons.


September             Interception patrol based at Algiers in continuation.


October                  Transferred to Beirut for support of operations in Dodecanese.

                16th.       During patrol in Aegean sank 1,925 ton German mercantile KARI.

                                (Note: Whilst on this patrol was subject to several depth charge attacks.)

                                Transferred to Beirut


November              Interception patrols based at Beirut in continuation

to                            Sank a Floating Dock, German mercantile RAINA.

December              Came under anti-submarine attack after sinking a sailing caique


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January                  Beirut patrol deployment in continuation.

                                Deployed for interception patrols in Aegean with HM Submarines SUCCESS, UNRULY,

                                UNSPARING, Polish submarines SOKOL, DZIK and Polish DOLFIJN.

                26th        Carried out unsuccessful torpedo attack on escorted transport LEDA off Amorgos.

                31st         Sank sailing caique south east of Lemnos.


February                Aegean deployment from Beirut in continuation.

                                Patrolled without any successes

                                Nominated for return to Home waters with SIBYL, SOKOL and DZIK


March                    Passage to Portsmouth


April                       Under refit by HM Dockyard Portsmouth.

to                            Nominated for service with 4th Submarine Flotilla after work-up                               



August                  Passage to Clyde for work-up with 3rd Flotilla based at Holy Loch.

                                Commanding Officer, Lieut Cdr Norman DSO RN


September             On completion prepared for foreign service and took passage to Trincomalee to join

to                            Flotilla. Passage to Ceylon for service in East Indies Fleet.



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January                  Joined Flotilla for interception patrol and support of planned operations.

to                            Deployed with 4th Flotilla based at Trincomalee.

March                    Carried out interception patrol off coast off Malacca and sank coaster.



                7th          Carried out patrol off western Sumatra.

                                (Note: Landed parties for beach reconnaissance operations.)

                21st         Returned to Trincomalee on release.


May                        Embarked reconnaissance party from Ding Ding Island.


June                        During patrol in Malacca Strait sank coaster and two junks.


July                         East Indies Fleet patrol and support duties in continuation.




P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS TORBAY returned to UK in October and Paid-off. Placed in Reserve at Portsmouth  this submarine was put on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO on 19th December 1945 for demolition. by T W Ward at Briton Ferry. She arrived at the breakerís yard in tow on 29th January 1946.


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revised 28/11/10
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