HM Submarine Sterlet
The 1935 submarine building programme consisted of 3 boats. One Shark class, one Triton class and one Grampus class. Sterlet was the Shark class boat. She was the last of the Shark class ( Group 2) boats.
Experience gained from the first group of boats had suggested the need for modifications. This resulted in the Group 2 boats having their internal arrangements simplified. Operation and maintenance of equipment was made easier.
Sterlet was laid down on 14 July 1936 and launched by Lady Talbot on 22 September 1937. She was finally completed on 6 April 1938.
Sterlet short wartime service was spent on the Norwegian Campaign. Although this campaign would seem to be relatively unsuccessful in terms of kills and the loss of three boats, the very presence of our boats operating in the area, forced the Germans to adopt a Convoy System for ship movements. This delayed sailings and tied up resources.
Sterlet one success in this area was on 14 April 1940 when, under the command of Lt.Cdr. G.H.S. Haward she torpedoed and sunk the German gunnery training ship Brummer in the Kattegat.
Any celebration of this success would have been short lived as disaster was just a few days away.
On 18 April 1940 HMS/m Sterlet. was lost with all hands. There are differing reports on her loss. The overwhelming conclusion is that she was sunk by the action of three anti submarine trawlers UJ125, UJ126 and UJ128.
Henry Thomsett, the brother of one of the founder members of the East Kent Branch of the Submariners Association was lost on Sterlet. The branch remembers the crew of Sterlet and all submariners who lost their lives , when they attend a short memorial service at St Peter's Churchyard in Broadstairs, Kent, on Remembrance weekend each year.
My thanks to Shaun Gaines for the picture and information on his Great Uncle, Walter (Reg) Sargant and to Tristan Allen for the picture of his Great Grandfather Gerard Haward.