SUBMARINES:  CHATHAM BUILT

HM Submarine Sturgeon

The first five 'S' class boats were all built at Chatham.
Swordfish the first, laid down in December 1930 and Sturgeon the second, being laid down one month later on 1 January 1931 and launched on 8 January 1932 by Mrs Little.
These two sister boats almost became the first WW2 victims of so called friendly fire as will be seen below in Sturgeon s war time service..
Sturgeon started here war time service under the command of Lieutenant G. Gregory RN with the second Submarine flotilla in Dundee.
During the war, she had another three captains. Lieutenant commander D. St Clair-Ford RN; Lieutenant M. Wingfield RN and during the period she was loaned to the Dutch navy, Lieutenant Baron Mackay.
Active areas included, Home Patrols, Convoy Duty, Russia and the Mediterranean.
Sturgeon had two firsts in the war, On 20 November 1939 Sturgeon fired the first successful torpedo attack when she hit and sank the trawler Gauleiter Telshow (V209). In 1940 Lieutenant Gregory received a Bar to his DSO, this being the first for a submarine officer.
Just three days after the declaration of war, Sturgeon whilst on her way back to Dundee was bombed but she survived the attack.
In the same month, unaware of other allied craft operating in her area, she located and fired three torpedoes at another submarine. Fortunately, all three missed their target. The other boat had been her sister Swordfish which had successfully taken evasive action.
In October Sturgeon found another submarine and again fired and missed. This time the target was the enemy, the submarine being U25 under the command of Kapitän Viktor Schütze. The following year, U25 was sunk by mines, with the loss of all hands.
As stated earlier, Sturgeon sunk the trawler V209 in November 1939,
During this early stage of the war, Gregory received the DSO.
Other successes included the sinking of the transport Ponier in September 1940 and the 3300 ton Bolton Hagen in August of 1942.
September 1944 saw Sturgeon running out of Rothsay as part of the 7th Flotilla and on loan to the Dutch Navy under the command of Lt. Baron Mackey. At this time she was renamed Zeehond. She saw out the war as Zeehond and was returned to the Royal Navy in September 1945.

Sturgeon was sold for scrap and broken up in January 1946.



 


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