SUBMARINES:  CHATHAM BUILT

HM Submarine Swordfish

Swordfish was the first of the Second Generation Patrol Submarines and ordered under the 1929 building programme.
She was launched on 10 November 1931 by Lady Tyrwhitt, the wife of Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt.
The first use of the name Swordfish was in 1895 and this submarine would be the third RN vessel to have the name.
Following her launch and ready for trials, Swordfish made her first trip outside the basin at Chatham via the North Lock at 11:50 on 18 July 1932. After her commissioning, she departed Chatham via the South Lock at 09:50 on 28 November 1932. Her life at sea had begun.

During the 1937 Coronation celebrations, Swordfish and another Chatham boat, Starfish were moored in St Katherine's Dock, London.

With the expected invasion of Norway in 1940, plans had been set in place to send all available submarines to patrol off the most likely landing areas. In April 1940, Swordfish was one of three boats already patrolling off North West Denmark.
On 18 April, Swordfish fired 6 torpedoes at a convoy but all missed their target.
On 4 August, Swordfish carried out a surface attack with three torpedoes, on a merchant ship, again all torpedoes missed their target. On 1 October and now under the command of Lieutenant M.A Langley, Swordfish fired four torpedoes at four Destroyers but again missed. Success finally came on 27 October when she attacked a convoy and claimed a hit on a merchant ship. She then returned to base. This would be the last patrol she would complete.
Swordfish sailed from Portsmouth on 8 November 1940 never to return. Nine years (almost to the day) after her launch at Chatham, she made her final dive in the company of 40 very brave men.

Her fate was unknown until 1983 when Martin Woodward a diver and founder of the Shipwreck Centre and Maritime Museum at Bembridge came across the wreck of Swordfish off the Isle of Weight.

The name of the commanding Officer of Swordfish, 28 year old Lt. M.A Langley DSC, can be found on the War Memorial in the grounds of St.Mary and St. Chad Church, Brewood.



 




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