HM Submarine Tradewind
Tradewind was ordered on the 25 August 1941 under the Emergency War Programme.
She was laid down on No.7 Slipway at Chatham Dockyard on 11 February 1942 as P329. Following orders from the Prime Minister that all Submarines should have names, she was renamed Tradewind . This being the second RN vessel of the name, it was first used in 1919.
Tradewind was completed on 25 September 1943.
Lt. S.L.C Maydon was her Captain and he remained in command until early in 1945.
Tradewind sailed north for her workup and was in Holy Loch with the 3rd Submarine Flotilla from December 1943 to March 1944. She sailed for her first war patrol in February, her orders were to intercept U-boats in the Northern Norway area.
On 20 February 1944 Tradewind sailed for Gibraltar en route to the Far East. She arrived in Trincomalee on 13 May 1944 and joined the 4th Submarine Flotilla.
In July of ’44 Tradewind took part in a gun action bombarding Sibolga on the West Coast of Sumatra. Through the rest of July and August she patrolled the Malaccca Straits.
On 7 September Tradewind sailed from Trincomalee to patrol the West Coast of Sumatra. Early into the patrol both the radar and the search periscope failed. Lt. Maydon decided to continue with the patrol.
On the 13th, Tradewind boarded a sampan in Sungei Pinang Bay, the crew were taken off before sinking the vessel.
A few days later Tradewind boarded a sailing prau, the Bintang Pasisir carrying nutmegs and cinnamon bark. The ships papers were taken and the prau was allowed to continue on its way. The papers revealed the craft had also been carrying Cement and nails. Lt Maydon went after the prau, sent the crew ashore and sank the boat.
On the same day another prau was found again carrying cement, this craft was also dispatched to the bottom.
On the 18 September they found the Junyo Maru a 5,000 ton Japanese freighter and two small escorts. A spread of four torpedoes were fired and the freighter soon sank. The sinking highlighted the downside of attacking these Japanese freighters known as Hell Ships. The Japanese did not recognise the Geneva Convention and therefore did not place a Red Cross on the hull of these ships to identify they were transporting POWs. The Junyo Maru was carrying 2200 POWs and more than 4000 Javanese conscripts. Only 900 survived the sinking: 680 were POWs who were sent to build the Burma Railroad.
Only 96 of these were alive at the end of the war.
In December of 44 Tradewind sailed on its last patrol under the command of the 4th Flotilla. During Cloak and Dagger operations, agents were landed and recovered on the North Coast of Sumatra. Tradewind then left the area to join the 8th Flotilla in Freemantle.
Late in 1944, Lt. Maydon was awarded the DSC. He would now hand the command of Tradewind to Lt J Nash.
Lt. Maydon, whilst commanding Umbra and Tradewind sank 10 ships of 40,000+ tons plus 5 small vessels by gunfire.
In January 1945, the British Pacific Fleet was to mount an attack on the oil refinery at Palembang. Submarines from the 8th Flotilla were to sail for the area to provide rescue support. On 12 January, Tradewind under the command of Lt. J Nash sailed from Freemantle with the Spiteful. The Fleet carried out two successful attacks on Palembang on the 24th and 29 January. During the second of these attacks, 16 aircraft from the fleet were lost. Unfortunately the submarines were not in position to pick up survivors.
Tradewind continued her rescue duties but did not miss the chance of a kill. On the 6th February she attacked a convoy off the East coast of Johore. The torpedo attacks were seen and the convoy avoided them. The escorts dropped depth changes which caused minor damage to Tradewind. On the 10th February another convoy was sighted but the escorts attacked Tradewind before she could set up her own attack. Fourteen depth charges were dropped, again, causing minor damage. Tradewind sat on the bottom in only 55 feet of water and waited for the escorts to leave the area.
In April Tradewind was patrolling the Gulf of Siam. On the 18th two junks and a tug was sunk. On the 28th she successfully attacked the 1100 ton tanker Takasago Maru. Another attack on a tanker was made on 3rd May but the after planes jammed and she got stuck in the muddy bottom. When she got moving again the tanker was gone. On the way home she carried out another attack on a small ship but all four torpedoes missed their target.
The patrol had lasted 52 days.
Tradewind returned home and in July 1945 back in Chatham, she was converted into an acoustic trials boat. She began trials in September 1946 at Loch Goil.
In 1953 she paid off into the reserve fleet and was broken up at Charlstown on 14 December 1955.
No. 7 Slipway at Chatham where Tradewind was built, was the birthplace of all 57 Chatham built submarines. The cast iron structure of the slipway dates back to 1853 and the cranes used at the time of Tradewinds build, date to 1901. The slipway can be viewed by visitors to Chatham Historic Dockyard.