HMS Terrapin

Vessel name on Arrival: HMS Terrapin


Original Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Barrow / Bellis & Morcom Ltd, Ladywood

Original Yard No: 844

Official Number: 120287

Vessel Type: submarine

GRT: 1290

Year Built: 1942

Arrival Date: 23/04/1946

Breakup Started: 24/06/1946

Date First Beached: 21/03/1947

Date Breakup Completed: 21/08/1947

Draught For’d: 12' 0"

Draught Aft: 13' 0"

Name Changes:

Other Information:


HMS TERRAPIN                 British 'T' – Class submarine of the 3rd Group

19-10-1942  :  Laid Down

31-08-1942  :  Launched

22-01-1944  :  Commissioned


Dimensions :

Length  :  276' 6"  (84.28 mts.)  x  Beam  :  25' 6"  (7.77 mts.) 

Draught  :  12' 9" For'd  (3.89 mts.)   x   14' 7" Aft  (4.45 mts.)


Propulsion :

Twin Diesel Engines driving two prop shafts, each engine developing 2.500 HP

Two Electric Motors, each rated at 1,450 HP


Speed  :  15.5 knots – surfaced  /  9.0 knots submerged              Ranges  :   4,500 n.m. at 11 knots – surfaced


Test Depth  :  300 feet  (91 metres)                                              Complement  :  61 officers and ratings


Armaments :


6  x  internal forward-facing torpedo tubes                                 2  x  external forward-facing torpedo tubes

2  x  external amidships rear-facing torpedo tubes                     1  x  external rear-facing torpedo tube

6  x  re-load torpedoes                  1  x  3 inch deck gun              3  x  anti-aircraft machine guns


Wartime Career of HMS TERRAPIN

Apart from a brief period in home waters off the Scandinavian coast, Terrapin served in the Far East for much of her wartime career. She had a comparatively active career, since she was only commissioned on 22 January 1944.


In March 1944 she attacked a German convoy off Egersund, Norway, torpedoing and damaging the German katapult ship Schwabenland, and the German tanker Wörth, (the former Dutch Omala).  The Schwabenland was grounded to prevent her from sinking and the Wörth was towed to port.


Terrapin was then assigned to the Pacific Far East in mid 1944. She opened her career by bombarding Japanese installations at Gunung Sitoli (Nias Island), Western Sumatra. She also sank a Japanese coaster with gunfire and damaged another. She went on to sink the Japanese auxiliary netlayer, Kumano Maru, the Japanese minesweeper W 5, and ten Japanese sailing vessels, damaging another.


Terrapin often operated with her sister, HMS Trenchant and together they sank the Japanese tanker Yaei Maru No.6, the Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Reisui Maru, the Japanese submarine chaser Ch 8, a fishing vessel and seven coasters. Terrapin herself sank another small craft with gunfire.


She was damaged on 19 May 1945 by depth charges from Japanese escort vessels while attacking an escorted tanker West of Batavia, Java in the Java Sea. She escaped and returned to Fremantle, Australia. She was declared a constructive total loss on return to harbour, and was scrapped in April 1946 at the West of Scotland Shipbreaking Company of Troon.