Author Topic: HM Submarine Tigris (1939 - 1943)  (Read 223 times)

Offline stuartwaters

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 686
HM Submarine Tigris (1939 - 1943)
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2021, 08:05:08 PM »
HMS Tigris was a T class submarine built at Chatham which served during the Second World War. In common with her many sister-boats of that class, she was powerfully armed, carrying 11 21" torpedo tubes 8 in the bow, 2 forward-facing amidships and one in the stern. She also carried a 4" gun in the forward part of the conning tower and a 20mm Oerlikon cannon in the after part, with machine guns on the bridge.

HMS Tigris was laid down on No7 slip on 11th May 1938. She was launched into the Medway by Mrs Lady Brown Rigg on 31st October 1939 and was commissioned at Chatham on 20th June 1940, with Lt Cdr Howard Francis Bone in command. Following trials and workup, she joined 7th Submarine Flotilla operating out of Rothesay.

HMS Tigris:

HMS Tigris Crest:

She spent the early part of her career patrolling in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, where on 16th October 1940, she claimed her first victim, sinking the French coaster (in German service) Cimcour with gunfire.

She transferred to Holy Loch after her 3rd war patrol ended on 19th October 1940. She departed from there for her 4th war patrol on 6th November 1940, but developed a problem with her starboard engine the following day and had to put into Milford Haven for repairs, which were completed the day after that. On 13th November 1940, she claimed her second victim, the French sailing vessel Charles Edmond. This turned out to be a bit of a performance. She fired a torpedo from 800 yards, but this ran under the target. Surfacing to engage with gunfire, the weather was too poor and the sea too rough for accurate gunnery from a submarine, even at close range. Very few hits were obtained, but despite this, the French crew abandoned ship. Tigris's commander decided to fire a 2nd torpedo at the by now stopped ship. The torpedo exploded at the correct time, but nothing else appeared to happen. Lt Cdr Bone assumed the torpedo had struck the sea bed and exploded, so decided to depart the scene. According to later French sources, the 2nd torpedo did hit the target, which promptly sank. This war patrol passed without further incident and ended on 29th November 1940 at Holy Loch. During this patrol, Lt Cdr Bone was awarded the DSO.

Her 5th war patrol in the Bay of Biscay, between 21st December 1940 and 11th January 1941 passed without incident. During that patrol, Lt Cdr Bone added a DSC to his DSO.

Her 6th war patrol started on 3rd February 1941 and on 12th, she torpedoed and sank the French merchantman Jacobsen. Exactly a week later, she torpedoed and sank the French merchant vessel Guilvinec.

Her 7th war patrol started Holy Loch on 17th March 1941. On 3rd April, HMS Tigris had a running battle with the armed German tanker Thorn. After Tigris opened fire with 4 torpedoes from 2500 yards, the enemy vessel made a large course alteration, which caused all the torpedoes to miss. She fired a further 2 torpedoes from 1500 yards which also missed. Tigris then engaged the enemy in a running gun battle from 750 yards which went on for an hour and a half until all the enemy's guns were knocked out. During this battle, the enemy vessel made 4 attempts to ram the Tigris. After a number of hits from her 4" gun on the waterline, the enemy ship appeared to develop a list and when she lay stopped, Lt Cdr Bone opened the range and finished the Thorn off with a torpedo, which hit the Thorn amidships. On 14th April 1941, this war patrol ended at Holy Loch.

Her 8th war patrol passed without incident between 1st May and 12th June 1941. Her 9th war patrol to the Bay of Biscay started from Holy Loch on 18th June and on 5th July, HMS Tigris torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Michele Bianchi. Her 9th war patrol ended on 10th July at Holy Loch. During this patrol, Bone is promoted to Commander.

On 26th July 1941, HMS Tigris left Holy Loch bound for Polyarnoe, Russia, in order to commence war patrols off Northern Norway. She arrived there on 4th August and started her 10th war patrol there on 11th. On 17th, she torpedoed and sank the Norwegian cargo liner Haakon Jarl. A week later, her war patrol ended at Polyarnoe.

On 3rd September, her 11th war patrol commenced at Polyarnoe and on 13th, she torpedoed and sank the Norwegian passenger ship Richard With. On 17th, an attack on the German cargo liner Bessheim failed when all 4 torpedoes fired missed their target. During this war patrol, Cdr Bone is awarded a bar to his DSO. The patrol ended on 21st September at Polyarnoe.

Her 12th war patrol commended at Polyarnoe on 6th October 1941. On 11th, she attacked a convoy, but all torpedoes fired missed their targets. Bad luck contined to stalk her when an attack on another convoy on 14th October was called off when a torpedo was fired too early and later the same day, she launched another unsuccessful attack on a further convoy. This war patrol ended on 16th October.

On 20th October, HMS Tigris left Polyarnoe bound for Holy Loch, arriving there on 28th. On 10th December she went from there to Scapa Flow, arriving on 12th. Following W/T Exercises, she left Scapa Flow for her 13th war patrol on 16th December, to patrol off Northern Norway to cover the Lofoten Raids. The following day she was recalled and the patrol was resumed on 19th December and ended without incident on 12th January 1942 at Holy Loch.

On 30th January, she departed Holy Loch for her 14th war patrol, with a new commander, Lt L W Napier RN. She was ordered to patrol off Trondheim because the German Battleship Tirpitz had moved there from the Baltic. This patrol ended without incident on 15th February 1942 at Lerwick. Later the same day, she was ordered to return to Holy Loch in company with HMS Sturgeon, escorted by HMS Beaumaris, arriving there on 18th. On 20th, she departed Holy Loch for Devonport Dockyard, where she was to refit.

On completing her refit on 21st July 1942, she departed Devonport bound for Holy Loch for trials and workup, with another new commander, Lt Cdr G R Colvin RN. On 31st August, Tigris left Holy Loch for Lerwick, arriving on 2nd September. On the same day, she departed for her 15th war patrol, covering convoy PQ18 to Russia. On 10th September, she fired 5 torpedoes at the German Heavy Cruiser Hipper, believing it was the Tirpitz, but they all missed. On 1st October 1942, this war patrol ended at Lerwick and on the same day, HMS Tigris departed Lerwick bound for Sheerness, arriving there on the 6th. She then came home to Chatham for repairs and to be fitted with radar.

HMS Tigis is then shown as departing Sheerness on 6th November 1942 bound for Portsmouth, arriving there on 7th and departing the same day bound for Gibraltar, arriving on 15th. On 25th November 1942, HMS Tigris started her 16th war patrol to conduct anti-uboat operations off Sardinia. On 5th December, she is ordered to a new patrol area off Naples. On 6th December 1942, HMS Tigris torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Porfido. On 16th December 1942, her 16th war patrol ended at Algiers.

On 27th December, she departed Algiers bound for Malta, arriving on 2nd January 1943. Following a short period of maintenance, HMS Tigris departed Malta for her 17th war patrol on 14th January 1943 and a week later, she torpedoed and sank the Italian cargo ship Citta di Genova. On 24th, she launched an unsuccessful attack against an escorted merchant vessel off Ulcinj, Montenegro, Yugoslavia. All 4 torpedoes missed their target and HMS Tigris was depth charged for half an hour for her trouble, suffering no damage or casualties. Her 17th war patrol ended on 4th February 1942 at Malta.

Her 18th war patrol commenced at Malta on 18th February, with orders to patrol off Naples. On 6th March 1943, a signal sent to HMS Tigris ordering her to end her patrol and proceed to Algiers went unacknowledged and she failed to arrive on 10th as expected. She was declared overdue on that date. The Admiralty assumed that HMS Tigris had been lost to a mine.

After the war, German records revealed that the German sub chaser UJ2210, while escorting a convoy, had attacked a submarine with depth charges 6 miles south-east of Capri on 27th February 1943. On the third pattern of depth charges, oil was seen on the surface. Sonar showed that the target was now stationary, so a 4th pattern was dropped, after which a huge bubble of air broke surface. It is likely that the submarine was HMS Tigris and that she was destroyed and lost with all hands in that attack.

During her career, HMS Tigris had been adopted by the town of Newbury, Berkshire. Every year, on the Sunday closest to 27th February, a Remembrance service for Lt Cdr Colvin DSC RN, the 5 other officers and 57 men lost in HMS Tigris is held in the church of St Nicholas, Newbury.

A link to the crew list of HMS Tigris at about the time she was lost:
"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.