HMS Parthian IV (UK)
Royal Navy "Parthian Class" Long Range Patrol Submarine
Crest of HMS Parthian: crest is made of brass and is circular in
shape. Embossed around the edge is rope, and in the centre is a naked man riding
a horse, looking backwards and shooting an arrow.
- Displacement - surface 1760 tons, submerged 2040 tons [1,475 tons per
Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy]
- Dimensions - length 88.4 m, beam 9.12 m, draft 4.9 m [260 x 30
feet per Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy]
- Armament - eight (21-inch?) torpedo tubes, sixteen torpedoes (6 bow, 2 stern
tubes), one 4-inch gun
- Range - 10500 nm, endurance 40 days
- Construction - 'Parthian' P Class
- Propulsion - two shafts
- Engines - two Admiralty diesel engines, 4640 bhp; two electric motors 1635 shp.
- Speed - surface 17.5 kts; submerged 8.6 kts
- Builder - HM Dockyard Chatham
- Launch date - 22 June 1929
- Pennant - 75P
- Commissioned - 13 January 1931
- Complement - 6 officers, 47 Ratings
The HMS Parthian was built by HM Dockyard Chatham in 1929. Lost
on en route from Malta to Beirut in 1943.
The Parthian had high capacity batteries giving greater underwater endurance than her class mates.
Transferred from China to the Mediterranean in 1940, stationed at Alexandria (Egypt) in May 1940 under Commander Rimmington she sank the Italian submarine
Diamante off Tobruk. By the end of 1940 her base had been transferred to Lazaretto, Malta as part of the 8th Flotilla.
Parthian sank the Vichy French submarine Le Souffleur in
waters off the Lebanese coast on 25 June 1941. Souffleur had engine problems, and was forced to recharge its batteries during the
day, making it an easy target for the British submarine. Souffleur sank 38 meters
deep in front of Khalde, and is still intact.
In 1942, Parthian went to the USA to be refitted and then returned to the
Mediterranean under the command of Lieutenant-Commander D St. Clair Ford. Later she was commanded by Commander Michael St. John. In
1942-1943 conducted supply runs in Mediterranean, visiting Malta in July, October and November
19 42, transporting aviation fuel and ammunition. To gain space, one battery compartment
and the spare torpedo compartment were turned over to supply areas, as were some of the
crew and storage areas. Some of the fuel, lubricant, water and ballast tanks were turned over to aviation fuel bunkers.
In February 1943, she was the only British submarine stationed at Beirut along with the Greek sub
Papanicolis. She then returned to Malta under the command of Lieutenant C. A. Pardoe.
In July 1943, HMS Parthian sailed from Malta for a patrol in the southern Adriatic. On the 26th she was ordered to patrol off Capo Otranto. This order was cancelled on the 28th when a new patrol area was given. The submarine was
signaled on 6th August to leave the patrol. This signal was not acknowledged and
no further contact was made with the submarine. Parthian was due to arrive at Beirut on 11th
August 1943, and her failure to do so was presumably due to a mine off Brindisi,
southeastern coast of Italy, while returning to Beirut, on or around 6th August.
- 19 Jun 1940 Lt. Cdr. M. G. Rimington fires two torpedoes at
the old Italian armoured cruiser San Giorgio off Tobruk. The torpedoes however
got stuck in the net defences.
- 20 Jun 1940 Lt. Cdr. M. G. Rimington torpedoes and sinks the
Italian submarine Diamante some 30 miles off Tobruk in position 32.42N,
- 20 Jul 1940 Lt. Cdr. M. G. Rimington landed an agent on
- 31 Aug 1940 Lt. Cdr. M. G. Rimington attacks the Italian
cruisers Giuseppe Garibaldi and Luigi di Savoia Duca Delgi Abruzzi in the
Ionian Sea 105 nautical miles east-south-east of Cape Spartivento, Italy in
position 37.45N, 18.22E. All torpedoes fired missed their target.
- 9 Jan 1941 Lt. Cdr. M. G. Rimington torpedoes and sinks the
Italian merchant Carlo Martinolich (4208 BRT) off Cape Spartivento,
Calabria, Italy in position 38.28N, 16.44E.
- 16 Mar 1941 Lt. Cdr. M. G. Rimington torpedoes and damages
the Italian merchant Giovanni Bocaccio (3141 BRT) in the central
Mediterranean in position 35.57N, 15.40E.
- 3 Jun 1941 Cdr. M. G. Rimington torpedoes and damages the
Italian oiler Strombo (5232 BRT) in the Zea Channel in position 39.57N,
- 8 Jun 1941 Cdr. M. G. Rimington sinks 2 sailing vessels and
an other small vessel at Mitylene, Lesbos, Greece. Parthian fired two
torpedoes in the harbour.
- 25 Jun 1941 Cdr. M. G. Rimington torpedoes and sinks the
Vichy French submarine Souffleur off Beirut in position 33.49N, 35.26E.
- Refitted in USA end of 1941 to March 1942
- Adopted by Boston, Lincs 1942
- 16 Nov 1942 At 1048 hours HMS Parthian fires four torpedoes against a
convoy made up of the small Italian tanker Labor (510 BRT), the German
merchant Menes (5609 BRT) escorted by the Italian torpedo boats Calliope
and Climene north-east of Isola Marettimo, Italy in position 38?03'N, 11?51'E. All
torpedoes fired missed their target(s).
- 28 Mar 1943 sinks the Greek sailing vessel Archangelos (120
BRT) with gunfire and ramming in the Aegean Sea in position 39.19N, 25.18E.
- 29 Mar 1943 sinks the Greek sailing vessel Angela Mitylene (120 BRT) off Mitylene, Greece.
- 4 Apr 1943 sinks the Italian San Isidro Labrador (322 BRT)
off Merichas, Greece.
- 4 May 1943 Lt. M. B. St. John sinks the Italian sailing
vessels Despina II and Spina Secundo (both 13 BRT) with gunfire off Kos,
- 5 May 1943 Lt. M. B. St. John attacks the German auxiliary
minelayer Drache with gunfire 7 miles north-east of Doro in position
- 7 May 1943 Lt. M. B. St. John sinks the Italian sailing
vessel Barbara some 10 miles north of Cape Stavros, Naxos, Greece
- 25 Jun 1943 attacks the German merchant Gerda Toft in the
Aegean Sea off Cape Midia. Possibly there was one dud torpedo hit.
There were six Parthian Class submarines: Parthian, Perseus, Poseidon,
Proteus, Pandora and Phoenix. All were lost. This class had identity letters on the tower
(Parthian being PN, and thus known as 'Peanut' (PeaNut). These boats were very similar to the O-classes of boats but slightly larger to accommodate more powerful machinery. Some of the fuel tanks were moved inboard and the long range external tanks were of welded construction to cure the fuel seepage of earlier classes. Like the O-classes these boats were designed for the Far East and suffered heavy losses in the confines of the Mediterranean.
Navy Submarine Museum Collections includes the ship's crest, the ship's
bell, artwork and many artifacts concerning the HMS Parthian.