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HMS Parthian IV (UK)

Royal Navy "Parthian Class" Long Range Patrol Submarine
1929-1943

HMS Parthian (UK) HMS Parthian (UK) HMS Parthian (UK) HMS Parthian (UK) HMS Parthian (UK)
Crest of HMS Parthian (plaque size: 18 x 23 cm)

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.


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.

Other action:


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.


The Royal Navy Submarine Museum Collections includes the ship's crest, the ship's bell, artwork and many artifacts concerning the HMS Parthian.


This page last updated 26 Jan 2011

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