Allied Warships

HMS Rorqual (N 74)

Submarine of the Porpoise class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassPorpoise 
PennantN 74 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered1 May 1935 
Laid down1 May 1935 
Launched21 Jul 1936 
Commissioned10 Feb 1937 
End service 
History

Upon returning from her Far East deployment HMS Rorqual went into reserve on 28 July 1945. Sold to be broken up for scrap on 19 December 1945. Scrapped at Newport on 17 March 1946.

 

Commands listed for HMS Rorqual (N 74)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Ronald Hugh Dewhurst, RN25 Aug 19391 Jun 1941
2Lt. Lennox William Napier, RN1 Jun 194119 Jan 1942
3Lt. Alan Hamilton Barnett Anderson, DSC, RNR19 Jan 194216 Apr 1942
4Lt. Lennox William Napier, RN16 Apr 19421 Dec 1943
5Lt. Guy Stewart Chetwode Clarabut, DSO, RN1 Dec 194327 Mar 1944
6Lt. John Philip Holroyde Oakley, DSC, RN27 Mar 194428 Jul 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Noteable events involving Rorqual include:


14 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) lays a minefield (50 mines) off Brindisi, Italy.

The minefield was laid from 1027 to 1055 hours (no time zone given in the patrol report).

15 Jun 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) makes an unsuccessful torpedo attack on an Italian submarine in the Strait of Otranto.

The attack took place 0120 hours (no time zone given in the patrol report).

21 Jul 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) hit the Italian merchant Securitas (5355 GRT) with a torpedo off Tulmaythah, Libya. Unfortunately it's a dud.

Rorqual also lays a minefield on this day.

24 Jul 1940
The Italian merchant Celio (3872 GRT) is sunk off Tulmaythah, Libya in position 32°39'N 21°03'E after hitting a mine laid on 21 July 1940 by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN).

14 Aug 1940
The Italian merchant Leopardi (3298 GRT) is sunk off Tulmaythah, Libya in position 32°39'N, 21°03'E in a minefield laid on 21 July 1940 by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN).

17 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) laid a minefield (50 mines) off Tukrah, Libya.

21 Aug 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) attacked an Italian convoy missing the Italian merchants Verace (1219 GRT) and Doris Ursino (891 GRT) with torpedoes about 5 nautical miles north of Ras Hilal, Libya in position 33°08'N, 22°10'E. Following this failed attack Rorqual was heavily depth charged by the Italian torpedo boat Generale Achille Papa. (1)

25 Sep 1940
The Italian pilot vessel F 34 / Rina Croce (569 GRT) sank off Brindisi, Italy in a minefield laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN). The mine was laid on 14 June 1940.

4 Oct 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) lays a minefield (50 mines) off Benghazi, Libya.

5 Nov 1940
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) lays a minefield (50 mines) north-west of Tripoli, Libya in position 34°14'N, 11°56'E. A further 50 mines were laid by Rorqual in the same position 4 days later.

5 Dec 1940
The Italian torpedo boat Calipso (679 tons) sank about 6 nautical miles north-west of Cape Misurata, Libya after hitting a mine laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN).

23 Dec 1940
The Italian torpedo boat Fratelli Cairoli (625 tons) sank off Misurata, Libya after hitting a mine laid by HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN).

28 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) lays a minefield of 29 mines off Sansego Island (now Susak Island, Croatia) and lays another minefield 21 miles off Ancona, Italy

31 Jan 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) attacked the tug Ursus and a floating battery in the Adriatic north west of Dubrovnik. After completing an operation to lay mines off Fiume the submarine came across an unusual target she sighted a floating battery of two 5-inch guns and an anti-aircraft gun, mounted on a lighter which was being towed by an armed tug. The lighter could hardly be torpedoed, as she was of too shallow draft for the normal depth setting of the torpedoes, and the only other weapon the Rorqual had was a single 4-inch gun. Undeterred by the odds against him, Dewhurst surfaced at about 500 yards range. She hit the Ursus with her first shot and set it on fire, then shifted her fire to the battery. Again she hit, starting a blaze amidships, but the Italians in the tug were gallant men and ignoring the fire in their small vessel, they manned their guns and opened fire on the Rorqual. She was forced to shift her fire from the battery and engage the Ursus again. This time she made certain of her. She was ablaze fore and aft and those of her crew who had not been killed were forced to abandon her. But the men manning the floating battery were no less gallant than their companions in the Ursus. Although their own craft was on fire amidships, they manned the two guns and by their accurate fire forced the Rorqual to dive. Dewhurst then set a torpedo to run on the surface and carried out a submerged attack, only to find that the torpedo developed a gyro failure and was returning on its own tracks. He had to take the Rorqual deep to avoid it. When last seen, the Ursus was in the act of sinking and the battery still heavily on fire. The battery however did not sink she was later towed to Dubrovnik.

31 Jan 1941
The Italian torpedo boat Francesco Stocco broke in two when she hits a mine of Sansego Island. The mine was laid on 28 January 1941 by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN).

Both parts of the Stocco were towed to Fiume. The ship was repaired and returned to service.

27 Feb 1941
The Italian merchant Ischia (5101 GRT) is damaged when she hits a mine of Ancona, Italy. The mine was laid on 28 January 1941 by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN).

25 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) lays a minefield some 5 miles north-east of Capo Gallo, Sicily, Italy in approximate position 38°06'N, 12°31'E.

The next day an Italian convoy ran into this minefield, losing the ships Verde (1432 GRT) and Ticino (1470 GRT).

On the 28 March 1941 the Italian torpedo boat Generale Antonio Chinotto (697 tons) also sank in this minefield.

30 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian tanker Laura Corrado (3645 GRT) north-east of Capo Gallo, Sicily, Italy in position 38°45'N, 12°20'E.

31 Mar 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian submarine Pier Capponi (770 tons) south of Stromboli, Italy in position 38°23'N, 15°15'E.

11 May 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) lays 50 mines in the Gulf of Saloniki. The claimed sinking (by Prof Rohwer) on the same day of an Italian freighter named Genoa Perossi of 2000 tgr is unsubstantiated as such ship never existed and no record can be found of a sinking in this area at this time.

12 May 1941
HMS Rorqual (Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN) sank two Greek sailing vessels with gunfire off Lemnos, Greece.

25 Aug 1941
HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines off Cap Skinari, Greece.

28 Aug 1941
HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Cilicia (2747 GRT) about 40 nautical miles south-south-west of Schiza Island in position 36°25'N, 21°01'E.

8 Oct 1941
HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines in the Gulf of Athens.

20 Oct 1941
The Italian torpedo boats Altair and Aldebaran (both 647 tons) run into a minefield laid by Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) on 8 October 1941 and sink south of the Gulf of Athens, Greece in position 37°22'N, 23°52'E.

21 Oct 1941
HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 10 mines off Isola dei Cavoli off south-east Sardinia.

22 Oct 1941
HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 40 mines off Capo Ferrato, south-east Sardinia.

19 Nov 1941
HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines in the Bay of Biscay near La Rochelle, France. The same day the French fishing vessel Coligny (600 GRT) hits one of these mines and sinks.

9 Feb 1942
The Italian merchant Salpi (2715 GRT) hits a mine and sank 2 nautical miles bearing 100 of Cape Ferrato, Sardinia, Italy. The mine was laid on 22 October 1941 by Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN).

30 Aug 1942
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines south-east of Corfu. She also torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Monstella (5311 GRT) in the Ionian Sea off Corfu Island in position 39°32'N, 19°53'E.

8 Dec 1942
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 33 mines off Bizerte, Tunisia.

13 Dec 1942
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 11 mines off Isola d'Ischia near Naples, Italy.

18 Dec 1942
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Piero Foscari (3423 GRT) in the Gulf of Gaeta, Italy north-east of Ischia island in position 40°53'N, 13°39'E. The damaged Italian vessel is towed to port.

21 Dec 1942
The Italian auxiliary minesweeper AS 99 / Zani sank off La Golette on a mine laid by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN).

18 Jan 1943
The German troop transport Ankara (4768 GRT) sank about 5 nautical miles north-east of Cani Island on a mine laid the same day by the British submarine Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN). Rorqual laid 48 mines that day.

24 Feb 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines off Isola Marettimo, to the west of Sicily, Italy.

22 Mar 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines off Trapani, Sicily, Italy.

4 Apr 1943
The (brand-new) Italian merchant Carbonello A. (1593 GRT) is damaged when she hits a mine off Trapani, Sicily, Italy. The mine was laid by HMS Rorqual.

22 Apr 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines off Isola Favignana west of Sicily, Italy.

30 Apr 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines off Isola Marettimo, to the west of Sicily, Italy.

15 May 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, RN) lays 50 mines off Punta Stilo, Calabria, Italy.

2 Jul 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays 29 mines off the Gulf of Kassandra, Greece.

At 1057 hours (time zone -3) Rorqual laid the first mine in position 196°,Kassandra Point, 2.0 nautical miles. 29 mines were laid in direction 140° for 0.8 nautical mile, thence 270° for 0.8 nautical mile. Depth setting was 10 feet, spacing 300 feet.

3 Jul 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays her remaining 21 mines in the Skiathos Channel.

At 0957 hours (time zone -3) Rorqual laid the first mine in position 349°, Cape Sepias, 5.1 nautical miles. 21 mines were laid in direction 100°, over a total length of 1.2 nautical miles. The lay was completed at 1012 hours.

7 Jul 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the German tanker Wilhemsburg (7020 GRT, former Greece Petrakis Nomikou) about 5 nautical miles west of Tenedos Island, Greece in position 39°55'N, 25°50'E.

At 0510 hours (time zone -3), while Rorqual was in position 310° Ponente light (Tenedos) 13 nautical miles, two destroyers were sighted 4 nautical miles away slowly proceeding towards the Dardanelles. Lt.Cdr. Napier judged that this must be the escort for the expected convoy. At 0703 hours smoke was seen coming from the straits and the destroyers made off to close the straits.

At 0802 hours the convoy was seen to form up. It consisted of a large tanker, the two destroyers sighted earlier, a corvette with three aircraft overhead.

At 0859 hours four torpedoes were fired. Two hits were obtained. Immediately after the attack 16 depth charges were dropped. They were near enough to do some light damage such as to lights and some minor fittings.

At 1025 another 10 depth charges were dropped but these were not at all close. At 1050 hours Rorqual came to periscope depth. The corvette was seen hunting about two nautical miles away. Nothing else was in sight.

5 Aug 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays 29 mines off the Gulf of Saloniki, Greece.

6 Aug 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays her remaining 21 mines off Lemnos, Greece.

7 Aug 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the French merchant (in German service) Nantaise (1798 GRT) in the Aegean Sea in position 38°05'N, 25°48'E.

7 Sep 1943
The French merchant (in German service) P.L.M. 24 (5391 GRT) sank in the Aegean some 10 nautical miles north of Skiathos Island, Greece in position 39°22'N, 23°25'E on a mine laid by the British submarine HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN).

9 Sep 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays 15 mines off Trikeri, Greece.

10 Sep 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays another 15 mines in the Skiathos Channel.

11 Sep 1943
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Napier, DSO, RN) lays her remaining 20 mines off Lemnos, Greece.

3 Jan 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) lays 50 mines (minefield ML 022) off Phuket, Siam.

4 Jan 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) lays another 10 mines (minefield ML 023) off Phuket, Siam. These mines were laid from the torpedo tubes.

22 Jan 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) lays 50 mines (minefield ML 026) off the Ritchies Archipelago to the east of Andaman Island.

23 Jan 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) lays 12 mines from her torpedo tubes (minefield ML 027) off the Andaman Islands.

25 Mar 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) sank a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire west of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies.

27 Mar 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) sank two Japanese coasters and damaged a third with gunfire west of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies.

2 Apr 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) sank two Japanese sailing vessels with gunfire west of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies.

10 May 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) lays a minefield off Batavia, Java, Netherlands East Indies.

11 May 1945
HMS Rorqual (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) sank a Japanese coaster with gunfire in the western part of the Java Sea.

Media links


Diary of a Submariner

de Majnik, John

Sources

  1. Personal communication

Return to the Allied Warships section