Allied Warships

HMS Snapper (N 39)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantN 39 
Built byChatham Dockyard (Chatham, U.K.) 
Ordered12 Jun 1933 
Laid down18 Sep 1933 
Launched25 Oct 1934 
Commissioned14 Jun 1935 
Lost12 Feb 1941 
History

HMS Snapper (Lt. Geoffrey Vernon Prowse, RN) sailed from the Clyde to patrol in the Bay of Biscay off Ushant. She was not heard from again. It is possible that she fell victem to a German minefield. However it is also possible that she was sunk by German warships since a submarine attacked the German minesweepers M-2, M-13 and M-25 on the night of the 10/11th February in the area where Snapper might have been. The submarine was subjected to a counter-attack in which 56 depth charges were dropped in position 47º52'N, 05º47'W.

 

Commands listed for HMS Snapper (N 39)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. William Donald Aelian King, RN16 Apr 193924 Dec 1940
2Lt. Geoffrey Vernon Prowse, RN24 Dec 194012 Feb 1941 (+)

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Notable events involving Snapper include:


The page for this submarine is currently (November 2015 and onwards) being updated.

1 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (1)

5 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (1)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN). Later on the day she made a practice attack on HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN). (1)

9 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Coral and HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN) and later with HMS Jade and HMS Beryl. (1)

11 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) was briefly docked at Alexandria. She was undocked later the same day. (1)

12 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included A/S exercises with HMS Coral and HMS Beryl. (1)

13 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade and HMS Beryl. (1)

15 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN). (1)

16 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade. (1)

19 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an practice attack on HMS Coventry (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, OBE, DSC, RN). (1)

22 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade and HMS Beryl. (1)

23 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN), HMS Amber (Boatswain H.W. Clark, RN) and later with HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN). (1)

25 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade and HMS Beryl. (1)

26 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included A/S exercises with trawlers followed by a practice attack on HMS Coventry (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, OBE, DSC, RN). (1)

27 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade, HMS Amber (Boatswain H.W. Clark, RN) and later with HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and HMS Deptford (Cdr. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN). (1)

28 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Alexandria for Malta. She made the passage together with HMS Deptford (Cdr. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) and HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN). (1)

2 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) arrived at Malta. (2)

11 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. Sealion was to proceed to the U.K. (2)

15 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (2)

16 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Gibraltar for Portsmouth. (2)

22 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (2)

23 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) was docked at Portsmouth. (2)

30 Oct 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) was undocked. However the starboard stern gland was leaking and the floating dock was raised again for repairs. After the repairs were completed Snapper was undocked later the same day. (2)

1 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Portsmouth. (3)

3 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) shifted from Portsmouth to Sheerness. She was escorted by HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Dover, RN). (4)

5 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Sheerness for Rosyth. She made the passage in convoy FN 32. (3)

6 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) arrived at Rosyth. (3)

12 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Rosyth for Sheerness. She made the passage together with HMS Sealion (Lt.Cdr. B. Bryant, RN), HMS Shark (Lt. P.N. Buckley, RN) and HMS Sunfish (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Slaughter, RN). They were escorted by HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) until 0900/13 when HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Kingdon, RN) took over the escort. (3)

14 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) arrived at Sheerness. (3)

24 Nov 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Sheerness for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the north of Texel, the Netherlands. (5)

3 Dec 1939
At 1019 hours, HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN), was mistakenly attacked by a British aircraft (Anson R/206) in the North Sea in position 53°23'N, 04°14'E.

The British were under the impression that Snapper was attacked by a German aircraft and that the Anson had attacked a U-boat. However no U-boat reported being attacked by an aircraft that day. (5)

6 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Harwich. (5)

13 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea. (5)

14 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) was recalled. (5)

15 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Harwich. (5)

19 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the north of Texel, the Netherlands. (5)

20 Dec 1939
At 0615 hours, HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN), hit bottom in 85 feet of water causing damage to her log and Asdic dome. (6)

22 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) reported being hunted by an enemy destroyer. (4)

31 Dec 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Harwich. (5)

17 Jan 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the north of Texel, the Netherlands. (5)

31 Jan 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Harwich. (5)

4 Feb 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) shifted from Harwich to the Chatham Dockyard for the replacement of her battery and docking. (7)

24 Feb 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) shifted from the Chatham Dockyard to Harwich. (7)

26 Feb 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol north of Terschelling, the Netherlands. (5)

7 Mar 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Harwich. (5)

14 Mar 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the west of Texel, the Netherlands. (5)

23 Mar 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Harwich. (5)

4 Apr 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the west of Denmark. (5)

12 Apr 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) sank the small German tanker Moonsund (322 GRT, built 1937) with gunfire off Larvik, Norway in position 58°53'N, 10°43'E.

0340 hours - As dawn was breaking a smal steamer was sighted to the north-east. She was proceeding to the east. Started attack in which two torpedoes were fired but thes missed astern. It was then seen that the steamer was smaller an nearer then first thought. Set off in pursuit.

After a chase of seven miles the target was brought to with a shot across her bows in position 58.53'N, 10.43'E. She was seen to fly the German flag. Abandon ship was shouted and was answered with 'as you wish'. No efforts however appeared to be made to get the boats out.

The Lewis gun was then fired over the masts but this produced no results. One round of high explosive was then fired into the ships forepeak and the cargo of aviation spirit burst into flames and the crew jumped over the side.

Six out of seven were then picked up. The seventh could no longer be seen. Two of these subsequently died of shock and exposure in spite of stenuous efforts to save them. The remaining four, including the Captain, kept in good heart for the rest of the patrol.

As the last men was taken below a trawler and aircraft were seen coming towards. Snapper then dived and proceeded southwards. Three trawlers remained in the area but were never in contact. (5)

14 Apr 1940
While operating in the Skagerrak HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) attacked the German auxiliary Schiff 35 / Oldenburg (2312 GRT, built 1936) with one torpedo in position 57°59'N, 10°59'E.

Later the same day Snapper torpedoed and sank the German merchant Florida (6148 GRT, built 1939) in position 57°59'N, 10°51'E. She was en-route from Germany to Oslo.

0140 hours - Sighted a darkened ship to the south-east at a range of about 3000 yards. The enemy was steering south. Altered course to chase her at full speed.

0151 hours - Fired one torpedo but it missed. Snapper then turned north. A few minutes later two destroyers were sighted steering south at 20 knots. Snapper then dived. The destroyers hunter for 3,5 hours but dropped only one depth charge. Snapper meanwhile made off to the south.

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1400 hours - In position 57°59'N, 10°51'E a convoy of two merchant vessels escorted by two destroyers were sighted 3000 yards to the south. Started attack.

1407 hours - Fired five torpedoes, one torpedo tube misfired. Range was about 1500 yards. One hit was obtained. The escorts then counter attacked with depth charges. After dark Snapper retired to the north. (5)

15 Apr 1940
While attacking an enemy convoy, HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN), torpedoed and sank the German auxiliary minesweepers M 1701 / H.M. Behrens (525 GRT, built 1938) and M 1702 / Carsten Janssen (472 GRT, built 1938) north-east of Skagen, Denmark in position 57°55'N, 10°53'E.

0345 hours - In position 57°55'N, 10°53'E sighted a darkened ship. This was soon seen to be a merchant ship. More vessels appeared out of the mist and it was evidently a northbound convoy. Started attack.

0400 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1500 yards. Two hits were heard while Snapper was diving. Two more explosions were heard 3.5 minutes after firing. This may have been hits on the port wing of the convoy. Snapper was then hunted and depth charges for about one hour. (5)

19 Apr 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at Harwich. (5)

29 Apr 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol east of Denmark.

On the 6th of May she was ordered to patrol off the Dutch coast. (5)

6 May 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) attackes the German armed merchant cruiser Schiff 21 / Widder (7851 GRT, built 1930) with two torpedoes east of Denmark in position 56°30'N, 06°24'E. Both torpedoes missed the target.

1455 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel of about 3000 tons steering north in position 56°30'N, 06°24'E. Started attack. The ship was escorted by an aircraft that was patrolling overhead. A torpedo boat was seen to the northward and joined the merchant vessel.

1525 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 2000 yards. Both missed. The torpedo boat followed up on the torpedo tracks but dropped no depth charges. It is thought the aircraft may have seen Snapper in the glassy calm sea. (5)

12 May 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) ended her 8th war patrol at Harwich. (5)

22 May 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the north of Texel, the Netherlands. (5)

31 May 1940
At 0300 hours, HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN), sighted an unidentified submarine in position 53°27'N, 04°50'E. Snapper was not able to attack.

The German submarine U-62 also sighted an unidentified submarine in Grid AN 82 about 20 minutes later. She too was unable to attack. (5)

3 Jun 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) ended her 9th war patrol at Rosyth. (5)

22 Jun 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) departed Rosyth for her 10th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off south-west Norway. (5)

25 Jun 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the German armed trawler V 1107 / Portland (286 GRT) south of Stavanger, Norway in position 58°54'N, 05°05'E. The German merchant Robert Sauber (2515 GRT, built 1910) was hit by a dud torpedo and was lightly damaged.

The convoy attacked was made up of the above mentioned Robert Sauber as well as the German merchant Makki Faulbaum (1890 GRT, built 1912) as well as the Norwegian merchants (in German service) Bygdøy (1252 GRT, built 1921) and P.G. Halvorsen (1101, built 1912). They were escorted by the above mentioned V 1107 as well as V 1103.

(All times are zone -1)
1438 hours - Sighted an enemy convoy in position 58°54'N, 05°05'E. Started attacked.

1535 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 2000 yards at a 5000 tons merchant vessel. Two probable hits were obtained.

1604 hours - Fired two more torpedoes at a merchant stopped beam on at a range of 4000 yards. No hits were obtained. (5)

30 Jun 1940
at 1854 hours, HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN), reported being attacked by a German U-boat near Lister, Norway in position 57°42'N 06°13'E. No German U-boat was however near that position at that time. (5)

3 Jul 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) torpedoed and sank the Norwegian merchant Cygnus (1334 GRT, built 1921, offsite link) west of Hadryet, Norway in position 58°13'N, 05°06'E. Lt. King also claims to have damaged a second ship but this was not the case.

Cygnus was hit in the bow. She was escorted by the German auxiliary subchasers UJ 123, UJ 124 and UJ 127 as well was the auxiliary patrol vessels V 1101, V 1102, V 1103 and V 1104.

Four boats of the 18th MS Flotilla were also patrolling in the area and started a counter attack. These were M-1803, M-1805, M-1806 and M-1807.

(All times are zone -1)
1714 hours - In position 58°09'N, 05°32'E sighted a large convoy of merchant ships escorted by trawlers. Started attack.

1748 hours - Fired a full salvo of six torpedoes. Three possible hits were claimed. One of the trawlers dropped seven depth charges causing some minor damage to Snapper which meanwhile retired to the westward. (5)

5 Jul 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) ended her 10th war patrol at Rosyth. (5)

20 Jul 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) departed Rosyth for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Stavanger, Norway. (5)

4 Aug 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) ended her 11th war patrol at Rosyth. (5)

7 Aug 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) was docked at Rosyth. (8)

14 Aug 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) was undocked. (8)

20 Aug 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Rosyth. (8)

27 Aug 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) departed Rosyth for her 12th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Skagerrak. (5)

14 Sep 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 12th war patrol at Rosyth. (5)

28 Sep 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN) departed Rosyth for her 13th war patrol. She was ordered to perform an anti-Uboat patrol to the north of the Shetland Islands. (5)

14 Oct 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) ended her 13th war patrol at Rosyth. (5)

18 Oct 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Rosyth. (9)

22 Oct 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Rosyth for Newcastle. (4)

23 Oct 1940
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) arrived at the Swan Hunter shipyard at Wallsend on Tyne. She commenced a refit the following day. (4)

10 Jan 1941
With her refit completed, HMS Snapper (Lt. G.V. Prowse, RN), shifted from Newcastle to Blyth. (7)

12 Jan 1941
HMS Snapper (Lt. G.V. Prowse, RN) departed Blyth for the Clyde. She made the passage together with HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN). They were escorted by HMS White Bear (Cdr. (retired) C.C. Flemming, RN). (10)

15 Jan 1941
HMS Snapper (Lt. G.V. Prowse, RN) arrived in the Clyde area to begin a period of trials and exercises. (10)

29 Jan 1941
Having been lent to the 3rd Submarine Flotilla, HMS Snapper (Lt. G.V. Prowse, RN), departed Holy Loch for her 14th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the northern part of the Bay of Biscay.

Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS Tuna (Lt.Cdr. M.K. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, DSO, RN). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (10)

12 Feb 1941
HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR) reported that HMS Snapper (Lt. G.V. Prowse, RN) had failed to show up at the rendez-vous off the Scilly Islands.

Snapper was declared overdue from patrol on 14 February 1941 and must be considered lost. (10)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16103
  2. ADM 173/16104
  3. ADM 173/16105
  4. ADM 199/373
  5. ADM 199/288
  6. ADM 173/16106
  7. ADM 199/2570
  8. ADM 173/16536
  9. ADM 173/16538
  10. ADM 199/400

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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