Allied Warships

HMS Triton (N 15)

Submarine of the T class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassT 
PennantN 15 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered23 Mar 1936 
Laid down28 Aug 1936 
Launched5 Oct 1937 
Commissioned9 Nov 1938 
Lost18 Dec 1940 
History

HMS Triton (Lt. Guy Claud Ian St Barbe Slade Watkins, RN) left Malta on 28 November 1940 for a patrol in the southern Adriatic. Most likely mined and sunk in the lower Adriatic or the Otranto Strait on or around 18 December 1940.

 

Commands listed for HMS Triton (N 15)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Hugh Patrick de Crery Steel, RN7 Jun 193825 Nov 1939
2Lt.Cdr. Edward Fowle Pizey, RN25 Nov 193919 Aug 1940
3Lt. Guy Claud Ian St Barbe Slade Watkins, RN19 Aug 194018 Dec 1940

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Noteable events involving Triton include:


The history of HMS Triton as compiled on this page is extracted from patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

2 Sep 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Portsmouth for Dundee. She is escorted by HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, RN). Off Hastings at 1900 hours HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) took over the escort.

3 Sep 1939
At 1315 hours, off the Humber Light vessel, HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) parted company with her escort, HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN), and proceeded to Dundee independently.

4 Sep 1939
At 1215 hours HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) arrived at Dundee where she secured, ironically (see event of 10 September 1939), alongside HMS Oxley (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN).

5 Sep 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Dundee for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway near Stavanger.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 1st war patrol click here for bigger map

10 Sep 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) torpedoed and sank (in error) the British submarine HMS Oxley (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN) some 28 nautical miles south-south-west of Stavanger, Norway in position 58°30'N, 05°30'E. Triton picked up two survivors, one of these was Lt.Cdr. Bowerman.

(All times are zone -1)
2004 hours - Triton surfaced. A fix was taken from the Norwegian lighthouses and this showed that Triton was in her patrol area.

2055 hours - The Officer of the Watch (Lt. H.A. Stacey, RN) reported a light right ahead and altered course to starboard. Almost immediately afterwards he sighted an object on the Starboard bow. He immediately called Lt.Cdr. Steele to the bridge. When Lt.Cdr. Steele arrived on the bridge it took a brief moment for him to get his eyes adjusted to the conditions outside. The Officer of the Watch and the two lookouts were certain that the contact was a submarine. Lt.Cdr. Steele meanwhile ordered 'stand by tubes 7 and 8'. At the same time the crew went to diving stations. The charge was broken (Port engine) and the Starboard engine was stopped. Triton now went ahead on both motors. By now Lt.Cdr. Steele also identified the contact as a submarine. Triton was kept bows on.

A challenge was now made. No reply was received. Lt.Cdr. Steele ordered to make the challenge again after about 20 seconds. Once again no reply was received. While the challenges were made Lt.Cdr. Steele studied the contact very closely. She was low in the water and no outstanding points of identification were visible. Upon receiving no reply to the second challenge a third was made. Once again no reply was seen. Now a signal grenade was fired which burst correctly. After about 15 seconds there was still no reply. Now Lt.Cdr. Steele was firmly convinced the contact was enemy so he gave the order to fire torpedoes. No. 7 and 8 torpedo tubes were fired.

About half a minute after firing the torpedoes flashing was seen from the contact. It was however unreadable and it stopped after a few seconds. Very shortly afterwards one of the torpedoes hit the submarine.

Triton now proceeded towards the spot where the submarine had sunk. Upon closing cries for help were heard and three men were seen swimming in the water. Lieutenants Watkins and Stacey attached lines to themselves and jumped in the oil covered sea. They managed to rescue the commanding officer of Oxley and able seaman Guckes (one of the lookouts). The third men (Lt. Manley, RNR, Oxley's Officer of the Watch) was seen to sunk suddenly. he was not seen again. A further search was made for any other survivors but none were seen.

------------------

On board Oxley the challenges were apparently incorrectly acted upon by her Officer of the Watch. When Lt.Cdr. Bowerman came to the Bridge he ordered a signal grenade to be fired as answer to Tritons grenade. However when fired the grenade malfunctioned. Oxley was hit by the torpedo before any more action could be taken.

22 Sep 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Rosyth.

24 Sep 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) shifts from Rosyth to Dundee.

6 Oct 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Dundee for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South coast of Norway between Kristiansand and Stavanger.

For the daily positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 2nd war patrol click here for bigger map

24 Oct 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Rosyth.

6 Nov 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Skagerrak.

Before proceeding on patrol Triton carries out exercises with HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

For the daily positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 3rd war patrol click here for bigger map

21 Nov 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Rosyth.

4 Dec 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway near Stavanger.

For the daily positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 4th war patrol click here for bigger map

19 Dec 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Rosyth.

20 Dec 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) is docked at Rosyth.

24 Dec 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) left dock.

6 Jan 1940

HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for convoy escort duty. She is part of the escort for convoy ON-7 to Norway. Other ships of the escort are HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN). (HMS Eskimo developed engine problems and was replaced by HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), Encounter herself was relieved the next day by HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN).

Before joining the convoy Triton conducts exercises in the Firth of Forth with HMS Auckland (Capt. (retired) K.A. Beattie, RN) and HMS Londonderry (Cdr. Sir T.L. Beevor, RN).

For the daily positions of HMS Triton during this convoy escort mission see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton convoy escort duty click here for bigger map

9 Jan 1940
Convoy ON-7 arrived in Norwegian waters. After a few hours HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from again now part of the escort force of convoy HN-7. The other ships of the escort were HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) (later relieved by HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN)), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN). HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC, RN) later joined at sea.

12 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) returns to Rosyth.

20 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South coast of Norway near Lister.

For the daily positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 5th war patrol click here for bigger map

22 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) suffers damage to one of her muffler valves. She proceeds in Norwegian territorial waters to effect repairs in calmer water. Norwegian patrol vessel Skarv moves in but repairs on board Triton were completed before Skarv arrived on the scene. Triton dived and cleared the area.

25 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Rosyth.

27 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for Scapa Flow. She is escorted by HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN).

28 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow.

2 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) conducts exercises with HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN).

3 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) conducts exercises with HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN).

5 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) conducts exercises with destroyers and later on the day with A/S trawlers.

6 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) conducts exercises with HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) and HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN).

7 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) conducts exercises with HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) and HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN).

8 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Scapa Flow for Rosyth. She is escorted by HMS Sharpshooter (Cdr. J. Peterson, RN) and HMS Seagull (Cdr. D.H. Harries, RAN).

9 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) arrived at Rosyth.

16 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) conducts exercises in the Firth of Forth with HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Hutchinson, RN).

17 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South coast of Norway between Lister and Kristiansand.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 6th war patrol click here for bigger map

25 Feb 1940
At 2320 hours, near position 57°56'N, 07°07'E, HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) closes the Norwegian merchant Hellen (5237 GRT, built 1921) to ascertain her destination and then allows her to proceed.

28 Feb 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) tries to intercept the German blockade breaker Wangoni (7848 GRT, built 1921) between Lister and Kristiansand, Norway in approximate position 57°52'N, 07°07'E. The Wangoni manages to escape.

1430 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel thought to be Wangoni approaching from Lister. The vessel passed Triad at 1500 hours keeping well inside territorial waters. The vessel was now positively identified as Wangoni. She was painted light gray and had taken no steps to disguise herself. Triton continued to shadow Wangoni but she kept close inshore in territorial waters. Triton's speed was not sufficient to overtake her and eventually the chase had to be abandoned.

29 Feb 1940
At 2325 hours, near position 57°55'N, 08°06'E, HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) closes the Danish merchant Scandia (1709 GRT, built 1918) to ascertain her destination and then allows her to proceed.

5 Mar 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Rosyth.

7 Mar 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) is docked at Rosyth.

9 Mar 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) left dock.

12 Mar 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 7th war patrol. She is ordered to a waiting position in 56°10'N, 06°45'E as a cover for Operation R.3, the occupation of Norwegian key points under the pretext to assist Finland in her war with the USSR. Finland signs the next day an armistice and the submarines are recalled.

For the daily positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 7th war patrol click here for bigger map

18 Mar 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at Rosyth.

19 Mar 1940
At Rosyth the dockyard begins to lift part of the battery of HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) to enable repairs to the battery tank to be carried out.

23 Mar 1940
Repairs to the battery tank of HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) are completed.

29 Mar 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Skagerrak.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 8th war patrol click here for bigger map

2 Apr 1940
At 1950 hours, near position 57°31'N, 11°14'E, HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) damages her ASDIC dome when she bottoms heavily in 16 fathoms.

8 Apr 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) fires 10 torpedoes against the German heavy cruiser Blucher East of Skagen. All torpedoes fired missed.

1650 hours - Sighted two heavy German warships approaching from the Westward. Closed and started attack.

The leading ship was thought to be Gneisenau but it was not possible to get into an attack position for an attack on this ship. It was therefore decided to attack the second ship which was somewhat astern.

Shortly afterwards the leading ship changed course and now presented a better target then before. An attack was now started on the leading, more important, ship.

1758 hours - Fired a full bow salvo of 10 torpedoes (6 internal, 4 external) from 7500 yards. Shortly after firing the Asdic reported that the target had increased speed from 14 to 20 knots. All torpedoes therefore missed astern. Position was approximately 57°40'N, 11°00'E.

10 Apr 1940
While operating in the Kattegat HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) torpedoed and sank the German merchants (transports) Friedenau (5219 GRT, built 1920), Wigbert (3648 GRT, built 1921) and the auxiliary patrol vessel V 1507 / Rau 6 (356 GRT, built 1937) in position 57°27'N, 10°46'E.

1726 hours - Fired 6 torpedoes from 2500 yards (the last on board). Four hits were heard. Triton went to 85 feet upon firing and turned stern on the convoy. Very shortly after the last torpedo explosion was heard depth charging started. For the next hour at least 78 depth charges were dropped of which the ones dropped about 5 minutes after the last torpedo hit were the closed. These shook Triton considerably but no serious damage was done.

2115 hours - Surfaced at set course for home as Triton was now out of torpedoes.

The large convoy attacked by Triton was the German "2. Seetransportstaffel" bound for Oslo, Norway with the transports Kellerwald (5032 GRT, built 1923), Hamm (5874 GRT, built 1921), Espana (7465 GRT, built 1922), Rosario (6079 GRT, built 1913), Tucuman (4621 GRT, built 1918), Hanau (5892 GRT, built 1921), Wolfram (3648 GRT, built 1921), Wandsbek (2388 GRT, built 1938), Scharh?rn (2643 GRT, built 1927) and the above mentioned Friedenau and Wigbert. These were escorted by no less than 17 escorts, the above mentioned V 1507 / Rau was one of them.

14 Apr 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) ended her 8th war patrol at Rosyth.

16 Apr 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) is docked at Rosyth for minor repairs.

19 Apr 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) left dock.

22 Apr 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway near Stavanger.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 9th war patrol click here for bigger map

24 Apr 1940
At 0500 hours, near position 57°40'N, 07°00'E, HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) observed the French large destroyers L'Indomptable (Capitaine de Vaisseau (Capt.) E.G.M. Barthes), Le Malin (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) E.J.H.L. De Prez) and Le Triomphant (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) M.M.P.L. Pothuau) (8e D.C.T. / Large Destroyer Division) returning at high speed from their raid in the Skagerrak (operation Rake).

5 May 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) ended her 9th war patrol at Rosyth.

19 May 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 10th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South coast of Norway near Lister.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 10th war patrol click here for bigger map

22 May 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) puts a boarding party on a Danish fishing vessel. The party was taken off the next morning.

2100/22 hours - Surfaced in position 57°17'N, 05°10'E to investigate a Danish fishing vessel. A boarding party was put on her. The skipper of the fishing vessel was retained on Triton for interrogation.

0840/23 hours - Surfaced and took of the boarding party.

The fishing vessel was the Danish Gadus of 20 tons from Thyboron.

3 Jun 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) and German U-boat U-8 encountered each other in position 57°00'N, 02°48'E. The Germans thought the British submarine had fired a torpedo but this was not the case. Triton sighted a ship later thought to be a submarine. Nothing further happened.

0719 hours - In position 57°00'N, 02°48'E sighted a ship bearing 215°, distance about 6 to 8 nautical miles. Altered course towards. Lt.Cdr. Pizey thought it was either a trawler or a submarine. The contact was seen to alter course towards and disappear. This confirmed Lt.Cdr. Pizey's impression that it was a submarine and that it had dived.

0720 hours - Dived and closed bearing. Listened for HE but could not hear anything.

German U-boat U-8 reported that a torpedo was heard 20 seconds after she dived.

4 Jun 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) ended her 10th war patrol at Rosyth.

18 Jun 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off central Norway North of Trondheim.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 11th war patrol click here for bigger map

26 Jun 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) is detected and machine gunned by a German HE 115 aircraft in position 64°49'N, 10°03'E. Triton sustained no damage.

(All times are zone -1)
0133 hours - Attacked by a German Heinkel 115 seaplane which approached from the cover of a black rain cloud. Triton was clearly silhouetted against a light northern sky. The German aircraft opened fire with her machine gun as Triton dived. Triton was not hit despite the close range of the aircraft.

Following this incident Triton proceeded to the North as it was thought her current location would now be more closely patrolled.

2 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) is detected and bombed by a German HE 115 aircraft in position 63°12'N, 05°33'E. Triton sustained no damage.

(All times are zone -1)
0650 hours - In bad visibility sighted a Heinkel 115 aircraft flying straight towards Triton. Crash dived. When at 48 feet three bombs exploded astern. Triton was badly shaken but only minor damage was done.

4 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) ended her 11th war patrol at Rosyth.

15 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) is docked at Rosyth.

16 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) left dock.

19 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) conducts exercises in the Firth of Forth with HMS Woolston.

20 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 12th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the South-West coast of Norway near Bergen.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Triton during this patrol see the map below.


Ver HMS Triton 12th war patrol click here for bigger map

23 Jul 1940
While on patrol off Bergen, Norway HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) sights the conning tower of a submarine. An attack was not possible as contact was lost soon after sighting.

(All times are zone -1)
0800 hours - In position 59°31'N, 04°13'E sighted the conning tower of a submarine astern steering South. The conning tower only was visible from about half way up. Distance was at least 5 nautical miles. After Triton had turned round contact was soon lost. The conning tower had been in sight for about 10 minutes.

This was most likely German U-boat U-61 that was returning to Kiel from patrol. It had just made a brief stop at Bergen for fuel.

29 Jul 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) sights a submarine near Bergen, Norway. The submarine was too far off to be attacked. Besides that Lt.Cdr. Pizey though it might have been a British submarine.

(All times are zone -1)
0200 hours - In position 60°05'N, 04°22'E sighted a submarine steering between 290° and 310°. The submarine was sighted at a range of 3 to 5 nautical miles due to the fact that it was silhouetted against the Northern sky. Triton turned towards by the submarine was soon lost out of sight.

The submarine sighted might have been German U-boat U-62.

4 Aug 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) ended her 12th war patrol at Rosyth.

16 Aug 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) is docked at Rosyth for a short 14-day refit before proceeding to the Mediterranean.

27 Aug 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) left dock.

29 Aug 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) is docked at Rosyth.

30 Aug 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) left dock.

4 Sep 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) departed from Rosyth for Gibraltar. She is to join the Mediterranean Fleet.

14 Sep 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) arrived at Gibraltar escorted by HMS Wrestler (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, RN).

21 Sep 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) departed from Gibraltar for her 13th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa before proceeding to Malta.

As no log is available no map can be displayed.

4 Oct 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Franca Fassio (1858 GRT, built 1892) proceeding from Genoa to Barcelona in position 44°10'N, 08°52'E.

(All times are zone -1)
1010 hours - In position 44°10'N, 08°52'E sighted a large merchant vessel on a course of 200°. The vessel was painted gray and had a gun on the poop. Fired four torpedoes from 1300 yards. Three hits were obtained and the vessel sank immediately.

6 Oct 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) fires two torpedoes against what was thought to be a merchant vessel off Vado Ligure, Savona, Italy. (Lt. Watkins even claims a hit in his patrol report). Following this attack Triton surfaced and engaged the gas works and later a large factory with gunfire. Several hits were obtained.

According to Italian sources it however appears that Lt. Watkins target was no merchant ship but that he mistook the chimney of the pump station for the funnel of a merchant ship. The Cieli Electric Station sustained slight damage from the gunfire.

(All times are zone -1)
1821 hours - While Triton was in position 075°, Vado Lighthouse, 1.3 nautical miles two torpedoes were fired against an anchored merchant ship of about 2000 to 4000 tons. Range was 4000 yards. One hit was claimed.

Immediately afterwards Triton surfaced and opened fire with the 4" gun on the gas works from 4300 yards. 18 rounds of HE (high explosive) were fired and several hits were observed. Fire was then shifted to a large factory. 11 rounds of HE were fired.

1827 hours - Dived as shore batteries opened fire.

12 Oct 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

28 Oct 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) departed from Malta for her 14th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Adriatic. After Triton sailed it became known that Italy had invaded Greece and that Greek submarines would be operating in the lower Adriatic and Straits of Otranto. Triton was therefore ordered to patrol North of 40°30'N.

On 2 November Triton was ordered to leave the Adriatic and to proceed to a new patrol position off the Gulf of Taranto.

As no log is available no map can be displayed.

3 Nov 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) sights a submarine in the Straits of Otranto in position 40°18'N, 19°07'E. No attack is carried out as it was thought possible it might be a Greek submarine.

(All times are zone -1)
0150 hours - In position 40°18'N, 19°07'E sighted a submarine on the Port bow steering about 340°. The Officer of the Watch turned onto a firing course. Lt. Watkins immediately went to the bridge but decided not to fire as it was thought possible that it was a Greek submarine.

15 Nov 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (2nd in the Mediterranean) at Malta.

28 Nov 1940
HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) departed from Malta for her 15th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the lower Adriatic and the Straits of Otranto between 40°N and 42°N.

Triton was ordered to remain on patrol on 13 December. She was to be back at Malta on 17 December.

6 Dec 1940
There is little doubt that HMS Triton (Lt. G.C.I.S.B. Watkins, RN) torpedoed the Italian merchant Olimpia (6040 GRT, built 1920) in the lower Adriatic in position 41°06'N, 18°39'E. Olimpia was returning to Brindisi from a trip to Durazzo, in company of the Italian merchant Carnia (5794 GRT, built 1923) and escorted by the destroyer Augusto Riboty when she was hit in the stern by one or two torpedoes. There were no casualties. The fragments of a torpedo were later recovered. The destroyer stood by as Carnia took in tow the stricken ship. Immediately the torpedo-boat Castelfidardo and MAS 512 and boats from the 13th MAS Flotilla and the tug Ercole were ordered to her assistance. Olimpia reached Brindisi at 1730 hours.

Triton failed to return from patrol. Derelict mines had been observed in the Otranto Straits notably on the same day Olimpia was torpedoed. It is possible that Triton was sunk on one of these, unless she ran into one of the Italian defensive minefields of the area.

An SOS was sent by Olimpia, that was also picked up by the British. They thought this was 'Triton at work'.

Media links


Fatal Decisions

Blandford, Edmund


The T-class Submarine

Kemp, Paul J.


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