|HMS Spearfish (69S)|
|Class and type:||S-class submarine|
|Builder:||Cammell Laird & Co Limited, Birkenhead|
|Laid down:||23 May 1935|
|Launched:||21 April 1936|
|Commissioned:||11 December 1936|
|Fate:||Sunk 1 August 1940|
670 tons surfaced|
960 tons submerged
|Length:||208 ft 9 in (63.63 m)|
|Beam:||24 ft (7.3 m)|
|Draught:||10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)|
13.75 knots surfaced|
10 knots submerged
|Complement:||39 officers and men|
6 x forward 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes|
one three-inch gun
one .303-calibre machine gun
HMS Spearfish was a Royal Navy S-class submarine which was launched 21 April 1936 and fought in World War II. Spearfish is one of 12 boats named in the song Twelve Little S-Boats. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to be named Spearfish.
Her wartime career started inauspiciously, when on 24 September 1939, she was heavily damaged by German warships off Horns Reef. She was unable to submerge but nevertheless managed to escape. A rescue mission was undertaken by the British Humber force and Home Fleet, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, and the battleship HMS Nelson, which performed escort duty whilst search and rescue attempts were made. Spearfish safely put in Rosyth on the 26th, and repairs were completed in early March 1940.
Another notable action occurred on 11 April 1940, whilst patrolling in the Kattegat, under the command of Lieutenant Commander John Hay Forbes, she torpedoed and damaged the German Pocket battleship Lützow, putting her out of action for over a year. At the time it was reported that she sank her sister ship the Admiral Scheer. Later that year, on 20 May, she sank two Danish fishing vessels S. 130 and S.175 with gunfire in the North Sea.
Spearfish sailed from Rosyth on 31 July 1940, still under the command of "Jock" Forbes, to patrol off the Norwegian coast. On 1 August she was spotted on the surface by U-34 under the command of Wilhelm Rollmann who attacked and sank her, about 180 miles west-southwest of Stavanger. There was only one survivor, Able Seaman William V. Pester.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
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