A story about a Royal Navy WW2 submariner and what happened to him after the war in Europe had finished. A salute to JIM POLLARD AB [SD] - Submarine Detector - C/JX 556979 H.O., 3/1943 to 9/1946

idyllic sea scape but what lies beneath ?

Monsters of the Deep !

We mostly consider monsters of the deep as being things that actually need to touch us to hurt, to kill and thereafter probably to eat us.  We certainly see them, albeit too late to do anything about it, and they will attack all comers notwithstanding.  Submarines too, can be considered as monsters of the deep although they do their killing from a distance, unseen.  However, unlike creature monsters, they select their targets very precisely and their killing potential transcends that of all natures sea monsters put together, for they not only destroy things in and on the sea, but can destroy whole cities a couple of thousand miles distant from the submarines  geographical position.

This monster, a potential destroyer of Armageddon scale, doesn't really look like a monster, rather like a very large cuddly whale.



However this lady [all warships are ladies]  looks the part and has the features of a horrible monster.  Note her eyes, the large bird-type beak, the threatening mouth below, and the head butting type of forehead. Scary eh ?

These are the bow-on features of a British 'T' Class submarine [this on HM S/M TAPIR] a WW2 torpedo firing diesel-electric boat.  This photograph was taken by a photographer called T.E. DAVIES, in LAUNCESTON, Tasmania, Australia and was published to great acclaim [not to mention much thought provocation] in the HOBART newspaper "The Mercury".  The year 1945. I have repeated this photograph in the Album below to give me an opportunity to tell you of some of the boats parameters.  However, before we start to look at the Album, let's see why two British submarines, the TURPIN and the TAPIR  were in Launceston, 32 miles inland from the sea in 1945.

 Jim Pollard and I first met at a  Bury St Edmunds RNA monthly meeting and we soon became good buddies because we had both served in HM Submarine TURPIN, Jim in His Majesties boat, and me in Her Majesties boat: Jim's boat was the original as built version whereas my boat was a stretched 'T' version fitted with a sail fin and lots of other modern contraptions

Jim also served in the training boats H34, H43, H50 and the operational boat TAURUS.   The difference in appearance between his boat and mine was striking rendering it unrecognisable to a WW2 submariner.  Jim is now approaching his middle-80's but despite his own recent severe illness [stomach cancer] and the associated operation, and now his dear wife's failing health, he is full of beans, having the enthusiasm of a much younger man, and a well honed lucidity.  We have swapped  stories and now Jim has given me several photographs of the immediate post war period in the TURPIN commission which ended in the late summer of 1946. Therefore I am going to mention the TURPIN only,  although as you will see from the pictures in the Album, TAPIR played a comparable role.

TURPIN had but a short WW2 career in the final months in early 1945, and was commissioned by a war hero in the guise of Lieutenant Commander J S Stevens DSO DSC Royal Navy of THUNDERBOLT and UNRUFFLED fame.  Her war patrols were few and relatively uneventful deployed in the North European theatre.  After the German unconditional surrender, all eyes turned to the Far East theatre primarily to add some of the European theatre combatant and logistic stood-down resources to fight the Japanese.  By August 1945, that nation had surrendered and all hostilities officially ceased. The hitherto British assets at Singapore and Hong Kong were returned to British stewardship.  Hong Kong's dockyard [which was shut long before the last withdrawal from the Colony in the 1990's leaving only TAMAR and her berths] was heavily sabotaged by the Japanese, resulting in a severe shortage of electrical generating power.  Before the facilities could be restored shore-side, submarines were secured alongside jetties in close proximity to the sabotaged plants, there to use their powerful diesel engines [normally used to charge the boats batteries] to generate a DC shore supply. 

 Ostensibly, the TURPIN and the TAPIR were sent to the Far East as combatants but arrived as the war finished.  Their services were directed to Hong Kong as 'generating boats'.  When no longer required, they were to be sent home to the UK by way of a "showing the flag" route which included a visit to Australia.  With them [and other 'T' boats] was the  Submarine Depot Ship ADAMANT.

 The group visited Fremantle [Western Australia] and Launceston [Tasmania].  Whilst down under there was an opportunity for a photo-shoot, and the resultant pictures were published locally and also given to the sailors, but few, if any, came back home to the UK by other means.  These pictures are shown below.

After returning to the UK, TURPIN ran operationally in local waters and by the end of the 40's/start of the 50's,  she was in Chatham undergoing her make-over.  Here she had a huge section added into her hull, the conning tower became a sail fin, the midships torpedo tubes went and out she came, looking very different from a conventional 'T' boat.

 In the early 50's onwards, she had a few UK commissions with many European visits, and her next event of any interest was in 1958 when, whilst in the West Indies, her engines failed and she had to be towed back to the UK. It was said that the tow was the longest every recorded for a submarine - a distance of 5200 miles pulled by the tug SAMSONIA.

 The next big event was me !! In December 1960 I joined the boat as the Leading Telegraphist under Chief Radio Supervisor "Granny" Coe, a full WW2 vet.  The skipper was Lieutenant R A Morris Royal Navy. In March 1962 I left her and joined the 'A' class submarine AURIGA in Devonport [RGD] as the Radio Supervisor. 

 In the autumn of 1962 TURPIN joined the Malta Squadron [Flotilla] and in 1964 she was the very last RN boat to leave the Mediterranean - she got back to Gosport [Blockhouse] in November to pay off.

 1965 saw her leave the Royal Navy to join the Israeli Navy.

First off then, a couple of maps to orientate you to the land of the Oz and the Far East.

 The first map shows the two places visited in Australia namely Fremantle in Western Australia and Launceston in Tasmania. Then a look at the voyage to Tasmania and the entrance into the River Tamar leading to the town of Launceston, and finally the relationship of Hong Kong to Fremantle.



Try clicking here to learn more about the Australian city of Launceston Launceston, Tasmania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some pictures originally owned by Jim, now sadly deceased, who gave them to me during his last illness.

Nostalgic photographs owned by JIM POLLARD ex AB[SD] C/JX 556979 HMS TURPIN 1945/1946.

Adamant alongside in Freemantle with six boats on her seaward trots

CO of TURPIN on the forward attack periscope

Fremantle. Turpin inboard and Tapir outboard

1946 in Turpin's engine room

Turpin high and dry on the stocks for docking and essential defects - Hong Kong 1945

Turpin and Tapir far right at Launceston Tasmania with her 4" LA gun

Turpin mindful of her navigation environment in the River Tamar en route for the town of Launceston

Turpin in more generous waters on the River Tamar with steady course and speed