- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- Ship histories and stories, History - WW2
- RAN Ships
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- December 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Although largely unseen except on setting out and returning to base at Fremantle WA, British submarines of the BPF mainly T and S classes, achieved a great deal through their offensive operations against the Japanese forces from Burma to Hong Kong. This is an abbreviated story of HMS Trump, found in our archives.
HMS Trump, a T (or Trident) class submarine, was laid down at Vickers Armstrong at Barrow-on-Furness on 31 December 1942. Launched 15 months later, Trump commissioned on 5 June 1944, under the command of Commander E.F. Balstone, DSO, Royal Navy. In July 1944, Trump sailed for trials and work up off Scotland and by mid October was ready for war. Her first patrol was carried out in the North Sea; on successful completion of this and after Christmas leave, Trump sailed for the Far East on 12 January 1945, to take part in the final stages of the Pacific war.
On arrival in the Far East, Trump joined the Fourth Submarine Flotilla “mothered’ by the depot ship HMS Adamant, based at Fremantle in Western Australia. The submarine had time to complete four war patrols off Malaya before VJ Day, the last of which was worthy of note, as it contained the final and possibly one of the most remarkable torpedo attacks of the war. Trump (Lieutenant A. Catlow, DSC, RN) accompanied by sister HMS Tiptoe, attacked an escorted enemy convoy of two large ships, northbound from Singapore. In water so shallow that both submarines were forced to bump along the bottom to avoid detection, Trump had to “clock” her bows up to give her torpedoes a chance of running. Both ships were sunk.
The two wrecks were sighted by HMS Adamant when northbound after the war, clearly visible in the shallow water.
Trump’s “kill” was the last ship to be sunk by a British warship in WW II. Altogether Trump sank 10,000 tons of shipping during the war, as well as carrying out many shore bombardments with her deck-mounted 4 inch gun.
(Editor’s notes:Immediately after the war, Trump and other submarines of the Fourth Submarine Flotilla went on a cruise of South Australian ports before moving to Sydney, and thence to Hong Kong to re-join HMS Adamant, based there late in 1945. The submarine remained with the Fourth Flotilla until 1948, when she returned to UK for a much-needed refit, and the fitting of a snort induction system. Subsequent service was mainly in the Mediterranean and a later refit was an extensive conversion in Chatham dockyard. The submarine was cut in two just abaft the original engine room bulkhead and an additional 17 feet of pressure hull was inserted to accommodate an extra battery section and a pair of main motors. The gun, five external torpedo tubes and the bridge were removed. The bridge was replaced by a modified conning position and a streamlined fin was built to enclose her 7 periscope masts. The combination of additional motors and extra battery power and streamlining gave Trump over twice her previous maximum dived speed. After further service with the First, Third and Fifth Squadrons, visiting many European ports and exercising with most NATO navies, Trump once more sailed for the Far East on 17 March 1961 and her old stamping ground, Australian waters, joining the Fourth Submarine Division (of the Far East Fleet) based at Balmoral (HMAS PENGUIN) Sydney in June 1961. Refitted yet again, at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, she carried out many exercises with SEATO and visited many ports in both Australia and New Zealand. Finally she returned to UK for disposal in 1969.
I undertook my junior officer’s submarine familiarisation dive in this boat as a midshipman. Ed)