HM Submarine Turpin
The order for P354 was placed on 30 August 1942 as part of the Emergency War Programme. She would be one of the Group 3 T Class with a welded hull and a diving depth of 350 feet. In April 1943 P354 was renamed Turpin. She would retain P354 as her Pennant Number. Named after the highwayman Dick Turpin, this was the first Royal Navy vessel to have this name.
Turpin was laid down on No 7 Slipway, Chatham Dockyard on 24 May 1943. She was launched on 5 August 1944 and completed on 20 November 1944.
After commissioning, Turpin began her Trials and Workup on 16 February 1945. On 30 March 1945 with her workup completed, she was in Holy Loch.
Under the command of Lieutenant Commander J.S.Stevens DSO DSC RN, Turpin sailed for her first War Patrol on 31 March 1945. She had been ordered to patrol off the Norwegian Coast.
During the patrol, the adjacent sector was patrolled by another T Class, the Tapir. Both boats operated the new 267 radar. Tapirs ASDIC picked up a submarine. When they heard the submarine surface, Tapir made contact with their new radar and followed. To the surprise of Tapirs crew, the submarine correctly challenged Tapir requesting they did not fire. Turpin had roamed out of her allotted position and had surfaced to execute a quick return to their correct sector. Turpin’s radar operator had seen the contact astern and noticed their 267 radar interference. Realising the boat astern was Tapir the hasty signal was sent before Tapir began target practice. Just one week later in the same area north-west of Bergen, Tapir sank U486 (a type VIIC U-boat) commanded by Oblt. Gerhard Meyer. All 48 crew of U486 were lost.
Tapir was commanded by Lt.Cdr J.C.Y Roxburgh DSO.DSC who latter became Turpin's 6th Captain. V.Adml. Sir. John Roxburgh KCB CBE DSO DSC died in 2004 aged 84.
Turpin returned to Holy Loch on 10 April 1945.
At the end of the war Turpin was part of the 3rd Flotilla at Holy Loch.
In 1951 she was rebuilt with an increase in length of 12 feet. The external tubes were removed and a streamlined fin fitted.
During the 1950’s, Turpin’s Pennant Number became S54.
In 1958 under the command of Lieutenant Commander A.D. Roake, Turpin was sent to the Caribbean. Cracks were discovered in the main engines, preventing her sailing home under her own power. The port engine had to be shored up. The starboard engine was strapped down to allow it to be used to maintain a charge of the batteries. The tug Samsonia towed Turpin home. The 5,000 miles passage took 28 days.
Gerard Rudd who served on Turpin during the time she broke down in the WestIndies and as "2nd.Coxns." mate (scratchers dickie), was one of the towing crew. He reports in the guestbook for ths site, It was a slow but pleasant trip home.
Information on the tug Samsonia can be found at the bottom of this page.
Turpin was the last submarine to be based in Malta and this would also be her last commission in the Royal Navy. A photograph of her in Malta is displayed in the Turpin Gallery, a link to this page will be found below.
During her Royal Navy service, Turpin had 16 Captains. A full list including years in command and area of operations is shown below.
Turpin was sold to the Israeli Navy in 1966 and after refit, re-commissioned INS Leviathan.
Leviathan left Scotland on the 25th of May 1967 bound for Haifa. During the voyage home, tragedy struck, when, two submariners were washed into the sea and lost. Leviathan arrived at Haifa in June 1967.
The first Israeli commander of the Leviathan was Commander Zeev Almog.
Commander Zeev Almog was murdered with his wife Ruth, their son Moshe and two of their grandchildren, Asaf and Tomer by a Palestinian terrorist while having lunch at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, Israel. 4th October 2003.
Leviathan was decommissioned in 1973. Later in the same year she was used as a target and sunk during torpedo trials.
Information on the Tug Samsonia kindly supplied by David Pugh, Lt. Cdr. RN (retd)
The tug that towed HMS Turpin home from the Caribbean was HMS Samsonia - manned by RN personnel and flying the White Ensign.
I joined HMS Samsonia as her First lieutenant shortly after she had towed HMS Turpin back to UK.
She was a Bustler class convoy escort tug with a draught of 18ft 6in over the screws, designed to tow damaged vessels and give temporary accommodation to and feed 200 survivors.
As such we had an enormous frozen storage compartment that had to be kept fully stocked, which was a bit of a chore.
Others of the class were HMS Warden also based in Portsmouth and HMS Mediator (to which I was transferred after HMS Samsonia developed serious engine trouble and had to go into extended refit) and HMS Reward, both based in Malta.