British H class submarine
The British H class submarines were Holland 602 type submarines used by the Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...
. The submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...
s constructed for the British Royal Navy between 1915 and 1919 were designed and built in response to German boats which mined British waters and sank coastal shipping with ease due to their small size. The H-Class was therefore created to perform similar operations in German waters, and to attack German submarines operating in British waters.
Despite their cramped size and lack of a deck gun, the class became enormously popular amongst submariners, and saw action all around the British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...
, some being transferred as far as the Adriatic. Due to the later arrival of most of the class, they were unable to have a massive impact, only achieving two victories (the German submarines and ) for the loss of four of their own number in the First World War.
Post-war many were retained in the Royal Navy for training purposes, and four more were lost in wrecks during the 1920s. At the outbreak of the Second World War they were hopelessly obsolete, but nevertheless were retained in training and coastal warfare roles to help the Royal Navy cope with heavy losses to the submarine fleet during the early stages of the war. Two were sunk during this duty by German countermeasures. The Canada built boats were equipped with Fessenden transducers, which were missing from the US built boats.
Group 1Group 1 was built in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
at the Canadian Vickers Yards in Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...
before being transported across the Atlantic and deployed from Britain. This was necessary because British shipyards were too overcrowded and busy to construct submarines at this time. - Launched May 1915 - Launched June 1915 - Launched June 1915. Mined and sunk July 1916 - Launched June 1915 - Launched June 1915. Rammed and sunk March 1918 - Launched June 1915. Interned and purchased by the Dutch January 1916 - Launched June 1915 - Launched June 1915 - Launched June 1915 - Launched June 1915. Disappeared 1918
Group 2The second group was constructed simultaneously with the first group, but at Fore River Yard at Quincy
-People:*Saer de Quincy, 1st Earl of Winchester, Norman nobleman*Roger de Quincy, 2nd Earl of Winchester, Norman nobleman*Quincy Jones , American record producer and musician-Places:France*Quincy, Cher, a commune in the Cher département in France...
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...
in the then neutral United States. When the US government discovered the construction, they impounded all the completed units, only releasing them following their own declaration of war two years later. To escape this difficulty, the British government gave six units to the Chilean Navy
-Independence Wars of Chile and Peru :The Chilean Navy dates back to 1817. A year before, following the Battle of Chacabuco, General Bernardo O'Higgins prophetically declared "this victory and another hundred shall be of no significance if we do not gain control of the sea".This led to the...
as partial payment for the appropriation of six Chilean ships for British service in 1914 - Launched 1915. - Launched 1915. - Launched 1918, transferred to Chile - Launched 1919, transferred to Canada - Launched 1918, transferred to Canada - Launched 1918, transferred to Chile - Launched 1918, transferred to Chile - Launched 1918, transferred to Chile - Launched 1918, transferred to Chile - Launched 1918, transferred to Chile
Group 3Group 3 was the largest group, and was constructed in 1917–1919 in Britain, shipyard space having been granted to the project and more boats needed following the seizure of those building in the United States. They were built by Vickers
Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.-Early history:Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by the miller Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor &...
, Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, came about following the merger of Laird, Son & Co. of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century.- Founding of the business :The Company...
, Armstrong Whitworth
Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. Headquartered in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Armstrong Whitworth engaged in the construction of armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft.-History:In 1847,...
and William Beardmore
William Beardmore and Company
William Beardmore and Company was a Scottish engineering and shipbuilding conglomerate based in Glasgow and the surrounding Clydeside area. It was active between about 1890 and 1930 and at its peak employed about 40,000 people...
at several locations, and most of the boats enjoyed long careers in the Royal Navy. - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1918. Sank in dockyard accident 1926 - Launched 1918 - Launched 1919. Mined and sunk 1941 - Launched 1919 - Launched 1919 - Launched 1919
- Numbers H35-H40 not used. - Launched 1918. Wrecked in collision 1920 - Launched 1919. Wrecked in collision 1922 - Launched 1919 - Launched 1920
- Numbers H45 and H46 cancelled. - Launched 1919. Wrecked in collision 1929 - Launched 1919 - Launched 1919. Sunk by German surface units 1940 - Launched 1920 - Launched 1919 - Launched 1919
- HMS H53 and H54 cancelled.