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Career (UK)
Name: HMS Perseus
Namesake: Perseus
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow in Furness
Laid down: 2 July 1928
Launched: 22 May 1929
Commissioned: 15 April 1930
Fate: Sunk by mine 6 December 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Parthian-class submarine
Displacement: 1,475 long tons (1,499 t) surfaced
2,040 long tons (2,070 t) submerged
Length: 260 ft (79 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught: 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
2 Admiralty diesel engines, 4,400 hp (3,300 kW)
2 Electric motors, 1,530 hp (1,140 kW)
2 shafts
Speed: 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h) surfaced
9 kn (10 mph; 17 km/h) submerged
Range: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km) at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Complement: 59
Armament: • 8 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (6 bow, 2 stern)
• 1 × 4 in (102 mm) deck gun
• 2 × machine guns

HMS Perseus (N36) was a British Parthian-class submarine built in 1929 and lost in 1941 during the Second World War. This class were the first to be fitted with Mark VIII torpedoes.

At the start of the war, she was operating under the command of Commander Peter Bartlett on the China Station as part of the 4th Submarine Flotilla, along with all of the other members of the class. This continued until August 1940 when the class was reassigned to the Mediterranean, where part of the duties were the ferrying of supplies between Alexandria and the besieged island of Malta. She underwent a refit at Malta from October until April 1941.

Attached to the 1st Submarine Flotilla, based in Alexandria and under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Edward Christian Frederick Nicolay DSO RN (see Nicolay (family)), she sunk the 3,867-ton Italian tanker Maya 5 nautical miles (9 km) south of Tenedos on 5 September 1941, and the following month, on 2 October the 2,086-ton merchant ship Castellon west of Benghazi. It was for these actions that Commander Nicolay received the Distinguished Service Order.

The submarine sailed from Malta for Alexandria on 26 November 1941 with instructions to patrol waters to the east of Greece during her passage. She apparently torpedoed a ship on 3 December but at 10 pm on 6 December struck an Italian mine off Cephalonia, 7 miles (11 km) north of Zakinthos in the Ionian Sea.

HMS Perseus Memorial, just outside of Poros, Kefalonia.

One man out of the 61 onboard survived, 31-year old Leading Stoker John Capes, one of two non-crew members hitching a lift to Alexandria. He and three others escaped from the submarine using the Twill Trunk escape hatch in the engine room and wearing Davis Submerged Escape Apparatus.[1] However only he survived the journey to the surface and the five mile (8 km) swim to the island of Cephalonia where he was hidden by islanders for 18 months before being smuggled in a caique to Smyrna in Turkey. He was subsequently awarded a British Empire Medal.

The wreck, at 52 metres (171 ft) below the surface, was discovered and surveyed in 1997.


  1. ^ Submarine Casualties Booklet. U.S. Naval Submarine School. 1966. Retrieved 2009-09-08.  


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