Submarine Depot Ship
Pennant No. B376/A732

A Diamond shape: On a Field blue; a sword blade engulfed by flames, silver; pommel and hilt gold.

"Lead On"

Battle Honours

Chesapeake 1781
Camperdown 1797
Dardanelles 1915



Builder:  Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Displacement: 12,500 tons

Length: 620 ft

Beam: 71 ft

Draught: 18 ft

Speed:  17 Knots

Crew complement: 1,273

Commanding Officers:

Capt. R. S. Warne, RN 10 Jan 1942

Capt. R. M. G. Gambier, RN 3 Apr 1943

Capt. (ret) C. A. Laffitte, RN 29 May 1943

Capt. H. M.C. Ionides, RN 7 Dec 1943

Capt. B. Bryant, DSO, DSC, RN 26 Jun 1945 To 4 Jun 1947

Post War
Capt D C Ingram  4 Jun 1947

Captain J T Lean DSO RN 1953

Listen to this

 Listen to this article


Listen to this article Listen to this article



H.M.S. ADAMANT with some of her submarines at Fremantle c.1946

Early history

HMS ADAMANT was ordered on March 1st 1939 from Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as a purpose built submarine depot ship. Her keel was laid down on May 18th 1939 and she was launched on November 20th 1941. She was completed in January 1942, and after acceptance trials was commissioned on February 28th 1942, Captain R. S. Warne, RN in command..

HMS ADAMANT was capable of servicing up to nine submarines at a time while accommodating their crews. Her on-board facilities included a foundry, light and heavy machine shops, electrical and torpedo repair shops, and equipment to support fitters, patternmakers, coppersmiths and shipwrights.

Allocated to the Eastern Fleet

The ship was allocated for service with the Eastern Fleet and preparations for her departure from the UK were made over the next three weeks; for the first leg to Freetown, Sierra Leone, she sailed as part of Convoy WS 17 which had  assembled at sea, off Oversay Island, on Monday, March 23rd.  She arrived at Freetown on  Monday, April 6th. The second leg was in convoy WS 17B which departed from Freetown on Saturday, April 11th and arrived at Capetown on Thursday, April 23rd. From Capetown she sailed  with WS 19 on Monday April 27th arriving off Durban on May 1st,  on May 7th the convoy split into two off Mombasa, WS 19A for Aden and W 19B for Bombay; ADAMANT detached and sailed independently for Mombasa, arriving at Kilindini on May 9th 1942.


On Monday, March 22nd 1943 ADAMANT sailed for Colombo with destroyers QUICKMATCH and NIZAM and local A/S escort, the three ships entered Colombo Harbour on Friday, April 2nd. This was a short stay; she was ordered to return to Kilindini to relieve HMS WAYLAND, and sailed from Colombo  on Sunday, June 6th, escorted by the sloop HMIS HINDUSTAN, arriving at Addu Atoll on June 8th.

 The following day they sailed to rendezvous with the destroyer NEPAL at 70 degrees East on the 10th. At this point HINDUSTAN, relieved by NEPAL, returned to Addu Atoll while ADAMANT escorted by NEPAL proceeded to Kilindini. ADAMANT arrived Kilindini Wednesday, June 16th.

HMS ADAMANT remained at Kilindini until Tuesday, 28th September 1943 when she sailed to return to Colombo. Escorted by NAPIER, NORMAN and NEPAL she arrived at Colombo on Friday, 8th October. Two days later, Captain 4th Submarine Flotilla, was installed aboard ADAMANT. She did not remain at Colombo for long' she sailed for Trincomalee on December 1st, escorted by QUICKMATCH and RAPID

The Submarine depot ship HMS MAIDSTONE joined ADAMANT at Trincomalee on March 3rd 1944; upon her arrival the 4th Submarine Flotilla was split when a new 8th Submarine  Flotilla was formed and attached to MAIDSTONE (Note: 8th SM Flotilla then comprised 8 S-Class submarines but increased in July when four T-Class, six S-Class and the Dutch O19 were being supported). MAIDSTONE sailed for Fremantle August 25th 1944.

Operations with the East Indies Fleet

HMS ADAMANT and her 4th Submarine flotilla remained in Trincomalee until April 1945 when she was transferred to Fremantle, Western Australia, she arrived there on April 11th, 1945; her submarines joined her there on completion of their current patrols. She was to relieve HMS MAIDSTONE which sailed to join the British Pacific Fleet on April 19th with her 8th Submarine Flotilla. ADAMANT continued to support the 'T' class boats of the 4th Flotilla in East Indies Fleet operations against the Japanese until the war's end.


Post War

On September 30th HMS MAIDSTONE arrived in Freemantle from Hong Kong carrying liberated allied prisoners of war, she moored astern of ADAMANT at North Wharf. The following day crewmen with a short length of Foreign Service or not due for release on Age & Service grounds were transferred from MAIDSTONE to ADAMANT; on October 10th the two ships performed a further part crew exchange in advance of ADAMANT sailing on the 14th for Hong Kong, via Christmas Island, and the Sunda Straits to arrive at Hong Kong on October 29th. MAIDSTONE sailed on the 25th for the UK, via Simonstown carrying ex- prisoners of war.

On October 14th 1945 ADAMANT and her flotilla sailed form Gage Roads for Hong King, calling at Christmas Island, and then preceded via the Sunda Straits to arrive at Hong Kong on October 29th. Here her submarines were engaged on anti-piracy patrols off the China Coast. Before the submarines went on these patrols, ADAMANT and the submarines took part in exercises in order to give them practice in attacking. ADAMANT was used as the target and the submarines fired dummy torpedoes which were set to run under the depot ship. She was to remain at Hong Kong until February 1946, before returning to No. 4 berth North Wharf, Freemantle on February 28th with the Submarines TAPIR and TOTEM; they were soon joined by TAURUS, VIRTUE, VORACIOUS and VOX, on March 14th. The last member of the flotilla was HMS TURPIN.

On March 23rd 1946 the flotilla split up, TAURUS, TOTEM and TURPIN departed to return to Hong Kong, while VIRTUE, VORACIOUS and VOX, sailed for Singapore and England the following day. ADAMANT sailed for Sydney in company with TAPIR arriving there on April 3rd. At the start of May ADAMANT with submarines TALENT, TAPIR, TAURUS, TIRELESS, TOTEM, TRUNCHEON, and TURPIN began a month of exercises in Jervis Bay. On completion she returned to Sydney on June 3rd in company with TAPIR, TURPIN, and TAURUS before sailing for Brisbane to enter the Cairn cross dock to undergo a period of defect rectification and a boiler clean. The remaining eight submarines of her flotilla were sent to various Australian Cities for the Victory Day Celebrations. She returned to Sydney on June 21st and began preparations for a Pacific cruise and visit to Japan.

HMS ADAMANT with the destroyer HMS PENN and HM submarines TALENT, TALLY HO, TIRELESS, and TRUNCHEON sailed on Friday, July 5th 1946, for a visit to the Pacific Islands Japan and finally Hong Kong. Visits were made to Banaba Island, Kiribati, Fiji, the Caroline's, the Mariana's, Kure in Japan, then on to Hong Kong. After leaving Hong Kong TALLY HO and TALENT returned to UK, arriving home by Christmas 1946. 

In 1950, she returned to England, where she served as flagship of the Senior Officer, Reserve Fleet, Portsmouth. In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
In October 1954, she was re-commissioned as depot ship to the 3rd Submarine Squadron at Rothesay Bay, where she was based until October 1957. She moved further up the Clyde in 1959 to Faslane on Gare Loch, ending the permanent RN presence at Rothesay. In early 1964, she moved to the 2nd Submarine Squadron at Devonport. In March 1966 she was listed for disposal. She arrived at Inverkeithing in September 1970, to be broken up.


Primary information sources

Last modified: 02 August 2016