V-Class Submarine
Pennant Nos. P75, S18

On a field blue, in water barry wavy in base, white and blue, an arm embowed and vambraced, the hand grasping an estolle, gold in chief.

Battle Honours

Aegean 1944



Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness , United Kingdom.

Displacement: 545 tons

length: 206 ft

Beam: 16 ft 1 in

Draught: 15 ft 3 in

Speed: 11.25/ 10 knots (surfaced/submerged)

Armament: 4 x 21-inch internal bow torpedo tubes, 8 x torpedoes.
1 x 3 inch gun

.Crew complement: 33

Commanding Officers:

Lt. Rudland Dallas Cairns, DSC, RN 01 Dec 1943
Lt. Iwan Geoffrey Raikes, DSC, RN 03 Aug 1945 - Oct 1945 ?

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Image copyright IWM (FL 3595)     

Early history

Built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness, she was ordered on December 5th 1941, and her keel was laid down as yard no. 866 on February 17th 1943. She was launched on November 29th 1943.
On completion she departed her builder's yard for Holy Loch, on the west coast of Scotland to begin a period of trials and training. She was commissioned as HMS VIRTUE February 29th 1944, at Holy Loch, Lt. R.D. Cairns, DSC, RN in command.

Operations in the Aegean Sea

Having completed her work-up HMS VIRTUE was allocated to the 10th Submarine Flotilla based at Malta during the closing stages of the Allied campaign in the Mediterranean, she completed four war patrols in the Aegean Sea.
She made her first combat sortie towards the end of July 1944, operating in the Eastern Mediterranean. Her first three encounters with the enemy were torpedo attacks, however on all three occasions the target was missed; on July 26th she fired four torpedoes at the German sailing vessel DOXA (504 GRT) off Suda Bay, Crete. Three days later she attacked a German sailing vessel with torpedoes and gunfire 13 nautical miles south-south-west of Milos, but failed the sink the vessel. On the 30th she fired a torpedo against the German merchantman DRESDEN (120 GRT) east of Ananes Island, with no result.
The next three engagements were all surface actions employing her gun, these resulted in 6 enemy vessels sunk; on August 16th she sank three sailing vessels with gunfire and ramming, nine miles south of Milos. On the 19th another sailing vessel was sunk south of Milos, and on the 21st she sank two sailing vessels off Cape Spatha, Crete.
VIRTUE’s run of bad luck with torpedo attacks continued into September, on the 12th three torpedoes were fired at an auxiliary patrol vessel north-west of Psathoura Island, Greece. All torpedoes missed their target. The next day the performance was repeated when another three torpedoes missed the German auxiliary net layer PIRAEUS (670 GRT) in the Skiathos Channel, Greece.
On her final patrol in the Aegean Sea no torpedo engagements were made, but 4 vessels were sunk by gun ffire. On October 9th she attacked and sank the Greek sailing vessel AGHIOS MATTHAIOS (35 GRT) west of Cape Stavros, Crete in position 35°25'N, 24°57'E. The following day, while operating off Crete, she sank the Greek sailing vessels SOPHIA (150 GRT) in position 35°31'N, 25°12'E and the AGHIA ANNA (50 GRT) in position 35°32'N, 25°03'E. Her final action in the Aegean wa on the 11th when she sank a water carrier and two smaller vessels with gunfire off Cape Dhia, Crete.

Allocated to the East Indies Fleet

In November 1944 VIRTUE was allocated for service with the East Indies Fleet at Bombay. [No information is available about her passage to Bombay or if she received any dockyard maintenance there.] It seems unlikely she conducted any operation with the East Indies Fleet as she departed Bombay for Colombo on February 17th 1945 en route to join a flotilla at Fremantle, Western Australia.


Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet

On arrival at Fremantle on March 16th she was allocated to CTF-71 for operations in the Pacific in conjunction with US Navy submarines operating out of Subic Bay, the Philippines. She reached Melbourne on March 27th and continued on to Sydney to store ship before taking passage to the Admiralty Islands. VIRTUE reached the US Navy Operating Base at Manus on June 3rd 1945. She remained in the harbour until departing on June 30th (to return to Sydney?).

On August 3rd Lt. I. G. Raikes, DSC, RN relieved Lt. R.D. Cairns as commanding officer.

She is next recorded as visiting Newcastle, New South Wales on August 29th for a an eight day visit during witch time the boat was open to the public and a party of three officers and 17 ratings marched from King's Wharf to the City Hall to attend a civic reception.. She departed Newcastle on September 4th.

Her whereabouts between September 1945 and March 1946 are not known – At some point she visited Townsville, Queensland and was moored alongside at HMAS MAGNETIC.
She next appears in Fremantle as part of the 4th submarine flotilla (VORACIOUS, VOX, VIRTUE, TAPIR, TAURUS , TOTEM and TURPIN) attached to the submarine depot ship ADAMANT alongside at No. 4 berth North Wharf, Freemantle. This was to be a short assignment however as she was scrapped at Cochin, India on 19 May 1946



HMS VIRTUE alongside at HMAS MAGNETIC, Townsville, Queensland. Date unknown. Photos courtesy of Julia Nancarrow; her mother, Marie Elizabeth Andrews. WRAN 1369, served at HMAS MAGNETIC from 25 August 1944 until 6 November 1945. She is pictured centre of the group of three WRANs perched on the conning tower.


Primary information sources

Last modified: 03 August 2016