The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

The forgotten fleets that fought the Japanese in the Pacific and Indian Oceans



S-Class Submarine

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Pennant No. P223 / S40


Battle Honours

Arctic 1942-43
Biscay 1943
Atlantic 1945





Builder: Cammell Laird Shipyard, Birkenhead, United Kingdom

Displacement: 814 tons

Length: 217 ft

Beam: 23 ft  8 in

Draught: 11 ft

Propulsion: 2 × 950 bhp (708 kW) diesel engines, 2 × 650 hp (485 kW) electric motors driving two propellers

Speed: 14.75 knots (16.97 mph; 27.32 km/h) surfaced. 9 knots (10 mph; 17 km/h) submerged

Range: 7,500 Nautical miles surfaced (8,600 mi; 13,900 km) at 10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h) 120 Nautical miles submerged ( 140 mi; 220 km) at 3 knots (3.5 mph; 5.6 km/h)

Armament: 6 × bow & 1 stern 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes – carried 13 torpedoes or 12 mines; 1 × three-inch (76 mm) gun (QF 4-inch deck gun; 1 × 20 mm Oerlikon AA gun; 3 × .303 calibre machine guns

 Crew complement: 48


Commanding Officers

T/Lt. Percy Clive Stanbury Pritchard, RNR 15 Feb 1945
Lt. Peter Tremayne Miles, RN 24 Sep 1945 - 4 May 1946 1945

Lt. Cdr B.H.G.M. Baynham Mar 1954
Lt. Cdr D.A. Wooding 1 Jan 1958






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Early history

HMS P 223 was ordered from Cammell Laird Shipyard, Birkenhead, on September 2n2 1940, one of the batch two boats ordered as part of the third group of S class submarines for the Royal Navy. Her keel was laid down on May 8th 1941. She was launched on July 29th 1942.

She departed her builder’s yard for Holy Loch on November1st to begin a period of trials and training in the Clyde area, she was escorted by the ASW Trawler HMS NORTHERN WAVE arriving there the following day. Here she joined the 3rd Submarine Flotilla, attached to the depot ship HMS FORTH, which was responsible for submarines operating in the North Sea and Bay of Biscay and also the supervising of the trials and working up of all new construction submarines.

On the morning of the 3rd she conducted full power trials on the Arran measured mile. On arrival back in Holy Loch she commissioned as H.M. Submarine P 223 (SEA NYMPH) under the command of Lieutenant G.D.N. Milner, DSC, RN. She was the second RN vessel to bear the name SEA NYMPH; the previous vessel was an 8-gun cutter in service in 1782.

While at Holy Loch she conducted Torpedo, Gunnery, Bombardment, D/F and RDF exercises and performed simulated day and night attacks, both submerged and surface actions. She also performed trials at the torpedo firing range at Arrochar. Local vessels acted as targets; the Dutch Minesweeper HNMS JAN VAN GELDER during attack exercises on November 22nd during the Commanding Officers Qualifying Course the Armed Yacht HMS BREDA acted as a target on the 26/27th and the destroyer HMS AMAZON on December 3rd.

The next phase of her work-up and training was conducted at Scapa Flow, she sailed from Holy Loch on December 7th in company with HMS P 49 (H.M. Submarine UNRULY) and escorted by the minesweeper HMS La CAPRICIEUSE, arriving on the 9th. She remained here for only three days during which time she conducted exercises with Home Fleet vessels. She departed for Lerwick on the 12th escorted by the ASW Trawler HMS PRESTON NORTH END. Arriving at Lerwick on the 13th she made preparations for entering active service.

1st War Patrol

H.M. Submarine P 223 departed from Lerwick for her first War Patrol on December 16th tasked to provide cover for convoy operations to and from Northern Russia. This was a short, uneventful patrol, she arrived back at Lerwick on January 2nd 1943. She departed for Holy Loch later the same day making the passage together with the T Class boats H.M. Submarine TORBAY and HMS P 339 (H.M. Submarine TAURUS). They were escorted by the ASW Trawler HMS AYRSHIRE, arriving on the 4th.

She next undertook a period of defect rectification; on January 21st she was docked at Elderslie Shipyard and dry dock on the Clyde for maintenance, undocking on the 25th. On February 3rd she conducted trials on the Helensburgh Degaussing Range. On completion of these she proceeded to Loch Goil for gunnery exercises the following day. She returned to the Helensburgh Degaussing Range on the 6th proceeded to Campbeltown on completion for four days of A/S exercises. She returned to Holy Loch on completion on the 11th.

.M. Submarine P 223 departed Holy Loch for Lerwick on February 13th. She made the passage together with sister boat P 229 (H.M. Submarine SPORTSMAN) and the T Class boat P 315 (H.M. Submarine TRUCULENT) and. They were escorted by the Armed Yacht HMS CUTTY SARK.

2nd War Patrol

On arrival at Lerwick on February 15th 1943 she is recorded in the ship’s logs as ‘SEA NYMPH’ – she sailed for her second War Patrol the same day. She was ordered to patrol off Northern Norway. This was also uneventful; she arrived back at Lerwick on March 11th

3rd War Patrol

After nine days in port SEA NYMPH put to sea again on March 20th for her third War patrol to patrol off the Lofoten Islands. This patrol ended at Holy Loch on April 13th without incident.

&This patrol terminated at the Clyde to facilitate repairs; while waiting for a yard to undertake the work a new commanding officer arrived, Lieutenant D.G. Kent, RN relived Lieutenant G.D.N. Milner. This appointment appears to be a temporary one as Lieutenant J. P. H. Oakley, DSC, RN took over from June 3td.

SEA NYMPH moved to Ardrossan for repairs on the 27th. She entered dry dock on June 1st and remained on blocks for 5 days, undocking on the 6th. Her repairs were completed by June 18th when she shifted from Ardrossan to Holy Loch. Beginning on the 21st Lieutenant Oakley undertook the Commanding Officers Qualifying Course conducting exercises in the Clyde area.

4th War Patrol

For this patrol she sailed south to operate in the Bay of Biscay, departing Holy Loch on June 28th. The first part of their passage South through the Irish Sea was in company with H.M. Submarine SURF bound for Gibraltar on passage to join the 8th Submarine Flotilla based at Algiers. They were escorted by the Armed Yacht HMS CUTTY SARK.

At 0845 hours on July 13th SEA NYMPH sighted 2 German submarines bearing 150° at a range of 1000 yards; these were the U-592 and U-669 running close together on the surface. Three minutes later SEA NYMPH fired a salvo of 6 torpedoes from a range of 4000 yards. At 0856 a loud metallic explosion that was heard, followed by small explosions and hissing noises. On returning to periscope depth to investigate only 1 U-boat was seen and heard after this explosion suggesting one had been sunk. In fact, all 6 torpedoes had missed.

On completing her patrol SEA NYMPH made rendezvous with the Armed Yacht HMS WHITE BEAR off the Scilly Islands on July 20th to be escorted back to Holy Loch where her 4th war patrol ended on July 22nd. Four days later SEA NYMPH was docked by Admiralty Floating Dock No. 17 (AFD 17) for hull maintenance, undocking on the 28th.

5th War Patrol

SEA NYMPH departed Holy Loch on August 3rd 1943 to return to the Bay of Biscay. She was one of three S Class boats deployed to the area for anti-U-boat patrols; she was accompanied south by H.M. Submarines SEADOG and SYRTIS escorted by the Armed Yacht HMS CUTTY SARK, dispersing to their patrol areas on the 5th. This was an uneventful patrol; she made rendezvous with SYRTIS and their escort the Armed Yacht HMS WHITE BEAR at 0700 on the 19th for passage to Holy Loch where her 5th War Patrol ended on the 20th.

On August 30th she departed Holy Loch for Port HHZ (Loch Cairnbawn). She made the passage together with sister S Class boat STUBBORN escorted by the Submarine Depot Ship HMS ALECTO, arriving there the following day.

SEA NYMPH was one of six Submarines allocated to participate in Operation SOURCE, a series of attacks against the German heavy warships based in northern Norway – TIRPITZ, SCHARNHORST and LÜTZOW using X-class midget submarines. Six X-craft were to be towed to the release area by these conventional submarines TRUCULENT (X6), SYRTIS (X9), SEA NYMPH (X8), THRASHER (X5), STUBBORN (X7), and SCEPTRE (X10); each midget submarines being manned by passage crews on passage, the operation crews to take over at the release point.. The X5, X6 and X7 were allocated the battleship TIRPITZ, in Kåfjord. X9 and X10 were to attack the battleship SCHARNHORST, also in Kåfjord. X8 was to attack the heavy cruiser LÜTZOW in Langfjord. The 6 Submarines exercises with the midget submarines for the next 10 days before sailing for the operation on September 11th.

6th War Patrol

SEA NYMPH departed Port HHZ for her 6th war patrol towing the midget submarine X8 to the entrance to the Alten Fjord in Northern Norway. On the 15th the tow line parted and X8 was temporarily unaccounted for. 37 hours later she was located and the tow resumed. Lieutenant J. Smart in command of the X8 passage crew reported that she had developed serious leaks in her side-mounted demolition charges, which had to be jettisoned; these exploded, leaving her badly damaged. SEA NYMPH’s commanding officer records in his log that X8 was scuttled at 0350 hours on September 18th in position 71°41' N, 18°11' E.

She remained on station off the Norwegian coast while the surviving X-craft carried out their missions and returned to their respective rendezvous points for the tow back to the UK. She ended her 6th war patrol at Lerwick on October 8th. Later that day she departed for the Clyde escorted by the Armed Yacht HMS WHITE BEAR. They were joined off Scapa Flow by the V Class Submarine HMS VIKING. She arrived at Holy Loch on the11th.

She now underwent a maintenance period, this included being docked by AFD 17 on the 20th, undocking on the 22nd. On completion she began a series of exercises in the Clyde area at the start of November. On November 11th she sailed for Lerwick in company with H.M. Submarines STORM, SCEPTRE and THRASHER escorted by escorted by the minesweeper HMS La CAPRICIEUSE, arriving on the 13th.

7th War Patrol

SEA NYMPH departed Lerwick for her 7th war patrol to operate off Northern Norway. She arrived back at Lerwick on December 7th after an uneventful patrol. She sailed for Holy Loch later that day in company with sister S Class boat SCEPTRE escorted by the ASW Trawler LOCH MONTEITH and later the minesweeper HMS La CAPRICIEUSE, arriving on the 10th.

She was to be docked by AFD.17 for a third time on December 15th, this time she remained docked for 5 days. On completion of repairs she sailed for Lerwick on December 22nd in company with H.M. Submarine SCEPTRE escorted by the destroyer HMS SARDONYX arriving on Christmas Eve.

8th War Patrol

After spending Christmas 1943 at Lerwick SEA NYMPH sailed for her 8th war patrol on December 28th. This was a special operations mission and she embarked agents at Lunna Voe, Shetland islands later that day. She mad rendezvous with a fishing boat at Breisundet, Norway on January 7th 1944 and transferred the agents and their stores. She ended her 8th war patrol at Lerwick on January 1th.

9th War Patrol

After 5 days storing ship and taking on fuel SEA NYMPH sailed for her 9th war patrol on January 16th. She was to patrol off the Bodø area of Norway. At 1146 hours on the 25th she detected two vessels, a merchantman (believed to be the KONG DAGHE) escorted by the trawler V-6104. At a range of 2750 yards she fired 4 torpedoes but no hits were obtained. Both vessels continued on course, the stack having gone unnoticed. She ended her 9th war patrol at Lerwick on January 30th with no further incident.

She ailed for Holy Loch on the 31st escorted by the Armed Yacht HMS CUTTY SARK, arriving on February 2nd. On the fourth she was docked by AFD 17, undocking on the 7th. two weeks later she departed for Lerwick again, sailing in company with the T Class boat TUDOR (bound for Scopa Flow) and the Dutch Submarine HNMS O 21 (bound for Dundee), escorted by the Flower Class Corvette HMS WALLFLOWER sailing on the 20th. She arrived at Lerwick on the 21st.

10th War Patrol

SEA NYMPH departed Lerwick on February 22nd for her 10th war patrol. She was to perform a special operation and then to patrol in the Bodø area on completion. New orders are received on the 26th cancelling the special operation phase of her patrol. At 0923 on March 1st off Bodø, SEA NYMPH made her second torpedo attack, she detected the Norwegian merchant JUPITER escorted by German minesweeper M 132 and the German auxiliary patrol vessel V 5714. At 1139 she fired four torpedoes from 1400 yards, went deep on firing and retired to the West; all missed.

Two days later at 0800 on the 3rd she was again in position to launch a torpedo attack on the German merchantman LEVANTE escorted by the German minesweepers, M 205 and M 253. At 0918 she fired five torpedoes from 2700 yards and went deep on firing. Again, all torpedoes missed. The escorts made a counter attack but SEA NYMPH escaped without damage. She ended her 10th war patrol at Lerwick on March 8th. The following day she departed to return to Holy Loch under escort from the Armed Yacht HMS CUTTY SARK. She was joined by H.M. Submarine TUDOR off Scapa Flow on the morning of the 10th, all vessels arrived at Joly Loch on the 11th.

On her arrival at Holy Loch her commanding officer Lt. Oakley, DSC, RN left the boat to take command of HMS RORQUAL, Lt. N. L. A. Jewell, RN temporarily taking command. On April 15th Lt. M. I. Usher, RN arrived to take command of the boat.

A refit in the U.S.A.

Preparations were now put in hand for SEA NYMPH to make an Atlantic crossing to undergo a refit in Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania. She departed Holy Loch On march 25th was escorted by the Armed Yacht HMS CUTTY SARK until 2022 on the 26th. On her arrival off Argentia. Newfoundland, she made rendezvous with her escort the Flower class Corvette HMCS TRENTONIAN and entered port at 0815 on April 5th. She sailed for Halifax at 1430 the next day escorted by the Flower class Corvette HMCS MATAPEDIA, arriving on the 8th. She sailed again for New London, Connecticut on the 13th under escort from the Minesweeper HMCS GANANOQUE arriving at the US Naval Submarine Base at 1415 on the 15th. She sailed on the final leg of her voyage on the 18th, arriving at Philadelphia Navy Yard on April 19th.

After nearly five months in dockyard hands SEA NYMPH departed the Philadelphia Navy Yard for New London. On September 16th on passage with the Submarine Chaser USS SC-71, she arrived at the US Naval Submarine Base, New London at 1842 on the 17th and secured at berth 15 North pier. to begin a period of trials and training.

Put to sea again on the 18th for trials returning to her berth early in the afternoon. She put to sea on the 21sr, 22ndand 25th to conduct more post refit trials. SEA NYMPH departed New London for St. John's at 0108 on September 29th escorted by the Flower class Corvette HMCS EDMUNDSTON arriving on October 4th. She departed St. John's on October 10th to return to Holy Loch. under local escort of the ASW Trawler HMS VIZALMA.

SEA NYMPH arrived back at Holy Loch on October 18th 1944 where she started a training and work-up period that would continue into the New Year. During this time she conducted attack exercised with the sloop HMS BRIDGEWATER and the minesweeper HNMS JAN VAN GELDER, and A/S exercises off Larne with the frigates HMS AFFLECK, HMS BENTLEY and HMS CAPEL. She departed the Clyde for Lerwick on January 4th 1945 escorted by HMS SHIKARI.

11th War Patrol

After briefly calling at Lerwick on the 6th SEA NYMPH sailed for her 11th war patrol, an anti-U-boat patrol in the Norwegian Sea. This short, and uneventful, patrol ended at Lerwick on January 17th. She sailed for  Holy Loch on the 23rd, initially escorted by the minesweeping trawler HMS ELM. Early the next morning, off Scapa Flow, she was joined by the U Class submarine HMS UNSPARING and the destroyer HMS SHIKARI which then took over the escort.

She arrived at Holy Loch on the 26th, but soon went to the Elderslie Shipyard, located on the NE bank of the Clyde to have a new battery installed. The work took four weeks to complete, SEA NYMPH returned to Holy Loch on February 24th. She was now reallocated for service with the 8th Submarine Flotilla in the Pacific and preparations began for her passage out East.

Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet

H.M. Submarine SEA NYMPH departed from the Clyde on March 12th 1945 as part of convoy OS 116 / KMS 90. She arrived at Gibraltar on the 22nd. She sailed for Malta on the 23rd, arriving on the 27th. After a short stay in port she sailed for Port Said on April 2nd, arriving on the 6th. She arrived at Port Suez on the 8th after passing through the Suez Canal. She sailed for Aden the next day.

On arrival at Aden on the 14th Lieutenant Usher reported problems with the mew battery. The problem could not be fixed locally and there was no capacity for her in Colombo shipyards. SEA NYMPH is ordered to return to Port Said departing from Aden on April 26th. She arrived at Port Said on May 2nd and a speedy battery change is completed in two weeks. She sailed from Port Said on May `6th, and called at Aden on the 22md before continuing on for Trincomalee, Ceylon, arriving there on June 2nd.

SEA NYMPH departed Trincomalee for passage to Subic Bay on June 12th 1845. On her arrival on June 28th she become part of the 8th Submarine Flotilla attached to the Submarine Depot Ship HMS MAIDSTONE.

Damaged by fire

On July 13th 1945 fire broke out on SEA NYMPH while moored alongside HMS MAIDSTONE. On inspection the following day it was assessed that the damage was beyond the repair facilities in the Far East and she should be sent home to the UK for repairs. Temporary repairs were affected to make her seaworthy for the long voyage and she sailed from Subic Bay on July 31st. She arrived at Manus, the Admiralty Islands on August 9th, and was at anchor in Seeadler Harbour when the Japanese surrender was announced on August 15th.

Post War history

SEA NYMPH sailed for Darwin on August 17th; from Darwin she called at Trincomalee, Port Suez, Port Said, Gibraltar and Portsmouth; her final destination was Harwich where she arrived on October30th to be placed in the reserve fleet. SEA NYMPH did not receive her repairs but was put up for disposal and was scrapped in Troon, Scotland in June 1948.

Last modified: 23 February 2023


Primary information sources

Additional sources: entry for H.M. Submarine SEA NYMPH

War Diaries: Found on
U.S. Naval Yard, Philadelphia.
U.S. Navy Submarine Base New London
Admiralty War Diaries - various dates





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