The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

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



S-Class Submarine

Pennant No. P254 / S12


Battle Honours

Malaya 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

Lt. Hugo Rowland Barnwell Newton, DSC, RN 15 May 1944 - 04 Dec 19455

Post War:

Lt. D.R. Johnston DSC, Sept 1948
Lt. E.C. Gigg, RCN Apr 1953
Lt. G.C. Morris, RCN Apr 1955





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Image copyright IWM (FL 3452)

Early history

She was ordered from Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, Birkenhead, on October 19th 1942, one of the batch four boats ordered as part the third group of S class submarines for the Royal Navy. Her keel was laid down on April 16th 1943. She was launched on April 24th 1944.

On completion of her builder’s trials she departed for Holy Loch on July 12th 1944, arriving the following day. She commissioned as H.M. Submarine SELENE at Holy Loch on July 14th 1944 under the command of Lieutenant Commander. H.R.B. Newton, DSC, RN.

Allocated to the East Indies Fleet

H.M. Submarine SELENE departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar on November 23rd 1944 with convoy OS 96 / KMS 70 on the first leg of the trip to the Far East.

Reallocated to the British Pacific Fleet

H.M. Submarine SELENE departed Fremantle for Subic Bay, Philippines on May 16th 1945 to join the 8th Submarine flotilla attached to HMS MAIDSTONE. She was to conduct a patrol en route, arrived on June 2nd.

Post War history

After the war had ended Selene visited Hong Kong before proceeding back to the U.K. She arrived at Portsmouth on November 9th 1945. She was transferred to the reserve fleet there on December 4th 1945.

After the war the surviving S Class boats were refitted to install a folding snorkel mast aft of the control tower; to accommodate this the stern torpedo tube and the 'Bandstand' Anti-Aircraft platform and 20mm Oerlikon were removed. Some had their main deck gun removed as well. The snorkel allowed a submarine to cruise on diesel engines while submerged allowing the batteries to be recharged without the need to surface and risk detection by an enemy. When raised the ‘snort’ was the only part of the boat above the surface drawing in clean air while discharging the toxic diesel exhaust. Later modernisation work included installation of an improved sonar mounted in a dome on the casing above the forward dive plane and improved radar.

On emerging from her modification refit SELENE was allocated to the 2nd Submarine Flotilla, attached to HMS MAIDSTONE at Portland in 1952, She transferred to the 3rd Submarine Flotilla, attached to HMS MONTCLARE, at Rothesay in 1954. She returned to Portland in 1955 to join the 2nd Submarine Squadron attached to HMS MAIDSTONE until 1957 when she was paid off to the reserve and later put up for disposal. She was scrapped on June 6th 1961.

Last modified: 23 February 2023


Primary information sources

Additional sources: entry for H.M. Submarine SELENE entry for H.M. Submarine SELENE




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Comments (3)

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Topic: H.M.S. SELENE
0/5 (0)
Gerry Butler
May 2017
Gerry Butler (Dee Why Sydney) says...
I was stationed at HMS Osprey for two weeks as an Australian Cadet in June 1952, we went to sea aboard HMS Selene.
They were trialing the new sail type conning tower at that time. A great experience for a young cadet.
Keith Prew
Oct 2016
Keith Prew says...
I served on this sub at Portland in 1957, after 2 years on the Upstart, and was on the upper deck of the Maidstone waiting to join the Sidon when she exploded and sank with the loss of 13 lives.
Keith Prew L/S uc2
Mark Zygmant
Jun 2016
First Poster
Mark Zygmant says...
My grandad served on this ship
Page 1 of 1


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Sturtivant, R & Balance, T. (1994) 'Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ list 899 squadron as conducting DLT on the Escort Carrier ARBITER on August 15th. It is possible that the usual three-day evolution was cancelled due to the announcement of the Japanese surrender on this date and was postponed for a month.


The reminiscences of

Gordon served with the radio section of Mobile Repair UNit No.1 (MR 1) at Nowra, he was a member of the local RN dance band, and possibly the last member of MONAB I to leave Nowra after it paid off. .

Drafted to

Coming home

In March 1946 I joined 812 squadron, aboard HMS Vengeance, spending some time ditching American aircraft north of Australia. Eventually we sailed for Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) landing at Trincomalee and setting up a radio section at Katakarunda. In the belief that we were exhausted we were sent to a rest camp at Kandy for a few weeks. We moved down to Colombo to pick up Vengeance and returned to Portsmouth via the Suez Canal . I was discharged in November 1946.

Gordon Theaker