HMS Sunfish (81S)

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Hms sunfish submarine.jpg
United Kingdom
Name: Sunfish
Builder: Chatham Dockyard
Laid down: 22 July 1935
Launched: 30 September 1936
Commissioned: 2 July 1937
Fate: Lent to the Soviet Union as V 1, 1944
Badge: SUNFISH badge-1-.jpg
Soviet Union
Name: V 1
Acquired: on loan from UK, 1944
Fate: Sunk, 27 July 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: S-class submarine
  • 670 long tons (680 t) (surfaced)
  • 960 long tons (980 t) (submerged)
Length: 208 ft 9 in (63.63 m)
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Draught: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Propulsion: Twin diesel/electric
  • 13.75 kn (15.82 mph; 25.47 km/h) (surfaced)
  • 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h) (submerged)
Complement: 39

HMS Sunfish was a Royal Navy S-class submarine which was launched on 30 September 1936 and served in the Second World War. Sunfish is one of 12 boats named in the song Twelve Little S-Boats.

Service history[edit]

At the onset of the Second World War, Sunfish was a member of the 2nd Submarine Flotilla. From 26–29 August 1939, the flotilla deployed to its war bases at Dundee and Blyth.[1]

She spent an eventful period with the Royal Navy on the outbreak of war, and was commanded for much of her career in the war by Lieutenant Commander J.E. Slaughter. In February 1940, she attacked the German U-boat U-14, but missed, and in April sank two German merchant ships, Amasis and Antares, and narrowly missed Hanau and an auxiliary patrol vessel.

She also sank two German 'Q ships' that month, Schürbeck and Oldenburg. On 7 December 1940, she sank the Finnish merchant Oscar Midling and damaged the Norwegian merchant Dixie off Norway.

Sunfish was transferred to the Soviet Navy in 1944 and renamed V-1.

She did not spend long under Soviet command, being bombed and sunk in error by a RAF Coastal Command Liberator off Norway, during passage from Dundee to Murmansk on 27 July 1944. Her commander – Capt. 2nd rank Fisanovich – had allegedly taken her out of her assigned area and she was diving when the aircraft came in sight instead of staying on the surface and firing recognition signals as instructed. All crew – including the British liaison staff – were lost.[2] However, both the Royal Navy and RAF inquiries found that the RAF aircrew, who were at least 80 miles off course and who ignored unmistakable signs that the submarine was friendly, were fully responsible. The submarine's 50 Soviet and one British crew are all commemorated on Dundee International Submarine Memorial.


  1. ^ Rohwer, p.1
  2. ^ HMS Sunfish,


  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Revised & Expanded ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.

Coordinates: 54°28′N 7°11′E / 54.467°N 7.183°E / 54.467; 7.183