Allied Warships

HMS Salmon (N 65)

Submarine of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassS 
PennantN 65 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Ordered20 Jan 1933 
Laid down15 Jun 1933 
Launched30 Apr 1934 
Commissioned8 Mar 1935 
Lost16 Jul 1940 
History

On 4 July 1940 HMS Salmon (Cdr. Edward Oscar Bickford, DSO, RN) departed her base to patrol off Skudesnes on the south west coast of Norway. She was sent signals on 9th, 11th and 12th July, the final one ordering a return to harbour. None of these signals were acknowledged. Later it became known that one of the signals routed her across a minefield which at the time was unknown to the Admiralty. There is also a possibility that she was attacked by aircraft, but mining is the most likely somewhere in position 57º20'N, 05º00'E. Declared overdue on 16 July 1940.  

Commands listed for HMS Salmon (N 65)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Edward Oscar Bickford, RN6 Aug 193816 Jul 1940

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Notable events involving Salmon include:


The history of HMS Salmon as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side are kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

This page was last updated in October 2015.

7 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Coral and HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN). Later on the day she made a practice attack on HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN). (1)

8 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Coral and HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN). (1)

11 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Coral and HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN). (1)

14 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Coral and HMS Beryl. (1)

18 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (1)

19 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with two trawlers. Later on the day she made a practice attack on HMS Coventry (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, MVO, RN). (1)

20 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria with HMS Coventry (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, DSC, MVO, RN). (1)

26 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with HMS Deptford (Cdr. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN). (1)

28 Sep 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria with A/S trawlers and later with HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN).

Upon completion of these exercises she set course for Malta. She made this passage together with HMS Deptford (Cdr. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) and HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN).

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this passage see the map below.

(1)

2 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) arrived at Malta where she was docked immediately. (2)

4 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) was undocked. (2)

11 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. Salmon was to proceed to the U.K.

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during the passage to the U.K. see the map below.

(2)

15 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (2)

16 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) departed Gibraltar for Portsmouth. She made the passage together with HMS Sealion (Lt.Cdr. B. Bryant, RN), HMS Shark (Lt. P.N. Buckley, RN) and HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN). (2)

22 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (2)

28 Oct 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) departed Portsmouth for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in 53°24'N, 03°56'E (Dogger Bank area).

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(2)

7 Nov 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Rosyth. (3)

13 Nov 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) departed Rosyth for Sheerness. She made the passage with convoy FS 36. (3)

15 Nov 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) arrived at Sheerness where she was immediately docked. (3)

23 Nov 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) was undocked. (3)

24 Nov 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) departed Sheerness for Harwich. (3)

25 Nov 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) arrived at Harwich. (3)

2 Dec 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) departed Harwich for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

4 Dec 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) torpedoed and sank the German U-boat U-36 (KK Wilhelm Fröhlich) in the North Sea south-west of Kristiansand, Norway in position 57°00'N, 05°10'E.

(All times are zone 0)
1330 hours - Sighted a German U-boat bearing 310°. Started attack.

1355 hours - Fired a full salvo of six torpedoes from a range of 5000 yards. At least one torpedo broke surface and there was much disturbance visible on the surface on firing.

1359 hours - The U-boat was hit amidships and sank at once.

1401 hours - Surfaced. A lot of oil and wreckage was seen. No survivors could be seen.

1416 hours - Dived. (4)

12 Dec 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) sighted the German liner Bremen in the North Sea in position 57°02'N, 05°52'E. Salmon surfaced and in accordance with International Law signalled the liner to stop but no notice was taken. A few moments later HMS Salmon had to dive when a German Do-18 aircraft showed up.

(All times are zone 0)
0930 hours - Heard HE. Came to periscope depth and sighted the German liner Bremen bearing 090°. Enemy course was 140°. Range 7000 yards.

0940 hours - Surfaced. Signalled Bremen to stop. When she did not do Lt.Cdr. Bickford ordered a round of 4" to be fired ahead of her. When about to fire Salmon had to dive for an approaching Do-18 aircraft. (4)

13 Dec 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) sights a German task-force comprising the light cruisers Nürnberg and Leipzig. These cruisers were a covering force for the destroyers Z 19 / Hermann Künne, Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn, Z 15 / Erich Steinbrinck, Z 4 / Richard Beitzen and Z 8 / Bruno Heinemann who had laid mines off Newcastle. From great distance Lt.Cdr. Bickford managed to torpedo the Nürnberg and Leipzig in the central North Sea in position 56°47'N, 04°00'E. Nürnberg was hit in the bow and Leipzig was hit amidships. The damage to Leipzig was so severe that the ship was only used as a training ship after she was repaired.

(All times are zone 0)
0945 hours - Sighted enemy warships to the northward. They were steering to the westward at a range of about 12000 yards. Set course to intercept.

1000 hours - Identified the enemy as two or three enemy battleship or pocket battleships and four cruisers, two Hipper-class, the Leipzig and a Köningsberg-class.

1030 hours - The enemy was seen to turn to the south in line ahead in the following order. Blücher, Leipzig, Hipper. Salmon turned to the westward to attack.

1036 hours - Fired six torpedoes at Leipzig and Hipper, the two rear ships. Range to Leipzig was about 5000 yards.

1040 hours - Heard a loud explosion thought to be a hit.

1041 hours - Heard two more loud explosions also thought to be hits.

1046 hours - Heard three more explosions these are thought to be the three remaining torpedoes exploding at the end of their run.

1050 hours - Took evading action. Salmon was subsequently depth charged until noon but no damage was done to her.

1440 hours - No more HE could be heard.

1450 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. An enemy report was then sent on W/T.

1630 hours - Surfaced. (4)

16 Dec 1939
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Harwich. (4)

30 Dec 1939
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the north-west of Texel, Netherlands.

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

9 Jan 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol, which was uneventful, at Harwich. (4)

20 Jan 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea.

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

3 Feb 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) ended her 4th war patrol, which was uneventful, at Harwich. (4)

12 Feb 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 5th war patrol. ordered to carry out exercises with the armed trawler Sunbeam II then to proceed for a patrol within six miles of 54°37'N, 04°00'E (zone A.3). Some vessels have been reported to act suspiciously in the North Sea and she was try to capture one. She carried a dinghy lashed to the bridge superstructure and a prize crew of one officer, a petty officer and four ratings.

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

18 Feb 1940
In the afternoon, after observing through the periscope a few Danish trawlers, HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) received orders to a new patrol position 10 miles NW of Heligoland. The submarine proceeded cautiously through the German Declared minefield area but without observing anything in particular.

20 Feb 1940
At 0750 hours (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) sighted three destroyers of the Leberecht Mass class at a range of 6000 yards, The submarine took avoiding action. These were the destroyers Z 13 / Erich Koellner, Z 4 /Richard Beitzen and Z 16 / Friedrich Eckoldt of the 1.Z-Flottille on their way to reinforce the battle fleet.

At 0810 hours, HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN), sighted the southbound German battlecruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper escorted by the destroyers Z 21 / Wilhelm Heidkamp (F. d. Z.) and Z 20 / Karl Galster and the three mentioned above near position 54°36'N, 06°36'E. They could not be attacked as they passed well out of range. Salmon sent an enemy report by W/T. (4)

23 Feb 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) boarded the Belgian fishing vessel H 78 / Helene (58 GRT, built 1936) inside the East Coast Mine Barrier. Several Belgian fishing vessels were seen and one was boarded and sent to Harwich for inspection. The others were ordered to clear the area.

A few hours later Salmon ended her 5th war patrol at Harwich. (4)

7 Mar 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea to the north-west of Texel, Netherlands.

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

16 Mar 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) ended her 6th war patrol, which was uneventful, at Harwich. (4)

19 Mar 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) shifted from Harwich to Sheerness. (5)

21 Mar 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) was taken in hand for refit and docking at the Chatham Dockyard. (5)

9 May 1940
With her refit completed HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) shifted from the Chatham Dockyard to Sheerness. (6)

10 May 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) shifted from the Sheerness to Harwich. (6)

14 May 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Harwich. (6)

17 May 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Harwich. (6)

20 May 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Harwich for her 7th war patrol. She was to patrol in the North Sea and to aid in special operation Lamp. The cutting of an underwater cable between the Netherlands and the U.K.

For the daily positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

22 May 1940
During 22 - 24 May 1940, HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN), assisted trawler Barbados in the attempted cutting of an underwater cable between the Netherlands and the U.K. (Operation Lamp). The operation was covered by the British destroyers HMS Codrington (Capt. G.F. Stevens-Guille, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine RN). The operation was not successful. (7)

26 May 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) spent 15 hours on the surface searching for the crew of a crashed British aircraft. (4)

3 Jun 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at Rosyth. (4)

11 Jun 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Rosyth together with HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, DSO, RN), HMS Sealion (Lt.Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) and HMS White Bear (Capt. R. Gill, RD, RNR). (8)

17 Jun 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Rosyth for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off south-west Norway, Lister area.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Salmon during this patrol see the map below.

(4)

20 Jun 1940
HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) fires two torpedoes against a convoy about 15 nautical miles south-west of Egersund, Norway in position 58°18'N 05°40'E. Both torpedoes missed their target.

This was probably a convoy of four small merchant vessels escorted by V 1106 and V 1108, the attack was unobserved.

(All times are zone +1 ?)
1420 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel bearing 275°, range 7 nautical miles.

1430 hours - Sighted more ships, it was now seen that they were in convoy. Started attack.

1505 hours - Fired two torpedoes at the nearest merchant vessel from 4000 yards. No hits were obtained. (4)

27 Jun 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) ended her 8th war patrol at Rosyth. (4)

4 Jul 1940
HMS Salmon (Cdr. E.O. Bickford, DSO, RN) departed Rosyth for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in position 57°20’N, 05°00’E off Skudesnes off the south-west coast of Norway. On 9 July, she was ordered to 58°40'N, 04°30'E and on 11 July to 59°00'N, 04°30'E and finally to return to base on 12 July. She never made any signal and she is believed to have run into a German minefield. Five officers and thirty-six ratings were lost. (5)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16021
  2. ADM 173/16022
  3. ADM 173/16023
  4. ADM 199/1839
  5. ADM 199/2569
  6. ADM 173/16510
  7. ADM 199/373
  8. ADM 173/16511

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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