Royal Navy Submarine Depot Ship HMS Titania (F32)

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Date: 1915 to 1949
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Surnames/tags: Royal Navy Ship submarine depot ship 4th Submarine Flotilla
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Royal Navy Ship HMS Titania (Pennant F32) was a submarine depot ship, built on the Clyde and launched on 4th March 1915. She was built originally as a merchant ship for the Royal Hungarian Sea Navigation Company "Adria" as Károly Ferencz József but was soon taken by the Royal Navy and recommissioned as a submarine depot ship. She saw service in both the First and Second World Wars. In the 1920s she was the depot ship for the 4th Submarine Flotilla and was based in Hong Kong. In Jun 1929 HMS Medway was commissioned as the depot ship for the 4th Submarine Flotilla. She sailed to Hong Kong and replaced HMS Titania in the role. HMS Titania returned to England. She was scrapped in 1949 at Faslane.

HMS Titania © IWM (FL 20126) IWM Non Commercial License

The following websites contain information about HMS Titania:



HMS Titania (1915), (Pennant F32) was a Royal Navy Submarine tender / Submarine Depot Ship. She served with the Royal Navy from 1915 until 1948/9, when she was scrapped at Faslane. She was built in Glasgow, Scotland,[1], by the Clyde Shipbuilding Co.[2] originally as a merchant ship. She was launched in March 1915 and commissioned by the Royal Navy as a Submarine Depot Ship in November 1915[3].

HMS Titania was one of many submarine depot ships. Most of them that saw service in the First World War were scrapped in the 1930s[4]. HMS Titania, however, saw service in the Second World War. She was scrapped at Faslane, Scotland, in September 1949.

Technical Data

Technical Data

Ship countryUnited Kingdom
Ship nameHMS Titania
Ship builderClyde Shipbuilding Co. (Glasgow, Scotland)
Ship yard number
Ship laid down
Ship launchedMarch 1915
Ship acquired
Ship commissionedNovember 1915
Ship decommissioned
Ship in service
Ship out of service
Ship struck
Ship reinstated
Ship honours
Ship nickname
Ship fateScrapped in 1948/9 at Faslane
Ship status
Ship notes
Ship displacement5250 tons
Ship length335 ft
Ship beam46 ft 3 in
Ship height
Ship draught18 ft 3 in
Ship propulsion
Ship speed14.5 knots
Ship range
Ship endurance
Ship boats7 L-class submarines
Ship complement249

Chronology and Voyages of HMS Titania

1915-1919: 11th Submarine Flotilla, Blyth

When she was first commissioned, in November 1915, she was stationed at Blyth[5] and under the command of Captain Stanley Lyte Willis.

In December 1915, the Eleventh Flotilla became the first directly supporting the submarines of the Grand Fleet. The Flotilla was formed at first from submarines D7 and D8 taken from the Eighth Flotilla and HMS Titania as their depot ship. During the period in which Titania was the depot ship of the 11th Submarine Flotilla, other ships shared the role at various times, including HMS Mastiff (1914), HMS Talisman, HMS Trident (1915), HMS Tartar and HMS Moon. Other submarines of the G and J classes joined the Flotilla and the D-class submarines were removed.

An account of life on the ship at that time is to be found in The South African Military History Society, Military History Journal, Vol 5 No 1 - June 1980, HMS Titania 1917-1918, by G. Hawthorne [6].

On 3rd June 1916, following the Battle of Jutland, HMS Titania instructed submarine G10 to locate and sink floating remains of HMS Invincible to prevent the capture of materials[7].

On 28 October 1918, Captain Frederick Avenel Sommerville was put in command of HMS Titania and made Commander (S) of the 11th Submarine Flotilla based at Blyth.

The Eleventh Flotilla was disbanded in March 1919.

1919-1929: 4th Submarine Flotilla, China

Formation of the Flotilla

On 1st Oct 1919 HMS Titania and HMS Ambrose (1903), Royal Navy were the two ships commissioned at Chatham as depot ships for the 4th Submarine Flotilla, China. At the time HMS Titania was under the command of Captain Frederick Avenil Sommerville and HMS Ambrose (1903), Royal Navy was under the command of Cecil Ponsonby Talbot.

HMS Rosario (1898) in Hong Kong

At that time, another depot ship was already in service in Hong Kong. HMS Rosario (1898) had been converted to a depot ship in 1910 and was serving in Hong Kong as the depot ship for the Hong Kong Submarine Flotilla, which consisted of three C-class submarines, C36, C37 and C38. These three submarines were built by Vickers, Barrow[8], commissioned on 1 February 1910 and sailed with HMS Rosario to Hong Kong in February 1911. They were all sold in Hong Kong on 25 June 1919. HMS Rosario was scrapped in Hong Kong in November 1921.

HMS Ambrose (1903), Voyage to Hong Kong

HMS Ambrose (1903), Royal Navy, under the command of Cecil Talbot, left Devonport in September 1919 and sailed to Hong Kong, where she remained until 28 March 1928[9]. The exact timing of HMS Ambrose's voyage to Hong Kong is not known. It appears that her arrival in Hong Kong was in January 1920[10].

HMS Titania (1915), Voyage to Hong Kong

After commissioning HMS Titania sailed to Malta. The Ship's Log shows that she left Chatham on 9th October 1919 and sailed via Sheerness to Portsmouth, arriving there on 14th October 1919. On 29th October 1919 she set sail for Malta, sailing via Gibraltar, where she stayed from 3rd to 8th November 1919, arriving in Malta on 12 November 1919.

On 18 February 1920 she and part of the 4th Submarine Flotilla, consisting of 7 L-class submarines, under the command of Captain Frederick Avenil Sommerville, set sail for Hong Kong via Port Said, Suez, Ismailia, Aden, Colombo, Penang and Singapore. She arrived in Hong Kong on 14 April 1920. The ship's log records that HMS Titania weighed anchor and secured to Storm Signal Buoy at 10.17 a.m. on 14 April 1920. Gap Rock Light referred to in the Log is in the Wanshan Archipelago, to the south of Hong_Kong_Island. The reference to Waglan Light shows that she entered Hong Kong Harbour from the east through Tathong Channel and passed by the fishing village of Lye Mun (Lei Yue Mun) in Kowloon before docking. The exact location of Storm Signal Buoy is uncertain. It is likely to have been in the Admiralty area of Hong Kong Island, at the HMS Tamar shore station.

Ship's Log entry, 14 April 1920
14 April 1920
From Singapore to Hong Kong and At Hong Kong
Position at 8 am: Lat 22.18, Long 114.31
Lat 22.3, Long 114.2
10 on sick list
1.0 am: Put clocks on 15 minutes.
1.23 am: Sighted Gap Rock Light: N20E.
3.42 am: Gap Rock Light: abeam 8.4 miles.
3.45 am: Altered course N52E.
5.15 am: Sighted Waglan Light: N56E.
5.30 am: Altered course N60E.
7.50 am: Waglan Light: abeam 1 1/2 E.
7.52 am: Altered course North.
8.0 am: Waglan Light House: S87W, Hak Kok Tan Light House: N36W. Altered course as requisite through Tathong Channel. Hauled in log.
8.50 am: course as requisite through Lye Mun. Submersibles in single line astern.
9.15 am: Course and speed as requisite foo Buoy.
9.25 am: Let go Port anchor off Kan Ling Point. Turned ship.
9.50 am: Weighed.
10.17 am: Secured to "Storm Signal Buoy" Hong Kong.
1.0 pm: Submarines secured alongside.

In her time as the Depot Ship for the 4th Submarine Flotilla, she sailed to many destinations around the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

HMS Titania, HMS Ambrose and the L-Class Submarines

While HMS Titania was based in Hong Kong, another submarine depot ship, |HMS Ambrose (1903), Royal Navy , accompanied HMS Titania in supporting the 4th Submarine Flotilla. The exact timing of HMS Ambrose's voyage to Hong Kong is not known.

The submarines of the 4th Flotilla that accompanied HMS Titania and HMS Ambrose are identified on the website[11]. They were all of the L-Class.

Seven submarines accompanied HMS Titania on the voyage to Hong Kong. Submarines mentioned in the Ship's Log are L2, L5, L6, L8, L19, L20 and L33. The names of the commanders are those who were in command in 1920. The submarines were as follows:

  1. HMS L2, commanded by B. Ackworth and later by Colin Cantlie
  2. HMS L5, commanded by Lt. A.M. Carrie
  3. HMS L6, commanded by Lt. T.F.A. Voysey.
  4. HMS L8, commanded by Lt. Cdr. T.A. Powell
  5. HMS L19
  6. HMS L20, commanded by Lt. Cdr. C.G.B. Coltart
  7. HMS L33

A further six submarines were assigned to HMS Ambrose:

  1. HMS L1, Lt. C.G. MacArthur
  2. HMS L3, Lt. A.B. Greig DSC
  3. HMS L4, Lt. Cdr. C.P. Satow
  4. HMS L7, Lt. D.V. Peyton-Ward
  5. HMS L9, Lt. E.H. Dolphin
  6. HMS L15, commanded by Lt. Cdr. R.N. Stopford
(L9 sank in Hong Kong harbour on 18th August 1923 during a typhoon. She was raised, refitted and put back into service. She was sold in Hong Kong on 30 June 1927, the first 'L' class boat to be sold.)

There were in total 34 L-class submarines[12], numbered L1 to L12, L14 to L27, L33, L52 to L56, L69 and L71.

Voyages in the Far East

In her service life HMS Titania made a number of voyages in the Far East. Her movements in the period 1919 to 1924 are recorded on[13]. Between 1920 and 1926 she sailed several times from Hong Kong[14].

The Ship's Log for the period 1919 to 1924[15] shows that HMS Titania was based at Hong Kong on many occasions. When away from Hong Kong the destinations were mostly along the Chinese coast, Shanghai, Wei Hai Wei and others, as well as Port Hamilton. Wei Hai Wei was a colony leased from China in 1898[16]. Other foreign concessions were at T'ientsin (Tianjin)[17], Hangkow (Hankou)[18], Amoy (Xiamen)[19] and Shanghai.

  • 14 Apr 1920 to 25 Jun 1920, in Hong Kong
Voyage No 1
  1. 25 Jun 1920 to 3 July 1920, Hong Kong to Wei Hai Wei
  2. 20 Sep 1920 to 22 Sep 1920, Wei Hai Wei to Nagasaki
  3. 23 Sep 1920 to 25 Sep 1920 Nagasaki to Kobe
  4. 18 Oct 1920 to 20 Oct 1920 Kobe to Port Hamilton
  5. 21 Oct 1920 to 22 Oct 1920 Port Hamilton to Wei Hai Wei
  6. 18 Nov 1920 to 20 Nov 1920 Wei Hai Wei to Nimrod Sound
  7. 27 Nov 1920 to 28 Nov 1920 Nimrod Sound to Samsa Inlet/Santu Anchorage
  8. 02 Dec 1920 to 03 Dec 1920 Santu Anchorage to Amoy
  9. 09 Dec 1920 to 10 Dec 1920 Amoy to Hong Kong

(Note: Nimrod Sound is located at Lat 29.5, Long 121.5)

  • 11 Dec 1920 to 25 Jul 1921, in Hong Kong. One local trip to Mirs Bay is recorded in the Log.
Voyage No 2
  1. 25 Jul 1921 to 29 Jul 1921 Hong Kong to Wei Hai Wei
  2. 3 Oct 1921 to 5 Oct 1921 Wei Hai Wei to Shanghai
  3. 26 Oct 1921 to 27 Oct 1921 Shanghai to Nimrod Sound
  4. 1 Nov 1921 to 2 Nov 1921 Nimrod Sound to Amoy
  5. 8 Nov 1921 to 9 Nov 1921 Amoy to Hong Kong
  • 10 Nov 1921 to 18 Jan 1922, in Hong Kong
Voyage No 3
  1. 18 Jan 1922 to 25 Jan 1922 Hong Kong to Singapore
  2. 31 Jan 1922 to 2 Feb 1922 Singapore to Penang
  3. 14 Feb 1922 to 15 Feb 1922 Penang to Port Settenham
  4. 19 Feb 1922 to 20 Feb 1922 Port Settenham to Singapore
  5. 23 Feb 1922 to 26 Feb 1922 Singapore to Labuan
  6. 3 Mar 1922 to 3 Mar 1922 Labuan to Jesselton/Gaya Bay
  7. 9 Mar 1922 to 12 Mar 1922 Jesselton to Manila
  8. 14 Mar 1922 to 18 Mar 1922 Manila to Hong Kong
  • 18 Mar 1922 to 7 Jul 1922, in Hong Kong
Voyage No 4
  1. 7 Jul 1922 to 13 Jul 1922 Hong Kong to Wei Hai Wei (Weihai)
  2. 26 Sep 1922 to 26 Sep 1922 Wei Hai Wei to Dairen Wan (Dalian)
  3. 10 Oct 1922 to 10 Oct 1922 Dairen Wan to Wei Hai Wei
  4. 26 Oct 1922 to 26 Oct 1922 Wei Hai Wei to Tsingtau (Qingdao)
  5. 1 Nov 1922 to 3 Nov 1922 Tsingtau to Nimrod Sound
  6. 9 Nov 1922 to 10 Nov 1922 Nimrod Sound to Amoy (Xiamen)
  7. 16 Nov 1922 to 17 Nov 1922 Amoy to Hong Kong
  • 17 Nov 1922 to 28 Jun 1923, in Hong Kong
Voyage No 5
  1. 28 Jun 1923 to 3 Jul 1923 Hong Kong to Wei Hai Wei
  2. 9 Oct 1923 to 10 Oct 1923 Wei Hai Wei to Tsingtau
  3. 12 Oct 1923 to 13 Oct 1923 Tsingtau to Woosung
  4. 14 Oct 1923 to 14 Oct 1923 Woosung to Tsinghai
  5. 15 Oct 1923 to 16 Oct 1923 Tsinghai to Santu Inlet
  6. 19 Oct 1923 to 21 Oct 1923 Santu Inlet to Hong Kong
  • 21 Oct 1923 to 14 Feb 1924, in Hong Kong
Voyage No 6
  1. 14 Feb 1924 to 20 Feb 1924 Hong Kong to Singapore
  2. 3 Mar 1924 to 7 Mar 1924 Singapore to Port Swettenham
  3. 7 Mar 1924 to 8 Mar 1924 Port Swettenham to Singapore
  4. 20 Mar 1924 to 27 Mar 1924 Singapore to Hong Kong
  • 27 Mar 1924 to 27 May 1924, in Hong Kong
Voyage No 7
  1. 27 May 1924 to 27 May 1924 Hong Kong to Lu Wang Anchorage
  2. 28 May 1924 to 29 May 1924 Lu Wang Anchorage to Shanghai
  3. 4 Jun 1924 to 6 Jun 1924 Shanghai to Wei Hai Wei
  4. 6 Jun 1924 to 14 August 1924, in Wei Hai Wei

The transcript of the Ship's Log ends here.

HMS Titania in Hong Kong

HMS Titania fielded a football team in the Hong Kong Second Division League. They were champions in the 1921/22 and 1923/24 seasons[20].

She was recommissioned at Hong Kong in 1921, 9 Feb 1924 and 5 Nov 1926.

Return to England, Replacement in Hong Kong by HMS Medway (1928)

At the end of her service in Hong Kong, she returned to the UK via Malta. HMS Ambrose had already left Hong Kong on 28 March 1928 and returned to England. HMS Medway took her place in Hong Kong as the depot ship for the 4th Submarine Flotilla.

A report in the Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser on 27 July 1929 notes that HMS Medway is undergoing trials.

NEW SUBMARINE DEPOT SHIP. "A Floating Base." The trials have now been begun of H.M.S. Medway, which has been built by Vickers Armstrongs, Limited, at their Barrow works to fulfil an urgent need for a larger and better-equipped submarine depot and repair ship. The Medway will take the place of the Maidstone, built in 1912 and employed throughout the late War as parent ship of the flotilla working from Harwich. In her design and equipment there have been introduced many novel features as a result of experience gained during and since the War. Her resources and accommodation are such as to make her probably the most spacious and efficient vessel of her kind in any navy, and it is no exaggeration to call her a floating submarine base.

A report in the Straits Times on 3 October 1929[22] mentions HMS Titania and HMS Marazion (1919). It appears that Marazion was serving with the 4th Flotilla, filling the void left by the departure of HMS Ambrose. Note: submarines L23 and L27, mentioned in the article, were not present when Ambrose and Titania sailed to Hong Kong in 1920. It is not known when they arrived in Hong Kong.

CHINA SQUADRON. SHIPPING NOTES. Ships Beginning to Return to Hong Kong. H.M. Ships on the China station, which have been spending the summer at Weihaiwei and other Northern ports, are returning to Hong Kong, their winter headquarters. H.M.S. Bruce, the leader of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, arrived on Sept. 26 and is now at the Dockyard, north arm. H.M.S. Sterling, another of the units is also at the north arm. H.M.S. Seraph and H.M.S. Serapis are in the basin. H.M.S. Sepoy, Somme, Sirdar and Thracian were due on Sept. 26. The eighth unit, H.M.S. Stormcloud is out on an exercise cruise. The submarines of the 4th flotilla with H.M.S. Titania (depot ship) and H.M.S. Marazion (tender) were also due on Sept. 25 and include the L3, L15, L23 and L27. The cruiser H.M.S. Berwick is at the No. 1 buoy, Naval anchorage.

A newspaper report in the Straits Times on 11 February 1930 notes the arrival of Titania back in England. It read as follows:

SUBMARINES FROM CHINA. H.M.S. Titania, Commander A. B. Lockhart, D.S.C., which on her arrival home from China with submarines of the Fourth Flotilla, was ordered to relieve H.M.S. Vulcan, depot ship of the Sixth Flotilla, Portland. She will retain her seagoing status. Of the six submarines returning with her, one will be retained in full commission to relieve H34 in the Fifth Flotilla. Submarine L3, completed in 1918, will be scrapped. The remaining four submarines will be reduced to reserve at Fort Blockhouse.

HMS Medway took her place in Hong Kong as the depot ship for the 4th Submarine Flotilla. HMS Medway sailed to Hong Kong with six O-Class submarines of the Odin group. They were:

  1. HMS Odin (N84)
  2. HMS Olympus (N35)
  3. HMS Osiris (N67)
  4. HMS Orpheus (N46)
  5. HMS Oswald (N58)
  6. HMS Otus (N92)

1930-1940: 6th Submarine Flotilla, Portland/Blyth

On 1 Oct 1930 she was commissioned at Chatham for the 6th Submarine Flotilla based at Weymouth/Portland.

1935 temporarily with the 3rd Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet.

16 Jul 1935 Flagship of the Flag Officer Commanding Submarines at the Silver Jubilee Review at Spithead, under the command of Cdr. Edward A. Aylmer, RN.

1936 attached to 6th Flotilla, Portland.

20 May 1937 Coronation Review at Spithead as Flag Officer Submarines' Flagship.

1939 based at Blyth with the 6th Flotilla.

1940-1945: Holy Loch

In 1940 she was refitted on the Tyne and transferred to Holy Loch for the remainder of the war.

On 6 May 1942, HMS H28 (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN), HMS H32 (Lt. J. Whitton, RN), HMS P 614 (Lt. D.J. Beckley, RN) conducted practice attacks on a convoy made up of the submarine tenders HMS Cyclops (Capt. R.L.M. Edwards, RN), HMS Titania (Cdr. H.R. Conway, RN) and their escort HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A. E. Johnston, RN), HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR) and HMS Boarhound (Skr. S.G. Jinks, RNR).

In 1943 she served as a depot ship in sea trials of the Welman mini-submarine.

1945-1949: 5th Submarine Flotilla, Portsmouth

In 1945 she was transferred to Portsmouth Naval Base to serve as a depot hulk for the 5th Flotilla.

In June 1948 or 1949 she was broken up at Faslane.

Officers and Crew of HMS Titania



No.NameDate BeganDate Ended
1 Capt. Stanley L. Willis, RN 21 Oct 1915 Oct 1918
2 Capt. Frederick A. Sommerville, RN 28 Oct 1918 Dec 1920
3 Capt. Charles S. Benning, RN 31 Dec 1920 Mar 1923
4 Capt. Charles G. Brodie, RN 1 Feb 1923
5 Capt. Robert H.T. Raikes Mar 1925 Mar 1927
6 Capt. John B. Glencross 27 Jan 1927 Feb 1929
7 Cdr. Anthony B. Lockhart Feb 1929 Mar 1930
8 Cdr. Henry I.M.L. Scott 28 Mar 1930 31 Oct 1930
9 Capt. Hugh R. Marrack 1 Nov 1930 2 Feb 1931
10 Cdr. Edward G. Stanley 2 Feb 1931 6 Feb 1933
11 Cdr. Edward A. Aylmer, RN 6 Feb 1933 23 Jul 1935
12 Cdr. Geoffrey M. K. Keble-White 23 July, 1935
13 Capt. Ian A.P. Macintyre 26 Aug 1936 Feb 1938
14 Cdr. Jocelyn Slingsby Bethell, RN 26 Apr 1938 28 Apr 1940
15 Capt. Hugh Meynell Cyril Ionides, RN 1 Jul 1940 14 Aug 1940
16 Capt. Philip Ruck-Keene, RN 14 Aug 1940 9 Sep 1940
17 Capt. Hugh Meynell Cyril Ionides, RN Sep 1940 Dec 1941
18 Cdr. Harold Robson Conway, RN Dec 1941 12 Jun 1942
19 Cdr. Geoffrey Mainwaring Sladen, DSO, DSC, RN 12 Jun 1942 early 1943
20 Cdr. (retired) William Richmond Fell, DSC, OBE, RN early 1943 18 Jan 1944
21 Cdr. (retired) Thomas Bennett Brunton, DSC, RN 18 Jan 1944 8 Mar 1944
22 A/Cdr. (retired) Sydney Pengelly, RN early 1944 mid 1945
23 Not known

Ship's Officers

These officers' names all appear in the ship's log for the period 1919 to 1924.

  • Lt. R.M. Stoppard
  • Lt. Cdr. Ditten
  • Eng. Lt. Humphreys
  • Lt. Reid
  • Lt. Cdr. Jordan
  • Lt. Spragge
  • Lt. Thomson
  • Eng. Cdr. Horsley
  • Surg. Lt. Cdr. Aveling
  • Eng. Cdr. Bury
  • Lt. Cdr. MacGill
  • Lt. Keller
  • Sub. Lt. Ritchings
  • Lt. Tweedy
  • Lt. Holt
  • Lt. Harrison
  • Lt. Clarke

Other Crew Members

These crew members' names all appear in the ship's log for the period 1919 to 1924.

  • Chief Gunner Spiller
  • Chief Artificer M. Lindsey
  • Artificer Mr. Holmes
  • Artificer E.A. Williams
  • Mr. Harris

See Also


  1. Allied Warships of WWII - Submarine Depot Ship HMS Titania
  2. Graces Guide, Clyde Shipbuilding and_Engineering Co. (Glasgow, Scotland)
  3. Titania (1915) - The Dreadnought Project
  4. Submarine Depot Ships - Allied Warships of WWII
  5. 11th Submarine Flotilla, Blyth
  12. HMS Titania, depot ship - British warships of World War 1
  13. 1926 Submarines and HMS Titania
  14. HMS Titania, depot ship - British warships of World War 1
  19. Wikipedia: Hong Kong Second Division League

External links

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HMS Titania
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