"H" class Light Coastal Submarine
Name Builder Completed Fate
Group 3, "H21" type
H28 Vickers 26/6/18 Scrapped 1944
H31 11/2/19 Lost to accident in Bay of Biscay 24/12/41
H32 14/5/19 Scrapped 1944
H33 Cammell Laird 15/4/19 Scrapped 1944
H34 19/9/19 Scrapped 1945
H43 Armstrong Whitworth 13/10/19 Scrapped 1944
H44 23/3/20 Scrapped 1945
H49 W. Beardmore 1920 Depthcharged by German trawlers Uj.116 & Uj.118 off Texel 10/10/40
H50 13/1/20 Scrapped 1945
1:600 line drawing of "H21" type © Andrew Arthur

The first batch of ten of these submarines were built by Vickers of Montreal, Canada, the parts being supplied by the Bethlehem Steel Company of the U.S.A. A second batch that had been ordered were to be impounded by the Americans until the end of the war, but they were eventually released on the U.S. entry into the war in 1917.
These boats were single-hulled and suffered from a low reserve of buoyancy.
H1 of this class crossed the Atlantic in 1915, this was a record length for any submarine of the time.
H11 and H12 were the only two boats of the second group to reach Britain and served with the 14th Flotilla stationed at Blyth. The remainder of group "2" were either ceded to Chile in exchange for ships which were being built in Britain at the outbreak of war or presented to the Royal Canadian Navy. Due to the U.S. witholding the second batch of 'H' class the British decided to go ahead and build their own. More or less the same design but somewhat longer and introducing the 21 inch torpedo tube in preference to the 18 inch. - the H21 class.
They were used as training boats, although they saw some operations in 1939 & 40.

Surface Displacement 423 tons Length 52.4m
Submerged Displacement 510 tons Beam 4.8m
Ballast load 87 tons Draft 4m


Performance & Propulsion
Range 2985 nm @ 7.5kts surfaced; 130 nm @2 kts / 10 nm @ 9kts submerged
Dive 91 m
Speed 11.5 kts ( 9 kts submerged )
Machinery 2 x Nelsco 8 cyl. deisels @ 480 bhp,
2 x Electric motors @ 320 shp,
2 screws


Armament & Complement
Complement 22 officers & ratings
  • Torpedo
    • 4 x 1 x 21" bow tubes
    • 6 x 21" torpedoes
  • Gun
    • 1 x 1 x 0.303" MG AA
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