Allied Warships

HMS H 31 (N 31)

Submarine of the H class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantN 31 
Built byVickers (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
OrderedFeb 1917 
Laid down19 Apr 1917 
Launched16 Nov 1918 
Commissioned11 Feb 1919 
Lost26 Dec 1941 

Took part in patrols off Brest in the Spring of 1941.

H 31 (Lt. Frank Bridger Gibbs, RN) sailed from Falmouth and left escort on the 19th December 1941 for a Bay of Biscay patrol, 250 nautical miles north of Cape Finisterre. She was reported overdue on 26 December 1941. The cause of her loss unknown. Possibly a German minefield or drifting British mines. lost with all hands.

The date of her loss given is an approximate one.


Commands listed for HMS H 31 (N 31)

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William Richmond Fell, RN20 Sep 1939
1Lt. Peter Ronald Ward, RN20 Sep 193925 Jan 1940
2Lt. Malcolm David Wanklyn, RN25 Jan 1940Feb 1940
3Lt. Rowland John Hemingway, RNFeb 194011 Jun 1940
4Lt. Malcolm David Wanklyn, RN11 Jun 19407 Aug 1940
5Lt. Richard Evelyn Coltart, RN7 Aug 194014 Oct 1940
6Lt. Reginald Denis Whiteway-Wilkinson, DSC, RN14 Oct 194020 Apr 1941
7Lt. Rowland John Hemingway, DSC, RN20 Apr 194111 Aug 1941
8Lt. Frank Bridger Gibbs, RN11 Aug 1941Dec 1941 (+)

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Notable events involving H 31 include:

3 Jun 1940
The Dutch submarine HrMs O 13 (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Vorster, RNN) departed Portsmouth for Dundee. She was escorted by the British armed yacht HMS White Bear (Capt. R. Gill, RD, RNR). The British submarines HMS H 28 (Lt. E.A Woodward, RN) and HMS H 31 (Lt. R.J. Hemingway, RN) were also in company until Blyth. (1)

6 Jun 1940
HMS H 28 (Lt. E.A Woodward, RN) and HMS H 31 (Lt. R.J. Hemingway, RN) both arrive at Blyth coming from Portsmouth.

18 Jul 1940
HMS H 31 (Lt. M.D. Wanklyn, RN) torpedoed and sank the German auxiliary patrol vessel UJ 126/Steiermark (422 GRT) in the North Sea north-west of the Island of Terschelling, Netherlands in position 53°28'N, 05°01'E.

14 Apr 1941
At 0230 hours, HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) sighted a submarine in position 49°54'N, 04°45'W. This turned out to be HMS H 31 (Lt. R.D. Whiteway-Wilkinson DSC, RN), they exchanged recognition signals. (2)


  1. ADM 199/373
  2. ADM 199/1820

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

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