HMS Regent

 Nov 2019: Important Update. See email below regarding the Regent, the images are not of the Regent on the bottom (75m down) but of a WW1 submarine.

Of all the branches of men in the Forces, there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariner.

Great deeds are done in the air and on the land; nevertheless, nothing surpasses your exploits." Winston Churchill.

"Only in attack does a submarine reveal herself, before creeping away to the concealment of the deep

HMS Regent is presumed to have been sunk by mines after she attacked a small convoy near Bari on 18 April, getting no response from the escorts
 She failed to return to base in Beirut.

, commanded by Lt.Cdr. H.C.Browne, was ordered to proceed into the harbour of Kotor, on the Yugoslav coast, shortly after the German invasion of the Balkans, where arrangements had been made for her to embark Mr. Ronald Campbell, the British Minister to Yugoslavia, and his staff.

The Regent entered the Gulf of Kotor on the surface with a large ensign at the masthead. Trimmed well down and with her crew at diving stations, she proceeded up past the village of Ercegnovi to the seaplane base at Denovici. Here, after a two hour delay, a Yugoslav naval officer and a civilian pilot arrived in a boat with the information that Yugoslavia had been overrun by German armies, that the whole area was now in the hands of the Italians, and that Mr. Campbell was at Ercegnovi. The Yugoslav naval officer was embarked to point out the way through the defensive minefields, while the pilot went ashore to telephone to the British Minister and ask him to proceed to Zelenika, where there was a jetty from which embarkation could be made.

With the Yugoslav Lt.Cdr. on board, the Regent proceeded down the gulf to Zelenika. She lay off the jetty and, after a long and acrimonious discussion with Italian officers shouted across the intervening water, it was agreed that an officer from the Regent should go ashore and interview the Italian admiral and attempt to get into touch with Mr. Campbell, while an Italian officer of equivalent rank should remain on board the submarine as a hostage. As a result, an Italian army captain was brought off to the Regent while Lt. D. Lambert, the first lieutenant, went ashore to make what arrangements he could for the release of Mr. Campbell.

All that afternoon the Regent lay off the jetty, in water too shallow in which to dive and with Italian aircraft flying round the submarine. Just after half past three, two of the aircraft straightened out and began to dive towards the Regent. A moment later a heavy explosion right alongside showed that the submarine was the target for a dive bombing attack. Seven large bombs were dropped and Browne decided that he had only one possible course of action left. The safety of his boat was his main responsibility and he would have to abandon his mission, leave Lt. Lambert ashore, and try to reach the open sea.

He manoeuvred the Regent out into deeper water, becoming the target for fragmentation bombs which burst at the level of the bridge, wounding all three men on it. Then, reaching deeper water, he dived the submarine and took her down the gulf submerged with the aircraft following him and firing at the periscope. She reached the safety of the Adriatic, with the Italian hostage still on board, after an exciting trip. It transpired later that the attack had been made by German aircraft, much to the annoyance of the Italian admiral in charge of the port, who had already given his word that the Regent would not be attacked while the negotiations ashore were still in progress.

HMS Regent sank off the coast of Bisceglie (Barletta) after a collision with a mine on April 18, 1943.

April 2006: Sharon Brown has kindly sent me the following images regarding HMS Regent, in particular, Stan Parris, who was Electrical Artificer on board Regent.

MX64442 Stanley Parris RN - HMS Regent 

The following two images were sent to me from David Clifford, this one is his father CPO Clifford, HMS Regent

Regent leaves Malta for the last time - Image from HMS Unbending

Ernest Roy Wright Russell never came home with HMS Regent
(Thanks To Carol Porter for this image of her uncle). Roy's sister Inez is 97 years young this year (2009)

Two images of the wreck of HMS Regent, off Bari

I have strong evidence that the images that were below are NOT of the Regent. See email from italian sources:

We are strongly sure that the wreck shown in your website is NOT the HMS regent. By our data, and by the dimensions of the wreck, it was a WWI submarine used like buoy for a minefield 8 miles outside Barletta city.
We obtained permission by Coast Guard to do a recon dive on the object, i will inform you as soon as i return after dive. We asked Coast Guard because at the moment its a wargrave and impossible to approach there.

Operation will be approx around 10th of December.

Good news: we have location of the REAL HMS REGENT.

We suppose its in a deeper place south to the position shown on the charts, it stays at 75 meters with entire crew inside except 2-3 sailors that tried escaping with life jackets and found dead in Brindisi area on the shore ( by the Italian Royal Navy report of the period). As soon as entire work will be done, could be possible by you contacting someone of the Crew families? Because in next future i think we will have very big news.

2 images removed - not Regent

The wreck position of HMS Regent

 ATKINSON, John K, Able Seaman, D/JX 206104, MPK

 BACKHOUSE, Alfred, Able Seaman, C/JX 192769, MPK

 BAKER, Ronald V, Act/Warrant Engineer, MPK

 BAYLISS, Sidney, Petty Officer, D/JX 133751, MPK (Image below)

 BROWN, Robert W, Stoker 1c, D/KX 144749, MPK

 CHESWORTH, Kenneth L, Stoker 1c, C/KX 118956, MPK

 CLIFFORD, Raymond A, Act/Chief Petty Officer, C/JX 127992, MPK

 COMPTON, Ernest, Act/Leading Stoker, P/KX 96749, MPK

 COX, Sydney A A, Telegraphist, C/JX 143583, MPK

 CULHAM, James W S, Lieutenant, MPK

 DEWHURST, Herbert E, Able Seaman, P/JX 341337, MPK

 ELLIS, George G, Ty/Act/Petty Officer, C/JX 142283, MPK

 FERNIE, Robert R, Sub Lieutenant, MPK

 FOSTER, Benjamin W, Stoker 1c, C/KX 117339, MPK

 FOXHALL, Percival G, Able Seaman, C/235323, MPK

 GEE, Leslie R, Stoker 1c, C/KX 96321, MPK

 GIBSON, Peter R J, Lieutenant, MPK

 GROUNSELL, Cyril T, Able Seaman, P/JX 182166, MPK

 HARDING, Vincent, Petty Officer Steward, P/LX 21771, MPK

 HARVEY, Robert, Able Seaman, P/JX 234155, MPK

 HEWITT, Alfred, Able Seaman, P/JX 264920, MPK

 HITCHCOCK, Toney, Leading Telegraphist, P/JX 163012, MPK

 HITCHES, Leonard R, Able Seaman, P/JX 143284, MPK

 HORTON, William R, Leading Seaman, P/SSX 30519, MPK

 HOWELL, Richard, Stoker 1c, D/KX 118461, MPK

 HUDSON, Jeffery K, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, C/KX 90759, MPK

 IMISON, David H, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, C/KX 95072, MPK

 JONES, Arthur H, Engine Room Artificer 4c, C/MX 73110, MPK

 KING, Herbert G, Able Seaman, C/SSX 25492, MPK

 KNOX, Walter N R, Lieutenant, MPK

 LEE, Richard D, Ty/Act/Leading Seaman, C/JX 208263, MPK

 LEECH, Henry, Stoker Petty Officer, D/KX 80895, MPK

 LEMIN, John, Leading Stoker, C/KX 92690, MPK

 LIPSCOMBE, Leonard A, Able Seaman, RNVR, P/SD/X 1513, MPK

 LLOYD, Richard W, Stoker 1c, C/KX 134511, MPK

 LOUGHRAN, Henry, Stoker 1c, C/KX 115870, MPK

 LOWIS, Reginald E, Ty/Petty Officer, C/JX 151999, MPK

 MATHEWS, Gordon F, Stoker 1c, C/KX 138438, MPK

 MOORES, Alfred, Act/Leading Stoker, D/KX 95063, MPK

 MURPHY, Kenneth C, Telegraphist, C/JX 259256, MPK

 MURRAY, Athol, Leading Telegraphist, P/JX 132122, MPK

 NOBLE, George P, Engine Room Artificer 4c, C/MX 71349, MPK

 PACKER, John W, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 105571, MPK

 PARRIS, Stanley G, Electrical Artificer 4c, C/MX 64442, MPK

 PERRY, James C, Stoker 1c, C/KX 134869, MPK

 PRATT, Edwin J C, Warrant Engineer, MPK

 RAWLINGS, Albert E, Ty/Act/Petty Officer, C/JX 143312, MPK

 RHODES, Bernard G, Leading Seaman, P/WRX 580, MPK

 RUSSELL, Ernest R, Engine Room Artificer 3c, D/MX 57434, MPK

 SAVAGE, Stephen A, Leading Stoker, P/KX 91951, MPK

 SAWYER, Geoffrey J, Leading Signalman, C/151593, MPK

 SHOULDER, George E, Able Seaman, C/SSX 24036, MPK

 SKINNER, Reginald W, Able Seaman, C/JX 251639, MPK

 SUTTON, Richard J, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, MPK

 TATHAM, Bryan P, Stoker Petty Officer, D/KX 80286, MPK

 TAYLOR, Jack E, Ty/Act/Leading Stoker, D/KX 82919, MPK

 THOMPSON, Roy W, Engine Room Artificer 5c, D/MX 66023, MPK

 TIERNEY, George W, Ty/Leading Cook, D/MX 53858, MPK

 TRICE, William A, Chief Engine Room Artificer, C/MX 45219, MPK ** See image below

 TURNER, Anthony D, Leading Telegraphist, P/JX 142344, MPK

 WENTWORTH, Samuel, Able Seaman, C/SSX 26827, MPK

 WILKS, William H, Telegraphist, P/SSX 30181, MPK

 WOODS, John C, Able Seaman, D/JX 23782, MPK ** Image below

The last known photograph of WA Trice (left) who was staying with a family in the USA (Henderson?) whilst Regent underwent a refit.
The image on the right is taken when he was serving earlier on HMS Tetrarch.

From Elizabeth Kane: this is a picture (below) of my aunt Ceil and Johnny (Slinger) Woods.  He was on the Regent and went down with the sub.
My aunt met him when he was in Phladelphia while the sub was being repaired.  They fell in love and were engaged.

Sid Bayliss

The following information has been sent by Dick Trice via Chris Savage:

I would spent some of my summer holidays as a child at my grandmothers bungalow in Portsmouth listening to stories about the navy and submarines, names of which have been engraved in my mind for ever, at a least once during the summer holidays an evening would be spent sat outside the “Still and West” the public house on the mouth of Portsmouth dock yard gazing over the water to HMS DOLPHIN, The Submarine base. Gran would sip slowly on a Gin and tonic, with the glint in her eye of her youth as she recalls the pre-war naval parties she loved so much, such strong memories being triggered by a cocktail party in full swing, separated not only by a few yards of water but by the years of a life. The noise from these parties carrying on the wind, increasing, slowly as the light fell, in the way sound can do at night, with only the occasional blurring by a Sealink ferry passing on route to the Isle of Wight or the tapping on the wall of my father’s pipe as he prepares to raise another cloud of smoke. I never thought as a child I would ever miss that smell.

Over the years I have slowly watched not only the demise of my family members and this lost summer’s evening ritual but also the submarine base. Slowly the parties stop and the HMS Dolphin banner hanging from the upper rails vanished and the building became unloved, like the scene with the manikin in the shop window in the film “The Time Machine”.

With the rise of the nuclear powered subs the Base at Gosport became all too close to London, for London’s comfort. So now Gosport’s a museum and I
find myself sat in front of a computer approaching the 70
th anniversary of the loss of HM/s Regent, having been interested in the loss of HM/s Regent along with submarines in general for all of my life. Wishing that I actual had the said “time machine” H G Wells wrote of, if nothing else to just double check the stories I heard in the 70’s while sipping on a Pepsi and probably playing with some new found magic like cling film and interrupting the adults with a “can we go on the victory tomorrow ...pleazee”

Unlike my forefathers I have never been a submariner or in the navy, but I did join the sailing club. Before I have written a word about the Loss of HMS Regent I have spent a very long time thinking about the best way of doing it. In speaking to relatives or ex-submariners about the stories I was told over the years I have felt that it is very easy to upset people, but with that in mind I have to say what I have found and it is down to the individual if you believe it? Warts and all.. There is no intent to cause upset on my part or sanitize history.

This is what I believe happened based on the facts I have researched, found or be told, it is not set in stone if anyone knows more please share, so we can print a correction and get it right. This is still a work in progress. As there are still many questions to be answered all I can do is tell you what I think happened and give you the information that brought me to that theory. But as of yet I haven’t found a detailed report which raises or highlights some of what follows. I have included a link to “you tube” footage of divers inside another sub, Hms Perseus. A Parthian class sub built just before Regent, lost off Kefallinia. The layout will be very much the same inside etc. If you are of the view it’s a war game you are correct and don’t click on the link, If you would like to see inside a WW2 Submarine similar to Regent that has also sat on the sea bed for 70 years Click on the link. Your choice.

I have included images that I do not have copyright over and do not own. If the owner of these images has a problem with them being shown here they will be removed and I’ll replace them with a drawing, But they are only being shown as part of the overall history of HM/s Regent and submarines in general....and are not for sale or profit on my part.

HM/s Regent

The 28th February 1929 the admiralty orders four submarines which will become the Rainbow class. These orders are place at HM Dockyard Chatham for HM/s Rainbow and With Vickers in Barrow in Furnace for HM/s Regent, Regulus and Rover. To serve in the Far East and China Sea’s.

Regent was laid down on the 19th June 1929. Regulus -17th July 1929 and Rover and Rainbow on the 24th July 1929.

Rainbow was launched on the 14th May 1930 at Chatham. Regent, Regulus and Rover were launched 11th June 1930.

HM/s Regent was the first boat finished and joined service on the 11th November 1930. Regulus -17th December 1930. Rover-29th January 1931 and Rainbow- 18th January 1932 .

HM/s Regents motto. “Serviendo Regno” - “I rule by serving” and her crest of arms , a red dragon with crown above on a green back ground set in a gold rope in the shape of a square, points of the square running top to bottom and side to side, with the naval badge crown on top. Not set in the pentagonal broader as sold on ebay, which is the RFA Ship “Regent” which served in the Falklands war in 82.

For the time being I will only concentrate on the post refit time of HM/s Regent a part from explaining some of the bits in the following pictures.

When the sub’s were launched they weren’t finished, but were water tight.

If you look below you will see that the conning tower looks like is half the correct size. This is because there is no conning tower as such yet, it is only the commanding officers cabin which is on top of the cigar type shape of the sub, but it is part of the pressure hull. At the rear of that point, just behind the flag pole of the large flag in the middle you can see the stack which is part of the conning tower hatch, which will be on the floor of the finished conning tower. (See diagram below) the people are stand on the gun support.

The highlighted yellow is the pressure hull.( pink hatches)

To the rear of the commanding officers cabin, the deck is not finished but this area will contain the exhaust system, an area to store a 13 ft dinghy and a collapsible boat and the rear torpedo winch which lays down under the decking at a angle to the centre line as it is mounted on one side to allow the torpedo to be in line with the middle of the boat. Included in this area is decking boards which can be removed to gain access to the torpedo hatch, there is all so a small set of steps. All of which is all more superficial to the main hull then the deck forward of the conning tower position which is why that area is much more finished at launch. Note the anchor and chains over the starboard bow. It is not known if the anchor from the port side is hanging over the starboard side and vice versa or the excess chain is resting on deck. In the fore deck is a powered capstan, support for the gun, Co2 Condensers, raise able bollard and fairlead, Hydroplane gear and bow buoyancy tank.


An email from Charles who requires some information: (December 1st 2007):

Dear sir, I would be very interested to know if you have any information on crewmembers of the HMS Regent? My uncle I am told was communications officer on board when she was lost. His name was Peter Gibson. The Regent was here in the states for repair when he married my Aunt. He indicated at the time that if they were ever deployed to the "Adriatic". The ship was large and the Adriatic was really too shallow for the Regent to safely operate! My name is Charles bristolecone -at

June 2009: Richard Marchant asks the following question:  My mothers brothers A/B Alfred Backhouse  and A/B Ernest Backhouse served on the Regent until the last overseas tour when Ernest was moved to another boat, because of the navy policy regarding two family members on the same ship. Do you know what if any the service medals were awarded to the crew of the Regent, there is no trace of any in the family records?  You can contact Richard at the following email address: richardatcfc - at - Replace -at- with @ for the correct address.

October 2011: From John Holmes.  My late father Ken Holmes (P/JX 137271) was a Leading Seaman on Regent between 01-04-41 and 26-08-41 i.e. during the Campbell event. He was then posted to P555 followed by the acceptance and working-up of HMS/M Telemachus under Cdr King, and thence to her operations primarily out of Freemantle where he survived the war. He remembered his time on Regent and was sad to have lost so many he knew. John Holmes

Important Update. See info above regarding the Regent, the images are not of the Regent on the bottom (75m down) but of a WW1 submarine. Complete List of British Subs of WW2 Best site on U Boats - all listed

My first ever book - order it here