HMS Sibyl (P217)

On the river Mersey

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Laid Down: 31 Secember 1940
Launched: 29 April 1942
Completed: 16 August 1942
Built: Cammell Laird Birkenhead
Tpye S Gp 3

"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"

I received several images of HMS Sibyl. I checked up on a listing of British Submarines and Sibyl is listed thus:

Special Ops. Sometimes referred to as Sybil(?). Commanded by Lt. E.J.D. Turner, DSC, sailed 8-Nov-42 for a rendezvous on the south coast of France. Picked up seven staff officers and officials, including one woman, of General Giraud's staff. Took them to Algiers on 11-Nov. See also Seraph. Later in Eastern Fleet (Lt. H.R. Murray). An S3 class, pennant number P217; crew of 48. Launched at Cammell Laird Birkenhead on 1 April 1942 and ended her life as scrap on 1 Mar 1948.

14-03-1943: HMS Sibyl torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Pegli 6 nautical miles off Cape Gallo, Sicily.
11-04-1943: HMS Sibyl fires four torpedoes against the Italian merchant Fabriano about 10 nautical miles north-north-west of Punta Raisi, Sicily, Italy. All torpedoes missed their target.
22-09-1943: HMS Sibyl fires four torpedoes against a merchant in a German convoy some 5 nautical miles south of Sestri Levante, Liguria, Italy. All torpedoes missed their target.
23-09-1943: HMS Sibyl torpedoes and sinks the French (in German service) merchant St.Nazaire about 8 nautical miles west of Sestri Levante, Italy.
30-09-1943: HMS Sibyl torpedoes and sinks the German auxiliary minesweeper M 7022/Hummer about 12 nautical miles north-east of Bastia, Corsica, France.
15-11-1943: HMS Sibyl sinks the Greek sailing vessel Trias with gunfire off Mitylene, Greece.
19-11-1943: HMS Sibyl sinks a Greek sailing vessel with gunfire in the Gulf of Saloniki, Greece.
20-11-1943: HMS Sibyl sinks two Greek sailing vessels with gunfire in the Gulf of Saloniki, Greece.
21-11-1943: HMS Sibyl sinks a Greek sailing vessel with gunfire in the Gulf of Saloniki, Greece.
08-01-1944: HMS Sibyl sinks the Greek sailing vessel Taxiachos with gunfire off Cape Baba, Turkey.
09-01-1944: HMS Sibyl sinks a sailing vessel with gunfire off Baba Burnu, Turkey.
08-02-1944: HMS Sibyl fires two torpedoes against the German tanker Centaur off Crete. Both torpedoes missed their target.
08-05-1945: Between 8 May 1945 and 31 May 1945 HMS Sibyl sinks five Japanese sailing vessels with gunfire and scuttling charges in the Malacca Strait.
10-07-1945: HMS Sibyl sinks 11 small Japanese vessels with gunfire in the Stait of Malacca.
12-09-1945: HMS Sibyl was the first British submarine to surface in Singapore harbour at the surrender of the Japanese.

Ship sunk by gunfire from HMS Sibyl in the Malacca Straits. The Straits were a particularly dangerous place for submarines, shallow waters and heavily patrolled as it
was one of the main sea lanes down towards Singapore

Manning the machine gun - Sibyl

Manning the Main Gun

Sibyl at Sea


Sybil leaving harbour (or entering!)

Sybil in 1945


HMS Sybil on the River Mersey 1. Cammell Laird 2. Birkenhead Town Hall
3. Hamilton Square Underground Station 4. Woodside Steam Terminal. Woodside Ferry is slightly off to the right of the image.
This image was taken from the region of Albert Dock, Liverpool or possibly on a ferry boat.

HMS Sybil in dock


The painted symbol on the conning tower of HMS Sybil

Email: Dec 2010: The witch Sybil was the handy work of Arthur Morris my father in law who was on the Sybil and a gunner, Arthur died in 2002 but we have most of the photos you show on your web site. Apparently Arthur was told not to paint this on the conning tower but did so anyway and it proved to be so popular it was retained as their emblem. Arthur was quite handy and later painted a sign for the Old Jack Pub in Calverhall Shropshire which was run by his parents.  Ken Harding. (Ken, please contact Mike Caswell - see advert at base of page)

Left the original and right, censored

Note:  two hats the number 3 has no hat badge; bushy haired guy under gun barrel seems to have beard; the distance of the shore line is also in sync. No 6 possibly photographer; note 7 people in each photo, only 6 semi-clad in second. The second pic was taken by either of the number 6 guys whilst the first was taken by the bloke fully clothed.  Mike Caswell Jan 2009

From Matt Gibb via email. I have been researching someone who served on her in the Far East. Have you ever found any crew lists or anything. This chap was likely to be the senior asdic man. He was a Higher Submarine Detector rating, later at least a PO or CPO. He had served right through the war in HM Submarines, minelaying Norway, Greenland, Convoy Escorts based in Halifax Canada, then Med, convoy escort, minelaying, supplying Malta, then refit, to Far East. He must have transferred to Sibyl by the time HMS Porpoise was lost, because he was on this, out of HMS Depot Ship Forth. He was awarded the DSM while he was in HMS Sibyl. Name of Hellings. Just wondered if you or anyone you'd contacted had heard of him. I think he might be the nco in the photo group of men around the deck gun on your site. He would be the chap numbered 4. I have a photo of him early in the war, a marriage photo and the same slightly sticking out ears, larger nose and chin appear identical. Also the rank is correct and there were not many CPO's on a submarine. Regards Matt Gibbs. If you can help this person please contact him on the following email replacing -at- eith the normal @. Thank you. matthew.gibbs.1 -at -

John Bonthron sent me this in Dec 2013:

thank you for all the info on your website.  My Dad, John (Jack) Bonthron from Glasgow served in the Sibyl out of Malta.  From what I remember he said he was a gun-layer when topsides (perhaps Matt Gibbs' Dad and my Dad served together?) - a hydroplane operator when submerged - and latterly the Captain's steward

He was in the Submarine Service from age 18 until demob at age 24?  He was very badly affected by 'nerves', (like many submariners), something which re-visited him all of his life. Prior to demob he went with his Skipper for R&R to Dunrobin Castle (NE Scotland). He had five medals which we played with as kids and the got lost but later we persuaded him to allow us to apply for replacements when our younger son Craig did a school project and finally Dad opened up and told us some of what happened to him. Can you help in anyway to fill in missing information? Or advise how I could use the internet to find out more about him and the Sybil. Thanks, John Bonthron (dob 29/6/47)
HMS Sybil working model - ( surface running only) by Caswell Models

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