Launched from Vickers Armstrong’s yard in Barrow on 6th April 1943 HMS Tantivy , a steel T-class submarine measuring 276.5’ x 25.5’ x 12.8′ was powered by twin 2500 hp diesel engines. She also had twin 1450 hp electric engines which were used when the submarine was travelling underwater. Her armament consisted of 6 internal forward-facing torpedo tubes, 2 external forward-facing torpedo tubes, 2 external amidships rear-facing torpedo tubes, 1 external rear-facing torpedo tube, 4 inch deck gun and 3 anti aircraft machine guns.
After her launch Tantivy was moved to John Brown’s Clydebank yard for final fit out before, on 23rd July 1943 Tantivy sailed from Brown’s bound for Holy Loch where she was to be commissioned on the 25th. Her naval number was P319. Tantivy and her fifty crewmen then embarked on an extensive training programme under the command of Cdr. Michael Gordon Rimington, DSO, RN before departing from Holy Loch bound for Lerwick. By October she had finished her first working up patrol off the Norwegian coast and proceeded to Chatham Dockyard and then onwards to the Far East via Gibralter.
Tantivy served in the Far East, predominantly in the Malacca Straits, for much of her wartime career under the command of Lieutenant Philip Henry May RN. During this period she is credited with sinking twenty three ships including the Japanese merchant ship Shiretoko Maru, a Japanese motor sailing vessel Tachibana Maru No.47 and also a large Siamese sailing vessel . She arrived back in Britain in April 1945, by this time commanded by Lieutenant Philip Henry May, where she survived a serious collision with her sister ship HMS Templar. Her post-war career was short but interestingly she was briefly used as a test vessel for an experimental anti-aircraft system which significantly altered the rear of her conning tower. Her rather ignominious end came when she was sunk as an anti-submarine target in the Moray Firth in 1951.
The location of the wreck then disappeared from the records before she was relocated and dived in the 1980s in position 57°40.483’N, 03°50.033’W. The wreck lies upright in 38m rising around 10 metres from the seabed and is in amazingly good condition. The six forward torpedo tubes are all in place, with the external doors open. Behind them the two forward hydroplanes are in the upright ‘docking’ position. The most striking feature is the massive conning tower. Tantivy had originally been fitted with a deck cannon but this was removed during decommissioning but the gun platform is still there with the ammunition lockers in place. The characteristic A-frame above the gun platform is now covered with a forest of white anemones. The bridge of the wreck is relatively spacious and within it is a compass binnacle and two sighting positions. Tantivy’s periscopes rise around 10m above the sea bed and are the highest parts of the wreck. The stern-firing torpedo tubes, with their bronze external doors in position are also reported to be visible. The propellers were removed in 1951, along with much of the interior, as she was towed all the way from Malta to her final resting place in the Moray Firth