Many people served on various versions of the HMS Opossum over the years. Select the commission date below for a list of those we know served on her at that time.
If you served on board the HMS Opossum, or know details of someone who did, please get in touch with us so that we can update these lists for others.
Should there be any omissions or errors in these lists, please let us know.
Clark, John W.
Haly, J. McG. Lt. Cdr. (Captain June 1947)
Haskell, Ivan C.
McDiarmid, John (Johnny)
Richardson, Arthur ‘Blondie’
Watkins, H. Viv
Rear Admiral D.J. Mackenzie (as Lt.)
Cope, Roy George
Craven, Stan BEM
Frowen, Ernest Henry CERA
Gillespie, John M
Hare, Ronald ‘Ron’ John
Mitchell, W. ‘Jock’
Richards, Jack ‘Yorky’
Swanwick, Geo BEM
Tolson, Tom ISM
Watson, Colin (Nov. 1953-Aug.1954)
Wilmot, J.E. Cdr. (Captain)
Young, Robert Lt. Cdr. (First Lt.)
Andow, Albert M(E)
Bishop, Robin S/Lt. (Elec.) early 1956
Boden, L/ME (Eng. Officers Writer)
Carter, Tom A/B
Coltherd, Stuart Canteen Manager
Draycott, Tony A/B Q.M.
Dolan, Peter Lt. (Seaman Specialist)
Elliot, George CPO (Mech.)
Gerald, Eddy A/B
Glenn, Ian Surg. Lt. (Doctor)
Graham, John S/Lt. (Elec.) late 1956
Groves, Geoff Tel
Ross, John S/Lt. (SD)
Sellar, Mike Lt. (Guns)
Stephens, Graham P/O
Westmacott, H.P. Cdr. (Captain)
Windler, William ‘Scouse’ A/B
Harris, Graham S/Lt. (Eng.)
Healey, Brian Tel
Howson, D.D. Lt. (1st Lt.)
James Peter Boy
Lockwood, Peter A/B
Longstaff, Ted P.O. (Elec.)
McGlade, Pat EM
Martindale PO Yeo.
Matthews, Walter Lt. (E)
Percival, Alan EM
Clough, Reg CERA
Dockree, Lt. (Eng.)
Good Gregory, Lance
Hoskins, R.A. Lt-Cdr.
Jacques, Sid P.O.
Lewis, Walter ‘Brum’
Lobb, George ‘Jan’ P.O.
Mortlock, M. P.O.
Newell (his brother) ‘Frog’
Parker, Charles ‘Fez’
Powell, Jeffrey W. Cdr. (Captain)
Captain S.A. Porter. DSC Rtd. (1915-2004)
Joined HMS DOLPHIN for training in submarines, 25 April 1938 and on completion was transferred to HMS/m ‘ROVER’ in Singapore.
At the outbreak of war, ‘ROVER’ moved to the Mediterranean theatre working from Alexandria in patrols off Tobruk and Benghazi. ‘ROVER’ was damaged and sent to Singapore for refit and he moved to HMS DOLPHIN to take a ‘perisher’s course’ (submarine commander) and was then given ‘H44’ for a month for training.
In April 1942, he commanded the ‘P556’ (an ex-American boat on lease-lend) for five months before returning to the Mediterranean as Commanding Officer of HMS/m ‘TRIBUNE’. It was in that capacity that he won his DSC for sinking enemy shipping. The ‘TRIBUNE’ also landed agents in Corsica.
On 8 July 1943, he returned to Britain and HMS DOLPHIN prior to taking command of HMS/m ‘TUDOR’ based in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the 4th Submarine Flotilla. He won the Mention in Dispatches for work in the Pacific theatre patrolling the Straits of Malacca, South China Sea, Coast of Burma, West Sumatra and the Java Sea. In October 1945, ‘TUDOR’ returned to Britain for a refit.
He joined HMS DOLPHIN as additional officer for submarines in November 1945 until 1950 when he went to HMS MONTCLARE (3rd Submarine Flotilla) Rothesay as commander submarines.
Two years later, he found himself back at HMS DOLPHIN (Fort Blockhouse) as Commander Submarine Operations before going to General Service.
In 1954, he commanded HMS ‘Opossum’, a destroyer, and in 1957, was listed as Captain on Post List – Shearwater working from ‘MAIDSTONE’. He retired in 1958.
Midshipman: 1 January 1935.
Sub-Lieutenant: 1 March 1937.
Lieutenant: 6 October 1938.
Lieutenant-Commander: 16 October 1946.
Commander: 30 June 1950.
Captain: 31 December 1957.
He was awarded the DSC on 29 June 1943 for patrols in the Mediterranean in command of HMS/m ‘TRIBUNE’ and for sinking enemy ships.
Mentioned in Dispatches: 1945, for war patrols in the Far East.
Captain Patrick Norman CBE. CB. DSC. DSO. (1914-1998)
Captain Pat Norman, who has died aged 84, was one of the most successful submarine captains of the 10th Flotilla — dubbed the “Fighting Tenth” — based mainly at Malta during the Second World War.
With their small but useful 500-ton U-class submarines, the Flotilla took a steady toll of Axis supply convoys destined for Rommel’s Afrika Korps, even in the darkest days of Malta’s siege in 1942.
Norman arrived in Malta as Spare Submarine CO in June 1941. His first duty was temporary command of the aged boat Osiris. She was bound for Alexandria on an emergency mission, with some of her ballast tanks filled with petrol, her decks loaded with 50 tons of destroyer ammunition, and the bow section of a J Class destroyer lashed to her casing. When Norman made a trim dive in shallow water, Osiris plunged unstoppably to the bottom.
In December 1941, Norman and the rest of the Flotilla were delighted when Norman’s greatest friend in the Submarine Service, Lt Cdr David Wanklyn, was awarded a VC. In January 1942, Norman took Wanklyn’s boat, Upholder, to sea for a day of exercises. Returning to harbour on the surface, Upholder was strafed by two Me 109s. Norman was hit by machine gun bullets and caught the shrapnel of an exploding cannon shell in the back of the head.
In hospital, Norman found himself in the next bed to one of the Me 109 pilots, who had subsequently been shot down. He was a most agreeable fellow with whom Norman enjoyed many a game of Uckers (naval ludo).
In February, to give Wanklyn a respite, Norman took Upholder to sea for a full patrol in which he torpedoed two ships. He then took over command of his own boat, Una, for a series of successful patrols in the spring and summer of 1942. On April 5, he sank the 5,335-ton transport Palestrina, packed with troop reinforcements for Rommel.
In August, Una supported the Pedestal convoy to Malta in Operation Whynot, embarking a party of the Special Boat Section (including the writer Eric Newby, and a dachshund bitch whose owner could not bear to leave her in Malta) and landing them in their canoes on a beach in Sicily.
The raiding party had the daring task of destroying Ju 88 bombers, which could attack the Pedestal convoy, on their airfield near Catania. The attempt failed, the SBS missed Una when they paddled their canoes out to sea, and they eventually became PoWs. Not knowing this, Norman kept the rendezvous on three more successive nights, at great risk to Una. Newby recounted the experience in Love and War in the Apennines (1971).
After a patrol in support of the Torch landings in North Africa in November, Norman was relieved in command and went home, having carried out 19 Mediterranean war patrols, 15 of them in Una. He was awarded a DSO.
Compton Patrick Norman, always known as Pat, was born on April 30 1914 into an Army family; his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all commanded battalions of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Norman, though, went to Dartmouth as a cadet in 1927, and to sea in the battleship Warspite in 1931. He served as a midshipman in the cruiser Cumberland on the China Station, and as a sub-lieutenant in the minesweeper Bagshot in the Abyssinian Crisis.
He qualified as a submariner in 1936, and his first submarine, which he joined in 1937, was Shark, whose first lieutenant was Wanklyn. Shark carried out patrols off Spain during the Civil War, but returned to Malta for Wanklyn’s wedding in May 1938. when Norman was his best man.
Norman served for the first months of the war in Seawolf, patrolling in the North and Norwegian Seas, and then passed the Submarine CO’s Qualifying Course, his first command being the 1919 vintage boat H.34. Back home in 1943, he was involved in developing submarine escape techniques and in the construction of the 100 Ft escape training tower at Gosport.
His next command, in 1944, was Torbay, which he took out to Trincomalee to operate in the Indian Ocean. In one patrol off Sumatra. Torbay fought a gun duel with a landing craft full of Japanese troops. When the vessel sank, the Japanese refused to become PoWs, so Torbay’s largest Leading Seaman jumped in with a line and grabbed one Japanese to bring back as proof. Norman was awarded a DSC for patrols between March and August 1945.
After the war, Norman commanded the sloop HMS Opossum in the Far East and was then appointed first lieutenant of the battleship Vanguard. In 1948, when Vanguard visited Taranto, Norman invited his opposite number in the Italian battleship Duilio on board for a drink.
His guest told Norman that he had been highly decorated for sinking a British submarine which had attacked Palestrina. He was horrified to learn the truth and begged Norman not to tell anybody.
As a Commander, Norman had appointments at the RAF Staff College, and as Executive Officer of the aircraft carrier Centaur. In 1955-56, he commanded HMS Mounts Bay as Captain (F) 7th Frigate Squadron on the America and West Indies Station.
He then went to the Admiralty as Deputy Director Under Sea Warfare and from 1960 to 1962 was chief staff officer to the Flag Officer Flotillas (Mediterranean). His last appointment before he retired in 1963 was in command of HMS Ganges, the boys’ training establishment at Shotley. He was appointed CBE in 1964.
Norman, like Wanklyn, inspired great loyalty and affection in his ships’ companies. “He was absolutely first class,” Eric Newby said of him. “Just the sort of man you needed on a ghastly operation like that. He took a tremendous risk in coming back to look for us”.
Pat Norman married, in 1939, Elizabeth Pridham, daughter of Vice Admiral Sir Francis Pridham. She died in 1983. They had a daughter. In 1986 he married Marion Matheson.