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Submarine Heritage Centre
Registered Address:
53 Red Oak Avenue
Barrow-in-Furness
Cumbria, LA13 OLJ, UK
 
Tel: 01229 820993
Fax: 01229 772407
 
 
  Explorer/Excalibur Class
   
 
HMS/M Explorer
 
Sponsorship Comments  

This painting was commissioned by the Submariners Association, West of Scotland Branch. "The Explorer/Excalibur Class are often the forgotten post-war submarines but they were a part of the 3rd Submarine Squadron, in Faslane for more than a decade. As the local Branch we are proud to remember and honour them".
Technical Data

HMS Explorer
HMS Explorer crest
Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Barrow
Yard No: 979
Ordered: 26.08.1947
Launched: 05.03.1954
Completed: 28.11.1956
Dimensions
(in feet):
Length: 178 feet, Width: 15.7 feet, Draught: 11 feet.
Displacement: Surface: 780 tons, Submerged: 1,000 tons.
Propulsion: High Test Peroxide (HTP) steam raising plant driving steam Turbines, directly to twin shafts. Surface propulsion - diesel electric.
Speed: 25 knots plus whilst on steam turbines.
Complement: 49.
Cost: £2,000,000.00 (two million pounds)
Scrapped: 5th March 1962.
Known to her Ship's Company as "Exploder". This nickname was due to combination of major and minor explosions onboard.

HMS Excalibur
HMS Excalibur crest
Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Barrow
Job No: 980
Ordered: 26.08.1947
Launched: 25.02.1955
Completed: 22.02.1958
Dimensions
(in feet):
Length: 178 feet, Width: 15.7 feet, Draught: 11 feet.
Displacement: Surface: 780 tons, Submerged: 1,000 tons.
Propulsion: High Test Peroxide (HTP) steam raising plant driving steam Turbines, directly to twin shafts. Surface propulsion - diesel electric.
Speed: 25 knots plus whilst on steam turbines.
Complement: 49.
Cost: £2,000,000.00 (two million pounds)
Scrapped: 1968.
Known to her Ship's Company as "Excruciator".
Historical Data

 
 

Towards the end of WWII, the German scientist Dr. Helmuth Walther had developed a revolutionary new submarine propulsion system based on the highly volatile chemical High Test Peroxide (H.T.P.).

It was a steam generating plant, working on the principle that H.T.P. when passed over a catalyst produced oxygen and water. This was then fed into a combustion chamber, sprayed with diesel fuel, the resulting mixture generating steam that powered a steam turbine. When installed in a submarine, the operation of this new system was described as "exciting".One of the four Walther boats (U1407) built during 1945 was scuttled in Cuxhaven on May 5th 1945. Raised by the British in June 1945 and brought back to Barrow-in-Furness, to be refitted with a virtually new complete set of machinery, also captured in Germany.

 
 

Re-commissioned as HMS/M Meteorite, she carried out a series of trials during 1946, under the guidance of Dr.Walther and his original team from Germania-Werft, Kiel. These trials were sufficiently encouraging for the Admiralty to place an order for experimental Walther boats, based on the German Type XXVI.

The boats were named Explorer and Excalibur.

Meteorite was broken up by Thomas Ward Limited at, Barrow-in-Furness in September 1949.

HMS Meteorite crest
 
 

The new boats for one reason or another were far to long in building, and in spite of achieving phenomenal underwater speeds for the day, they were overtaken by the American development of nuclear power for submarines. Consequently, these submarines followed their German forebear into Thomas Ward's breakers yard.

Although part of the 3rd Submarine Squadron, the two H.T.P. boats tended to operate independently, accompanied by their own depot ship HMS Kingfisher and a fuel carrier, the converted water-carrier, RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) Spabeck.

 
     
 
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