HMS Tamar

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 17:19

Gwulo Photo ID: EE056

This photo appears in Gwulo's Talk #3.

Date picture taken
25 Dec 1925


The period is either side of Christmas (she has her Christmas pine branches at the mastheads) and we can see HMS Medway over on the inside of the North Arm with three submarines alongside. Medway had arrived 9th August 1930, so that's the starter date. According to the SCMP on 25.12.1930 p.15, the Medway was on the North Arm with her submarines (she'd arrived with four new 'O' class in company) but the following year was on what became her customary No.2 buoy. So maybe 25.12.1930?



Thanks Stephen, I've added the date to the photo.

I've wondered about those Christmas trees. Were they a typical Christmas decoration across the Royal Navy, or a speciality of HMS Tamar?

Regards, David

Traditional in the RN - not sure when it started. The formal description of what goes up to the masthead is "a large bunch of an evergreen tree" - traditionally pine, but could be holly. It is more a New Year's marker by origin and was certainly customary by 1900 and, I believe (but can't at the moment find a trace for), quite a lot earlier. It's still very customary in many ports (even the Star Ferry puts a Christmas star up!).

If I find out more I'll post.


This photo is also going into book #3, and while I've been working on it in Photoshop I noticed that the conning towers have the stepped shape of an L-series, not the straight side of an O-series. If you squint at the second conning tower from the right, you can also see the writing "L 3".

So this is a 1920s photo with HMS Titania, not 1930 with Medway as we originally thought.

HMS Titania & L-series submarines
HMS Titania & L-series submarines, by Admin

Stupid of me - I saw the depot ship bows eastward when she's bow westward. That meant I 'read' the funnel as one of the shorter, stumpier more upright jobbies of the Medway not, as you have now rightly done, something else. And I think you've pinned the Titania correctly - she had a very distinctive superstructure, quite different from the Ambrose, which was around at the same time. The Ambrose left the station on 28th March 1928 and the Titania in late 1929. The Ambrose got to HK with the first six Ls in January 1920, with the Titania following with the remaining seven Ls in April. So 4.1920-c.9.1929. I'm sure we can now pin the date of this photo even more tightly...but I'm a bit busy. StephenD

Well I hadn't even noticed they were submarines in the background, so you're still ahead!

I'm pretty sure this is Titania rather than Ambrose based on the open door in the side of the ship's hull, just left of the conning towers. A photo of Titania I saw shows the door in the same place, but a painting of Ambrose shows the only door in her hull was right up at the front. [Update: A clearer difference is that Ambrose had pairs of air intakes in front of and behind the funnel (see photo), but Titania only has one pair, in front of the funnel.]

"1920s" is good enough for the date.