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HMS Torbay

HMS Torbay

HMS Torbay is one of the Royal Navy's seven nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines. HMS Torbay is entering her 25th year of service and remains a force to be reckoned with. Fitted with a world-beating sonar suite, essentially her ears, the system is so sensitive she can hear vessels over 50 miles away – equivalent to listening to a car leaving our base port of Plymouth and being able to track it all the way up the A38 to Exeter and beyond.

je maintiendrai - I will maintain

Sub's Motto
HMS Torbay

She also has enough computing power to drive 3000 PS3’s–albeit with no games to play.

She is fitted with a nuclear reactor which enables prolonged periods of dived operations without the need to re-fuel and the ability to make air and water - the only thing that limits her endurance is food.

Her arsenal includes the Spearfish heavyweight torpedo which has both an anti-ship and anti-submarine capability and Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) which can be used to strike at the enemies well inland, from the relative safety of the sea.

Her motto is taken from the family motto of William of Orange who landed in Brixham in 1688 and became King of England in 1689.


Andy Johns

Andy Johns
HMS Vanguard, Vengeance, Triumph, Tireless, Trenchant,
Military experience

Born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in 1975, Andy attended Bourne Grammar School before joining the Royal Navy as a Midshipman in 1993. On completion of his initial professional training, he was selected for submarines and joined his first boat, HMS Vanguard (Port), in 1996.

After gaining his “Dolphins”, he was fortunate enough to be appointed to HMS Peacock, a Hong Kong Patrol vessel, and this 6 month assignment coincided with the historic handover of the colony to the Chinese and the subsequent sale of the 3 Peacock class ships to the Philippines.

Upon his return to the UK, he successfully completed Intermediate Warfare Course and was appointed Navigating Officer, HMS Sovereign in 1998. This enjoyable 2 year assignment included Post Refit Sea Trials, Operational Work Up, 2 Westlant deployments and support to the Submarine Command Course, “Perisher”.

After attending Advanced Warfare Course in 2000, he undertook Watch Leader assignments in HMS Victorious (Stbd), HMS Vengeance (Stbd) and HMS Triumph before being appointed as the Commanding Officer of HMS Charger and Liverpool Universities Royal Navy Unit in 2004. With responsibility for training over 50 university undergraduates in both a sea and shore-based environment, this job provided a unique and extremely rewarding challenge.

Returning to submarines in 2006, a busy year as a Watch Leader in HMS Turbulent included 2 Operational War Training Patrols, fully preparing him for “Perisher” in 2007.

Successful completion saw him appointed as the Executive Officer, HMS Tireless and during the next 3 years, he undertook 2 deployments, Operational Work Up and a 3 month loan assignment to HMS Trenchant.

In 2011, he headed across to America to undertake the RN Exchange Officer’s role at COMSUBDEVRON 12 as Department Head for Real World Analysis.




HMS Torbay ready for sea after refit
26 March 2014

The Royal Navy nuclear-powered hunter killer submarine HMS Torbay has...

HMS Torbay trek
HMS Torbay crew walk coastal path to twinned town
21 October 2013

The crew of the Royal Naval submarine HMS Torbay completed...

Mountain Biking AT
HMS Torbay mountain biking
14 October 2013

On 21 May 13, the WE department took part in...

Naval Service in Plymouth Freedom of the City parade
Naval Service in Plymouth Freedom of the City parade
23 September 2013

The Royal Navy was cheered through the city centre on...





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  • The First HMS Torbay

    The first HMS TORBAY was a 3rd rate ship of the Line with 80 guns and a displacement of 1,202 tons. Launched at Deptford in 1693, the name was chosen to commemorate the landing of William of Orange at Torbay in 1688, which is also the source of the Ship’s Crest, a hunting horn – a symbol associated with William. TORBAY served with distinction for 56 years, gaining battle honors at Vigo Bay in 1702, Velez Malaga off Gibraltar in 1704 before finally being broken up at Portsmouth in 1749.

  • The Second Torbay

    The second HMS TORBAY was originally called NEPTUNE. Neptune was a 2nd rate 90 gunned ship of the Line launched at Woolwich in 1683. Neptune was dismantled and rebuilt after years of service that had saw her fight along side the first HMS Torbay at Toulon in 1744. On August the 23rd 1750 Neptune was re-launched as HMS TORBAY, a 3rd rate of 74 guns. She became the Flagship of a small expeditionary force under Rear Admiral Boscawen sent to Newfoundland to deal with the French. During her life of service she gained battle honors at Quiberon Bay in 1759, Belle Isle in 1761, St Kitts and Saintes in 1782 before being sold in 1784.

  • The Third Torbay

    The third HMS TORBAY was a Thornycroft ‘S’ Class destroyer launched on 6th March 1919. Built in the inter-war years she saw little action, only a short spell in the Baltic at the time of the Russian Revolution. She was presented to the Canadian Navy in 1928 where she was renamed CHAMPLIAN.

  • The Fourth Torbay

    The fourth TORBAY (N79) was a ‘T’ Class submarine, laid down at Chatham in November 1938 and launched on 13th April 1940 by the Honorable Lady Plunkett-Ernle-Earl-Drax. Lieutenant Commander A.C.C. Miers commissioned HMS TORBAY on 18th November 1940 as a tender to HMS Dolphin in the Fifth Submarine Flotilla. Completed on 15th January 1941 she proceeded to the Clyde on 21st January to join the Second Submarine Flotilla. After work up she was employed in the anti U-boat patrols in the Bay of Biscay from the 22nd March till 13th April 1941. In late March she was part the submarine screen deployed to intercept Gneisenau and Scharnhorst. She was dispatched to the Mediterranean next to join the Tenth Submarine Flotilla at Alexandria on the 10th May 1941. During the next 11 months Torbay carried out 8 patrols in Central and Eastern Mediterranean waters, sinking 7 large ships totaling over 27,600 tons as well as an Italian Submarine, ten Schooners and Caiques. Torbay also retrieved allied troops from Crete in August 1941 and bombarded enemy positions whenever the opportunity arose. Her commanding officer Lt Cdr A.C.C. Miers won the Victoria Cross for a particularly dangerous raid on a harbour at Corfu in March 1942.

  • Patrols

    Torbay returned to the UK to refit in May 1942. Following refit and a short work up Torbay returned to the Clyde and from there she sailed, covering the passage of convoy JW 51A in December 1942. On return from patrol she was once again dispatched to the Mediterranean, joining the Eighth Submarine Flotilla at Algiers in February 1943. Now under the command of Lt R.J. Clutterbuck Torbay carried out 9 patrols in the following year, accounting for 8 ships totaling 21,500 tons, a 15,000-ton floating dock and 5 coasters. In carrying out her duty that year Torbay was damaged on 3 occasions: by shore battery during a bombardment, by depth charge and by air raid. The air raid in April 1943 at Algiers forced Torbay to return to Gibraltar under tow for repairs. On July 10th 1943 Torbay was part of an armada of 276 vessels of all types that took part in “Operation Husky”: the landings on Sicily, for which she received battle honors.

  • Special Operations

    In March 1944 Torbay returned to Chatham for a refit. Once the refit was complete on 5th August 1944 Torbay joined the Third Submarine Flotilla for work up, rounding off with 3 patrols off Nancy and the North Sea, before leaving home waters in mid December 1944. At the beginning of 1945 under the command of Lt Cdr Norman she sailed to join the Second Submarine Flotilla, East India Fleet. During this time Torbay was employed exclusively for ‘Special Operations’: landing agents and stores on Sumatra and the coast of Thailand. Five such missions were undertaken from Trincomalee up to the end of the war. On two patrols Torbay sank 4 Japanese surface vessels with gunfire.

  • Returning to the UK

    Finally HMS Torbay returned to the UK in October 1945. She, along with HMS Trident, was the only surviving ‘T’ Class submarine out of the original 15 that were built. She was one of an earlier group of “short range” submarines of her class and had seen considerable service throughout the entire war; therefore approval was given to dispose of her as early as 28th November 1945. Such was the demand for steel that she was handed to the British Iron and Steel Corporation and was broken up within weeks in early 1946. The current HMS Torbay is the fifth vessel to bear the name.

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