Escape via a Torpedo Tube?

November 19, 2010


just came upon your site and am wondering would you ever have heard anything that suggests the following story may be true.

I live in Ireland but worked for a few years travelling Australia with Ashtons Circus ('89 to '93). During that time the circus mechanic was a character by the name of Mick White, in his 70s, who had 'been  around a bit' at they say.

I would often work with him fixing something or other, sometimes I would join him for a beer in his caravan at the end of a long day, or on pay-day in a hotel in whatever town we were showing in.

It was many years later when the Kursk went down that I remembered a story he had told me about his brother.

As I remember it Mick said 'He was on the **** when she went down, and was trapped with three other blokes in a compartment, but they could get out through a torpedo tube, but it had to be operated by someone, so they drew straws and one bloke stayed behind, my brother was one of the lucky three."

Which was a hell of a thing to contemplate. Now he may not have used the words 'torpedo tube' and
maybe there were three men in total, not four, but that is essentially what I remember. 

As to the name of the vessel, thinking back on the occasion after the Kursk incident I had the impression it was the name of an Australian city or a river, but beyond that I don't know. I don't know was it an Australian vessel or a Royal Navy vessel, and I don't know was it a submarine or a ship, I certainly had the impression at the time that it was a submarine, maybe because of the events described suggesting torpedo tubes, but I since have wondered could such a thing have occured on a surface vessel, did any ships have 'internal' torpedo tubes. (My searching for info on the web this evening was prompted by watching and reading stuff about the Hood and The Bismarck which referred to some early suggestions that the Hood may have sunk due to damage to her her deck-mounted torpedo tubes, which made me  wonder does that mean there were other types of torpedo tubes she may have had, which prompted the memory of Mick's story).

I did briefly meet his brother, at Ballarat or Bendigo I think, was introduced to him, but naturally did not engage him in conversation on such a delicate matter, much as I might have wanted to.

There was no internet way back then, but some years ago I did go searching for verification of this, and did post the question on several maritime and submariner forums, so be careful you may have come across my question before and think it was some other reference to the same thing.

I'm sure you are a busy man keeping that site going, and as such I am grateful to you for reading this far. Keep up the good work,

Sean Doocey


To get out through a torpedo tube, to me, indicates a submarine.

The only other internal torpedo tubes  were fitted in German raiders, eg Kormoran, who fired from an internal torpedo tube at Sydney. Hood did not carry internal T T.

I am unable to recall an Australian Submarine with the name of an Australian city or river other than Onslow ( Oberon class sub named after Onslow in Western Australia, Oxley a river in Australia, and
Ovens, another river in OZ )

We had  in WW1 AE1, lost in New Guinea waters and never found, AE2 lost in the Dardnelles, after WW1 the six J class Subs, J1 to J6.

Then to O Class, Oberon, Ovens, Onslow, Orion, Oxley and Otway.

Finally the Collins Class boats.

I am not much help to you Sean.


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