HMS X24

X24 in the Fieldhouse Building
The midget submarine, HMS X24, is the only remaining example of a British X-craft that saw service during World War 2. She is a jewel in the nation's maritime heritage crown, and a permanent reminder of the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of earlier generations of submariners.

Following the success of other midget submarine raids in World War 2, X24 took part in two operations to penetrate Bergen harbour; the most heavily defended occupied Norwegian port.  The target was the Laksevaag floating dock, which was highly important because it was widely used by U-boats for repairs.

She weighs 27 tons and is 51 foot long. She has a beam of 5 feet, 9 inchs.  The purpose of the submarine was to penetrate harbours where full size submarines could not go.  X-24 had a diving depth of 300 feet and could travel at a speed of 6 knots on the surface or 5 underwater.  She had an endurance of 82 miles. A full size submarine would tow her to the area of operation.

The crew had primitive cooking facilities – they carried enough food and water for ten days at sea.  The submarine was powered by the same diesel engine as a London bus and used an electric motor when submerged.

 

X-24 had a crew of four who performed the following tasks:

  • Commanding Officer – navigation, attack, command
  • 2nd Lieutenant – navigation, hydroplanes
  • Diver – diving outside the boat and helm (steering)
  • Engine Room Artificer -  maintaining the engine and helm

 

In 2005, X24 was rehoused in the John Fieldhouse Building as part of a £3.1m major expansion of the Museum. A Heritage Lottery Fund award of nearly £2 million helped to finance the project.