Mark 8** Torpedo

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    C. M

      I am looking for technical information on the Mk 8** torpedo, first developed in the 1930s. I would also like to know:
      how many were manufactured and by whom;
      who made the heads;
      who made the pistols;
      servicing details.
      I have an unofficial diary written by a Torpedo Gunner’s Mate from WW2 and this information would give me a better understanding of his duties.

      Frank Scott

        Best port of call is what everyone still calls the RN Submarine Museum [at Gosport near Portsmouth], although after a re-arrangement of the deck-chairs it is now offially part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Website:

        You will need the servicing manual for the weapon for the period in which you are interested as it will have been amended at various times in the long life of the Mk 8. For one thing I know that the warhead was updated to [contain] more modern explosives.
        This manual is probably split into different parts (pistol, warhead, motor, etc.) and may give manufacturers’ names.
        The Museum should also be able to point you in the right direction for all your other queries even if they do not hold the information themselves. The email contact is:

        C. M

          Thank you for your comments. Would anybody have a reference for the manual?


            My recommendation is the archive of the Royal Naval Armament Depot (Priddy’s Hard) which is still being held at the County Record Office at Winchester. There you will find (if my memory serves me right) an enormous amount of technical information on the 21″ Mk8.

            S. W

              My friend ED Cumming of our Weymouth-based Land & Underwater Nautical Archaeology Research society (LUNAR) has done a lot of research [into Whitehead torpedoes] because of the number of torpedoes found in the sea around Weymouth, as they were built by Whiteheads locally and tested around here. He has a very good CD about torpedoes, which he is happy to make available on request.

              Editor’s note:
              Members interested in this offer should contact Selwyn Williams direct, using the email address shown here

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