SUBMARINE LOSSES 1904 TO PRESENT DAY - Page 9



HMS K17

31 January 1918

Sank in Forth Estuary after collision with HMS Fearless

Whilst taking part in exercises off May Island, K17 was astern of HMS Courageous when the latter changed course to avoid two trawlers, which were spotted ahead. K17 turned but K22 and K14 were involved in a collision. Meanwhile HMS Fearless was steaming at 21 knots towards the area oblivious of the accident. Suddenly the Fearless appeared over the horizon and ploughed into K17, water gushed into the boat through the pierced pressure hull. The order to abandon ship was quickly given. Within 8 minutes K17 had disappeared. The survivors were now in the water and the other submarines attempted to pick them up. Sadly the destroyers were unaware of the location of the accident and ploughed through the survivors.

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HMS K4

31 January 1918

Sank in Forth Estuary after collision with HMS K6

On 31st January 1918 HMS K4 left harbour bound for a North Sea exercise. In what became known as the Battle of May Island a number of submarines were lost. Several collisions occurred, including K6 colliding with K4. So great was the collision that K4 was cut almost in two and sank immediately with the loss of all onboard.

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HMS E50

1 February 1918

Possibly mined in the North Sea

HMS E50 is thought to have struck a mine on or around 1st February 1918 in the North Sea

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HMS H5

2 March 1918

Rammed in error in Irish Sea by SS Rutherglen

H5 sailed for patrol in the Irish Sea with instructions to patrol a line extending 10 miles east from Carnarvon Bay Light Ship. At 0830 on 2nd March the steamer Rutherglen sighted a submarine, which crossed its bows at considerable speed. Believing the submarine to be a U-boat Rutherglen rammed the vessel. Cries were heard in the water and a strong smell of petrol was also present. Nothing more was heard from H5 and it is believed that she was Rutherglen’s victim.

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HMS D3

12 March 1918

Bombed in error off Fechamp

D3 left Gosport on 7th March 1918 for an anti-submarine patrol in the English Channel. Little is known of her patrol movements but it is believed that a submarine spotted by a Royal Naval Air Service airship on the 11th was D3. On the 12th March the French airship AT-0 was patrolling when at 1420 a vessel was spotted to her north east. The airship drew close for recognition purposes and according to her commander, the submarine fired rockets at her. Four 52-kilo bombs were dropped by the airship. The submarine disappeared but several minutes later men were seen in the water. Attempts were made by the airship to rescue the men but it proved too difficult. The airship withdrew to seek help but all the men had drowned by the time it arrived. It is clear that D3 was the victim of a serious identification error on the part of the French airship, with identification rockets being mistaken for aggressive gunfire.

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HMS E1

3 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

E1 was paid off at Helsingfors at the end of December 1917, with her crew returning to the UK In January 1918. On the 3rd April 1918 the vessel was scuttled to avoid capture following the Treaty of Brest Litovsk.

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HMS E9

3 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

Scuttled, on 3rd April 918, at a point 1.5 miles south of Grohara Light off Helingfors, to avoid capture by the Germans following the Treaty of Brest Litovsk.

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HMS E19

3 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

Scuttled, on 3rd April 1918, at a point 1.5 miles south of Grohara Light off Helingfors, to avoid capture by the Germans following the Treaty of Brest Litovsk.

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HMS E8

4 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

Scuttled, on 4th April 918, at a point 1.5 miles south of Grohara Light off Helingfors, to avoid capture by the Germans following the Treaty of Brest Litovsk.

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HMS C26

4 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

Laid up at Helingfors with the remained of the Baltic Flotilla in December 1917. Scuttled on 4th April 1918 at a point 1.5 miles south of Grohara Light, Helingfors, to avoid capture by the Germans after a Peace Treaty was signed between Russia and Germany. The submarine was subsequently salvaged in August 1953 and broken up in Finland.

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HMS C27

5 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

Scuttled, on 5th April 1918, at point 1.5 miles south of Grohara Light, Helingfors, to avoid capture by the Germans after a Peace Treaty was signed between Russia and Germany.

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HMS C35

5 April 1918

Scuttled in Helingfors Bay, Finland to avoid capture

Scuttled at point 1.5 miles off Grohara Light, Helingfors, to avoid capture by the Germans after the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between Russia and Germany.

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HMS C3

23 April 1918

Explosive ship - Zeebrugge

By 1917 German submarines had wreaked havoc on British shipping, which threatened Britain’s very ability to continue to fight. It was decided that the best way to stop the carnage was to block the gateways by which the U-boats entered the North Sea, namely Ostend and Zeebrugge. A plan was devised for an assault on the harbours, a key part of which entailed the partial destruction of the viaduct connecting the Zeebrugge Mole to the mainland to prevent reinforcements being rushed from nearby Bruges. This part of the assault required the use of submarines, which were to be pack ed with explosives, and rammed against the viaduct; the antiquated C1 and C3 were selected for the task.

On 24th April 1918 the submarines were towed by destroyers to an assembly point where they were to make their own way to the viaduct. C3 rammed the viaduct at 9 knots and stuck fast. The crew took to motorboats, as a 12-minute fuse was set. With the motorboats only 200 yards away the submarine erupted blowing a large hole in the viaduct.

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