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B6

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: B
Fate: Sold for breaking in 1919.


Postcard depicting HMS B6 taking on torpedoes

Barrow-built submarine HMS B6 was completed for the Royal Navy in 1906 as part of the B Class. B6 was deployed to the Mediterranean soon after the outbreak of the First World War. Due to a shortage of spare parts this group of submarines was not used until after September 1915.

In 1917 the Italian Navy converted B6 into to surface patrol boat S6 to serve in the Adriatic.

The B6 was sold in 1921 to the firm of Francotosti, based in Malta.

This submarine started its short career with diving planes only fitted at the stern. Other boats in the class had extra planes mounted on the conning tower which improved depth-keeping, surfacing and diving abilities compared to the A Class boats. These were later exchanged for bow planes; the last boat to receive them being B6 in January 1916.

The B Class submarines lacked any internal bulkheads which exposed the crew to the petrol engine's exhaust fumes. Mice were used to detect any concentrations of carbon monoxide inside th·e hull. Ventilation was provided for the batteries, but not for the crew's living area. Crew were only expected to be spend four days on patrol during the summer and three days in winter.

The submarine hulls were tested to a nominal depth of 100ft (30.5m) but the maximum operational depth was considered to be 50ft (15.2m). The B Class submarines had a single 16-cylinder petrol engine designed to produce 600hp through a single propeller. Submerged, the submarine used an electric motor powered by battery cells which only kept the boat at full speed bow torpedo tubes for three hours and 45 minutes. This was increased as more powerful batteries were fitted.


On 16th Aug 1915 Submarine B6 (together with Submarine B11) was anchored about 700 yards off shore from Cape Lukka near Alexandria in Egypt. The Submarines were fired on (with small arms fire) by a party of Arabs and Europeans ashore.

The Commanding Officer of B11 (Lieutenant Norman Holbrook, VC) was hit in the face by a ricochet and wounded. One Engine Room Artificer was hit in the back and badly wounded and the Coxswain was hit and slightly wounded.

Engine Room Artificer George Kirman (O/N 272055) was killed and lost overboard.

George Kirman was born in Sunderland, County Durham on 5th Aug 1883 and was the thirty two year old son of George and Sarah Kirman of 134, Victoria Road, Chatham, Kent. He served in Submarines from 24th Feb 1912 to 16th Aug 1915 and in HMS Vulcan on 28th Jun 1912, Thames in 1912 'for all copper work in shop' & HMS Cormorant 'for Submarine B6' from 4th Sep 1913.

George Kirman is commemorated on the Chatham Naval War Memorial on Panel No 11.


Events

30-11-1905 : Launched
03-03-1906 : Completed
16-08-1915 : B6 and B11 were anchored about 700 yards off shore from Cape Lukka near Alexandria in Egypt. The Submarines were fired on (with small arms fire) by a party of Arabs and Europeans ashore.

The Commanding Officer of B11 (Lieutenant Norman Holbrook, VC) was hit in the face by a ricochet and wounded. One Engine Room Artificer was hit in the back and badly wounded and the Coxswain was hit and slightly wounded.

Engine Room Artificer George Kirman was killed and lost overboard.


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