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C26

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: C
Fate: Scuttled as part of the Baltic Flotilla in Helsingfors Bay on 4th April 1918.

Lieutenant Hugh Staunton Hornby, RN - the Commanding Officer of Submarine C26 was reported to have died on 1st May 1916. Some reports had indicated that he was killed in an accidental explosion on board the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Vulcan. However this is incorrect as he was actually killed in a bizarre 'diving accident' at Dover - but not a diving accident involving his Submarine. The full circumstances are reported in the Dover Express of 5th May 1916

Submarine Commander's Fatal Accident

Dover Express 5th May 1916

An inquest was held at the town Hall on Tuesday Afternoon, by the Borough Coroner (Mr. Sydenham Payn), to inquire into the fatal accident to Lieutenant Hugh Staunton Hornby, R.N., a submarine commander. The deceased, who was an all-round athlete, was the son of the famous Lancashire cricketer, and was himself a good cricketer, tennis player, swimmer and diver. Mr. A Harris was foreman of the jury.

Lieut. C.E. Finley, HMS Arrogant, said that the deceased was Hugh Staunton Hornby, who was a lieutenant in command of one of HM Submarines, aged 26 years. On Thursday last, at about 6pm., Lieut. Hornby was bathing from the upper deck of HMS Arrogant. He had dived once from the port after gangway over the rail. He then came on board to try it again. It was a dive which needed a certain amount of skill, and the deceased was known as a skilful diver in the Navy. From where he took off from his feet he had to clear a rail about 3ft. 6in. high. He had made the deck slippery with water from where he started, and at the second dive his feet slipped when taking off, causing him to fall on the rail, and then over it onto a stage moored below. He lay on the staging injured, and the assistance of the ship's medical staff was at once sent for. He struck the rail with his stomach. Dr Dupree took charge of the case, and the deceased was then taken in a boat to the nearest motor ambulance and then taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Witness saw the deceased at the Hospital on the day previous to his death, but he did not know the witness. The place was used continuously last summer for bathing, but the rail was then removed. The deceased did not want it removed. He was doing more or less trick diving. The deceased fell between 15ft and 18ft. The staging projected six feet into the water, and the deceased was diving from a gangway which projected four feet. The deceased had been playing tennis earlier in the afternoon.

Dr A.J. Fairlie-Clark said that the deceased was brought to the Dover Hospital soon after seven o'clock on Thursday evening last, and witness saw him at a quarter to eight. He was suffering from shock, a dislocation of his left elbow, and a severe injury to the upper part of the abdomen, which was visible from the bruising and rigidity of the muscles. He was conscious, though suffering a good deal of pain. Witness had a consultation with the medical officers of the Arrogant the next day, his condition getting worse, and it was decided to perform an operation, which was done. There were found to be severe internal injuries, and a good deal of internal haemorrhage from a small rupture of the liver. He became worse, and as second operation was undertaken at mid-day on Sunday as the only chance. He did not improve however, and died on Monday morning. The operation was undertaken as a last resort. The cause of death was internal injuries, and they would be consistent with the nature of the accident. He believed that the injuries to the abdomen were caused in striking the rail, and that he dislocated his arm in the further fall to the staging.

The Coroner, in summing up, pointed out that no blame could be attached to the authorities, as the deceased chose not to have the railing removed, preferring to try diving over it. In these times plenty of dangers marked the path of all, and it was wisest not to seek danger unnecessarily. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

The Funeral

The funeral of Lieut. Hugh Staunton Hornby took place, with naval honours, on Wednesday, at Charlton Cemetery. The Rev. J.T. Poole (Naval Chaplain) was the officiating clergyman. The mourners present were Mrs. H S Hornby (widow), Sir W H Hornby (uncle) and Lady Lettice Hornby (aunt), Mr. and Mrs. Green (brother in law and sister), Mrs. Rice Hutchinson and Mrs. Davison (sisters). Six Officers acted as bearers, being Lieut. Finlay, Lieut. Buckland, Lieut. Ramsbotham, Lieut. Eveleigh, Lieut. Veale, Sub Lieut. Stokes, Paymaster Graham and Assistant Paymaster Lamkin. There were a large number of officers and men of all ratings present, including Captain Bowring (representing Vice Admiral Sir R Bacon. At the conclusion of the service the 'Last Post' was sounded by six buglers of the Royal Fusiliers.

Floral tributes were sent as follows:

From his devoted wife Hilda; Jane, Harold and Hugh, from Edith Hume; from Vice Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon; from Captain H W Bowring and staff; V.A.D.; from the Captain and Officers of HMS.; from the wardroom Officers of HMS. Arrogant; from St. John Crane; from his Officers and crew; from Commander H Spencer, RN; from brother Officer of the Submarine Depot, Fort Blockhouse; from HMS Vulcan; from the Captain and Officers of the trawler patrol; from Matron and Sisters of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Dover). The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr J Parsons, of Beaconsfield Road, Dover.

Hugh Stanton Hornby is buried in the Dover (Charlton) Cemetery in Kent in Grave No. Q.H.4.


Events

14-02-1908 : Laid Down
20-03-1909 : Launched
28-05-1909 : Completed
09-06-1909 : A serious accident occurred on Submarine C26 in the North Sea, north of Berwick on Wednesday morning and three of the crew are in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary suffering from injuries. C26 was one of the fleet of submarines bound for Dundee accompanied by the parent ship HMS Vulcan.

After Berwick had been passed, an explosion of petrol, it is stated occurred on the boat named and three sailors who were in the immediate vicinity were seriously burned and otherwise injured. Signals indicating that an accident had occurred were made and HMS Hazard, which was steaming with the submarines, was ordered to attend.

A tender was sent to the submarine and the injured men were put onboard and transferred to the Hazard, which left the flotilla and set her course for Granton.

There the injured men were landed and conveyed with all haste to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Meanwhile the submarines including C26 continued their journey to Dundee where they arrived on Wednesday night. An inquiry was held at Dundee on Thursday as the cause of the accident the injured men are

John Hird 29 HMS Vulcan, burns on face and hands Leonard Bury 30, HMS Vulcan, burns Patrick Lyon HMS Vulcan, burns and fractured leg.

The latest enquiry regarding the accident shows that the accident occurred in a cylinder in the Engine Room, the result of which caused such damage that the craft had to be taken in tow for the rest of the voyage. It is supposed that the mishap was due to the machinery having been run for too long a period, it having been continually in motion since the craft left Portsmouth on Monday.
04-04-1918 : Scuttled 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


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