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C3

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: C
Fate: Filled with explosives and rammed into the viaduct at the Mole at Zeebrugge
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Lieutenant Richard Douglas SandfordRead
This officer was in command of Submarine C3, and most skilfully placed that vessel in between the piles of the viaduct before lighting his fuse and abandoning her.
 

Events

25-11-1905 : Laid Down
03-10-1906 : Launched
23-02-1907 : Completed
24-04-1918 : C3 was Filled with explosives and rammed into the viaduct at the Mole at 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.
23-07-1918 : The King was Graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Richard Douglas Sandford, Royal Navy for the conspicuous gallantry.


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