Built By: Palmers (Tyne) / Armstrong Whitworth (Tyne)
Build Group: E Group 3
Fate: Scrapped December 1921.

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At about 2100 on 2nd August 1918 submarine E40 sighted a German U-Boat, thought to have been of the U-51 Type. The Commanding Officer (Lieutenant Guy Descarriers Sharp) decided on a dived engagement but after he dived he found that there was insufficient light to use the periscope. He then surfaced and found himself in a position to make a torpedo attack and fire both bow tubes. This attack failed as the range (about 2,500 yards) was too great. A gun attack was then made but the German responded with his own deck gun. Only having a 12 Pounder deck gun Guy Sharp decided that discretion was the better part of valour and started to dive again.

In diving the Conning Tower was hit by a 4.1-inch shell which exploded in the tower injuring the Commanding Officer in nine places. He made it into the Control Room and ordered the submarine to be dived before collapsing. The First Lieutenant (Lieutenant Alexander Scrope Hutchinson) then came forward from the Engine Room and took over command.

Owing to a problem with the hydroplanes E40 dived out of control and hit the bottom in a depth of 55 Fathoms (330 feet) – well below the operational depth for the E Class. With water leaking in through the Engine Room hatch and the stern tubes. Managing to regain the surface E40 was then fired at again by the U-Boat and hit in the casing near the starboard anchor. The First Lieutenant then dived the submarine again and made his way to safety.


01-12-1914 : Laid Down
09-11-1916 : Launched
01-05-1917 : Completed
02-08-1918 : E40 narrowly avoided disaster after confronting a German U-Boat


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