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G7

Built By: Armstrong Whitworth (Tyne)
Build Group: G
Fate: In 1918 HMS G7 (Lt Charles A C Russell RN) operated out of Blyth patrolling the North Sea. Contact was lost on the 23rd October and she was declared lost on 1st November, the last British submarine lost in WW1

Roll of Honour

H W Aldridge  Petty Officer Stoker DSM
F W Allerton  Lieutenant RNR
W Biggs  Able Seaman DSM
W H Boys  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
A W Broadway  Petty Officer DSM
C S Clements  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
A Crocker  Petty Officer
GNS Cromarty  Engine Room Artificer DSM RNR
J Duffy  Stoker 1st Class
F W Frasier  Stoker 1st Class DSM
J W Frost  Leading Stoker MID
H Glassett  Stoker 1st Class
C Harry  Stoker 1st Class
J K Hawthorn  Ordinary Seaman RNVR
E Horton  Able Seaman MID
B J Jenkins  Leading Signalman DSM
W Johnson  Petty Officer
D T Lewis  Boy 1st Class Aged 17
A H Martin  Stoker 1st Class
W E Masterson  Able Seaman
A J Middleton  Leading Stoker
T J Potter  Stoker 1st Class
CSM Prinsep  Lieutenant
H S Rich  Able Seaman
CAC Russell  Lieutenant Commanding Officer
D Samuel  Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class MID
D Stewart  Petty Officer Telegraphist
D J Thomas  Able Seaman
F E Thorpe  Petty Officer
P Walsh  Stoker 1st Class
J O Watts  Able Seaman

 

Wreck of HM Submarine G7 discovered

My thanks to Simon Kay for this report

In early September a group of divers met up in Eyemouth, a fishing village north of Berwick on Tweed, for a week diving off the dive boat Jacob George. Our plan was to explore some of the areas deeper wrecks. The first day warm up was a recently discovered wreck that we had dived in the past few weeks then on Tuesday we decided try a new mark in the Farnes Deep that hydrographic office survey suggested might be a submarine or possibly a large pipe and a lot of fishing net!

Given the distances involved it was a 9:30 start to catch the afternoon slack. Fortunately the weather was good giving a reasonably comfortable ride. Passing the Farne Islands we were entertained by a large group of seals and a few minke whales chasing a shoal of fish. On site the target soon showed up on the echo sounder standing a few meters off the seabed at 90m, the wonders of GPS. Iain the skipper dropped the shotline and seven divers climbed into what seemed like a ton of gear before staggering to the gate and dropping over the side relieved to be suddenly weightless. As we descended it got steadily darker though the water was clear enough for torches to penetrate a good distance. At the bottom of the shot as our eyes adjusted to the gloom the white outline of a conning tower encrusted in marine life came into view - definitely not a pipe then.

Closer examination showed the tower was the water tight casting with all the surrounding free flood fairings ripped away by time and trawl nets. Exposed bronze on the edges of the tower still gleamed, small oval windows and protruding navigation lights are set around the tower.

There are what appear to be periscope trunks fore and aft of the tower and the hatch is wide open. Swimming aft from the tower I passed a tangle of fishing nets and bits of bridge equipment before crossing exposed ribs where the outer casing has rotted away revealing the pressure hull below. Hydraulic actuators connected to ballast tank vents have been exposed and look as good as new. Abruptly the boat comes to an end with a ragged break in the hull, the stump of a torpedo tube complete with part of a torpedo sticks out of the wreckage, what may be a voice pipe hanging above it. At seabed level on the port side the front half of the hydroplane guard is still attached to the hull, the plane and remainder of the guard are missing along with everything aft of this point. The echo sounder had shown a small object some 50m beyond the wreck but at 90m swimming off into the gloom to look didn’t seem like a good idea.

Moving forward again past the conning tower I came across what appeared to be a low deck house. Looking inside revealed a small gun folded away on a disappearing mount. All the divers had the same thought - ‘that should make identification easy’.

Continuing forward the bow is vertical any signs of tube doors hidden by marine growth. The fore planes are fixed and well below the water line and protected by heavy guards. The planes are trimmed level. At this point with decompression time rapidly increasing it was time to go so I headed back towards the conning tower and a reassuring line of flashing strobes on the shot line. Decompression was, as ever, hours of hanging around counting plankton and dodging jelly fish with brief distraction of a sun fish (moa moa) passing by.

Once back on board discussion turned to the submarines identity. Not the Orzel a Polish boat lost in 1940, too small and the wrong shape. Not a German mine layer lost in the general area, no mines. General conclusion was First World War - probably British. Trawling the internet and personal records suggest she is HM Submarine G7. The size and layout match, particularly the heavy guards around the fixed planes, single stern tube and the disappearing deck gun. Details have been passed to the submarine museum in Gosport and hopefully they will be able to confirm the identification.


Events

04-03-1916 : Launched
21-08-1916 : Completed
01-11-1918 : Sunk by enemy action in the North Sea. Contact was lost on the 23rd October and she was declared lost on 1st November, the last British submarine lost in WW1


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