Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: K Group 1
Fate: Submarine K17 was lost on the night of 31st January 1918. The submarine, which had been steaming on the surface in formation during a night exercise, was hit by HMS Fearless.

K17 had altered course to avoid a collision with two trawlers that had been sighted. HMS Fearless, which was following K17, hit the submarine at 21 knots.

Many of the crew managed to abandon ship before the submarine sank but were run down whilst in the water by escorting Destroyers which were unaware that any accident had taken place. The incident in which K17 was lost came to be referred to as the 'Battle of May Island'.

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The damaged bow of HMS Fearless after smashing into K17 just forward of the conning tower during the Battle of May Island
The damaged bow of HMS Fearless after smashing into K17 just forward of the conning tower during the Battle of May Island
The Survivors were
  • Lieutenant Gerald Edward Armitage Jackson
  • L/Sea Anthony Westbrook
  • AB (SG) Joseph Clark
  • Sig George Thomas William Kimbell
  • SPO James Stewart, RAN
  • Sto1 Henry Fulcher
  • Sto1 Albert Dowding
  • Sto1 Kenneth Vass

Roll of Honour

V A Adams  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
Agnew  Able Seaman RFR
H W Antram  Lieutenant RNR
T H Berriman  Able Seaman RFR
C E Binnington  Stoker 1st Class
Blackman  Stoker 1st Class
J G Brown  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
H A Caress  Stoker 1st Class
WJF Carter  Stoker 1st Class
Case  Chief Petty Officer DSM
W J Cook  Leading Stoker
W C Cooley  Petty Officer
W W Cooper  Leading Signalman
E S Cunningham  Midshipman RAN
A G David de Bank  Stoker 1st Class
A R Drake  Able Seaman
Finch  Leading Seaman
W J Gale  Leading Stoker
Gibbs  Able Seaman
Gibson  Chief Engine Room Artificer
Gill  Leading Seaman
Hammond  Able Seaman
H J Hearn  Lieutenant Commander
h l Herring  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
C J Hosking  Leading Seaman
Jones  Stoker 1st Class
G A Knight  Leading Telegraphist
J E Knowles  Stoker 1st Class
H G Lightbody  Able Seaman
F E Lord  Telegraphist
J R McDonald  Stoker 1st Class
E J Meadmore  Leading Seaman DSM
J R Montgomery  Able Seaman
Morris  Stoker Petty Officer
Myott  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class
Nettleton  Able Seaman
Nolan  Stoker Petty Officer
H L Ricketts  Stoker 1st Class
Samuel  Able Seaman
LFM Sangster  Stoker 1st Class
C H Savage  Steward 2nd Class
C K Savage  Stoker Petty Officer
A E Simpson  Leading Seaman
Tilley  Leading Stoker
HW Tyrrell  Lieutenant (E)
Warde  Lieutenant
H H Wheble  Able Seaman
White  Able Seaman


28-08-1914 : The fearless led the 1st Destroyer Flotilla of the Harwich force, and fought at the Heligoland Bight action on August 28,1914
01-06-1916 : Laid Down
10-04-1917 : Launched
20-09-1917 : Completed
31-01-1918 : Whilst taking part in exercises off May Island, K17 was astern of HMS Courageous when the latter changed course to avoid two trawlers, which were spotted ahead. K17 turned but K22 and K14 were involved in a collision. Meanwhile HMS Fearless was steaming at 21 knots towards the area oblivious of the accident. Suddenly the Fearless appeared over the horizon and ploughed into K17, water gushed into the boat through the pierced pressure hull. The order to abandon ship was quickly given. Within 8 minutes K17 had disappeared. The survivors were now in the water and the other submarines attempted to pick them up. Sadly the destroyers were unaware of the location of the accident and ploughed through the survivors.


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