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K17

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'.
K17
K17

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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

Name Rank Number Hons Age
Adams, Albert Victor  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class  M 632    30
Agnew, William  Able Seaman  SS 2844    27
Antram, Herbert Wilkins  Temporary Lieutenant (RNR)      25
Berriman, Thomas Henry  Able Seaman  213863    33
Binnington, Charles Edward  Stoker 1st Class  K 18963    24
At birth Bishop, Charles Edward, Served as Binnington Charles Edward
Blackman, James  Stoker 1st Class  K 13078    24
RN DoB 15/07/1893. Actual 15/07/1894
Brown, Jack Glanfield  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class  M 8692    29
Caress, Henry Alfred  Stoker 1st Class  SS 115673    22
At birth Creass, Henry Alfred Served as Caress, Henry Alfred
Carter, William James Frederick  Stoker 1st Class  K 17477    23
Case, Charles  Chief Petty Officer  186086  DSM  38
Cook, William James  Leading Stoker  K 6363    26
Cooley, William Clark  Petty Officer  227154    30
Cooper, William Wilcox  Leading Signalman  239571    25
Cunningham, Ernest Semple  Midshipman      18
De Bank, Arthur George David  Stoker 1st Class  K 22444    22
Drake, Arthur Rayment  Able Seaman  238786    29
Finch, William  Leading Seaman  J 1069    25
Gale, William John  Leading Stoker  K 11623    25
RN DoB 13/07/1892. Actual 13/07/1890
Gibbs, John  Able Seaman  J 10934    25
Gibson, Isaac  Chief Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class  270632    38
Gill, Robert  Leading Seaman  211672    33
Hammond, Francis  Able Seaman  J 9547    23
Hearn, Henry John  Lieutenant Commander (CO)    MID  32
Herring, Harold Louis  Engine Room Artificer 4th Class  M 13296    31
RN DoB 30/10/1886. Actual 30/10/1885
Hosking, Cecil James  Leading Seaman  J 16056    21
Jones, Edward  Stoker 1st Class  K 20796    23
Knight, George Alexander  Leading Telegraphist  J 8438    23
Knowles, James Edward  Stoker 1st Class  SS 115292    22
Lightbody, Henry George  Able Seaman  J 24810    22
Lord, Frederick Edwin  Telegraphist  J55202    18
McDonald, John  Stoker 1st Class  SS 114477    23
Meadmore, Edward James  Leading Seaman  223356  DSM  31
Montgomery, Joseph Robert  Able Seaman  J 12871    23
Morris, Ernest  Stoker Petty Officer  309458    30
At birth Morris, Ernest Frank Served as Morris, Ernest. RN DoB 26/12/1887. Actual 26/06/1888
Myott, Dominick  Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class  M 7565    29
Nettleton, Harold  Able Seaman  J20766    22
Nolan, Patrick  Stoker Petty Officer  284013    41
Ricketts, Henry Leonard  Stoker 1st Class  K 27466    23
Samuel, Frederick  Able Seaman  J 10440    23
Sangster, Leo Frederick Murray  Stoker 1st Class  K 22599  MID  23
Savage, Charles  Stoker Petty Officer  311292    29
At birth Savage, Charles Ketteridge Served as Savage, Charles.
Savage, Charles Henry  Steward  L 2005    25
Simpson, Albert Edward  Leading Seaman  J 1181    25
At birth Sinfield Albert Edward Served as Simpson Albert Edward.
Tilley, Edmund  Leading Stoker  K10609    27
Tyrrell, Hugo William Louis  Lieutenant      26
Warde, Cecil  Lieutenant      22
Wheble, Henry Havelock  Able Seaman  225581    30
White, Alfred  Able Seaman  J 6137    23

Events

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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K16