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K4

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: K Grp1
Fate: Sunk after colliding with HMS Inflexible during a night exercise off May Island on 31st January 1918. The same day as her sister K17.

The Light-cruiser HMS Blonde was heading K1, K3, K4 and K7 in line ahead off the Danish coast when she was forced to turn sharply to port to avoid three cruisers, that crossed her bows from starboard to port. The abrupt change of course took the submarines by surprise and K1 and K4 collided. K1 had lost way due to salt-water, instead of fuel, coming through the sprayers and extinguishing the boilers. K3 passed close on the port side. K4, following K3, suddenly observed the red light of K1, and, although taking avoiding action, struck K1 a glancing blow abreast the conning tower. Water poured into the control room. Within minutes, chlorine gas was being released from the batteries. Blonde was signalled that K1 was sinking, and the cruiser closed, lowering two cutters. The rescue boats made five trips and transferred all 56 members of the crew to Blonde. A discussion was then held as to whether K1 could be saved, and it was decided to sink her.


Events

28-06-1915 : Laid Down
15-07-1916 : Launched
01-01-1917 : Completed
31-01-1918 : HMS K4 left harbour bound for a North Sea exercise. In what became known as the Battle of May Island a number of submarines were lost. Several collisions occurred, including K6 colliding with K4. So great was the collision that K4 was cut almost in two and sank immediately with the loss of all onboard.


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