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Wartime Memoirs of Coxn Oscar Moth

A Survivor Of K13

To my friends who lost their lives in K13. This effort is respectfully dedicated

Transcribed from a copy provided by Dave Palmer – Sussex Branch


It must "be clearly understood, by all those who read my War Experiences, that, they were only written under pressure from my relatives and also the Friends I made during the Great War. They all tell me that my experiences are so varied that they deem it my duty that I should try and write them in Book Form. I think myself that my effort should prove very interesting to everyone and instructive to the younger generation.

Before I commence my experiences, and so that everyone will understand what they are reading, it will be necessary for me to point out that at the outbreak of war, I had over twelve years' service in HM Navy. Over five years of this I had spent in the Submarine Service, in which I had served from an Able Seaman in A5, rising to a Petty Officer and serving as Coxswain of A12 and latterly as Coxswain of C24.

The ill fated A5
The ill fated A5

In those days, five years was the limit of service allowed in the Submarine Service and accordingly after five years of peace time experience I went back to 'Sea', that is, the Navy proper. At the outbreak of war I was serving in HMS Attentive, that ship being stationed at Dover, and it is from this Ship that my story must start. I may not be able to make a great deal of HMS Attentive but I ask my readers to bear with me until I re-enter the Submarine Service, when I know they will be interested to read how our brave boys fought in those Ships who really went out and under in more senses than one.

HMS Attentive & Rejoining The Submarine Service

August the fourth was the fateful date and the sixth Flotilla of Destroyers were anchored in Dover Harbour. The Navy had just finished playing at war and had demobilised, only to mobilise again, and prepare for War in earnest.

Germany had declared war on France, and had over run Belgium in their eagerness to get to Paris, and the whole world was watching Britain, and we in the Navy were only too eager to get the chance of a bump at Germany.

There was a great deal of activity in the Light Cruisers and also the Torpedo Boat Destroyers which were attached to the sixth Flotilla.

I was serving in HMS Attentive and we were the senior officer at Dover, as we carried the Captain "D" of the Flotilla. We were preparing for War. Many a time had I done this before, but then only for drill, but now this was in earnest. From time to time you could hear the Question, "Do you think we shall go to war?" but nobody cared to chance their arm with a 'Yes' or 'No'. At four o'clock we made the signal for the fleet to get underway, and we all put to sea to await the Government's decision whether we should, or should not, go to War.

Out through the breakwater at half speed, and into the Straits of Dover. On our way we were cheered by the Forts on either side and it could easily be seen that the army was just as enthusiastic as we were. And now we made straight for the French Squadron which was patrolling the Straits, and there was a great deal more cheering.

We straight away took on this Patrol, and transferred one of our Officers to the French Flag Ship, who transferred one of her officers to us. We then steamed round the French Squadron and cheered to our hearts' content, after which we officially took on the Patrol, the French Squadron going further west.

It will now be seen that we had taken over the Straits of Dover, some hours before the declaration of War, but we were there all ready and waiting for the fateful signal "Commence Hostilities".

At 11pm the signal was received and we were at war with Germany. We were very much on the alert for we all knew well that our patrol was very important, in fact was really "the Key" to the situation.

Day after day, we were searching merchant ships of all nations and quite several prizes were sent into Dover or the Downs to anchor.

Watch keeping in two watches is very monotonous and especially as we had a very young Ships Company, so that as the days wore on it was jolly hard to keep some of the younger ones awake. You can guess we wore fed up with this waiting business and everyone was wishing that the Germans would come out and give us a chance to get it over.

Every third day we went into Dover to "Coal Ship" but there was no leave. It was simply "Coal Ship", "Clean Ship" and really before we had a chance to clean ship we were out again on our Patrol.

We weren't being cheered up with news, for things were looking rather black in France, and we were getting bad news from everywhere.

At last we got something to look for, for we received the news that the TBDs bad been torpedoed by a German submarine, so we knew we had at last got something to get on with. Special submarine "Look Outs" were posted and everyone was backing our chances of seeing a German submarine off. We didn't have long to wait for the chance, but in any case, I think his chance was a better one than ours.

It was the Sunday after the Pathfinder was sunk that we nearly "got it". It was in the afternoon and the watch below were sleeping. I myself was sleeping in my mess, when I heard a hell of a scuffle and a tremendous amount of rushing about. I rushed on deck just as the bugle sounded "Action". I could hear men saying "Didn't you see her?" I went to my station which was in the Conning Tower, at the helm, and then I found out that we had been attacked by a German submarine who had come up on our port bow, and had fired a torpedo at us but had missed by mere inches.

There is no doubt whatever that the torpedo must have hit us, but for the sharp look out which was kept, for as the torpedo was fired, it was sighted, and our helm was put hard over and we managed to just evade the deadly missile by going "Full Speed Ahead" on our engines.

I now had a very dizzy two hours at the helm for the submarine was sighted many times and the helm was swung from one side to the other, so as always to keep the submarine on our stern, and then we would be a small target as well as a running target. I supposed by now that we had at least a dozen TBDs in the Straits and they were all steaming at full speed and darting all over the place, in the off chance of ramming the submarine.

During the whole of the two hours I was at the helm I saw nothing, and I even went so far as to say that I didn't believe we had been attacked although I had heard continually the cry "There she is".

At last, as she had not been seen for some time, we dispersed from Action Stations and the pipe called the watch to Defence Station, so now I got a chance to speak to someone who knew as much as I did about submarines. This was our Torpedo Gunner's Mate and he had served with me for a good many years in the Submarine Service, and after this incident served again with me in L6.'

After leaving the helm I strolled aft to where he was and greeted him in this fashion, "Well Buck, (all Taylor's are called Buck in the Navy and this man's name was Taylor) what do you think about it? Have you seen her?" "No, and I don't believe for one minute that there is a submarine anywhere near us", was his answer. Just at that, time both of us Disbelievers were very quickly converted to Believers, for up she came out of the water about 200 yards off our Port Beam and clearly showed 2 feet of periscope.

"Hard a Port" came the order from the Bridge to the Conning Tower, and we swung round very quickly to Starboard and once again put the Submarine on our stern. I am fully convinced that we missed a splendid opportunity, as I consider we were in a good position to have turned to Port and rammed her, as I am sure she only came up to see for her own safety. That was the last we saw of her, but by this time we had about 20 TBDs and four cruisers belting about the Straits of Dover in the hope of ramming the submarine.

We had attached to us 12 submarines of the B and C Class but we had ordered them into harbour, and they had to remain in until the next day. This spasm caused us to do much more harbour time and I am inclined to think that, that German submarine did us a good turn, anyhow the patrol was now kept up by Severn and submarines who were considered to stand a better chance if attacked by enemy submarines.

The Bombardment Of The Belgian Coast

Our next bit of real excitement came on a Saturday afternoon near the end of the month of October. We had had a very busy week, our Ships Company being employed in loading the Mine Layers with mines, and as things had slackened down we were looking forward to an afternoon off or what in termed "A Make and Mend". Our luck was certainly out for at 1.15 the pipe went, "Out Pipes", "Hands Fall In". Soon the "Buss" went round that there was something doing, for we were employed in getting the Ship ready for sea, and you could see that the remainder of the Flotilla was doing the same.

At four o'clock we slipped our mooring and proceeded to sea with the whole of the sixth Destroyer Flotilla, and we were also accompanied by the Monitors "Severn", "Humber" and "Mersey". These Monitors had recently been commandeered as they were built in England for a foreign state, and they proved to be very useful indeed.

No one seemed to know what our mission was but after a bit we found out that our destination was the Belgium coast, where at that time we were getting a lot of bad news. We put into Dunkirk and there we saw a ship which had on board the remnants of the Marines who had so gallantly defended Antwerp. We steamed quite near to her and there was a good deal of shouting, "Are we downhearted?" and the answer which was shouted back was always "No".

While we were at Dunkirk we received a wireless message from the Admiralty to the effect that all the cruisers were to go back to Dover, as hostile submarines were out, and it was not considered advisable to use the cruisers for bombarding.

This was bad news for us, for we wished to be in it, and it came as "Good News" to us when Admiral Hood who was flying his Flag on board, the Attentive, said he would keep us and. send the remainder back.

An Officer and two Signalmen were landed from the Flotilla and they were to go up into the lines and give us information by signal when and how to conduct the bombardment.

We now steamed up the coast and waited for the signals. We were due to start the bombardment at 2am but we had received no signal, so could not start, as we had no knowledge which were our men and which were the enemies. It was nine o'clock when we "commenced firing" into vast masses of German troops. This was the signal for the whole of the Flotilla to start, and we simply played havoc with them.

I would like here to pass a few remarks concerning the first shot that was fired on the Belgium coast. I have heard a good many arguments concerning this, and quite a few ships claim this distinction, but I have no hesitation in saying that the first round was fired from the forecastle 4" Gun Starboard, of HMS Attentive and the Gun layer who fired the first round was Petty Officer F Kelly. Things now began to get a bit hot, as our bombardment was being answered from the shore by big guns, but the only ammunition that was fired was shrapnel. This of course was no good for fighting ships, although it caused quite a number of casualties in the Flotilla.

The ship who was hardest hit by casualties was the TBD Viking. She had got in rather close and received, a direct hit on the muzzle of the forecastle 4" gun just as it was in the act of being fired. This caused a very big explosion, which laid out the whole of the gun's crew as well as all the Officers and men who were on the Navigating Bridge, as well as the men who were "handing up ammunition".

At noon the "Cease Fire" was sounded and the "Attentive" steamed back to Dunkirk. We had no idea what was going to happen but on arrival at Dunkirk a boat was lowered and sent into shore. Two military officers came off in this boat with plans of the district, and we steamed back along the coast again. One of these officers was "Colonel Bridges" but I have forgotten who the other was but anyhow he was an Artillery Officer and under their guidance, the bombardment was re-opened. This was carried on until darkness set in, and we then withdrew. That evening, the Admiral transferred his Flag to one of the TBDs and we had orders to collect the casualties from all the Flotilla and return to Dover.

The effect of this bombardment - which was only a prelude to many others - had the desired objective and checked the German advance along the coast line and for a good many miles in land. The advance had begun to be very serious, and a good many of us are of the opinion that our Flotilla saved Calais, for at the rate the advance was going it would have only meant another day before they would have been before Calais. We in England all know what that would have meant, so this is one of the things that all Britishers should warmly thank the Navy for having accomplished successfully.

We arrived back in Dover at midnight and there was quite a stir there when we arrived for the news that we had arrived with casualties spread like wild fire. These we soon landed, and now we found out that we were not to go back, as the Admiral had asked for old ships who were of no material consequence and yet could do the bombarding more effectively.

Another period of monotony followed and I was just about fed up when I found that they were asking for volunteers with submarine experience to re-enter the Submarine Service. Thinking that this would prove a far more exciting job than the one I already had, I immediately offered my services, which were straight away accepted.

I now had to await a relief and it was some weeks before this arrived. We were employed as "Working Parties" loading up ships with ammunition for the ships who were carrying on the bombardment of the Belgium coast. This didn't at all suit me and I renewed my application for further service in submarines, but my Captain told me I would have to wait until my relief arrived, in fact he tried hard to keep me, but at last my perseverance was rewarded.

On December the 23rd we left Dover, all in a hurry not knowing what was happening, but the next day (Christmas Eve) we found ourselves in Southampton. We arrived at noon and by two o'clock we had half of our Ships Company on seven days leave. We were to be refitted by the firm of H

I went to Portsmouth for my leave, and I visited Fort Blockhouse (the submarine depot) where I saw the Drafting Officer, and as we had served together before, he told me he would do what he could for me. Accordingly, on January the 10th a relief arrived for me, and on the 11th of January I proceeded to Portsmouth and joined the submarine depot. I will here point out that the Petty Officer who relieved me was killed some two months afterwards in the "Attentive" by a bomb dropped by a Taube.

Submarines & H1

I now underwent a course of instruction in later boats than I had already been in. It must be understood that the Submarine Service had advanced by leaps and bounds and we had submarines of all classes building, all over the country, as well as boats building for us in Canada. It necessarily follows, I had a good deal to pick up as my experience only took me as far as C Boats and they were fast becoming obsolete.

I remained in the depot until early in April when I was told off, as Coxswain of H1, which boat was built in Montreal, Canada. We left on April the 8th with four Boats crews H1, H2, H3 and H4 and we were to tackle the Atlantic for the first time in the annals of submarine history.

H Class boats in dock
H Class boats in dock

We travelled by train to Liverpool, and from that port we embarked in "SS Misanibie" a GPA Line and we had a real good trip across the Atlantic to Halifax. We made lots of friends on the passage for the passengers and crew knew on what errand, we were bent, and. they were not slow in showing their appreciation. They were very open in telling us that they didn't envy us our job, and quite a number of the crew told us they wouldn't tackle the Atlantic in a submarine at any price.

On our way out our crew with the assistance of a few of the passengers gave a concert in the Saloon, on behalf of the Mercantile Marine Orphanage and it proved a great success and from a financial point of view it was even a greater success. On our arrival at Halifax we disembarked end proceeded by train to Montreal. So, we said "Good Bye" to the many friends we had made, who wished us "God Speed" and the best of luck in our trip across the Atlantic.

On our arrival at Montreal, which happened on a Sunday evening, we were met by some of the advance party who had been out for some two months. They told us that as far as could be judged, the boats were going to be good ones, -and they also told us that HM Submarine H1 had been launched that day.

All our party now dispersed to look for lodgings, as we were put on what is termed in the Navy "Lodging and Compensation", which is of course money with which to provide for yourself, instead of being provided by the Navy, everything in the way of accommodation and food. We all found lodgings in the vicinity of Vickers Yard, where 10 H Boats were being built. We were all very lucky with lodgings as in most cases we lived with people who had emigrated from the Old Country and deemed it a duty to look after the Boys in Navy Blue.

The next morning found us all eager to see our boats and we were early at the yard, but found the gates closed on us, and we were not allowed inside until our Officers arrived and vouched, for us. I was struck by the way the secrets of the yard were kept for anyone would have thought that our uniform would have been sufficient guarantee, but after this we were all given a card, without which it was impossible to get in. There were sentries all over the yard and at night searchlights were burnt by Boy Scouts who belonged to the firm.

When we got inside we found H1 in the water and nine other H Boats building on the slip. They were literally swarming with workmen who in the majority were Yanks, but were going full pelt at their work, all with one object in view, '"The Almighty Dollar.

During our stay at Montreal we had a right royal time, everybody treating us with the greatest respect, in fact we all made good friends, of whom we talked about for years afterward. Our greatest pals were the 42nd Canadian Highlanders and we spent many a happy hour in their messes. I am very sorry to say a great many of these paid for their Patriotism dearly, for the best part of them made the great sacrifice in France. I remember one incident quite well, .it was a recruiting march, and the Colonel of the Regiment thought a Naval Brigade would form an added attraction. He approached our Captain "Lieutenant Pirie" on this subject, who was quite agreeable. Accordingly, we formed a Brigade and marched with the Regiment. We took the place of honour, behind the Pipe Band, and the whole thing proved a great success. On our return to the Drill Hall we were inspected by the Commanding Officer of the Regiment who congratulated the Officers on having such a fine body of men to commission their submarine with. On Sunday the 9th of May, we left, I mean H1, Montreal for Murray Bay to do our trials. We had a good run down the St Lawrence and arrived at Murray Bay, which is below Quebec, on Monday afternoon. Our trials proved very successful and everybody was very pleased indeed with our boat, so on the 18th inst. we left for Quebec.

How happened our first bit of bad luck, for on the way up it began to blow and rain, and it was anything but comfortable. At about 9pm we were, in collision with "SS Christine" who was damaged so badly that she sank in 3 minutes, in fact the propeller was still going around when she made her final dive. It was very rough by now and a great deal of difficulty was experienced in rescuing the lives of those that were floating. A very brave bit of work was done by one of our Able Seamen, he went overboard and was instrumental in saving the lives, of the Captain of the "Christine" an RNR Lieutenant, and that of the Signalman. The Captain's leg was broken and he really must have had a very bad time. In all we saved ten of the crew, but I never found out how many were lost.

The ABs name was "Moyes" and he was congratulated by everyone on his good work and sometime afterwards he received the Humane Society's Silver Medal. He also was the recipient of a silver wrist watch from the Captain whose life he had saved. This was suitably engraved and I know that he was very proud of it. Poor fellow, he made the supreme sacrifice some two years after for the E boat in which he was then serving went to sea and never returned. She was only one of our boats who went out and was never heard of again.

Ever since the H1 had left Montreal she had been in charge of a 'Yankie' crew and the boat was piloted by a French pilot. As soon as the collision occurred, our own Captain, Lieutenant W Pirie RN took charge, and gave the necessary orders while the rescue work was going on, he then navigated H1 to Quebec where he reported the circumstances of the accident.

Of course, we had damaged our bows pretty badly and it was necessary to go back to Montreal for repairs. On the next day, we embarked a new Pilot and proceeded to Montreal. By the look of the damage we had sustained, I really thought we were in for at least another fortnight at Montreal, but owing to the smart way in which the work was taken in hand we were ready to leave again in three days.

On Monday the 24th of May we finally left Montreal, it was a great day and there were swarms of people on either bank of the river to see us off, and we had a very hearty "send-off" from the many friends we had made in our short stay in Montreal. We now proceeded to a spot just outside of Quebec where we were to do our final trial. This was a dive of 200 feet. I hardly believed it when I was told, for although I had had considerably over five years' experience in submarines I had never heard of a boat going that depth.

I would like to point out that the pressure on the hull of a boat when she is submerged is roughly half the pressure per square inch that the depth of water is, so it will be seen that at 200 square feet, we nearly have 100 pounds per square inch.

Anyhow our deep trial came off successfully for, to use a Navy expression, the boat was as "Tight as a Drum". Everyone being well satisfied with the boat we now put into Quebec, where we made fast in the outer basin, there to get the boat "Ship Shape" and to wait for H2, H3 and H4 who were to cross with us.

We officially commissioned the boat as UK Submarine H1 on the 26th of May 1915 and now we simply had to make her look something like a British, Man of War. The other boats arrived in good time and on the 2nd of June, we were all inspected by the Duke of Connaught who was accompanied by Princess Pat(ricia). They seemed delighted to think such nice boats were built in Canada and they expressed the opinion that they were sure we should manage the Atlantic.

We were now employed in talking in provisions and water, and then we filled our tanks with fuel and lastly took our torpedoes on board, so now it will be seen we were ready for action at a minute's notice. By the 10th of June we left Quebec in company with H2, H3 and H4 and we were escorted by a gunboat called the "Canada", but we (H1) were very unfortunate for we damaged our port propeller so badly that we had to return to Quebec and go alongside the "SS Glenalmond" who was carrying all the spare gear.

I must point out, as some of my readers are not aware that it is possible by flooding tanks at either end of a submarine to do what we call "Trim Down" either by the stern or by the bow. In this case we had to "Trim Down" by the bow, and get our stern out of water, we then shipped a new propeller and got ready to leave again*

That evening we left in company with the "SS Glenalmond" and shaped our course for Newfoundland. The weather was fine and we were making a good speed in fact we had to go slower than we needed, so as to keep in touch with the "Glenalmond". Things continued to go very smoothly until the afternoon of the 12th inst. when it came on to blow hard. Soon there was a very big sea running and it was anything but comfortable. The boat proved a very good "Sea Boat" and she rode the big waves finely, in fact she made less of the weather than the Glenalmond. All day the 13th it blew great guns and we had to go dead slow, but on the morning of the 14th the weather eased up. At about 9.0 in the forenoon we sighted a very large ship which proved to be the "Calgarian" an armed liner - who toward the end of the War fell a victim to a German U Boat. We closed on her and she told us that she had met the "Canada" with H2 and H3 but she was looking for H4 and as we could give her no information, she left us and continued her search.

At 7am the next morning we sighted a ship lying at anchor under the lee of an island. We ran in to see who it was and it proved to be the "Canada" and with her was H2 and H3. We also anchored to wait for the weather to moderate altogether.

By noon we considered it was fine enough so we all got underway and once more shaped our course for St Johns, Newfoundland. On the next morning at daylight we could see a number of icebergs and the weather turned very cold, and then it turned to fog, so we had to keep a good look out in case of running into one of those lumps of ice. At last we sighted St Johns and we ran in and moored to the jetty at 12:30 on the 15th of June. On the jetty were thousands of people who had come to see the first submarines that had ever come to Newfoundland. They simply gazed at us in awe and it was a long time before we could entice them to come anywhere near where we were laying.

Our only worry now was for H4 for she had not yet joined us, and we were really beginning to believe that something very wrong had happened to her. It was a. great load off our minds when she arrived on the 17th. She reported that she was unable to stick the rough weather and had turned and. run with it, and had eventually anchored under the lee of an island.

We were now employed in getting our boat ready for the Atlantic, and there was a very strong buzz that we were booked for the Dardanelles. We were to stop four days at St Johns and during that time we made a number of friends, who were all on the jetty to see us leave on Saturday morning the 19th of June.

Our escort now was to be the "Calgarian" who made a signal to say we were to be ready to leave by 10am, but soon after, this was cancelled, as the fog was so thick outside the harbour, that it was considered unsafe to make a start. Accordingly, orders were given that we should not leave until 10am on Sunday so we had another day with our friends.

The Calgarian had on board a contingent of Newfoundland soldiers, and we left sharp to time on Sunday morning. We had a good send off and as we got near to the Calgarian we got a rousing cheer from the soldiers who I should say were in high spirits, for they were singing all the patriotic songs. When clear of the harbour the "Calgarian" made the signal "Destination Gibraltar" so that now we were almost certain that we should eventually reach the Dardanelles. We now took up our stations, 2 boats on either quarter of the "Calgarian" and the "Glenalmond" astern. The speeds were 11 knots and we made a jolly good start.

Fog was to be a very great hindrance to us for after about three hours run, we ran into a very thick bank and we had to reduce our speed to nine knots and afterwards to seven knots. The next day was very foggy and to make things worse H3 reported to the "Calgarian" that she had damaged one of her propellers and she had to be taken in tow. This was rotten luck for she proved to be a source of trouble practically the whole way over. The next day the weather cleared and we were able to increase our speed, but we couldn't do any more than 10 knots as the "Calgarian" was afraid of the tow parting, as I have already said H3 was being towed. Anyhow ten knots proved too fast for at about 11am the tow parted and we all-had to "Lay To" while another line was being passed to H3. This proved a very difficult job for it must be remembered that we were well into the Atlantic and even in fair weather there is a very big swell, especially for boats as small as we were.

Eventually after losing about two hours of very valuable time H3 was taken in tow and we proceeded at nine knots, but ill luck was up against us again, we soon after ran into another fog and we had to reduce our speed the remainder of the day and the whole of that night to seven knots. All that night the fog was absolutely black, and we could see nothing, but at intervals we could hear the mournful wail of the "Calgarian's" siren followed by the screech of the air whistles of the submarines and then another wail from the "Glenalmond" so we knew that we were all in company.

The next day the sun came out in all its glory, and the sea was a flat calm. A happy idea struck one of our crew and with a piece of canvas and a couple of hours work, we converted our Flat haversack into a canvas bath. This we rigged on our upper deck, and we ran a hose from the pump below into the bath and so filled it ith salt water. We now bathed to our hearts content, for it was possible for four of us to bathe at the same time. I expect a good many of my readers have seen the photograph of the bath, for it was published in the "Daily Mirror".

The weather now remained fine until Saturday but H3 was absolutely a nuisance so the Captain of the "Calgarian" made a signal to alter course far the "Azores" as he intended to get under the lee of one of the islands, to allow H3 to go alongside the "Glenalmond" and ship a new propeller. At 3pm the Glenalmond and H3 parted company and ran in under the lee of the Azores, and the remainder of us had to "Lay To". The Captain of the "Calgarian" now signalled to us to know if we wanted anything, so we took the opportunity and went alongside her, where we replenished our fresh water and also got some bread and beef. H3 succeeded in shipping her new propeller, but it was nearly 10pm before we got underway again. H3 was again taken in tow, but as she could use her own engines, we made ten knots our speed.

Nothing happened now out of the ordinary, except that H3 still gave trouble, until Tuesday at midnight when our engines stopped altogether, I mean H1. This caused the whole of the convoy to "Lay To" and we found that our engine was sucking on a tank that was found to be full of water instead of fuel. These tanks were all supposed to have been filled up, but we can easily say we were browned off by the Yanks, who had filled one of the tanks with water. This was soon remedied as we only had to put the engines on another tank and then we all proceeded at ten knots. The weather remained delightful and we kept up a steady ten knots, which caused us to wash down, for the rollers of the Atlantic are, after all, a trifle too big for a small submarine.

On Thursday evening, our starboard engine gave us a lot of trouble, but we managed to keep up with the remainder, as our port engine was running grand. Now came the worse port of our trip for early on Friday morning it came on to blow, and soon there was a big sea running. We could make very little headway at all and we were washing down "Fore and Aft". All day Friday and all Friday night it continued to blow great guns, and I can assure you it was anything but comfortable, especially as we were doing our best with one engine. The "Calgarian" gave us as much lee as she could, and she wanted to take us in tow, but our Captain wouldn't hear of it, we had come so far on our power and he said he meant to finish, so we jogged along until Saturday morning when the weather showed a decided improvement.

At 6am we sighted land, and everyone seemed quite pleased. I myself was shaking hands with myself, for I knew we were the first submarines to ever attempt to cross the Atlantic and here we were within a stone's throw of our journey's end. At 8 o'clock we sighted the rock of Gibraltar, and now the weather had eased right down and we were making good progress. At 10:25 we secured to the mole, so it will be seen that we had taken thirteen clays and 25 mins in the passage, and I consider we only earned the congratulations which we got from everyone at Gibraltar.

I had a very pleasant surprise awaiting me, for waiting on the Mole, was my brother who was attached to the RNAS and you can bet that our boats were soon over-run with ratings that belonged to that service. What struck me about these men, was their willingness to go up in aeroplanes or seaplanes, but with a few exceptions, they said they "Barred going down in one of those things". I would like to point out the splendid condition of our boats after this long run, and also the great radius of action they had. There were only a few minor defects in either of them end we all had plenty enough oil fuel to take us back across the Atlantic if it was so wished. This was a surprise for most people, who thought the radius of action for a submarine was only a few hundred miles.

During our stay at Gib. which lasted ten days, we were docked for examination, and we also filled up with oil fuel. We took on board eight of the latest torpedoes, and then we reported ready to proceed. We left for Malta on the 12th of July and I think we had pretty well all the "Naval Air Service" down to see us off. There was a great deal of hand shaking and wishes of "Jolly Good luck", for in ten days we had made good friends of them. We had received orders to proceed to Malta to be fitted with a gun and also a wireless set, without which they would not let us take on the "Sea of Marmora" job. We cast off at 6pm and we were in company with H2, H3 and H4 and, also, Monitor M15. The latter was to be our escort and we had received orders to keep a sharp "Look Out" for a strange vessel who had been reported and was thought to be an enemy's submarine parent ship.

H4 Brindisi 1916
H4 Brindisi 1916

It was lovely weather and we easily proceeded at twelve knots, the Monitor leading with two boats on either quarter. Just as dawn was breaking we observed a steamer who was carrying no lights and seeing that no one else had noticed her, we altered course and challenged her with our Cruisers Arc Lamp. She took no notice of our challenge, so we turned away from the remainder and gave chase. We increased our speed to just over 14 knots which was about our limit, but the ship increased her speed and soon out-distanced us, so we had to give up the chase and returned to our convoy.

Our Captain was very angry to think that no one else had seen the ship, and he demanded that we should put into "Algiers" to report the occurrence. This we did and I have been led to believe that this was the ship we were looking for and she was afterwards destroyed. On our arrival at "Algiers" we secured, stern to the jetty, and that night we gave leave, so I had what we call in the Navy "A Dicky Run", which means I went ashore for a couple of hours.

The next morning, we proceeded to "Algiers Bay" in company with H4, where we dived and carried out experiments with our submarine sound signalling gear. At 2pm, Monitor M15 with H2 and H3 arrived, and we all proceeded, shaping our course for Malta.

Nothing of any importance happened during the remainder of our trip and on Sunday morning at 8am we arrived at Malta, and secured to E11 and heard great tales of her doings in the "Sea of Marmora". There was a great deal of speculation among the E Boats whether we would be allowed to do the Marmora job, they said we weren't big enough, but we just told them to wait and see.

We had a good spell in Malta and during the time we were there, we had a six-pounder gun put in, wireless fitted and we also had "Knife Edges" fitted to our bow and big jumping wires fitted which went from our bows, over the periscope and finished on the stern. This was to enable us to dive through the net which we knew was placed across the Dardanelles. After these jobs were completed, we went to sea for trials, which proved to be very successful and then we returned to Malta. All we had to do now was to await an escort to take us on to Mudros.

The escort proved unavailable for some time, and at last came a message to say we were urgently required, so we proceeded to sea with no escort and shaped our course for Mudros. We had fairly decent weather and we proceeded at twelve knots leaving Malta on Thursday the 2nd of September. Nothing of any note happened until the afternoon of Saturday the 4th when we met HMS Cornwall, who gave us orders to proceed to Mudros. At 5pm the same afternoon we met HMS "Anemone" and she escorted us the remainder of the journey. We anchored that night outside Mudros and awaited orders to enter. At 7am on Sunday we weighed anchor and proceeded into Mudros. I had no idea how important this place was but there must have been hundreds of ships of all classes and sizes, belonging to all the allied countries. We proceeded past these ships and secured to HMS "Adamant" who was to be our parent ship.

We now had to prove to the "Powers that be" that our boat was suitable for the Dardanelles, so from time to time we took different officers out and dived the boat for their opinions. We also did a lot of running purpose to get the crew as well as the boat in an efficient state for the dangerous job we were going to undertake. All the reports were in favour of the boat being suitable, and on the 28th of September we took in thirty days provisions in excess to a week emergency rations which we always carried.

The Dradanelles & The Sea Of Marmara

On the 29th we proceeded to sea, our destination being "Kephala", which is very near the mouth of Dardanelles, and at 2pm, we secured to HMS Cornwall, there to await a favourable opportunity to force the Dardanelles.

I would here like to point out that our crew were simply elated to think we were going to be given a chance and if we had asked for volunteers to man the boat, every man jack of the crew would have willingly volunteered.

Our Captain had to report to the Commander in Chief, who ordered that he was to go to one of the destroyers who were patrolling the mouth of the Dardanelles, and she was given an order to go up as far as she could so that our Captain would have a fair chance of seeing where we were to start our dive.

On Thursday, the 30th September, we cast off from the Cornwall and had a short dive, getting a good trim. I might say our final trim before making the dash. We then secured again to the Cornwall and waited for our time to make the final effort.

A Month in the Sea of Marmora

Now commences the story of the most exciting time of my life. A whole month, and our nerves on edge the whole of the time. A whole month with nothing but excitement and something doing all the time. I don't want to make too much of it, as I have a long way to go yet, so I will be as brief as I can and stick to the facts which were outlined in the official report which our Captain sent to the Admiralty.

At 2:45am on the 2nd of October we cast off from the "Cornwall" after receiving the best wishes of the whole of her ships company. We ran on our engines until we got Cape Helles abeam which was at 4:35am.

We now stopped our engines and ran on our electric motors keeping a good look out. At 4:50 we observed a collision between one of our TBDs and a collier, but as we were working on time we could not stop to see the amount of damage done.

At 5:15 we commenced our dive and shaped our course up the Dardanelles, our speed being six knots. At 6:10 we altered our course to pass "Kilid Bahr", and found our compass was showing a difference of six degrees to the adjustments that were made the day before.

This was very bad for us as we were absolutely dependant on our magnetic compass and I might here point out that we were the only boat who had tackled this job, without having a gyro compass fitted. These compasses are electrically driven and it is impossible for them to be affected by electricity or metals as ours had been. This in a great measure was responsible for us grounding which nearly proved our undoing.

We now dived to eighty feet, this was to enable us to pass the mine fields and also so that no trace of us could be seen. We remained at this depth until 7.20 when we came up for an observation. We found that we had "Kilid Bahr" abeam, so we altered course and dived again to eighty feet.

Soon after altering course we grounded very heavily, and we were thrown up right out of the water our depth gauge only reading 15 feet. This meant that the top of our Conning Tower was out of water, and that we were really in a very serious plight. There was a great deal of excitement, but our Captain grasped the situation very coolly and calmly. "Hard a Port", "Stop Port" and "Full Speed Starboard" were his orders, and luck being on our side, we gradually slipped off into deep water.

This was certainly a very bad start, for we had absolutely given ourselves away. Why the Turks didn't fire at us while we were aground I don't know, my opinion is that they thought they had captured us, anyhow they now knew we were there, and we were continually harassed by a motor boat, who followed us until long after we were in the "Sea of Marmora".

We now dived to eighty feet again but we could distinctly hear the swish of the motor boats propeller and we knew we were being followed,

At 8:30 we came up to see if we could get an observation of the Net, and we found we were in a very good position. A Lighter was moored over the Net and men could be seen distinctly, working about the Net. Our Captain decided to dive under the lighter, so we set our course and then dived to eighty feet. When we reached eighty feet, our motors were put Full Speed Ahead, and we crashed into the net at a speed of about eleven knots.

It was at 8:44 we struck the Net and it certainly did seem to hold us for a bit, but we pushed through it and we heard a terrible grating noise as we tore it. Eventually it dropped clear of our stern and we knew we had got through the worst part of our journey up.

We remained down at eighty feet until 9am when we had to come up for an observation, but as soon as our periscope broke surface we were fired at. We could plainly hear the noise of bursting shell, so after getting a very quick observation, we dived to fifty feet and as we could hear the propeller of the motor boat and also the noise of bursting shell we deemed it advisable to remain at fifty feet for some time.

At 9:30 we stopped and turned out our forward hydroplane, as up to the present we had been diving with our after rudders only. This was to enable us to make as small resistance as possible and it will be easily seen, it was far easier to tear our way through the net, only having to make a small hole at first. Of course, it is far more difficult to dive a boat with only one set of rudders, but as I had experience in A class of submarines who only have the "after rudders", I managed quite well.

I suppose the motor boat could follow our trail for sometimes we could hear her quite plainly, at other times only faintly. Anyhow she made things very awkward for us, for it was impossible for us to come up to get a decent observation.

At last we knew we must be somewhere near Gallipoli, so we eased down and listened. We could not hear the boat, so we came up rapidly to get a look. We immediately heard the boat again but we got a rough observation before we dived again to fifty feet. In this short look we found out that Gallipoli was abeam and it only remained for us to shake off this boat and we should be able to come to the surface.

At 4:20pm having not heard the boat for some time we came up, but this time we found an enemies TBD waiting for us. This was worse than ever and we quickly got down to eighty feet. Our Captain then decided to dive on and we set our course to pass Marmora Island.

At 5pm we came up and found everything clear, so we decided to charge our batteries. We blew our tanks to enable us to get on the upper deck and then we mounted our gun. We also put our clocks on 1½ hours so it will be seen that we started "Daylight Savings" a long while before the country decided to have "Summer Time".

We also made a signal by wireless to our Flag Ship to let her know we had got through. This signal was never received and in our parent ship, the "Adamant", they gave us up for lost. They got no news of us until a week or so later and then E12 communicated by wireless in a code we had taken up with us so then they presumed we were safe. The signal put on the notice board was "As a signal has been received from E12 in a code taken to "The Sea of Marmora" by H1, it is presumed that the latter boat is safe".

It will be seen by comparing our time of diving and our time of coming to the surface that our trip had lasted nearly twelve hours. It was a very strenuous time for us, for our nerves were strained to the utmost the whole of the time, knowing full well that we were "Forcing the Dardanelles" which was one of the most, if not the most difficult task ever undertaken by a submarine of any nation. This will easily be verified if we remember that this task was undertaken by as many French submarines as English submarines, and yet only one of then "the Turquoise" was successful in getting up and even then she was captured on the way back.

Our batteries were nearly run down on the voyage up, so it took us nearly four hours to charge them up. At 9pm we dived and set our course up the Sea of Marmora and we did not break surface again until 7am the next day.

We already had one boat ("E12") up here, and we had orders to find her out and work in conjunction with her. We knew she was doing good work up here and we were very eager to meet her, for we had decided ourselves that she was to be our "Chummy Boat". Accordingly, we set our course for the rendezvous and when we arrived there we waited on the surface for her.

We remained on the surface until 9.15pm and then as there was no sign of E12 we decided to dive for the night. I want here to explain that the "Sea of Marmora" was a very convenient place for diving, for as we all know the "Black Sea" runs through the "Bosphorus" into it. This gives us what we call in the submarine service a Patch. It is the salt water floating on the fresh water before it has got time to mix. What we used to do was simply trim our boat a trifle heavy and just let her sink very gradually. Of course, according to the state of the weather and the chance of mixing the water had, so we stopped at different depths. Of course, the boat continues to sink until she picks up this patch and then she would gradually stop. Our depth gauge generally told us we were somewhere near sixty feet, although once I remember we went down to over a hundred feet and couldn't find the patch, this of course was after some very rough weather, and that night we simply kept underway on one motor, diving in a circle, but to get on with my story.

We remained submerged until 7am the next morning but still there was no sign of E12, so sooner than waste time our Captain decided to dive into Pandermo Harbour. This we did and we sighted a small steamer but she took jolly good care to hug the coast and keep under the cover of the guns, so of course we could not get a pop at her. We dived right into the harbour but as there was nothing there we dived out and came to the surface at 3:30pm.

Soon after we sighted a small Dhow, and made her "heave to". She was a very small thing and carried no boat, so after examining her, our Captain decided to let her go. She had two Turks aboard her and I can picture them now calling down blessings on us for letting them go.

At 7:30 we sighted a submarine which proved to be E12, and she told us afterwards that she had a round in her gun, all ready for us, as she thought we were an enemy. She told us that she had been expecting us for days, and had given us up for lost. Anyhow we were very pleased to see each other and at 8pm we dived for the night.

We came to the surface at 700 the next morning and parted company with E12. At about 8am we sighted two lots of smoke so dived and went toward it. The smoke proved to be two enemies TBDs but they were too far away for us to get a shot at them, and I believe they went into "Pandermo". That afternoon we chased two Dhows and drove them ashore and afterward we destroyed two more by gunfire. At 8pm we dived for the night.

We were up early the next morning at about 6am which really was 4:30am and we ran on the surface for some time charging our batteries. In the forenoon we decided to try a dive into Mudania just to see if there was any luck. We dived right up the river and at 1:30pm we sighted a steamer moored to a jetty. We got a torpedo ready, and got a good attack in, although when our periscope came out of the water we were fired at. This happened continually until 2:50 when we fired our first torpedo.

The torpedo ran straight for the target and registered a Hit. There was a loud explosion but it was not near so loud as I thought the explosion of a torpedo would have been. Anyhow this was very satisfactory, as this was the first torpedo fired by us and we had got a "Bullseye".

We now decided to dive on and see if there was anything in "Glenilik" but although we dived right up we saw nothing but small boats, so we turned and dived out. On our way back, we had to pass Mudania again and we could see the steamers sunk by the Stern. We were fired at again, so we decided to dive deep and get away out of it. At 6:30 we came up, and saw a TB. She saw us as well and started to zig zag. She was an impossible shot so we dived deep and came up an hour later. After charging our batteries we dived for the night.

The next day we broke surface at 7am and went toward the rendezvous to meet E12. We destroyed two Dhows during the forenoon and at noon we met E12. We decided now to steam in company toward the east and when we got in the centre of the "Sea" we stopped, and the hands were allowed to bathe over the side. Of course, a good "look out" was kept while we were bathing. Afterwards we parted company with E12 and remained on the surface charging our batteries, at 9pm we dived for the night.

We did not come up until 8am the next morning, and then we decided to have a go at "San Stephano". We ran on the surface until 2:30pm when we dived and ran in toward the shore. About 3pm we sighted smoke and altered our course to see what it was. It proved to be a TB. and we tried very hard to get an attack in on her. She was steaming very fast and she passed us at a range of about 1,200 yards and as she was so small we considered her too bad a target, in fact she was what we call an "impossible shot".

We now altered course again and ran in toward "San Stephano" and when we got in close, we could discern what appeared to us to be a big new factory or perhaps a munition shop, and it was about two miles west of San Stephano. Soon after this we saw a "Steam Tug" towing two Lighters and as we thought they must be ammunition lighters, we altered course to try and head them off. We certainly thought we would be able to do this but soon after altering our course, we grounded very heavily at thirty feet. This of course made us turn and come out a bit, but we examined our charts and we found that at the spot where we grounded, it was marked 15 fathoms. This of course made our task all the more difficult, for we knew we couldn't trust to our charts.

Soon after this in the failing light we sighted a steamer and tried hard to attack her. In this we were again unsuccessful for the light became so bad that we couldn't see through the periscope and we had to give her up. At 4:30pm we came to the surface and charged our batteries.

The examination of this place was with a view to a future bombardment of the railway bridges, but we didn't consider it was worth risking, as we only had a six pounder and we didn't think we could get in close enough to do any real material, damage. At 9 o'clock our batteries being fully charged we dived for the night.

The next day we broke surface at 7am and immediately saw a Dhow. We gave chase on our engines and when close enough, put a shot across her bows. She immediately "Hove to" and we ran up along with her. She had a crew of eight men but she carried no boat. On examination we found her to be empty, so as we dare not risk having so many prisoners as eight we decided to let her go. At 8:20 we met E12, she had had no luck since we last met, so she told us she was going- to dive into "Mudania". We waited outside on the surface and at 3:30pm she returned but told us that there was nothing at all inside. Soon after this we sighted a sail so we set a course to head her off. She appeared to be a very large yacht, so we dived and thought we would approach her without being seen. Then we at last got close enough to make her out we found she was flying the "Red Cross", so not wishing to put ourselves away, we dived away from her. Soon after we came up to charge our batteries and at 8pm we dived for the night.

The next morning, we came up at 8am but found, the weather very rough indeed. At 11am it was so bad that we dived to dodge the weather. There was a good motion at thirty feet so we set a course for "Chekmedyah" .and dived to fifty feet where we found it quite comfortable. It was 4:30pm. before we got very near and then we found several Dhows. At 7pm we sighted a big sail and we came to the surface quite close to her. She was a two master and she also carried two boats, so we put a shot across her bow and made her "heave to". We now made them take to their boats and to make certain there was no one left we put a round into her. The weather was too bad for us to go alongside without damaging ourselves so we rammed her on both sides. She was nearly cut in half and then we gave her four rounds from the six pounder to polish her off. We then ran out a bit and charged our batteries and at 9pm we dived for the night.

The next day was a day of "Ill Luck", for on coming to the surface at 6am, we heard water moving in the Forward Battery Tank. We immediately got busy to find out what this was and on examination we found about three feet of salt water in our Battery Tank which must have leaked from No 2 Main Ballast Tank. This was very bad news for it meant continual work or we should get salt water in our batteries which would mean disaster to us as chlorine gas is caused by salt water meeting electrolyte. We decided to run out into the centre of the "Sea" and make a thorough examination. We opened up No 2 MBT and our Chief ERA got inside and found that one of the seams was leaking badly. This he managed to overcome t+o a certain extent but the leak continued so we had to have the pump on this tank each day. This of course had been caused by a pressure being on the tank so long as we dived with our Kingston valves open, we now always closed them as soon as our tanks were full.

Our next misfortune was our Main Fresh Water Tank, for our Captain gave me order to try the water in it. On examination we found out that the Kingston valve had leaked and the water in the tank was as salt as the water over the side. This was a very serious blow to us for we had only half a ton of water in our ready use tank and we yet had another twenty-day trip to do. Our Captain was very disappointed and he worked out the amount of water per man he could allow us. He told us that we could have three cups of water a day but that must be for cooking as well as drinking, and we could have no water at all to wash with. He asked us if we would stick this as he wanted to make our trip successful and. every man Jack readily assented. Three cups of water a day may seem a good allowance, but when you take cooking water out of it, it doesn't leave over much and I can assure you there was a good many times when I felt down right thirsty as well as filthy. This happened on the 11th of October find we came back on the 31st so you can guess we were all in a decent pickle when we did get back. The weather now came on very bad so at 7pm we dived for the night.

The next morning, we wore up at 7am and as the weather was still very bad we decided to run into the Gulf of Ismud. We saw several Dhows but they all took pretty good care to keep near the shore and under the guns. In the afternoon we sighted a large steamer and got a very good attack in on her. We were standing by to fire a torpedo when it came on to rain a perfect deluge. It was impossible to see through the periscope and this proved her salvation. It's a good job for her but the rain lasted an half hour and when it did clear off she was nowhere to be seen. We saw her afterwards but she was under cover of the guns and it was impossible to get at her. We came up soon afterwards to charge and then as it was still very rough we decided to dive until the next morning.

The next morning, we broke surface at 7am but we found the weather very bad indeed. In fact, the sea was (as sailors term it) running mountains high and we thought it only a waste of time to stay on the surface as it would have been impossible for us to do anything, so we decided to dive and dodge the weather. We picked the patch up at sixty-three feet but we had a distinct motion so we knew it must have been very bad on the surface. We stayed down all that day and did not come up until 8am the next morning.

We found a decided improvement in the weather so we ran along on our engines charging our batteries as we were doing so. At 10am we destroyed a Dhow which was on the beach by gunfire, but soon after the weather came on worse than ever, and at 1pm we decided to dive again. This time there was a decided motion at eighty feet so you can bet is must have been very rough indeed up top.

During the night the weather eased right down and we came up at 7:30 the next morning, we ran on our engines toward the rendezvous, and at 10am we met the E12. We told her the bad news about our fresh water and being "Chummy" she gave us about sixty gallons. This was a "God send" and that day we managed an extra, cup of water each. We ran out into the centre of the "Sea" and that afternoon we bathed, one boat looking out all the time the other was bathing. At 7:15, after making arrangements for the next day we separated and dived.

The next day was Sunday, the 17th of October, and it -proved a real exciting Sunday. At 7am we signalled E12 on the submarine sounder and we both came to the surface. Our Captains had a short conference and decided to steam toward Constantinople. At 9am smoke was reported on the horizon and soon we could discern two distinct lots of smoke, so we steamed towards them. Soon we could make out two ships and, after a few minutes we could see through our glasses a large steamer being escorted by a gunboat. We immediately dived and cut the gunboat off but the steamer was too swift for us and she turned and ran for Constant. E12 was now on the surface but we were trying hard to get an attack in so that we might be able to fire a torpedo at the gunboat. She was zig sagging a great deal, but at 9:20 we got within range and fired a torpedo at her. She must have seen the torpedo fired for she altered her course immediately and it missed.

E12 was now on her engines and started to chase her on the surface, she had a four-inch gun and of course was more of a match for the gunboat, than we were with our little six pounder. Anyhow, not to be outdone, we came to the surface and joined in the chase. At about 10 o'clock E12 opened fire and those of us who were on our bridge saw her get a couple of good hits. This of course made the gunboat turn and she made direct for us, so thinking that "Discretion was the better part of valour", we immediately made ourselves scarce and dived to thirty feet. We heard the swish of her propellers, and knew she had gone nearly over the top of us, so soon after we came up to look through our periscope. Now our Captain could see E12 in action with her and soon he told us that she was badly on fire and was running toward Mudania. He ran in on one side of the "Island of Kalamino" but we came up and ran in the other side to try and. cut her off. As soon as we sighted her again we altered in close to the land, but immediately two guns opened fire from the shore. This caused us to open out again, but for all that we were successful in cutting her off, for she turned again and started to run for "Pandermo". We had not seen E12 for some time now so thought she must be diving and decided to signal the gunboats position on the submarine sounder. We were quite right for E12 received our signal and started to fire as soon as she was in range. The gunboat was now burning very badly and both E12 and ourselves tried hard to cut her off from Pandermo but in this we were unsuccessful for she got inside and ran herself high and dry on the beach. E12 remained outside but we dived right into Pandermo but we couldn't get anywhere near the gunboat. We now decided to run further in and soon we saw a very large steamer that we found was moored on the inside of a stone jetty and it was almost an impossibility to get at her, anyhow the light was getting very bad so we dived out. We could not see E12 and at 9:30 we dived for the night.

We were on the surface the next morning at 7 o'clock but there was no sign of E12. Our Captain said she must have gone into Pandermo, so we didn't signal as we thought it would give her away, so we decided to wait outside for her. At half past nine we sighted a large sail, so we got underway on our engines immediately, and gave chase. As soon as we were within range we put a round, across her bow, so she lowered her sails and "Hove to". She proved to be a pretty large Dhow with two masts, and as she carried a boat we told her crew to lower it and get in it. We then ran alongside her and searched her. She carried a general cargo, so acting on orders we destroyed her. We made a fire in her forecastle and also in her after cabin and soon she was a blaze of fire fore and aft. It was rather a cheeky thing to do as we were we'll in sight of Pandermo but I think everyone must have had the "wind up" for no one came after us. We took some photos of the burning Dhow and then left her, and we could see her crew well inside the mouth of Pandermo Harbour. At 11am we met E12 but she said she had been to the rendezvous and. not inside Pandermo. Soon after this we saw two TBDs coming out of Pandermo, but I think they sighted us, anyhow we didn't get a chance to attack them, for they ran in again.

We now arranged with E12 that she should dive into Pandermo and try to torpedo the steamer we had seen secured to the jetty the night before. We were to run in on the surface as far as was deemed, safe and we were to watch and wait to see the effect of the explosion if their torpedo hit. Accordingly, we both ran in and I consider we were very cheeky indeed to go in as far as we did on the surface. We watched and waited but no explosion happened and soon we saw E12 dive out, as she told us afterward she could not get a shot in. We ran out on the surface and although we were quite close to the shore, and must have been seen, no one interfered, with us, so I am certain that everyone in Pandermo that day must have been on the "All is Lost" side. At 9:15 we signalled our position to E12 and then we dived for the night. These last two days had been very exciting but we were beginning to get fed up for we really hadn't done anything great yet, and we were howling for the lack of targets, but we had better times to come.

Operations in the Marmara

The next morning, we broke surface at 7am and went to meet E12. We met her and decided to separate and go to each end of the sea and give Pandermo a spell. We accordingly parted company, she going toward Constantinople and us toward the Marmora Channel. At noon smoke was reported and we ran towards it. It proved to be an enemy's gun boat, no we dived immediately and got a torpedo ready. We got a beautiful attack in and we certainly weren't seen. When we got within eight hundred yards we fired a torpedo and our Captain watched its course through the periscope. It ran straight for her and appeared to hit her amidships but there was no explosion, so we knew she must have been a very shallow draught vessel for our torpedo must have run under her. This was very disappointing for us, but I suppose they were entitled to as much luck as we were. Anyhow they carried on and as far as we know they never knew they had been attacked. To use our own Captain's words in his official report "It was a good attack and with a little luck we should have hit her". Nothing more of importance happened that day, so at 7pm we dived for the night. Our crew were very disappointed for up to the present we had fired three torpedoes and had only got one hit but the next day was to prove a great day for us and were given a chance to retrieve our fortunes.

We broke surface at 7am and found that the weather was rather rough, and we decided to run into San Kioi to see if there was anything worth having a pop at. We dived well inside and found a glorious chance waiting for us for there were three steamers lying at anchor close into the shore and near the town. We only had one torpedo ready, so our Captain selected the biggest of the three ships for our first shot. She was a pretty big ship of about three thousand tons and she was quite a good target. She had three masts and from each there flew a Turkish flag, so we concluded that she must have had someone belonging to the Staff aboard her. Anyhow we took it that the flags meant she was carrying someone "pretty big". We get in a splendid attack on her and as we were not fired at until we had fired our first torpedo I should say that we weren't seen. At 11:40 we fired the torpedo and it ran straight and registered a "Hit amidships". Then followed a tremendous explosion, which blew us right up out of the water, and shook the boat from stern to stern. As I have already said we had already had a hit when we fired a torpedo in Mudania, but the explosion was nothing to compare with this.

What made it worse was that we were not prepared for this tremendous upheaval, but anyhow we soon got the boat down to thirty feet and commenced to dive out. Our Captain's idea was that the ship must have been full up with explosives and that they were detonated by our torpedo. Anyhow she settled straight down and we were very busy getting another torpedo ready.

At 12:40 we returned, all ready for another splash and this time our Captain selected the next biggest ship. This ship was about two thousand tons and was quite a good target, but this attack was much more difficult for every time our periscope came out of the water for the Captain to get a look, we were fired at from the shore. At 1:30 being in a good position we fired another torpedo, and this also registered a "Hit". This time we were more prepared for the shock of the explosion, but although this was a very heavy shock it was nothing to compare with the first one. We believe that this ship as well must have had a tremendous amount of explosive aboard, as the explosion was also very much heavier than the "Mudania" explosion. The shore batteries were continually firing at us now, but our Captain gave everyone a chance to see through the periscope, the amount of damage we had done. We could see the second ship settling down very rapidly, but all we could see of the first one was the tops of her mast from which still flew the Turkish flag.

We now dived out and got another torpedo ready after which we came in to look for more blood. The third ship was a much smaller ship than either of the others and our Captain said he thought she was a very doubtful shot. He said she must be very shallow draughted and he hardly thought her worth a torpedo. I don't think he would have fired only for the prompting of our second officer who said that three hits in one day would be worth blowing about. Anyhow we got a good attack in and fired from about six hundred yards range. Again, the torpedo ran straight, but this time there was no explosion, so we knew it was as the Captain had said she was very shallow draughted and our torpedo had run underneath her. Things were getting very hot now and we were continually fired at so we now decided to let "Well be" so we dived right out clear of "San Kioi". We then came to the surface and charged our batteries and at 7:30 we dived for the night. It was a far different crew that dived this boat that night than that which dived her the night before. Everyone seemed contented and we really were on jolly good terms with ourselves for our percentage of hits had gone up with a bang. We had a bit of a sing song that night and we came to the surface at 7:30 the next morning.

We were now out for more blood and we decided to dive into Karabuga Bay to see if there was anything worth looking at here. We dived right inside but we saw absolutely nothing, so we turned and ran out again. We came to the surface soon after noon and we could discern several Dhows but they all kept well into the land, and well under the guns, so we could riot possibly get at them. We now ran on our engines toward Marmora Island, charging our batteries as we went, and at 3:30 we dived and remained submerged until we were well through the Marmora Channel. We came up to charge at 6:30 and at 9 our batteries being right up we dived for the night. The next morning, we came up at 8 but we found the weather very rough again, so thinking it much more comfortable, we dived and shaped our course for the rendezvous. At 11 we signalled E12 on the submarine sounder, and we learnt afterwards that she read us very easily. At noon we broke surface and after being on the surface for some time we sighted a submarine. At first, we thought this would be E12 but after a bit we could see she was a foreign looking boat and we dived in care she might be a "Fritz". Presently as we got nearer to her we could make her out to be a "Frenchman" and that she was one of the "Gem Class" so we rapidly came to the surface and made ourselves known.

This submarine turned out to be the "Turquoise" and she. was the first, and I might say, the only French boat who successfully attempted the Dardanelles, end even then she was unfortunate enough to get caught in the Net on the way back on the day after we successfully passed down. We were very surprised to see her, and we gave her our hearty congratulations for we were really very pleased to, at last see a French boat, for they had paid very dearly up to the present, with no success at all. At 4pm we met E12 she was also very surprised to see the "Turquoise". Soon after it began to blow up, so all three of us dived for the night.

The next morning, we were up at 8am and met E12 but we saw nothing of the "Turquoise". Our Captain now decided that we should go to the "Gallipoli" end of the Sea of Marmora and try to communicate with our Fleet. Accordingly, we got underway on our engines and ran in company, but at 10am we sighted two submarines on the horizon. This appeared very strange and thinking they may be enemies we both dived and ran toward them. Soon we could distinguish that the first of these strangers was an E boat and then we could see that the other was the "Turquoise". Not knowing whether E12 had also recognised these two boats and thinking that perhaps she would fire a torpedo at one of them we decided to signal on the submarine sounder and the signal we made was "H1 coming to the surface". We then came to the surface very rapidly, and E12 having received our signal also came up. The E boat proved to be E20 and she had been sent up to relieve E12 who had already been in the "Sea of Marmora" considerably over a month. I would like to point out that, both of the new comers were very unlucky for they were both captured or rather sunk by the enemy. E20 in the "Sea of Marmora" and the "Turquoise" on her return down the Dardanelles. Both E12 and ourselves proved successful although E12 had about the worst trip any boat had who did not get captured.

E20 was fitted with a 6 inch gun
E20 was fitted with a 6 inch gun

E12 went alongside E20 and after that she got ready to go back. We ran with her to the Gallipoli end and there she got in communication with our Fleet. Here was a chance for us to send letters so we all got busy and we passed our letters to E12 by means of a bottle made fast to an heaving line. Anyhow although our letters had a rotten trip E12 had the satisfaction of delivering them alright. We were well in the centre of a signal from the Fleet when we saw smoke approaching very rapidly, and not wanting to give E12 away we both dived and as it was getting dark we decided to remain down until the next morning.

We came up at 7:30 and E12 again got into communication, and we received a signal to say that we were at war with Bulgaria, and that our Fleet had played up havoc, and had bombarded Dedeagach. Soon after this we said "Good bye" to our "Chummy Boat" and left her to make the dash. As I have already mentioned this proved an awful time for her, for although she eventually did get through it was only "just". What really happened to her was, she fouled one of the upright wires of the net which dragged her to over two hundred feet. The wire was jammed between her forward hydroplane and the hull of the boat, which made it impossible for the hydro-planes to be used. She at last broke away by blowing water from her tanks and going full speed ahead but she simply dragged one of the mooring anchors with her until she reached shallower water. The anchor took on the bottom again and once more she was dragged down, and they thought she had fouled another net. Eventually she got away again and arrived at Cape Helles, but when she came to the surface she had used all her compressed air and the electric batteries were run down so low that her lights only just flickered.

After leaving E12 our Captain decided to find a quiet spot where we could open up our hatches and ventilate the boat, so we ran into "Artaki". There was nothing in there and after placing good "Look Outs" we opened our hatches and started both engines. This of course dragged fresh air down as the engine sucked the foul air out. We carried on this for about an hour and the boat new being quite fresh we decided to have a long night. As we were in shallow water we went to the bottom and this was the only occasion we rested on the bottom during the trip.

We came on the surface at 7:30 the next morning and had a good look round "Artaki" but there was nothing there, so we decided to dive into "San Kioi" again to see if there was any more luck. We dived in about 10 o'clock but there was nothing fresh. We could see the ships we had sunk on the 20th, the second ship having her funnels and superstructure showing, but the first ship only had three masts. As there was nothing to do here we dived out at noon and came to the surface when we were well clear of the land. At 1:30 smoke was reported so we dived again and steered towards it. Soon we could make out a large steamer, but as she got closer we could distinguish by her markings that she was a hospital ship.

She was a fine big ship, but we remained submerged until she was out of sight for we thought she might give us away. At 2:30 we sighted a fine Dhow and we came to the surface very close to her. Her only occupants proved to be a grey headed old. Turk and. a small boy of about seven years. The old man was in a terrible panic and. the boy cried pitifully. I can assure you I had a big lump in my throat when I saw the boy's tears and we did our best to quiet his fears. Of course, we let them go, and the youngster soon dried his tears. The old man called down blessings on us and. hoisting his sail he waved his hand to us, as he sailed away. We talked a good deal about this incident, for the best part of us were married and the youngster's tears had touched our hearts. We now ran on the surface toward the rendezvous but as there was no sign of E20 we dived for the night.

We came up at 7:30 the next morning and at about 10.0 we sighted a sail. There was a good breeze and he was going very fast, and we had to go "all out" on both engines to get onshore near her. As soon as we were within range we fired a round across her bow and she "Hove to". When we got close to her we could see there was a great deal of panic going on, and presently we were close enough to see that she carried a whole crowd of women. The only male aboard was an old man who was at the helm. We hailed her but the women absolutely got in a state of terror and our Captain decided not to go too close to her for he thought they would have jumped overboard. We did our best to quiet them and told the old man that he could get underway again. We took photos of her and. I can picture those women blessing us now. They were a bit too previous with the blessings for just as they were getting underway up bobbed the "Turquoise". All the yelling end crying was now renewed, I think that they just have thought that the sea was infested with submarines. We told the "Turquoise" to let her go and they once more started to bless us. I believe that these women were refugees running from Constant and, I believe at the time the Turks wore nearly down and out. We now closed on the Turquoise, who told us in broken English that E20 had been shelled by a sailing ship, who was armed, with two guns. We knew now we must be very careful of these Dhows and we always gave them a round before we went alongside then. We left the Turquoise soon after, and dived inside of the "Island of Kalamino. We saw nothing, so we dived out, and. came to charge. When our batteries were fully charged we dived for the night.

We broke surface at 7am the next day which was the 27th, but soon after dived and set our course to pass through the "Marmora Channel". At 8am we sighted smoke and presently we could distinguish a large steamer being escorted by a gunboat. The gunboat was zig zagging and. covering the steamer, but we could see that they were both making for Pandermo.

We were a long way away from them and it was going to be a difficult job to intercept them, so we dived to fifty feet and increased our speed to "Full" which would be just over eleven knots. We carried on this speed until 9am and then we came up for a look we found the gunboat only three hundred yards away and she was making straight for us. We dived very quickly to forty feet and heard her pass over us and then we came up for another look. We found the steamer very close into shore and the gunboat about six hundred yards away. She altered course just then and as she passed our bow we fired a torpedo. We could not get a look to see how the torpedo ran but we listened to hear if there was an explosion and, as there wasn't, we knew it must have missed. We kept on with the off chance of cutting either of them off, and also with the hope of getting another shot. In this we were unsuccessful for they both managed to get into Pandermo. Our Captain said in his report that the gunboat was doing a "Splendid zig zag" and that it was a very difficult attack. We dived into "Pandermo", but we found the steamer had gone inside the Mole and it was nearly impossible to get at her. We now tried another attack on the gunboat, but she kept up this "Splendid zig zag" and as we had the sun in our eyes we had to give her up. Our Captain was very disappointed as he said the steamer was a very large one and would probably be about 5,000 tons. We now proceeded to the rendezvous and met E20, we told her what had happened since we last met and then dived for the night.

We came up at 7 in the morning and as the weather was very fine, we went alongside E20. They told us that they had taken in a signal which we had made on the submarine sounder to E12 before she went down, although E20 must have been at least forty-five miles away. We hardly believed this but sometime after she read a signal distinctly thirty miles away.

We suggested to E20 that she should dive into Pandermo to see if it was possible for her to have a shot at the steamer with her beam tubes. We were not fitted with beam tubes, or we should have had another go ourselves. She dived in about 9am but at 11:30 she came out again and told us it was impossible to get close enough in, and there was no earthly chance of torpedoing her.

The Captain was not to be put off though, and he decided to hang around until she did come cut. She certainly had outwitted us and had got in alright, but we were still after her blood. We parted company with E20 end after she was gone, our Captain thought we would go into Pandermo. Accordingly, we dived in, and we could, easily see the steamer who was being loaded alongside the Mole. The Turks had made a very effective screen for her, for they had moored an Hospital Ship to her, and we could see them unloading wounded from her. Our Captain said it was of no use trying to get her unless they shifted the Hospital Ship so we dived out again. After charging our batteries we dived for the night.

That night the Captain told me that he had worked a scheme out by which we should be able to dive in, and torpedo the steamer, but he said there was a possible chance that it would fail. He said if it did fail he didn't intend to fire, because we had only one torpedo left and he meant to get a hit with this. He said if the plan failed, he meant to come out and go in on the surface at night, and then torpedo her and chance being able to dive out. I am pleased to say the first scheme worked and we didn't have to go in on the surface. I am afraid we would have had a jolly rough time if we had.

We cane up at 7:30 in the morning and soon after we dived into "Pandermo". We saw the Hospital Ship coming out and we kept well clear of her. We found our charts very incorrect and we touched bottom several times when we oughtn't but by skirting the seven-fathom line we managed to get in a. very good position. We touched bottom at thirty feet and at once came up. We fired our last torpedo and it ran straight for the mark, hitting the steamer on the starboard bow. We immediately altered course and dived into deep water, but only just in time for with thirty-five feet showing on the depth gauge we heard a TBD pass over the top of us. There proved to be the two of them and they were certainly after our blood for they continually passed backwards and forwards over the top of us. It was some time before we could get rid of them, but at last we managed it, and feeling very pleased with ourselves we dived out. In the Captain's report he said we were continually harassed by smaller boats, and it was a very difficult attack. The steamer war: a large one, probably five thousand tons but we did not get the chance to find out the exact amount of damage done as she was lying in shallow water. We had now got rid of all of our torpedoes and we thought we hadn't done badly by getting half of them to hit.

Now we set to work to get our boat ready for the trip back. Before we dived that night, we signalled E20 on the submarine sounder and told her our good luck in Pandermo. She was over thirty miles away but she read quite easily and the next day when we met her, she gave it to us by semaphore, so we could no longer doubt that it was possible to signal so many miles with the submarine sounder. In each case when long distance signals were read both boats were at sixty feet, so that proved a good conductor for sound.

We came to the surface at 7:45 the next morning and ran on our engines toward the rendezvous to meet E20. At about 9 we sighted a sail and had to put on to Full Speed to intercept her. When we got her within range we fired a shot across her bow, but we were very surprised to see her crew lower a boat and abandon their ship without taking in sail. You can easily guess that we had some job to get alongside her, and she repeatedly ran off on different tacks as though there was someone at her helm. Eventually we managed to get our bow very near her and a couple of our crew jumped aboard her.

These men cut the halyards which kept the sails up and down the sails came with a run. She now of course "Hove to" and we ran alongside her. She was a. pretty large Dhow and she was loaded with a general cargo of merchandise. Her crew, as I have already said, had abandoned her so we set fire to her, both ends and she made a good bonfire. We were now employed in getting ready for the trip back, and at about 11 we met E20. We told her that we had expended all our "Tin fish" and that we proposed to go back so she came with us to the Gallipoli end of the sea, so that she could, communicate with the Fleet and let them know we were coming down. On our run down the Sea of Marmora we saw nothing, so we stopped off San Kioi and E20 got up her wireless mast and got through to our guard ship. She told, our Admiral that we proposed coming down the next day, and we got an answer to say that E12 had had a great deal of trouble - which I have already outlined - and our best way back was fifty yards from the shore. This didn't appear to be right at all, so our Captain consulted his charts and said he would, use his own discretion, as to the course he would go down on.

Soon after this we sighted an aeroplane coming straight for us, so not knowing whether she was a friend or an enemy we decided to dive. E20 didn't dive, but perhaps it was a good job that either she was not sighted, which wouldn't have been very probably, or else the plane was one of our own.

Anyhow as there was a good setting sun, our Captain decided to swing our compass on the courses which we would, be steering the next day on our passage through the Dardanelles.

While we were doing this, we got about a couple of miles away from E20, so that when we came to the surface we didn't think it worthwhile to close her. Now we were very surprised to see E20 flashing to us by means of her cruiser arc lamp, and she made a signal to us which read "Good bye and God Luck". Our Captain was very angry about this for we were very near the shore, and he said that he gave the Turks enough "Common Sense" to have been able to read, the signal as well as us. He also said, that he wouldn't have gone down the next day only for the fact that, the Fleet had been informed and an escort would, be bound to have been told off to meet us. That night we dived, at 8pm.

We only came up for an half hour or so the next morning, and. then started our return dive shortly after 6. This trip did not prove quite so exciting as our trip up, but for all that, it proved exciting enough.

At 7:20 we could see the day breaking and it looked as though it was going to be an ideal day for our trip, as there was just a slight ripple on the water, and this is just what is required when coming up for a look through the periscope.

Soon after this we sighted the Eski Tamar Burmi light and we eased our speed to four knots. At 8pm we sighted a gunboat, but being that we were not out for blood this time, we avoided her, and at 8:30 we sighted Gallipoli. Lying close into the shore we could see another gunboat and also some small sailing ships but still we were not seen.

At 8:44 we got a good bearing of the Chardap Burmi Light and saw three more sailing ships which we successfully avoided.

Things now went on very nicely until 10:20 when we had trouble with our port motor, so we decided to stop it until we reached the net, when we would use it if required. Accordingly, we continued the run on our Starboard motor, but this made a lot of difference to our steering, and sometimes we have our helm "Hard Over" to keep the boat on her course.

At 11:09 we came up for an observation and saw a large Hospital Steamer so we dived very quickly to forty feet.

At 11:23 we came up to fix our position and also to try and get an observation of the net, but as soon as our periscope cane out of the water, I received the order to dive as quickly as possible to forty feet. What was the matter, was that a TBD had been waiting for us in a position where she knew we would have to come up for an observation, and it has always been in my mind, that the reason she was there was because E20's Good Bye signal had been read ashore. As soon as I received the order to dive quickly, I gave the boat "Hard to Dive" helm and we simply shot down, but only just in time for the TBD passed, over us with only twenty-five feet showing on our depth gauge, so it is a "dead cert" that if she had passed directly over our "Conning Tower" that she would have hit us.

This was a very bad stroke of luck for us for we didn't get the necessary observation and we had to chance to luck, when and how, we were going to hit the net. Luck must have been with us this time for at 11.36 we struck the net at eighty feet and easily went through it. Our First Lieutenant was in the Conning Tower looking through the port holes, and he said he could see the net quite easily. His account of the net was that it was made of steel hawsers (wire), those running up and down being six inches, and those running across three inches. This you will see was a very formidable obstruction and being that we had only one motor and our speed was only seven knots, I think we did very well to make such a light job of it. As soon as we were through we came up for a look knowing that the TBD would be on the other side of the net.

We fixed our position and dived to eight feet again. We now dived at various depths, coming up occasionally to have a look, at other times diving deep to avoid the minefields, and also say other obstruction that may have been placed for us. At 2:30 we came up and found Siddul Bahr on our starboard bow and we could easily make out our destroyer patrol, which was kept at the mouth of the Dardanelles.

Soon after this we came to the surface very rapidly, blowing all our tanks and coming right up out of the water. We quickly hoisted the "White Ensign" and turned to round Cape Helles. We were immediately sighted, by a French TBD who thinking we were an enemy come straight for us. She soon saw the "White Ensign" and we could hear orders being given on board her, and soon after the whole crew came on deck and cheered lustily.

We stopped quite close to the wreck of the "Majestic", but we were fired at by the enemy from the Asiatic side, so we shifted our position another half a mile away.

We got tons of congratulations from our TBDs on patrol, who were very curious to know what our "Bag" was. One of them lowered a boat and sent us some fresh bread and also a ham, which you can easily guess was very acceptable.

At 3:30 the destroyer "Basilisk" arrived to escort us to "Kephalo", and it was about 4.0 o'clock when we arrived there. We had a very hearty welcome, and every ship from the largest battleship to the smallest TBs and Monitors gave us three (I think it must have been thirty-three) cheers.

We now went alongside the "Triad" who was flying the flag of the Commander in Chief, Admiral de Robeck.

I believe every ship in the harbour sent signals of congratulations and also asked if they could in any possible way do anything for the comfort of our Crew. To these signals we replied, thanking them but telling them also that the "Triad" was doing all the feeding and also the washing. As soon as our boat was secured, we went on board the "Triad." and enjoyed a hot bath and when it is remembered that we hadn't even washed for about three weeks, you will easily see it was a luxury. I must say when we went into the ship we looked an awful mob, but in a couple of hours, after the water and razors had been to work, there was a. real transformation.

We now sat down to a square meal and enjoyed it, for we had been on tinned food for over a north, and it was a real treat to get our teeth into something fresh, and you can bet it was even better to be able to drink as much as you wanted, and only think of the three cupful's we had been having.

Out of all the congratulations we received I think the crew appreciated the Admiral's most, for it was accompanied by a bottle of beer for each man.

Pathfinder Back To Malta And A Return To UK

Our return trip through the Dardanelles took place on Sunday the 31st of October, 1915, by this you will see that we did practically the whole of the month of October 1915 in the "Sea of Marmora", a worthy feat for such a. small boat as an 'H' boat.

In the Captain's official report, he says "The boat dived admirably throughout, but owing to her being only on one motor, "Full Helm" had often to be used to keep the boat on her course in "current Eddies". No obstruction other than the net was felt, but to give us as much chance as possible, the "Forward Hydroplanes" were kept turned in the whole of the passage and the boat was dived only by her "After Rudders".

Then followed the Captains recommendation for the different members of the crew, but his final recommendation said. "The whole of the crew behaved admirably although at times in a queer fix, and it was only because of their splendid behaviour that such a successful trip was made".

For work done in connection with our month in the "Sea of Marmora", the Captain was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order, and myself with the Distinguished Service Medal, but I consider that we only wear the decorations that rightly belong to the whole crew.

The next day we left "Kephalo" escorted by the destroyer "Scourge" and proceeded to Mudros. We arrived in the afternoon, and had another hearty welcome. We secured to the "Adamant" our parent ship about 2:50 and we got the good news, we were leaving for Malta the next day, if our Captain could finish his report. It meant him working the best part of the night to finish this but he managed it and we left on the 3rd. of November in company with E14 and the SS Florian. We took the best part of four days getting to Malta as we encountered rough weather, but we arrived at daybreak on the 7th of November.

E14 in 1914
E14 in 1914

During our stay at Malta there is very little of interest worth recording, but needless to say we had a good time. All our defects were made good, which meant that our forward battery had to come out of the boat, to enable the dockyard workmen to repair our battery tank. We had a new set of wireless gear fitted and early in December we went to sea to enable us to carry out trials. We then returned to Malta and we spent Christmas and the New Year there.

On Sunday, 2nd January 1916, we again left Malta. This time we were in company with the "SS Homer City". I don't know for certain whether she was escorting us, or whether we were escorting her. I should think it would be the latter for she wasn't armed in any way, and all she was carrying was the Christmas mail for the Fleet. In her holds were hundreds of bags of parcels, and being that people at home would insist on sending such things as oranges and apples, to the Mediterranean, you can guess that by this time some of them had begun to smell high. It would have been another fortnight or so before they would be delivered, so goodness only knows what they would be like when they were delivered.

We were now, all looking forward, to another trip in the "Marmora" but it was not to be, for although we were fitted up much better, we didn't get the chance, for the Dardanelles job was packed up before we arrived there, in fact we didn't get as far as Mudros.

The day after leaving Malta, the weather changed and it blew up very rough. We eased down to "Dead Slow", but even then it was so bad that we bad to batten down and. navigate the boat from below. This business is anything but comfortable, for with the engine running and only a small ventilator to supply the air, we soon got a very foul atmosphere, and besides this we have to stick being thrown about a good deal. It takes a good sailor to stick this and some of the younger members of the crew suffered very badly from seasickness. The next morning the weather eased up a great deal, and we were very pleased to be able to open up the Conning Tower Hatch. We now navigated the boat from the bridge and we were able to proceed a bit faster. Things went on alright until the morning of the 5th of January, and then it began to blow up again, by noon it had got very bad indeed and we had to abandon the bridge once more, but only after having our bridge screen torn to ribbons and the bridge stantions bent up very badly. We had to ease right down again and the most we could do was five knots

During the night it eased down again and we once more went up on the bridge and at 3 o'clock in the morning watch, we met the light cruiser "Foresight". She told us that we were not to go to Mudros, but that we were to go into Milos, and await an escort to take us to a new patrol but where this was to be we didn't know.

We altered course and at 10am we arrived at Milos. We were very surprised to find that the harbour had been netted in, and that the French had established quite a big naval base. We anchored quite near to the French flagship and waited to see what news we could get.

We got no real news until January 12th when a small ship named the "Folkestone" arrived. She told us that she had been sent as an escort for us, and that our new patrol was to be the "Adriatic". She also told us that, we had evacuated the Peninsular, very successfully, but that we had given the "Sea of Marmora" job up. This wasn't very good news for us, for we all thought that our fleet would have been able to force the Dardanelles, and we were also looking forward to another trip up ourselves.

We had orders to remain at "Milos" until the 14th and on that date we left at 7am with our escort. As soon as we were clear of the land the weather came on rough again, but this time we were far better off than our "Escort" for she made very bad work of it, in fact she made such bad weather of it that we ran for "Cape Matapan" and got right in under the lee of the land.

We made four attempts to leave but it was not until 8pm that we were really got underway again. Anyhow we had a jolly rotten night but managed to stick it and in. the morning it cleared off. We arrived at Gallipoli "Italy", the next afternoon at 2pm.

There were several. Italian TBs in here and we secured alongside one of these. We filled up with fresh water and also provisions, and left the next day with another escort, this time an Italian TB, for Brindisi at 6pm. We found lots of French and Italian ships and also submarines, and we found that we were to run patrols with those.

I won't burden you with the details of the patrols we were put on, but we did plenty of sea time and only on one occasion did we see anything like an enemy. We did eight; or nine days on patrol, but in the middle we used to run into Barletta for one night. Soon after vie arrived in the Adriatic, other British submarines arrived and afterward the "Adamant" arrived.

I will relate the incident in which we did see an enemy, to the best of my ability. It was at the time that we were evacuating "Durazzo" and we were sent over to see if anything was being transported by water. We left Brindisi on the 20th February and at about 10am we dived. We dived toward "Durazzo" and. at noon we sighted an enemy's submarine. I didn't know what it was- that we had sighted, but I knew by the way our Captain was working the periscope that he had something in line. It was just after noon and I had been relieved by the second Coxswain at the diving wheel, but hearing the periscope going up and down, I again went in the control room. I then asked the Captain if there was something doing, and he replied "Yes, I think: you had better get the crew to action stations". This I did as soon as possible and soon the order came to flood the torpedo tubes. I asked the Captain whether I should take her down after he had fired, but he said "No, I think we will come on the surface, that is if the torpedo runs alright". We get in a splendid attack and we got right in to eight hundred yards range and still we were not seen. "Stand By", "Fire" came the orders in quick succession, and seeing that the torpedo was running straight, the captain now gave the order, "Blow 3 and 4", "Surface". We came up very quickly and our Captain watched his torpedo run straight for the submarine.

It appeared to hit just before the conning tower under her gun but there was no explosion. "Flood 3 and 4", "take her down", and this we did as quickly as possible. We were very lucky to get down as quick as we did for the submarine fired a torpedo at us but in this case it whizzed over the top of us. You will see that we were very lucky and they were very lucky also, for his torpedo had run over us and ours had run under them due in neither case to us who had fired. It was a bit of bad luck us missing as we did, but still I suppose they were entitled to as much luck as we were. Our captain says it was a "boat a good deal larger than us and she was laying on the surface, not moving at all, the reason he came on the surface was that he saw his torpedo was going to hit and he thought he would, save as much life as he could. The captain was very disappointed as he said if he had known the torpedo was going to miss he could have rammed her quite easily. We now came up to look but the enemy had dived and. as we didn't think it wise to hang around here we made our way back to Brindisi and reported the occurrence. It was a very disappointed crew that took H1 back to Brindisi for we knew it was absolute bad luck which caused us not to have another hit to our credit.

Some days after this, H4 returned from patrol end reported firing two torpedoes at an enemy's submarine but in both cases the torpedo ran underneath. This led to experiments being carried out at Malta by H2 who happened to be there. These experiments proved our statements to be correct, for each torpedo fired, when picked up again was found to have had its balance chamber blown in by the force of the air discharge which is used to expel the torpedo. This caused an order to be sent round to say that all torpedoes of that mark, were to be returned to have their balance chambers strengthened.

Soon after this H3 was lost with all hands. How she was lost I don't suppose we ever shall find out, but she left to go on patrol and did not return to harbour. I lost some of my best pals in this boat for it will be remembered she was the boat which gave us all the trouble in crossing the Atlantic.

On returning from patrol on the 29th March, I found a relief had been sent out from England for me, and that I was to go home for a bigger boat of which there was plenty building. I didn't leave Brindisi until the 10th of April and then I travelled over land through Italy and France arriving at Fort Blockhouse on the 14th of April 1916.

The next few months passed with no items of interest which are worth recording. I was employed as an instructor in submarine work, to the new ratings who were joining the Submarine Service, to make good the loss of the brave lads who had already given their lives for King and Country.

Back in England

In October, I was drafted to "HMS Vernon" the torpedo school at Portsmouth, where I underwent a course of instructions for the rank of "Torpedo Coxswain". The reason I had to do this course was, because I had been selected as a suitable man for a K Class of submarine. As these boats were to be "Self-Contained" it was necessary to have a Torpedo Coxswain, who being qualified in Ship's Steward's work, would be able to victual his crew without assistance from a parent ship

The Loss of K13

I joined K13 in December, and she was being completed at the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company, Govan, Glasgow. She was a fine big boat, being 340 feet long and 26 feet in the beam. Her gun armament was two four-inch guns, and one three-inch anti-aircraft gun. Her torpedo armament was four bow tubes and four beam tubes, all submerged, and two upper deck beam tubes. These tubes were all for eighteen-inch torpedo of which we would carry twenty

She was a departure from any boat I had already been in, for she was driven by steam when on the surface. This of course has its disadvantages as well as its advantages, as it is necessary to have large air intakes to the boiler room and, also funnels. These have to be shut and as it is a pretty big job. It takes some time, and the quickest time I have known a K Boat to dive in is four minutes

On the surface her turbines would be used and they were capable of driving her at twenty-five knots, while submerged she would be driven by electric motors, which were capable of propelling her at ten knots. Her submerged displacement was over two thousand tons, so you will see by this description that she was a very powerful boat. Her crew consisted of fiftyseven and she was commanded by one of our most distinguished and experienced officers, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert DSO

The end of December saw the crew all up, and we were on trials and the whole of the month of January, we were employed doing trials of some sort. All our trials so far went off splendidly and we were very pleased with our boat

January the 29th was the day selected for us to leave the Fairfield Yard to do our Acceptance Trials, and it proved a fatal one. We started very badly for just after leaving the Yard, our steering gear gave out and. we ran high and dry on the banks of the Clyde. We soon had two powerful tugs alongside us, and with their assistance, we managed to get off although we had to be towed stern first until we got to a wider spot where it was possible to turn round. We now continued our journey down the Clyde and at 10am we entered the "Gareloch"

The "Gareloch" had been selected as a suitable spot for submarines to do their trials, and it really was a good place, for there was no traffic of any sort and yet there was plenty of water to dive in

On our arrival we "Shut off for Diving", and we now did our Acceptance Trials. Things went off very well indeed, so at 12 o'clock we came up for dinner

Our captain being quite satisfied with the boat now took her over and the Fairfield Manager was put ashore at "Shandon"

We now had our dinner in a small steamer called the "Comet" end while we were at dinner our captain decided to have another dive during the afternoon. As the boilers had been lit up by the firm's people, our captain sent orders that everything was to be shut off, and everything was to be got ready for diving as soon as the dinner hour was over

Now comes the darkest hours of my life, for although the incident has been written about by a good many writers, I have never read a good description. Nobody really understands what happened, and I consider it impossible to write a real account of a thing unless you were there, and being that I was unfortunate enough to be there, I am to my best ability going to describe it. I am going to give my opinion and my own version of the affair and, in no way am I going to exaggerate so if you can picture something worse than you are reading, you may in some way understand what the poor fellows who came out of K13 suffered

As near as I can remember it was about 2 o'clock on the afternoon of Monday, the 29th of January 1919, when we did the fatal dive. Quite in the ordinary way the order had been passed, "Hands to diving stations", and everyone had been at their allotted stations. I should say at least ten minutes before any orders were given for flooding tanks or working the electric motors

Before the "Comet" had cast off she had taken on board every one of the firm's people who had nothing special to do, and so that afternoon we dived with a great many less that we did in the forenoon

Everything had been reported "Shut Off". All the hatches had been reported closed, and the electric indicator in the Control Room, which is switched on from the Engine Room was illuminated, and the words "Engine Room Shut Off" could be read distinctly

At last came the fatal orders for diving. They were simply "Half speed, ahead both" and "Flood all externals". The motors were started and the vents for the ballast tanks were opened and then the order was given "Take her down". The necessary helm was given on the hydroplane and the after diving rudders and she started to go very slowly

I was watching the bubble which tells the inclination of the boat, so I can hardly be certain what the gauge read, but I believe it was eleven feet when we got a terrible pressure on our ears. From experience we know that something very large had been left open, and that water must be coming in very quickly

Our captain realised this instantly, and gave the orders, "Blow all external tanks", "Close water tight doors", "Hard to rise", "Try to fetch her to the surface"

These orders were carried, out as quickly as possible. Air from our High-Pressure System was put on the Ballast Tanks

The water tight doors were closed, and our helms were put over to rise, but all to no avail, instead of coming to the surface K13 sank to the bottom of the Gareloch like a stone and the pointers of our depth gauges were pointing to seventy-eight feet

In the corner of the Control Room, near the Switchboard, is a group of voice pipes running to all the compartments aft, and water simply rushed through these as though from a fire hydrant, so we know that she must be flooded from the beam tube room to the stern, which would be roughly two thirds of the boat

We worked the telegraphs which led from the control room to the motor room and also the engine room, but we got no answer, and we knew that everybody abaft the beam tube room must be drowned.

What made things a great deal worse, was the water pouring over the switchboard. As the switchboard was alive with electricity, the salt water caused fire, gas and smoke and we were nearly choked before we could stop the water and put the fire out

The scene is very hard to describe, and nobody can imagine what it really was like. My description is that it was like an inferno, with men fighting for their lives, battling with the water, and trying to beat out the flames with pieces of sacking which had been torn up from the battery boards. At last success attended our efforts and the water was stopped are the fire put out, but you can guess what the air was like. We had the full pressure of air from the flooded compartments, which of course had come in before we could get the water tight doors closed, and besides this the air was very foul with smoke and gas which had come from the switch-board

The excitement had now died down, and it can easily be seen that we were in a very sorry plight indeed. There was not a bit of panic, and everyone was taking things as coolly as the circumstances could warrant, but for all that, I am afraid there was some very heavy hearts among us, for it certainly did look like death

Everything was now as quiet as the grave and we simply looked at one another, and then we began to look around to see if there was any chance or any possible means to escape from this "Death Trap". There certainly seemed to be very little cause for hope, and in our own hearts each man knew, in all probability, that "K13" would be our tomb

I will now leave K13 on the bottom of the Gareloch and relate what I have since found out, happened on the surface

There were two other submarines of the E Class, E50 and E51, doing trials on the Gareloch and the captain of one of these, "Lieutenant Michell", was watching us dive. He knew by the way we went down, and also by the way the volumes of air came out of us, that something very wrong had happened. He waited a few minutes to see if we should come to the surface, and then as we didn't he anchored his submarine and decided to look for us. Accordingly, he got a small pulling boat and went to the spot where he saw us disappear, and with the help of a "Lead and Line", he sounded for us and found us

The next thing to do was to get help, so he immediately went back to his boat, and by wireless sent messages to the Senior Naval Officers of the Clyde district for help. It so happened that a salvage steamer was at Greenock and she was despatched with two hoppers to the spot to render assistance

Captain Barttelot was the SNO of the Clyde and he was very quickly on the spot to take charge. As soon as possible divers were sent down, and on Tuesday morning we in the boat knew help was at hand, for we could hear a diver walking about on the hull of the boat. You can guess we were very much relieved to know that we had been found, and we were now wondering what they would do. We knew what a big job they would have especially as they didn't know under what circumstances we were, neither did they know how much of the boat was flooded. Our only chance was to get into some kind of communication with then and. this we tried to do by making signals in the "Morse" code, which we did by tapping the hull of the boat. We got no answers and afterwards I found out that although the diver could easily hear the tapping he had no knowledge of the "Morse" code and could not receive our signals. Anyhow, those who were working on us knew that there were men alive inside the boat and this of course made them put every ounce of energy into their task

Eventually the difficulty in getting signals through was overcome, to a certain extent. The method now employed was, a signalman with a lead line in a small boat. He simply made the signals by raising and lowering the lead, and a diver was employed below just guiding it. The way our signals were received was by means of a hydrophone. Of course, this was a very crude method, but although it took hours to get a signal through it certainly relieved the situation a bit

It will be seen that the task of raising K13 was going to be a very difficult one, and Captain Barttelot decided that the first thing to try and do, was to save the crew, or rather those of the crew who were still alive in K13

He therefore decided to give us air. Not air to breathe but to blow our ballast tanks with. He gave orders for one of the E Boats to be moored, very close to us, and she was to be employed running her air compressor, and give us air into our H.P. system. A flexible pipe was taken from her compressor, and the diver connected this to our forward four-inch Gun connection, which was already connected to our High Pressure System. It was some time before the diver succeeded, but at last it was finished, and the E boat started to pump air into us

I expect a good many of my readers will be asking why the air wasn't pumped, into the boat to breathe? Well the reason is this, inside the boat we already had a tremendous amount of pressure, but there was no means of telling the amount, as we had no barometer to measure it. We ran our low-pressure compressorfrom time to time to take air out of the boat, but after a bit we considered it unwise, for the simple reason we didn't know whether we had taken the pressure down to normal or not. Of course, we found afterwards that there was still a tremendous pressure, but we thought it wise to leave things as they were, for the present at any rate.

Another reason we didn't use the LP compressor is, that it is run by the same motor which runs the Ballast pump, and we needed the pump very badly. This motor can either be clutched into the compressor or the pump, but only one thing can be run at a time, and as the pump was most needed, we kept it clutched in, the best part of the time

Our biggest trouble was the watertight bulkhead between the boiler room and the beam tube room. This was leaking very badly, and it will easily be seen why it did leak. This was only a collision bulkhead and was tested to a pressure of fifteen pounds and as we were below seventy feet, the pressure on the bulkhead would be thirtyfive pounds, so we must think ourselves very lucky it held as well as it did

We knew this water must be kept down, and the only way to do this was by keeping the pump running continually. If this water could not be kept down it meant flooding the control room, where our electric batteries were, and if salt water reached these batteries, it would immediately cause chlorine gas, and this would have suffocated us all in a few minutes

It was on Tuesday morning that our Captain, after a discussion with Commander Goodhart, the Captain of K14, decided that if we were to be saved it was necessary for someone to get out of the boat, and let those who were working on the surface, know exactly how things were inside the boat and, also, to let them know exactly what we wanted them to do

To make myself more clear I had better point out the reason that Commander Goodhart, was on board of K13. He was the captain of K14 and that boat was under construction at Fairfield's Yard, where K13 had been built, and he, with his engineer, had decided to do a run in K13 to pick up anything in the way of information, which would afterward be of use to them in their own boat. K14 was to be exactly the same as K13 so you will see that these two officers, did a wise thing in having a run in a sister boat. Commander Goodhart had very recently come home from the Baltic where he had been in command of an E boat and had done particularly good work, for which he had been decorated with the Distinguished Service Order, he had also received The Order of St George from the Russian government

K13 – The Rescue Part 1

Now to get on with my story. These two brave officers (Godfrey & Goodhart) decided that one of them must get out of the boat and they also decided that no one should risk themselves in any way for themselves. They worked, out their own scheme, which was to go out through the Conning Tower, and they did the bulk of the work themselves also. Inside the Conning Tower is the magnetic compass and this is inside a large metal dome. This is what they proposed to use as on airlock as it was plenty big enough for two men to get under. The magnetic compass was taken down and all the electric leads running through the conning tower were taken down also. When the holes through which these leads had been taken were plugged with small wooden plugs so that the tower was again made water tight. The next thing to do was to run a length of copper pipe from the "Whistle Pipe", which came off the HP system, and fit valves to it. These were taken down from another part of the boat, and the reason they were fitted was so that they could control their own air.

It took me hours to complete the work but, at last, it was finished to their own satisfaction and now I will relate as far as possible what this scheme was.

They were both to go into the conning tower, which is fitted with a hatch at the bottom as well as the top. We were then to close the lower lid and await four taps. Herbert was then to open the top lid of the Conning Tower, sufficient to allow water to come in slowly. He was then to go under the airlock with Goodhart and wait until the tower was flooded. He was then to go out into the water and throw back the lid, and then get back into the airlock. They were to mutually arrange a time, when Herbert would open the air valve and allow a volume to come out, and Goodhart was to try and go out in the bubble. This, of course, would be a far more difficult task in a K Boat than any other submarine, as they have wheelhouses built over the Conning Tower and it would mean that he would have to get out of one of the doors, which were not direct above the conning tower but in the after end of the wheelhouse. After Goodhart had gone, Herbert was then to close the top lid and get back under the airlock, he would then give us the four taps which I have already spoken about, and we would drain the conning tower down into the bilges. When the tower was dry we would open the lower lid and Herbert would come back into the boat again.

This, of course, was what was really meant to happen, but what did happen I will try to explain, using the Captain's own version of the trying ordeal as well as what I saw happen myself.

Both men were ready, and I can picture now as I am writing this, these two brave officers. Two of the bravest men it is possible to meet. What a picture, Goodhart was dressed, in his shirt, pants and sea boots and Herbert was dressed in his shirt, cap and sea boots. The sea boots were worn on my advice, knowing that he was to come back into the boat and also knowing how difficult it is for one to keep his feet when standing in. water, unless he is weighted, at the feet. Goodhart carried in his hand a sealed tin tube, in which was a message, saying how we were placed, and also saying what we wanted. The last thing we heart Goodhart say was, "If I don't get up this tin tube ought to".

Herbert now said, "I think everything is ready now", "I think we will try". He then took off his wrist watch which he handed to the second coxswain, at the same time making this remark, "I might ask you for that later on".

These two brave officers now went into the conning tower and we closed the lower lid.

That was the last I ever saw of Goodhart. Poor fellow he was killed while doing his very utmost to save our lives. Herbert, I am pleased to say, was more fortunate, although he must have had a terrible time, anyhow, I am of the opinion that he saved my life and also the lives of everyone who came out of K13. My reason for saying this is, the knowledge that he had of the interior as well as the exterior of the boat, made it possible for the salvage people to get to work in the proper way and they were successful in raising the boat sufficient for us to get out.

I will now relate what happened after the lower lid was closed. They were both in the airlock, and after satisfying themselves that all was ready, and according to scheme, Herbert stepped out and knocked the clips off the upper hatch. He then opened it sufficient to allow water to come in very slowly, and then stepped back in the air lock. Soon they could tell the tower was full although they were only up to their waist in water the tower had finished venting.

Of course, you will understand now, that although the upper parts of their bodies were not in water they were subject to a big pressure, I should say they must have had thirtyfive pounds pressure on their bodies, whether they were in the water or not.

Now came the time for the final attempt and Goodhart's last words were "Goodbye, Herbert, I'll try now". He then stooped out of the airlock into the tower, and at the same time, Herbert turned on the air from the high pressure system. What happened now is very hard to tell, for Herbert does not know exactly himself, and this he told me himself, when he was speaking to me on the Thursday morning.

What he does know is this, when he turned the air on, the force caused him to lose grip of the valve and he did a complete double somersault, and found himself out of the airlock, but in an enclosed place. This must have been the wheelhouse for he groped about, and it was some time before he got out. He felt the tremendous pressure on his body and he thought he would lost consciousness when he found a hole (which I think was the side door) and got through it. He then found himself rapidly coming to the surface and, just as he was losing consciousness, he broke surface and was immediately dragged by willing hands into a boat.

Herbert now wanted to explain, but they made him wrap up in a blanket for an hour before they would listen to him, and then he jolly soon got them busy. He worked himself from this time onward until the last man came out of the boat. What happened to Goodhart is, that he was blown out by the volume of air at a terrific rate, and stuck to the roof of the wheelhouse. He must have been killed instantly, for the divers found him in the wheelhouse with his neck broken. Poor fellow he was killed, whilst endeavouring; to get to the surface, and had given his life to try and save ours while Herbert who had meant to come back in the boat was now safely on the surface.

I have always been of the opinion that the sea boots which Herbert wore, must have been of great assistance to him when he was groping about in the wheelhouse, for they certainly would help him to keep his feet. Besides that, being weighted at the feet, he would not have come out of the tower with nearly the force that Goodhart did.

Anyhow, it was a jolly good job for us that one of them got safely up, for I am led to believe, by the men who were working; there, that Herbert after having the hours rest which they forced him to have, took on (not exactly the salving of the boat) the salving of the crew, and he carried on until the last man came out of her. There were plenty of voluntary helpers and I know quite a few of the Gareloch side people who were there, and they are loud in Herbert's praise. They say he worked like a Trojan, and they also say that it was entirely due to his untiring efforts, that at last the job of getting us out was accomplished. He was then so completely dead beat that he had to turn the job over to somebody else. I must now leave them working on the surface and return to the inside of K13 and I will explain how things were going on there.

After we had closed the lower lid we simply listened and waited very anxiously. At last we heard the noise of the clips being knocked off the upper hatch and then we heard a rush of water and knew the tower was being flooded. Minutes seemed hours to us, but at last the rush of water stopped, and we know the tower must be full. There was a dead silence now and we looked at one another not daring to speak and. then we heard the noise of the upper lid being thrown right back, and from this we knew everything had gone off according to plan.

It was some minutes before we heard anymore. I suppose this was the time when Goodhart said his last farewell. At last we heard a tremendous rush of air and by looking at our high-pressure gauge we could see two thousand pounds of air disappear very rapidly. We knew in our own mind that this shouldn't have happened, but knowing that they had a valve in the conning tower, we didn't think it was right for us to interfere with the air from below.

As soon as the rush of air had finished, it was all still again, and we were beginning to wonder if success had crowned their efforts. We now waited to hear the noise of the upper lid closing, and the signal to drain the conning tower, but none came. A dead silence reigned every-where and we simply looked at one another not daring to voice an opinion, although I am sure we all had aching hearts for we thought the whole enterprise had failed and. that both of these brave men had lost their lives.

I think myself that at this time things absolutely looked their blackest, for we had lost what I consider the brains of the boat, and I was wondering who we would have to take their places.

I am very pleased to say there were more brains left in the boat. I consider that the Admiralty Overseer, also the Boat Manager and his Assistant, ably assisted by members of the crew came up to scratch in a most remarkable manner. We simply worked together with these civilians as I have never seen Service men and civilians ever work together before. He were all brothers in distress and we all did our very best to help those up top who were trying to save us. I have only mentioned three civilians because they were the outstanding, ones, but the whole of the civilians worked the same as the Service men did. We will now return to the surface of the Loch and see what was happening there. With the news that Herbert had brought with him, it was decided that they really must find some means to supply air, food and water to the men imprisoned below, as at present there was no water to drink, the food was of course a very secondary consideration.

It was also decided that some kind of communication must be rigged, and being guided by Herbert the four-inch ammunition uptake was chosen as the place where this should be rigged. This uptake was a seven-inch hole and. its real use was to supply the forward four-inch gun with ammunition, it was just big enough to hand a four-inch shell from below to the gun.

Accordingly, the Fairfield Shipbuilding Yard, were expending every ounce of energy and skill in the making of a flexible pipe, which was to be used for this purpose. They were also making at "Full Speed" a large tube which was to be the life-saving tube. The idea, this tube was being made for, was to fix it over the beam torpedo hatch, this was to be pumped out and then we would be able to raise the hatch from inside and be pulled up through the tube.

I don't think this tube would have been any good, but still it was never completed for Herbert told Captain Barttelot that the imprisoned men would never be able to fight the water inside the boat, long enough for them to be saved in this manner.

Herbert's idea was that the boat must be lifted and dragged toward the shore until her bow could be got out of water. To do this it was necessary to give K13 air to blow her ballast tanks and she must help herself to lift her bow, so that the salvage lighter could do the rest and get the bow out of the water.

His advice was taken, and now every ounce of human strength and skill was devoted to the one task, that of raising her bow and towing her toward the shore. Divers set to work to pass steel hawsers round her bow and when at last this was completed, the task and lifting and towing was begun.

Inside the boat were exhausted men, some working in spells and some working all the time. They were fighting the water which was pouring through the bulkhead, and which threatened to reach our batteries, which if it had done would soon have suffocated us.

How some of these men worked, and how exhausted they got. I can picture them now, as they packed up work and lay on the deck, gasping for breath, struggling for air, and knowing they must work again for the water must be kept down or their chance of salvation was gone.

With the air which was being put into our high-pressure system, we commenced to blow our ballast tanks, and also our oil fuel tanks. We started forward and we worked on tank after tank, until at last we had blown every tank dry, it was possible to get at, and we now had a rather unpleasant angle on the boat.

The salvage craft now also started to lift and tow us nearer the shore, and the angle go so bad that we had "Lost the bubble" - that is the bubble had gone so far forward, that we could, not tell what our angle was. I know this that it was like climbing a steep hill to try and walk from aft to forward, but we didn't mind this so much because we knew we must be nearer the surface because the depth gauge only read fifty-four feet.

Now we had another very anxious time for our pump lost its suction and refused to pump water from the beam tube room. This was very serious indeed, for the water began to gain rapidly. Our hearts began to sink once more, and we had to pass water in buckets forward to a place where the angle of the boat helped the pump and, at last we got it to suck again. I can picture the exhausted men passing these buckets of water, for what in normal times would have been, an easy task, now was a very heavy one, and it was as much as a man could do to lift a small bucket of water.

Outside the boat the workers were having an anxious time as well, and it's a good job that us inside of K13 didn't know the difficulties that they were experiencing outside. They had lifted and towed, but she had slipped back from her hawsers until her stern brought up in the mud at the bottom of the Gareloch.

At last the flexible tube arrived and the divers were taken off the other jobs and were given the task of rigging it. This proved a very difficult job and, although they worked their hardest, it was a very long time before the tube was secured and the joint made watertight.

At last the tube was secured and. signals wore made in "Morse" for us to unscrew the watertight cap at the bottom of the intake. Of course, we in the boat didn't know what the divers were doing, and when we got this signal we could not understand it, and were very loath to open it, for we thought the signal must have been taken in incorrectly.

Anyhow the signal was repeated, and we thought that we had better do as we were asked, so we started to unscrew the cap. We all looked at this very anxiously, and quite a few have since told me they expected to get water in when, the cap was taken off. Very gradually we unscrewed the clips that held the cap and very gradually we opened it.

We soon found out that no water would come in, in fact just the opposite happened, and we could now tell what a tremendous pressure we must have had in the boat. The air simply rushed out through the tube end we had an awful drag on our ears. This continued for some time, and I can tell you, we were all jolly glad, when the air inside levelled off to the atmospheric pressure outside the boat.

Of course, you will understand it is impossible for me to remember the time of all these incidents but to the best of my belief, the tube was opened at about 8am on Wednesday the 31st of January and at that time we had been imprisoned for about fortytwo hours.

The pressure being now out of the boat we could breathe more freely, although, Herbert told me afterwards that there was an awful smell coming up and he said it was a marvel how men could live in the air that was corning up.

Herbert was the first man to speak down the tube and McLean, the Boat's Manager and one of the Fairfield firm was the first man to speak up the tube. What a load was taken off our minds when we heard Herbert's voice, for we had long since given him up for dead, and you can guess our hearts leapt with joy to hear his voice. He told us to keep our peckers up for he meant to get us out.

We now all expected to hear Goodhart speak and as we heard nothing we began to ask one another questions, but nobody seemed to have the courage to ask anything about him through the tube.

After a time I thought I would ask, so I went to the bottom of the tube end spoke up. Herbert answered, and I asked if Goodhart was safe". His answer was, "I am afraid not for we have seen nothing of him". He then outlined the scheme he had underway and he told us to keep our heads, and keep the water down, as he thought it would be hours yet before we could be got out. He told us how hard everyone was working outside the boat, and he also told us that we must do the same inside.

K13 – The Rescue Part II

Soon after this they told us to close down the intake again, as they were going to start towing again and they didn't care torisk getting water down the tube. We closed this up end once more we were out off from the outside world, although we were nowhere near as bad as we were before as we had got the pressure off our lungs.

At last after what seemed ages we discerned a flicker on the eyepiece of the forward periscope. This periscope dips at thirty-one feet so we knew that our bow must be out for we had a terrible angle on. I jumped to see if I could see anything and I could easily see the bow of K13 sticking up between the stems of two hoppers.

We could now see what was going on but nobody inside the boat would believe me when I said her bows were out, so they all came along, one at a time and convinced themselves by looking through the periscope.

Soon after this we saw a small boat come toward the periscope, and one of the men in her held a small card with some writing to the window of the periscope. It was very difficult to read but at last we managed to pick out the words "Open the flap at the bottom of tube". You can guess we weren't very long doing this, and once more we were in communication with those working on us.

We could easily see through the periscope (the) men working on the salvage lighters. They were a great many of them - volunteers who did exactly as they were told. They knew not what they were doing, but I am told, that if they were asked to pull on a rope they did it and did it with all their might. At last the darkness came on and we could no longer see through the periscope, except a light here and there.

We now had an accident with our switchboard and we were put in total darkness, until at last one of the electricians managed to rig one light direct to the battery. This was taken forward where the exhausted men now lay huddled together trying to keep warm.

Stone bottles filled with soups and milk, were now lowered through the tube, and afterwards' chocolates were dropped down. These were a real "God Send" for it must be remembered that we had been considerably over forty hours without food and water, besides living in such a rotten atmosphere, and having no sleep. Eventually one of these bottles broke in the tube, so that it was decided to send no more down in case the tube should get choked.

It was now decided, by the people at the top of the tube, that we must have our air refreshed, for the smell that was coming up was awful. Accordingly, one of the E Boats rigged an air lead which was passed down the tube. The compressor was then started, and we simply took the air lead and squirted fresh air all over the boat. This was very beneficial to everyone and. we felt a great deal better and our hopes of escape looked better each hour.

Hour after hour passed and we knew that outside they were experiencing some difficulties which they hadn't expected, and to make matters worse we got a very big set back inside as well. Our ballast pump gave out, and try as we would, we couldn't get it to heave. This was very serious indeed for it simply meant that the water would gain on us and reach the batteries. We could all then be suffocated, and the good work which had already been done, would have all been done in vain. I think the reason the pump would not heave, was because of the extra pull it would require to overcome the tremendous angle which the boat had now developed. Anyhow she had absolutely "Chucked her hand in" and we couldn't get her to heave, but some other method would have to be found to keep the water down.

At last a happy thought struck one of the company, I believe it was Mr Bullen the Second Manager. Anyhow I believe the credit belongs to him and Searle, the Admiralty Overseer and, of course, those members of the crew who were only too willing to help the scheme to work.

The scheme was this. Underneath the beam tube room, that is the room where the water was gaining so rapidly, were our oil fuel tanks. These tanks had already been blown empty and we were to get the water into these. To do this we should require (to get) a man hole door off the top of one of the tanks and then of course the water would run in. When these tanks were full, we simply would have to put back the door and blow the tank empty, with air from our high-pressure system. We would then be able to take the door off and repeat the operation. The scheme certainly sounded alright, but it entailed a. great deal of -work, as the manhole door was covered by about three feet of water. You can easily see it was no easy job to work in three-foot of water - especially as we were stone cold already and working in water up to the waist on the 31st of January is anything but pleasant. Anyhow it had to be done and willing hands started the job which, although it proved very difficult, was eventually done. As soon as the door was got off, the water simply rushed into the tanks in tons, and we soon had the beam tube room clearer of water than at any time during our imprisonment. What a load was taken off our minds for we know now that the greatest danger was over for we had found a method, whereby we could get rid of the water as fast (or even faster) than it came in.

With very little work to do now, you can guess a period of very anxious waiting followed. We were continually asking one another the question "I wonder when they are going to start to cut the hole?" At last, after what seemed ages, we got a message to say they had started, and our hopes were raised high for we knew, if things went alright, that we should very soon be out of our prison.

From time to time we received messages down the tube, and invariably these messages were to say that things were going on alright. Somehow, I seemed to think that there was a certain amount of "Spruce" in them, and they were keeping something away from us, and then the message came to say that they had cut a hole into the outside lining of the boat that is into the external tanks which surround a K Boat.

Here they were hung up for they found the tank into which they had cut, full up with water. They could not proceed until they had got a salvage pump but that was soon forthcoming. When this pump was rigged it was started and it hove water alright, but as quick as the water was pumped out, it ran in again and the pump had no effect.

Herbert then spoke down the tube and told us to make certain that the flooding valves of those tanks were closed. The order was passed, forward and soon the answer came book "they were closed" tight. This answer was sent up and Herbert told us he was very disappointed as he was sure that water was; coming in through these valves, but he would have to send divers down to cover them, this he said would take some time.

Time was now beginning to play havoc with our nerves for we thought that we would have been rescued long before this. I went forward, and everyone was asking, "Have they started the other hole?" I told them how we were placed, but I told them exactly what Herbert had said. There was no grumbling, everyone seemed resigned, and they huddled up to try and keep warm.

Whilst I was forward I heard someone shouting up the tube to say there was chlorine gas in the boat, as I didn't think this was right, I rushed aft, and I found out that someone had passed a message to say salt water was getting to the battery, and that we were getting chlorine gas. I immediately asked one of the firm's representatives to come with me into the control room. All was pitch black, but luckily this man had a small electric torch, and with this we made a thorough examination.

I climbed under the switchboards and looked into all the "bottle wells" and also all the bilges, which were in the vicinity of the battery, but found, no salt water, in fact they wore quite dry. This told me for certain that we were not getting chlorine gas, and I hurried back to the tube to inform those who were working up top.

I shouted up and asked that Herbert might speak to me, and when he came he asked who was speaking. I said, "The Coxswain" and then I told, him that I had had a thorough examination and that the boat was absolutely free from gases of any kind.

His answer was a simple "Thank God" but I have since found out why he said this. On the Thursday when he was talking to me he told me that when the message about chlorine came up, they were in an awful stew. They knew that something must be done, for we would all have to be out of the boat within half an hour or we should be suffocated. Knowing this it was decided that they should again try and lift the boat, this time until the top bow torpedo tubes came out of water. They immediately got underway with this.

Their idea was that we would come out through the torpedo tube, and to do this she would have to be raised at least another dozen feet. It was a forlorn hope and Herbert said he thought the hawsers wouldn't stick it and that she would, again slip back, and all the work would have been in vain. You can easily see now, why Herbert said "Thank God" for he knew that they could continue to work on the water and cut the hole into the boat as was originally suggested.

The divers now reported that the "valves" on the tank were not closed but were wide open, so I went forward to have a look. I found this to be correct for all the valves to A1 and B1 were jammed wide open, although they had the appearance of being jammed closed. I immediately got them closed and went to the tube and told them what had happened and soon we had the good news passed clown to say that the water was being pumped out.

The pump was now making great strides and the messages we were getting now were very cheery indeed. At last came the message to say that the water was clear of the hull of the boat and that they had started to cut the hole.

Cutting the hole was not a hard job but it took some little time, which to us seemed hours but at last it was done and a lump of plate big enough for a man to get through was removed. I was standing near the tube when I heard a tremendous cheer, how my heart leaped with joy for I know the first man must be out of the boat.

How those outside who had been working on us cheered. Cheered because they knew their untiring efforts had been rewarded. As each man came out so there was a fresh cheer and us near the tube could easily tell when another man got out.

There was no panic and not a great deal of hurry. Each man irrespective of rank, whether civilian or service man all waited their turn. I have been led to believe, but I do not know for certain, that the pilot whoso name was Duncan, was the first man out of the boat, but I do know for certain that the First Lieutenant was the last man and myself the last but one.

You can guess that everyone was in a very weak and exhausted condition and had to be helped into the boats who were to take us ashore. What a. feeling of satisfaction Herbert must have had, for he stood at the top hole and helped every man out, those men whose lives he had assuredly saved.

What a beautiful night it was, and what a treat it was to breathe the fresh air once more. There was not a breath of wind and the water was a calm as a mill pond. Everywhere there was a blaze of electric light and we could see the small rowing boots taking the men ashore.

I am sure there was an extra cheer for me as I came out of the hole, for I was very well known to the whole of the crews of E50 and E51, in fact quite a few of these men I had put through their course of submarine training. The Coxswain of E51 was one time my Second Coxswain when I was Coxswain of C24, so you can guess he was especially pleased to see me. He told me he thought I must have been one of the unlucky ones, when so many come out and yet I hadn't made my appearance.

I was now helped into a boat and was taken ashore, and then we were all helped to walk to Shandon Hydro where we spent the night and best part of the next day. Everything that was possible for human hands to do, was done for us, and after having a bath and a cup of beef tea, I went to bed and slept.

I think everyone slept the sleep of the just that night, I myself can remember nothing from the time my head touched the pillow until I was awakened by a pleasant faced maid. The sun was streaming in on me and I had to shake my scattered brains together before I could remember what had happened. She told me that there was hot water for my use, but they were waiting below for breakfast.

I hurriedly dressed and went below where I found the best part of the survivors having breakfast, and they didn't look much the worse for their trying experience, except that our clothes which we had worn in the boat were all we had, and you can guess it was in a pretty pickle.

The staff at the Hydro did their best for us and borrowed clothes, and we didn't look much like "Navy Men" after they had finished with us. I had some very pleasant memories of kindnesses which I received from time to time from the staff at "Shandon Hydro", as well as from the good folk who live on the Gareloch side. I did the trials of two boats in the Gareloch at later dates, so you can guess I became a well-known figure there.

There is not a great deal more to relate about the sinking of K13 and the saving of those who come out of her, but later on in my story I shall have a great deal to say, for she was eventually salved, and I commissioned her as K22 only to meet more trouble. The morning after we came out of her the ill-fated vessel slipped back out of the hawsers which were holding her, and once more she went to the bottom of the Gareloch. This time she filled right up, for there was no one inside her to fight the water, so the job was made more difficult, and it was some five weeks before she was eventually salved.

Commander Goodhart's body was found by the divers and buried at "Faslane Cemetery", a pretty spot on the Gareloch side. The remainder were not got out until she was raised and then they were also buried there.

After breakfast was over I was employed, with the Captain, and we were very busy letting the Admiralty and also our Depot know, who were lost, and who were saved. I had quite a long yarn with the Captain and he told me, that we would all have to go south to Fort Blockhouse. It was decided that I should take the crew back to Glasgow that afternoon and get things squared up there so that we could go on leave on the Friday night.

We left Shandon by train, and there was a great many of the staff of the Hydro to see us off. When we got to Helensburgh there was some very distressing scenes for the news had spread like wildfire and some of the relatives of the deceased men met us. I was very pleased to get in the train again, and I must say I heaved a sigh of relief when I got to my lodgings at Govan.

The next morning, we were employed in getting the effects of the unfortunate men together, as well as our own, and this was then despatched to the Submarine Depot at Gosport. That night we were sent on ten days leave, at the expiration of which we were to return to our Depot.

Before going on leave, Herbert (our Captain), had the whole of the survivors of the crew mustered, and he read a telegram of congratulations from the King, who had also sent a telegram of thanks and congratulations to the men who had worked so hard and had helped to save our lives.

A Court of Inquiry was held a fortnight after and I had to attend as a witness. The finding of the court was never published, as it was war time, hut I don't think any blame could possibly be put on anyone, as in all our evidences, there wasn't a shadow of doubt but that the Indicator was showing Engine Room Shut Off.

When the boat was raised the four air intakes to the boiler room were all open, and the boiler room door burst open, so this was the cause of the whole of the boat from the beam tube to the stern being flooded.

The bodies were found in different parts of the boat, but there is no doubt, but that these poor fellows were drowned very quickly. When they were taken out for burial, it was found that two were missing, and these proved to be Engineer Lieutenant Lane - the boat's Engineer and Mr Steele - the Firm's Engineer. One of the after hatches were found open, and it is presumed that they tried to escape from the boat through this hatch. Lane's body was found floating on the Gareloch about four months afterward, but up to the time of my writing this, Steele's body has never been found, and I daresay it lies at the bottom of the Gareloch until the present day.

This finishes my narrative of K13, but my readers must bear in mind that I didn't write this until years after the incident, and the times may not be absolutely correct, but the incidents outlined in my story are true.

I would like to pass a few comments on the recognition which Commander Goodhart and Lieutenant Commander Herbert got over this affair. Nothing was heard of the affair until eighteen months after and then the posthumous award of the Gold Albert Medal was made to Goodhart. It took all this time for Goodhart's brave action to receive recognition, but nothing at all was done for Herbert. I am voicing the opinion of all my Boat's crew - who volunteered to serve with Herbert again - when I say, that the highest award possible should have been made to both of these brave officers. I suppose that this is only one case, of which there must be many, where a brave deed has counted for nothing, and must be turned down, because the public must not know. This deed was not done on the spur of the moment with red in their eyes, it was done after reviewing the aspect of things for hours. Both of these brave men knew, they were risking their lives, in what I should say at least a hundred to one chance, and they were doing this to try and save the lives of others, a good many of them practically strangers.


On my return from leave to Fort Blockhouse, I was again put on the staff as an Instructor for new ratings joining the submarines, but I afterwards found out that this was only something for me to do, while K13 was being salved, and afterwards overhauled. Of course, I didn't think for one minute that I should commission her again, and when I was "told off" I was greatly surprised as well as were a good many more.

Anyhow one evening; after tea I was sent for by the Drafting Officer, who I might remark was my captain in H1 (Lt Wilfrid Pirie). He asked if I would go to K22 as a volunteer. At first my answer was "No" and I said I didn't think it was right to expect me to go back to a boat in which I had seen such awful sights. Anyhow after a bit I decided I would go; I think it was so that no-one could accuse me of having cold feet. Accordingly, I once more left the Depot and travelled to Govan where the boat was being refitted, and soon I was installed as Coxswain of K22.

It was a surprise packet for the men at Fairfield's Yard to see me come up again for this boat, and I soon had the civilians who were down in her with ne, around to see me. They one and all told me I was a fool to tempt providence in her again and one of them told me he wouldn't go to her if he was dragged.

I simply laughed at them and told them I had just as well be at sea in this boat as any other, and I also told then I considered she was a jolly fine boat. I also told them that they would soon hear about her, as I felt sure she would do something. I was quite right about this, but they heard of her in a far different way to that which I meant them to. Our crew came up in September and in October we were once more on the Gareloch doing trials. I shan't forget the day we first went inside the Gareloch for we anchored of Shandon in the exact spot where our accident had happened. Neither shall I forget the first dive I had in her as K22. I can assure you I had a jolly good look round myself this time, but it was next to impossible for the same accident to happen.

Whereas in K13 we had only had electric indicators in K22 we had both electrical and mechanical indicators, and it was a dead cert that the intakes, which were the cause of the disaster, must be closed before the indicators showed it. Our trials went off very well but when we dived there was no firm's people aboard. I can honestly say I was the only one who had been down in her that dived in her this time.

Well, as I said before, the trials went off alright, and we commissioned the boat as K22 during the last week in October 1917. We remained in the Gareloch for about a fortnight and each day we were exercising, the idea of this was, so that the boat and the boat's crew could be worked up to an efficient state. During this time, I spent my evenings ashore, and renewed, my acquaintance with the staff of Shandon Hydro as well as the people on the Gareloch side, who were all very pleased to see me, I also had an opportunity to see the graves of my late boat mates as well as the civilians who lost their lives in K13.

One of the Sundays we laid off Shandon, we decorated the boat, and threw her open for the people on the Gareloch side. We had a very big crowd aboard and they marvelled to think so large a boat could be so easily handled. There were two other boats on the Gareloch also exercising, they were K17 and N1 so before we left to join up with the grand fleet, the staff at the Hydro gave us a farewell dinner and dance. It was a really good show and I think everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. I am very sorry to say that a good many of the brave lads who were enjoying themselves, were "Down Under" within four months for K17 was lost with nearly all hands. We continued exercising until our Captain was satisfied with his boat and crew, and then he reported fit for sea. We left the Clyde soon after and proceeded to Scapa Flow and joined the Grand Fleet.

We were now employed with the fleet and although we did a good deal of running it was far different work to what I had been used to, for in this case we did all surface work, early in December we shifted our base south to Rosyth. Our "stunts" now consisted of work with the mine layers, and mine sweepers. We used to go to sea with them and. after they had done their work over the "other side", we were used to cover their retreat. We saw nothing during these escapades, but we were always on the "Top Line" in case we were wanted to dive and attack anything. There was not a great deal of work to do, and. I would have far sooner been in a boat to do submarine patrols, but still we were kept with the fleet and had to put up with it. Christmas came with the usual jollifications, and by this time we had settled down, and I prided myself on having one of the best, and I am sure the happiest boat, in the Flotilla.

We went to sea with the mine layers and sweepers on the 29th of December and we returned on New Year's Eve. We secured to K5 in the pens at Rosyth at about 11.40pm so we were in for the usual sixteen bells at midnight. My crew were very lively, and we sang the old year out and the New Year in and our greatest wish was that this year would see the trouble all over. January passed along with nothing of unusual interest until the night of the 31st. I must here say that I had watched the anniversary of K13s fatal dive, and I was very pleased we were in harbour for the 20th and 30th. On the evening of the 31st we had orders for sea and as we were leaving the "pens" we could see that the whole of the fleet were preparing for sea. Both the K Boat flotillas with their leaders "HMS Ithuriel" and HMS Fearless" were anchored off the Inland of Inchkeith and awaited the hours of darkness.

At 5pm we weighed anchor and proceed to sea. It was very dark, but it was a fine night. We had no idea what we were going to sea for, but we could easily see it was to do with the whole of the fleet. Everyone was asking the question "I wonder what is doing?" is it one of Beatty's stunts, or is there really something doing? I never found out what really was doing that night but one thing I do know, and that was it was a very unfortunate "stunt" for our boats, for we lost two K Boats with practically all hands, and beside;"' that we had three other K Boats put out of action as well as the light cruiser "Fearless". As near as I can remember it would be about 7pm and as it was the last day of the month, I was very busy with my Paymaster's accounts. I thought being that we were at sea on the last day of the month that I should be able to finish the accounts and have them all ready to send to our parent ship on our return to harbour. I was sitting in my mess and only one other Petty Officer was there with me, when I suddenly thought this was the anniversary of the night I came out of "K13". I looked up from my work one remarked this fact to this Petty Officer, and his answer was, I hope we shan't have to come out of her the same way. I said "No. I hope we shan't and then I went on to outline what had happened on that night. All of a sudden, we got a terrible crash and it was like running bang into a stone wall, and I knew in a minute that we were in collision with something, and whatever that something was we had run into her, and not her into us'

I threw my books across the table and yelled "Close Watertight Door" and I rushed into the control room. I was going farther forward but I net a Leading Seaman who was rushing aft. "What's the damage I said?" and he told me that we were holed very badly, but that he had closed the forward bulkhead door. He said water was rushing in very quickly and he was only just in time. I went forward and found the bulkhead was standing alright, so I got the crew underway to shore the bulkhead with beams of wood. Our Navigator who was in charge of the bridge, had sent below for our captain, but he didn't want sending for, for he was up there like a shot. He found out that we had rammed another submarine, but we didn't know for some time which it was. We soon found out that we were very badly damaged forward, but there was no danger of sinking. The boat we had. rammed was damaged a great deal more than we were, and she lay on the surface in a very dangerous predicament with her stern sticking out of the water and her nose well down into it.

The boat we had been in collision with proved to be K14 our sister boat, and now made a signal to us, asking us to stand by her as she was in danger of sinking. In fact, it was a miracle that she didn't sink for she had two compartments flooded forward, and she had a very big angle on, and looked though she would make the fatal dive at any minute. As she had asked us to stand by her, our Captain decided to send a wireless signal to say what had happened'. This we did and our two leaders the "Fearless" and the "Ithuriel", who of course were always listening on our wireless wave, received the signal and immediately gave orders for the flotilla to turn. I consider this was only making things worse, as the whole of the fleet were leaving the Firth of Forth, at frequent intervals.

I will now try and explain what was happening in K22, we had already shored up the bulkhead between the forward torpedo room which was flooded and the wardroom, and we found this to be holding alright. We were a good bit down by the bows, so we blew the water out of the forward ballast tanks and also the fuel from the forward group of fuel tanks and this brought us right up out of the water and we could see that there was no danger at all of us sinking. I now thought I would go on deck to look at the damage, and when I got up there I found our bows had been pushed back and squashed in just like a concertina. We could do nothing now but sit and see what was to happen to K14. She still had a very big angle on, but we could do nothing, unless they decided to abandon her, in which case we could have taken her crew on board us.

Now occurred another collision, far worse than the one we already had had, and this time we thought that we were doomed. I was still on the upper deck, when I heard a cry from someone who was aft. Everyone on the bridge turned and we could easily see the hull of a very big ship looming out of the darkness. She was making straight for our Conning Tower at a great speed, but I think she must have seen us about the same time as we saw her, for we could see she was altering course. I am sure everyone must have held their breath for although she was altering her course, we could all see that it would be impossible for her to avoid us. We put our telegraphs to full speed astern, but all to no use, for she crashed into us at a terrific rate, the blow simply heeled us ever to a very bad angle and tore away our bow and pushed it around to port, for we had been struck on the starboard side. I think myself the ship must have been carrying extreme helm, for as she passed her stern swung in on top of us. Her port propeller or her rudder tore our external tanks all along the starboard side and she also shoved us down in the water until the water was only a few inches from our conning tower, and the boiler room intakes, which were of course wide open. I really thought it was all up this time for I thought it would be impossible for the boat to float after being so severely damaged.

But no! Up she came again, and she put me in the mind of a living thing; who did not intend to give up so easily. As the stern of the ship swung by us, it was possible for us to make out part of her name and we found her to be HMS Inflexible. We immediately signalled her, told her we were in a sinking condition, and asked her to stand by us, but she didn't even answer us. I don't suppose she dared to risk turning back for she would most probably have had more trouble with the other ships who were now leaving the Firth of Forth. As we could see that we were going to get no help from anyone else, we set to work to do our utmost to keep the beat afloat. We blew all the fuel from the tanks leaving sufficient only to get us back. This brought us up in the water, and we could see now, that we weren't going to sink.

Now followed a period of anxious waiting, for we still had to stand by K14. We could see how badly we were damaged, in fact the whole of the fore-end of the boat looked like a scrap heap, and the whole of the externals on the starboard side were very much damaged as well. We were lying on an even keel for our bows being pushed round to port, compensated for the water we had taken into our starboard externals. We had some very narrow escapes from more collisions that night, for ships of all kinds were continually passing us. At one time I thought it was all up, for a battleship passed us going full speed and I am sure could only have missed us by inches.

At last a trawler arrived on the scene to help K14 and our captain decided to get underway on our own power and try to get back to Rosyth. Accordingly, this was done end our engines were worked up until we were doing revolutions for eighteen knots but, owing to the tremendous amount of resistance which our damaged bow got, we only made about two and a half knots through the water. This was jolly slow work, but at any rate we knew we were not going to sink, so we didn't mind taking a long time to get in. I can remember well taking the boat under the Forth Bridge. Many a time I had been under this bridge, but it was always about twenty knots but this time it was two, in fact it seemed to me that we were never going to get under it. We arrived in Rosyth at 7am on the 1st of February, and we were immediately put inside the Basin. Later or in the forenoon K14 arrived, she had been towed in stern first. It was absolutely a marvel how this boat had been floated, as she was flooded internally a great deal more than we were. She was berthed alongside of us, and that evening we were both put in dry dock. "Didn't we look a lovely pair" two sister boats and what had been two good boats now looked like two heaps of scrap iron.

Now came the worse part of the lot, for we got the news to say that other boats of our flotilla had been in trouble and they weren't as fortunate as us. At first the news came in what is called "busses" but at last we got the official news to say that K4 and K17 had been sunk: K4 with all hands and K17 all hands except six. This was awful news to us, and soon we came to find out how it had happened. K4 had been sunk by K6 and K17 had been sunk by HMS Fearless. What a pot mess this had left our flotillas in. The complete list of damage was K4 and K17 sunk, K6, K14 and K22 damaged and HMS Fearless, one of our parent ships also damaged and. put out of action. K6 and. the "Fearless" were ready for sea again in about a month, but K14 and K22 were so badly damaged that they were put out of commission, and it took nine months to repair the damage.


What a gloom this cast over our flotilla. It is bad enough to know that a boat has been sunk by the enemy, but to know our own ships had done this was terrible. I lost a great many friends in those boats, and as I have already said, the boys who were dancing with us a few months before at Shandon had now made the supreme sacrifice. Of course, this had to be kept quiet as it was War Time but in the K Boat flotillas I have often heard this incident spoken of as "The Battle of May Island". I think it is a very good name for it, anyhow I expect if the Germans had heard of it, they would have had a good chuckle. We now waited for the Admiralty to decide what was to happen to us, and when the news came, it was to say that K22 and K14 were to be paid off and put out of commission until they were thoroughly overhauled, and the damage made good. My captain was now appointed to K16, which boat was completing at Beardmores Shipbuilding Yard, Dalmuir. The reason he was appointed here was because the Captain who had been standing by her, was unfortunate enough to be out in K4 and so lost his life. I don't think my captain was very pleased when he got his appointment, for he told me he had hoped to get an L Boat, as there were a good many of this class of boat building.

He sent for me and asked me if I would serve with him again, but when I found out he was going to a K, I thanked him very much, but said I considered I had had quite enough of Ks. I don't think any of my readers will accuse me of having cold feet, but my experiences in "K13/K22" had certainly made me think, and I didn't intend to tempt providence for a third time in a K. I was also asked to stand by K22 and this meant a quiet time for nine months, but knowing if I stood by her, I should be expected to commission her, I refused. Accordingly, I paid off K22 on February 20th and proceeded on leave and again joined Fort Blockhouse on the 6th of March. Here I was again asked to go to K16 in fact my rating of torpedo coxswain was pointed out to me. The Drafting Officer said I was only allowed in the complement of K Boats, but he said he could ask the Commodore of the submarine service, if he could send me to an L Boat. I told him that I would revert to the General Service if I was again told off for a K so at last consent was given for me to go to an L Boat commissioning.

The month of March saw me doing my old job as instructor, but early in April I once more found myself on the move. I was told off as Coxswain of "L6" and this boat was building at Beardmore's, Dalmiuir. She was commanded by Lieutenant Commander C O Regnart, who was a very experienced and capable submarine officer, and I spent the reminder of my war time in this boat. I again made my acquaintance with the Gareloch, for after we were completed, we went there to do trials, I went ashore and visited the friends I had made on the Gareloch side, and once more I visited the graves of my late boat mates in "K13". "L6" proved to be a good boat and to use a navy slang term "I would sooner have served in an L Boat on one meal a day than go to a K Boat on full rations." Our trials prove successful but one afternoon when diving across the loch, we hit the bottom very badly. We immediately blew our ballast tanks and came to the surface to see what was the extent of damage done.


We found the bow shutters of the torpedo tubes were badly buckled and. it would, be necessary to go into dry dock for repairs. Our captain informed "Commodore (S)" and we received instructions to go to Govan and wait for a vacancy for docking. This only hindered us for a few days; and we then went back to the Gareloch to complete our trials. Everything proved successful and our captain reported. "Ready for Sea." A destroyer was told off to escort us and we left the Clyde, the last week of April. This escort took us as far as Milford Haven and then another escort took us to Plymouth. Here we picked up a Destroyer who escorted us to Portsmouth. We were now attached to HMS Ambrose, and this ship was lying in Portsmouth. She had a flotilla of eight L Boats attached, to her and their job was to clear the channel of German U Boats.

Captain Nasmith VC of E11 fame was Captain of our parent ship and he organised a system of patrols, which proved very successful. Our patrols were kept continually going, and I think every one of our flotilla at some time had a scrap with a U boat. Up till the arrival of the "Ambrose" and her flotilla of L Boats, the patrols in the Channel had been kept up by some of our older class of submarines. These were no good where the U boat war concerned. And, consequently, the English Channel was the "Happy Hunting Ground" of the U boats. Ships were being sunk quite near to Portsmouth and it was on this account our flotilla was based there. We had a very strenuous time, for three patrols had to be kept going and our sea time proved to be much longer than our time in harbour. Our Eastern patrol extended as for as Dover and our Western as far as the Scilly Inlands while our Middle Patrol was centred about the Isle of Wight.

I think every boat at some time fired torpedoes at U boats, but they were all unlucky and missed. We ourselves, came up and had a bump at one on the surface with our gun but she dived and got away. We had heard her all day on our hydroplanes and I don't doubt but that she heard us as well, but we saw nothing. We came to the surface that night to charge our batteries and we weren't up very long before the order was passed down "Surface Action Stations". The guns crew immediately manned their gun end a couple of rounds were fired. I think she must have thought of the old proverb "He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day", anyhow; as I said before, she dived end got away end we got no more trouble from her .I think that the U boat Commander now began to find out that they were up against something quite as good as themselves, and they wisely cleared out of the Channel. No ships were being sunk at all and this caused us to shift our base farther west.

Before leaving Portsmouth, the Commander-in-Chief issued a memorandum to each L Boat attached to the "Ambrose" and in it he acknowledged the good work which the flotilla had done and in fact gave us the credit of clearing the Channel. He asked the Admiralty to allow us to keep the same patrols going, but the powers that be said there was no more work for us to do. Early in October we left Portsmouth and made our headquarters at Plymouth. Our patrol was the northern end of the Bay of Biscay and you can guess we got some awful weather there. I had often crossed the Bay in a Ship, but I never thought it would come to my lot to patrol the Bay in a submarine. L2 and L3 were the first boats on this patrol and they experienced very heavy weather indeed. It was so rough that they had to do their patrol on the surface, for it was impossible to dive. When they returned to Plymouth they were so badly damaged that they had to spend a month in dock being repaired. Rough weather or no, we had to keep this patrol up. Day after day we sighted convoys and our hardest job was to keep out of the way of our own ships who were acting as escorts for these convoys.

One day we dropped across four Yankee destroyers escorting one of our large merchant men and it was hours before we could get away from them. Eventually we dived very deep and remained down for a couple of hours, and when we came up again the coast was clear. I don't think that any of us were a little bit sorry when we were recalled from patrol, pending the armistice being signed. I can picture my crew that night, hanging round the wireless cabinet, for good news followed good news, and then we were ordered to return to Plymouth. It was a very happy boats crew that brought L6 back from her last "War Patrol". I can picture the lads now, having a sing song on the mess deck. They sang and sang, nobody wanted to sleep, and all was excitement.

We arrived back in Plymouth two days prior to the signing: of the armistice, and we had the distinction of being last boat of our flotilla to do a "War Stunt". I think the morning the Armistice was signed was a day of all days for our flotilla. Our First Lieutenant made out a "Noise Station" bill, and in it every man was allocated to some job which made a noise. The "siren", "ships bell", "telegraphs" and "whistles" were the chief things and those who had no job simply yelled themselves hoarse. 11am was the official time and there is no mistake we "let her go". How elated we all were for we knew that the terrible War was over and that we were the victors. We also knew that the very large sacrifice our Submarine Service had made had not been made for nothing. I think my boats crew were the noisiest of the flotilla. Long after the others had packed up, my crew grouped around the gun, and sang the "Boats Crew's War Cry! (The Governor of Malaya) and finished up with cheers for the boats officers and officers of our parent ship.

I think my story is practically finished, for after giving leave to our crews, the flotilla soon settled down to peace routine. "For a few months we carried out exercises outside of Plymouth, and then we learnt that the "Ambrose" and her flotilla was booked for China. They were all put into dockyard hands to have cooling apparatus put in them and they left for China in June 1919. Myself I didn't go for I left L6 in April and once more came back to Fort Blockhouse where I was lucky enough to be when peace was signed. This concludes my little effort and if it is only read by a few, and they appreciate the acts of the brave men of Submarine Service, I shall feel this effort was not made in vain.

Bill MorrisonThe Pomeroy's A Submariner Family