HMS Thetis

Discussion in 'History' started by seafarer1939, Apr 5, 2009.

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  1. joining up in the mid 50's I never could quite understand how no rescue was attempted on the above when the stern was sticking out of the sea.
    A torch would have got air in no problem but now we know why.
    Recent unclassified documents in the paper today stated that the MOD refused help as any hole in the sub would compromise the hull integrity!
    So!90+ men died through lack of air just because the idiots at the Admiralty were worried about the integrity of a subs hull!
    The Somme Generals and the fools who launched Gallipoli were just incompetant as it wasn't their lives at risk but this was beneath contempt from supposedly experienced Admirals.
    One even said the men did not help themselves to escape that's why they died.
    I hope his family is proud of him, he was not fit to wear the RN uniform.
    Rant over but it makes me angry when these things are exposed too late for justice.
  2. I read the article in the Mail on Sunday. While I don't put it past the Admiralty to consider the sub' before the men the only evidence it cites is a memo written in Feb 1940 signed by Chamberlains personal secretary:-

    "Referring to the cutting of a hole, Colville wrote: ‘This was not attempted until matters became desperate, in order that the submarine might be as little damaged as possible.’"

    It seems to me there is more to be told here but the article is just a piece to boost the sale of a book and offers no hard evidence in itself.
  3. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Surely if you cut a hole water will rush in unconstrained by the internal air pressure, and that will be the end for the blokes inside anyway? But not being a submariner I will defer to more informed opinion.
  4. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    The stern of the Thetis was actually clear of the water. I've read one book in which the author is of the opinion that with war looming they were desparate to keep the hull intact(nothing concrete that I could see to back up the theory) For those that don't know, only 4 out of 99 got out alive, she was later refitted and put back into service as the Thunderbolt subsquently lost with all hands.

    Theres some history here
  5. You are absolutely correct. Simply burning a hole through the Thetis's pressure hull wasn't a practical option as maintaining what was left of her watertight and airtight integrity was critical to prevent her flooding completely and plunging out of sight. I'm sure it wasn't done merely to satisfy the Admiralty's aesthetic concerns.

    However, if the Cox's bolt gun was around in 1939 (I don't know whether it was), a hollow bolt could have been inserted in a controlled manner. This could have been connected to an air supply. Such action might have improved the buoyancy of Thetis but I'm not sure it would have affected the deadly build-up of carbon dioxide that much and pumping in oxygen under pressure would have been hazardous.

    A diver using a Cox Bolt Gun to attach a pressurized airline to a submarine[/align]

    This is not to say that criminal bungles weren't made in the attempted rescue of the crew.
  6. My Grandfather , Petty Officer Theo Goad was among those lost on the Thetis. All I can tell you is that my Grandmother never spoke about it, ever. Dad went on to work for RR & A years later.... at Faslane etc...He's since retired. Strangely, my Dad worked on the very boats which took his own Father away. Dad always called them boats. Dad never disclosed his father's story when he was employed by RR & A and the MOD , although I'm sure that if the MOD did their homework they'd have known. My deepest respect to those whose lives were lost aboard Thetis. I am very close with my Dad, who is my adoptive father....since I was a small child we have always remembered Theo and his lost colleagues/friends. I have Theo's silver watch recovered from the will never ever leave me. Our family are mentioned in books written about Thetis. Dad has been very a child he was marvellous with his understanding of me, a child without roots and adopted by him and my mum. I think Dad was about 5 years old when his Dad, Theo died on the Thetis. Dad found that very hard...apparently Theo is buried in an unmarked grave in the Medway towns, his parents brought him home and that's all Dad knows. I've spoken to Dad about finding Theo, but he says its best let it all lie. He attended some memorial services at Anglesey in Wales. As kids I remember visiting there often.
    Anyway, that's my Thetis story. It's very emotional for me. I wish I had known Theo..but I knew his widow, my Grandmother Doris. And my Dad...who went on to work on boats. And they both are/were incredibly brave. Sending all my love to all serving on boats and ships and to their families. I sincerely appreciate everything you do. Kathryn Goad.
  7. I'd also like to say that no matter about the controversy surrounding The Thetis - incuding myself who has a right royal temper...and has been known to twat a few.. and is so infuriated with this ******* huge injustice..that my Father has said let it lie, and I respect that. I don't know if there will ever be a comprehensive account of the loss of the Thetis. Probably not...but my Grandpa & his colleagues died there. I have to respect my Father's wishes. Sleep Well Theo Goad.
  8. Welcome to Rum Ration, [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Kathryn[/FONT].

    Your Grandfather's name is included on the HMS Thetis memorial at Birkenhead Priory in Cheshire:

    Carl's Cam

    (Go to the surname index on the Carl's Cam page and then click on his name).
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  9. Kathryn

    Just FYI, your Grandfather's service number was
    C/J 108935. His first name was actually Thomas. I think that he may have married your Grandmother in Barrow-in-Furness in 1928. If her maiden name was Thompson, that is the case.

  10. =======================================


    Hello Mrs R,

    In the mid-70's I had the privilege to attend an HMS THETIS presentation at Wallasey given by one of the four escapee survivors, Captain H. P. K. "Joe" Oram RN. That incident still distressed him and his rivetting tale of that tragic episode in our submarine history is included in his biography: Published by Pen and Sword Books, "The Rogue's Yarn" by Wendy Harris. I believe he passed away in 1986.

    Another site which includes listings of your Grandfather among those 99 lost (and the 100th; a poor salvage diver) is well worth your visit: Thetis submarine

    It includes some vivid personal accounts, many photographs and contact details for the THETIS Families Association.

    For more family connections see BBC - North West Wales History - Thetis

    RESURGAM- HMS THETIS must never be forgotten.


    P.S. I once lived in a RN Married Quarter on the outskirts of Chatham: A long shot, but could "Goad Avenue" have been selected to commemorate your Grandfather's sacrifice?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  11. Poignant little story, and one that adds a touch of how it was in those days.
  12. Wow - thank you for this. Yes, there's a reason why I get the Theo & Thomas mixed brother is Thomas and Theo has gone on to become a family my Grandfather is Thomas Theo and not Theo Thomas. haha trust me ! This has made me smile, Nan was so young to have been widowed, it's nice to think of their wedding, thank you.
  13. Yes, afraid I was feeling v emotional when I wrote my post ..that's what happens when women drink rum !! But I am so touched by the replies, truly. Apologise for delay in replying, I'll tell Dad about this, shan't show him or I'll be in doghouse for swear words ! I think the family association decided to halt their annual memorial services now..Dad attended until that decision was made. Kate.
  14. I did have a look, thank you very much..all their names are there, as they should be.
  15. I don't know Bob, but, both of my parents are from the Strood/Rochester area...and Dad did time at Chatham dockyard as a young man...then again much later with RR & A. Didn't know there was a Goad Avenue...god help us if it's off that swine of Strood Hill ! Thank you so much for your post, and everyone else too. Kate.

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