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Remembrance Sunday: H42 is Still On Patrol


War Hero
Book Reviewer
H42 [Lt DC Sealy DSC RN] was rammed and sunk by HMS Versatile on 23rd March 1922.

On 26th April 1922 Mr Amery, Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, told the House of Commons “The disaster occurred off Europa Point ... when HM S/M H42 and other submarines of the Third Flotilla were delivering a dummy attack on destroyers. The destroyers were proceeding at a speed of 20 knots when, at 9.41 a.m., H42 rose to the surface some 30 yards right ahead of HMS Versatile. The destroyer’s helm was put hard-a-port and the engines to full speed astern, but the ship had not started to turn when she struck H42 just abaft the conning tower. The submarine sank immediately. The immediate cause of the accident was that, contrary to instructions, H42 rose to the surface when she did. The reason for her surfacing is not known.†[Times, 27.4.1922]

H42 went down with all hands, Her First Lieutenant, Lt JGW Price DSC RN, had become engaged to be married two months previously [Times, 11.1.1922]. Sealy, one other officer and 24 ratings were also lost. Price had been awarded the DSC as a midshipman after, in 1915, using his picket boat to tow the damaged battleship HMS Ocean out of danger. Sealy had been awarded his DSC while in command of C27 in the Baltic, after a daring attack on several German ships in which he sank the minesweeping mother ship Indianola.

Some other immediate post-WW1 losses: K5 in January 1921, L24 rammed by HMS Resolution 10.1.1924, and M1 lost in November 1925

Another five collisions involving eight vessels: Most Submariners will have been made aware of the 'Battle of May Island' where two other K Boats were also rammed/sunk whilst exercising with a large force at the Firth of Forth in 1918. At war yet no enemy was involved....

For those who are unaware (apparently many of the fine details only came out only in the 1990's) that sombre event is summarised here:

The K class boats fascinated me as a child. The M class submarine cruisers too. Such outlandish ideas yet in their own way logical at the time.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Yes, I'm up with the Battle of May Island. One of my great uncles, Bobby Burridge, was in K16 under Brodie, wrote in 1979 that she was a very happy boat. Bobby (pre-War Harrison Line MN apprentice) was one of the RNRs drafted in about 1916 to sharpen up the submarines' navigation. Before K16 he was in E8 in the Baltic (4 Es & 4 Cs) and before that at Harwich doing iffy things like minelaying in the Heligoland Bight. I spun his dits elsewhere on this forum ages ago.

Of course as the 20s rolled into the 30s other boats were lost too ..


Lantern Swinger
A good book on K Boats.
Loads for sale on used book search for a couple of quid.

The K. Boats: The amazing story of Britain's steam submarines (ISBN: 0450009890 / 0-450-00989-0)
Everitt, Don
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