View Full Version : Submarine sank on trials
26-11-2006, 2:45 PM
I am looking for information on a submarine that sank while on trials. I know this is a shot in the dark.I only know it sank either in the North Sea or Irish Sea,perhaps late 1930s or 1940s and all hands were lost. |help|
26-11-2006, 3:04 PM
It was the Thetis.
26-11-2006, 3:07 PM
Read all about it here:
26-11-2006, 3:17 PM
"His Majesty's Submarine Thetis left Cammell Lairds' Birkenhead Yard for her sea trials on the 1st June 1939. Only 4 out of 103 escaped. A small blob of bitumastic enamel paint blocked a half-inch tell tale hole on one of her torpedo tubes & deluded those onboard into thinking that the tube was dry when in fact the sea was bursting to get in."This is from "Thetis - The Admiralty Regrets" by C. Warren & J. Benson, Avid Publications ISBN 0952102080. It is an excellent book & has a forward by Derek Arnold, the son of one of the survivors.
26-11-2006, 6:57 PM
Thank you for your replies but its not the Thetis I am looking for.My father cannot recall the submarines name ,I am hoping someone will hit on it,as he would recall the name if he heard it.So I would welcome any more suggestions.
26-11-2006, 7:06 PM
Try this site it lists all British Submarine losses in WW2
26-11-2006, 8:50 PM
I have just consulted the Oracle (my mum upstairs) & she says if it was in the Irish Sea then it was definitely the Thetis. She was in her early 20s when it sank, & she was born & brought up in Liverpool, living there until last year when she crossed the Mersey to live with us. She says can still remember the tension in the air when the tragedy happened - it was in everyone's thoughts.
The Thetis was later renamed The Thunderbolt.
26-11-2006, 10:43 PM
Thanks Keith I will check it out
26-11-2006, 10:51 PM
Wirral,thank you for replying,, my dad used to remember the name of the submarine, so when I receive a name I phone him with it to try and jog his memory.He said it happened after the war.His grandfather was an engineer on the submarine but thankfully didn't take part in the trials that day.
26-11-2006, 11:16 PM
Where did your g,grandfather live & work? That should make it easier to pin down the correct event. Did your father grow up in the same area? Does your father remember the event himself, or was he told about it by his grandfather? If your father does remember it, approximately how old was he at the time?
27-11-2006, 9:39 AM
There would have been a board of enquiry into the loss of the boat. That should be catalogued on TNA's web-site http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/default.asp
In the search engine enter the following:
'Word or phrase' field type - loss AND submarine (you need capitals for 'and')
'Year range' try 1946 - 1955 (you say it was after WW2)
'Department or series code' enter ADM
now search - you'll get one page of results which name a couple of HM submarines - do either of them ring a bell with your dad?
One other thought - If your grandad was an engineer on the vessel, have you obtaine his service record
27-11-2006, 12:07 PM
This site http://www.rnsubmus.co.uk/general/losses.htm lists all the British submarine losses from 1904 to the present day. The only one I can see that was lost while undergoing sea trials was the Thetis. Others were lost on exercises or on active duty.
27-11-2006, 5:14 PM
Could it be the Affray, lost in 1951? I was on holiday on the Isle of Wight at the time and remember what seemed to be hundreds of ships looking for her, they thought that was where she had gone down. She was found months later in Hurd's Deep, off the Channnel Islands.
27-11-2006, 6:38 PM
He worked in Dormon Longs if that is any help. The submarine may not have been commissioned as it was still on trials.If that helps.
27-11-2006, 7:06 PM
He worked in Dormon Longs if that is any help. The submarine may not have been commissioned as it was still on trials.If that helps.The name of the company is Dorman Long. You might find these links of interest: http://www.clevelandbridge.com/Dormanlong/ http://www.geocities.com/pentagon/quarters/6680/payne.htm
Here is a time line for you .
the time line:
1458 Thetis dives
1820 'Subsmash' transmitted throughout RN
‘The question of ordering salvage gear to the scene was considered during the evening of 1 June but was treated as a secondary consideration because:
(A) The immediate need was to locate the submarine.
(B) It was known that Captain Hart RNR (a man with
considerable experience and local knowledge in salvage work) with divers, was proceeding to the scene
(C) The policy laid down in AFOs 568/34 and 971/35’
0754 Thetis' stern spotted by HMS Brazen. Lt Cdr Mills of Brazen nominally in charge of operation.
0800 Captain Oram and Lt Woods escape by DSEA
0936 Hart sends word for salvage gear to be brought to scene
1000 L/Stoker Arnold and civilian Frank Shaw escape by DSEA
1040 Captain (D)6 Randolph Nicholson arrives on scene to take nominal charge of operation.
1130 Fred Orton makes exploratory dive
At midday the blinds were drawn down in the Cammell Laird offices.
1200 three and a half inch securing wire placed around stern of Thetis
1300 Flood tide prevents further diving
1310 stern hauled up in anticipation of drilling a hole in the stern once burning gear arrives at scene
1330 Wreckmaster Charles Brock attempts to unscrew manhole leading to Z tank (no burning gear)
1440 Brock ordered off stern for his own safety. Cutting gear arrives at scene
Disagreement between Nicholson and Hart. Nicholson wants the stern hauled clear of water and hole burned. Hart counsels that tide will render these operations useless and burning must be delayed until low tide at 1800. Nicholson has his way and stern is hauled up
1510 suspension wire breaks, stern submerges.
1745 salvage camel arrives.
“At 0000 a Metal Industries Diver (Sinclair McKenzie) ..was put down and found himself in the vicinity of the bridge. As he had no telephonic communication he came up direct to the surface to report that his taps had been answered from the control room. Having made this report he immediately went down to carry out his decompression…All authorities were unanimous that air should be admitted direct to the control room by drilling through the pressure hull. All necessary appliances to ensure this operation being carried out were made ready”
3.6.39: 0630hrs. The divers returned. Afterwards, Bertram Watson made the following valedictory entry in his diary:
“During this dive, the conditions for drilling and the short working period available caused Captain Hart to increase his estimate for the job to 3 or 4 tides… In view of this and the fact that no reply had been made to the tappings, it was agreed that the operation should not be continued because it was considered that the personnel in the submarine would not have a chance of survival for the length of time involved…”
Watson later sent this message:
ADMIRALTY, C IN C HOME FLEET – 1144 - 3/6/39
‘AT O500 DIVERS HEARD NO TAPPING WITHIN THE SUBMARINE. REGRET HOPES OF SAVING LIVES NOW NEGLIGIBLE AND QUESTION OF SALVAGE WILL REQUIRE DECISION…’
Rear Admiral (S) Bertram Watson
I hope this enlightens you to what happened .
regards Jim B
11-05-2009, 10:38 PM
Hi Patmon, you should find what you are after here.
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