1 February 2017
Submariners past and present, and relatives of the 32 men who perished in the disaster gathered at Faslane Cemetery in Garelochhead for the centenary memorial.
Royal Navy submariners past and present gathered at the weekend to mark the centenary of the sinking of submarine K13.
The ceremony, held at Faslane Cemetery in Garelochhead, was attended by veterans, serving submariners from nearby HM Naval Base Clyde, representatives from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and local Sea Cadets.
Also attending were some of the relatives of the 32 men who perished in the disaster and who are buried at the cemetery.
The steam-propelled submarine K13 sank in the Gareloch on January 29, 1917 during sea trials. On board at the time were 53 Royal Navy submariners, 14 employees of Govan shipbuilder Fairfields, five Admiralty officials, a pilot, and the captain and engineer from sister submarine K14.
Rear Admiral John Weale, Head of the UK Submarine Service said: “The men who perished in K13 were, in many respects, pioneers who pushed the boundaries to gain an operational advantage over potential adversaries.
“Today’s submariners recognise that the submarines they operate are not only safer but also more effective because we have learned from the experience of our predecessors. In this respect, the special bravery, ethos and comradeship of submariners and the Submarine Service endures.”
The crew of K13 were trapped beneath the icy waters of the Gareloch for some 57 hours before help arrived.
Captain of the vessel, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert, and K14’s captain, Commander Francis Goodhart, made a desperate attempt to escape the stricken submarine in order to get help.
The pair used the space between the inner and outer hatches as an airlock, but only Herbert made it to the surface alive, Goodhart sadly dying after striking his head during the escape.
An airline was eventually attached to the vessel allowing the submarine to bring her bow to the surface where a hole was cut allowing the survivors to be rescued. Unfortunately, by that time 32 submariners had already perished.
Shirley Thomas and her family travelled from Sheffield for the memorial. Her great-grandfather, Fred Porter, was a 37-year-old submariner who died on board K13 after seawater entered the vessel’s engineer room during the sea trials.
She said: “We’ve always wanted to come up and pay our respects and the 100th anniversary seemed like the ideal time.
“Fred was in the navy on ships then he went on the submarines – my grandmother told he did this because it was better pay. We’re all really proud of him.”
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