British Commonwealth Submarine Losses

A very welcome contribution from a noted authority, the author of Canada's Submariners.


Compiled and Edited by J. David Perkins


By their very nature the pre-nuclear age submarines posed a challenge to those who sailed in them. The internal combustion engine - electric battery powered submersible was a poor compromise at the best of times. Built for submerged efficiency they were miserable seaboats and yet they were forced to spend most of their time on the surface. Even when submerged their thin skins, slow speed, lack of endurance and limited sensors made them incredibly vulnerable. There was no room for mistakes, of judgement or of action. Developed at the beginning of the technological age they were only as sound in design and construction as the current level of engineering capabilities allowed them to be.

Submarines were very different from any other kind of warship. For many this was a part of the attraction. Even without the demands of war, the submariner's mettle was being tested the moment he set foot aboard. The technical complexity of the submarine was irresistible for some while for others it was the attraction of the close-knit small ship family. Extra pay seems to have played only a minor part in the submarine sailor's considerations.

As a weapon of war the World War One submarines were well suited to their task. Inexpensive to build and manned by small crews they required a minimum of support and possessed excellent endurance. Properly handled they were fully capable of destroying the largest mercantile vessel or the most powerful warship afloat. There is always a price to be paid for challenging the sea, and the enemy. Unlike the majority of marine accidents, or even wartime engagements, when a submarine was destroyed she almost always took her entire company with her.

This record is a tribute to those who dared and paid the price for what they believed was right.

To forget their sacrifice would be folly indeed.

World War One

4 AUG 1914 - 11 NOV 1918

(Except where noted there were no survivors)

Submarine Commander Date Lost Location Cause Notes
AE1 Lt Cdr T.E. Besant 19.9.14 Bismark Archipelago Foundered Cause unknown.
D5 Lt Cdr G. Herbert 3.11.14 off Yarmouth Mined CO and five ratings survived.
E3 Lt Cdr. G.F. Cholmley 18.10.14. off Borkum Torpedoed by U-27, Kplt Wegener
D2 Lt Cdr. C.W. Head 25.11.14. North Sea Unknown  
C31 Lt G.Pilkington 4.1.15 Belgian coast Mined .
E10 Lt Cdr W. St. J. Fraser 18.1.15 Heligoland Bight Unknown  
E15 Lt Cdr T.S. Brodie 15.4.15 Dardanelles Foundered Grounded on Kephez Point. CO and at least 6 others killed, 23 survivors imprisoned as POWs. Submarine subsequently destroyed.
AE2 Lt H.D.G. Stoker 30.4.15 Sea of Marmara Torpedoed Sunk by the Turkish TB Sultan Hissar in Atarki Bay. Crew rescued= and imprisoned. (Wreck located 1999)
C33 Lt G.E.B. Carter. 4.8.15 off Yarmouth Mined.  
E13 Lt Cdr G. Layton 18.8.15 Saltholm Island Gunfire Shelled and wrecked after running aground on on her way to the Baltic. 15= casualties, 16 survivors interned in Denmark.
C29 Lt W.R. Schofield. 29.8.15 off the Humber Mined Hit a mine while under submerged tow by the trawler Ariadne.
E7 Lt Cdr A.D. Cochrane 4.9.15 Dardanelles Scuttled Trapped and damaged in the Dardanelles nets. Scuttled by the crew who= were rescued and imprisoned. (A PO Perkins was among the crew and wrote= letters describing their ordeal).
E20 Lt Cdr C.H.Warren 6.11.15 Sea of Marmara. Torpedoed >UB-14, Kplt Heino von Heimburg.
E6 Lt Cdr W.J. Foster. 26.12.15 off Harwich. Mined  
E17 Lt Cdr J.R.G. Moncreiffe 6.1.16 off Dutch coast Scuttled Scuttled at sea having sustained damage when grounded on Texel overnight. Crew interned by the Dutch.
H6 Lt R.N. Stopford 18.1.16 off Dutch coast Foundered Stranded on Shiermonikoog. Crew taken off, 11 rescued by British ships, 11 by the Dutch and interned including the CO. Dutch salvaged the submarine.
E5 Lt Cdr H.D. Edwards 7.3.16 Heligoland Bight Gunfire Sunk bythe light cruiser SMS Strassburg.
E24 Lt Cdr G.W.E. Naper 24.3.16 Heligoland Bight Mined  
E22 Lt Cdr R.T. Dimsdale 25.4.16 off Yarmouth Torpedoed By UB-18, Oblt Georg Neimeyer.
E18 Lt Cdr R.C. Halahan 24.5.16 Baltic Unknown Probably mined.
E26 Lt Cdr E.W.B. Ryan 6.7.16 Eastern Ems Unknown  
H3 Lt G.E. Jenkinson 15.7.16 Gulf of Cattaro Mined Hit a mine while attempting to penetrate the defences of Cattaro.
B10 Lt K. Michell 9.8.16 Venice Air dropped bomb Sunk by Austrian aircraft when alongside in harbour. No casualties.
E4 Lt Cdr J.Tenison 15.8.16 off Harwich Collision While exercising, the dived E4 collided with the surfaced E41. E4 sank immediately and was lost with all hands. Submarine was later salvaged and recommissioned
E41 Lt A.Winser 15.8.16 off Harwich Collision

Sank a few minutes after colliding with the dived E4. Many E41 crew survived, some escaping from the sunken wreck. Submarines was later salvaged and recommissioned.

E16 Lt Cdr K.J. Duff-Dunbar 22.8.16 Heligoland Bight Gunfire or mine Sunk by gunfire or hit a mine while being pursued by German ships on the surface.
E30 Lt Cdr G.N. Biggs 22.11.16 off Orfordness Mined  
E37 Lt R.F. Chisholm 1.12.16 North Sea Unknown Probably mined
E36 Lt Cdr B.S. MacGregor Robertson 19.1.17 North Sea Collision Lost in collision with E43 at sea.
K13 Lt Cdr G. Herbert 29.1.17 the Gareloch Accident Sank in the Gareloch during trials, 47 survivors. 7 civilians and 24 crew were lost. Salvaged and recommissioined as K22. Herbert was a survivor from D5.
E49 Lt B.A. Beal 12.3.17 Shetlands Islands Mined  
A10 NK 17.3.17 Ardrossan Accident Sank when water leaked into the MBT's while alongside. No crew aboard at the time.
C16 Lt H. Boase 16.4.17 off Harwich Collision Sank after collision with HMS Melampus. Crew rescued. [However, Paul Edmunds ( notes that: "Unfortunately this was not the case and all hands were lost. The submarine was later raised and put back into service. The bodies of the crew were recovered and buried in a communal grave in Shotley cemetary (just across the water from Harwich) where there is a rather nice memorial."]
C34 Lt I.S. Jefferson 21.7.17 Fair Isle Torpedoed by U-52, Oblt Otto Launburg.
E47 Lt E.C. Carré 20.8.17 North Sea Unknown  


Lt Cdr. Hon. B.P. Cary


off Norway


Rammed in error by British TBD HMS Petard. One survivor.


Lt C.P. Satow


Gulf of Riga


Stranded in Vaist Bay. Blown up. No casualties.


Cdr C.S. Benning


Danish coast


Sunk by gunfire from HMS Blonde after being damaged in collision with K4.



Lt J.F. Tryon


North Sea




Lt M.H. Collier


North Sea.


Presumed mined


Lt Cdr G.S. White




Sunk by gunfire from the forts in the Dardanelles while searching for SMS Goeben. CO, all officers, and some men killed, remainder captured.


Cdr D. de B. Stocks


May Island


Sunk in collision with K6 at night during Fleet exercise. No survivors. (Battle of May Island)


Lt Cdr H.J. Hearn


May Island


Sunk in collision with HMS Fearless at night during Fleet exercise. (Battle of May Island) Nine survivors.


Lt R.E. Snook


South Dogger Light vessel




Lt A.W. Forbes


Irish Sea


by SS Rutherglen at night when mistaken for a U-boat. No survivors. Lt(jg) E.W.F. Childs, USN, was among the casualties.
D3 Lt Wm. McK. Maitland-Dougall, RCN




Bombed and sunk by the French airship ATO off Fecamp when mistaken for a U-boat. Four escaped from the wreck but did not survive.
E1   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
E8   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
E9   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
E19   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
C26   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
C27   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
C35   3.4.18 Destroyed in the Baltic to avoid capture.    
C3 Lt R.Sandford, VC



Deliberately blown up

Fitted out as a mine and blown up under a tactically important causeway at Zeebruge during a raid to block the harbour. The crew escaped in a small boat under heavy small arms fire. It was this action that earned Sanford his VC.


Lt S.A. Brooks


North coast of Ireland


by UB-73.


Lt R.I. Pulleyne


North Sea


Presumed mined


Lt Cdr A.E. Whitehouse


North Sea


Sunk by German TBD S33 off the Texel.


Lt N. Manley




Sank after a collision with a destroyer when her main motors failed. Crew rescued, CO and 1st Lt made a "free ascent" escape from the wreck.


Lt Cdr G. Warburton


off Blyth


Sunk by gunfire from British Q-ship Cymric when mistaken for a U-boat. 14 killed.


Lt A.C.Russell


North Sea


Presumed mined

Last Updated: 6 October, 2002.

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