Helensburgh Advertiser

Tribute to sub tragedy victims


VETERANS and serving Royal Navy submariner­s have paid their respects to the men who died in a submarine tragedy in the Gareloch more than a century ago.

Members of the Submariner­s Associatio­n’s west of Scotland branch joined personnel from HM Naval Base Clyde to commemorat­e the 107th anniversar­y of the K13 disaster.

A total of 32 people lost their lives after the submarine sank during sea trials on the Gareloch on January 29, 1917.

A service of remembranc­e led by the Reverend Stephen Dray was held on Saturday, January 27 at Elder Park in Govan, next the former Fairfield shipyard, where K13 was built.

On Sunday, January 28, there was a short service in the base church, prior to the main memorial service at the nearby Faslane Cemetery, where most of the crew are buried.

Alongside the serving and veteran submariner­s attending was Mr Alistair Swift, who had travelled from Aberdeen. Alistair’s grandfathe­r, Joe Swift, survived the sinking of K13.

Fourteen of the 80 people on board when K13 sank after sea water entered her engine room were Fairfield’s employees, along with 53 Royal Navy personnel, five sub-contractor­s, five Admiralty officials, river Clyde pilot Joseph Duncan, and two crew from sister submarine K14.

Andy Knox from the Submariner­s Associatio­n said: “The weekend’s events were truly humbling and a reminder of the importance of the history of the Submarine Service and the sacrifices of those that served and paid the ultimate price in support of their country.

“I would like to take this opportunit­y to thank the Base Executive Officer, Commander Peter Noblett, Base Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer 1 Lee Morgan) and CPO Murray Anderson for the generous support, enabling the weekend’s events to be hugely successful.”

During the service at the cemetery, the ship’s bell from K13 was rung 32 times, honouring each of the people who lost their lives.

The event was supported by the Submariner­s Associatio­n branches from Barrowin-Furness, Essex and Dolphin, whose members travelled to Scotland for the commemorat­ion.

They were joined by personnel from HMS Neptune, the Submarine Flotilla, the Submarine Qualificat­ion Course (North), RM Band Scotland, and the Helensburg­h and Clydebank Sea Cadets.

The event was also backed by The Submarine Family who have also given their support in previous years.

A 57-hour rescue mission followed the sinking, with the captain of K13, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert, and the captain of K14, Commander Francis Goodhart, attempting to escape the vessel to aid the rescue efforts.

Commander Goodhart died from drowning after hitting his head on the vessel’s superstruc­ture.

Eventually an air line was attached, allowing the bow of the submarine to rise to the surface and a hole to be cut in the casing to evacuate the 48 survivors.

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