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Submariners remembered 99 years on

27 January 2016
Past and present crew of the UK’s submarine service gathered at the weekend to pay their respects to the 32 personnel killed in the Gareloch on board K13 on 29th January 1917.

Sailors from HM Naval Base Clyde and the veteran Submarine Association came together on Saturday 23rd January to commemorate the tragedy at the memorial to the Fairfield-yard shipbuilders in Govan’s Elder Park, on Saturday 23rd January. 

The group then attended a service at Faslane Cemetery, Garelochead, adjacent to HM Naval Base Clyde, for a formal wreath laying ceremony accompanied by a Royal Marine bugler the following day.  

Command Warrant Officer of the UK Submarine Service Stefano Mannucci said: “Although technology has revolutionised submarine safety over the past century, the special bravery, ethos and comradeship of Submariners and the Submarine Service endures.”

Although technology has revolutionised submarine safety over the past century, the special bravery, ethos and comradeship of Submariners and the Submarine Service endures.”

Command Warrant Officer of the Submarine Service, Stefano Mannucci

The steam-propelled submarine K13 sank in the Gareloch on 29 January 1917 during her sea trials, after seawater entered her engine room killing all those within it. 

On board were eighty men – fifty-three crew, fourteen employees of a Govan ship builder, five Admiralty officials, a pilot and the captain and engineer of sister submarine K14.

Captain of the vessel, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert and K14’s captain, Commander Francis Goodhart, attempted to escape from the submarine, hoping to reach the surface in order to use their expert knowledge of the vessel to help the rescue.

The brave pair planned to use the space between the inner and outer hatches as an airlock but only Herbert made it to the surface alive. 

Goodhart sadly died after being struck on the head whilst escaping and was found trapped in the superstructure of the submarine. 

The ordeal for those trapped in the forward section didn’t end until some 57-hours later when an airline was attached allowing the submarine to bring her bow to the surface. 

A hole was cut in the side of the vessel allowing the 48 survivors to be rescued. 

K13 was raised from the Gareloch in March 1917 and returned to service as HMS K22.

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