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Author Topic: HM Submarine E8  (Read 2933 times)

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Offline Bilgerat

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HM Submarine E8
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 01:30:44 »
HMS E8 was the last of the Group 1 E Class submarines to be built at Chatham. Subsequent E Class boats would be Group 2 which were slightly different. The E Class went on to be the most numerous of Britains First World War submarines with 58 boats completed. They formed the backbone of the Royal navy's submarine fleet during that war, despite half of them being lost.

HMS E8 was laid down on No 7 slip on 30th March 1912. She was launched into the River Medway by Miss Ollis on 30th October 1913. After fitting out at Chatham, she was commissioned on 18th June 1914.

On completion, she was 178ft long and 15ft 5" wide at the beam. She displaced 665 tons on the surface and 796 tons when submerged. The boat was armed with 4 18" torpedo tubes, one in the bow, one on each beam and one in the stern. She also carried a deck gun. She had a crew of 30 men.

A model of an E class submarine. E8 would have been identical

At the outbreak of the First World War, she was with 8th Submarine Flotilla at Harwich, attached to the depot ship HMS Maidstone. On 28th August 1914, she was part of a force of submarines stationed 4 miles out to sea in the Heligoland Bight as part of the British forces participating in the Battle of Heligoland Bight. The British force emerged victorious in this battle, inflicting a disastrous defeat on the Germans and forcing them to be much more cautious about deploying surface ships to sea.

On 15th August 1915, HMS E8 sailed to join the Baltic Flotilla supporting the Russians, a passage which did not pass without incident. HMS E8 had a number of escapes from German patrol vessels, eventually arriving safely in Reval. Despite Reval harbour being iced up, she did make a war patrol but on her return, was in collision with a Russian submarine which left the boat badly damaged and out of action for weeks.

Bows-on view of HMS E8

On 5th October 1915, she sank the steamer Margarette by gunfire. On 23rd October 1915, she torpedoed and sank the 9000 ton German armoured cruiser Prinz Adelbert. For this action, Tsar Nicholas awarded her commander, Cdr Francis Goodhart, the Cross of St George. The sinking of Prinz Adelbert led the Germans to temporarily withdraw all their capital ships from the Baltic.

During her time in the Baltic, HMS E9's Russian liason officer was Aksel Berg, who later in life went on to become the founder of Soviet cybernetics.

In October 1917, the Russian Revolution occurred and Russia switched sides in the war, allying herself with Germany. As a result, the British baltic submarine flotilla was forced to move from Reval to Hango in Finland.

E8 at sea

A picture of E8 taken in 1916 showing the camouflage pattern applied to all the Baltic Flotilla boats

In April 1918, German forces intervened in the Finnish Civil War and the submarines of the Baltic Flotilla found themselves in an untenable position. The decision was taken to scuttle all the boats of the flotilla to prevent them falling into German hands. On 4th April 1918, HMS E8 left Helingford in company with E1, E9 and E19. The other boats were successfully scuttled, but E8's charges failed to go off. HMS E8 then spent the night at sea before being joined by C26 and C35. She was tied up alongside C26 and both boats were blown up.

The wreck of HMS E8 was salvaged in August 1953 and was broken up in Finland.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent


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