Former submariner Andy Knox rings the K13 bell during the memorial service.

By Rory Murphy

Royal Navy personnel from HM Naval Base Clyde recently remembered those who lost their lives when Royal Navy submarine, K13 sank in the Gareloch on January 29, 1917.

The memorial service, which was held at Faslane Cemetery in Garelochhead, would normally be attended by veterans, serving submariners from nearby HM Naval Base Clyde and local Sea Cadets.  This year things are very different with only a few people at Faslane Cemetery to mark the anniversary of the tragedy.

The Rev Mark Noakes, Chaplain of the Faslane Flotilla, led the service which was attended by Captain Irvine Lindsay, Captain of the Submarine Flotilla on behalf of the Roya Navy.

During the poignant service a wreath was laid by Captain Lindsay. In addition, the K13 ship’s bell was rung 32 times – once for each person who lost their lives in 1917.

‘The K13 memorial is an important event in the submarine calendar, commemorating not only those lost in K13 but also as a reminder of the hazards faced by members of the Submarine Service in peacetime and in war,” said Captain Lindsay.

“It’s also crucial, that despite the limitations imposed by the Covid 19 restrictions, we continue to remember those who have gone before us and as Captain Submarines, I feel honoured to represent the Submarine Flotilla at today’s service’.

The steam-propelled submarine K13 sank in the Gareloch on January 29, 1917, during sea trials.  On board at the time were fifty-three Royal Navy submariners, fourteen employees of Govan shipbuilder Fairfields, five Admiralty officials, a pilot, and the captain and engineer from sister submarine K14.

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 it was Herbert who 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.

The submarine was later raised from the Gareloch and returned to service as HMS K22.

Captain Irvine Lindsay with the Rev Mark Noakesat Faslane Cemetery to honour those who lost their lives in 1917. Pictures by Royal Navy

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