Nasmith VC

Daring the Dardanelles

The adventures of E11, the Navy's most famous submarine


Part of The Nasmith Display; a special exhibition at the Submarine Museum in 2001.



On the 25th April 1915 allied troops landed at Gallipoli peninsular. The aim was to seize Constantinople, link up with the Russians, and in the words of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, "attack the soft underbelly of the central powers", meaning Germany, Austria and Turkey.

E11 Crew March 1915

To support the invasion the Royal Navy sought to attack the Turkish line of supply across the Sea of Marmara. But to get to Marmara, warships had to run the gauntlet of the Dardanelles straits. The narrow straits were defended by minefields and heavy guns on both shores. It had proved to be an impossible task for the Royal Navy's battleships.......but could a submarine get through.

On the 19th of May in the dead of night, HM submarine E11 slipped quietly out of her base on the island of Imbrues. On the conning tower, her captain Lieutenant Commander Martin Nasmith listened to the beat of the boat's diesel engines. soon they would see the sweep of the searchlights guarding the entrance to the straits. For Nasmith and his crew the great adventure had begun. E11's three patrols in Marmara would make her the most celebrated submarine in the Royal Navy and would win her captain the Victoria Cross.