Nasmith VC - Page 5

The Campaign

The Gallipoli Campaign ended in failure. Allied troops had completely withdrawn by January 1916 having suffered over 30,000 casualties. The Turks had held the line but at a terrible cost with up to 200,000 casualties. The Royal Navy's inability to force the Dardanelles Straits with its battleships was clearly one of the causes of the expeditions failure. However, for the crew of E11 and the other British and Allied submarines who took their boats up the deadly straits of the Dardanelles had proved to be their finest hour. Their teamwork, skill and daring that were the hallmark of the "Trade", demonstrated that the German U-boats were not alone in having the power to terrorise the seas and the potential to strangle supply lines.

Lieutenant Commander Martin Nasmith


Lt Commander Nasmith in front of the conning tower

Promotion followed Nasmith's dramatic success in the Dardanelles. After the war he moved on to bigger things Commanding the 'Dreadnought' battleship HMS Iron Duke. In the intermediate war years he had important staff posts including Captain of the Royal College at Dartmouth, where he had the distinction of presenting his own son with the best cadet award. Most significantly he became the first submariner to reach the position of Rear Admiral responsible for submarines. In 1932 he received a knighthood and in World War II as Admiral Sir Martin Dunbar Nasmith he served as Commander-in-chief Western approaches. Thus the Submarine 'ace' of the Great War was charged with defeating the U-boat menace in the Atlantic.


Commander Nasmith


Read Admiral Dunbar-Nasmith (son of Martin Nasmith) & E11 Veterans, at the presentation of the ship's bell to HMS Dolphin

HM Submarine E11

E11 was to return to Marmara for two more highly successful patrols. Nasmith finally sunk the Turkish battleship Hairedin Barabaross that had twice eluded him. Guy D'Oyly Hughes built another raft on the second patrol, carried a hair raising attack on the Baghdad railway. Over the course of the three patrols, May to December 1915, E11 destroyed 86 ships (67,302 tons in total). For E11's historic attack on Constantinople harbour Nasmith received the Victoria Cross and the entire crew the Distinguished Service Medal. After the British evacuation from the Gallipoli peninsular, E11 was engaged on Aegean patrols and later on the North African trade routes. One of her last duties was to sail to Sevastapol (in the Crimea) to accept U-boat surrenders. The boat survived the war and was eventually paid off in Malta in 1919.