Nasmith VC - Page 3

"Run Amuck In Marmara"

E11 Passes HMS Grampus to the chears of the Crew

To avoid the shore guns and minefields E11 dived to 80ft just as dawn broke on 20th May. the plan was to dive under the deadly minefields.

"Suddenly there was a metal clang forward. They listened in dead silence as a mooring wire scraped along the outside of the hull..... D'Oyly put his empty cocoa cup down on the wardroom table, very gently, as if the slightest additional vibration might explode the mine. The wire seemed to be caught up for an instant on one of the propeller guards and then was thrown clear". From "Dardanelles Patrol"

E11 scraped herself past several more mine before getting clear of the field. By 9.30pm the long dive was nearly over. E11 had been down for 17 hours - oxygen levels were low and circulation fans were essential to stop the crew succumbing to carbon dioxide poisoning.

Damage to E11's conning tower

Everything was foul :

"Mingling with the all pervading smell of oil there was a sour smell from the batteries and un-emptied sanitary buckets standing in rows behind the engines.....Grey mist rose from the bilges darkening the interior of the boat like London fog." From "Dardanelles Patrol"

Commodore Keys had told Nasmith to "go and run amuck in Marmara" and so he did. Fro the next three weeks E11 would scour the Marmara torpedoing large vessels and scuttling smaller craft. On the 25th May Nasmith took E11 into Constantinople harbour, and sank a large troop transport at her moorings. E11 was the first hostile warship to enter the harbour in 500 years! Apart from the practical value of disrupting supplies to the Turkish battle front, the daring attack had great propaganda value. During each of these three patrols Nasmith was innovative in so many ways. He successfully worked out how to suspend the submarine between layers of fresh and salt water. This meant he could hide for long periods under water without having to keep moving, his crew could rest and his batteries did not get exhausted. On the first patrol he hid the submarine for several hours behind a captured dhow. Later he ordered torpedoes to be set to float so that if he missed he might recover the "fish" to use again. Nasmith then personally dived into the water to retrieve and disarm the first torpedo recovered.

E11 Lashed to the side of a Turkish Dhow