18 March 1904

Sank off Isle of Wight after collision with SS Berwick Castle

On Friday March 18 1904, whist on exercise off the Isle of Wight HMS A1 was tasked with "attacking" HMS Juno. The mock attack began in the early afternoon; HMS Juno had been sighted heading towards Portsmouth Harbour. First to attack were the Holland Boats, after which came A1’s turn. As A1 closed in for the kill she was struck on the starboard side, near the conning tower, by the steam ship Berwick Castle, on route from Southampton to Hamburg. Unaware of the submarines in the area the master of the Berwick Castle reported that he believed he had been struck by a practice torpedo and continued his journey. It was not until A1 failed to return to harbour that the full scale of the disaster was known.


16 February 1905

Internal explosion

A5 experienced an internal petrol explosion shortly after refuelling from the depot ship HMS HAZARD berthed in Queenstown, County Cork. The cause of the explosion was petrol fumes being ignited by a spark from the Main Motor Brushes.


5 June 1905

Sank in Plymouth Sound after internal explosion

At 1030 on the morning of 5th June an explosion ripped through HMS A8 whilst she was on exercise in Plymouth Sound. A nearby Trawler, the Chanticleer witnessed the explosion and lowered her boats as the submarine began to founder to offer assistance. Shortly after the submarine sank further explosions were witnessed and wreckage drifted to the surface. HMS A8 was salvaged on the 12th and inspections indicated that the explosions were more than likely caused by a chemical reaction within the battery.


16 October 1905

Sank in Portsmouth Harbour

Whilst carrying out sound signal experiments at Spithead, HMS A4 was trimming down when water came through a ventilator being used to signal, with a flag on a boathook, the results of the sound tests.

The submarine went down to 90 feet with an inclination of 40 degrees by the bow. Due to the contact with seawater, chlorine gas started escaping from the batteries. The Captain ordered all ballast tanks blown and as soon as the submarine surfaced, the crew were ordered on deck. An explosion occurred as the boat was being towed to the dock and she slowly sank. She was later salved and put back into service.


14 July 1909

Sank in English Channel after collision with SS Eddystone

"Secretary to the Admiralty regrets having to communicate that Messrs Farrar, Groves, & Co’s Steamer Eddystone, bound for Hull, was in collision with submarine C11 at 1145 last night, 4½ miles north west of Haisborough Light, off Cromer and the submarine was sunk"

On 14 July 1909 whilst exercising off Cromer HMS C11 was struck aft by the steamer Eddystone. The collision had the stern clean off the submarine, which sank within 40 seconds. All but three of her crew were lost.


2 February 1912

Sank off Isle of Wight after collision with HMS Hazard

"The Commander-in-Chief regrets to announce that owing to a collision between His Majesty’s Ship Hazard and the submarine A3, the latter sank near East Princess Buoy about noon today. It is feared that the submarine was completely flooded, in which case there is very little hope of the officers and crew being saved, though salvage appliances have been sent out."

Whilst on exercise off the Isle of Wight HMS A3 surfaced directly in the path of HMS Hazard. The collision caused a large hole to be torn in the side of the submarine sinking her almost immediately.