Battle of May Island, The K Boat Catastrophe

On this day, 31st January 1918 the British military lost 304 lives. Of these 304, 109 officers and men were to be lost in accidental collisions between a number of destroyers and K-Class submarines in the vicinity of Rosyth. The accident was kept secret during the war and a memorial was finally erected 84 years later on 31 January 2001 at Anstruther harbour opposite the Isle of May. Nicknamed the Battle of May Island, this was no battle at all.

Codenamed O.C.1, the plan included a number of battleships, cruisers and destroyers, including nine K series submarines in two groups sailing out towards the North Sea. With perceived U-Boat activity within the area, the command was given to maintain radio silence and conceal external lights. As the first flotilla of K-boats approached the mouth of the estuary, near the Isle of May, they became aware of a group of minesweepers ahead of them. [Read more…]

HM Submarine K4

While attempting to avoid a collision with HMS K3, she became the victim of collisions with HMS K6 and HMS K7. She was lost with all hands. The wreck is designated as a protected place under Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

K Class Submarines
K Class Submarines

HMS K4 Lives Lost – Role of Honour

  • ADAMS, LEONARD. Chief Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class (no. M/324). Husband of Norah Adams of 65 Copnor Road, Copnor, Portsmouth
  • ADAMS, PERCY WALTER. Age 34. Petty Officer Stoker (no. 306739). Son of William and Harriett Adams, of Woodbridge. Husband of Constance E. Adams of 25, Union Street, Street, Michael’s, Ipswich
  • APPS, JOHN FREDERICK. Age 27. Engine Room Artificer 1st Class (no. Clyde 3/1892). Son of John Apps, of 77, Leicester Road, East Finchley, London
  • ARMSTRONG, JAMES. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. J/32585). Son of George and Sarah Armstrong, of Stow, Lincoln
  • BALDWIN, GEORGE HAROLD. Aged 23. Petty Officer Telegraphist (no. J/10360). Son of George and Mary Jane Baldwin of Kennels, Kineton, Warwick. Native of Longthorpe, Northants
  • BEER, FRANK JOHN. Aged 35. Chief Stoker (no. 298980). Husband of Maud Beer of 82, Jefferson Road, Sheerness, Kent
  • BLAKE, STANLEY HAROLD. Aged 33. Able Seaman (no. 211925). Son of John and Elizabeth Blake, of Northampton. Husband of Louisa Blake, of 198, Oxford Gardens, Stafford
  • BOUNDS, HORACE. Aged 25. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/14491). Son of Walter and Mary Louisa Bounds, of Donalda, Love Street, Eddington, Herne Bay
  • BROWN, CHARLES EDWARD. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/22591)
  • BURGESS, ALBERT CHARLES. Aged 25. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/9375). Son of the late Mr and Mrs Henry Burgess of Ashe, Basingstoke, Hampshire. Husband of Edith R. Burgess, of Southdown, Medstead, Alton, Hampshire
  • BURT, ERNEST SAMUEL. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. J/9569). Son of John and Sophia Burt, of 8, Ranelagh Road, Wood Green, London
  • CARTER, CHARLES. Leading Signalman (no. 236423). Son of Edith Carter of The Cabin, Kings Road, Blandford, Dorset and the late Thomas Carter
  • CASE, CHARLES. Chief Petty Officer (no. 186086)
  • CHURCH, WILLIAM. Leading Stoker (no. K/9438)
  • COCKERILL, PERCIVAL. Aged 23. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/21001). Son of John H and Minnie Cockerill of 37, Laburnum Avenue, Garden Village, Hull
  • CORFIELD, ALFRED ABE BENJAMIN. Petty Officer (no. 232865)
  • CRAWFORTH, HARRY WAKELIN. Aged 21. Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/115298). Son of William Tom and Ada Emma Crawforth of 2, Mentone Avenue, Arundel Street, Holderness Road, Hull.
  • DANGERFIELD, WILLIAM GEORGE. Aged 20. Able Seaman (no. J/17629). Son of Edward and Mary J Dangerfield of 1, Prison Quarters, Bodmin, Cornwall. Native of Portsmouth
  • DUGGAN, ALAN MONTGOMERIE. Able Seaman (no. J/16974)
  • FENNER, ATHELSTAN ALFRED LENNOX. Aged 31. Lieut-Commander. Son of Dr. Robert Fenner and Edith Marion Fenner (nee Carter) of 38, Portland Place, London. Born at Cromer, Norfolk. Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Abercorn School at 38, Portland Place.
  • GODDARD, CHARLES WILLIAM HENRY. Aged 26. Able Seaman (no. T/2150). Son of Alexander Charles and Lucy Goddard of London. Husband of Janet Pickthall of 11 Long Row, Trinkelt Cottage, Swarthmoor, Ulverston, Lancashire
  • GODDARD, HENRY THORPE. Aged 25. Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. M/11218). Son of Henry and FS Goddard of Duncannon Cottage, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon. Native of Great Grimsby.
  • GOODSALL, JOHN HENRY. Aged 24. Leading Stoker (no. K/12209). Son of George Snashall Goodsall and Kate Adelaide Goodsall of 3 Peels Place, Ashford Road, Tenterden, Kent
  • GRANT, PATRICK JOSEPH. Aged 25. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/20768). Son of Patrick and Rose Grant of Liverpool
  • HAMMOND, JOHN WILLIAM. Aged 32. Gunner. Son of John FB Hammond. Husband of Sarah Elizabeth Hammond of 8, Markland Road, Dover
  • HANKS, FREDERICK FRANCIS. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/16885). Son of William Arthur Frederick Hanks of 19, Mawbey Road, Old Kent Road, London
  • HAYES, JOSEPH CHARLES. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class. Son of Joseph Charles Hayes of Belfast. Husband of Minnie Hayes of 5, Shaftesbury Street, Belfast
  • HAYMAN, WILLIAM HENRY. Aged 34. Leading Stoker (no. 305390). Husband of Mary Rachel Hayman of 3, Vigo Bridge, Tavistock.
  • HILL, RALPH REUBEN. Age 41. Artificer Electrical 2nd Class (no. 270525). Son of Samuel Hill (Farmer) of Dursley, Glos. Husband of Margaret A. Hill of 72, Bramshott Road, Goldsmith Avenue, Portsmouth
  • HOGG, ALBERT EDWARD. Aged 25. Leading Seaman (no. J/9082). Native of Tottenham, London
  • IRON, JAMES THOMAS. Aged 35. Leading Stoker (no. K/11011). Son of George and Eliza Iron, of Haverhill. Husband of Matilda Iron, of 47, High Street, Haverhill, Suffolk.
  • JACKSON, THOMAS WILLIAM. Aged 32. Able Seaman (no. 215915). Son of Thomas and Alice Jackson of Marlow. Husband of Edith Ellen Jackson of 29, South Place, Marlow, Bucks
  • LEEDER, EDWARD BARBER. Able Seaman (no. SS/5311)
  • MARTIN, HERBERT ERNEST. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/10876). Son of George and Bessie Martin of The Square, Purton, Swindon, Wilts. Native of Lambeth, London
  • MOCKFORD, FRED. Able Seaman (no. J/9223)
  • PEARSON, ALFRED EDWARD. Leading Seaman (no. 206490)
  • PUDDEFOOT, ERNEST JAMES. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. 146875). Son of Mr and Mrs Puddefoot of 50, Holywell Road, Watford, Herts. Husband of Rose Puddefoot, of 2, St Marys Villas, Church Road, Northwood, Middx
  • RIVETT, LEONARD WILLIAM. Able Seaman (no. J/18186)
  • ROWLEY, WILLIAM. Petty Officer
  • SCOTT, ALEXANDER. Aged 29. Leading Seaman (no. 232696). Husband of Elizabeth Scott of 36, Victoria Street, Dundee. Born at Aberdeen.
  • SELLICK, SYDNEY JOHN. Aged 26. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/12966). Son of John and Mary Sellick of 144, Bury Street, Lower Edmonton, London
  • SHEATH, HARRY. Aged 38. Petty Officer Stoker (no. 355913). Son of Charlotte Sheath of 56, Highfield Street, Fratton. Husband of Annie Gertrude Sheath, of 9 Highfield Street, Fratton
  • SPICE, ALBERT. Aged 27. Able Seaman (no. 239765). Son of Harry and E Spice of 78, Hartfield Crescent, Wimbledon, London. Awarded Africa General Service Medal (Somaliland Clasp) and Naval General Service Medal (Persian Gulf)
  • SPICE, JOHN. Aged 36. Able Seaman (no. 219424). Son of Mr H and Mrs F Spice of 48, Bygrove Street, Merton, Surrey
  • STOCKS, DAVID DE BEAUVOIR. Aged 34. Commander. Chevalier, Legion D’honneur (France). Son of John Wallace Stocks (late Capt. B. H. Lt. Horse) and Elizabeth Brock of Sutton, Surrey. Husband of of Westcombe, Evercreech, Somerset
Cheridah de Beauvoir Stocks was only the second British women to gain a Royal Aero Club aviator’s licence in 1911.
  • TREDGETT, JAMES HENRY. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/22822)
  • VAREY, ALAN M. Aged 23. Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. 21630). Son of Charles and Annie Varey of 44, Alfred Street, Bury, Lancs
  • WALKER, FREDERICK. Aged 26. Leading Telegraphist (no. J/25725). Son of Robert and Agnes Walker, of Dale Abbey, Ilkeston, Derbyshire
  • WATKINS, MALCOLM POYNTER. Signalman (no. J/19411)
  • WATTERSON, THOMAS ARTHUR. Aged 27. Lieutenant. Son of John and Clara Watterson of Liverpool. Husband of Marian Watterson, of 42, Dinmore Road, Wallasey, Cheshire
  • WELLESLEY, CLAUD MICHAEL ASHMORE. Aged 27. Lieutenant Son of Major EHC Wellesley and Mrs CI Wellesley of Bromley, Kilpedder, Co. Wicklow
    WINDIBANK, ALBERT CHARLES. Age 22. Able Seaman (no. J/18037). Son of the late John Windibank of Headley Park, Borden, Hants. Husband of Mary Elizabeth Jenner (formerly Windibank) of 64, Hollydale Road, Peckham, London
  • WOOD, THOMAS STEWART. Leading Stoker (no. K/12229)
  • WOODS, GEORGE OLIVER CHARLES. Aged 31. Engine Room Artificer 2nd
  • Class (no. M/2250). Son of George and Carrie Woods of Portsmouth. Husband of Annie Woods of 42, Bramshott Road, Southsea, Portsmouth
  • WYATT, WILLIAM THOMAS. Petty Officer Stoker (no. 308247)
  • YOUDALE, HAROLD WILLIAM. Aged 24. Officer’s Steward 2nd Class (no. L/3820). Son of William and Anne Youdale of 29, Beaconsfield Road, Brighton, Sussex
  • YOUNG, THOMAS SIDNEY. Aged 21. Able Seaman (no. J/16770). Son of Mr SH Young of 19, Marmion Terrace, Monkseaton, Northumberland

HM Submarine K17

HMS Fearless ploughed into K17 at the head of a line of submarines. She sank in about 8 minutes with the loss of all hands. The wreck is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

HMS K17 Lives Lost – Role of Honour

  • ADAMS, ALBERT VICTOR. Aged 31. Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class (no. M/632). Son of William and Susan Mary Adams of Tatham, Garfield Road, Paignton. Native of New Kingsbridge, Devon
  • AGNEW, WILLIAM. Able Seaman (no. SS/2844)
  • ANTRAM, HERBERT WILKINS. Aged 25. Lieutenant. Son of the Rev. CEP and Mrs Antram. Husband of Marjorie Lester Antram of The Vicarage, Blean, Canterbury
  • BERRIMAN, THOMAS HENRY. Aged 33. Able Seaman (no. 213863) Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Brother of Mrs RM White of 21, Granby Street, Devonport
  • BINNINGTON, CHARLES EDWARD. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/18963). Son of Henrietta Binnington of 10, Sea View Terrace, Northgate, Hunmanby, Yorks
  • BLACKMAN, JAMES. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/13078)
  • BROWN, JACK GLANFIELD. Aged 29. Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. M/8692). Son of John Brown and Henrietta Brown of 6, Gibson Street, Ipswich
  • CARESS, HENRY ALFRED. Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/115673)
  • CARTER, WILLIAM JAMES FREDERICK. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/17477)
  • COOK, WILLIAM JAMES. Aged 28. Leading Stoker (no. K/6363). Son of George Ambrose and Rose Cook, of Plumstead, London. Husband of Lily G Cook of 41, Albion Road, Woolwich
  • COOLEY, WILLIAM CLARK. Petty Officer (no. 227154)
  • COOPER, WILLIAM WILCOX. Aged 27. Leading Signalman (no. 239571). Son of the late George Cooper, Station Officer of St. Andrews Coast Guard Station
    CUNNINGHAM, ERNEST. Aged 19. Midshipman. Royal Australian Navy.
Midshipman Ernest Cunningham from Australian War Memorial. Public Domain.
  • DE BANK, ARTHUR GEORGE DAVID. Aged 22. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/22444). Son of Rhoda Rebecca de Bank of 1, Model Cottages, Horn Lane, Woodford Green, Essex and the late James William de Bank
  • DRAKE, ARTHUR RAYMENT. Aged 28. Able Seaman (no. 238786). Son of Mr Drake of 16 St. Philip’s Road, Newmarket, Suffolk
  • FINCH, WILLIAM. Leading Seaman (no. J/1069)
  • GALE, WILLIAM JOHN. Leading Stoker (no. K/11623)
  • GIBBS, JOHN. Aged 24. Able Seaman (no. J/10934). Son of John and Eliza Gibbs of 5, Otley Terrace, Lea Bridge Road, Clapton, London
  • GIBSON, ISAAC. Aged 39. Chief Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class (no. 270632). Son of Samuel and Charlotte Gibson of Belfast. Husband of Ellen
  • Duncan Gibson of 38 Sidney Street, Saltcoats, Ayrshire
  • GILL, ROBERT. Leading Seaman (no. 211672). Husband of Eliza Mary Saker (formerly Gill) of 88, Samuel Road, Kingston, Portsmouth
  • HAMMOND, FRANCIS. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. J/9547). Son of Joseph and Ellen Hammond of 49, Spring Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham
  • HEARN, HENRY JOHN. Aged 32. Lieut-Commander, Mentioned in Despatches. Son of Henry John and Laura Jane Hearn, of Bycroft, Church Stretton, Shropshire. Native of Shrewsbury
  • HERRING, HAROLD LOUIS. Aged 32. Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. M/13296). Son of Horace and Jane Herring of London. Husband of Victoria Herring of 45A, Sinclair Road, West Kensington
  • HOSKING, CECIL JAMES. Leading Seaman (no. J/16056)
  • JONES, EDWARD. Aged 23. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/20796). Son of Thomas and Grace Jones of Dingle, Brynmawr, Llanymynech
  • KNIGHT, GEORGE ALEXANDER. Aged 23. Leading Telegraphist (no. J/8438). Son of Charles and Mary Knight of 34, Helise Road, Brixton
  • KNOWLES, JAMES EDWARD. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/115292). Son of John Henry and Margaret Ann Knowles of 26, James Street, Bolton
  • LIGHTBODY, HENRY GEORGE. Aged 22. Able Seaman (no. J/24810). Husband of Jessie Hannah Louise Lightbody of 28, Redman Buildings, Bourne Estate, Holborn
  • LORD, FREDERICK EDWIN. Aged 18. Ordinary Telegraphist (no. J/55202). Son of John Berrie Lord and Eliza Lord of 42, Larden Road, Acton Vale, London
  • MCDONALD, JOHN RIDDELL. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/114477). Son of Hugh G and Sarah J McDonald of Central Fire Station, 82, Chichester Street, Belfast
  • MEADMORE, EDWARD JAMES. Leading Seaman (no. 223356)
  • MONTGOMERY, JOSEPH ROBERT. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. J/12871). Son of Arthur and Sarah Montgomery of 4, Hertford Square, Butts, Coventry
  • MORRIS, ERNEST. Aged 29. Petty Officer Stoker (no. 309458). Son of WE and H Morris of West End Cottage, Marden, Kent
  • MYOTT, DOMINICK. Aged 29. Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class (no. M/7565). Son of Patrick and Mary Myott of 23 Roches Row, Queenstown, Co. Cork
  • NETTLETON, HAROLD. Aged 22. Able Seaman (no. J/20766). Son of Ada Gilbertson (formerly Nettleton) of 20 Woodbine Street, Ossett, Yorks and the late John William Nettleton
  • NOLAN, PATRICK. Petty Officer (no. 284013)
  • RICKETTS, HENRY LEONARD. Aged 24. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/27466). Son of Henry Ricketts, of 2 Beaconsfield Road, Willesden Green, London. Husband of Dorcas Elizabeth Ricketts of 23 Brandon Road, Laira, Plymouth
  • SAMUEL, FREDERICK. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. J/10440). Son of Henry and Louisa Samuel of 89, Clementina Road, Leyton, London
  • SANGSTER, LEO FREDERICK MURRAY. Aged 22. Stoker 1st Class (no. K/22599). Mentioned in Despatches. Son of Ellen Annie Sangster of 1A, Post Office Cottages, Thames Road, Chiswick, London and the late Harry Sangster
  • SAVAGE, CHARLES HENRY. Aged 26. Officer’s Steward 2nd Class (no. L/2005). Son of William and Ellen Mary Savage of 66 High Street, Gosport
  • SAVAGE, CHARLES KETTERIDGE. Aged 30. Petty Officer Stoker (no. 311292). Husband of Lilian Taylor (formerly Savage) of 10 Ward Road, Eastney, Portsmouth
  • SINFIELD, ALBERT EDWARD. (Served as SIMPSON). Aged 25. Leading Seaman (no. J/1181). Son of Mr and Mrs TJ Sinfield of East Greenwich. Husband of Ellen Elizabeth Sinfield of 19 Caletock Street, East Greenwich, London
  • TILLEY, EDMUND. Aged 28. Leading Stoker (no. K/10609). Son of James Tilley of Coolham, Shipley, Sussex
  • TYRRELL, HUGO WILLIAM LOUIS. Aged 26. Lieutenant. Son of Sir William and Lady Margaret Tyrrell of 36, Egerton Crescent, Chelsea, London
William Tyrrell, 1st Baron Tyrrell and father of Hugo Tyrrell. Used under Creative Commons License the of the National Portrait Gallery.
  • WARDE, CECIL. Lieutenant
  • WHEBLE, HENRY HAVELOCK. Aged 30. Able Seaman (no. 225581). Son of John Edward and H. Wheble of 36 Amersham Vale, New Cross, London
  • WHITE, ALFRED. Aged 23. Able Seaman (no. J/6137). Son of Annie T White of Higher Terrace, Harrowbarrow, St. Dominick, Cornwall
Memorial to those lives lost.

Sources

Wrecksite.EU – HMS K4 [+1918]
Wikipedia – Battle of May Island
Great War Lives Lost