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31 January 1918

By January 31, 2018No Comments
  • A series of mishaps during a Royal Navy training exercise in the North Sea results in the loss of two submarines and 108 lives. In the exercise codenamed EC1 forty vessels leave Rosyth naval base in Scotland in heavy mist to rendezvous with the rest of the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. As the 13th Submarine Flotilla approaches May Island they turn sharply to avoid a pair of minesweeping trawlers. Two submarines – the K4 and K17 – collide and sink; three others and a light cruiser are severely damaged. Many men survive the collision, but are ploughed down by vessels attempting their rescue. The subsequent investigation and court martial are covered up; full details are not released until the 1990s. The incident later became known as the “Battle” of May Island.