Daily Event for June 1, 2005


June 1, 1939: The HMS Thetis, while on her sea trials, submerged but failed to return to the surface. The captain and a lieutenant managed to escape the sub, but 101 men were trapped inside. Within several hours two more men escaped. The wreck was quickly located and a valiant effort began to raise the boat before the crew died from lack of oxygen. Cables were passed around the stern and Thetis was pulled up, the stern breaking the surface. The plan was to cut a hole in the hull to rescue the remaining men. However, before this could be done Thetis tragically broke free of the line and sank again. This time for good. All 99 men died. This was the worst submarine disaster in British history.

The Thetis was located and raised in April of 1940, refitted and renamed Thunderbolt. This unlucky boat was sunk for a third time on March 14, 1943 by the Italian corvette Cicogna. This time all 63 hands were lost.

© 2005 Michael W. Pocock
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