Britain’s submarines had spectacular successes in the Baltic and Dardenelles. However, its’ most important role was to blockade Germany’s coastline, and protect Britain against invasion. Out of Britain’s 86 submarines at the start of the war, 76 were also used to protect British coastlines and shipping. They were also used to lay mines, observe enemy shipping and counter enemy submarines. During the war British Subs sank 18 German U Boats and the German Destroyer S-116. However, twenty British Sumarines were lost to enemy mines.
Some Hull Submarinersl, who died in the First World War include:-
Able Seaman, Sidney Davison Holmes, HMS Submarine 62, died 18/8/19, Russia, aged 22. Son of Rosina & Alfred Holmes, 3 Alicia Terrace, Craven Street.
Stoker, John O’Neill, HMS E16, died 22/8/1916, aged 22. His Next of Kin, was his sister Mrs Clarke, at 9 Welsted Street.
Lieutenant, Edward Desforge Collier, HMS E22, died 24/4/1916, aged 24. He is remembered on the memorial at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate, Hull.
Stoker, Arthur Mathew McClaren, HMS E36, died 19/1/1917, age 24. Son of Sarah Ann McClaren, 14 Cedar Grove, Exchange Street. He is Remembered on the stone pillars of St Mary Church, Sculcoates Lane.
Seaman, Edward George Rayner, HMS J6, died 15/10/1918, aged 24. Born Hull on 1/3/1893, he lived with his wife Jane Alice (Burch) at 1 Woods Street, Blyth, South Wales.
Stoker, Percival Cockerill, HMS K34, died 31/1/1918, age 23. He was the son of John & Minnie Cockerill, at 37 Laburnum Avenue, Garden Village. On board was another East Hull man, Stoker, Henry Wakelin Crawforth, from 2 Mentone Avenue, Arundel Street.
A long forgotten incident was the sinking of the Submarine HMS E13, in neutral Danish waters on the 19/8/1915. Two German Torpedo Boats attacked the grounded Submarine, and killed 15 Royal Navy sailors as they tried to abandon their ship. The incident caused outrage in Britain and Denmark, as the attack was a clear breach of International Law. The 14 bodies recovered were returned to Hull for burial and given full Military Honours. A large funeral procession was conducted throughout Hull City Centre.