Battle of May Island

 

Submarines H.M.S. K4  and H.M.S. K17 were lost with all hands on the night of 31st January - 1st February 1918.
 
K4 was part of the 12th Submarine Flotilla and K17 was part of the 13th Submarine Flotilla which were both on route from Forsyth to Scapa Flow to take part in night time fleet exercises (Operation E.C.1)
 
Five accidental collisions occurred between eight Royal Navy vessels during the night, resulting in the sinking of the two submarines and the loss of 104 lives.
 
Three other submarines and a light cruiser were damaged. This series of collisions were later ironically known as 'The Battle of May Island' after the nearby Isle of May in the Firth of Forth.
 
The investigation and court martial were kept quiet, with much of the information not released until the 1990s. [Ref: wikipedia]
 
A full list of casualties can be seen at naval-history.net. A memorial to these men can be seen at Anstruther, Fife [Ref: maritimequest]
 

HMS K4 ran aground on Walney Island in January 1917. Wikimedia Commons

Local Crewmen lost: Submarine K4
OBIT RANK FORENAME SURNAME BURIED or COMMEMORATED
view Stoker 1st Class PATRICK JOSEPH GRANT CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL
view Able Seaman LEONARD WILLIAM RIVETTCHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL
view Lieutenant THOMAS ARTHUR WATTERSON PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL