"A" class, pre WW1. - 5 photo's. + 11 crew graves of "A8"

Photo's 1 and 3 above courtesy of Mr. Peter Mitchell ( www.submerged.co.uk )

"Click" on Images to enlarge.

"Click" on Images to enlarge.

This class of submarine was, basically, a slightly enlarged version of the earlier "Hollands" and, like them, suffered from similar defects and vices.
The class as a whole had great surface stability problems having at the most only 600lb of reserve buoyancy.
60 Imperial gallons of water coming on board was enough to destroy their trim and cause them to lose control.
Most of the class sank, at one time or another, killing their crews and the graves shown below are from just one such incident here at Plymouth. 

The "A8" un-expectantly sank, trapping and killing most of her crew, in about 60ft. of water just outside Plymouth Breakwater in June 1905.
She was subsequently recovered and put back into service. 

The "A7" was not quite so lucky and was lost with all hands in January 1914 in Whitsands bay, to the South West of Plymouth.
Although no-one knows for sure what exactly happened to the "A7", it is quite probable that she was late arriving on station, during an exercise with other ships.
Probably she was also mishandled by her relatively inexperienced crew.
It is felt that, due to the fairly "choppy" conditions prevailing at that time in the area, her bow was pushed under by wave effect.
Her speed would have been sufficient to take her down deep enough for her open hatches to become submerged.
This would then allow the 60 gallons sufficient to seal her fate, - a mere dustbin full - to come on board. 

Frantic efforts would then have been made to try to bring her bows to the surface, which would only hasten her doom.
Any water she had taken on board would now run to her stern under the "Free surface effect" and down she would go, stern first, completely out of control.
When she was finally found, in nearly 150ft. of water, she was embedded stern first into the mud for 22ft.
Recovery attempts were made, but were eventually abandoned as unsuccessful,
and she remains to this day where she sank, laying level and upright on her marks.
As she is complete with her crew, and attempts appear to have been made to enter her,
she has now designated as a "Protected Wreck", and recreational SCUBA Diving on her has now been banned.

Follow this link from - "HERE" - to one of our "Sister Sites" to view a more complete report on the tragic loss of the "A7", 

and also from - "HERE" - to view a report, by the same site, on the loss of the "A8".  

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"A8" crew graves at "Ford Park Cemetery", Plymouth.

Arthur Bunn Crew.   Arthur Rylands.  Edmund Green.     George Beedham. James Simpson.

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John Mc.Night. Stephen Birch. Tom Reeve. William Ayloff.  William Bruckland.

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Thomas Cusack.

As this Grave marker is awkward to find, this 2nd photo above has been included to show
the whereabouts of Tom Cusack's marker in the Roman Catholic area.
His Marker is at the foot of the grave of Robert John Wallser M.C. 

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The "Ford Park Cemetery Trust" and the various "Submariners Associations" must be thanked for the cleaning and restoration of these markers.


Return to "Index 20" - Submarines.