Monday 29 January 1917 – We Lost 315

by greatwarliveslost

Francis Herbert Goodhart AM

Francis Herbert Goodhart AM

Just after completing her diving trials the submarine K13 makes one further test.  Commander Godfrey Herbert decides to take the submarine down one more time.  Checking the control panel he notes that all the lights show the proper green color indicating that the ventilating doors are closed and he begins his dive. One light however malfunctions and though it shows green the boiler room which it represents still has its ventilators open. As soon as the submarine dives the aft compartments flood and 34 sailors are instantly drowned. The sub settles in 10 fathoms of water and Herbert and 47 others sit in near-airless compartments waiting for rescue.

Commander Herbert and Commander Francis Herbert Heveningham Goodhart DSO (commanding officer of sister-boat K14) decide to attempt to reach the surface by equalizing the water and air pressure in the conning tower.  They agree that Goodhart will swim to the surface while Herbert will remain behind to stabilize the water and air pressure after he has gone. Accordingly, after placing in his belt a small tin cylinder with instructions for the rescuers, Commander Goodhart goes into the conning tower with Commander Herbert. The conning tower is flooded up to their waists, and the high-pressure air is turned on, the clips of the conning tower are knocked off and the conning tower lid is soon wide open. Commander Goodhart then stands up in the dome, takes a deep breath, and makes his escape, but, unfortunately, is blown by the pressure of air against part of the superstructure, and is killed by the force of the blow. Commander Herbert whose intention it had been to return inside the submarine after Commander Goodhart’s escape is involuntarily forced to the surface by the air pressure, and it is thus rendered possible for the plans for rescuing those still inside the submarine to be carried out.

Personally directing a salvage crew, Herbert channels air hoses to his trapped crew through the submarine’s ammunition hoist.  Relief comes none too soon as the foul air coming up from the sub is almost black.  The ballast tanks are then blown full of air and chain slings are affixed around the submarine.  In this manner the sub is hauled up and the 46 men still alive inside her hull are cut out with an acetylene torch.  No sooner has the last man stepped from the submarine than the submarine sinks again.

  • Commander Goodhard dies at age 31 he is the son of the Reverend Charles Alfred Goodhart Rector of Lambourne. He will be awarded the Albert Medal posthumously for his efforts.

The Anchor steamship California leaves New York with two hundred five passengers on board on what will prove to be her last Trans-Atlantic voyage.

Today’s losses include:

  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • An Albert Medal winner
  • The son of a Justice of the Peace

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant H B H Cox (Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at home. He is the son of G W S Cox JP.