No.5 Tube

The Admiralty Regrets...

the loss of HMS/M Thetis in Liverpool Bay on Thursday June 1st. 1939

a memorial page by Steve Johnson....before endeavours fade

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...and the "Phoenix Risen" as HMS/M Thunderbolt December 3rd. 1940 to June 23rd. 1943

HMS/M Thetis motto: "I bide my time"

e-mail Steve Johnson

Note: It can hardly be lost on the inquiring mind that the recent tragic loss of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk is also an exact re-run of the loss of the Thetis - "then" they read of it in the press and heard of it on the wireless - "now" we read of it on the .net and watch it on Sky TV. Bungle after bungle, confusion and lack of direction, lots of talk, little action, politics over men's lives - nothing has changed over 60 years. 

Too much gold braid and too little common sense.

Gallery of illustrations at bottom of page

HMS/M Thetis was a brand new, spanking new submarine, the third of the then modern and new class of submarine boats...the "T" class boats. She was the first submarine built on Merseyside by Cammell Laird. She was the pride of the navy, of the men who built her and the men who sailed in her.

To so very many, ninety nine of them , she was soon to become their tomb.

On her very first dive, her very first venture into the element for which she had been designed and built, she died. Those with her, save four died too. So close to safety, with the stern above water, the steel hull that should have protected them from the dangers of the deep, became their coffin wall.

Why did this tragedy happen. Bad luck, a series of bad luck, a series of mishaps which on their own would not have been fatal, came together to make a lethal combination for all involved. On board were many civilians, technical and industrial workers from the builders yard, officers and ratings , not just from Thetis but from other ships, even food catering staff: there was to be a grand buffet on board as this was to be a grand event. Thetis had almost double the number of souls on board that she would usually have.

These visitors came to Thetis to see, learn, watch, observe, test, adjust and to enjoy a new build submarine...for Thetis was on trials and on her way to her maiden dive at sea.

So why did she sink?

Of the mishaps what was the first one that started the chain? Which was the first domino to fall? The first one was not the one that did the fatal deed. It has never been explained as to who, whom, or why the external bow cap of No. 5 torpedo tube was open.

No. 5 tube was flooded, it was open to the sea, while Thetis made her maiden passage out to the diving area her No.5 torpedo tube cap was open......a mystery as to why to this day.

Although not good practice, it is generally not lethal. That is because the rear or inner door of a torpedo is always shut when the tube is full of water.The two doors, inner and outer are never , ever, open at the same time....except on Thetis on that fateful day.

On her transit to the diving area Thetis was behaving slightly different to helm than one would expect, even on a new and un tested new build. She was also a little to high in the water on one side when compared to the other...in other words she was not truly floating upright at the correct level...she was too light....it has never been explained why.

This should not have been so as all this had been calculated by maths, and tried and tested formula that had been proved for many years in the submarine service. This calculation, a mixture of theory and practical shifting about of, and taking on of,...pig iron ballast,to put on the submarine "her trim", had been done, approved and demonstrated to the Admiralty overseers at the builders yard. So why? We do not know.

As she closed up for her first dive..she just would not go done. She would not dive. Then suddenly she did, her bow dropped and down she went......to die. Her first dive was her last.

In the forward torpedo compartment water had gushed in through the 21 inch wide No. 5 torpedo tube that incredibly was open to the sea.Immediately she became heavy as she filled with water forward. Pure bad luck, small design quirks of water tight door closing, decisions that would be right any other day became deadly wrong today.She went down and stayed down.

The internal rear door of No. 5 tube had been opened at the same time as the external bow cap of the same tube was also opened. Water flooded in in a torrent overpowering all and making the closing of the hatch impossible. The impossible had happened. Both doors open on a torpedo tube while at sea.

A speck of paint, or rather enamel had blocked the test drain pipe tap on the tube. This was a test to see if the tube was full or empty of water. If the tube is dry, no water will run out of this pipe, if however the tube is full of water, then water will run out. Except that at this critical instant on Thetis, this test drain pipe was blocked by a spot of enamel. So even though the tube was full of water, none came out. So the door was opened and Thetis sank.

Someone at the builders yard while applying protective enamelling to the inside of this tube had allowed a drip of enamel to run, trickle, to seep into this pipe....un-noticed.Thetis fate was sealed. Their are checks to test the patency of this pipe to avoid blockages but in this case...but, but.....The bow cap was open ...but, the trim was wrong ..but, but, many buts, few answers, dead men.

Those trapped in Thetis which by now had her bows stuck in the mud tried everything to break free, to rise to the light and life that existed above the water, but, but, again too many buts, no luck, just bad luck. Even in this deadly situation Thetis could have survived, but for, and due to this and that....she did not. Brave men, naval and civilian fought to live as the air around them turned to a soup that would not only extinguish a candle, but a man`s life.

Four escaped, ninety nine did not. More should have, but, again but...did not. Some waited when they should have tried to escape earlier. Ignorance of the Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus proved a handicap, at that time submariners received little or no training in "how to escape"...and there were so many people using up the 36 hours of air....36 hours for half the number of people!! Navy rescue efforts were at best confused, lack of plan, common purpose, red tape, naval politics, rank issues, confusion and sheer helplessness hampered the rescue at every corner.

Thetis could have been rescued, but for, and if had, or due to......all small errors which on their own would be a hindrance, came together in a fatal cocktail.

Thetis died 140 feet down in Liverpool Bay. Rank in death serves all men equally.Civilians alongside naval ratings, stokers alongside officers, Admiralty overseers alongside food caterers, all entered a permanent sleep held by the unfeeling clench of the muddy cold waters of Liverpool Bay on a summer`s day.

The 100th. Man

Salvage operations on Thetis aimed at raising her, which is what eventually did happen, resulted in the death of one of the divers involved in this dangerous and cold work. On August 23rd. 1939, Diver Petty Officer Henry Otho Perdue died of a severe "bend."

Sunday 3rd. September saw Thetis intentionally grounded ashore at Moelfre Bay, Anglesley. It was the same day that war was declared. Human remains that had not already been removed by the salvage team were now brought out to a decent Christian Naval Funeral, with full honours.


FOUND! living in Plymouth ~ a "lost" living Thetis widow - Vera Feeney (now long happily remarried as Vera Warner, but sadly widowed once again) ~ loving widow of Leading Stoker Jimmy Feeney, CLICK HERE for her story. feeni32.jpg (2791 bytes)


Uncle Tom

by Brigid Evans

My Uncle Tom Bambrick (Stoker) died on the Thetis . He was my mother's oldest brother.He was born in Bawnree Co. Carlow Ireland the oldest of eleven children, nine boys and two girls. He went to England to work and joined the British Navy. He married his wife Mary the September before he died and she was expecting their first child when he died.They were living in a flat in London and Mary was not aware of the sinking of the submarine, but learned of her husband's death when she saw a newspaper with the headline Thetis Sinks. She returned to Castlecomer,Kilkenny shortly after his death. She had a son and called him Tom after his father. She lived into her eighties and never remarried. Their son Tom still lives in Castlecomer.

My mother is now eighty two and only four of the family are still alive,s he has a photo of Tom on her windowsill in his navy uniform and often talks of the anguish of the wait for his body to be returned for burial. He is buried in the family plot in Paulstown Co. Kilkenny. When he was returned for burial his casket had to be carried on a horse drawn carriage because it would not fit in a hearse as it was lead lined and indeed it was the last funeral of its kind in Paulstown.


Joyce Bentley, Chairperson of the Thetis Family Association writes on how the loss of the Thetis touched her & her family

Our family lived in Stalybridge, Cheshire. Leading Seaman John Turner was already in the navy when his sister Joyce was born. There were two other older siblings, Ann and Jim, so that Joyce grew up almost like an only child. On Thursday evening June 1st, when preparations for Ann’s wedding were complete, the police called at the house to bring the news that Thetis had not surfaced.  John was to have come home for the wedding accompanied by our father who was working in Ellesmere Port. Dad telegrammed that the wedding must go ahead and that he was now at Cammell Laird shipyard with other relatives waiting for news. Joyce could not understand why suddenly everything had changed from joy to sadness and anxiety and wondered why her dad and brother John were not at the wedding. After the ceremony it was known that all hope had been abandoned and that the 99 men on board Thetis were dead. John is buried in the mass grave at Holyhead. Ann and her new husband cancelled their honeymoon. The little girl seated in the wedding photo is me – Joyce Bentley.

 In 1942 brother Jim, then a P.T instructor in the Military Police, was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and was sent from Changi jail to work on the railway of death, where he died in 1943. Ann’s husband died fighting with the 14th Army in Burma.

 

Leading Seaman John H. Turner, aged 24, died on HMS Thetis. Brother of Joyce Bentley, Chairperson Thetis Families Association

This photo shows the wedding of Leading Seaman John Turner’s sister Ann on June 3rd 1939, with another brother on the left-hand side and  Joyce Turner, little sister (now Joyce Bentley, who wrote this) sitting down. Our father was at Cammell Laird shipyard waiting for news of John on Thetis. He had sent word that the wedding must go ahead. 

TO CONTACT THE THETIS FAMILIES ASSOCIATION

TEL: J M BENTLEY 0161 339 9447

joycembentley@uw.net 

Here is a newsletter from them on latest sub safety, hoping to prevent another Thetis-like  disaster (this is a word document)


Ernest Frank Guelf Cox 

by John Moore

One who had planned to rescue the crew - but in vain thanks to the "support" of the Admiralty - regarded as the Red Adair of that time

Ernest Frank Guelf Cox was born in 1883 in Wolverhampton . Educated at Dudley Road Free School between seven and thirteen. He was for a short time an errand boy for his father a draper. He taught himself electricity at the local library as he was sure that it would replace gas as a form of heating and lighting. He married the mayor of Wishaw’s daughter, Jenny who bore their only child my mother Euphemia, always called Bunts.Through many jobs achieved when his age was about half what would have been expected – Installing the first electricity in Isle of Wight – Installing Motherwell’s first electrical street lighting and financed by Danks started the Overton Forge and Cox and Danks.

C and D as they were usually known moved from making shell casings for the great war to scrap merchants with eventually 14 yards around the UK .He raised 32 of the German Imperial Fleet scuppererd at Scapa Flow in Orkney.

When the price of a battleship delivered to Rosyth was less than the cost he sold his interest there to Metal Industries. During WWII C & D were one of only 3 scrap merchants authorized to operate (blame him for cutting your railings down). My father was his managing director and it was thought that my brother and I would inherit the company or at least work in it, but it was sold again in its entirety to MI in a typical move without consultation over lunch.  My mother and father were furious.

He died of prostate cancer in 1959 at home in Torquay. A born engineer, a bully, a genius and a man that needed to be liked all the time.  I am very proud of him.

HE HAD A PLAN TO RESCUE THE THETIS - AT THE COURT OF INQIURY AFTERWARDS IT WAS FINALLY HEARD. READ IT HERE AS A word.doc


"He Missed the Boat"

Arthur James Campbell in 1936

........a true story by Ian L.Campbell

Some time after my father died in 1985, his sister, (now deceased ) told me that it was a quirk of fate that he lived as long as he did. According to my Aunt, he was due to sail as a civilian, on the ill-fated HMS/M Thetis on her disastrous initial trial, but was ultimately replaced by a more senior colleague.

I know not who this unfortunate man was, nor would I recognise any names but I suspect he was in the same drawing office as my father.

It would be of interest to me and my family if there exists any provisional or final manifesto to finally substantiate my beliefs.

ARTHUR JAMES CAMPBELL started his employment with the Admiralty as an apprentice at Rosyth Dockyard about 1920 and after several moves, all within the Admiralty he retired as a senior draughtsman at the then V.D.E. Portland around 1966.

Between 1937 and 1944 he was a draughtsman in the Royal Navy Torpedo Factory in Greenock and probably worked on torpedoes and ancillary equipment used in submarines.

At the time of the Thetis incident I was a 7 year old boy in bed with measles and I remember father and mother following the story on the "wireless."

Father showed unusual interest as the drama unfolded and he gently explained to me, with the aid of simple sketches, what was happening. I remember hearing the word "hawser" and another meaning for the word "camel."

Father never talked of his work and it was not until later that I discovered "he drew bits of torpedoes." By this time the memory of Thetis had faded in my mind and neither parent ever mentioned it.

It was only after my Aunt`s revelation that I realised there was a possible personal connection with this story and I may yet find out the truth.

Ian L.Campbell


" ...and so did he!"

Ernest Hall, who passed away in 1985 in Perth, Western Australia: an extract from his personal memoirs

"...It was soon after this event that I was drafted from L23 into the base to stand by for new construction work. To fill in my time, I was placed in the engineers office reproducing drawings and keeping records - a very pleasant job that allowed me to go home three nights out of four...... there was much going on at this time in the submarine world and war clouds were gathering.


I was drafted to HMS Thetis, a new type of submarine known only as "T" Class. The draft, there were two of us, was delayed a few days so that we could assist in preparing for an Admiral's inspection of the base. This did not appear to be important at the time as Thetis had a full crew and was ready for sea trials.

After the inspection I received orders to proceed next day to Barrow in Furness to join my new boat. I left the Fort (Fort Blockhouse) with the other young stoker the next morning, and it was not until we reached the station that we heard that Thetis had sunk on trials. We were terribly upset and returned to the Fort for further instructions. I was immediately put back into the office.

This was a bad time in the submarine service. Poor communications, bad decisions, lack of proper equipment etc resulted in the loss of the boat and all but four of the people on board. About forty of them were civilians and Admiralty experts. There is a book written on this disaster. A score of my old friends including Captain Bolus were lost. We could not afford to lose these types of men in so useless a fashion.

The list of the crew "discharged dead" was placed on my desk for the records. My name was included. I was thankful to go home that night.

Shortly after this I was drafted to HMS Truant..........."

Thanks due to his son John Hall of Sydney, Australia


" ...and also so did he!"

Ron Shaw DOB 15.6.13 now widowed, father of Robin, and living in Huddersfield

At the time of the Thetis disaster Ron Shaw was a 26 year old civilian tool fitter for Cammell Laird. He lived at the Y.M.C.A. at Birkenhead. He was one  of the team working on the Thetis when an administrative error took a hand in fate and saved his life.

Ron should have been paid 35/- "float" or "trials" money - an extra payment for the hardships to be expected by a civilian when on sea trials. Ron was expecting to go to sea on the Thetis on that fateful and tragic day when for some unknown blunder his 35/- did not get paid to him.

So he refused to go and lived. He was angry and not getting his expected bonus so he came off the Thetis and transferred to work on the Trident building alongside.

As Ron says "I was fortunate in sticking to my principles."

During his time spent on constructing the Thetis he worked in a tight four man team. His mates were: George Scarf, Billy Waterson and Archie Craven. These men were older than Ron, mostly in their 40`s and during many late night work shifts the four men had "become wrapped in each other's lives."

These three  men looked after Ron, and Ron grew to know their wives too.

His three workmates did get paid their 35/- and as a result did go to sea with Thetis for that first and last dive.They never came back. Ron was devastated at the loss of his close work mates. The shock of their loss was not immediate and did  not hit him at all once - he was numbed at the concept of them "not being there anymore." He feels that he must have been close to a nervous breakdown.

When the Thetis was finally recovered and the bodies removed, Billy Waterson`s wife gave Ron, Billy's pocket watch that Billy had been wearing when he perished. Ron had it inscribed to Billy's memory and still treasures it to this day.

Ron Shaw was a work colleague of Frank Shaw, in his own words he says he was a "close associate of Frank Shaw", Frank Shaw, a civilian, being one of the four who escaped from the Thetis. Although Ron and Frank worked together on various projects after the disaster they never discussed the loss of the Thetis.

For Ron's part he did not want to approach the subject as he was too numbed at the loss of his three pals. Ron does say that Frank Shaw was devastated by the whole affair and the scale of the loss.

When describing the scene outside the gates of Cammell Laird's as the wives and families waited for the good news that never came, he says - "it was electric, but in a negative way, ....so gloomy and so intense that all speech is completely devoid - not a passing word."

With war on the horizon work had to go out at the shipyard as Ron worked on Trident, Taku and Talisman. Ron still well recalls their constructor`s number, Thetis was 10-29, Trident was 10-30, Taku was 10-31 and Talisman was 10-32.


A story from Wreckmaster Brock;

recounted by Marilyn Heenan, the daughter of Stanley Hickson. Stanley worked with Charles Brock in what  was to be the tragic attempt to rescue the crew

    
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left: Mr.Stanley Hickson, right, Capt. Charles Brock MBE (click to enlarge)


"The Thetis disaster occurred before I was born but recollections of snippets of conversation as a child, I
have never forgotten.
My father, Stanley Hickson had joined the Salvage Department of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board
in 1937 as salvage engineer. Captain Charles Brock AIBE was my father's superior and taught him
almost everything he knew about the salvage of wrecked vessels on the River Mersey. Captain
Charlie Brock was the Wreckmaster for the Thetis and my father was part of the team which was involved
in endeavours to save the lives of those unfortunate people trapped in the submarine.
    
My father who did some of the diving in the operation, would become both upset and angry when he spoke
about the disaster, he said it need never have happened. Charlie Brock, a man with a world of experience in
salvage operations, had put forward a strategy for a rescue ( I am unsure what this was ), which he and my father,
firmly believed had a good chance of succeeding. However, due to red tape (MoD ?) the plan was not
allowed to be put into place. I also remember him telling me how terribly sad it was to see the bodies
brought from the Thetis - they were extremely swollen.
    
As I grew up I remember times my younger sister and I spent with my father on the 'Vigilant' which I
understand, was the MD & HB salvage vessel, and the 'Salvor'. Now my father is dead and I am in my 50's
and like so many other people I think if only, if only. If only I had learned more from him about the disaster,
but I was too young to understand the enormity of it all. Now I do.
    
My father died in 1994 at the age of 83. He was with the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board until his
retirement at the age of 60 by which time he was the Superintendent of Salvage."
  

A flight over the stricken Thetis

We go on a newspaper aerial photo sortie over the stricken Thetis to take the photos that the world would see of her stern sticking in the air with her bows on the bottom.

Fred Ramage of the "Weekly News" gives us his on the spot report.


Do you know of Harry (Henry) Payne DOB 26th October 1898 Thornaby, Leeds? - involved in the rescue and later  recovery of the Thetis

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Harry on his wedding day to a Miss Edmond at St. Judes Church South Shields

CLICK HERE FOR STORY


A MEMORIAL PAGE  TO STOKER A E YATES  BY HIS GRANDSON, ADRIAN YATES OF PLYMOUTH A web site with many images and scans that have not been widely seen before as well as personal photos.


HMS/M Thunderbolt

Due to wartime needs she was not scrapped, she was gutted, refitted, re-equipped, and reborn as HMS/M Thunderbolt who would serve her King, her country, her men and the memory of her first souls, those of Thetis, proudly and loudly by her gallant actions until exactly one year and one day after that fatal accident had robbed her and all in her of life; she was lost with all hands in a depth charge attack in the Mediterranean.

For the "second time" The Admiralty regrets the loss of the same submarine.

She sank bow down, stern up in the air, history repeated itself. This time there were no survivors. Thetis now perpetually sleeps, 3,000 feet down, with the bodies of one crew and the spirit of a former crew, each united with one another in the only home that a submariner can know, his boat.

These images were screen grabbed from a documentary on the Discovery Channel and show some of the crew of the Thunderbolt. 1....2....3.....4.....5


Harry Verney tells me that at Eton College there is a boat called "Thetis" and that during the annual boat procession, the crew wear black straw hats in respect and memory of those who lost their lives on the submarine "Thetis."


GALLERY OF ILLUSTRATIONS

LAUNCH OF THETIS AT CAMMELL LAIRD YARD, BIRKENHEAD, JUNE 29TH. 1938

MEMORIAL TO HIS MAJESTY`S SUBMARINE THETIS AT HOLYHEAD DEDICATED NOVEMBER 7TH. 1947

STERN OF THETIS STICKS OUT OF WATER, WRECK MASTER BROCK AT WORK ON STERN, A BOAT FROM SALVAGE VESSEL "VIGILANT" LIES ALONGSIDE

SMALL BOATS CIRCLE THE STERN OF THETIS ON FRIDAY JUNE 2ND. 1939. THETIS IS SHOWN CIRCLED. LEFT AND CENTRE ARE TWO TRIBAL CLASS DESTROYERS, THEN HMS BRAZEN, TUG "GREBECOCK" AND SALVAGE VESSEL "VIGILANT."

A MODEL SHOWS HOW THETIS WAS EVENTUALLY LIFTED BY M.V. ZELO

THETIS BEACHED AT MOELFRE BAY, ANGLESEY

A DIVER PREPARES TO DESCEND TO THE SUNKEN HULL OF THETIS. CHIEF PETTY OFFICER DICK OLIVER FROM CHRISTCHURCH (earlier awarded Albert Medal for life saving at sea, and later the B.E.M.) SENIOR DIVER OF NAVAL DEEP DIVING VESSEL HMS TEDWORTH (NOT IN PICTURE) HEAVY WIRES LEAD TO THE STRICKEN SUBMARINE BELOW. The person tending Dick Oliver's air lines is PO Charles (Soapy) Watson. Soapy was invalided out of the navy as a Lieutenant after a diving accident and passed away on 17.12.86.

RELATIVES AND FRIENDS WAIT AT CAMMELL LAIRD OFFICES. MR. S. WOODWARD, COMPANY SECRETARY SPEAKING.

LEADING STOKER WALTER ARNOLD AND MR. FRANK SHAW ON THEIR WAY TO THE TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY AT THE LONDON LAW COURTS, JULY 1939. PRESIDED OVER BY MR. JUSTICE BUCKNILL.(TWO OF THE FOUR SURVIVORS )

THESE FOUR NOTES ARE THE MESSAGE BROUGHT UP FROM THE STRICKEN THETIS IN A WATERPROOF POUCH BY TWO OF THE SURVIVORS CAPT. H. P. K. ORAM, R.N.( a passenger) AND LIEUT. F.G. WOODS, R.N. IT IS IN THE HAND OF COMMISSIONED ENGINEER ROY GLEN

1.........2............3.............4

TWO MAN ESCAPE COMPARTMENT OF HMS/M THETIS

CONFUSING INDICATORS FOR No. 5 and 6 TUBE BOW CAPS......SHUT POSITION IS NOT IN IDENTICAL POSITION ON EACH INDICATOR...more than this is beyond me.

................................................................................................................................................................................................

THUNDERBOLT `S CONTROL ROOM. LIEUT. COMMANDER C.B. CROUCH R.N. AT THE PERISCOPE. LIEUT. R.L. BIRD, R.N.R. AT CHART TABLE.

THUNDERBOLT RETURNS FROM A PATROL

BRIDGE OF THUNDERBOLT: FACING FORWARD, FIRST LIEUT., LIEUT. J.S. STEVENS, R.N.(left) and COXSWAIN CHIEF PETTY OFFICER C.S. JONES (right)

HMS/M THUNDERBOLT

THUNDERBOLT`S SKULL AND CROSS BONES: left; LIEUT. R.L. BIRD, R.N.R., centre; LIEUT. B.J. ANDREW R.N., LIEUT. J. EDGAR, R.N., right

photos: c.Keystone Press Agency, Kemsley Picture Service


About this memorial page

The sad story of Thetis was told to me as a young boy by my ex-R.N. father and has interested me ever since. I know a little, certainly more than many, and much more than I can squeeze into this page. Therefore if any of you would like information on a specific point, or have a specific question, I will be happy to try and answer them. Phone: 01752 772699 or mobile 07811 379885 Plymouth (UK)

PERSONNEL LISTINGS

IN MEMORIAM CREW OF HMS/M THETIS

IN MEMORIAM PASSENGERS OF HMS/M THETIS

SURVIVORS OF THETIS

IN MEMORIAM CREW OF HMS/M THUNDERBOLT

GALLANTRY AWARDS FOR HMS/M THUNDERBOLT

AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MED: A WORLD WAR II SUBMARINE SLEEPS: HMS/M PERSEUS IS FOUND


Books on loss of HMS/M Thetis

" THE ADMIRALTY REGRETS......." CORGI BOOKS, by C.E.T. WARREN and JAMES BENSON, 1960 ( 1958 by GEORGE G. HARRAP ) COVER ART ON THIS LINK

NOW REPUBLISHED.....a NEW EDITION OF THIS BOOK HAS BEEN RECENTLY REPUBLISHED, CLICK ON THIS LINK TO e-MAIL THEM or DAVE ROBERTS, MIDDEVIEW, NEW ROAD, GWESPYE, FLINTSHIRE, CH8 9LS. It is the definitive story of the disaster in Liverpool Bay and is a very moving tribute of a desperate struggle to live - one cannot say a factual book about the deaths of 99 men is a "good read" but it is a "must read" to the student of Royal Naval history and a testament to the bravery and self sacrifice of ordinary men. This new edition contains a new forward by Derek Arnold, a son of a Thetis survivor as well as previously unpublished photos and documents, such as this telegram, a Menu from the on-board buffet and a photo of a Dhan Buoy on the stricken Thetis. (thanks to Avid Publications and Fox Photos)

A BRAND NEW BOOK

HMS THETIS - SECRETS AND SCANDAL - HAS BEEN RECENTLY  BEEN PUBLISHED,  CLICK ON THIS LINK TO e-MAIL THEM or DAVE ROBERTS, MIDDEVIEW, NEW ROAD, GWESPYE, FLINTSHIRE, CH8 9LS.  It is a new book looking into some of the still unresolved mysteries of this tragic loss - which even now some 60 years on, still weaves a spell of intrigue. It contains much new and not publicly seen information, photos and contemporary printed material. Some how in this modern world of "conspiracy theories" it all seems more obvious to the enlightened researcher, as well as a more casual one, that the Navy made error after error and then refused to admit any of it, finally covering the whole affair up in the protective shroud of the looming Second World War.  Who was to blame? What did Churchill know? What of the widows left behind? Was it a "them and us" - of the upper crust versus the lower ranks?

The publication of this book and it`s revealing factual historical detail therein may well turn the expression of "conspiracy theories" to "conspiracy facts."

Some of the images (thanks to Avid Publications)

Utility Airways document

Ticket for the dance that tragically never was

Dependent document

Identity document

Offer of a respite break

Damage loss document

Contemporary press clip

Woods injury document - reference his successful escape

The burial ceremony at Holyhead

Dedication of Thetis Monument at Maeshyfryd Cemetery, Holyhead 1947

IN MEMORY - a few of the 99

Stoker A. E. Yates A MEMORIAL PAGE BY HIS GRANDSON, ADRIAN YATES OF PLYMOUTH

Bill Allen on his wedding day to Mary

Widowed Mrs Mary Allen and her children

Mrs Allen outside the law corts in London during the enquiry

Able Seaman Stan Cromblehome

P.O. C E "Ces" Smithers

Lt. P E J Ryan

Chief Stoker Harold "Jack" Dillon-Shallard

Stoker P.O. Jim Wells

Signalman Francis Brinley Batten

Engine Fitter Richard Homer

Forman Caulker "Bob" Kipling

Boilermaker Caulker Bill Beatie

Comm. Eng. Roy Glenn

Ships Fitter Bill Watterson

Electician George Summers

Naval Telegraphist Tommy Mortimer: and his last poignant love letter to his fiancee Edith Lawton

Chief Engineer (civilian) Arthur "Archie" Robinson

THE ROGUE`S YARN by CAPTAIN JOE ORAM R.N. LEO COOPER PUBLISHING, 1993. Capt. Oram was one of the four who escaped from the sunken Thetis. He was on board as an observer, in civilian clothes, even though he was a Captain.


A STAGE-PLAY ABOUT THE THETIS TRAGEDY

A very emotional play on the story of the Thetis loss is to be put on at the Pacific Road Theatre in Birkenhead, UK, dates are the 11th, 12th and 13th February 2000. Tickets are £7.50 and the Box Office phone is 0151 666 5023.


A SMALL SELECTION OF SUBMARINE PHOTOGRAPHS

Motor room of unknown class of submarine, note sign "WATCH YOUR AMMETERS"

Crews take on board duffel coats in possible preparation of a patrol in icy waters. This could be a "U" class of British submarine.

This is a fine back-lit photo of what appears to be an "O" or "P" class of British submarine.

This boat is riding very high in the water. This indicates that much of its machinery, and hence it`s weight, is missing. A major refit would cause this, or she may have just be launched. Class of submarine appears to me to be a "U" class of British submarine.

A fine almost full hull photograph from a high viewpoint of a "U" class British submarine....upon launching?

Three "U" class ??? British submarines alongside a Depot Ship.

"L" Class British submarine L.9 sails down the Hamoaze from Devonport Dockyard heading for the waters of Plymouth Sound. Large scan of this image on this link


THE THETIS FAMILIES ASSOCIATION

and a newsletter from them on latest sub safety, hoping to prevent another Thetis (this is a word document) familyassoc.doc

TEL: J M BENTLEY 0161 339 9447

joycembentley@uwclub.net 


more Steve Johnson cyberheritage web pages, many on a naval theme