Hms Thetis Survivors

Hms Thetis Survivors-26
The next morning four crew members, led by Captain Oram, escaped through a hatch using breathing apparatus.

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On her very first dive she took on water and sank suddenly to the seabed.

Through the night the crew worked doggedly to raise the vessel and were able to lighten the aft section enough to allow the stern to break the surface.

This Group 1 T Class submarine was experimental, and with the loss of 99 sailors and civilians she sank on 1st June 1939.

Thetis was a very early submarine in the days when submarines were very much a new concept, and it was being prepared for the war that was expected to follow in the near future.

Anyone wishing to attend should make their way to the riverside walk, to the north of the Woodside Ferry Terminal.

Due to the nature of the area there will not be seating available but free parking has been arranged with Peel Holdings on their premises at Woodside Business Park, CH41 1EL.Thetis was raised and salvaged a few months later and saw service in the Second World War, having been recommissioned as HMS Thunderbolt.She was lost with all hands in 1943 and thus she became one of the few military vessels to have been lost twice with her crew.coincidentally, today I have been to the old Birkenhead Priory (now mainly ruins) next door to the Cammel Laird yard where the Thetis was built.The tower of the church that was once attached to the priory (St Mary’s) has been restored and contains not only a memorial to the Thetis, but has the names and ranks / professions of all those lost (plus some survivors) mounted on individual plaques along the handrail leading up to the top of the tower.Derek Arnold, Chairman of the Liverpool Anchorage Club and son of Walter Arnold, one of the Thetis survivors, has been fundraising for a memorial to mark the 75th anniversary since last October.Appropriately, as many of those who died were workers from local shipyards, it has been very much a community effort.On the 3rd of September 1939, the day that Great Britain declared war on Germany and her allies, the submarine was towed to and grounded at Traeth Bychan beach.The bodies were then recovered from the submarine and either buried in Maeshyfryd Cemetery in Holyhead, or repatriated to their next of kins, It was subsequently repaired and re-launched as HMS Thunderbolt, only to be torpedoed and sunk on the 14th of March 1943 with all the crew losing their lives.Others attempted to escape in the same way but drowned when the hatch jammed.A cable was attached to Thetis, but this snapped and the submarine returned to the seabed.


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