- HMS A5
HMS "A5" was an early
Royal Navy submarine. She was a member of Group Two of the first British A-class of submarines (a second, much different A-class submarine appeared towards the end of the Second World War). Like all members of her class, she was built at Vickers Barrow-in-Furness.
Immediately after commissioning she and her tender HMS "Hazzard" travelled to Queenstown, (now
Cobh) Ireland. On 16 February 1905 at 10:05 whilst tied up alongside "Hazzard" an explosion occurred onboard.
Six of the crew were immediately killed by the explosion or died shortly afterwards:
Sub-LieutenantF C Skinner
Chief Engine Room ArtificerCharles Sinden
Petty Officer1st Class Arthur Manley
Petty Officer1st Class William J Pryor
Leading StokerEarnest Goldthorpe
LieutenantH G J Good and the other four crew members survived.
Sub-Lieutenant Skinner's remains were buried with military honours in his home town of
Bedford, Bedfordshirewhilst the other five dead crewmen were interred in Old Church Cemetery near Cobhon 20 February 1905. The town virtually closed down for the funeralas a mark of respect, and bands and pipers from HMS "Emerald", the Gordon Highlandersand that of Rear Admiral McLeod, the commanding officer of Haulbowline Naval Base.
An inquiry and inquest were held in Haulbowline Base and Cobh Town Hall respectively. The conclusion of the inquiry was that the first explosion was caused by the ignition of a mixture of
petrolvapour and airwhich had accumulated towards the stern of the boat. It had been triggered by a sparkfrom the electric switch when the submarine's main propulsion motor was turned on. Either clothing or electrical insulation which was smouldering from the first explosion triggered the second which was underneath the conning tower.
She was returned to
Barrow-in-Furnessthe following month for repairs and returned to service in the Home Fleet in October. She was used for training until paid off for disposal in December 1915 and was finally broken up in Portsmouthin 1920.
As the accident occurred in peacetime, the graves do not form part of the responsibility of the
Commonwealth War Graves Commissionand eventually fell into neglect.The Irish Naval Service, donated a granite block with a brass plaque giving details of the A5 tragedy, and this was unveiled in March 2000.
Much of the material, relating to the Cobh accident, was provided by Mr John Gregory, Secretary Cork & County R N A. It was first published in the journal of the
Maritime Institute of Ireland. Publication is encouraged so that these submariners will not be forgotten.
* [http://www.mii.connect.ie/history/sub/sub.html "Forgotten Submariners" from the
Maritime Institute of Ireland]
* [http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/great_britain/submarines/pages/a_1902_class/a_5_roll_of_honour.htm HMS A-5 Roll of Honour]
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