Anniversary of HMS Thetis disaster (UK)

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On 1 June 1939 His Majesty’s submarine Thetis sank in Liverpool Bay while on her diving trials. Her loss is still the worst peacetime submarine disaster that the Royal Navy has suffered with ninety-nine men drowning.

Why did it take so long to find the Thetis especially after those aboard had so skillfully managed to get her stern a good 18 feet above sea level? Then, once found, why was no action taken to cut into the submarine to get those trapped aboard out?

Now, as the 70th anniversary approaches, Tony Booth’s Thetis Down: The Slow Death of a Submarine provides some fresh evidence effectively reopening the case.

Controversially no one has ever been held officially accountable for this tragedy. But it is generally accepted that, in preparing the vessel for her dive, it had been decided to open a torpedo tube’s rear-door. A small blockage prevented them knowing that the outer-door was already open.

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