The E13 Submarine Disaster

'On His Majesty's Service' recruitment poster, Hull. © Hull Museums

HMS E13 was a British submarine. It ran aground just outside Copenhagen, Denmark in August 1915. Denmark was a neutral country, so technically the E13 was on neutral ground. Under the rules of war it should have had 24 hours to recover itself and leave. However, during that period two German destroyers arrived and torpedoed the E13, killing 15 of the men on board.

The incident was portrayed in the British press as ‘cold-blooded murder’. The bodies of the 15 sailors were repatriated to Hull where they were received with full naval honours.  Recruiting offices in maritime communities made the most of the propaganda opportunity to encourage men to join the Army to get their revenge on Germany.

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Learning resources

For downloadable images, teachers’ notes and activity ideas relating to the E13, see www.mylearning.org/joiningupthehumberww1

Further links

To see a photograph of the funeral procession of the crewmen see, https://www.diomedia.com/stock-photo-victims-of-the-e13-submarine-funeral-in-hull-ww1-image18037115.html 

For a photograph of the E13 being salvaged see, www.bl.uk (British Library)

For the E13’s entry on the EU wreck site, with contemporary newspaper articles see, http://www.wrecksite.eu/