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Crew of the submarine BII

Date: 1912
Dimensions:
Overall: 83 x 108 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jennifer Smyth
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00015807
Place Manufactured:Malta

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    Description
    This photograph is of crew members on the submarine HMS B2 was taken in Malta in 1912. The handwritten inscription on the reverse reads "bii crew / malta 1912".
    SignificanceThis photograph must be one of the last taken of the HMS B2 and her crew prior to her destruction in the English Channel by accident later in the same year.
    HistoryHMS B2 was a Royal Navy B class submarine, built at Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness and completed on 9 December 1905.

    In the early hours of 4 October 1912, HMS B2 was undertaking Channel exercises during the extended lead up to WWI. She was on the surface about four miles north east of Dover when she collided with the steamer SS AMERIKA, who was on her way from Hamburg to New York, via Southampton. HMS B2 was struck just forward of the conning tower. It was a devastating blow and the submarine immediately sank.

    Out of sixteen crew, there was only one survivor, the vessels bridge officer, Lieutenant Pulleyne. Despite initial attempts, HMS B2 was not recovered in order to allow the bodies to remain undisturbed.
    It was later relayed by Lieutenant Pulleyne that HMS B2 had been forced to ascend and had seen the SS AMERIKA approaching too late to avoid her and descend. It is believed that the collision exploded the air cylinders on board the submarine.
    (The Hobart Mercury, page 5, Tuesday 8 October 1912).

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