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Navy press release

The K13 was a stream-driven sub that sank during her initial trials. 32 of her crew, as well as dockyard staff and other passengers were drowned. After being raised she was re-commissioned as the K22, as seen in this photograph.

Veterans and serving submariners joined members of the local community in Helensburgh on Wednesday to witness the unveiling of a plinth to mark the sinking of the Submarine K13.

The plinth contains a bronze sculpture which shows the Gareloch, Submarine K13 and the Submariners Association Crest, together with an engraving which tells the story of the sinking of K13.

The plinth was commissioned by the West of Scotland Branch of the Submariners Association and before it was unveiled, the Branch President, retired Commander Bob Seaward, OBE explained how the plinth represents a link connecting the town and its residents to the Naval Base and the submarines which have been sailing past the town for over 100 years.

Bob thanked everyone involved in the design and creation of the exhibit for their contribution. He also gave thanks to Argyll and Bute Council for approving the exhibit and for matching the funding which was raised by selling Submariners Association pins and from donations from serving submariners.

The Submariners Association unveiled a bronze artwork commemorating the K13 disaster.

The words engraved on the plinth were then read by Jim McMaster, the National Chairman of the Submariners Association before he officially unveiled the plinth.

Jim, a former submariner said: “As the National Chairman of the Submariners Association I was delighted and honoured to be invited to unveil the K13 plinth in Colquhoun Square, Helensburgh. This latest exhibit to the town’s open-air museum is a beautifully crafted reminder, not only of the tragic accident and subsequent loss of life, but also a tribute to an immense rescue operation. The K13 incident is an important and integral part of the town’s history.”

Senior Royal Navy Officers from the Naval Base also attended the unveiling, including Commodore (Cdre) Jim Perks, the Commanding Officer of the Faslane Submarine Flotilla.

Submarine K13 sank during sea trials on the Gareloch on January 29, 1917, leading to the tragic death of 32 of the 80 people on board at the time.

Words and images copyright MOD Navy.

Other memorials to the K13 dead

A simple grey granite obelisk set among the graves at Faslane Naval base serves as the main memorial to the Royal Navy and shipyard personnel who drowned in the disaster. The shipyard personnel graves are in a small group closer to the cemetery gateway.

There is another memorial in the David Elder Park, Govan, where many of the shipyard workers lived.

Memorial services are held each year at Faslane Cemetery and Elder Park to remember the service and civilian personnel who lost their lives in the tragedy.

Another memorial was established in Carlingford, New South Wales, Australia, by the widow of K13-survivor, Charles Freestone, Leading Telegraphist, who emigrated to Australia. Although set up as a tribute to all Commonwealth submariners, it is specially dedicated to the K13 .

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