'A' Class

Group One
Pennant No.:
None Allocated.

Laid Down:
19th February 1902
Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness.

17th July 1904
Lt. M.E. Nasmith.

Lt. M.E. Nasmith.
Lt. K.J. Duff-Dunbar.
Lt. G.E.E. Gray.
Lt. F.T. Ormand.

2 Officers and 9 ratings.

Service Career:
HMS Hazard, Portsmouth Flotilla.
HMS Mercury, Portsmouth Flotilla.
HMS Hazard, Portsmouth Flotilla.
HMS Dolphin, Portsmouth Flotilla.
HMS Dolphin, 5th Section, Portsmouth.

Whilst carrying out exercises on experimental underwater signalling, with the ventilation tube protruding above the surface, a steamer passed the boat too closely which sent sea water flooding down the tube into the boat.   She was sent down to the bottom and chlorine gas quickly formed.

She was saved by the actions of the First Lt, Lt. G. Herbert, who found the blowing controls and brought the boat to the surface.

In mid October 1905 A4 was involved in another near fatal accident.

(13th February 2000)
The following was recently sent to me via E-mail by the grandson of Lt. M.E. Nasmith.

The flooding incident involving A4 actually occurred on 16 October 1905, and there was only the one incident.

A dinghy was positioned some distance from the submarine, and from it a bell was struck underwater.  In order for those in A4 to show whether they could hear the bell, a ventilation shaft was left open and a boathook with a flag tied to it was poked up through the ventilator.

The experiment had been carried out at sea the previous day, but on the 16th the weather was much rougher so they stayed inside the breakwater.  The same trim settings were used on the second day, but there was a much greater proportion of fresh water inside the breakwater. This meant that the water was less bouyant than on the first day, so quite simply the submarine sank.

We have a silver cigarette case here, presented to my grandfather (then aged 22) by the whole of the rest of the crew in gratitude for his actions in then bringing A4 to the surface.

This experience allowed my grandfather to recognise what was happening to E11 on the way up the Dardanelles, and also to discover that they could dive to 70 feet anywhere in the Marmara, and rest on the line between the fresh water and sea water with all engines turned off. 

It meant that the whole crew could have an undisturbed night's sleep, with no battery usage.

Sold 16th January 1920.