Thomas Graham’s Dairy – 4th June 1939

As we enter June, Thomas notes that the warm weather is having an effect on fishing in the area. He is shocked to write that the water temperature at Lake of Menteith had risen from 74 to 78 degrees during one day. This led to reports of young salmon dying in the Forth ‘like flies’.

Thomas also reflects on the tragedy that occurred to the submarine HMS Thetis. On 1st June 1939, HMS Thetis sank during trials at Liverpool. Of the 103 men on board, only four survived. This was twice the capacity the submarine was designed to hold.

A combination of failures on board resulted in the vessel flooding and nose-diving.  Confusion over a blocked test cock on torpedo tube no. 5 and inner doors of the tube being open resulted in water entering the vessel.

The vessel sank to the seabed and rescue attempts took longer than anticipated. Levels of Carbon Dioxide rose sharply whilst Oxygen decreased. Only four of the crew managed to use the escape chamber before it became flooded and prevented others from escaping.

HMS Thetis was salvaged four months after the disaster. It was repaired and commissioned in 1940 as HMS Thunderbolt. It saw service throughout the war until March 1943 where it was sunk off the coast of Sicily.

Thomas writes that ‘All the submarine has ever done has been to bring misery and sorrow and death to mankind’.

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