U-118, a World War One Submarine Washed Ashore on the Beach at Hastings, England

1

When the people of the town of Hastings awoke one morning to see one of the Kaiser’s U-boats on their beach, it caused some shock. Thousands of visitors flocked to see the beached submarine. The Admiralty allowed the town clerk to charge a fee for people to climb on the deck. Two members of the coastguard were tasked with showing important visitors around inside the submarine.

Thousands of people flocked to the seafront to catch a glimpse of the boat.

2

The visits were curtailed when both men became severely ill, they both died shortly after. It was a mystery what killed the men at the time and so all trips into the sub were stopped, it was later discovered that chlorine gas which had been escaping from SM U-118′s batteries had caused severe abscesses on the lungs and brains of the unfortunate men.

The total sum collected from the fees was almost £300 which was used in an event to welcome the town’s troops returning from the war.

3

SM U-118 was commissioned on 8 May 1918, following construction at the AG Vulcan Stettin shipyard in Hamburg. It was commanded by Herbert Stohwasser and joined the I Flotilla operating in the eastern Atlantic. After about four months without any ships sunk, on 16 September 1918, SM U-118 scored its first hit on another naval vessel.

Its length: 81.5 meters!

4

With the ending of hostilities on 11 November 1918 came the subsequent surrender of the Imperial German Navy, including SM U-118 to France on 23 February 1919. Following the surrender, U-118 was to be transferred to France where it would be broken up for scrap. However, in the early hours of 15 April 1919, while it was being towed through the English Channel towards Scapa Flow, its dragging hawser broke off in a storm. The ship ran aground on the beach at Hastings in Sussex at approximately 12:45am, directly in front of the Queens Hotel.

German submarine U-118 washed ashore on the beach at Hastings, 1919

5

Initially there were attempts to displace the stricken vessel; three tractors tried to refloat the submarine and a French destroyer attempted to break the ship apart using its cannons. These attempts however were unsuccessful and the proximity of the submarine to the public beach and Queens Hotel dissuaded further use of explosive forces.

Under the command of Herbert Strohwasser, U-118 managed to sink two ships while on its one and only patrol before being surrendered on February 1919.

6

This type of U-Boat had a length of 81.5 m, speed: 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph) surfaced and 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) submerged, test depth: 75 m (246 ft). Total crew: 36 men.

7

SM U-118 was a type UE II mine laying submarine of the Imperial German Navy and one of 329 submarines serving with that navy during World War I.

8
9
11

Eventually, between October and December 1919, U-118 was broken up and the pieces removed and sold for scrap.

10

Via Rare Historical Photos

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below

More Inspiring Stories

Photographer Shares His Favourite Shots Of The Landscapes Of England
We’re No Angels, But We’re Still Wonderful
Autumn Forest Is Prettiest In Czechia Thanks To Photographer Janek Sedlář
Texas Tech University’s Yearbook Featured Their Female Students As Playmates For 20 Years
Reuters Pictures of the Year 2014, Part 6
Adam Opris Photography on Mermaid Brides Bring Another Perspective to Underwater Brides
Stunning Minimalist Architecture Photography By Kevin Krautgartners
Photographer Spent 10 Years Photographing The Romanian Countryside Which Looks Like A Fairy Tale
A Poetic Photo Series On Flowers And Love – A Reason For Joy Every Day A Colorful Flower Outgrown The Sun
Ridiculously Stunning Astrophotography By Leo Resplandor
Photo of the Day: Atomic Skyline
Incredible Street Photography In New York By Jeff Silberman
Wonderful Color Photographs Of Street Scenes From Between The 1950s And 1970s
Photographer Took Pictures Of Women in 60 Countries To Change The Way We See Beauty
18 Photos Which Show Life From A Different Perspective
Insight Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2016 Winners
Magnificent Underwater Life Photography By Alex Voyer And Alex Roubaud
Photographer Henry Do Captures Breathtaking Aerial Images Of The Circular Community In Denmark
KISS: Romance Photography Series by Maggie West
"The Short And Tragic Romance": Photos Of Nancy Spungen And Sid Vicious Together In 1978
The Washington Post Travel Photo Contest: Animal Photos
Inside Facebook’s Menlo Park Headquarters
Beautiful Color Photographs Of England During The 1920s
Rare “Fire Rainbow” Appears In Sky Over South Carolina
A Ukrainian Photographer Turns Long-Haul Trains Into A Fashion Fantasy In Her New Series
Vintage Photoshop Or The Spirit Photographs Of William Hope In The 1920s
Started As A Mistake, Retired Gym Teacher Wore The Same Disco-Era Outfit For 40 Years Of Yearbook Portraits
Nicole Kidman for Harper's Bazaar Australia, June-July 2012
“Childhood In The Raw Photos”: New Zealand Photographer Captured Her Children, Who Are Growing Up With Limited Electronics
Photographer Michal Pudelka