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Submarine E. 15

Printed From: The Gallipoli Association
Category: Research
Forum Name: Submarines Research
Forum Description: This sub-forum is for research matters with regards to submarine warfare at Gallipoli/Dardanelles.
Printed Date: 20 Oct 2019 at 03:06
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Topic: Submarine E. 15
Posted By: Mal Murray
Subject: Submarine E. 15
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2010 at 20:16

HMS E15">Wreck of the E15 inspected by Turkish and German personnel.
Wreck of the E15 inspected by Turkish and German personnel.
Career">RN Ensign
Launched: 23 April 1914
Commissioned: 1914
Fate: run aground on 16 April, destroyed 18 April 1915
General characteristics
Displacement: 662 tons (surfaced
807 tons (submerged)
Length: 54.86 m
Beam: 6.86 m
Draught: 3.81 m
Propulsion: Twin-shaft, 2 x 1,600 bhp - Vickers - diesel , 2 x 840 shp electric motors
Speed: 15.25 knots (surfaced)
9.75 knots (submerged)
Range: 325 nm surfaced
Endurance: 24 days
Complement: 3 officers, 28 ratings
Armament: 2 x 18" bow tube
2 x 18" beam tubes
1 x 18" stern tube
(10 torpedoes)
1 x 12 pdr deck gun

HMS E15 was an - E-class submarine of the - Royal Navy , - commissioned in 1914.

Service history

During - World War I , E15 served in the - Mediterranean , participating in the - Gallipoli Campaign against the - Ottoman Empire . On 16 April 1915, under the command of - Lieutenant Commander T.S. Brodie, E15 sailed from her base at - Mudros and attempted to break through the - Dardanelles to the - Sea of Marmara . Early in the morning of 17 April, the submarine, having dived too deep and become caught in the vicious current, ran aground some ten miles (16 km) in near - Kepez Point directly under the guns of - Fort Dardanus . E15 was soon hit and disabled; Brodie was killed in the conning tower by - shrapnel and six of the crew were killed by - chlorine gas released when the submarine's - batteries were exposed to seawater after a second shell strike - [1] . Forced to evacuate the vessel, the remaining crew surrendered, to be incarcerated in a - prisoner of war camp near - Istanbul where six later died - [2] . The stranding was soon noticed by aeroplanes of the - Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), and reported to the Hindu Kush, the Allied submarines' HQ and depot ship. It was considered imperative that the E15 be destroyed to prevent the Turks from salvaging her. Several attempts were made; first, the - British submarine B6 , with Brodie's brother on board, tried to sink her by - torpedo but missed. Later, during the night, the - destroyers - HMS Grampus and - Scorpion (commanded by the future Admiral,_1st_Viscount_Cunningham_of_Hyndhope - A.B. Cunningham of - World War II - British Mediterranean Fleet fame), attempted to find her, but failed. The following morning, - British submarine B11 also failed to locate the beached E15 owing to dense fog. Then the - battleships - Triumph and - Majestic were ordered in but, prevented by intense fire from the Turkish shore batteries from getting within 11,000 metres of the submarine, were obliged to withdraw. Meanwhile, - seaplanes attempted to bomb the stricken E15 but also failed - [1] .">">
HMS Triumph's picket boat returning to the battleship after the E15 expedition.

Finally, on the night of the 18 April, two 17 metre - picket boats - [3] , one from Triumph, the other from Majestic, both armed with two 14-inch (356 mm) diameter torpedoes mounted in dropping gear, went in. - Lieutenant Commander - Eric Robinson commanded the expedition from Triumph's boat; Lieutenant Goodwin skippered the boat from the Majestic. Departing at 2200 hrs, the two vessels managed to navigate the narrow channel for seven miles before being detected and illuminated by searchlights, attracting a hail of fire from both shores. Miraculously both boats remained unscathed, and when one carelessly directed searchlight briefly illuminated the stricked submarine, Lieutenant Goodwin seized his chance. Blinded by the lights, his first shot missed, and seconds afterwards the Turkish gunners scored their only hit, blowing away part of the stern and mortally wounding one seaman. Undeterred, Goodwin went in again and fired his second torpedo, which struck E15 just forward of the conning tower, but well below the waterline. Robinson, observing the plight of her consort, unhesitatingly brought his boat alongside and rescued the crew. Now doubly-laden, Triumph's boat fled downstream unobserved, the Turkish gunners concentrating their fire on the drifting and abandoned wreck of her sister ship - [1] .

The E15 action would no doubt have earned Robinson the - Victoria Cross had he not already been recommended for the award following earlier exploits on the Gallipoli peninsula. Instead, he was promoted to - Commander by special decree. Lieutenant Goodwin was awarded the - DSO , Lt. Brooke-Webb and Midshipman Woolley received the - DSC , while the rest of the crews, all volunteers, received the - DSM .

The bodies of Lieut. Commander Brodie and several crew, initially buried on a beach nearby, were reinterred at the - Chanak Consular Cemetery.


  1. ^ - a - b Evans, A. S. (1986). Beneath the Waves - A history of British submarine losses. Kimber, London. - ISBN 0-7183-0601-5
  2. - ^ Stoker, H. D. G. (1925). Straws in the Wind. Herbert Jenkins Ltd., London. ISBN X006590403. [Submarine actions in the Dardanelles; includes the story of Lt. G. Fitzgerald RNR, E15 navigator, whilst a POW in Turkey]
  3. - ^ Stapleton, N. B. J. (1980). Steam Picket Boats and Other Small Steam Craft of the Royal Navy. Dalton, UK. - ISBN 0900963638 -

Posted By: Mal Murray
Date Posted: 17 Sep 2010 at 20:07
This article has further information with regards to E.15 (including a list of her crew)
Those of her crew who died are highlighted in red. -

Submarine E15 (Yard No. 439) had one of the shortest careers of the fifty six E Class Submarines built and 'Commissioned' before and during WWI.

E15 was built by Vickers at Barrow in Furness and was laid down on 13th January 1913, launched on 23rd April 1914 (the same day as Submarine E11) and was 'Commissioned' on 13th October 1914 being completed on the same date.

The Commanding Officer of Submarine E15 was Lieutenant Commander Theodore Stuart Brodie who was the twin brother of Lieutenant Commander Charles G Brodie another Submarine Commanding Officer. These two Officers were nicknamed 'Dummy Head' and 'War Head' respectively by their compatriots. Theodore Brodie had previously commanded Submarines C36, C33, and D8. Theodore Brodie's First Lieutenant was Lieutenant Edward John Price who had been a Submariner since November 1912 and had previously served in E12.

After being 'commissioned' Submarine E15 saw service in the North Sea with the 8th Submarine Flotilla and was based on the Submarine Depot Ship HMS MAIDSTONE at Harwich.

A Navigator was appointed in October 1914 he was Sub Lieutenant Geoffrey Joseph Frederick Fitzgerald, Royal Naval Reserve who, at the outbreak of the war he had been serving as the 2nd Mate in the SS CARIBBEAN at New York. One member of the crew Able Seaman George Joseph Morris O/N 200450 was lost overboard on 28th Nov 1914.

Submarine E15 was sent to the Mediterranean on 27th March 1915 from Harwich with Submarines E11 and E14 and the Depot Ship HMS ADAMANT to support the Dardanelles campaign. The passage was via Devonport (28th Mar 1915), Gibraltar (1st Apr 1915), Malta (5th Apr 1915) arriving at the Greek Island of Lemnos on 8th Apr 1915. In the Mediterranean Submarine E15 with the other deployed Submarines of 'Special Service Flotilla I' (three B Class, two other E Class Submarines and the Australian AE2) - was based on the Submarine Depot Ship HMS ADAMANT.

At Lemnos an extra Officer joined the crew. He was Lieutenant Clarence Edward Stanhope Palmer, RNVR. He had previously been the Vice Consul at Chanak in Turkey and is assumed to have been on board owing to his knowledge of the Dardanelles and his ability to speak fluent Turkish. On 16th Apr 1915 E15 sailed for Mudros Harbour on the Greek Island of Lemnos and then at midnight sailed from Mudros for the Dardanelles.

At about 0700 on 17th Apr 1915 the Submarine ran a ground at Kephez Point in the Dardanelles whilst attempting to force the straits into the Sea of Marmora.

 A diary kept by Telegraphist May records:

'Everything going well until about 7am when we struck and, despite all that could be done, we were soon high and dry. The Turkish batteries then opened fire on us one large shell entering our conning tower and killing the captain as he was going on the bridge. Several shells came through the boat, one entering the engines and bursting several oil pipes, thick smoke began to come from aft, but we could not see what had happened there.

The men then began to go up the conning tower and through the shell hole and take to the water. The boat was about three-quarters of a mile from the shore and this distance we had to swim. Several men would not attempt it and I think it was because of this that so many were injured.'

As reported the shell which hit the bridge of Submarine E15 killed the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Theodore Brodie. Five more of the crew were killed by the shelling or were asphyxiated by smoke and chlorine gas or were lost overboard during the action. Seven others were wounded in the action.

The survivors had to swim about three quarters of a mile to the shore and the remaining members of the crew were then taken Prisoner of War. Some of those who died in the attack were firstly buried on the beach by the Turks but the bodies were later transferred to the Consular Cemetery at Chanak. The others are commemorated on the Naval War Memorials.

Urgent action was taken by the Royal Navy to destroy E15 before the Turkish Navy could salvage, repair and re commission the Submarine.

Attempts to destroy the submarine included shelling by Battle ship, torpedo attacks by Submarine (B6 which also grounded at the same place but managed to get off safely) and finally, attacks by armed picket boats from the Battle Ships HMS TRIUMPH and MAJESTIC destroyed the E15 with torpedoes whilst still aground at Kephez. When Submarine B6 attempted to destroy E15 Theodore Brodie's twin brother Charles, was in B6 as a passenger.

Telegraphist May further reported that:

'After their capture the survivors were marched to Chenak (Chanak) and were kept in a cowshed overnight. The following day they were placed in better conditions. On Wednesday 21st April the survivors were put on a Gunboat at Chenak (Chanak) and were taken to Constantinople arriving on 22nd April and being taken to the Stamboul Prison.

Four days later, on Monday 26th April, the crew were taken to Haidar Pasha by ferry and then on to Ess Kicheher by train - where they stayed overnight. On the 27th April the train journey continued on to Afion Kara Hissar in the Asia mainland of Turkey and, on Wednesday 28th April they were moved into the Bermin Mosque School Camp.'

The survivors spent the rest of the war in Prison Camps in Turkey and returned home in late 1918 except for one Officer (who was paroled following intervention by the Vatican and returned home in February 1916) and one Officer and seven ratings who died whilst Prisoners.

Those who died whilst Prisoners of War were later buried in the Baghdad North Gate Cemetery or are commemorated on the War Memorial at Basra

The Crew of Submarine E15 in April 1915 was as follows:


  • Lieutenant Commander Theodore Stuart Brodie, Royal Navy 'In Command'
    Killed on 17th Apr 1915 by a Turkish shell while climbing up the conning tower of Kephez Point and is buried at Chanak Consular Cemetary
  • Lieutenant Edward John Price, Royal Navy First Lieutenant
    Died as a POW on 10th Aug 1918 (Interrd in XXI. O. 6. Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq.
  • Sub Lieutenant Geoffrey Joseph Frederick Fitzgerald, RR Navigator
    Paroled & returned home in 1916
  • Lieutenant Clarence Edward Stanhope Palmer, RNVR Spare Hand
    POW released in November 1918


  • Petty Officer George Williams O/N 184383 (Po)
    Died as a POW at Angora on 4th Dec 1916
  • Petty Officer John Shepard O/N 169388 (Po)
    Died as a POW at Sivas on 10th Aug 1916
  • Petty Officer Sidney James Cromwell Kinchington O/N 183194
    Survived time as POW & returned home in 1918
  • Leading Seaman Herbert William Trimmer O/N 221231(Ch)
    Survived time as POW & returned home in 1918
  • Able Seaman Frederick John Cornish O/N J8305 (Ch)
    Killed on 17th Apr 1915
  • Able Seaman Frederick John Gingell O/N 239994 (Po)
    Killed on 17th Apr 1915
  • Able Seaman Arthur Houseman O/N J6914 (Po)
    Killed on 17th Apr 1915
  • Able Seaman Patrick Brennan O/N 226804 (Dev)
    Died as a POW 2nd Mar 1917
  • Able Seaman Henry John Barter O/N 230790
    Died as a POW on 11th May 1916
  • Able Seaman James Biggar Lockerbie O/N J5768
    Wounded Survived time as POW released in 1918
  • Able Seaman Herbert James Rogers O/N 203222
    Wounded Survived time as POW released in 1918
  • Leading Signalman Charles Horn O/N 229604
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918
  • Telegraphist Alfred Edward May O/N J9748
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918
  • Chief ERA Samuel Bishop Todd O/N 27075
    Wounded Survived time as POW released in 1918
  • ERA Ernest Valletta Hind O/N 272067
    Killed on 17th Apr 1915
  • ERA William Norman O/N 271316 (Po)
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918
  • ERA Albert Henry Ellis O/N M5868
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918
  • Stoker Petty Officer Ernest Henry Mitchell O/N 288549 (Dev)
    Died as a POW on 26th ov 1916
  • Leading Stoker James John Bond O/N 306132 (Po)
    Died as a POW 2nd Feb 1917
  • Leading Stoker Charles Emil Gosling O/N 295949 (Po)
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918
  • Stoker James Henry Nash Tapper K8918 (Dev)
    Killed on 17th Apr 1915
  • Stoker William Thomas George Williams O/N 233214 (Po)
    Died as POW 4th Feb 17
  • Stoker John Joseph MacDonagh O/N K14409
    Wounded Survived time as POW released in 1918
  • Stoker Charles Henry Stratford O/N K4797
    Wounded Survived time as POW released in 1918
  • Stoker Thomas O'Neill O/N K22745
    Wounded Survived time as POW released in 1918
  • Stoker W Howes O/N K2070
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918
  • Stoker J Geens O/N K5897
    Survived time as POW and returned home in 1918

Events - 17-04-1915 :

Ran aground after trying to enter the Sea of Marmara

On 17th April 1915 whilst attempting to run beneath the minefields guarding the Dardanelle Straits, HMS E15 was swept ashore by the strong currents. The submarine ran aground directly under the guns of Fort Dardanus. E15 came under heavy fire from the fort, one shell killing the Captain, another hitting the vessels battery compartment forcing the crew to surrender.

Many attempts were made to prevent the submarine falling into enemy hands and finally a torpedo launched from HMS Majestic put paid to Turkish attempts to re-float the submarine.

Posted By: Mal Murray
Date Posted: 21 Sep 2010 at 20:52
Information regarding the graves of those crew members who were killed when the E.15 was sunk may be accessed at this url (located on the Association Forum). -
Information regarding the graves of those crew members listed above who died as Prisoners of War may be accessed at this url (located on the Association Forum). -

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