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Royal Navy Submarines in Ireland


Prior to the conflict of World War One, the submarine was mainly seen as a tool of coastal defence,and to aid fleets of naval ships, protecting their flanks.


Germany and Austria were to prove that they were a supreme offensive weapon and the Allies had to change operations and tactics to counteract this.


In the early 20th Century, Submarines had been regular vistors to Cork,as part of visiting fleets on manouveres, and for demonstrations, including the ill-fated HMS A5. There were no submarines stationed here before 1917.


The unrestricted u-boat offensive of 1917 was proving catastrophic to England and her Allies. Vice -Admiral Lewis Bayley, received critical reports from the Admiralty complaining that u-boats were rounding the north and West coasts of Ireland with impunity.


This saw the advent of the defence of the 'hunter-killer' submarine. patrolling Irish waters, patrolling singly, shadowing commercial shippping, in the hope of spotting an enemy submarine and attacking it.


Two flotillas were established in Ireland. The Platypus and Vulcan flotillas, named after the submarine depot ships HMS Platypus and HMS Vulcan, which provided supplies, mobile workshops, and accomodation to resting submariners.


During 1918 another depot ship HMS Ambrose was also stationed here to assist. This became for a time a combined Vulcan/Ambrose Flotilla . Thse flotillas were mobile, and at various stages were based in Queenstown (Cobh), Co. Cork, Berehaven Co. Cork, Lough Swilly, Co.Donegal, and Killybegs Co Donegal.


Twenty three Royal Navy submarines were stationed in Ireland over the course of World War One. By November 1918 There were five, all stationed in Donegal.


The Submarines

HMS C7

Vulcan Flotilla Berehaven Nov 1917, Attached HMS Vernon Nov 1918
Sold 1919



HMS D1

Platypus Flotilla from April 1917, sunk as target Oct 1918



HMS D3

Platypus Flotilla from April 1917, Operating from Gosport when sunk by French Airship in Channel, on 12th March 1918

 


HMS D4

Platypus Flotilla from April 1917. Sold 1921



HMS D6

Platypus Flotilla from April 1917 , sunk 28 June 1918 by UB-73.



HMS D7

Platypus Flotilla from April 1917.Sold 1921

 


HMS D8

Platypus Flotilla from April 1917.Sold 1921

.


HMS E23

Vulcan Flotilla from May 1917. Sold 1922.



HMS E27

Attached to Vulcan Flotilla Nov 1917. Sold 1922.




HMS E32

Vulcan Flotilla from March 1917. Sold 1922.



HMS E35

Vulcan Flotilla from May 1917. Sold 1922

.


HMS E43

Attached Vulcan Flotilla but never stationed in Ireland. Sold 1921



HMS E47

Vulcan Flotilla from march 1917 - Lost in North Sea 20th Aug 1918



HMS E48

Vulcan Flotilla from May 1917.1921 Target. Sold 1928.



HMS E54

 Vulcan Flotilla from March 1917. Sold 1921



HMS E56

Vulcan Flotilla from May 1917.Sold 1923.



HMS G6

Vulcan Flotilla from Nov 1917.Sold 1921



HMS H5

Vulcan Flotilla from March 1917 , Sunk in collision Mar 1918



HMS H8

Vulcan Flotilla from October 1917



HMS L1

Vulcan Flotilla from December 1917

 


HMS R7

Vulcan Flotilla (Killybegs) Nov 1918



HMS R8

Vulcan Flotilla (Killybegs) Nov 1918

 



HMS R11

Vulcan Flotilla (Killybegs) Nov 1918

 


HMS R12

 Vulcan Flotilla (Killybegs) Nov 1918