Nearly a century after being sunk by Turkish shellfire, a noted World War I British submarine has been located in the Eastern Mediterranean.
HMS E14 was discovered just 800 feet off coast of the Turkey town of Kum Kale, apparently largely intact.
The E14 was sunk in January 1918 with the loss of 25 men while on a mission to torpedo the Yavuz Sultan Selim, the flagship of the Ottoman Empire’s navy.
The submarine had navigated 20 miles through dense minefields and past a string of enemy positions into the heavily fortified Dardanelles – the narrow straits between modern-day Turkey’s European and Asian coasts, according to The Daily Mail.
Finding the Goeben gone, E14 attacked a merchant ship as she withdrew from the Dardanelles.
She fired two torpedoes but one exploded prematurely, damaging the submarine. E14 was forced to surface because of flooding and came under coastal battery fire off Kum Kale.
“White knew his submarine could not reach the open sea, and directed her towards a nearby beach, in an effort to save the crew,” according to The Daily Mail. “A survivor recalled that his last words were: ‘We are in the hands of God,’ uttered moments before he was killed by a shell and the submarine went under.”
Nine of the E14’s crew survived and were taken prisoner
For his actions, White was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the UK’s highest military decoration awarded for valor.
White wasn’t the only E14 captain to win the Victoria Cross.
In 1915 during the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign, the submarine went on a sortie through the straits, past minefields in the Sea of Marmara.
Then-skipper Lt. Commander Edward Boyle won the VC for sinking an Ottoman gunboat, a troop ship and disabling a warship deep in enemy territory.
The E14 was discovered earlier this month lying at a depth of 65 feet at an angle of nearly 45 degrees, with sand covering nearly all the 181-foot vessel. At least one shell hole was visible near the bow, but that appeared to be the only damage, according to The Daily Mail.
The British government plans to ask the Turkish authorities to preserve the site as a war grave.
(Above: HMS E14 leaving Dardanelles Straits, 1915)