Year
1915

British ship Formidable is torpedoed

In the early-morning hours of New Year’s Day, 1915, the 15,000-ton British HMS class battleship Formidable is torpedoed by the German submarine U-24 and sinks in the English Channel, killing 547 men. The Formidable was part of the 5th Battle Squadron unit serving with the Channel Fleet. The Formidable and the seven other battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron were under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayly, and were in the channel for firing practice on New Year’s Eve.

Unbeknownst to the British, the German submarine U-24, captained by Rudolph Schneider, had been watching the squadron all day and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Schneider found his moment with the squadron heading west in Lyme Bay. At a little before 0230 hours the German submarine fired a torpedo into the starboard side of the Formidable by the fore funnel. The battleship began taking on water and began to list to its starboard side before being plunged into darkness. The German captain maneuvered the submarine into position and fired a second torpedo into the port side of the Formidable about 45 minutes after the first strike. The Formidable was now taking on water fast and capsized and sank about 90 minutes after the second torpedo strike. Only 233 of the original crew of 780 survived.

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