UK Navy Lays wreath over HMS Pathfinder Wreck

100th Anniversary of the Sinking of HMS Pathfinder the first ship to be sunk by a submarine launched torpedo

One Hundred years after the sinking of the first naval warship during World War One, the Royal UK Navy marked the loss by laying a wreath at sea over the wreck.


HMS Pathfinder was a Scout Cruiser based out of Rosyth as part of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla and has the unfortunate distinction of being the first ship sunk by a motorised torpedo fired by a submarine.

On the morning of 5th September 1914, barely a month after the beginning of the First World War, elements of the Flotilla ventured out to sea from the Firth of Forth unaware that a German U-Boat was observing them.

HMS Pathfinder split from the patrol, the destroyers heading north towards the Isle of May whilst she continued on a more easterly heading. U-21 spotted the lone, slow moving target and fired a single 20 inch Type G torpedo. Almost 260 sailors lost their lives in that single attack.

In the early afternoon of 5th September 2014, HMS Example, a P2000 Patrol Boat sailing from Leith, arrived over the site of the wreck, around 15 miles north east of St. Abbs Head, Berwickshire. On board, Captain Chris Smith RN, the Naval Regional Commander for Scotland & Northern Ireland, prepared to conduct a short service of commemoration.

Two dive boats from nearby Eyemouth were in attendance, carrying a team of British Sub Aqua Club divers who would be heading down to the wreck of Pathfinder shortly afterwards, their intention to lay a wreath and a Union flag as a mark of respect.

UK Navy Lays wreath over HMS Pathfinder Wreck

Press Release, September 17, 2014; Image: UK Navy
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