SM U-118 German submarine“SM U-118 was German submarine.  In the early hours of 15 April 1919, while being towed through the English Channel, the ship ran aground at Hastings, Sussex. Thousands of visitors flocked to see the beached vessel. The Admiralty allowed the Town Clerk to charge a fee for people to climb on the deck. 

SM U-118 German submarine

“Two members of the coastguard, William Heard and W. Moore, were tasked with showing important visitors around inside the submarine. The visits were curtailed when both men became severely ill. Moore died in December 1919 and Heard in February 1920. At Moore’s inquest it was heard that a gas, possibly chlorine released from the submarine’s damaged batteries, had caused abscesses on his lungs and brain.

SM U-118 German submarine

“Tourists continued to take pictures of themselves standing alongside or even on the deck of the U-boat. Eventually U-118 was broken up and sold for scrap. It is believed that some of the keel from the submarine may still lie underneath the sand of the beach.”

SM U-118 German submarine

- Wikipedia

“The u boat later had an advertisement painted on the side, for Dr. Cassell’s Tablets (For the “Nerves”)”

- John Wooding

U-boat beached at Hastings

Sources: Old UK Photos / What’s That Picture / Hastings Observer Bygones / John Wooding

Source: See over

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Goggles aficionado. Retronaut’s founder and curator.

3 Responses

  1. Gavin in the UK

    I grew up in Hastings & learnt a bit about this part of the towns history. Apparently some locals hoped to turn the U-Boat into a permanent war memorial but funds were not available so it was scrapped. Sad but probably for the best, I would guess that the sea air would have made maintenance a costly nightmare.

    • Bob Goodwin

      The folks who were interested in a war memorial were probably correct. The WWII German U-505 was displayed outside from 1954 around 2004 and the elements attacked it. The museum (Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, USA) built a new wing and refurbished the German menace for all to see. I had seen it in ’89 and was impressed. Went back in Nov. ’12 and was blown away by what they did to improve it. The wing was designed to be a U-boat pen in France. There are only five WWII U-boats and none from WWI. Truly history to touch. The boat there would have been the father of the Type II of WWII boat. Great pics!


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