The War at Sea

HMS Mary Rose, launched on 8 October 1915, was an Admiralty M-class destroyer sunk on 17 October 1917 approximately 70 miles east of Lerwick while escorting a convoy of 12 merchant ships from Norway.

Dundee was a major international port in 1914 and the city’s sea war would be fought along global trade routes that stretched from the Tay to the Hooghly, the river serving the port of Calcutta, modern day Kolkata, and beyond. It would be a war dominated by three new naval technologies, the Dreadnought battleship, the submarine and, increasingly as the war progressed, naval aviation. And it would be a war that cost the lives of more than 600 sailors and civilians from the communities around the River Tay.

This short history of Dundee’s Great War at sea is:

HMS Vulcan and the 7th Submarine Flotilla

Dundee was one of the Royal Navy’s first submarine bases, the 7thFlotilla operating from the River Tay between 1908 and 1914. Crew training and technical development work undertaken at Dundee helped ensure that British submarines were a viable offensive weapon when war broke out in 1914. Read more about HMS Vulcan and the 7th Submarine Flotilla…

‘Dundee Ladies Drowned.’ U-boats and Surface Raiders

Along with her surface raiders, Germany’s U-boats would exact a heavy toll on  Dundee’s merchant shipping and more than 600 sailors and civilians from the communities around the Tay would lose their lives in the sea war. Read more about ‘Dundee Ladies Drowned.’ U-boats and Surface Raiders…

‘Every shot was a hit!’ HMS Dundee and the North Sea Blockade

Britain was ideally placed to blockade the North Sea, cutting off Germany’s access to maritime trade. But warships were in short supply, so merchant ships like the Dundee, Perth & London Line’s steamer Dundee, built in the city’s Caledon Shipyard, were hurriedly armed and pressed into service. Read more about ‘Every shot was a hit!’ HMS Dundee and the North Sea Blockade…

‘Engaged submarine with gunfire.’ HMS Perth and the Red Sea Patrol

HMS Dundee’s D.P.&.L. sister ship HMS Perth fought a very different war, playing a key role in the Arab Revolt and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire before battling one of the enemy’s most successful successful U-boat commanders and saving an Allied convoy in the Bay of Biscay. She would win even greater honours in the Battle of the Atlantic in World War Two. Read more about ‘Engaged submarine with gunfire.’ HMS Perth and the Red Sea Patrol…

Sea Soldiers. HMS Unicorn and Scotland’s Forgotten Heroes of World War One

More than two thousand naval reservists from Dundee and the surrounding counties enlisted aboard the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve drill ship HMS Unicorn to serve in the Royal Naval Division. Tayside’s ‘Sea Soldiers’ joined ten thousand others from across Scotland to fight as infantry at the Siege of Antwerp, at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Read more about Sea Soldiers. HMS Unicorn and Scotland’s Forgotten Heroes of World War One…

North Sea Patrol. Royal Naval Air Station Dundee

A Royal Navy seaplane alighted on the River Tay on 14 August 1913, ten years after the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight at Kittyhawk. British naval aviation had gone from inventor’s pipe-dream to practical war-fighting technology in a decade and aircraft from Royal Naval Air Station Dundee, opened on 9 February 1914, would fly long patrols over the North Sea throughout World War One. Read more about North Sea Patrol. Royal Naval Air Station Dundee…

The Roll of Honour and Seamens’ Memorial

A striking memorial tablet and Roll of Honour commemorating more than 600 sailors and civilians from Dundee and the communities around the city who lost their lives at sea in World War One was unveiled by HRH Princess Anne in the City Churches on 10 July 2017. Read more about The Roll of Honour and Seamens’ Memorial…