Battle of May Island

The Battle of May Island is the name given to the series of accidents that occurred during Operation E.C.1 in 1918. Named after the Isle of May, a nearby island in the Firth of Forth, the "battle" consisted of a disastrous series of accidents amongst Royal Navy vessels on their way from Rosyth, Scotland, to fleet exercises in the North Sea. On the misty night of 31 January1 February 1918, five collisions occurred between eight ships. Two K-class submarines were lost and three other submarines and a light cruiser were damaged. 105 British sailors in total died in the accidents.

Battle of May Island
The bow of the drydocked cruiser HMS Fearless after colliding with the submarine K17
Date31 January – 1 February 1918 (1918-01-31 1918-02-01)
LocationWaters off the Isle of May
Coordinates
Also known asOperation E.C.1
TypeNaval accident
CauseHuman Error, Weather, Mechanical Failure
Participants Royal Navy
Outcome
  • Total deaths: 105
  • 2 subs sunk
  • 4 subs damaged
  • 1 Scout cruiser damaged
Deaths
  • K4 with 55 dead
  • K17 with 48 dead
  • K14 with 2 dead
Property damage

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