The Abandoned First World War Submarine In The River Medway

Most people who cross Rochester Bridge by train or road will have noticed that to the North of the bridge, just off of Strood, there's a Russian submarine. This is not the submarine mentioned in this article!

Whilst I was working the Tragedies in Medway pages, I wanted to find the locations of the wrecks of HMS Bulwark and HMS Princess Irene. I wrote to David Brown of Sheppey Sea Cadet Corps, and as well as sending me the coordinates for the two wrecks, he also sent me the location of an abandoned WW1 submarine.

The submarine is U122, and is lying on its side at 51. 25. 50.02 N, 00. 37. 55. 66 E, just south of the Isle of Grain, on the salt flats. You can see a satellite photo from Google Earth as well.

The submarine was taken as war reparations at the end of the first world war, and was one of several bought by a local scrap merchant and towed across the Medway to be scrapped. It broke free from the tow line and came to rest at its current location, but because of the crash in the price of scrap metal after the Great War it wasn't worth the cost to recover it, so it's been sitting there on the mud flats ever since. Although it doesn't look very big on the satellite image, it was over 180 feet long.

Although it's reasonably near Hoo, it's still very difficult and dangerous to reach, especially across the mud flats. Garreth Packham at Medway Drone Exploration sent me a link to a great video he's produced about the submarine. You can see there just how isolated it really is.

It's also mentioned on this thread on the Google Earth Community Site.

Other Abandoned Submarines in the Medway

As well as the Abandoned First World War Submarine in the Medway Estuary, there are apparently 26 other submarines which were sold for scrap after the first world war, and dumped in the area of Humble Bee Creek. As far as anyone seems to know, they're still there, silently rotting away and sinking into the mud flats.

I've started to add them to the map below, which I'll update when any others come along.

U-76 and U-93 are shown in this video - I think they're the ones in the map above:

Some more information can be found in this thread on the Google Earth Community site

When I was looking for the wreck of HMS Bulwark, I found what I thought at the time might be the wreck here on Google Maps. There's a black area running south-west to north-east, slightly to the south-east of the centre of the picture. I'm assuming now that it's just another wrecked and rotted ship that's been left in the estuary. If you know better, please let me know at the usual address.

As if all that's not enough, there's more "strange stuff" in Gillingham.

If you have any further information about these tunnels, or any of the other weird or strange things in the area, please let me know, by e-mail.