On this day in 1915, Ernest Valletta Hindman (1883-1915) died after the submarine he was serving in ran aground in Gallipoli in the Great War.
Ernest, an engine room artificer (2nd class), was ‘killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. He was 31.
Ernest was one of four officers and 27 men serving in the British Royal Navy Submarine HMS E15 when it ran ashore on April 17, 1915.
The submarine, ‘attempting a difficult reconnaissance’ of a minefield near Kephez Point in the Gallipoli Strait (or Dardanelles), was attacked by Turkish forces.
The Turks claimed to have sunk the submarine and rescued and taken prisoner 25 of the 31-strong crew.
Six days after the submarine ran ashore, The Portsmouth Evening News reported that Ernest, officially reported missing, was unofficially a prisoner of war.
On June 7, 1915, the newspaper, under the headline ‘killed in action’, reported that he had been ‘lost’ on E15 on April 18 that year.
Surviving crewmen said the submarine had ‘dived too deep and became caught in a vicious current’ before it ran aground directly under the Turkish guns of Fort Dardanos.
E15 was hit and disabled in a shell attack.
The submarine’s lieutenant-commander, Theodore Brodie, was killed in the conning tower by shrapnel and five of the crew – including Ernest – were killed and seven injured in the shell attack and by chlorine gas released when E15’s batteries were exposed to seawater.
Forced to evacuate the vessel, the remaining crew surrendered and were held as prisoners of war in Istanbul, with six dying in custody.
To prevent the submarine falling into enemy hands ‘in a serviceable condition’, two British picket boats torpedoed E15 on the night of April 18, 1915, ‘rendering it useless’.
Ernest, who joined the Royal Navy on December 4, 1905, had served in E15 for just 17 days when he lost his life.
He is remembered at the Chanak Consular Cemetery in the Turkish city of Canakkale.
A memorial to him includes the inscription: ‘Loving husband of Mary Hindman. Thy will be done’.
Ernest’s brother, George Harold Hindman (1879-1959) – an engineer lieutenant-commander in the Great War – married Joyce Winifred Lewis (1886-1975) on November 12, 1922 in Bombay, India. Joyce was the daughter of William Lewis (1847-1923) and Susannah Arscott (1848-1912). Susannah was the daughter of Samuel Arscott (1814-) and Mary Ann Courtney (1815-). Samuel was the brother of John Arscott (1807-1879), my great-great-grandfather.
Born on June 26, 1883 in Portsea, Hampshire, Ernest was the son of James Hindman (1843-1933) and Rose Shepherd (1850-). He married Mary Isabella Shepherd (1889-1960) on October 3, 1904 in Easingwold. Yorkshire. At the time of his death, Mary was living at 10, Swinburn Terrace, Bill Quay, Durham.
The wreck of the British submarine E15 being inspected by Turkish and German soldiers. This photograph shows the Turks in possession of the submarine, which has been damaged by shot and shell. A German naval officer is seen making notes. Public domain image, from The War Illustrated, July 17, 1915, via Wikimedia Commons. Photographer unknown. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HMS_E15_wreck.jpg
The memorial to Ernest at Chanak Consular Cemetery, photographed by Ralph McLean, Project Director of the South Africa War Graves Project. https://www.southafricawargraves.org/