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The Battle of the May Island

18/01/2018 - 25/02/2018

 -  Exhibitions Merchant’s Room

The Battle of the May Island
The Battle of the May Island

One of the First World War’s most distressing naval incidents took place just off the coast of Anstruther on the night of 31 January – 1 February 1918. No shots were fired, no enemy vessels were involved and yet, when dawn broke, two British submarines had been lost, a further two were crippled, a battle cruiser was seriously damaged and over 100 lives had been lost to the sea.

The event, which came to be known as the “Battle of the May Island”, was not reported in the press at the time and it was many years before the full story was publicly known.

Scottish Fisheries Museum - Merchant’s Room

18 January - 25 February

Admission Free

This exhibition marks the centenary of the “Battle” telling the story of the fateful night, outlining the background to the event and describing the K-class submarines at its centre. The submarines were due to take part in a secret training exercise, Operation EC1, designed by Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty, on the following night. However, a catalogue of collisions, mis-communication and errors resulted in disaster in the dark.

We are privileged to be able to display items that belonged to some of the men who took part and to tell their remarkable stories, a number of which have been loaned for exhibition by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, and are on show in Scotland for the first time. We can also show sonar scans of the wrecks of submarines K17 and K4 lying on the seabed, surveyed by Emu Ltd. for Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd., 2011.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust Ltd
St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, Fife KY10 3AB
Tel (within UK): 01333 310628
Tel (from outside UK): +44 1333 310628
Charity Number: SC 006185 VAT Reg Number: 270 2790 64
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