Home > Art, Sculpture & Photography, History, Lazy Post, Things I Like... > Lazy Post No. 2: U-118 on Hastings Beach…

Lazy Post No. 2: U-118 on Hastings Beach…

In April 1919, the surrendered German Submarine, U-118 was being towed from Cherbourg to Scarpa Flow up in Scotland to be broken up as scrap, when in the midst of a storm in the English Channel it broke free of its towing cables and drifted off uncontrollably on the rough seas…

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To end up on Hastings Beach, almost directly in front of the Queens Hotel, where it instantly became a huge attraction as thousands of people used their Easter Holidays to travel down to the South Coast to go and see this technical marvel for themselves… Tours were organised inside and over the outside of the huge vessel and a small industry of souvenirs and keepsakes developed around this unusual piece of  jetsam…

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Despite attempts to remove it using various means including tractors towing it back into the sea and, believe it or not, a Destroyer firing at it from off shore, the sub stayed firmly put. It wasn’t until about 5 months later in October 1919, when work began proper to cut up the hulk and take it off to be scrapped, although there are still persistent rumors that parts of it can still be found buried under the beach…

These pictures are all either contemporary postcards or pictures from the national papers and illustrate not only the impressive size of the submarine and the challenge posed in removing it, but also the wonderfully anachronistic Edwardian clothing… dark suits, big frocks and hats, lots and lots and lots of hats…

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  1. August 22, 2013 at 08:54

    That’s astonishing. I had never heard of that before.

  2. Carolyn Proud
    January 5, 2015 at 13:24

    There are 2 identical post cards of this scene, one as shown and the other with the sub removed! There was also another Sub washed up, and people often get confused as to which is which!!

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