When the Royal Navy Submarine Service set off to war in August 1914, few but the most far sighted had any indication of the impact that submarines would have on shaping the nature of the ensuing global conflict.
Much has been written about the operational roles of these vessels, but very little attention has been paid to the lives of the submariners who achieved such successes at an eventual cost of a third of their number. This book tells the social history of those in the Submarine Service during World War One; it examines why men became submariners when the dangers were apparent to even the most casual civilian observer; it tells of the paucity of the training and the monotony of interminable patrols in the North Sea in conditions little better than those experienced by soldiers in the frontline trenches of the Western Front; it highlights the acute lack of awareness and provision for the rescue of men entombed in a stricken submarine; and the development of the justifiable belief among submariners that they were an elite - hand picked volunteers always having to maintain high standards unless they were to suffer the ignominy of return to General Service.
Who could become a submariner? What were living conditions like aboard a submarine? What did they eat? What happened if a man fell ill whilst at sea?
This book provides the answers to such empathetic queries and much else besides.