A DOUBLE FEATURE PAGE INVOLVING AN AMBITIOUS YOUNG AMERICAN WOMAN AND AN INTERESTING OVERVIEW OF A BRITISH SUBMARINE NOT TOLD ELSEWHERE INVOLVING FORWARD RUDDERS AND SILENT CABINETS 

 * that's 1914 and we had gone to war to protect Belgium from those well know thugs from the Reichstag.

Although the American's were not prepared to fight the krauts [probably didn't want to upset the thousands living in the States as Ellis Island immigrants]: at that time, whilst we were actively locking them up in the UK as being persona non grata, they were over-keen to know what was going on in the UK and in areas just across our channel which became the battlefields for four long years. They got that information in two different ways. First by creating direct liaison's with UK Newspapers and media outlets, and secondly by flooding the 'European War Scene' with US pressmen...............Oops....and women !

In the WW1 period, just about the most important man in GB was Lord Northcliffe who owned and controlled everything that was written in all UK newspapers and magazine, plus said on BBC radio programmes: these, plus being a personal buddy of the Prime Minister Mr Herbert Henry Asquith who offered him a Cabinet post. He also owned a good slice of what was influential on the Washington DC patch, and visited the States regularly [taking tea with the President] to keep his image honed sharp. You may not have heard of him, but in WW2 he had a double [with the same powers] called Lord Beaverbrook: however, perhaps a more fitting comparison would be Lord Northcliffe with Rupert Murdoch for giant media magnets. It was during one of these visits that the star of my story got to meet him, and true to form, got to be his lover [temporarily]. Her maiden name is of no consequence, so I'll tell you her married name which was Mrs Jane Anderson and believe me she managed to enchant men, that's all men, wherever she went. What she asked for she got, and for the purposes of my story, she asked to become a WW1 War Correspondent over-the-pond, and despite her gender, a correspondent without limitations or barriers.

Two of her great gate-openers were Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells {mega-famous at the time of WW1} and from whom she would pick-up some literary skills for eventually she got to be quite famous States-Side for her penmanship....sorry womenpenship. She was known as a celeb before WW1 started, and during and after it, became an accomplished and famous journalist and the 'Belle of the Celebs' to boot. What follows comes from one of Conrad's books:-

Note that the Baltic [below] was a White Star liner along with the Titanic. Whilst at sea passing Titanic coming east about to the UK she signalled Titanic to warn her of ice in the area in front of Titanic's westerly course which Titanic ignored. This was it.

"Greek steamer Athenia reports passing icebergs and large quantities of field ice today in latitude 41° 51' N, longitude 49° 52' W. Wish you and Titanic all success. Commander."

The American's joined the War in 1917 with just one year left to prosecute it, and when that had expired, Jane Anderson had become recognised as one the America's leading War Correspondents in  Europe.

In the book extract above, there is a mention of Jane visiting and interviewing the officers and crew of a British submarine. Apart from the story itself which is very interesting and I'll wager a rare true WW1 story, there are a couple of points of special interest in the story which I will touch on now.

Note that she [the crew and the navy] referred the foreward hydroplanes as "forward rudder", which I as a former submariner had never heard of. Makes sense of course because afterall a rudder steers things either left or right [port and starboard] but also up and down [going deep or coming shallow] although I concede that a rudder is usually mounted in a vertical plane and not a horizontal plane. I have not yet ascertained the date or period when we dropped the use of 'forward rudder' in favour of foreward planes or hydroplanes. A submarine also has 'after hydroplanes' whose function is more complicated than the foreward device, yet still move up and down in the horizontal plane. They are used with the combined forces/actions of the speed of the propellers and the steering rudder proper [both creating water turbulence] to keep the submarine level or an angle bow-up or bow-down as dictated by the trim and the officer in charge  of it. This is a simple manoeuvre in theory but from experience, often difficult to achieve due mainly to the sea conditions on the surface down to 50 to 60 feet below and often much deeper in surface gale force conditions which tend to exacerbate the porpoise-effect and the yawing-effect.    The operator of the after planes is a responsible job given to a chief petty officer or a petty officer who has to keep the bubble in a fixed clinometer in the middle, straddling the zero marker, [level] in normal conditions, or as directed, to encourage the bubble to move forward or slip aft when it is desirable for the stern end of the boat to be higher or lower in the water than the bow end of the boat.  All the sailor on the fore-planes has to do is to keep the depth ordered by consulting his depth-gauge. Usually, these bow-up bow-down angles are very slight at around the one degree mark. However, it has been known for captains to use severe angles, say up to five degrees bow-up with propellers going at full speed when doing an emergency surfacing evolution.  Equally, to go 'deep' quickly to get out of harms way [attacking ship or aircraft] modest bow-down angles are ordered in conjunction with high speed and a trim which gives almost immediate negative buoyancy, by flooding a large tank situated just above the hull near the centre of the boat. Irrespective of the class of submarine this tank was always called "Q" tank. It follows that for a routine surfacing, this tank would have been emptied by blowing high pressure air into the top of the tank forcing the water out of the bottom back to the sea - remember that you cannot compress a liquid but you can air, so although there is a largish permanent hole in the bottom of the tank, as long as the air pressure is maintained and cannot be compressed further, the sea, with all its power, just sits and waits for the air to be released. A submarine captain will always half fill "Q" tank when closed up for action stations just in case he has to go deep and rapidly, when the other half can be more quickly filled that can a completely empty tank.

It mentions that the motors [electric motors which drive the submarine when dived and an element of combustion is missing for the diesel engines namely air [oxygen], are the only way a submarine can reverse: it cannot reverse its diesel engines as configured in a boat. As such the main motors carrying thousands of amps are always used for manoeuvring when in harbours or in restricted navigable waterways.

Finally it mentions "In the Silence Room/Silent Cabin" the telegraphist' sparks could be heard during testing. In the days of the Spark Transmitter which employed lethal voltages and could easily kill or badly burn a telegraphist, operators had to sit in "silent cabinets or room" fully protected from the spark transmitter which they were keying with their Morse key remotely. Both the silent cabinet and the spark transmitter were in the same office known as the "W/T Office" where W/T stands for wireless telegraphy which was a noisy affair when sending the spark to the transmission aerial. Also in the silent cabinet were the receivers, which were based on  coherers, and very delicate instruments they were too, not at all like the robust transmitter. It is no surprise to learn that as reception failed the transmitters survived and kept on working. However, for successful operations, both were required, and she would have continued with her transmission in the hope that somebody somewhere would hear them and perhaps come to her assistance.  Not mentioned here  was that when dived and the wireless telegraphy equipment could not be used, the telegraphists became the underwater 'listeners' which eventually became the Asdic operators and then the sonar operators listening for ships above, helicopters dunking sonar buoys in the hover, and the movement of other submarines all potential aggressors. Look here at this file for reference and details.

 

Finally the main file which was covered by the gorgeous Jane Anderson.

The_Times_1916-05-18  submarine survives.jpg you might have to click on it twice to fully open it.