In the pretty churchyard of Clovelly, is the grave of a very brave man - Frederick Jewell - who volunteered, in the run up to the start of the Great War, for one of the most dangerous jobs in the Royal Navy.
His body does not lie in this Clovelly churchyard for he did not survive the loss of his ship in Whitsand Bay off Plymouth. When the Royal Navy sent divers down in 1985 they confirmed that the remains of the crew were still inside the rusty wreck of this prototype submarine. Since 1985 the wreck site has been designated as a military cemetery subject to the Protection of the Military Remains Act and must be left in peace.
To read the full story of this tragic event, go to
The full crew lost with this vessel were
P.O. John F. Crowley
Seaman Ernest F. Dyer
Seaman Frank C. Harris
Seaman Frederick Jewell
Sub. Lt. Robert H. G. Morrison
ERA Robert W. Nagle
Ldg. Stoker John Northam
Seaman Charles E. J. Russell
ERA Richard Venning
Ldg. Stoker Lancelot Wagstaff
Lt. Gilbert M. Welman, C.O.
The following is by courtesy of the Royal Navy's "Navy News" website:
"The A7 was the first submarine to be fitted with experimental hydroplanes and was conducting trials of the equipment off Rame Head in January 1914. She was in company with HMS Onyx, the gunboat HMS Pigmy and five other submarines.
At 1110 the A7 dived to conduct another mock attack on HMS Pigmy, but the attack failed to materialise and the Pigmy hoisted the black ball signal for the flotilla to resurface. The A7 failed to respond. HMS Pigmy steamed towards Rame Head to search for her and bubbles were seen on the surface. The ship then signalled to Devonport for immediate assistance.
With only six hours worth of oxygen onboard, by nightfall hopes of rescuing the crew had vanished. Pigmy had left a marker buoy, but before the rescue attempt could begin, it had broken loose in heaving seas and drifted out to sea, where it was recovered the next day. It was thought that the A7 must also have drifted, so the search was initially conducted too far from land. The submarine was eventually located on 21 January.
Two attempts to raise her followed, but at the end of February the operation was abandoned. A memorial service was held at sea on 5 March 1914."