Resources: Wreck Significance
The remains of submarine A7 are significant for a number of reasons, primarily as the last resting place for her crew who died during a training exercise in 1914 but also because the submarine is of historical and technological importance.
Since the A7 sank in January 1914 and was a vessel being used for training submariners for the widely anticipated forthcoming hostilities, its loss can legitimately be placed within the historical context of WW1 military casualties. This is especially true since the RN was coming to a higher state of readiness in early 1914, reflecting the view in both the military and political establishment that war with Germany was a very real possibility at that time. The RN was experimenting with the development of tactics for operational deployment of new submarine maritime technology and the A7 appears to have been a casualty of this development as part of preparations for war. Its loss therefore had a developmental connection with WW1 and culturally should be seen as such.
The A7 is of importance for a number of historical and technological reasons:
- A7 is one of only three A class submarines that still survive today: A1, A3 and A7
- A7 is the last surviving member of the Group II A class submarines A5-A12
- The Group II boats were the end result of the development of the unique prototype vessel A1 and the experimental Group I vessels A2 - A4, and as such the Group II boats are the culmination of this particular design
- In service for approximately 11 years, the Group II boats can be considered to be the first practical and useful submarines in the Royal Navy, and thus an icon for the RN Submarine Service
- Unlike her sister boats A1 and A3, submarine A7 is almost entirely complete
- The A7 is the result of an unusual, very rapid and largely undocumented design process involving Vickers and Capt. Bacon that was also untroubled by the constraints of the Director of Naval Construction
- No external general arrangement engineering drawings have been located for any of the A class boats so the surviving hulls are the only record of the external fittings
- No internal general arrangement engineering drawings have been located for the Group II submarines. Internal general arrangement drawings have been found for the Group I boats and A1 but the layout and fittings are different.
- Documents have not yet been located that describe the operating procedures for the A class boats so we do not know how their systems worked
The petrol engine in A7 is the last example of the final Wolseley design for an engine that was far ahead of its time when it was developed
Were this vessel not designated as a Controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act there would be a good case for designation under the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973).
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