Built: 1894 at Pembroke Dockyard
Lost: 2nd Jan 1918
Reason for loss: Accidently rammed by the casualty clearing ship SS Western Australia
Originally a Dryad-Class Torpedo Gunboat, HMS Hazard would eventually be converted to a submarine depot ship – the world’s first – and this was her primary function throughout the First World War, providing support for the Fourth and later the Fifth Submarine Flotilla. The Fourth flotilla patrolled home and Atlantic waters and the Fifth Flotilla formed part of The Dover Patrol - Its primary mission was to monitor barriers and defences at the eastern end of the English Channel to prevent U-boats from gaining access to western areas. It also harassed German fortifications on the coast of occupied Belgium.
On 17th November 1915 HMS Hazard was the first on scene to rescue passengers from the hospital ship HMHS Anglia (hyperlink to Anglia story) which had hit a mine a mile east of Folkestone Gate
HMS Hazard’s unfortunate end came in 1918 when, in thick heavy fog, she was rammed by SS Western Australia – an allied vessel. With the ship basically sliced clear in two, it sank very quickly taking three crewmen with her to the bottom. A forth casualty later died of his wounds in hospital. It was a sad and abrupt demise for a ship that had given sterling service throughout her career.
The wreck now lies in a general depth of 30m a mile east of the Warner Buoy in the centre of a deep water channel leading to the east Solent. She is in two pieces and turtle (upside down), a good portion of her buried in the soft mud. Due to strong currents, bad visibility and the close proximity to busy shipping lanes, it is not a highly popular dive spot and only for the experienced. The site is not a protected war grave.
Researched by Owen Morgan and Duncan Ross, Written by Duncan Ross (MAT HLF Forgotten Wrecks Volunteers).