It serves as a reminder that Govan shipbuilding workers were among those who died when a First World War submarine sank during sea trials in the Gareloch.

The crew of K13 were trapped beneath the icy waters for some 57 hours before help arrived, on January 29, 1917.

The captain of the steam-propelled vessel, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert and Commander Francis Goodhart, captain of sister submarine K14, made a desperate attempt to escape from the stricken submarine to get help.

They used the space between the inner and outer hatches as an airlock, but only Lt Cmdr Herbert made it to the surface alive as Cmdr Goodhart died after striking his head during the escape.

An airline was eventually attached to the vessel, allowing the submarine to bring her bow to the surface and where a hole to be was cut, allowing the survivors to be rescued. However, by that time, 32 submariners had died.

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There were 75 people on board including 53 Royal Navy submariners and six employees of Govan shipbuilder Fairfields.

Five years after the tragedy, in 1922, a memorial was erected in Elder Park by the Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company near the dockyard where it was built and launched on November 11, 1916.

Now, 100 years later, a major restoration project has been completed to ensure it is preserved for future generations.

The Herald:

The monument was dismantled, cleaned and rebuilt during painstaking works in time for the annual commemoration on January 30.

The works were part of a wider £126,000 project to restore the elegant entranceway to Elder Park, which was created in 1885 by Isabella Elder, a British philanthropist who took a particular interest in education and the welfare of the people of Govan in Glasgow.

The Herald:

Many of the original details such as decorative frieze on one of the octagonal pillars were beyond repair and had to be replaced by skilled masons and carvers at Naughton masonry. 

The missing cast iron gates and fence finials were re-cast at the Laing’s Foundry from the original pattern preceded by a careful analysis of the original. 

The Herald:

Once fed by gas, the electric lamps crown the gate posts and shine the way into the park. 

Councillor Richard Bell, City Treasurer at Glasgow City Council, said: “The restoration of the gateway to Elder Park and the K13 submarine memorial is very welcome news for the people of Govan. 

"These are significant local landmarks, with remarkable backstories and it is fitting that this work was completed 100 years after the K13 memorial was first erected by Fairfield employees.

"I’d like to pay testament to all the hard work of the partners to deliver these restorations, which are truly valuable to the local community.”

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The submarine was undergoing final pre-acceptance trials in the Gareloch before disaster struck. During a dive in the morning, a small leak had been reported in the boiler rooms, so a second dive was programmed for the afternoon

The crew of E50, another submarine undergoing trials, watched K13 dive and became concerned that the dive did not "look right" and raised the alarm.

The Herald:


Two men were seen on the surface by Annie MacIntyre, a maid in a hotel a mile or so away, but her report was ignored. An enquiry found that four of the 37 inch diameter ventilators had been left open during the dive.The engine room hatch was also found to be open.

The K13 submarine was later raised from the Gareloch and returned to service as HMS K22. Another memorial is situated in Faslane Cemetery. 

The restoration project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow City Council as part of a Govan heritage initiative.