The Real Poseidon Adventure:

China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine


June 9, 1931 went horribly wrong for the HMS Poseidon. Despite what most eyewitness accounts describe as “good visibility,” one of Britain’s most modern submarines made a series of misjudgments and collided with a Chinese freighter in the Bohai Sea. In two minutes, the sub went down. Thirty officers and crew escaped before the Poseidon took its final plunge to the bottom.
A rescue mission involving numerous ships that would meet their own end in the coming war began immediately. With only a minimum of the primitive diving equipment available at the time, hopes for rescue and salvage were not high.
An hour later, prayers are seemingly answered: six men bobbed to the surface. Four of them lived to tell the tale. Twenty others remained below, swallowed in the deep.
However, the loss of Poseidon and deaths of its 20 crew had a massive impact on future submariners. Those deaths may have helped to save the lives of hundreds, thanks to changes in submarine design, escape equipment and rescue procedures, and hyperbaric (decompression) research and treatment, all of which came as a direct result of the Poseidon tragedy. But the sinking was not Poseidon’s final chapter.
New research using original Chinese
sources, has uncovered a new ending to the Poseidon story, one that has outraged members of the British government and public, and added an unprecedented twist to the noble history of the Royal Navy Submarine Service. Read The Real Poseidon Adventure: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine, coming soon from Hong Kong University Press.