My Great Grandfather was lost on Submarine A7 on the 16th January 1914. By a staggering coincidence I was born on the same day sixty four years later. Having such a loss in the family affected me and enabled me to understand that the people of the past were not merely subjects of historical study but were people in their own right with hopes, dreams and children of their own. I think that it is worth noting that such things are live issues. My Grandfather became very upset when he learnt that there were plans to investigate recovering A7 for the museum and wrote a series of letters that I was able to read in the archives. When I learnt that the submarine had been disturbed by looters in the 1990s it was almost a relief that he had not lived to hear such news. He could not remember his father and never saw a photograph of him. When I was nineteen I went to the Submarine Museum at Gosport to investigate the loss of HMS M2 and decided to look at the records relating to A7 as well. I think that going to Gosport and examining the records was one of the most exciting things I have done as a historian. I like archives but to actually see records and artefacts which related directly to my family was very exciting. I was especially pleased to find a photograph of my Great Grandfather which I now have on my wall.
For an excellent and professional report into the A7 disaster Peter Holts work is indispensable. He draws on all the available resources and has had rare permission to dive the wreck which is obviously a grave.
Below is an excellent documentary about the loss of the A7 which included a number of facts I was unaware of.