After the First World War began in 1914, HMS B10 played a minor role in the Dardanelles Campaign.

Two members of the crew were washed overboard when the submarine was charging batteries during a patrol North of the island of Tenedos in the Aegean Sea. One was picked up but died without regaining consciousness. The other was not recovered.

Although no further loss of life was involved, HMS B10 subsequently became the first submarine in history to be sunk by air attack, on 10 August 1916, whilst berthed alongside the Italian cruiser Marco Polo in Venice. The raid was led by Austro-Hungarian ace Baron Gottfried Freiherr Von Banfield who earnt himself an obituary in the Times when he died in 1986.

B10 was raised and docked but during a repair to the damage a petrol tank was ignited and the resulting fire put an end to the submarine’s career.


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  1. Here is an account of her loss written by A Playle:

    “The Last Dive of HM Submarine B10 August 1916 – Venice.

    I was one of the crew of H M Submarine B10 when she was sunk at Venice on the 9 August 1916.

    We had returned from patrol and secured alongside the old Italian cruiser Marco Polo.

    It was the evening – such as the great artist J M W Turner, has immortalised in his sunset over Venice. At that time the city was guarded by sentinels, within hailing distance – I should think they were operatic singers in private life, as they sang Buona Guardia, Buona Aria at intervals, this was done when Venice was a maritime power with her galleons and galleys.

    On this summer evening it was not Buona Aria; an Austrian plane had hopped across from Pola, about twenty minutes flight away.

    As far as I recollect we used to have a ringside seat to see the display. Once I saw a wonderful old church, burning like a torch, with the molten lead cascading down like a waterfall. On this evening I was standing on deck, in fact lighting my pipe, when there was a red glare. When I had picked myself up,I heard someone say “Your old boat has gone” and so was my pipe!

    I looked over the side and saw B10 settling down for her last dive, and not without a lot of gurgling and protest at this unusual dive.

    After about a fortnight the old boat was raised from the bottom and docked. This job was done by Italian divers.

    It was happened after I thought unusual and interesting.

    Going to work one morning I met a crowd of workmen running towards me. They were saying “B Diche tutti fini – fucci fuoci – B10 all finished – on fire”. As there were 2000 gallons of petrol, and two torpedoes with their war-heads on, I thought it time to have a look, so I went to where the Italians came from, and my old boat was well and truly alight. The petrol tank had caught fire and was burning like a huge blow lamp, very near to the torpedoes. Furtunately (sic) the vent on the tank was closed (sic) so no air could get to it, or it would have exploded. The fire was put out by flooding the dock.

    The cause of the fire. It was necessary to put a patch over the hole in the side caused by the bomb.

    The side of the boat was being drilled, with an electric drill, which penetrated the petrol tank, and either the heat of the point of the drill, or a faulty electrical connection set fire to the petrol.

    Anyway, no one was hurt and Bella Venezia unscarred – A gentleman’s war.

  2. According to a crew list held in the RNSM, Thomas and Hobby were lost overboard while B10 was operating from Tenedos in the Aegean Sea.