Submarine E 47, 1917 crew: ERA John Curwen Tomlinson

August 19, 2009

Hi Mac,

I wish to thank you for the information you have published on HMS E-47. I am one of only three Great Grandchildren of ERA John Curwen Tomlinson who was lost with the rest of the crew in 1917. Some years ago I came across your website and was stunned to find out that the Submarine had been found. This started a major project for me to find out more as my family had assumed the loss was due to a failure during trial diving of a test submarine. I also contacted Mr Bruin, the Wreck Diver and the RN Submarine Museum - trading information and photos with both.


I now have the E-47 ships logs for its last year apart from the last voyage, of course. A summary is attached. E-47 had continuous leaking problems on the motor plates and spent two extended periods under repair for this. The log shows repeated patrols, leaving from HMS Maidstone at Harwick, Following the unmined War Channel along the English east coast, to patrol off the Dutch Coast. Patrols lasted 6-7 days on average.

In your first letter on this subject: (Colin Francis Creswell 1894 - 1917 and HMS Implacable and Sub E-47), the writer - Elizabeth Stevens, quoted a paragraph about E-47 being seen to explode while laying mines, this could not have been E - 47 as she was not equipped for mine laying, and this has been confirmed by the RNS Museum curator in correspondence.

Regarding a more recent letter on your site: (Sto. E A Lindsey lost on submarine E 47, 1917), from Mr Alan Mack, Devon, UK. the nephew of Stoker Lindsey. I would like to contact Mr Mack if possible, and wonder if you may have his email address, so I can pass on what information I have. Photographs of Stocker Lindsay and one of my Great Grandfather ERA Tomlinson are also attached.

Kind Regards and thanks once again

Andy Goodall
New Zealand


My thanks for your fascinating Email, obviously E-47 was not a mine laying submarine but this report from Dirk Bruin seems to indicate she may have been destroyed by a laid mine.

Observations on the wreck give the impression that E-47 has hit a mine. The remains of the hull show a large hole at the portside of the control-room section. The bow lies in an easterly direction, wich might say E-47 was still on it’s way to it’s patrol area.

You can add this information to your file on HMS E-47. I might be of use for now or in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Dirk Bruin
researcher divingteam Noordkaap Vlieland

My initial interest in E-47 stemmed from the fact that Colin Creswell was the son of Vice Admiral Sir William Creswell, the Father of the Royal Australian Navy.

I will ask Alan Mack if I may pass on to you his Email address.

Best wishes,

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