K26 Song, The
DESCRIPTION: "K26 is a bloody fine boat, Her casing's painted white, She works her crew through the day And half the bleeding night."
EARLIEST DATE: 1987 (Tawney-GreyFunnelLines-RoyalNavy)
KEYWORDS: navy work
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Tawney-GreyFunnelLines-RoyalNavy, p. 111, "The K26 Song" (1 text, tune referenced)
cf. "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More" (tune)
NOTES [232 words]: Wragg, p. 215, says that the K class of submarines were built starting in 1916. Seventeen were built during World War I. They seem to have been clumsy boats; Wragg lists none lost in enemy action but three lost to collisions (two of them with each other) and one foundered. More were finished after the war; K26 was the last.
Bagnasco, p. 23, says "The K Class were large boats, characterized by a high surface speed of 24 knots. This was achieved by the adoption of 10,000shp steam turbines. The fourteen units of the class were built so as to have a uniform group of boats that would be capable, because of their speed, of direct cooperation with the surface units of the Grand Fleet.
"However, various difficulties, such as lack of effective means of communication with surface ships, caused the project to be abandoned. The considerable length of these boats (338 ft (103m)) made them very difficult to maneuver when submerged. Consequently, it was very risky to take advantage of the high underwater speeds that could be achieved during the first fifteen minutes of submersion, using residual boiler pressure."
As a result, although some submarines older than the K class served in World War II, the K class had all been removed from commission by the time of World War II. Which makes it quite surprising that there was anyone still singing this song when Tawney was collecting. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.1
- Bagnasco: Erminio Bagnasco, Submarines of World War Two, 1973 (Italian edition); English Language edition 1977 (I use the 1986 Naval Institute Press edition)
- Wragg: David Wragg, Royal Navy Handbook 1914-1918, Sutton Publishing, 2006
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