Steven Schwankert and the HMS Poseidon

When the HMS Poseidon struck a Chinese freighter in the Gulf of Bohai in 1931, the collision sparked a devastating accident that would see the British submarine plunge to the ocean floor in mere minutes, claiming the lives of nearly half the crew, but then making history through the daring escape of six submariners who found themselves trapped in the torpedo room of the doomed vessel and made their way to the surface nearly an hour after its sinking.

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy help peel back the mystery of this Poseidon, as well as the secret Chinese salvage operation that took place decades later unbeknownst to the British Navy, in a discussion with Steven Schwankert, Managing Editor of The Beijinger, owner of the SinoScuba training school, and now author of the just-released book Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine.




Steven R. Schwankert
Royal Navy submarine HMS Poseidon sank in collision with a Chinese freighter during routine exercises in 1931 off Weihaiwei. Thirty of its fifty-six-man crew scrambled out of the hatches as it went down. Of the twenty-six who remained inside, eight attempted to surface using "Davis gear," an early form of diving equipment: six of them made it safely to the surface in the first escape of this kind in submarine history and became heroes. The incident was then forgotten, eclipsed by the greater drama that followed in World War II, until news emerged that, for obscure reasons, the Chinese government had salvaged the wrecked submarine in 1972. This lively account of the Poseidon incident tells the story of the accident and its aftermath, and of the author’s own quest to find out about the 1972 salvage. —Hong Kong University Press {chop}{node, 4183, 3}
Podcast, History, Navy, Scholarship