Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine represents a work of scholarship using both original Chinese and English-language sources, leading ultimately to the discovery of a hidden chapter in the submarine HMS Poseidon’s history. As The Associated Press wrote, “A lifelong scuba diving obsession led Steven Schwankert to the tale of the HMS Poseidon and the startling discovery that the British submarine, which sank off the northeastern coast of China in the 1930s, had been raised by the Chinese in 1972.”
Engaged in surface and submerged attack exercises with its sister ships, June 9, 1931 went horribly wrong for the HMS Poseidon. Despite what most eyewitness accounts describe as “good visibility,” one of Britain’s most modern submarines made a series of misjudgments and collided with a Chinese freighter in the Bohai Sea. In two minutes, the sub went down. Thirty officers and crew escaped before the Poseidon took its final plunge to the bottom.
New research has revealed sinister questions about the Poseidon’s sinking, the abandonment of its salvage, and its ultimate fate. Did the British government-on the eve of establishing formal diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China—know that as the Union Jack was being raised in Beijing, Chinese salvors were preparing to salvage their sailors’ grave site for scrap? And what happened to those sailors’ remains during the salvage?
This book is not only one of the first accounts of a 20th century shipwreck discovered in Chinese waters, but represents a historical account of the Interwar Period (1919-1938) for the Royal Navy, for China during the Republican Years, and the employment of 21st century technology to make an original discovery and add an additional, final chapter to the history of a Royal Navy submarine.