LIEUT.-COMMDR. JOHN AUSTIN GAIMES, D.S.O., R.N. COMMANDING H.M. SUBMARINE K 5 , WHEN SHE WAS LOST WITH ALL HANDS, AT EXERCISE, ABOUT 100 MILES OFF THE SCILLY ISLES, ON JANUARY 20TH, 1921. At the School 1899—1900 (Day Boy). Lieut.-Commander J. A. Gaimes, D.S.O., R.N., was aged 34, and was the only son of the late Henry Austin Gaimes, who was a member of the Stock Exchange, and died in South Africa in 1892, and of Mrs. Gaimes of Randtville, Lyons Crescent, Tonbridge, and grandson of the late W. Noel Sainsbury, Editor of the Colonial Calendar of State Papers and Assistant Keeper of H.M. Records. Entering the School in May, 1899, he was in a Form then called the Navy and Junior Army Class till Christmas, 1900, and then after working at Stubbington House, Famham, Hants, gained fourteenth place in the Navy Examination, and passed into the Britannia in 1901. He joined H.M.S. Drake as a midshipman in March, 1903, and from the following November till 1906 served in H.M.S. Albemarle, flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron. Having been Acting Sub-Lieutenant since April, 1906, he became Sub-Lieutenant on April 23rd, 1907, and was posted to H.M.S. Majestic, flagship of the Channel Fleet. From January, 1908, to January, 1909, he was second in command of T.B.D.'s, and, when he was acting in command of H.M. T.B.D. Syren at the manoeuvres, the C.-in.-C., Lord Charles Beresford, signalled that the Syren was "the best manned and best handled ship." Volunteering for submarines in 1908, he served in home waters till 1913, in H.M. submarine A1, as second in command of C3, and in command of B3. He had been promoted Lieutenant on January 11th, 1909, and on March 15th, 1913, was appointed to H.M.S. Rosario, China Station, in command of C37. In March, 1915, to his great disappointment, he was left in command of the submarine base at Hong Kong, and of H.M.S. Rosario and submarines C36, C37, and 038; he was also in charge of the examination service and of the signalling and wireless station. Whilst there he invented some improvement in submarine machinery which was accepted, and also wrote a naval essay that was highly commended by the Admiralty. It was not till the submarine menace became acute that, early in 1917, he was recalled to England and appointed to H.M.S. Maidstone for command of H.M. submarine E4. He now took up minelaying, and soon became recognised as one of our best submarine minelaying experts. A well-known submarine officer wrote, " In a few months he established a reputation among the leading submarine officers," and he added, " I suppose that his minelaying feats, especially his trip, when he laid a minefield off the German Exercising Ground in the Bight, rank amongst the most daring feats of the war." Always ready to volunteer for any enterprise however hazardous, he successfully carried out in the period between April, 1917, and the armistice more undertakings in the North Sea and the Heligoland Bight than any other submarine officer. In January, 1918, he was appointed to H.M. submarine E45 and made senior submarine officer at Harwich, and by the development of dummy minefields in the fairways used by our own and neutral shipping, and by his exploits in the Bight, not least by his discovery of the "gate" through the German minefield barrier, he contributed very materially to the defeat of the U-boat menace. It was on April 23rd to April 25th, 1918, that, in command of E45, he carried out the exploit in the Heligoland Bight for which he was awarded the D.S.O. on June 26th, 1918. " Etienne " in " A Naval Lieutenant 1914—1918," speaking of the dangerous trips undertaken by our submarine minelayers, says :— " I think the best one I know of was done by one of the minelayers soon after I reached Harwich. The boat in question found a buoyed channel leading up to Heligoland, trusted to her luck and followed the line of buoys, eventually laying a minefield practically in the anti-submarine gate of the boom near the island. One of the most astounding features of the trip was that the boat was on the surface whilst the mines were being laid, and barely 200 yards away a German patrol boat drifted about, with her crew singing songs on the forecastle. The captain of that boat now wears a D.S.O." In " The Story of our Submarines," by " Klaxon," this exploit is detailed an explaining " why we were so fully abreasi; of navigational matters inside the Bight." So great was the admiration in which he was held by his brother officers at Harwich that in August, 1918, a reception was given in his honour, and he was presented by them with a monkey jacket decorated with all the different orders that could possibly have been awarded to him, all of which they declared that he had earned, and, ii: addition, with the symbol of an order invented for the occasion, the " Order of the Mine." This jacket and many other valued mementoes are lost, as he always took them with him in his ship. The Admiralty also, in 1918, showed their appreciation of his services by causing his portrait to be painted for the Imperial War Museum, by Capt. Phillip Connard, and this was first exhibited in the Sea Power Exhibition at the Grosvenor Galleries, under the title of "The Commander of E45." In 1919 he received instructions from the Admiralty to write part of the official history of submarine work in the War, intended for use in the Service. Moreover, the charts that he executed in 1920 of the minefields in the North Sea are of great value. He was one of the three officers at Harwich to arrange the U-boat surrender, and the first to board and work with his own crew a surrendered German submarine. From August, 1918, till March, 1919, he was in command of L14. Then he undertook minesweeping operations in conunand of H.M.S. Sanfoin and subsequently of H.M.S. Boss, till, in February, 1920, he was appointed to H.M.S. Inconstant, Flagship of the First Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, on the staff of the officer in command and as a spare Captain of Submarines. He was subsequently posted to command K5. The " K " class are submersible cruisers, 337 feet in length," the largest and fastest submarines in existence, certainly by far the most complicated "—so one of the leading experts describes them—and their safety in diving depends on the perfect working of most complex machinery. The submarine flotilla, including K5 and four other " K " boats left Portland on January 17th, 1917, to carry out exercises with the fleet in the Atlantic. They were delayed at Torbay by heavy weather till the 19th, and on the 20th, when they were some 100 miles S.W. of the Scilly Isles, they sighted the " enemy " battle cruisers. The five " K " boats, assisted by other submarines and aircraft, were ordered to attack, and K5 and another at once dived, followed at a prescribed interval by the other three. When they rose to the surface it was found that K5 was missing. A prolonged search eventually resulted in the discovery of wreckage that proved that, whatever the cause of the disaster, the death of those in the central compartment must have been practically instantaneous. Another O.T., Lieut.-Commander Allan Poland, D.S.O. (1903. H.S.), who also received the D.S.O. for service in submarines, was in command of K22, and he wrote:—  "The last I saw of K5 was her conning tower going under in a perfectly normal manner. From her position it was absolutely impossible for her to have got anyihing like near enough to the 'enemy' to have been rammed. . . . I am convinced Ithat her initial dive was normal. What happened afterwards it is impossible to judge with any degree of accuracy, but from the wreckage that was recovered it seems certain that she dived deep from some inexplicable cause and was unable to recover. At the particular spot the water is about ninety fathoms and the boat would undoubtedly cave in ; so it is perfectly certain that the end would be sudden. . . . I am quite certain that something must have happened which it would have been in no one's power to correct." A private memorial service was held in School Chapel on January 25th, and the memorial services held at Portsmouth on the 28th and at Devonport on the 30th in memory of the fifty-seven officers and men who went down in K5 were largely attended, many submarine officers having travelled specially from all parts of the country to be present. On Sunday, March 20th, the Atlantic Fleet, on its return from the Spring Cruise, stopped to hold an impressive memorial service at the scene of the disaster. Lieut.-Commander Poland and very many others have expressed their great admiration for " Jacky Gaimes" as a submarine officer and as a man, and the following are extracts from some of the letters of those who knew him best:— " Everyone loved him " ; " he was a keen sportsman and immensely popular with every one from the Admiral to the able seaman ' ' ; "he got the last ounce out of his boat's crew, who invariably worshipped him " ; "no matter how dangerous their duties were, every man under him would go gladly to any peril " ; " I have never met either in or outside the Service any one who so thoroughly earned the proud title of a ' white man ' " ; "of two things I am sure, that he went out with that attractive and inscrutable smile on his face, and that, if any one could have saved K5, when the emergency arose, it was Jacky Gaimes."

How He Died
Where He Died
School House
Date Entered
Date Left
School Achievements

Entering the School in May, 1899, he was in a Form then called the Navy and Junior Army Class till Christmas, 1900, and then after working at Stubbington House, Famham, Hants, gained fourteenth place in the Navy Examination, and passed into the Britannia in 1901.