HMS Formidable was a First World War battleship serving
with the Royal Navy in the Channel. It had a crew of 780 men.
On New Year's Day, 1915, the fleet was returning from firing exercise.
Six battleships and two cruisers were sailing in line through Lyme
Bay. HMS Formidable developed engine trouble and was last
in the line.
Unknown to the navy the fleet was being shadowed by a German submarine.
At 2.30am, in bright moonlight, HMS Formidable was torpedoed.
Nearly 600 men were drowned or died of cold in the freezing waters.
The survivors were rescued and brought to the nearby town of Lyme
Regis. One sailor, Able Seaman James Cowan, was thought to be dead
but miraculously recovered.
The site of the wreck is now a war grave.