China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine


Steven R. Schwankert

ISBN : 978-988-8208-18-0


October 2013

256 pages, 6″ x 9″, 33 b&w illus.

  • HK$295.00

Royal Navy submarine HMS Poseidon sank in collision with a freighter during routine exercises in 1931 off the Chinese coast. 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 an early form of diving equipment: five 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 discover the shipwreck and its hidden history.

Steven R. Schwankert is an editor and award-winning reporter with seventeen years of experience in Greater China. He is the Asia chapter chair of The Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and founder of SinoScuba, Beijing’s first professional scuba-diving operator. In 2007, he led the first ever scientific expedition to dive Mongolia’s Lake Khovsgol. He regularly guides divers to the Underwater Great Wall and a Ming-dynasty city that lies beneath a lake in China’s Zhejiang Province.

“Schwankert’s tale of a lost submarine, its discovery and secret salvage by the Chinese is a compelling, real-life exposé. Exciting, suspenseful, filled with intrigue, Poseidon is a must-read to set lost history on the track to truth.” —Clive Cussler, author of Raise the Titanic and Poseidon’s Arrow

Poseidon is an excellent account of a fascinating episode in naval history. I highly recommend this superb book.” —Alex Kershaw, author of Escape from the Deep and The Liberator

Poseidon is the gripping story of the dramatic final moments of a British submarine—the survivors’ compelling story and the awful fate of those trapped inside. But Poseidon is also the story of Schwankert’s dogged quest and maritime detective work to uncover the truth on that dreadful day in Royal Navy history.” —Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking