A HUNT is underway to track down the family of an Ilminster man who died while serving aboard a submarine in 1912.

Some residents of Ilminster may recognise the name Aeneas Lee as his service is marked with a plaque in the Minster Church, but two keen local historians are struggling to find his modern day relatives.

Peter Lansdown and Jacqueline Bennett have been investigating the loss of the Submarine B2, which was carrying Aeneas Lee when it crashed, killing all but one of the crew.

Part of their hunt for information included help from the News, who found an extract from October 1912 reporting Mr Lee’s death.

The report revealed that the B2 sank after being run into by the Hamburg-American line ‘Amerika’, off Dover

The old report added: “The deceased, who was 21 years of age, was a member of the crew of HMS Forth and was an able seaman.

“He had been in the navy between four and five and a half years, and bore an excellent character, being known as a quiet and steady young fellow.

“He was a native of Ilminster and as a boy attended the Ditton Street schools, so that he was very well known in the town.”

But the pair still have unanswered questions.

They are hoping to discover if anyone from Ilminster attended the funeral service, and why did Aeneas father also die a year later in 1913?

The old report added: “It is interesting to note that Mr and Mrs Lee have two other sons in the navy... and two in the army.”

The curious couple are also hoping to discover what the Lee’s other serving sons did during the war, and who organised for Aeneas’ plaque in the Minster church?

Mr Lansdown added: “HMS Forth and her squadron of submarines sailed from Dover on the evening of October 3.

“Just before dawn the following morning they were in the shipping lanes some four miles east of Dover when Submarine B2 was run down by SS Amerika.

“The submarine was struck on the port side just forward of the conning tower and holed.

“She sank immediately. Lt Pulleyne who was on the bridge was the only survivor.”

The other 15 crew died.

The search for the submarine lasted three days, and then a recovery was not considered due to the extensive damage and the amount of shipping in the area.

A funeral service was held on board HMS Forth over the spot.

If you know descendants from the Lee family, you can contact Mr Lansdown at peterlansdown1@outlook.com