Dakar (below) - Launched as the Royal Navy's HMS Totem, she was sold to the Israeli navy in 1965 and renamed INS Dakar. On 25 January 1968 she was at sea with a crew of 68 when she vanished on her way to her new home port, having never actually made it to her new owners. The wreck was discovered in 1999 but the cause of her loss remains a mystery. She was the first submarine in a number of major losses that made 1968 a terrible twelve months for submariners.
K-129 - The Golf II class Russian submarine K-129 vanished in the Pacific on 8 March 1968 and a search by their support vessels found no trace of the submarine or her crew of 98. Eventually the search was called off, but in the meantime American listening stations had not only picked up what they believed to be the submarine sinking, but they knew roughly where it was. In the August of that year a survey ship located the wreck and confirmed it's identity. A top secret operation was now launched and the offshore drill ship Hughes Glomar Explorer was built especially to recover the submarine. The mission was a partial success and the ship recovered a large portion of the sunken K-129, the story eventually being public knowledge in 1975.
Today there are many memorials to the lost submarines of the world. During the two world wars around 1000 submarines went down, within the last few years alone a number of them have sunk belonging to Argentina, Russia and Indonesia, their crews forever entombed in their steel coffins. A memorial in London on the side of the River Thames commemorates the lost Royal Navy submariners (below), another in Kiel lists every member of crew lost on every U-boat. While submarine disasters these days are rare, they are still a possibility, as is shown with the recent loss of the Titan. All we can do is send our thoughts to those who have lost loved ones and hope that lessons will be learned.