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World War 1 at Sea - British Merchant and Fishing Vessels Lost and Damaged




Hospital ship SS Anglia, mined and sunk 17 November 1915 (Dave Martin, click to enlarge)

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(1) Ships in BOLD capitals are those sunk or otherwise lost; in lower case bold, attacked and/or damaged. Variations in the published information are in brackets starting with an abbreviation for the source e.g. (wi - in 53.50N, 00.50E).

(2) Merchant ship and fishing vessel information is generally in the order - gross tonnage/build year, owner, registration port or place of ownership/management, crew if known, master or skipper, voyage and cargo, conditions if known. How sunk or damaged, lives lost (source abbreviations starting with + for original HMSO)

(3) Three items of information, the first two from the original HMSO lists, have been excluded to save space.  (i) All merchant ships and fishing vessels torpedoed, were ATTACKED WITHOUT WARNING;  (ii) if no casualties are shown, NO LIVES WERE LOST; (iii) all sinkings and attacks were by GERMAN SUBMARINES or U-boats unless otherwise stated.

(4) Click for Notes, Abbreviations and Sources.




British Merchant Vessels Lost to Enemy Action in October: 17 merchant ships totalling 54,156grt - 10 of 39,061grt to submarines, 7 of 15,095grt to mines (H)

U-boat Warfare - German U-boats transferred their main area of operations to the Mediterranean


Friday 1 October

Central Mediterranean

Olympic, troopship/transport, passenger ship, 46,359/1911, Oceanic Steam Navigation Co (Ismay, Imrie & Co), Liverpool, armed, carrying 5,500 troops of the British Army Yeomanry. Chased by U-boat, possibly U.33 or U.39, 40 miles W of Cape Matapan, escaped (+Rn/ge/ms)


Saturday 2 October

Central Mediterranean

ARABIAN, ammunition ship, 2,744/1892, Ellerman & Bucknall SS Co/Ellerman Lines, London-reg, sailing London/Malta for Piraeus/Salonica with general stores and "full of much needed ammunition". Captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), sunk by gunfire 15 miles WS of Cerigo Is/Kythira, off S Greece (un – in 36.04N, 22.53E) (+L/Rn/ge/te/un)

Eastern Mediterranean

SAILOR PRINCE, 3,144 (ms – 3,119)/1901, Prince Line (Knott), Newcastle, Mr J Chilvers, sailing Cyprus for Leith with locust beans. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by gunfire 56 miles SE by S of Cape Sidero, NE Crete (L/un - in 34.36N, 27.04E); 2 lives lost (+L/Mn/ms/te/un)


Monday 4 October

Dover Straits

Enfield, cargo steamship, 2,124/1897, C W Ormston & Co (un – Enfield SS Co (Speeding, Marshall & Co)), Newcastle, sailing Newcastle for St Nazaire with coal. Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen), 4 miles SSW of Folkestone Pier (L/un - 2m W by S of), beached at Hythe, refloated (+L/ms/un)


Tuesday 5 October

North Sea

NOVOCASTRIAN, 1,151/1915, Tyne-Tees SS Co, Newcastle-reg, 21 crew, Mr J Bruce, London for Newcastle with general cargo, steaming at 12kts. Mined at 1120, laid by UC.7 ( Franz Wger), sank 3m SE by E of Lowestoft, Suffolk (L - 1 mile E of Pakefield Gat Buoy; wi - in 52.25.54N, 01.50.31E) (+L/te/un/wi)


Wednesday 6 October

Central Mediterranean

Two steamships sailing for Malta, stopped by U.33 (Konrad Gansser) off there:

SILVERASH, 3,753/1904, St Helen's SS Co (1912), (Stanley & John Thompson), London, Mr John Parry Jones, from Barry (L/te - in ballast, Lloyds queries this; un – Barry via Malta for Mudros). Sunk by gunfire 184 miles E of (Mn - 190 miles E of; L/te/un - in 35.30N, 18.20E; un – also in 35.46N, 18.17); crew picked up by SS Remembrance, possibly the Q-ship collier of this name. Note: unlikely to sail from Barry in ballast, more likely carrying coal (+L/Mn/te/un)

SCAWBY, 3,658/1911, Sir R Ropner & Co, Stockton, from Mudros for Malta with coal. Stopped at 1430, sunk by bomb 220 miles E of (L/un - in 35.45N, 19.05E; un – also in 35.40N, 18.45E) (+L/Mn/te/un)


Thursday 7 October

Central Mediterranean

HALIZONES, 5,093/1902, British & South American Steam Navigation Co (R P Houston), Liverpool, sailing Bombay for Liverpool with cotton, manganese ore and general cargo. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by gunfire 122 miles SSEE of Cape Martello, S Crete (L/te/un - in 33.10N, 26.26E; un – also in 33.25N, 26.36E)) (+L/Mn/te/un)


Sunday 10 October

Dover Straits

NEWCASTLE, 3,403/1899, Newcastle SS Co (J J & C M Forster), Newcastle-reg, 27 crew, Mr A Downie, sailing Port Louis, Mauritius for London with 4,987t general cargo mostly sugar and rum, and one stowaway. Mined at 0700, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen), sank 20min later 4 miles SW of Folkestone Pier, Kent (wi - in 51.01.13N, 01.09E) (+L/te/un/wi)


Ajax (2), cargo ship, 7,040/1900, Alfred Holt & Co, Liverpool. U-boat gun attack, rescued (+ms)


Monday 11 October

North Sea

Oslo, passenger & cargo steamship, 2,296/1906, T Wilson Sons & Co/Ellerman's Wilson Line, Hull. Chased by U-boat 5 miles E by NN of Holy Is, escaped. Sunk 21 August 1917 (+ms)


Thursday 14 October

North Sea

SALERNO, 2,017/1912, Wilson Line/T Wilson Sons & Co, Hull-reg, Mr O Odd, Hull for Marseilles/Naples/Genoa with general cargo. Mined, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner), sank 2m S of Longsand LV, off Clacton (L/te/un - in 51.45N, 01.42E; wi - in 52.45.30N, 01.40E) (+L/te/un/wi)


Saturday 16 October

North Sea

Volscian, cargo steamship, 570 (ms – 616)/1898, Volana Shipping Co (Rogers & Bright) (un – Volscian SS Co (C D Moore)), Liverpool, sailing Dieppe for Grimsby in ballast. Mined, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner) 2m S by EE of Longsand LV (L - 2m S of), damaged, towed in by HMT Etoile Polaire, beached Harwich, refloated (+L/dq/ms/un)


Monday 18 October

North Sea

Aleppo, cargo steamship, 3,870/1900, T Wilson Sons & Co, Hull, sailing Alexandria for Hull with grain and general cargo. Mined, laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow) 1m E of Sunk Head Buoy, beached, refloated (+L/ms)


Thursday 21 October

UC.9 possibly mined in North Sea off Thames estuary


Friday 22 October

North Sea

GRAPPLER, tug, 102/1884, J P Eltringham & Co, South Shields. Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen), off Nab LV (ms/un/www only)


Saturday 23 October

Dover Straits

ILARO, 2,799/1895, African SS Co (Elder, Dempster & Co), London, Liverpool-reg, sailing Forcados for Hull with maize and palm kernels. (L - 24th) - Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Putkuchen), detonated under bow at 2030, 4 miles E of Dungeness (L - SW of; wi - in 50.54N, 01.03E), crew abandoned ship in two boats and picked up by patrol boat, cargo caught fire, master and crew reboarded next day, ship towed stern first by two Dover tugs to Deal Roads, beached near Sandown Castle in 51.14.53N, 01.24.39E. Ship abandoned on 25th, later burnt out, broke in two and dispersed with explosives; 29 saved, chief engineer fell overboard and drowned abandoning ship (+L/te/un/wi)

Aegean Sea

MARQUETTE, troopship/transport, cargo steamship, 7,057/1898, Atlantic Transport Co, West Hartlepool (wd - Red Star Line, possibly chartered to), London-reg, sailing Alexandria for Salonica with 22 officers and 588 other ranks of the Royal Field Artillery, 36 NZ Stationary Hospital nurses, government stores, ammunition and 541 animals, including horses. (me – 28th) - Torpedoed and badly damaged by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel), 30 miles short of anti-submarine nets, later sank 36 miles from Salonica Bay, Greece (L/un/wd - 36 miles S of); 169 lives lost – 2 military officers, 10 nurses, 128 other ranks and 29 crew (me – 20 crew; ge – 29 crew, 10 nurses, 128 troops = 167; un – total of 167; wd – 29 crew, 11 nurses, 88 troops = 128), survivors rescued by British and French patrol boats (+L/Rn/dk/ge/me/ms/te/un/wd)


Friday 29 October

North Sea

Glenroy, cargo steamship, 2,755/1899, Livingston Conner (tl – Glen Line), West Hartlepool. Chased by U-boat 20 miles ENE of Peterhead, escaped. Wrecked 11 February 1916 (+ms)


Saturday 30 October

North Sea

Avocet (2), cargo steamship, 1,408/1900, Cork Steam Shipping Co, Cork, Mr Fredrick Bernnell, Rotterdam for Liverpool. Aircraft attack with bombs and machine guns 8 miles W of North Hinder, bombs missed. From a contemporary account in the “Liverpool Journal Commerce” - “At about 1115 she was attacked by aeroplanes. One was a large Battle plane, which dropped 36 bombs, some of which fell within 7ft of the “Avocet.” They then took up a position off the port beam and opened fire on the bridge with machine guns, the ship’s side and decks being struck by bullets. The Battle Plane attacked with great skill, from a height of from 800 to 1,000ft, flew ahead of the steamer, suddenly turned, and came end on to meet her. When parallel, bombs were dropped so as to make sure of a hit. Capt Bernnell ordered the helm to be put hard to starboard and as she swung round to port, three bombs just missed the starboard bow and three the port quarter. Had the vessel continued her course the bombs would have rained on her, dropping on the forecastle and poop deck as the aeroplanes passed over her. Seeing the ship was unhurt they opened rifle fire. The action lasted 35min, and then they flew away. An examination of the ship was made, when it was found that the decks were littered with shrapnel, but otherwise she was uninjured. The man on the lookout actually remained at his post during the attack, and reported a floating mine right ahead while the bombs were bursting around him.” (+ms/www)


Sunday 31 October

Dover Straits

British steamship (and an Admiralty yacht and Admiralty trawler) mined in field laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow) that day:

TOWARD, 1,218/1899, Clyde Shipping Co, Glasgow-reg, 26 crew, Mr D McTavish, London for Belfast with general cargo, proceeding at 11kts. Detonated mine just ahead of the bridge at 0945, sank in The Downs, off South Foreland (L - 1m SE of; wi - 1m E by SS of, in 51.07.38N, 01.24.39E) (+L/te/wi)




British Merchant Vessels Lost to Enemy Action in November: 32 merchant ships totalling 94,493grt - 23 of 84,816grt to submarines, 9 of 9,677grt to mines, plus 1 fishing vessel of 162grt to mines (H)


Wednesday 3 November

North Sea

FRIARGATE, 264/1910, A Chester, Middlesbrough-reg, 7 crew, Mr C Hannaford, London for Middlesbrough with 225t loam. Mined, laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmetow) sank 4 miles E of Orford Ness, Suffolk (wi - in 52.05.06N, 01.43.37E); 2 crew lost. Insured for 4,700 as war risk by West of England Association (+L/Lr/un/wi)


Japanese Prince, cargo steamship, 4,876/1911, Prince Line Ltd (Furness, Withy & Co) (ms - J L Knott), Newcastle, London-reg, unarmed, no wireless, Mr A Jenkins. Chased by U-boat for 4 hours, 45 shells fired but no hits although a lot of shrapnel was found on the decks, ship manouevred throughout and escaped. Master awarded commission as Lt RNR. Sunk 10 February 1917 (+Mn/ms)

Western Mediterranean

WOODFIELD (1), 3,584/1905, Woodfield SS Co (Woods, Tylor & Brown), London, armed, sailing for Salonica, no cargo. Captured by U.38 (Max Valentiner), sunk by gunfire 40 miles ESE of Ceuta, N Morocco (L - 30 miles off Alhucemas Is or Lavender Rock, just off Moroccan mainland; un – in 35.42N, 04.28W); 8 lives lost (+L/Mn/te/un)

Eastern Mediterranean

WOOLWICH, 2,936/1887, Britain SS Co (Watts, Watts & Co), London, sailing Safaga Is/Port Sudan for Plymouth/Ayr with phosphates and zinc. Captured by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel), sunk by gunfire 104 miles S of Cape Sidero, NE Crete (L/te/un - in 33.35N, 26.30E) (+L/te/un)


Thursday 4 November

North Sea

Dotterel, cargo steamship, 1,596/1904, Cork SS Co, Cork, sailing Liverpool for Rotterdam. Aircraft attack with bombs and machine guns 14 miles WN of N Hinder LV, bombs missed, but ship damaged in the action. Sunk on 19th (+L/ms)

Western Mediterranean

Mercian, troopship/transport, passenger & cargo steamship, 6,305/1908, Wilsons & Furness-Leyland Line, Liverpool, Capt Walker, sailing Southampton/Gibraltar for Malta with 17 officers and 300 other ranks of a British Army Yeomanry regiment (Mn – 500 troops). (me – 3rd) - Gun attack by U.38 (Max Valentiner) between Gibraltar and Alboran, Regiment’s machine guns brought up and returned fire, ship damaged in the action and a number of boats launched without orders from the captain, two of which capsized, Mercian put into Oran; 38 lives lost – 1 military officer, 37 other ranks, no crew (H – no crew lost; RN – 78 casualties, including 23 men killed – 55 wounded? plus one officer, 22 men and 8 crew missing from boats – officer, 13 men, and five crew later picked up, to total 35 lives lost; Mn - 23 troops killed and 55 wounded by gunfire; ge – 23 killed by gunfire, 31 lost in capsized boats totaling 54) (+L/Mn/Rn/ge/me/ms)


Friday 5 November

North Sea

KING WILLIAM, trawler, 162/1900, Consolidated Steam Fishing & Ice, Grimsby-reg, fishing. Mined, believed surface-ship-laid (un – not included, so presumably not U-boat-laid), sank 125 miles E by N of Spurn LV, Humber; 2 lives lost including skipper (+L/Lr/gy)


Two armed steamships chased by U-boat(s), saved by own gunfire:

City of York, passenger & cargo steamship, 7,834 (ms – 7,705)/1904, Ellerman Lines, Glasgow (+ms)

Huntsman, cargo steamship, 7,460/1904, Charente SS Co (T & J Harrison), Liverpool. Sunk 25 February 1917 (+ms)

Western Mediterranean

BURESK (2), 3,673/1914, Buresk SS Co (Burdick & Cook), London-reg, Malta for Barry in ballast. Captured by U.38 (Max Valentiner), sunk by gunfire (te - torpedoed) 30 miles N by W of Cape Bengut, near Algiers (L/te/un - in 37.23N, 03.40E; un – also in 37.23N, 03.36E) (+L/te/un)

Lady Plymouth, cargo steamship, 3,521/1915, L Lougher & Co, Cardiff. Chased by U-boat off Algiers, escaped (+ms)

Eastern Mediterranean

MOORINA, ex-German, troopship/transport, cargo steamship, 4,994/1906, Australian Government/Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers, London, sailing Bombay for Marseilles with 4 military officers, 62 other ranks, and government stores. (ms – 7th; te/un – and/or 7th) - Captured by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel) after HMS Tara attack, sunk by gunfire 105 miles S of Cape Martello, S Crete (L/ms/te/un - in 33.10N, 25.10E); 2 military officers and 20 other ranks lost, but no crew lost according to HMSO (me – 2 ship's officers and 15 ratings) (+L/ge/me/ms/te/un)


Saturday 6 November

North Sea

ALASTAIR, 366/1902, A Gray & Maitland (un – J & W Henderson), Aberdeen-reg, 10 crew, Mr T Auld, London for Tyne with burnt ore. Mined, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner), sank 4 miles E of Southwold, S of Lowestoft (wi - in 52.13.58N, 01.43.45E); 7 crew lost including master (+L/Lr/un/wi)

Western Mediterranean

Three vessels attacked by U-boat(s) off Algeria, at least one of them by U.38:

Lady Plymouth, cargo steamship, 3,521/1915, L Lougher & Co, Cardiff. Gun attack off Algiers, escaped (+ms)

GLENMOOR, 3,075/1894, Moor Line (W Runciman & Co), Newcastle, sailing Bombay for Tees with manganese ore. Captured by U.38 (Max Valentiner), sunk by torpedo 5 miles NE of Cape de Fer LH, NE of Phillipeville, now Skikda (un – in 37.06N, 07.12E) (+L/te/un)

Pola, cargo steamship, 3,061 (ms – 3,053)/1898, English & American Shipping Co (C T Bowring & Co), London-reg. Chased by U-boat off Tukush Is, escaped by "good seamanship". Admiralty collier when sunk 18 March 1917 (+Mn/ms)

Central Mediterranean

Two British steamships (and an Admiralty oiler) captured by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel) off Cape Martello, S Crete:

CLAN MACALISTER, 4,835/1903, Clan Line Steamers (Cayzer, Irvine & Co), Glasgow-reg, master, Lt-Cdr J Taylor RNR Rtd, Liverpool for Calcutta/Indian ports with 6,000t general cargo. Sunk by torpedo 120 miles S by E of (L/te - in 33.10N, 25.50E; un – 33.10N, 22.50E) (+L/Mn/te/un)

CARIA, 3,032/1900, Cunard SS Co, Liverpool-reg, sailing Liverpool/Naples for Alexandria in ballast. Sunk by gunfire 120 miles S by E of (L/te/un - in 33.14N, 25.47E) (+L/Mn/te/un)


Monday 8 November


City of Cambridge, 3,844 (tl - 3,788)/1882, Ellerman's City Line (was G Smith/City Line), Glasgow. Chased by U-boat, escaped. Sunk 3 July 1917 (+ms/tl)

Central Mediterranean

Two British steamships captured by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel) off Crete:

DEN OF CROMBIE, 4,949/1907, The Barrie Shipping Co (Charles Barrie & Sons), Dundee-reg, Mr H Hemming, Far East ports/Bangkok for Lisbon/Oporto with 7,100t general cargo. Sunk by gunfire 112 miles S by W of Cape Martello (L/te/un - in 33.10N, 24.50E) (+L/Mn/te/un)

SIR RICHARD AWDRY, 2,234/1912, Pekin Syndicate, London, Mr Howard Tindle, Saigon for Marseilles with rice. Sunk by torpedo 72 miles S by EE of Gavdo Is (L/te/un - in 31.25N, 25.38E); except for the cook, all crew saved (+L/Mn/te/un)


Tuesday 9 November


Kashgar, passenger & cargo steamship, 8,840/1914, P&O, Greenock, armed. Chased by U-boat, saved by own gunfire (+ms)

Central Mediterranean

CALIFORNIAN, passenger & cargo ship, 6,223/1902, Leyland Line/F Leyland & Co, Liverpool-reg, the ship that allegedly failed to go to the aid of the sinking Titanic in 1912, Salonica for Marseilles in ballast, steaming at 12kts, escorted by French torpedo boat. Torpedoed by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel), sank 61 miles SSW of Cape Matapan, Greece (L/te/un - about 36.26N, 22.40E); one life lost, probably by the explosion (+L/Mn/te/un/wd)


Thursday 11 November

North Sea

RHINELAND, 1501/1903, Liverpool & Hamburg SS Co (D Currie & Co), Liverpool-reg, 21 crew, Mr W Steel, Middlesbrough/Tees for Nantes with steel bar/sheet/rod. Mined port-side amidships at 0700, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner), took immediate list to port, no time to launch boats and sank within 2min, 6m SES of Southwold, S of Lowestoft (L/wi - 6 miles SE of, in 52.22.50N, 01.49.43E); 20 crew lost including master, one surviving seaman spent 5 hours in the sea, rescued by minesweeper and landed at Lowestoft (+L/te/un/wi)


Friday 12 November

Dover Straits

Two steamships sunk by mines laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow) off Boulogne:

NIGEL, 1,400/1903, George Gibson & Co, Leith, sailing Newhaven for Boulogne with government stores. Sank (L - entrance to Harbour); 5 lives lost (+L/te/un)

MOORSIDE, 311/1908, Catcheside SS Co (T H Catcheside & Co), Newcastle-reg, sailing Leith for France with coal. Sank with Breakwater Buoy bearing S by WW; 8 lives lost including master (+L/Lr)


Sunday 14 November

Central Mediterranean

TRENEGLOS, 3,886/1906, Hain SS Co (E Hain & Son), St Ives, Mr S Beale, armed, sailing Port Louis, Mauritius for UK with sugar, steaming at full speed. "Terrific explosion in engine-room", torpedoed and mortally damaged by U.34 (Claus Rcker), port lifeboat smashed, other boats just ordered away when she sank 70 miles WSW of Gavdo Is, off SW Crete (L - 90 miles W of; un – in 34.30N, 22.42E); 3rd engineer and 2 firemen lost (+L/Mn/te/un)


Monday 15 November

Central Mediterranean

ORANGE PRINCE, 3,583/1894, Prince Line (James Knott), Newcastle, Mr J Holloway, Avonmouth/Alexandria for Mudros with general cargo, steaming at full speed a few miles from where Treneglos went down. Torpedo fired by U.34 (Claus Rcker) exploded in stokehold, then a second torpedo hit, sank 85 miles SW by W of Gavdo Is (L/te - in 34N, 22.40E; un – 33.56N, 22.46E); 3 men killed by explosion, all crew less master and chief officer got away, they had barely escaped when the second torpedo exploded (+L/Mn/te/un)


Wednesday 17 November

Dover Straits

Two steamships sunk by mines laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen) off Folkestone Gate:

ANGLIA (1), cross-Channel auxiliary hospital ship, ex-passenger ship, 1,862/1900, London & North Western Railway Co, Dublin-reg, crew numbers not known, Mr L Manning, Calais for Dover carrying wounded from the Western Front and nursing staff totalling 416 - 14 officers and 368 other ranks as patients, and 3 officers, 4 nurses and 27 other ranks as staff (tr – 388 wounded; wi – 13 wounded officers and 372 other ranks, 4 officers, 1 nurse as staff, totaling 390). Sank 1 mile E of (te/un - in 51.02N, 01.19E; wi - in 51.03.21N, 01.19.14E); total of 164 lives believed lost - 5 wounded officers and 125 other ranks, 1 nurse and 8 other ranks as staff, plus 25 crew (H – 25 crew only; ge - 80 passengers; tr – 130 (also quotes 70) wounded plus 1 nursing sister and 9 RAMC personnel, totaling 140; wi – 130 lost). HMS Hazard rescued some of the survivors (+L/Mn/ge/me/pt/te/tr/un/wi)

LUSITANIA (2), 1,834/1903, John Hall Jnr, London-reg, 13 crew, Mr J Rees, London for Cadiz with government stores and general cargo, believed assisting Anglia at the time. Sank 1 mile E of Folkestone Gate (wi - in 51.02.55N, 01.19.05E); no lives lost (wi - 7 crew lost) (+L/te/un/wi)


Saturday 20 November

Central Mediterranean

MERGANSER, 1,905/1908, Cork SS Co, Cork, Mr J Sharp, Clyde for Alexandria with coal and general cargo, steaming at 10kts. Chased by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), got up to 13kts but unable to escape, sunk by gunfire 40 miles WNW from Gozo island, NW Malta (L - 50 miles WNW of Malta; un – in 36.30N, 13.00E); survivors saved by French TB (+L/Mn/te/un )


Sunday 21 November

North Sea

Ballater, cargo steamship, 2,286/1894, Monroe Rutherford, sailing Valencia for London with fruit. Mined between Nos 3 & 5 Buoys, S Edinburgh Channel, towed in. Sunk as SS Greleen 22 September 1917 (+L/ms)


Tuesday 23 November


City of Marseilles, passenger & cargo steamship, 8,250/1913, Ellerman Lines, Liverpool, 1-4.7in, Mr B Dowse, sailing Liverpool via Marseilles for Bombay, carrying passengers. U-boat gun attack, saved by own gunfire (+Mn/ms)


Wednesday 24 November

Western Mediterranean

City of Lahore, passenger & cargo steamship, 6,948/1911, Ellerman Lines, Liverpool, armed. Chased by U-boat 10 miles E of Cape de Gata, near Almeria, saved by own gunfire (+ms)


Saturday 27 November

North Sea

Balgownie, cargo steamship, 1,061/1880, J & A Davidson, Aberdeen, sailing London for Rotterdam with general cargo. Bomb and machine gun attack by aircraft near N Hinder LV (L - m N of), bombs missed, damaged by machine gun fire. Sunk 6 February 1916, then owned by General Steam Navigation Co, London-reg (+L/Mn/ms)

Central Mediterranean

Two British steamships captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser) and sunk by gunfire off Tunisia:

KINGSWAY, 3,647/1907, Beaver Shipping Co (Palin Evans & Co), London, sailing Malta for Huelva in ballast. Sunk 20 miles ESE of Cape Bon (L - 20 miles E of; un – in 37.00N, 11.22E) (+L/Mn/te/un)

TANIS, 3,655/1913, Moss SS Co (J Moss & Co), Liverpool, sailing Liverpool for Alexandria with general cargo. Sunk 3 miles N of Zembra Is, Gulf of Tunis (un – in 37.11N, 10.49E) (+L/te/un)


Monday 29 November

UC.13 stranded and wrecked in Black Sea

Dover Straits

DOTTEREL, 1,596/1904, Cork SS Co, Cork, sailing Manchester/Liverpool for Dunkirk with general cargo. Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen), sank 4m N by E of Boulogne Pier; 5 lives lost (+L/te/un)

Central Mediterranean

MALINCHE, 1,868/1906, John Gaff & Co, West Hartlepool, sailing Piraeus for New York with general cargo. Captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), sunk by torpedo 50 miles E of Malta (L - 48 miles ESE of; un – in 35.35N, 15.22E) (+L/te/un)


Tuesday 30 November

Central Mediterranean

Two steamships carrying general cargo captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser) and sunk by gunfire ESE of Malta

COLENSO, 3,861/1900, Wilson Line/T Wilson, Sons & Co, Hull-reg, sailing Tees/Hull for Bombay. Sunk 95 miles off (L - 90 miles off; un – in 35.34N, 16.33E); one life lost (+L/te/un)

LANGTON HALL, 4,437/1905, Ellerman Line (Hall Line), Liverpool, sailing Calcutta for New York. Sunk 112 miles off (L/te/un - in 35.30N, 16.50E; un – also in 35.32N, 16.32E) (+L/te/un)


MIDDLETON, 2,506/1895, Alexander Shipping Co (Capper, Alexander & Co), Hull, sailing Mudros for Alexandria with sandbags. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by gunfire 75 miles SW by W from Gavdo Is, off SW Crete (L/te/un - in 33.58N, 22.56E; un – also in 33.44N, 23.18E); 4 lives lost (+L/Mn/te/un)




British Merchant Vessels Lost to Enemy Action in December: 21 merchant ships totalling 74,490grt - 16 of 65,011grt to submarines, 5 of 9,479grt to mines (H)

U-boat warfare – attacks restarted around the British Isles during the month


Wednesday 1 December

Central Mediterranean

Two steamships captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser) and sunk by gunfire off Malta:

CLAN MACLEOD, 4,796/1903, Clan Line Steamers (Cayzer, Irvine & Co), Glasgow-reg, Mr H Southward, Chittagong for London with general cargo. Sunk 100 miles ESE of (un – in 35.39N, 16.43E); 12 lives lost (te - 2). When the U-boat came up after the chase, the master was taken on board and questioned by an angry Konrad Gansser, the exchange went as follows: "(Gansser) 'I can shoot you as a franc-tireur.' I (the master) said, 'I don't think so.' He said, 'You are assisting the enemy.' I replied, 'I AM your enemy'". Gansser was on the British list of war criminals for this sinking; the case did not go to court (+L/Mn/ge/os/te/un)

UMETA, troopship/transport, 5,312/1914, British India Steam Navigation Co, Glasgow, crew of 5 officers and 86 ratings, sailing Port Said for Marseilles with no troops on board and in ballast. Sunk 112 miles ESE of (L - 112 miles E of; un – in 35.28N, 16.56E); 2 lives lost (me – 1 officer and 2 ratings) (+L/Mn/me/te/un)


Thursday 2 December

Central Mediterranean

COMMODORE, 5,858/1906, Charente SS Co (T & J Harrison), Liverpool-reg, Mr H Russell, Salonica for Marseilles in ballast. Under heavy fire for half an hour as she was overhauled by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), captured and sunk by bombs 160 miles ESE of Malta (L/te/un - in 35.10N, 17.39E; un – also in 35.15N, 17.28E); firing continued as the crew got away with one man killed, survivors adrift for 28 hours, picked up by Belgian steamer (+L/Mn/te/un)


Friday 3 December


Andania, passenger & cargo steamship, 13,405/1913, Cunard Steam Shipping Co, Liverpool. Chased by U-boat, rescued. Sunk 27 January 1918 (+ms)

Central Mediterranean

HELMSMUIR, 4,111/1913, Strath SS Co (Downing & Sutherland), Cardiff, sailing from Port Louis, Mauritius with sugar. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by torpedo 66 miles S by E of Gavdo Is, Crete (L - 110 miles S of) (+L/te/un)

Two troop transports involved in attack by same U-boat, probably in Eastern Mediterranean, possibly U.39:

Torilla, passenger & cargo steamship, 5,205/1911, British India Steam Navigation Co, Glasgow, 1-3pdr, carrying 2,000 troops. Gun attack, outranged and sent out SOS, rescued by SS Benalla (+Mn/ms)

Benalla, passenger & cargo steamship, 11,118/1913, P&O, Greenock, 1-4.7in, master, Cdr C Cockman RNR Rtd, Alexandria for Malta with troops, received wireless signal from Torilla. Came up and opened fire, after three rounds the U-boat submerged and made off; Master awarded DSC (+Mn/ms)


Tuesday 7 December

Eastern Mediterranean

VERIA, 3,229/1899, Cunard SS Co, Liverpool, sailing Patras for Alexandria in ballast. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by bombs 24 miles NW by W of Alexandria (un – in 31.30N, 29.28E) (+L/te/un)


Wednesday 8 December

North Sea

IGNIS, 2,042/1903, Gas Light & Coke Co (Stephenson Clarke & Co), London-reg, 20 crew, Tyne for London with gas coal. Mined, laid by UC.7 (Georg Haag), sank 5m NE of Aldeburgh, N of Orford Ness (L/wi - 3 miles ENE of, in 52.09.52N, 01.40.32E) (+L/te/un/wi)

Eastern Mediterranean

Tintoretto, cargo steamship, 4,181/1902, Lamport & Holt, armed. U-boat torpedo/gun attack 70 miles NW of Alexandria, torpedo missed, saved by own gunfire, claimed to have hit submarine at extreme range, possibly U.39 (+Mn/ms)


Thursday 9 December

Eastern Mediterranean

Two steamships heavily shelled, tried to escape but stopped and sunk by U.39 (Walter Forstmann):

BUSIRIS, 2,705/1904, Moss SS Co, Liverpool-reg, sailing Alexandria for Liverpool with general cargo. Shelled and sunk 190 miles WNW of Alexandria (L - 32.05N, 26.20E; un – 32.50N, 26.20E) (+L/Mn/te/un)

ORTERIC, 6,535/1911, Bank Line (A Weir & Co), Glasgow, Mr G McGill, Antofagasta for Alexandria with nitrate. Sent out SOS, encouraged by a nearby warship to hold course but hit eight times, abandoned, sunk by torpedo 140 miles S by EE of Gavdo Is, off SW Crete (L/un - 32.03N, 25.03E); as boats were lowered, one was hit killing two men and seriously injuring four, survivors rescued after an hour and a half (+L/Mn/te/un)


Saturday 11 December

Dover Straits

PINEGROVE, 2,847/1896, Alexander & Mair, Glasgow, sailing Dunkirk for London in ballast. Mined, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner), sank 8 miles WS of Cape Gris Nez, near Calais (L - 6 miles E of Colbert LV); 2 lives lost (+L/te/un)


Sunday 12 December

North Sea

Southgarth, cargo steamship, 2,414 (ms – 2,434)/1891, William D C Balls & Son, North Shields, sailing London for Dunkirk with military stores. Aircraft attack off La Panne (L - in 51.08N, 02.33E), bombs missed, but ship damaged in the action, beached, later refloated. Sunk 29 May 1916 (+L/ms)


Monday 13 December


Cawdor Castle, passenger & cargo steamship, 6,243 (ms – 6,235)/1902, Union-Castle Mail Steam Shipping Co, London, armed. U-boat gun attack, saved by own gunfire (+ms)


Thursday 16 December

North Sea

Levenpool, cargo steamship, 4,844/1911, Pool Shipping Co (Sir R Ropner & Co), West Hartlepool, sailing New York for Rotterdam with general cargo. Mined, laid by unidentified U-boat, 1m N by EE of Kentish Knock LV, off Thames estuary, damaged, beached Mucking Flats, Canvey Is area on 17th, later refloated (+L/ms/un)


Teucer, passenger & cargo steamship, 9,045 (ms – 9,017)/1906, Alfred Holt & Co, Liverpool. Chased by U-boat, escaped (+ms)


Monday 20 December

Dover Straits

Two vessels torpedoed and sunk by UB.10 (Otto Steinbrinck) off Boulogne LV:

BELFORD (1), 516/1904, Ford Shipping Co (Mann, MacNeal & Co), Glasgow-reg, sailing Cardiff for Calais with patent coal fuel, at anchor off Boulogne. Sank 1 mile NE of (+L/ge/te/un)

HUNTLY, 1,153/1912, The Admiralty, London, sailing Portishead for Boulogne with petrol. Sank m off; 2 lives lost (+L/ge/te/un)


Friday 24 December

North Sea

British steamship (and an Admiralty trawler) mined and sunk in field laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner) off Kent the day before:

EMBLA, 1,172/1882, J T Salvesen & Co, Grangemouth, Leith-reg, Mr R Sutherland, sailing London for Dunkirk with jute, oil and plain/printed paper. Sank 3 miles ESE of the Tongue LV, off North Foreland (L - Tongue LV bearing WNW 2-3m; wi - in 51.29.43N, 01.26.37E) (un – beached, but total loss) (+L/te/un/wi)

Central Mediterranean

YEDDO, 4,563/1901, Bank Line (A Weir & Co), Glasgow, sailing Calcutta for New York with general cargo. Captured by U.34 (Claus Rcker), sunk by bombs 122 miles SW by S of Cape Matapan, Greece (L/te/un - in 34.36N, 21.21E; un – also in 34.41N, 21.24E) (+L/te/un)


Saturday 25 December

St George's Channel

VAN STIRUM, 3,284/1915, The Admiralty, London-reg, Mr Clarke, Rouen for Liverpool, cargo unknown. Captured by U.24 (Rudolf Schneider), sunk by torpedo 8 miles SSW of The Smalls, E of Milford Haven (L/te/un - in 51.55N, 06.16W; un - also in 51.59N, 06.20W; wi - in 51.38N, 05.50W); 2 crew lost (+L/Mn/te/un/wi)


Sunday 26 December

Atlantic off SW England

COTTINGHAM, 513/1907, James W Little, Glasgow-reg, 13 crew, Mr C Mitchell, Rouen for Swansea in ballast. Captured by U.24 (Rudolf Schneider), sunk by gunfire about 16 miles SWW of Lundy Is, off Devon (wi - in 50.59N, 04.54W); 7 crew lost - two boats got away, master's picked up that evening by patrol boat, chief officer's with 6 other men never found even though close to Lundy. Note: SS Cottingham was the first British merchant ship to be credited with sinking a U-boat, UC.2 off Yarmouth on 2 July 1915 (+L/Mn/te/un/wi)


Monday 27 December

North Sea 

HADLEY, 1,777/1901, Cory Colliers/W Cory & Son, London, sailing Newcastle/Tyne for London with coal. Mined, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner), sank 3 miles SEE of Shipwash LV, off Orford Ness (L - 3 miles SE of) (+L/te/un)


Tuesday 28 December

Atlantic off S Ireland

British steamship (and an Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler) attacked by U.24 (Rudolf Schneider):

Huronian, cargo steamship, 8,766/1915, F Leyland & Co, Liverpool, sailing Galveston for Liverpool with general cargo including cotton and grain. Torpedoed and damaged 8 miles S by E of Fastnet (un – in 51.14N, 09.26W), reached Castletown (Berehaven) on 30th (+L/Mn/ms/un)


Wednesday 29 December

German commerce raider Mwe, 4,788grt, 4-5.9in/1-4.1in headed from Germany for the Atlantic; returned 4 March 1916 after sinking 15 British & Allied ships of 57,520grt


Thursday 30 December

North Sea

Anglia (2), sailing vessel, 288grt, Hull for Stockton with wheat. Mined and damaged 3 miles off Demleton Highland (possibly “high land at Dimlington, 4m SE of Withernsea”, N of Spurn Head) (L only)

Central Mediterranean

ABELIA, 3,650/1914, Flower Motor Ship Co (Sir M Samuel & Co), London-reg, sailing Bombay for Hull with manganese ore and cottonseed. Captured by U.34 (Claus Rcker), sunk by gunfire 152 miles W of Gavdo island, Crete (L/te - in 34.30N, 21.00E; un – in 34.24N, 20.51E) (+L/te/un)

Two steamships carrying general cargo, torpedoed and sunk by U.38 (Max Valentiner) off Cape Martello, Crete:

CLAN MACFARLANE, 4,823/1898, Clan Line Steamers (Cayzer, Irvine & Co), Glasgow-reg, Mr James White Swanstown, armed, Glasgow/Liverpool for Bombay. Sank 66 miles SE by S of (L/un - in 34.05N, 25.55E; un – also 34.06N, 26.08E); 52 lives lost including master (os - 55). The mainly Indian crew left in six boats shortly after 1700 and rowed clear of the sinking ship. All boats were made fast astern of the master's, masts stepped and sails set, every man had a lifebelt. They set course for Crete, about 60 miles away, sailed through the night and next day, and in the afternoon sighted land. Early next day the wind dropped, by early morning on 2nd, glimpsed NE corner of Crete but wind and sea was rising, could not land so tried to hug coast. The boats became separated and damaged, men started dying, one boat after 7 days adrift picked up by SS Crown of Aragon, landed at Malta. Finally just 6 European and 18 Indian crew survived. Valentiner was on the British list of war criminals for this attack, progressed post-war as Naval Case No.10 but did not go to court. It was claimed he had not made due provision for the safety of passengers and crew after the sinking, but … “the lifeboats were all made fast astern of Capt Swanston's boat. …. It was a fine clear night, the sea was calm, the lifeboats were well provisioned, they all had serviceable sails and oars and they were just seventy miles from the coast of Crete not far off a well-used shipping lane...... It was only some hours after he (Valentiner) had departed that the weather became inclement and the ordeal began in earnest.” (+L/Mn/ge/os/te/un;)

PERSIA, passenger ship, 7,974/1900, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co, London-reg, armed, London/Marseilles for Bombay, 501 passengers and crew on board. Torpedoed port side forward, boiler exploded, foundered very quickly 71 mile SE by S of (L - 34.01N, 26E; un – in 34.08N, 26.19E); 334 lives lost including master and 2 MN stewardess', some drowned as ship’s boats were sucked down by the sinking ship, 167 survivors in four boats picked up a trawler and SS Ningchow next day, landed at Alexandria. Valentiner was on the list of war criminals for sinking Persia without warning, also progressed post-war as Naval Case No.10, but Persia was probably a legitimate target as she was carrying some 24 military officers and a few other ranks to India (+L/Mn/ge/os/te/tr/un/wd)


Friday 31 December


Ionic, passenger & cargo steamship, 12,332/1902, Ismay Imrie & Co, Liverpool, armed. U-boat torpedo missed (+ms)


on to January 1916


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