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World War 1 at Sea - Royal Navy Vessels Lost and Damaged
enlarged and corrected version of the original HMSO, "British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-1918"

 

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 1915


by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

 

HMS Sheen, typical WW1-era drifter, lost in their hundreds in naval service
(Navy Photos/Mark Teadham - click photographs for enlargements)

on to January 1916

NOT ACTIVE

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Notes:

(1) Ships in BOLD capitals are those sunk or otherwise lost; in lower case bold are attacked and/or damaged. Variations in the published information are in brackets starting with the abbreviation for the source  e.g. (dx - in 58.35N, 01.56E)

(2) Warship information is generally in the order - type, class, displacement tonnage, launch year, armament, speed, crew, captain if known, unit, operation if known. How sunk or damaged, lives lost (in brackets: source abbreviations starting with + for original HMSO)

(3) Auxiliary and hired vessel information is 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)

(4) Click for Notes, Abbreviations and Sources

(5) Link to Royal Navy casualty lists

 

 

OCTOBER 1915

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

 

Sunday 3 October

Baltic Sea - Submarine E.19 sank SS Svionia, first German merchant ship war loss in the Baltic

 

Monday 4 October

Central Mediterranean

CRAIGSTON, Admiralty collier, 2,617/1911, Seville & United Kingdom Co, Cardiff-reg, sailing Cardiff for Mudros with coal. Captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), sunk by gunfire 35 miles W of Ovo Is, N of Cape St John, NE Crete (+L/Lr/te/un)

 

Tuesday 5 October

Central Mediterranean

BURRSFIELD (may be spelt Bursfield), Admiralty collier, 4,037/1902, Burrsfield SS Co, London-reg, Mr A Hunt, Barry/Malta for Salonica/Dardanelles with government and general stores. Overhauled and stopped by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), sunk by gunfire 70 miles W of Cape Matapan; master, 4th engineer, messroom steward and a fireman killed by gunfire during the chase (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un)

                                                                                                                                                                           

Wednesday 6 October

Bulgaria and Serbia declared war on each other; Balkan Front - Austro-German armies invaded Serbia

Belgian Coast

BRIGHTON QUEEN, auxiliary paddle minesweeper, 553/1897, ex-excursion steamer, P & A Campbell, Shoreham-reg, first paddler taken up, hired 16/9/14 for conversion at Devonport, Admiralty No.181, with Grimsby unit of 6 sweepers, Lt Eric Rees RNR in command. Operations area between Humber & Belgian coast, attached to Dover Patrol, based at Dunkirk, sweeping at night (according to “Swept Channels”) in the West Deep, off Nieuport with Devonia, Glen Avon and Westward Ho. About to turn and head for Dunkirk at 0145, mine exploded under paddle box, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen), ship broke in two and sank within minutes (He – at 1430(?)), 4 miles off Nieuport pier, near Ostend in West Deep; 6 ratings and 1 MN killed, 1 rating died of wounds, other ships lowered boats and rescued 34 of crew of 41, four survivors taken to hospital in Dunkirk, rest to Dover on board destroyer Viking. First Admiralty paddler lost (+J/L/Lr/C/Cn/D/He/ap/dk/do/ge/sc/te/un; ADM.1/8435/298)

Friday 8 October

Balkan Front - Austrians captured Belgrade by 9th

Central Mediterranean

THORPWOOD, Admiralty collier, 3,184/1912, Joseph Constantine, Middlesbrough-reg, Dunston/Tyne for Malta with coal. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by gunfire 122 miles S of Cape Martello, Crete (L - 100 miles S of Candia/Heraklion, which happens to lie on the north coast) (+L/Mn/Lr/te/un)

                                                                                                                                                

Sunday 10 October

Location Not Known

WRESTLER, Admiralty hired tug, 346/1876, hired on harbour service 1915. Lost, no other details. Note: Dittmar lists hired screw tug Wrestler, 192/1914, hired 1916 (also in Colledge) and rescue tug Wrestler, 192/1915, hired 14/1/16, both of which survived the war. Finally, Miramar Ship Index (ms) confirms the Dittmar listings and also has Wrestler, tug, 338/1876, Liverpool Steam tug Co, in collision at Liverpool 24 March 1903, beached and broken up (C only)

 

Monday 11 October

Balkan Front - Bulgaria invaded Serbia

North Sea

Ardent and Fortune, K-class, 1,300t, 4th DF, Mandate, Repeat M-class, c1,250t, all Grand Fleet destroyers, sent back to Scapa Flow because of bad weather even through the battle fleet was due to sail for the northern North Sea. Ardent and Fortune in collision, with Ardent damaged and Mandate damaged by heavy sea (Cn/D/gf/gr)

 

Tuesday 12 October

North Sea

FRONS OLIVIAE (C - Frons Olive; D/dk/dq - Frons Olivae), Admiralty drifter, 98/1912, Yarmouth-reg YH.217, hired 12/14 as patrol boat, 1-3pdr, Admiralty identification letter Q, Dover Patrol, Lt Thomas Rogers RNR in command, Skipper George Meale. Patrol duties in the Downs, mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen), sank at 0450, mile SE of Elbow Buoy, off North Foreland, Kent; Lt Rogers, the Skipper and 9 ratings lost. Note: correct spelling appears to be Frons Olivae (+L/C/D/Hedk/dq/un; ADM.1/8435/303)

Adriatic Sea

RESTORE, Admiralty drifter, 93/1914, Lowestoft-reg LT215, hired 8/15 as net drifter, Admiralty No.1826, armed with five rifles, with the first 60 hired drifters that reached Taranto by 31/9/15 to lay nets across Otranto Straits, Skipper George Catchpole RNR in command, MIdshipman RNR in charge of the Division. Tending her nets with three other drifters 3 miles away. In the first attack on the Otranto drifters, U.39 (Walter Forstmann) started shelling from 4 miles at 0800, Restore blew her whistle, sent up rockets and headed NE for Saseno (Sazan) island, hit in engine-room and disabled, crew abandoned ship in the one boat, U-boat closed from 2 miles to just a few yards, shelled and sank her within 3min off the Albanian coast, then attacked the other three drifters before heading north for Cattaro; 2 engine room ratings killed. As a measure of the responsibility placed on often young and inexperienced officers, Hepper notes "Midshipman William Hargreave RNR, who was in charge of the division, was admonished for failing to engage the submarine, despite most of the drifters having only small arms embarked and Rear Admiral Thursby ordered that the Articles of War should be publicly read to him, stressing the requirement for officers to do their utmost to engage an enemy in sight. The Court of Enquiry was more sympathetic, wondering why a young reservist should have been placed in this position."  (+L/Mn/C/D/He/ap/dk/ge/un; ADM.137/3133)

 

Thursday 14 October

Northern European Waters

COMBE, Admiralty ammunition carrier, 2,030/1912, Stephenson Clarke, London-reg, hired 1915, sailed Liverpool 12th for Archangel with Admiralty cargo, parted from escort 14th, went missing, posted by Lloyds 29/12/15. After 14th - Lost in northern British, Norwegian or Russian waters (+L/Lr/C)

 

Friday 15 October

Britain declared war on Bulgaria

 

Saturday 16 October

Red Sea

Lama, armed boarding steamer, 2,198/1905, 16kts, hired 12/7/15, 3-4.7in, on patrol against contraband smuggling, and in action. No further details; one crew member killed (D/dk only)

 

Sunday 17 October

North Sea

JAVELIN, Admiralty-owned trawler, 205/1913, Aberdeen-registered, purchased pre-war as minesweeper, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.21, believed Harwich-based, Skipper Frederick Banks RNR. Sweeping about 3 miles S of Longsand light vessel, mined at 1615, laid by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner) (He – probably UC.6), sank off the Longsand, off Clacton (wi - 3.75 miles SE of, in 51.44.30N, 01.42W); one rating lost (+C/D/Mn/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.137/165)

 

Monday 18 October

Italian Front - Third Battle of the Isonzo to 4 November

 

Tuesday 19 October

English Channel

ERIN II, Admiralty trawler, 181/1903, Great Northern SS Fishing Co, Hull-reg H757, hired 9/14 as minesweeper, 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.381, Portmsouth-based, Lt Edward Rule RNR. Returning to harbour late morning, mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen) earlier that day, stern lifted out of water and after end wrecked, sank rapidly 3 cables SE of off Nab Light (wi - SE of Nab LV, in 50.35N, 00.51.12W); 6 ratings lost and 1 DOW. Lt Rule reached the boat which had floated clear, then a second explosion, presumably a second mine, blew him over the other side, but he was rescued (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/un/wi; ADM.1/8436/309, ADM.137/543)

 

Wednesday 20 October

English Channel

STAR OF BUCHAN, Admiralty drifter, 81/1913, Fraserburgh-reg FR534, hired 1/15 as patrol boat, Admiralty No.787. Recovering indicator nets when a mine was probably snagged and exploded at 0630, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen) the day before, blown up and foundered about 500 yards S of Nab Light (wi - SE of, in 50.35N, 00.53W); 7 ratings lost (+L/C/D/He/dk/un/wi; ADM.1/8436/310, ADM.137/543)

 

Thursday 21 October

Aegean Sea - Royal Navy bombarded Dedeagatch in what was then Bulgaria. Monitors M.16, M.19, M.29 (M.15 and M.28 in one source), bulged old cruiser Theseus and old light cruiser Doris took part

UC.9 possibly mined in North Sea off Thames estuary

North Sea

MONITORIA, Admiralty collier, 1,904/1909, Ericsson Shipping Co, Newcastle-reg, Mr G Marlow, sailing Humber for London with coal. Mined, laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow), sank 1m N by EE of Sunk Head Buoy, off Harwich (L - 1m N by EE of; wi - 1m N by E of, in 51.47.33N, 01.31.15E) (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)

Barents Sea

CAPE ANTIBES, Admiralty collier, 2,549/1903, Cape Antibes SS Lyle Co, Greenock-reg, sailing Barry/Greenock for Archangel with coal. Mined, presumably laid by Meteor, sank at entrance to White Sea (L - in 67.35N, 41.16E); 6 crew lost (+L/Lr)

 

Friday 22 October

Barents Sea

LORD DENMAN, Admiralty trawler, 309/1914, Yorkshire Steam Fishing Co, Hull-reg H118, hired 6/15 as minesweeper, 1‑12pdr, Admiralty No.1525, Skipper William Lowrey RNR, one of six Lowestoft-based trawler minesweepers sent to sweep Meteor-laid mines, arrived Alexandrovsk, Murman coast in early July. In collision (He – mined), sank in Barents Sea at 68.04N, 39.34E, half way between Murmansk and Archangel, near Bezimyanni Island, Murmansk Oblask. AMC Arlanza took part in salvaging the wreck on 1st November; no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw/sc; ADM.1/8441/345; also Old Weather project)

North Sea

SCOTT, Admiralty trawler, 288/1913, Pickering & Haldane's Steam Trawling Co, Hull-reg H.968, hired 4/15, minelayer, 1-6pdr/24 mines, Admiralty No.3218, then N.2A, Lt Arthur Notley RNR. (un – 21st) - Mined, laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner) two days before, sank 2 miles ESE of Tongue LV, N of North Foreland (wi - in 51.32N, 01.25E); 3 ratings lost (+L/Lr/D/C/He/dk/hw/wi; ADM.1/8437/314)

 

Saturday 23 October

Baltic Sea - German armoured cruiser Prinz Adalbert sunk by submarine E.8 off Libau, Latvia, German heavy warships withdrawn from Baltic

 

Sunday 24 October

off English coast

CHARITY, Admiralty drifter, 102/1901, Inverness-reg INS40, hired 1914 (D - 10/15; He - 1915) as net drifter, Skipper John Bruce RNR, sailed from Great Yarmouth that day for Poole to be fitted out for duties. Disappeared on passage, possibly mined; 1 officer and 7 ratings lost, all on board (+C/D/He/dk; ADM.1/8441/347)

 

Monday 25 October

English Channel

VELOX, destroyer, C-class, 445t, 1902, 1-12pdr/5-6pdr/2-18in tt, 27kts, c63 crew, Pennant No.D.71, probably Portsmouth Local Defence Flotillas, Lt Frank Pattinson RNR, on patrol between Dunnose and Culver cliffs with destroyer Conflict, easterly gale and high seas. Both came inshore and Velox patrolled between Nab and Dean sandbanks, at 1545, near Bullock Patch buoy, there was an explosion aft followed by a second one, probably the depth charges going off. Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen) a week before, stern wrecked, rest of ship stayed afloat. Two drifters assisted, one taking off all the crew except captain, gunner and ten men. Conflict now took Velox in tow for Portsmouth, but she was settling all the time and went down off Nab Rock buoy (wi - off Bembridge Ledges, sank 1.5 miles E of Bembridge, IoW in 50.41.31N, 01.02.05W);  4 ratings killed by explosion (wi - 12 lost). Wreck lies at 30ft, sold in 1970, stripped and dispersed by explosives (+J/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ge/un/wi; ADM.1/8438/329)

Sea of Marmara

E.12, submarine, E-class, 667/807t, 5/9/14, Lt-Cdr Kenneth Bruce, operating with H.1 in Sea of Marmara, joined by E.20 and French Turquoise. E.12 now due to leave, headed down on 25th. Passed net and appeared to have carried away part of it, boat forced down to 245ft, then came up near the surface dragging the net behind her, seen and attacked by patrol vessels, plunged down again near Kilid Bahr, missed by two shore-based torpedoes next time she came up, fired at and hit several times by small shells, no serious damage done, dived again and got away (Rn/Cn)

                                                                                                                                                 

Wednesday 27 October

Dover Straits

BONAR LAW, Admiralty trawler, 284/1912, Pickering & Haldane's Steam Trawling, Hull-reg H437, hired 2/15 as minesweeper (He – employed as patrol vessel), 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.1223, Dover Patrol, Lt Alfred Stableford RNR. (wi - 28th) - In collision with SS Dwina (756grt), mile W of South Goodwin light vessel, off Deal and sank (wi - in 51.07.38N, 01.24.39E); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/hw/wi; ADM.137/167)

 

Thursday 28 October

Orkneys

ALEXANDRA, (He – Alexandra II), Admiralty hired screw tug, 168/1907, Alexandra Towing Co, Liverpool-reg, hired as unarmed patrol boat in Liverpool area 10-12/14, tug from 9/15, Pennant No.T.7, Mr G Jenkinson, Scapa Flow-based. Wrecked at entrance to Hoxa Sound, S side of Scapa Flow (wi - in 58.49N, 03.04.30W) (+Lr/C/D/He/wi)

North Sea

ARGYLL, armoured cruiser, Devonshire-class, 10,850t, 1904, 4-7.5in/6-6in/2-12pdr/20-3pdr/2tt, 22kts, 655 crew, Pennant No.N.80, 3rd CS Grand Fleet, Capt James Tancred, heading for Rosyth (Rn - to rejoin squadron after refit in Devonport; He - sailed from Scapa Flow), weather thick with rain squalls and high winds, Bell Rock LH blacked out. Ran on to Bell Rock off Dundee early in the morning (He - at 0425; wi - in 56.26N, 02.23.30W), Rosyth-based destroyers arrived at 0625, Hornet laid alongside the port quarter and took of 400 men and Jackal took off others in boat, all "in very difficult conditions". Heavy seas soon reduced her to a wreck; no lives lost. Salvaged for guns, fittings and stores over the next few months, commercial salvage companies later removed non-ferrous metals and bronze propellers, wreck lies scattered at 50ft, only 400ft W of the lighhouse (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/ke/wi; ADM.137/3643)

Gallipoli Campaign

HYTHE, auxiliary screw minesweeper (J - paddle), ex-railway packet, 509/1905, South Eastern & Chatham Railway Companies Managing Committee, London-reg, hired 18/10/14, 1 or 2-12pdr, Pennant No.T.10, Lt-Cdr Arthur Bird RNR, carrying 230 troops, probably from Mudros, for the Gallipoli beaches. At the same time, armed boarding steamer Sarnia, 1,498grt, having landed her troops, was returning to Mudros, night dark. Sarnia sighted Hythe right ahead at 2010, both ships sounded whistles and changed course, but Sarnia hit Hythe's port quarter, holing her and she shortly sank near Cape Helles, Dardanelles; 9 ratings, 2 MN lost (He – 10 crew and 145 troops lost) (+J/Lr/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx; ADM.137/3136)

 

Sunday 31 October

Dover Straits

Admiralty yacht and trawler mined in field laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow) that day. This followed the mining of Norwegian SS Eidsiva at 0745, 2 miles SW of South Foreland, and British SS Toward, around two hours later:

ARIES, Admiralty yacht, 201/1880, steam yacht hired as auxiliary patrol vessel 12/9/14, 2-3pdr, Pennant No.05, Dover Patrol, Lt-Cdr Harry Calder RNR, picking up survivors from the merchant ships and transferring them to trawlers. Trawler reported a floating mine, and Aries proceeded into the field to mark and destroy any mines, large explosion at 1100 and she broke in two and rapidly sank. Mined off Leathercoat Point, near Dover; 5 officers including commanding officer, 4 ratings and 14 MN lost (He – 22 killed, 9 survivors). Wreck discovered and lies in 51.00.64N 01.24.41E (+J/L/C/D/He/dk/dq; ADM.137/3131)

OTHELLO II, Admiralty trawler, 206/1907, Hellyers Steam Fishing Co, Hull-reg H956 (He – Grimsby-reg), hired 3/15 as minesweeper, 1-6pdr, Pennant No.1193, Dover Patrol, Skipper Duncan MacLachlan RNR, with other trawlers preparing to sweep the field. Mined around 1820, between Goodwin Gate buoy and Gull LV and broke in two, wheelhouse windows and door jammed shut, sank immediately off Leathercoat Point; Skipper and 8 ratings lost, only the deck-boy survived, trapped in the wheelhouse with the skipper, 2nd mate and helmsman, he was pushed through a half-open window. The boy went on to survive the sinking of HM Trawler Weigelia four months later on the Goodwins. Sliding wheelhouse doors in trawlers were replaced by light canvas ones (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/hw/sc/wi; ADM.137/168; ADM137/3131)

off NW Scotland

JOHN G WATSON, Admiralty trawler, 196/1910, R Irvin & Sons, Aberdeen-reg A.327, hired 1915 (D - 11/1914) as minesweeper, 1-6pdr, Pennant No.427, (wi - E Baker, Capt). Escorting oil tanker Rosalind from Stornoway, collided with her and sank at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (wi - in 58N, 06W); no lives lost; crew rescued by escort trawler Invicta (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/168)

Gallipoli Campaign

gggLOUIS, destroyer, L-class, c1,300t, 1913, 3‑4in/1-Maxim mg/4‑21in tt, 29kts, c73 crew, Pennant No.H.07, 3rd DF Harwich on completion, to Mediterranean early 1915, Lt-Cdr Harold Adair- Hall, Gallipoli evacuation plans now being made but likely to be endangered by winter storms, SW storm now blowing, at anchor. Anchors dragged and driven ashore early hours of 31st in Suvla Bay, had to be abandoned, strong SW winds blew for three weeks preventing salvage, reduced to a wreck over the weeks by Turkish artillery; no lives lost (ke - all 102 crew saved) (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/he/dk/dx/ke; ADM.137/191, ADM.53/47327)

Arrived in Suvla Bay, Gallipoli during the late afternoon and anchored amongst other ships, the weather at that time being fair, with a fresh south‑westerly wind. During the evening the wind strengthened to a strong gale, and at 8.15pm it was found that she was dragging her anchor. The port anchor was let go and the port engine put full ahead, but the ship's stern fouled an anchored tug, so the engine was stopped. The destroyer now swung round alongside the tug to lay bow to stern and hung together, both ships now dragging towards the shore. At 8.30pm she drifted clear and the port engine was again put to full ahead and the cables worked to bring her into the wind, but five minutes later she was reported to be aground. The engines were worked to try and free her, but to no avail and she remained firmly held. That evening it was found that water was entering the engine room and stokehold which were soon flooded. Over the course of the next few nights the ammunition and stores were removed, the ship being repainted 'to resemble a rocky background' in an effort to camouflage her, and no work was done on her during the day so as not to attract attention. Despite efforts to salvage her, at 3pm on 4 November she broke her back, and she had to be abandoned as a wreck. She was placed out of commission on 3 December.

 

NOVEMBER 1915

Barents Sea

Arlanza, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 15,044/1912, hired 3/15, 10th CS Northern Patrol, carried Allied Military Mission to Russia, now returning with Russian Mission. Date uncertain (bi - early 10/15; gf - 29/10; Mn - 14/11) - Mined off Lumbovski near Svyatoi Nos on Murman coast, presumably laid by Meteor, passengers taken off by British SS Novo, towed by a tug and two British minesweeping trawlers into nearby Yukanskie Roads, remained there through the winter, later patched up with help of Russian materials and diving plant, towed home for repairs in June 1916; as repairs were impossible through the winter of 1915/16, most of crew brought back by an AMC (Mn - Orotova; gf - Orcoma) (Rn/Mn/D/bi/gf)

 

Monday 1 November

gggMotor Patrol Boat Number 33 (He/D ; ADM.137/168)

Reported as destroyed by accidental fire whilst lying in Brightlingsea Creek. She caught fire at 12.15pm and was scuttled one hour later when it was found to be impossible to get the fire under control. The identity of the craft is uncertain; Dittmer & Colledge record the name Weenie for Motor Boat 33, but that vessel continued to be carried on the Navy List until 1919.

Straits of Gibraltar

TB.96, torpedo boat, White 140ft-type, 130t, 1894, 23kts, 3-3pdr/3-14in tt, 18 crew, TB’s 83 and 88-97 formed the Gibraltar Local Defence Flotilla, Chief Gunner John Summer in command of TB.96. On patrol about 5 miles E of Gibraltar, in collision with mercantile fleet auxiliary or "troopship" SS Tringa at 0115 and sank rapidly. Tringa was presumably the 2,154grt squadron supply ship torpedoed and sunk three weeks later; 2 officers including Chief Gunner Summer and 9 ratings lost (ke - no casualties) (+J/C/Cn/D/He/dk/ke; ADM.137/194)

Gallipoli Campaign

MARSDEN, Admiralty hired iron paddle tug, 131grt, 1906, France, Fenwick Tyne & Wear, Co Newcastle-reg, hired 24/6/15, serving off Gallipoli, Sub‑Lt Albert Trick. (C/D - 31 October) - Driven ashore by gale at Suvla Bay, W Gallipoli peninsula, stranded, later destroyed by Turkish gunfire; no lives lost. Owners received 6,500 compensation (+C/D/He/dk/mc/tu)

 

Friday 5 November

Eastern Mediterranean

gggTARA, ex-Hibernia, Admiralty armed boarding steamer, 1,862/1900, Dublin-reg, London & North Western Railway, hired 8/8/14, 3-6pdr, 105 crew, Capt Rupert Gwatkin-William i/c, master, Lt Tanner RNR. During Senussi revolt in Cyrenaica against the Italians, submarine sighted off Sollum on Egyptian border, four armed Egyptian customs cruisers on patrol off Egyptian coast now joined by Tara as senior ship in Western section east from Sollum, steaming into Sollum. Torpedoed by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel), sank immediately in Sollum Bay (te - off Bardia); 10 lives lost during the attack, 95 survivors towed in their lifeboats by U.35 to Bardia, handed over first to the Turks, and then local Senussi tribesmen. Senussi were defeated that same month and Bardia re-occupied 3/16 when it was learnt that Tara’s crew were prisoners in a camp 120 miles W of Bir Hakim/Hacheim. Vehicles of the Duke of Westminster’s Armoured Car Squadron and motor ambulances crossed the unmapped desert in 14 hours to rescue the survivors, four of whom had died in captivity; total of 14 lives lost - 3 officers, 1 rating, 8 merchant seaman killed, and 1 officer and 1 MN DOW. At the time of the attack on Tara, U.35 sank the Egyptian Abbas (also damaged: ap/dx - Nur el Bahr; ge - Abdul Moneim) off Sollum (+J/L/Lr/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ge/ke/te; ADM.116/1529, ADM.137/4020)

A former railway company ferry, employed in the task of stopping neutral shipping. Having served in the Irish Sea, she was despatched in late 1915 to the Mediterranean, to set up a patrol in the Gulf of Sollum (Salum), Egypt. At 10.10am when about eight miles north of Bardia, a torpedo track was seen and immediately afterwards a periscope observed. A 6pdr attempted to engage the periscope and avoiding action ordered, but neither had effect and she was hit. The survivors quickly took to the boats and their attacker, the U.35 came to the surface as she sank, her commander, von Arnaud de la Periere, ascertained her identity and took Captain Williams onboard, and would have taken him prisoner, but he insisted on staying with his men, and this was respected. U.35 then towed the boats inshore to within sight of land before leaving them, the survivors landing in Libya where they were detained for some time. Twelve men died in the initial attack and five died later in captivity from her complement of 109.

 

Saturday 6 November

Sea of Marmara - E.20 was the last of four British and four French submarines lost in the Dardanelles in 1915 out of a total of 13 boats that took part. Turkish losses remain uncertain but are quoted as 1 battleship, 1 old battleship/coast defence ship, 1 destroyer, 5 gunboats, 11 transports and around 200 steamers and sailing boats

North Sea??? Westward??

gggAlbemarle, battleship, Duncan-class, c15,200t (Cn - heavily loaded with spare ammunition) sailing with King Edward VII-class battleships Hibernia and Zealandia, all 3rd BS Grand Fleet, left Scapa Flow on 6th for southern ports and the Mediterranean, passing westward through Pentland Firth with strong wind over spring tides, very heavy sea running. Night of 6th/7th (gr - 7th; Cn - 11th) - Seas washed away Albemarle's fore bridge and displaced roof of conning tower, returned to Scapa Flow with Hibernia; 1 officer, 4 ratings washed overboard (gf - 1 officer, 1 rating), others injured. After repairs, returned to Scapa in December. Zealandia also had to turn back to repair damaged gunports (Rn/Cn/D/gf/gr)

DK – 7th

Albemarle, pre-Dreadnought battleship, damaged by heavy seas off northern Scotland, upper deck crushed, probably accounting for first three casualties listed, who were buried ashore

 AIKEN, William J, Chief Petty Officer, 161866 (Po), DOI

 ARNOLD, Arthur E, Ordinary Seaman, J 22237 (Po)

 NAYLOR, David A, Able Seaman, J 18657 (Po)

 NIXON, George R, Commander, washed overboard and drowned

 STROUD, George E B, Able Seaman, 221919 (Po), washed overboard and drowned

Central Mediterranean

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

LUMINA, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 5,950/1915, H E Moss, Liverpool-reg, armed, Tarakan for Malta with fuel oil. Sunk by gunfire 120 miles S by E of (L - 33.04N, 25.56E; te - in 33.40N, 25.06E) (+L/Lr/te/un)

Sea of Marmara

E.20, submarine, E-class, 667/807t, 12/6/15, 1-6in howitzer for shore bombardment/5-18in tt with 10 torpedoes, 15/9kts, 30 crew, Pennant No.I.69, Lt-Cdr Clyfford Warren, successfuly reached Sea of Marmara. Due to rendezvous with French submarine Turquoise near Rodosto, NE part of Sea of Marmara on 6th, but Turquoise had been captured on 30 October, reportedly with charts and other documents intact including details of the planned meeting. (C/D - 5th) - UB.14 (Heino von Heimburg) waited submerged at the rendezvous, at 1600 sighted E.20 laying stopped, fired single torpedo at 1710 at the still stationery target from 550yds, hit her amidships and she sank instantly; 21 ratings lost (ke - 27), UB.14 surfaced and rescued the 9 survivors including Cdr Warren who were on the deck at the time (+J/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/dx/ke/un)

 

Sunday 7 November

Baltic Sea - German light cruiser Undine sunk by submarine E.19 off Trelleberg, Sweden

Atlantic off NW France

PRINCESS VICTORIA, Admiralty trawler, 272/1903, Armitage's Stream Trawling Co, Hull-reg H.766, hired 9/15 as patrol vessel, 1‑3pdr, Admiralty No.1971, Skipper Ernest Wales RNR. Escorting collier Cressington Court and motor lighter X.65 in company with Admiralty trawler Donalda from Devonport across the English Channel. In collision with the collier at 1900 near Ushant, NW France and sank, no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw; ADM.137/169)

 

Tuesday 9 November

North Sea

IRENE, Trinity House tender (J - Admiralty armed yacht), 543/1890, Corporation of Trinity House, London-reg, on loan to Dover Patrol for anchor work connected with net and mine barrages, sailing Harwich for London in ballast. Mined, laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner), sank 1m ESE of Tongue LV, off North Foreland (L/wi - 2m SE by E of, in 51.29.35N, 01.27.20E); 21 crew lost including master. Note: only Janes list her as a naval auxiliary, but included here as on naval service (+J/L/ge/sc/te/un/wi)

 

Wednesday 10 November

Italian Front - Fourth Battle of the Isonzo to 2 December

 

Friday 12 November

English Channel

RESOURCE II, ex-steam yacht, Admiralty yacht, 734/1865, hired 1/10/15 as depot ship for the new RNVR-commanded ML’s arriving from the US, Pennant No.098, Lt-Cdr Francis Richardson RNVR in command. Fitting out in Southampton, possibly at anchor, caught fire, towed clear of the dock to stop the fire spreading to shore installations, gutted and sank in Southampton Water (wi - in 50.48N, 01.17W); no lives lost (+J/C/D/He/ap/dk/se/wi; ADM.137/170)

 

Saturday 13 November

North Sea

Matchless, destroyer, M-class, c1,100t, Cdr George Gibbs, one of five Harwich Force destroyers, believed 10th Flotilla, finding their way back into Harwich after being out for two days and nights, trying to make for Orford Ness LH, dark winter evening. A Saturday in November, not necessarily the 13th - Matchless mined at 0551 in German field, stern complete with rudder and screws blown off, badly down by the stern and rolling heavily, taken in tow by sister-ship Murray (CO was the naval author Taffrail) by 0715, with great difficulty headed for Harwich. Just short of there, tow parted, taken in rest of way by light cruiser; no casualties. Patched up and taken to Chatham for new stern (Cn/dd/ty)

Atlantic off SW England

SILVERY WAVE, Admiralty drifter, 96/1915, Lowestoft-reg LT507, hired 9/15 as net drifter, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.1900, from St Mary’s, Scilly Islands for patrol and return, entering Crow Sound in bad weather in company with Boy Eddie to take shelter on the night of the 12th/13th. Driven ashore on NE side of St. Mary's island, near Pelistry Bay, Scillies (He - Water Mill Cove; wi - in 49.55.30N, 06.16.30W), too badly damaged to be salvaged, declared total loss; no lives lost (+C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/170)

Boy Eddie, Admiralty drifter, 59/1909, hired 3/15 as net drifter. Went ashore at same time as Silvery Wave, salvaged and refloated (D/He/wi)

 

Tuesday 16 November

North Sea

gggXERXES, Admiralty trawler, 243/1908, Swansea-reg SA55, Buckworth & Mumby, hired 12/14 as minesweeper, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.835, Skipper F Hayes. Sank off Girdle Ness, near Aberdeen (H - mined, C/D/wi - in collision; wi - in 57.06N, 02W); 3 ratings lost, 1 DOW. Note: exclusion from Lloyds listing suggests loss was due to collision (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.156/18)

16 November Lt John Joseph William Whitfield RNR  Based at Aberdeen, she was ordered to escort the oiler Burma clear of the area. The oiler sailed at 8.40pm, twenty minutes before the trawler, forcing the escort to catch up. With the light failing, the masthead, stern and starboard lights of the oiler were sighted and it was estimated that she was steering to the south‑east. The trawler matched the course and slowly overhauled her, and when off her starboard quarter signalled by light, asking the oiler to confirm her course and speed. The tanker did not immediately reply, and the trawler, still assuming that she was heading south‑east, decided to take station ahead of her. The pair were actually on a converging course, as the oiler was steering to the south-south‑west. The officers of the Xerxes became confused as the pair closed, and thought that the Burma had altered course towards them. Before any action could be taken she crossed the bows of the tanker and at 9.28pm was struck on the port side amidships. She hung on the bows for some moments before falling away to sink on the starboard side of the oiler, with the loss of four men. The position was then 57.50.30N 01.59.30W. The blame for the incident was shared by both commanding officers. The master of the Burma, Mr William Frost, had not been on the bridge when the escort was closing, leaving an inexperienced third officer in command, who had failed to appreciate the dangerous situation that was developing. Lt Whitfield had been guilty of an error of judgement in attempting to take station ahead of the tanker whilst judging her course and speed 'by eye'. Both officers were reprimanded.

 

Wednesday 17 November

Merchant Navy - LAKE SIMCOE, barque, 350/1871, Canadian-reg, sailed Naples on this date for St. Johns, Newfoundland, went missing with all crew, including three members of the Newfoundland Mercantile Marine who were listed with Naval casualties (dk/ms)

 

Thursday 18 November

Central Mediterranean

ENOSIS, Admiralty collier, 3,409/1906, Eftikhia SS Co, London-reg, Mr Alfred Bowling, from Barry/Malta with coal (te - Barry for Malta). Captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), sunk by torpedo 150 miles ESE of Malta (L - 240 miles E by S of); master mortally wounded on bridge by shell-fire (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un)

 

Friday 19 November

Scourge, destroyer, G or Beagle-class, c950t, believed with all of class in Mediterranean, had been operating off Gallipoli. Boiler explosion; 6 stoker rating killed (D/dk)

Dover Straits

FALMOUTH III, Admiralty trawler, 198/1909, Western Steam Trawling, Bristol-reg BL12, hired 1915 (D - 8/14) as minesweeper, Admiralty No.152, Sub-Lt Harry Beedle (or Beadle) DSC RNR, Dover Patrol, sweeping area where hospital ship Anglia sank. (dq - 17th) - Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen) two days earlier, blown in half just before bridge, sank immediately off Dover (D - off Deal; He/dq - around No.8 buoy off Dover; sc - on top of wreck of Anglia until dislodged by gale some days later; wi - in 51.02.38N, 01.19.01E); 1 officer and 6 ratings lost, Lt Beedle went down with the ship but came to the surface and was rescued (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8440/340)

Central Mediterranean

HALLAMSHIRE, Admiralty collier, 4,420/1907, Helmsdale SS Co, Glasgow-reg, Mr A Clark, armed, Cardiff for Malta/Milo with 5,600t coal. Torpedoed at 1420 by U.34 (Claus Rcker) but did not sink fast enough, shelled and sank by 1700, 20 miles SW by S from Cerigotto Is/Anti-Kythera, between Greece and Crete (L - in 35.38N, 23.01E); survivors picked up by French destroyer (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un)

Adriatic

Victoria Cross - Sdn-Cdr Richard Bell-Davies RNAS (No.3 Sqdn), landed and rescued pilot behind enemy lines at Ferrijik railway junction, Bulgaria under heavy fire

 

Monday 22 November

Mesopotamian Campaign - Battle of Ctesiphon south of Baghdad until 25th/26th, British/Indian forces then forced to retreat down the River Tigris towards Kut. New Yarrow-built river gunboat Firefly, armed tug Comet, armed launches Shaitan, Sumana, and stern-wheelers Messoudieh and Shushan towing horse-boats carrying 4-4.7in naval guns took part

 

Tuesday 23 November

Norwegian Sea

Tenby Castle, Admiralty trawler, 256/1908, Swansea-reg, hired 2/15, serving with 10th CS off Norway for inshore blockade duties, heavy gale. Swept by "terrific sea" and considerably damaged, put into Bessiker, near Kya Island for repairs which took three days assisted by Norwegian gunboat Hidalgo without any threat of internment, later reached Lerwick (D/bi)

 

Wednesday 24 November

Central Mediterranean

RUBY (1), Admiralty trawler, 198/1899, T C & F Moss, Grimsby-reg GY1136, hired 7/15 (He – as minesweeper), 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.1742, Skipper George Barrett RNR. Wrecked in Grandes Bay, S of Cape Sidero, Crete; no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk)

                                                                                                                                                                    

Friday 26 November

Central Mediterranean

TRINGA, Admiralty store or squadron supply ship, 2,154/1913, Cork SS, hired 28/11/14 as RFA, Pennant No.Y9.21, probably not commissioned, sailing Malta for Gibraltar, no cargo. Captured by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), sunk by gunfire 30 miles NE by N of Galita Is, off NW Tunis (L - 40 miles N of Cani Rocks); 3 lives lost (+LC/D/te/un)

 

Saturday 27 November

Albatross, old destroyer, C-class,  c375t, probably serving with Patrol or Local Defence Flotilla, perhaps in the Humber. Boiler explosion; four stoker ratings killed, three of them buried at Immingham, so presumably English east coast area (D/dk)

 

Sunday 28 November

North Sea

WILLIAM MORRISON, Admiralty trawler, 211/1915, Aberdeen Pioneer Steam Fishing Co, Aberdeen-reg A355, hired 9/15 as minesweeper, 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.3217, believed Harwich-based. Mined, laid by UC.7 (Franz Wger) earlier in the day, sank near Sunk Head Buoy, off Harwich (He - 51.52.40N, 01.31E, wi - in 51.47.30N, 01.30E); 3 ratings lost (+L/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/844/346)

Mesopotamian Campaign

SHAITAN, armed launch, taken over 1/12/14, 1-3pdr, later 1-12pdr, Lt Aubrey Thursfield, with River Flotilla vessels Firefly, Comet, Messoudieh, Shushan, Sumana covering withdrawal from Ctesiphon to Kut. (D/dx - 29th) - Both Comet and Shaitan went aground just above Aziziya, Comet was soon off, but Shaitan remained unmoveable. Comet, Firefly and Shushan spent all day under constant sniper fire trying to get her free but were forced to abandon her with the approach of the Turkish advance guard; no lives lost. After two days rest the retreat continued to Umm-at-Tubal (+Rn/D/He/dk/dx/gb/tf; ADM.137/3089)

 

Monday 29 November

UC.13 stranded and wrecked in Black Sea

North Sea

DUCHESS OF HAMILTON, auxiliary paddle minesweeper, ex-Clyde excursion steamer, 553/1890, Caledonian Steam Packet Co, Glasgow-reg, hired 3/15 (D - 11th), Pennant No.933, Lt-Cdr Hugh Archer, sweeping with HMS Westward Ho, 19 miles SE of Harwich at N end of Black Deep. Mined at 1315, laid (He – possibly) by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner), sank near Galloper LV (J/dx/wi - off the Longsand, in 51.46.46N, 01.37.18E; He – 1 miles SW of Sunk Head buoy in Black Deep; te - in 51.47N, 01.40E); 8 ratings and 1 MN lost, survivors picked up by paddle minesweeper Clacton Belle (+J/L/Lr/C/Cn/D/do/dk/dx/ge/te/un/wi; ADM.1/8441/348; ADM.137/140)

 

Tuesday 30 November

Norwegian Sea

Newland, Admiralty trawler, 245/1903, Hull-reg, hired 1/15, 10th CS, off Norway. Around 30th - badly damaged in a gale, boats smashed and leaking seriously, managed to reach Lerwick (D/bi)

 

DECEMBER 1915

U-boat warfare - restarted around the British Isles in December

Serbian Campaign - Serbian Army retreating through Albania evacuated to the island of Corfu through until February 1916, survivors concentrating there before being sent to Salonika. During much of this time, the Adriatic drifters, now armed with small guns, assisted in the evacuation of the Serbian army and refugees, landing Italian troops at Valona, protecting ships carrying food and supplies for Serbian and Montenegrin troops, and rescuing sinking ships often under fire.

 

Wednesday 1 December

Mesopotamian Campaign

Reaching Umm-at-Tubal on the 30th, British/Indian forces discovered the Turks next morning camped barely a mile away, attacks were launched to cover the continued withdrawal from Ctesiphon back to Kut supported by River Flotilla vessels Firefly, Comet, Messoudieh, Shushan and Sumana, all of which were fired on:

FIREFLY, river gunboat, Fly-class, 98t, built by Yarrow in sections, re-erected at Abadan starting 8/15, entered service 11/15, 9kts, c1-4in/1-12pdr/1-6pdr, 22 crew, Lt Christopher Eddis. Hit in the boiler by a shell, entirely disabled; 1 rating lost.  Comet managed to take her in tow but both went hard aground, with the Turks closing in, Sumana took off both crews and both vessels had to be abandoned. Firefly captured by Turks and put back into service as Suleiman Pak, in action and recaptured 26 February 1917 by gunboat Tarantula, near where she was lost. Lt Eddis resumed command (J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dx/gb/tf; ADM.137/3089)

COMET (1), armed paddle launch-tug, 144t, ex-RIM, official yacht of British Resident at Baghdad, hired 5/11/14 (C - 1915), 1-3pdr from Espiegle, later 1-6pdr/3-3pdr/2mg, Lt George Harden. When Comet went aground as she was trying to take Firefly in tow, a tug dropped two barges to try to pull her off but failed, tug managed to get away but lost the barges, one full of wounded. Reportedly Comet was set ablaze and the commander dived overboard "when the Turks were already swarming upon (its) abandoned deck"; 1 Indian rating lost (+Rn/C/D/He/dk/dx/tf; ADM.137/3089)

 

Thursday 2 December

English Channel

NITA PITA, naval motor boat, ex-high speed pleasure motor boat, 12grt, with Motor Boat Reserve as HM MB No.149, armed with rifles, manned by RNVR crew, incorporated in Yacht Patrol organisation on 1/10/15, Sub‑Lt Charles Marten RNVR in command. Destroyed by fire at Poole, Dorset (wi - near Poole Harbour, around 50.42N 02W); no lives lost (+D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/186)

 

Friday 3 December

North Sea

Warspite and Barham, dreadnoughts, Queen Elizabeth-class, 31,500t, 5th BS Grand Fleet, Barham only completed in October, carrying out battle exercises westward from Scapa. Warspite collided with Barham, Barham holed starboard side abreast of quarterdeck, both ships in dock for a long period - Barham at Invergordon 8 to 23 December, Warspite at Devonport 11 to 21 December. Corbett describes Warspite, the ship with the most battle honours of World War 2, as "that unlucky ship", yet Warspite survived the war and Barham, after ramming and sinking a destroyer in 1939, was lost in 1941 (Rn/Cn/gf/gr)

Dover Straits

ETOILE POLAIRE, Admiralty trawler, 278/1915, transferred directly into naval service, hired 3/15 (He – as minesweeper), 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.1402, Dover Patrol, blowing hard from SW with heavy seas. Mined at 1130, laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner), sank off South Goodwin Sands, off Deal (D/sc/wi - off South Goodwin LV, in 51.12N, 01.29E; He – 1 mile ESE of LV); 3 ratings lost (He – all ten crew saved), survivors got away, carried towards breakers on Goodwin Sands, tide turned and they drifted down-Channel, by pulling hard they managed to reach the South Goodwin LV and safety (+L/Lr/C/D/he/dk/dq/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8441/351)

                                                                                                                                              

Tuesday 7 December

Mesopotamian Campaign - British/Indian forces reached Kut on the 3rd, but by the 7th they were completely surrounded by the Turks. Armed launch Sumana stayed with the garrison when the rest of the River Flotilla withdrew

                                                                                                                                                                             

Saturday 11 December

Adriatic Sea

B.11, submarine, B-class, 287/316t, 2-18in tt, on patrol off Punta Salvore. Attacked by Austrian flying boat whose engine failed and came down 500yds off, submarine's maxim gun brought up but jammed, B.11 then tried to ram but the flying boat crew got the engine going and took off (Cn/md)

 

Tuesday 14 December

St George's Channel

SUSANNA, Admiralty drifter, 83/1907, Banff-reg BF637, hired 8/15 (D/He - as net drifter; wi - armed patrol drifter), Admiralty No.2704, Skipper George Cowie RNR, entering Milford Haven in a gale, started to leak and pumps unable to keep her afloat. Foundered around 1430 off Saint Ann's Head (He – 1 miles S of Skokholm island; wi - in 51.40.45N, 05.10.15W), one of three Milford-based patrol drifters lost in the 1915 winter storms; no lives lost. Hepper reports that much of her hull was found adrift some days later by trawler Nodzu, and taken into Milford for inspection, where it was found she was poorly built and in bad condition (+C/D/He/dk/ps/wi; ADM.137/188; ADM.137/591)

 

Thursday 16 December

North Sea

LEMNOS, Admiralty collier, 1,530/1880, Lawside Shipping Co, Dundee-reg, 19 crew, Mr G Hadden, sailing Leith for Rouen with coal. Wrecked off Teesmouth (wi - stranded 1m SE of South Gare entrance, in 54.38N, 01.06W) (+Lr/wi)

 

Friday 17 December

Baltic Sea - German light cruiser Bremen and destroyer V.191 sunk by Russian mines in Baltic; the sinking is sometimes and wrongly attributed to British submarine E.9

                                                                                                                                                          

Saturday 18 December

Adriatic Sea

LOTTIE LEASK, Admiralty drifter, 94/1907, North Shields-reg SN184, hired 1/15 as net drifter or tender, Admiralty No.1072, Skipper Robert Aaron George RNR, sailed Brindisi forenoon after a refit to rejoin her group off Valona, taking part in evacuation of Durazzo, now getting dark. Attacked by two submarines (He/un – just one, U.39, Walter Forstmann) 20 miles WNW of Saseno/Sazan Is, off Valona/Vlore, Albania, hit five times, returned fire but abandoned in sinking condition; no lives lost. Crew rowed all night, landed on Austrian-held coast, reached Italian lines on 22nd, then marched with Serbians to Valona before going back afloat (+L/Mn/C/D/He/ap/dk/un; ADM.137/3605)

Gallipoli Campaign

Three vessels scuttled at Suvla Beach, W Gallipoli peninsula by the 18th in time for the final evacuation:

FIERAMOSCA, Admiralty blockship, 578/1873, 170ft, Puglia SS Co, Bari, Italy-reg, purchased 1914/15 originally for use at Malta. Scuttled as pier and breakwater (Lr/Rn/D)

PINA, steamship, presumably Admiralty blockship. Scuttled as breakwater (ms – lists a Pina, cargo steamship, 1,986/1883, but believed lost March 1917. This is the only pre-WW1 Pina not definitely accounted for) (Rn/ms)

Dredger (name unknown), already wrecked, possibly Admiralty blockship. Sunk as boat pier (Rn)

 

Sunday 19 December

Gallipoli Campaign - Evacuation of Suvla and Anzac beachheads started, completed night of 20th/21st

 

Tuesday 21 December

North Sea

KNARSDALE, Admiralty collier, 1,641/1896, Scandinavian Shipping Co, Glasgow-reg, 20 crew, Mr J Tinmouth, sailing Blyth for Sheerness with coal. Mined at 1700, laid by UC.7 (Georg Haag), sank at once 2m E by S of Orford Ness, Suffolk (L - 3 miles E by S of; wi - in 52.05.14N, 01.38.50E); one crew drowned and three injured, survivors landed at Yarmouth (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)

LADY ISMAY, auxiliary paddle minesweeper, ex-excursion steamer, 495/1911, P & A Campbell, Cardiff-reg, hired 4/11/14, 2-6pdr, Admiralty No.186, with Grimsby paddle minesweeper unit, operations area between Humber & Belgian coast, Sub-Lt Bernard Hawken RNR i/c, Skipper J W Knight. Sailed Harwich in the morning with 6 other paddle minesweepers to sweep area to the SW. Visibility poor around noon, three of the vessels separated and left for Harwich, wireless signal to the other four including Lady Ismay was not received, they slipped sweeps at 1500 and in the order Westward Ho, Cambridge, Lady Ismay and Glen Avon headed for Longsand LV, off Clacton, Essex. (J/dx - 21 December 1917) - First two paddlers passed the LV on the starboard hand but tide forced Lady Ismay to pass on port hand, set course for the LV, and at around 1540 mined amidships beneath forward bunker and sank within a minute (J/dx - near the Galloper; He – 1 mile NW of LV; un - LV S40E 5 cables; wi - between Longsand Head and the Galloper, in 51.45N 01.49E;). Mine was laid some days earlier by UC.3 (Erwin Wassner); 17 ratings and 2 MN lost, only those on deck survived including the mate. She went down so quickly survivors stepped into the lifeboats, Glen Avon just astern stopped and rescued some of the men with her boats, the other two turned back towards them, Cambridge also lowered her boats, picked up survivors and destroyed confidential papers floating on the water (+J/L/Lr/Cn/D/He/dk/do/dx/ge/sc/un/wi; ADM.137/3128)

 

Thursday 23 December

German East Africa Campaign - Gunboats Mimi and Toutou ready to start operations on Lake Tanganyika

North Sea

Morning Star, Repeat M-class, c1,250t, 11th DF and Porpoise, K-class, c1,300t, 4th DF, both Grand Fleet destroyers, escorting Russian ice-breaker north and forced to heave to near Fair Island Channel in heavy weather on 23rd, 1st CS sent out to search for them without success, and returned to Scapa on 26th. Both destroyers were damaged by heavy seas off Fair Isle, with many compartments flooded and considerably damaged, Porpoise reached Cromarty on 25th, Morning Star on 26th (Cn/gf/gr)

 

Friday 24 December

North Sea

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

CARILON, Admiralty trawler, 226/1915, Grimsby-reg GY692, hired 11/15 as minesweeper, 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.21, Dover Patrol, Skipper William Reuben Francis RNR. Sweeping near Elbow buoy off North Foreland, mined and badly damaged (He – vessel Actaeon, type not identified, closed to take her in tow), foundered near Margate (He – last noted position 51.24.25N, 01.30.12E; wi - 51.23.26N, 01.31.18E); no lives lost (+L/C/D/He/dk/dq/un/wi; ADM.137/189)

English Channel

LADY IVEAGH, Admiralty collier, 2,286/1892, Dublin-reg, Lady Iveagh SS. Wrecked at entrance to St Valery of Cayaux, probably the rocks off St Valery-en-Caux between Dieppe and Fecamp. Note: St Valery-sur-Somme is on the S bank of the Somme estuary, Cayeux or Cayeux-sur-Mer just S of the estuary (+Lr)

 

Sunday 26 December

German East Africa Campaign - Gunboats Mimi and Toutou captured German steamer Kingani on Lake Tanganyika

North Sea

Two naval vessels mined in field laid by UC.5 (Herbert Putkuchen) ten days earlier:

RESONO, Admiralty trawler, 230/1910, George F Sleight, Grimsby-reg GY508, hired 1/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.1042, commanded by a Lt RNR, “one of God’s own seamen”, Skipper Peter Burgon RNR. Sank near Sunk LV, off Harwich (wi - in 51.50.54N, 01.38.09E); skipper and 12 ratings lost, survivors included the captain (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/wi; ADM.1/8443/365)

E.6, submarine, E-class, 655/796t, 1912, 1-12pdr/4-18in tt with 8 torpedoes, 15k/9kts, c30 crew, Pennant No.I.86, Harwich-based 8th Flotilla, Lt-Cdr William Foster. Sailing from Harwich for anti-U-boat patrol off the Horns Reef, left harbour and warned by torpedo boat she was heading into danger - a known minefield that sank HM Trawler Resono earlier in the day (He – saw Resono mined and sink, and closed to rescue survivors), signal acknowledged but E.6 held her course. Mined and sank quickly near Sunk LV; 3 officers and 29 ratings lost, no survivors (ke - 38 crew) (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/bw/dk/dx/ke/un)

 

Monday 27 December

St George's Channel

Two Admiralty drifters employed as net tenders lost off Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire in winter storm. Both attempting to enter the Haven and return to Pembroke Dock:

FERNDALE, 75/1910, owned by Janes Garden, Inverness-reg INS171, hired 2/15 as net drifter, Admiralty No.2269, Skipper James Garden RNR in command. Wrecked on St. Ann's Head (wi - in 51.40.45N, 05.10.15W), observed by Coastguard station turning into the Haven in heavy seas, member of crew washed overboard, attempt made to rescue him, drifted close inshore, struck rocks below the Head and quickly broke up. Winds were too strong for rocket apparatus to reach the stricken ship with rescue lines; Skipper and 8 ratings lost (+C/D/He/dk/ps/wi; ADM.137/190)

LADYSMITH (1), 89/1904, Banff-reg BF1528, hired 6/15 as net drifter, Admiralty No.2180, Skipper John Wood RNR. Last seen that afternoon being driven by gale towards Skokholm island, disappeared off Milford Haven, believed foundered (wi - blt 1906, Grimsby-reg, lost in 51.40.45N, 05.10.15W); Skipper and 8 ratings lost (He – all 11 hands) (+C/D/He/dk/ps/wi; ADM.137/897)

Aegean Sea

21st?? gggTB.046, torpedo boat, Thornycroft 125ft-type, 60t, 1886, 20kts, 2-3pdr/4-14 in tt, 16 crew, one of five TB's (Cn - 042, 044, 046, 063, 070; D - 043, 044, 063, 064, 070) formed Malta Local Defence Flotilla, in early 1915 took part in defence of Suez Canal, Gunner Robert Stocker in command, now sailing Port Said for Mudros, ran out of coal, taken in tow. Wrecked by heavy weather on Lemnos island, later salved, apparently refloated, repaired and put back into service, sold for breaking up 1920 (J - foundered in tow); no lives lost (+J/C/Cn/D/He/dk; ADM.137/3607)

21 December . Left Malta on 18 December in tow of the Mercantile Fleet Auxiliary vessel Carrigan Head bound for Mudros. The weather was poor, and worsened, with the torpedo boat having to batten down the hatches. During the early hours of the 19th, water was found to be entering the stokehold and messdeck. Initially this was cleared by pumps, but by that evening hand bailing was resorted to. The following day the boat laboured heavily in the seas, suffering several minor mechanical defects, and still bailing constantly. At 1am on the 21st the circulating engine finally gave out and all steam had to be shut off. Soon after this Gunner Stocker confirmed to the Carrigan Head that the crew of the torpedo boat should be taken off, as he feared that if the tow were to part they would be helpless. Hauling in the tow proved to be long and difficult, and it was not until 7am that she was brought alongside the quarter and the crew managed to scramble aboard, using ropes and ladders. Two men were injured during the transfer, and TB.046 suffered further damage as she struck the side. After this she was cast adrift and then sunk by gunfire. Her position then was 35.42N, 22.37W. In 1920 the wreck was raised and scrapped

 

Tuesday 28 December

Atlantic off S Ireland

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

EL ZORRO, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 5,989/1914, Lobitos Oilfields Co, London-reg, 35 crew, Mr Tamlin, sailing Port Arthur for Dartmouth with oil, steaming at 9kts. U.24 opened fire at 0530, Master turned stern-on, went to full speed and sent out SOS, U-boat came up on starboard side at which point engines were stopped and ship abandoned. As the crew were leaving, a torpedo hit starboard-side amidships at 0630, followed shortly by a second one port-side. The attack probably took place 10 miles S of Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork (L - 10 miles SE of), “Wreck Index” goes on to report that the crew reboarded when assistance arrived, she was taken in tow next day but the tow parted and went ashore - in Man o' War Cove, near Cork, in 51.45N 08.18W - broke in two and totally wrecked; 3rd engineer killed by shrapnel and a crew member fell overboard and drowned, survivors picked up by patrol boat and landed ashore. A Liverpool company used Chinese labourers to salvage non-ferrous metal (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un/wi)

 

Wednesday 29 December

Adriatic Sea - Durazzo, Albania raided by Austrian naval forces to interfer with the Serbian evacuation, brought to action by British-Italian force but escaped, British light cruisers Dartmouth and Weymouth took part, French submarine Monge and two Austrians destroyers sunk

German commerce raider Mwe, 4,788grt, 4-5.9in/1-4.1in headed from Germany for the Atlantic; returned 4/3/16 after sinking 15 British & Allied ships of 57,520grt

Gallipoli Campaign

Two Admiralty blockships were scuttled at "W" -Tekke Burnu beach, S tip of Gallipoli peninsula by 29th as breakwaters for the final evacuation. Note: French old battleship Massena & French steamer Saghalien, 4,058/1881 were sunk as breakwaters at "V"- Sedd el Bahr or Cape Helles beach, in November (+ms):

MARIE DELLE VITTORIE (ms – Maria …..), cargo steamship, ex-Clan liner Clan Graham, 2,926/1882, T Astarita (Rn/ms)

VINCENZO FLORIO, 2,752 (ms – 2,840)/1880 was  I & V Florio & Co, Palermo/Servizi Marittimo, Genoa, Italy-reg (Lr/Rn/ms)

                                                                                                                                                

Friday 31 December

Orkneys

RESPONSO, Admiralty trawler, 228/1912, George F Sleight, Grimsby-reg GY666, hired 1914 as auxiliary patrol vessel, 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.196, Lt Horace Harvey RNR (wi - J McKenzie, Captain). Driven ashore at Rive, N of Sanday Island, Orkneys in westerly storm, abandoned as total wreck (wi - in 59.17N, 02.35W); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/207)

North Sea

30th??? gggNATAL, armoured cruiser, Warrior-class, 13,550t, 1905, 6‑9.2in/4‑7.5in/24-3pdr/3-18in tt, 22kts, 712 crew, Pennant No.69, 2nd CS Grand Fleet, Capt Eric Back, lying in Cromarty Firth at anchor S of Nigg Bay, E of Invergordon, advanced New Year’s party being held in wardroom with civilian guests including children. Online photographs of graveyard inscriptions appear to confirm 30th (H/C/gf/ke - 31st) - Fire started in stern around 1525 and quickly spread, stern magazine exploded, ship blew up at 1530 and sank very quickly (wi - in 57.41N, 04.05W), Court of Enquiry blamed faulty cordite charges; 418 lives lost - 25 officers, 378 ratings, 4 canteen staff, 3 QARNNS, 1 civilian fitter, 7 civilian guests (Cn/He/ke - 404 lives lost; dx - 404 crew, 7 women, 3 children; wi - 408 crew plus 13 civilians). Wreck lay on her side with bilge keel just above water at low tide, sold for scrap in 1921. Difficult to break up, much of the hull is still on the seabed (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/cw/dk/dx/gf/ke/wi/www; ADM.178/123)

. The fire spread rapidly and a small explosion took place. This was followed immediately afterwards by a series of small explosions and then a final very large and violent explosion, the whole sequence taking only a few seconds. The explosions were followed by a fierce fire with smoke and fumes enveloping the after part of the ship and soon spread forward. The men were ordered to quarters and the forward magazines ordered to be flooded, but this was frustrated by the thick smoke and a power failure. A list to port developed which steadily increased and five minutes after the explosions she capsized and settled with her bilge keel clear of the water. Four hundred and four men died in the explosion and fire. Several causes were suggested, but the most likely was the ignition of old cordite charges, as it was found that she was carrying several lots of cordite with a very questionable history. This had started a fierce fire, which then spread to the after magazines, initially in the 3pdr magazine, then small arms followed by the after 9.2in magazine.

SPEETON, Admiralty trawler, 205/1913, Hull Steam Fishing & Ice, Hull-reg H104, hired 10/15, 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.1908, Skipper George Norvell RNR. Ordered to patrol off Lowestoft, explosion heard at 1915 by a number of vessels which went to investigate, body of a crew member found between Corton Lightvessel and South Scroby Sands. Believed to have detonated a mine, laid that day by UC.7 (Georg Haag), sank 4m E by S of Corton, N of Lowestoft (un – in 52.33N, 01.50E; wi - in 52.30.54N, 01.52.43E); 2 officers and 9 ratings lost, all hands (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw/un/wi; ADM.137/3126)

N or W British Waters

Two Admiralty chartered colliers, loaded with coal and heading for northern Britain went missing, “not since heard from”, lost on passage on or after 31st:

SATRAP, 2,234/1913, Trident Line, Newport-reg, 22 crew, Mr J Charlmers, sailed Barry 31st under sealed orders for “Naval Base in the north, within 5 days steam of Cardiff”, posted by Lloyds 9 February 1916. “Wreck Index” refers to a memorial plaque in Manorbier Church, near Caldey Is, Pembrokeshire. Satrap was presumably lost off this coast - in approximately 51.38.15N, 04.48.45W as bodies were washed ashore and buried in the churchyard (+L/Lr/wi)

TYNEMOUTH, 2,222/1909, Burnett SS Co, Newcastle-reg, sailed Cardiff 21st for North Scotland, posted by Lloyds 9/2/16 (+L/Lr)

Aegean Sea

Two Admiralty blockships, ex-passenger liners, both converted to dummy capital ships, ordered 21/10/14, purchased 28/10/14, converted at Harland & Wolff, Belfast with wood & canvas superstructure and guns, heavily ballasted to approximate the proportions of a battleship, ready by 4/12/14. Based at Scapa Flow  January to October 1915, then transferred to Aegean as blockships in December:

MICHIGAN, 4,935/1887, White Diamond SS Co, Liverpool-reg, ex-dummy capital ship No.2 “Collingwood”. (C - 12/15) - Expended as blockship at Mudros, Lemnos island, salvaged after war (Lr/C/Cn/D)

ORUBA, 5,971/1889, Royal Mail Steam Packet Co, Liverpool-reg, ex-dummy capital ship No.6 “Orion”. (C - 1915) - Scuttled as "a much needed" breakwater in Kephalo Bay, Imbros island (Cn - Mudros) (Lr/C/Cn/D/da)

 

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added 27/02/10