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HMS Goliath, pre-dreadnought battleship, sunk 13 May 1915 (Maritime Quest, click to enlarge)

return to World War 1, 1914-1918


An update of the British warships and auxiliaries in the original  and uncorrected "British Vessels Lost at Sea", HMSO, 1919

August 1914-September 1915
October 1915-1919

See also British warships and Auxiliaries Lost by Name


[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]. Click for Notes, Abbreviations and Sources.

[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 + or H 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 + or H for original HMSO]

[4] Link to Royal Navy casualty lists



By 1914 the international tensions were many and complex.

On what became the Allied side, these included British fear of German naval power and colonial ambitions, France never relinquishing her claim to Alsace and Lorraine, Russia championing the Balkan Slavs against the Austrians with Serbia seeking to be leader of those Slavs, and Italy wanting Austrian territory.

On the part of the Central Powers Germany continued to envy British colonial and naval power, Austria was under growing pressure to grant more independence to her many minority populations including Serbs, and Turkey was coming under growing German military influence.

Following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, seven European nations went to war between late July and early August 1914:

The Central Powers of Austria-Hungary and Germany - the Triple Alliance less Italy and Rumania (right - one allied view of German aims);

and The Allies of the Triple Entente (Russia, France, Britain and their Empires) in defence of Serbia and Belgium. Most of the world eventually joined the seven European nations at war.

For more background - see ROAD TO WAR, Franco-Prussian War to Sarajevo, 1871-1914



JUNE 1914

Sunday 28 June

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary and heir to the throne, and his wife, were visiting Sarajevo, capital of annexed Bosnia-Herzogovina. Both were shot and killed by student Gavrilo Princip, member of a Serbian secret society.



JULY 1914

Thursday 23 July

Austria, threatened by Russian support for Serbia, but now assured of German backing, sent an ultimatum demanding that Serbia suppress all anti-Austrian activities.


Saturday 25 July

Serbia ordered mobilisation, but also agreed to meet most of Austria's demands.


Sunday 26 July

Steps to Naval War - Following a Royal Review of the British fleet, the order to disperse was cancelled by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg, the first step towards Royal Navy mobilisation


Monday 27 July

Steps to Naval War - German High Seas Fleet recalled from Norway to war stations


Tuesday 28 July

Austria declared war on Serbia, next day bombarded Belgrade the Serbian capital, Austrian forces were not yet ready to invade

Steps to Naval War - British Fleets ordered to war stations


Wednesday 29 July

Balkan Front - Austrians bombarded Belgrade

Steps to Naval War - "Warning Telegram" sent out by Admiralty to the Royal Navy, First Fleet put to sea from Portland


Thursday 30 July

Russia, committed to the defence of Serbia, finally decided on general mobilisation.


Friday 31 July

Austria announced general mobilisation. Germany insisted Russia halt mobilisation and demanded to know if France would remain neutral if Germany went to war with Russia.





Saturday 1 August

France mobilised. Germany also ordered mobilisation and declared war on Russia - the German Schlieffen Plan required France to be defeated in battle before Russia could be attacked, thus making war with France inevitable. Italy announced neutrality.

Steps to Naval War - Mobilisation of the Royal Navy ordered, including the taking up of supply and hospital ships, colliers and oilers


Sunday 2 August

Germany invaded Luxembourg early on the 2nd and sent a note to Belgium demanding free passage of troops through Belgium territory for the attack on France. Britain assured France that the British Fleet would protect French coast and shipping from German attack.

Steps to Naval War - Mobilisation of Royal Fleet Reserve ordered


Monday 3 August

Belgium refused German demands, King of the Belgians appealed for preservation of Belgian neutrality, Germany declared war on France



Tuesday 4 August

Britain protested against German violation of Belgian territory, Belgium invaded early on 4th, Germany declared war on Belgium. British mobilisation ordered, Britain at war with Germany from midnight on 4th (right - the "scrap of paper", as described by Germany, for which Britain went to war)

Steps to Naval War - Adm Jellicoe took over command of the Grand Fleet

U-boat Warfare - Warships to be attacked without warning; any commerce warfare to be carried out according to International Law and prize rules i.e. ship to be stopped, boarded and examined, either taken into port by prize crew or passengers taken on board before ship sunk. This policy continued in principle until February 1915


German Warships at Sea

Atlantic - auxiliary cruiser Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse 14,349grt, 6-4.1in sailed from Germany for Atlantic operations, sank 3 ships of 10,685grt

Mediterranean - battlecruiser Goeben 25,300t and light cruiser Breslau 5,587t already there, later reached Turkish waters

Caribbean - light cruiser Dresden 4,268t, 10-4.1in, later joined Adm von Spee's East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron in the Pacific, sank a total of 4 British/allied ships of 12,960grt, escaped destruction at Battle of Falklands; light cruiser Karlsuhe 6,191t, 12-4.1in, sank 17 British & Allied ships of 76,609grt (kp - 16 ships of 72,225grt) in Atlantic, lost by internal explosion

East African Waters - light cruiser Koenigsberg 3,814t, 10-4.1in, sank one merchant ship of 6,601grt and old protected cruiser Pegasus

Shortly detached to Indian Ocean - light cruiser Emden 4,268t, 10-4.1in serving with East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron in Pacific, detached on 14th by Adm von Spee for commerce raiding in the Indian Ocean, sank 15 ships of 66,023grt, one old Russian cruiser and a French destroyer

Pacific - armoured cruisers Scharnhorst & Gneisenau 12,781t, with East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron commanded by Adm von Spee; light cruiser Leipzig, 3,756t 10-4.1in serving with East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron, off American coast at outbreak of war, sank a total of 4 British/allied ships of 15,279grt; light cruiser Nurnberg 3,814t, 10-4.1in serving with East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron, from Hawaii on outbreak of war, no merchant ships sunk. All lost at Battle of the Falklands. Also gunboat Geier, 1,590t, 8-4.1in, in Australasian waters.


Wednesday 5 August

Montenegro declared war on Austria-Hungary

Escape of German Battlecruiser Goeben - light cruiser Gloucester detected Goeben in Messina, Sicily in first wartime use of wireless interception by Royal Navy

German Minefields - Southwold minefield laid by auxiliary minelayer Koenigin Luise about 30 miles E of Orford Ness, minelayer sunk by Harwich Force light cruiser Amphion and 3rd DF destroyers. Koenigin Luise was the first German naval loss of the war. Other major surface ship-laid minefields in 1914 were the Tyne, Humber, Tory Island, Yarmouth/Lowestoft and Scarborough/Yorkshire fields. Mines were not laid by U-boats until mid-1915.


Thursday 6 August

Austria finally declared war on Russia.

Light cruiser HMS Amphion was the first British and Allied naval loss of the war

German light cruiser Karlsruhe in action with light cruiser Bristol 250 miles NE of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas, Karlsruhe escaped

Additional German Auxiliary Cruisers

Atlantic - liner Kronprinz Wilhelm 14,908grt, 2-4.7in/2-3.45in, armed in central Atlantic by light cruiser Karlsruhe and commissioned, captured total of 15 British & Allied ships of 60,522grt

Pacific -liner  Prinz Eitel Friedrich 8,797grt, 4-4.1in/6-3.45in, guns taken from gunboats Luchs & Tiger, sailed from Tsingtao, China, captured 11 British & Allied ships of 33,423grt in the Pacific and Atlantic

North Sea

AMPHION (right - Navy Photos/Bruce Constable), scout cruiser, Active-class, 4,000t, 1911, 10-4in/4-3pdr/2-21in tt, 25kts, c320 crew, 3rd DF leader, Harwich Force, Capt Cecil Fox. Southern Force, consisting of light cruiser-led 1st & 3rd DF's under Cdre Tyrwhitt and "overseas" submarines under Cdre Keyes left Harwich on 5th to carry out sweep in southern part of the North Sea, supported by 7th CS. The 1st DF went up the Dutch coast followed by Amphion and 3rd DF. Informed by a trawler that a vessel was 'throwing things overboard' 20 miles NE of Outer Gabbard, 3rd DF spread out, destroyers Lance and Landrail went ahead and around 1100, still on the 5th sighted Koenigin Luise. In the chase that followed, Lance 'fired the first naval shots of World War 1', then joined by Amphion, the minelayer was sunk before noon and survivors taken on board Amphion. The sweep continued. Now returning, Amphion changed course in the early hours to avoid the Southwold minefield and by 0630 on the 6th was assumed to be clear, but detonated a mine which wrecked the fore part of the ship, started a fire and broke her back, magazines could not be flooded, and abandon ship ordered. This was followed by another explosion, either the forward magazine exploding or a second mine, and she went down quickly (He - last position in 51.12.N 02.36E; ap - c30 miles E of Orford Ness; dx - 35 miles E of Aldeburgh Napes); 149 crew lost - 1 officer, 147 ratings including 3 DOW, 1 canteen staff plus 18 of 20 German POW's (Rn/ke - 151 crew, 174 survivors; He - included 18 POW's) (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/ap/dk/dx/ke; ADM.137/1002, ADM.137/3107)

Two destroyers, L-class, c965t, were damaged when Amphion blew up:

Lark, 4in shell exploded on her, killing her sole German prisoner and wounding two of her seamen (He - both seamen were killed) (He/dk)

Linnet, narrowly missed by a 4in gun thrown in the air, showered with splinters, and struck amidships by one of Amphion's bunker lids, which pierced a boiler room (dk)


Friday 7 August

Eastern Front - Russia invaded East Prussia

Escape of Goeben - light cruiser Gloucester shadowed Goeben & Breslau off Cape Matapan, Greece


Saturday 8 August

German East Africa - old light cruiser Astraea bombarded Dar-es-Salaam and destroyed the wireless station

U-boat Warfare - first submerged submarine attack of World War 1, by U.15 on dreadnought Monarch

North Sea

Monarch, dreadnought, Orion-class, 2nd BS Grand Fleet, based at Scapa Flow, detached with Ajax and Orion for target practise S of Fair Isle. Attacked by U.15 late on the 8th, torpedoes missed, report of attack dismissed on grounds that U-boats could not operate so far from Germany (Cn/D/ge/gf/kt/nh)


Sunday 9 August

U.15 rammed by light cruiser Birmingham in North Sea off Fair Isle, first U-boat sunk by Royal Navy (ub/un)

North Sea

Birmingham, light cruiser, Birmingham-class, 6,040t, 1st LCS, screening battle squadrons. Sighted submarine on surface in thick fog 120 miles ESE of Orkneys (dx - in 58.35N, 01.56E), from the hammering, machinery repairs apparently being carried out, rammed and sank U.15 around 0400. Birmingham went into dry dock for bow repairs (Cn/D/dx/ge/gf/kt/ub)


Monday 10 August

France declared war on Austria-Hungary.

Escape of Goeben - Goeben & Breslau entered the Dardanelles, and shortly played a part in bringing Turkey into the war

Auxiliary cruiser Cormoran 3,433grt, ex-Russian captured on 4th, now armed with 8-4.1in guns from old German cruiser of the same name, sailed from Tsingtao, China


Tuesday 11 August

Naval Intelligence - German code books for signals between German Admiralty and merchant ships and within High Seas Fleet captured in seized merchant ship Hobart off Melbourne, Australia, the first of three major German code book captures in 1914


Wednesday 12 August

Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.Balkan Front - Austria invaded Serbia, Battle of the Jadar to 21st

German Pacific Islands - armoured cruiser Minotaur and light cruiser Newcastle bombarded German wireless installation on Yap island, western Caroline Islands

U.13 lost, either mined in German defensive field, or accident off Heligoland Bight (ub/un)


Saturday 15 August

probably North Sea

Bullfinch, destroyer, C-class, 390t, with patrol or local defence flotilla. In collision, location and damage not known; 4 ratings killed, three of them buried at Grimsby (D/dk)


Sunday 16 August

Western Front - Germans captured Liége


Tuesday 18 August

Eastern Front (Poland) - Russia invaded Galicia


Thursday 20 August

Western Front - Battles of the Frontiers, Ardennes, to 25th; Germans captured Brussels

Eastern Front (East Prussia) - Battle of Gumbinnen


21st/22nd August

German Cruiser Raid off English East Coast

German light cruisers Rostock, Strassburg and 6th TB flotilla made a sweep towards the Dogger Bank on the 21st/22nd as far as the Outer Well Bank, 80 miles east of Flamborough Head, supported by light cruiser Hamburg and U.5, U.16, U.17, which took up positions 120 miles from Heligoland. Eight trawlers on fishing grounds captured on 22nd, crews taken prisoner before vessels sunk, Germans returned to Wilhelmshaven later that day.


Saturday 22 August

Western Front - Battles of the Frontiers, Sambre, to 23rd

West African Campaign - Action at Kamina, Togoland


Sunday 23 August

Japan declared war on Germany

Western Front - Battles of the Frontiers, Mons to 24th, Germans captured Namur

Eastern Front (East Prussia) - Battle of Orlau-Frankenau; (Poland) - Battles of Lemberg to 1 September, Krasnik to 24 August

probably North Sea

Comet and Rifleman, destroyers, H-class, 970t, 2nd DF Grand Fleet. In collision in fog, Comet "considerably damaged"; no lives lost (D/df/dk/gr)

Yellow Sea

Kennet, destroyer, E-class, 615t, 4-12pdr/2-18in tt, China Squadron, present at Japanese siege of Tsingtau. Tried to cut off German destroyer S.90 off Tsingtau at sunset, hit, one gun put out of action; 3 men killed, one DOW, believed four more wounded (Rn/Cn/D/dk/dx)


Tuesday 25 August

Belgian Coast - RM & RNAS units landed at Ostend, withdrawn 31st


25th/26th August

German Minelaying Raid on English East Coast

Two German minelaying forces sailed early on 25th to lay mines off English East coast - minelayer Albatros, escorted by light cruiser Stuttgart and ½ TBF from Heligoland headed for the Tyne, and minelayer Nautilus, escorted by Mainz and another ½ TBF from the Ems for Humber. Minelayers carried c200 moored contact mines each and laid them in "thick weather". Laying the Tyne field started around 0030 on the 26th, apparently should have been about 5 miles off the estuary, but was nearer 30 miles offshore; the first indications were the sinking of a Danish/Icelandic fishing vessel that evening. The Humber field was laid earlier, starting at 2300 on the 25th, stretched from Flamborough Head down to Outer Dowsing about 30 miles offshore, completed around 0150 on the 26th when the force turned for home; the first indication came when a mine exploded in the nets of trawler City of Bristol later on the 26th. Both German forces sank trawlers on the fishing grounds - the Tyne force a total of six, and the Humber force variously seven or ten. According to Corbett, a total of 16 were sunk by the destroyers using bombs 70 miles E of the Humber (probably only an indication of the location) after first taking the crews prisoner and as the minelayers carried on with their mission.


Wednesday 26 August

Western Front - Battle of Le Cateau to 27th

Eastern Front (East Prussia) - Battle of Tannenberg to 31st; (Poland) - Battles of Lemberg, Gnila Lipa to 30th

West African Campaign - Surrender of German forces, Togoland

Naval Intelligence - German light cruiser Magdeburg ran aground in Baltic, naval signal code books recovered by Russian Navy, one copy reached the British Admiralty 13 October. Naval Intelligence Division - Room 40 - was able to decipher German signals until the codes changed, the second major German code book capture

Atlantic off NW Africa

Highflyer, 2nd-class cruiser, Highflyer-class, 5,650t, 11-6in/9-12pdr/2-18in tt, 9th CS, Capt Buller, German auxiliary cruiser Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse reported at anchor off Spanish Saharan colony of Rio de Oro, Highflyer arrived to find the raider coaling from two colliers in Spanish waters, gave her time to surrender or put to sea. Fired shell at 1510 to which Kaiser Wilhelm replied, then opened fire, the German ceased action by 1645, boats sent off with the crew, shortly sank in shallow water (kp - off Durnford Point in 23.34N, 16.02W), Highflyer lightly damaged and continued in operation; one man killed, five slightly wounded (Rn/D/dk/kp)


Thursday 27 August

Western Front - Germans captured Lille

off Orkneys

Bellerophon, dreadnought, Bellerophon-class, 22,100t, 4th BS Grand Fleet. In collision with SS St Clair passing through the Fleet, not seriously damaged (D/Cn/gf/gr)

North Sea

Two Admiralty trawlers (and a fishing drifter) mined in Tyne field laid by German Albatros, escorted by Stuttgart:

THOMAS W IRVIN, 201/1911, R Irvin & Sons, Aberdeen-reg A421, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.61, Skipper Henry Charles Thompson RNR, one of four minesweepers under command of Cdr R W Dalgety RN Rtd, Tyne Minesweeping Base. Left harbour around 0530 to sweep the area, twenty-eight miles off the mouth of the River Tyne. Seven mines swept and destroyed in the afternoon. Preparing to connect up another sweep at 1625, detonated mine, broke up and sank quickly (wi - in 55.01N, 01.22.45W); 3 ratings lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/wi; ADM.137/1002)

CRATHIE (1) (C - Craithie), 210/1911, Caledonian Steam Trawling, Aberdeen-reg A350, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.106, Skipper Herbert Henry Cook RNR, with same minesweeping force. Two mines snagged in her sweep wires in the afternoon without incident, but at 1706 a third mine exploded under her. Sank rapidly (wi - in 55.01N, 01.22W); 2 ratings lost in explosion (+L/C/D/He/ap/dk/sc/wi; ADM.137/1002)


Friday 28 August

West African Campaign - armoured cruiser Cumberland, gunboat Dwarf arrived off Lome, German Togoland at start of naval operations


Contemporary postcard of the Battle from the scrapbook of Leading Signalman George Smith,

present on board HM Destroyer Forester

Harwich Force (Cdre Tyrwhitt) sailed to attack German destroyer patrols in the Heligoland Bight in cooperation with submarines of Harwich-based 8th Flotilla, supported by two destroyers (Cdre Keyes). Surface units taking part originally consisted of (1) Harwich Force light cruisers Arethusa (broad pendant, but commissioned only a matter of days) with 3rd DF, 16 destroyers and Fearless with 1st DF, 15 destroyers, (2) Humber-based battlecruisers Invincible and New Zealand in support, and (3) Southern Force armoured cruisers in reserve off Terschelling. The Harwich Flotillas headed south from Horn Reef LV in the early morning of 28th towards the west of Heligoland, coming into action with destroyer patrols on the way and reaching there around 0800 to sweep west.

The Admiralty ordered additional support by (4) the three remaining battlecruisers of 1st BCS (Adm Beatty) and (5) six light cruisers of 1st LCS (Cdre Goodenough) but the wireless message confirming these additional forces failed to reach either Tyrwhitt or Keyes and contributed to a confusing and complex series of actions in scattered misty conditions. Added to this was the danger to and from the British submarines of not having this information.

German destroyers of 1st and 5th TBF's were out in force, joined in ones and twos by old German light cruisers Stettin, Frauenlob, Mainz, Strassburg, Koeln, Stralsund, Ariadne, Kolberg and Danzig, some of which had to raise steam before coming out; the state of tide also prevented German battlecruisers joining them before it was too late. By the time the British forces retired just after 1300, Harwich Force had sunk destroyer V.187 and disabled cruisers Frauenlob and Mainz, 1st LCS finished off Mainz, and 1st BCS ships steaming down from the north at midday sank Koeln and Ariadne and were only prevented by mist from destroying others; damage was also inflicted on Strassburg, Stettin, destroyer V.1, and torpedo boats D.8, T.33. German losses totalled over 1,000 killed. Harwich Force Arethusa and destroyers Goshawk, Laurel, Liberty and Laertes were damaged:

Goshawk, destroyer, I-class, 990t, 2-4in/2-12pdr/2-21in tt, leader 5th Div, 1st DF, Cdr Herbert Meade, closing the sinking German V.187 at 0850, boats away to rescue the crew. Only 200yds off when the Germans, fearing capture, fired a single shot hitting her in the ward-room, fire re-opened on V.187 which sank at 0910 (Rn/D/dd/ty)

Arethusa, Arethusa-class, 4,400t, 2-6in/6-4in. Heading into the Heligoland Bight at 0800, came under heavy fire from Stettin and Frauenlob, Fearless arrived and Stettin turned away, Arethusa and Frauenlob were left to their own running battle during which time Arethusa was hit possibly 35 times, her guns going out of action one by one. She was also hit in the engine-room. By now Harwich Force was fairly scattered and under fire from the Heligoland guns. Cdre Tyrwhitt ordered the turn to the west but with only one 6in gun left in operation, continued to fight Frauenlob and left the German in a badly damaged condition before turning herself at the end of the first phase of the action. By 1020, with no enemy in sight and speed down to 10kts, Arethusa stopped to make repairs with Fearless and 1st DF standing by, getting all guns except 2-4in back in working order. Then around 1100, the still-partially crippled flagship was engaged probably by Strassburg or else Stralsund, but chased off by Fearless and her destroyers. As other actions continued, Arethusa met Stettin and then probably Strassburg or else Stralsund again (accounts vary) and came under more fire, but the enemy was driven off. It was around this time that Mainz appeared, trying to escape from 1st LCS, and in her own defence inflicted much damage on the destroyers of 4th Div, 3rd DF (following). Arethusa was the only large British ship damaged in the battle, towed in by armoured cruiser Hogue; 1 officer, 9 ratings killed, 1 rating DOW, also one officer and 16 men wounded (Rn/Cn/D/dd/dk/gh/nb/nh/ty)

L-class destroyers of 4th Div, 3rd DF, c1,200t, 3-4in/1-2pdr/4-21in tt, three out of four badly hit by well-aimed fire from Mainz around 1210:

Laurel, Cdr Frank Rose. Fired two torpedoes, turned away and very badly hit by a salvo, one shell in the engine-room killed 4 men and did much damage, another struck near foremost gun and killed 3 more, third hit aft, detonated lyddite shells in the ready racks, put after gun out of action and damaged the after funnel so much the ship was hidden in a dense cloud of smoke. Although under fire, the ship continued to fight and then with damaged engines, boilers and funnel limped off to be towed home; 1 officer, 10 ratings killed, CO continued to fight the ship although seriously wounded in his leg by the third shell (Rn/D/dd/dk/ty)

Liberty, Lt-Cdr Nigel Barttelot. Next astern of Laurel and partly hidden by Laurel's smoke, fired her torpedoes, turned away and hit on the bridge by a shell which brought down the mast, smashed the searchlight and killed the CO and a signalman, first lieutenant took over and continued firing on Mainz until she disappeared in the mist; commanding officer and 7 ratings killed. Next in line was Lysander, salvo missed, fired her torpedoes at Mainz, then turned away to attack another German cruiser, either Stettin or Strassburg (Rn/D/dd/dk/ty)

Laertes, Lt-Cdr Malcolm Goldsmith. Last destroyer in the division, hit by all four shells from Mainz' salvo, boilers severely damaged, lost all water and came to a complete standstill, eventually got under way; 2 ratings killed, 6 wounded (Rn/D/dd/dk/ty)

Royal Navy Battle Honour - HELIGOLAND 1914

see Despatch, dated 21 October 1914 in London Gazette, No 28948;

also Services performed by Submarines since the commencement of hostilities


Sunday 30 August

German Pacific Possessions - German Samoa captured by New Zealand troops supported by Australian, British, New Zealand and French warships; Australian battlecruiser Australia, light cruiser Melbourne plus old light cruisers Philomel (NZ), Psyche (NZ), Pyramus (RN) took part


Monday 31 August

German auxiliary cruiser Cap Trafalgar, 18,710grt commissioned in South Atlantic with 2-4.1in guns from gunboat Eber sailing from German South West Africa, no British or allied ships sunk





Tuesday 1 September

Grand Fleet - suspected U-boat in Scapa Flow forced the Grand Fleet to proceed to sea, highlighting the lack of defenses


Wednesday 2 September

North Sea

Admiralty drifter (and two fishing trawlers) mined in Humber field laid by German Nautilus:

EYRIE, Admiralty drifter, 84/1911, Lowestoft-reg LT1121, hired 9/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.214, Skipper Thomas Scarll RNR. In company with two trawlers and gunboat Speedy (lost next day with another trawler), sweeping minefield off the Outer Dowsing shoal. Snagged a mine at 0920 off Cley next the Sea which exploded, blowing apart her stern, sank rapidly off Outer Dowsing LV (wi - in 53.30N, 01.05E, He - last noted position 53.40.5N 01.01.5E); skipper and 5 ratings lost (+L/C/D/He/ap/dk/wi; ADM.137/1002)


Thursday 3 September

Eastern Front (Poland) - Battle of Rava Ruska to 11th

Naval Aviation - Admiralty given responsibility for air defence of Great Britain

North Sea

Two more small warships lost in Humber minefield laid by German Nautilus, near Outer Dowsing LV:

LINDSELL, may be spelt Linsdell, Admiralty drifter, 88/1914, Lowestoft-reg LT322, hired 9/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.224, Skipper Charles Woodgate RNR, from Lowestoft with minesweeping gunboat Speedy, and drifters Wishful and Achievable to sweep Humber minefield. Mined at 1100, stern blown off, bows up-ended and disappeared in a few minutes (wi - armed patrol vessel, lost in 53.30N 01.05E); skipper, mate, engineer and two deckhands lost, HMS Speedy lowered boats to pick up survivors (+L/D/ap/dk/wi; ADM.137/3108)

SPEEDY, minesweeper, ex-Alarm-class torpedo gunboat, 810t, 1893, 1 or 2-4.7in/4-3pdr/3-18in tt, 19kts, c90 crew, converted to minesweeper 1909, retained guns, fitted with kite winch & gallows on quarterdeck, Lieutenant Commander Edward Miller Rutherfoord. Rescuing Lindsell's survivors, but mined herself. Whole of after part blown off including rudder and propellers, flooded and sank an hour later, 30 miles off the Humber (dx - 12 miles NNE of Outer Dowsing LV; wi - in 53.34N, 00.10E); 1 rating lost (+J/C/Cn/D/ap/dk/dx/ke/wi; ADM.137/3108)


Saturday 5 September

Western Front - Battle of the Marne, Ourcq to 9th

U-boat warfare - HMS Pathfinder was first warship sunk by a U-boat in WW1.

North Sea

PATHFINDER, scout cruiser, Pathfinder-class, 2,940t, 1904, 9?4in/2-14in tt, 25kts, c268 crew, leader, 8th DF (Forth Patrol Flotilla), Capt Francis Martin Leake, afternoon stormy with rough seas (He – returning to Rosyth from patrol in Firth of Forth; ke - on patrol off Firth of Forth; He/wi - because of small coal bunkers, steaming at 5 or 6kts instead of recommended 15kts where U-boats might operate). Blown up off St. Abb's Head (He/wi – 14 miles ESE of May Island; dx - 10 miles SE of May island; wi - also in 56.07.18N, 02.09.20W), at first thought mined, but later confirmed torpedoed by U.21 (Otto Hersing) from 1,500 yards, hit starboard side under bridge, forward magazine exploded, bows blown off and sank in 4min; 9 officers, 250 ratings and 2 canteen staff lost, total of 261 (Cn/wi - 259 lives lost; He/ke – 256 with 12 survivors; wi - 9 survivors), wounded captain among the few saved. Wreck lies at 190ft (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ke/un/wi; ADM.116/1356)


Monday 7 September

Balkan Front - Second Austrian invasion of Serbia

German West Africa - Naval operations started against Duala, Cameroons, with armoured cruiser Cumberland, old light cruiser Challenger, gunboat Dwarf, local converted gunboats of the Niger Flotilla - Alligator, Balbus, Crocodile, Ivy, Moseley (believed Mole), Porpoise, Remus, Vampire, Vigilant, Walrus taking part. Royal Navy Battle Honour - CAMEROONS 1914


Tuesday 8 September

Balkan Front - Battle of the Drina to 17th

off Shetlands

OCEANIC, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, ex-passenger ship, 17,274/1899, first vessel to exceed the length of Brunel’s Great Eastern, 21kts, White Star Line, Liverpool-reg, hired 9/8/14, c6-4.7in, joined 10th CS Northern Patrol 27/8, 400 crew, Capt William Slayter i/c, master, Cdr H Smith RNR, departed Lerwick in the Shetlands on 6th, now steaming in daylight but in dense fog. Ran aground on Hoevdi Grund rocks, 2.5 miles E by S of South Ness, Foula Island (wi - on the Shaalds, Hoevdi Rock, 2.4 miles E of Foula, in 60.07.03N, 01.58.18W), stranded, attempts made to refloat her, declared total loss three days later; no lives lost, crew taken off by fishing trawler Glenogil, then in civilian service, believed transferred to armed merchant cruiser HMS Alsatian, taken to Liverpool. Wreck bought for £200 and broken up on the spot through until 1924 (+J/Lr/Mn/C/Cn/D/dk/ke/ss/wd/wi; ADM. 53/53135)


Wednesday 9 September

North Sea

Royal Arthur, large cruiser, Edgar-class, 7,700t, 10th CS Grand Fleet on Northern Patrol. Off Peterhead, approaching Swedish SS Tua (345grt), rammed and sank her with two men drowned, survivors taken into Cromarty. Damage not known (Cn/D/bi/gr/ms)


Friday 11 September

Cameroons Campaign

Dwarf, 1st-class gunboat, Bramble-class, 710t, 2-4in/4-12pdr, West Africa Station, taking part in operations against Duala, Cdr F Strong. Opened fire on German launch towing a lighter on the Duala River estuary, shelled by two field guns at Yoss Point, returned fire and gained hits, but badly hit on the bridge; one rating died of wounds (Rn/D/dk)


Sunday 13 September

Pacific - Australians captured Bougainville, Solomon Islands

North Sea - Submarine E.9 (Lt-Cdr Max Horton of WW2 Battle of the Atlantic fame) sank German old light cruiser Hela off Heligoland - the first British submarine success.


Monday 14 September

Western Front - Battle of the Aisne to 28th

German Pacific Possessions - Following Australian landings near Rabaul, the German governor surrendered all German New Guinea on 15th, i.e. Kaiser Wilhelm Land in NE New Guinea, New Pommern now New Britain, New Mecklenburg now New Ireland, and Bougainville, northern Solomon Islands, all to Australian forces around this date. Australian battlecruiser Australia, light cruisers Melbourne and Sydney, old light cruiser Encounter, destroyers Parramatta, Warrego and Yarra, submarines AE.1 and AE.2 (lost), and armed transport Berrima took part

Central Atlantic

Carmania V Cap Trafalgar

Carmania, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, ex-passenger ship, 19,524/1905, Cunard SS Co, Liverpool, hired 8/8/14, 8-4.7in, Capt N Grant, South American Station, taking part in southerly sweep for German raiders, coming down from NE at 16kts to examine Trinidada Island. Discovered Cap Trafalgar (2-4in/6 pom-poms) coaling from two colliers. German made off southwards while colliers dispersed, but then turned west and began to close at 18kts, range down to 8,500yds by 1210, Carmania fired a shot across the bows, Cap Trafalgar replied, and when only 7,500yds apart both ships opened rapid accurate fire. Range continued to shorten until Cap Trafalgar could use short-range pom-poms, Carmania turned away full circle until she was chasing by which time her bridge was on fire, but the German was also on fire forward with a slight list. As a stern chase developed Cap Trafalgar slowly pulled away and by 1330 was out of range, but the fire was gaining and list increasing. Fifteen minutes later she capsized and sank in 20.10S, 29.51W. Carmania was badly damaged with five holes on the water line and fore-bridges destroyed, fires came under control, made for Abrolhos Rocks, met next afternoon in response to her SOS by light cruiser Bristol which stood by until arrival of armoured cruiser Cornwall; 6 men killed, 3 DOW, 26 wounded (Rn/Cn/D/dk/kp).

Royal Navy Single Ship Action - Carmania v CAP TRAFALGAR 1914

South West Pacific

AE.1, Australian submarine, E-class, 650/796t, 1913, 1-12pdr/4-18in tt with 8 torpedoes, 15/9kts, Lt-Cdr Thomas Besant, taking part in Australian occupation of German New Guinea including Rabaul on Blanche Bay, New Britain. Destroyer Parramatta and AE.1 sent from Rabaul on the morning of the 14th to patrol E of Cape Gazelle in St George’s Channel separating New Britain from New Ireland for German ships including possibly Geier (1), Parramatta returned that evening as ordered having last seen AE.1 at 1530. (H/He/bw/dk/ke - 19th, date declared lost) – AE.1 failed to reappear at 2000, never seen again, lost cause unknown off New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, possibly hit coral reef as she returned to Blanche Bay submerged, a prolonged search found no trace; all Australian and British crew lost, 3 officers and 32 ratings (Rn - 2 officers, 32 ratings; He – 2 officers, 16 ratings) (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/ke)


Tuesday 15 September

Cameroons Campaign

Dwarf, 1st-class gunboat, Bramble-class, 710t, 2-4in/4-12pdr. Spotted attack by German launch armed with bow torpedo in Duala estuary, opened fire, man in charge lashed wheel in the wrong position, crashed into bank and exploded (Rn/D)


Wednesday 16 September

Cameroons Campaign

Dwarf, 1st-class gunboat, Bramble-class, 710t, 2-4in/4-12pdr, at anchor at night. Attacked by German armed steamer Nachtigal in Bimbia River, Dwarf fired at point-blank range but was rammed, as the vessels separated Nachtigal was in flames and sank. Dwarf badly holed, but soon repaired and back in service (Rn/D/dx)


Thursday 17 September

English Channel

FISGARD II, repair ship, was central battery ironclad Invincible, 6,010t, 1869, 10-9in/4-6in, relegated to harbour service, boy artificers training ship, renamed Erebus in 1904, Fisgard II in 1906, based at Portsmouth with engines, steering gear and armament removed. She was one of two old Fisgard's scheduled to become repair workshops at Scapa Flow, 64 passage crew, being towed west-about by tugs Danube and Southampton, accompanied by Fisgard I, departed Portsmouth on 16th. Next day, off Portland in very heavy weather, water shipped through hawse pipes, machinery shifted to try to correct trim, both tug captains aware she was in distress but could not get her into Portland, finally heeled over on beam ends and foundered 5 miles off Portland Bill around 1620 (wi - 50.25N, 02.30W); one of four boats smashed during launching, 6 ratings and 11 dockyard personnel lost plus non-naval dockyard civilians – various contracted labourers from Portsmouth Dockyard (Rn - total of 23; He – 6 ratings, 11 dockyard labourers; dx/wi - 21). Fisgard I got into Plymouth. As Scapa Flow needed to be converted from an anchorage into a well-equipped fleet base, Fisgard II was a real loss to the Grand Fleet  (J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/se/wi; ADM.1/8394/322)


Saturday 19 September

French Coast Operations - Royal Marines landed at Dunkirk


Sunday 20 September

German East Africa

PEGASUS, 3rd class or light cruiser, Pelorus-class, 2,135t, 1897, 8?4in/8-3pdr QF/2-18in tt, 20kts, c224 crew, Cape of Good Hope Station in August 1914, sent to East Africa, Capt John Alexander Ingles, during searches for Koenigsberg (10-4.1in), Pegasus had developed machinery defects and put into Zanzibar to repair them, also partly to protect the port. Although there was no indication Koenigsberg was in the vicinity, armed tug Helmuth patrolled the South Channel, Pegasus's men slept at their guns at night and steam was kept at two hours notice as she lay off the town. Helmuth saw a vessel approaching at 0525, steamed out to warn her off and received two blank rounds, Koenigsberg opened fire from 9,000yds and straddled the outranged Pegasus, within 8min all engaged guns were disabled but after a five minute pause the shelling continued. Koenigsberg ceased fire at 0555 and withdrew having done little damage to the town itself. Although badly holed on the water line, Pegasus was still afloat with engines untouched, attempts were made to beach her, but she turned over and sank in Zanzibar harbour around 1415; 1 officer and 31 ratings killed, 1 officer and 1 rating DOW the same day, followed by one rating each on 26th, 27th, 6/10, 8/10, a total of 38 (Rn - 2 officers DOW, 24 crew killed, five more DOW, 55 wounded; ke - 31 lost), survivors rescued by boats from collier Banffshire. Koenigsberg returned to the Rufuji River delta and was not discovered there until the end of October (+J/C/Cn/D/dk/ke/kp; ADM.1/8394/326)


Tuesday 22 September

North Sea

Sinking of Cruisers Aboukir, Hogue, Cressy by U.9

Southern Force (Adm Christian) had the task of keeping waters south of Dogger Bank clear of German torpedo craft and minelayers, also to protect troop movements across the English Channel. Patrols were carried out by Harwich Force (Cdre Tyrwhitt) with light cruiser leaders and 1st and 3rd DF's in cooperation with submarines of 8th Overseas Flotilla, and supported by armoured cruiser Euryalus (flag), attached light cruiser Amethyst, and 7th CS or Cruiser Force C with armoured cruisers Bacchante (flag, Adm Campbell), Cressy, Aboukir, Hogue, based on the Nore. One patrol area was off the Dogger Bank and one in the Broad Fourteens off the Dutch coast, weather was so bad on 17th that both destroyer flotillas had to be ordered home, leaving only the Dogger Bank being watched by Euryalus, Hogue and Aboukir, with Cressy back home coaling and Bacchante in dock for repairs.

The Admiralty was already aware the armoured cruisers were not suitable for this work and plans were in hand to reassign the "Live Bait Squadron" to less risky duties. On the 19th, only the patrol in the Broad Fourteens was to be maintained, but the weather was still too bad for destroyers to come out. On the 20th, Adm Christian had to leave in Euryalus to coal and for repairs to his wireless, and was unable to transfer his flag to Aboukir because of heavy seas. Command therefore passed to Aboukir’s Capt Drummond, who was joined by the re-coaled Cressy. Still no destroyers could join them then or thoughout the 21st, but then Fearless (Cdre Tyrwhitt) and eight destroyers were able to leave Harwich. Early on the 22nd, Admiralty received message "Aboukir and Hogue sinking" and more ships were sent out.

Cruiser Force C, the three large or 1st class armoured cruisers (Cressy-class, 12,000t, 2-9.2in/12-6in/14-12pdr/2-18in tt, 21kts, c700 crew) was steaming abreast and unescorted in a northeasterly direction i.e. towards German bases at the time, two miles apart, at 10kts and not zig-zagging, although on the lookout for submarines and each with two guns loaded and crews closed up. Aboukir was torpedoed at 0630, Hogue started rescue operations but was then torpedoed herself, followed by Cressy, all sunk by U.9 (Lt-Cdr Otto Weddigen) in 52.18N, 03.41E, about 30 miles W by S of Ymuiden (dx - off Maas LV); over 1,460 men were lost including many old reservists and young midshipmen, more than the British losses at the Battle of Trafalgar, 60 officers and 777 men were saved in total by Dutch steamships Flora (170), Titan (147), Lowestoft sailing trawlers Coriander and J.G.C. (280) and ships of Harwich Force which arrived at 1045:

ABOUKIR (below, prewar - Navy Photos), 1900, Pennant No.N.00, Capt John Drummond. Violent explosion starboard side just before 0630, believed mined, Capt Drummond signalled other two ships to close but keep ahead, took 20° list, steadied but then began to go over rapidly, abandon ship ordered, but only one cutter could be launched, so most of crew had to go over the side, turned over just 25min after the explosion, floated bottom up and sank; 528 lives lost - 25 officers, 502 ratings and 1 canteen staff, made up of 214 regular RN, 49 RNR, 183 RFR, 2 RN Pensioners, 18 RMA, 22 RMLI, 38 RMA & RMLI Reserves and 1 Admiralty Civilian (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ge/ke/ty; ADM.137/47, ADM.137/2232, ADM137/2081, ADM.1/8396/356)

HOGUE (below - Maritime Quest), 1900, Pennant No.N.59, Capt Wilmot Nicholson. Ordered Cressy to look out for submarines, stopped and sent off boats to rescue Aboukir survivors, almost immediately hit portside by two torpedoes, started to sink by stern, quarterdeck awash in 5min, submarine broached to and fired on, Hogue rolled over on her side within 10min, abandon ship ordered and sank, her boats now headed for Cressy with Aboukir's survivors; 376 lives lost - 11 officers, 1 more DOW, and 361 ratings, and 1 canteen staff (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ge/ke/ty; ADM.137/47)

CRESSY, 1899, Pennant No.N.40, Capt Robert Johnson. Although now aware that one or more submarines were in the area, Cressy stopped to rescue the men from Aboukir and Hogue, boats now returning to her, sent off warning signals to Admiralty at 0717, periscope sighted, ordered full speed ahead but one torpedo hit abreast after funnel and a second just before the after bridge, ship also turned over on her beam ends, lay awash for 15min and went down; 563 lives lost - 25 officers including CO, 535 ratings and 3 canteen staff (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ge/ke/ty; ADM.137/47)


Friday 25 September

North Sea

Stag, destroyer, D-class, probably Forth-based 8th Patrol Flotilla. Two torpedoes fired at her off Isle of May, Firth of Forth, torpedo also fired at another destroyer (Mn/D/gf)


Saturday 26 September

Eastern Front (East Prussia) - Battle of the Niemen to 28th

North Sea

Cheerful, destroyer, C-class, with patrol or local defence flotilla. Two torpedoes fired at her 3 miles W of Fidra island, in Firth of Forth (Mn/D/gf)


Sunday 27 September

West African Campaign - Allied forces captured Duala, Cameroons; light cruiser Challenger, gunboat Dwarf, Niger Flotilla gunboats Ivy, Porpoise, Remus took part.

See Army Despatch, dated 1st March 1916 (first part) in London Gazette, No.29604 - Cameroons Campaign

Dover Straits

Attentive, scout cruiser, Adventure-class, 6th DF leader, Dover Patrol. U.18, the first ever U-boat to pass through the Dover Straits, spotted Attentive off Dover and fired a torpedo which was narrowly avoided (Cn/D/ap/dp/ge/kt)

Indian Ocean

Admiralty collier (and two British steamships) captured by Emden (1), most of the crews transferred to SS Gryfevale :

BURESK (1), Admiralty collier, 4,337/1914, Buresk SS Co, London-reg, Mr Frederick Taylor, Port Said for Hong Kong with 6,000t high-grade Welsh coal. Captured 180 miles W by N¾N true from Colombo (L - in 07.55N, 76.50E; kp - 07.24N, 76.41E), retained as prison ship and collier under command of Lt-Cdr R Kloepper, coaled Emden in Nicobar Islands on 26 October, approached Keeling Island to coal her again, chased by HMAS Sydney after Emden  was destroyed on 9 November and overhauled, but German prize crew were already scuttling her, boarding party found inlet valves opened and damaged (L - sunk by HMAS Sydney at Keeling Island) (+L/Lr/Rn/Mn/D/kp)




Royal Navy Battle Honour - BELGIAN COAST 1914-18

U-boat Warfare - first small prefabricated German UB-type coastal submarines ordered in October for delivery in sections by rail, first one launched in January 1915

Indian Ocean

Chatham, light cruiser, Chatham-class, 6,000t, 2nd LCS in Mediterranean prewar, later to East African waters. October - Ran aground on Leven Rocks, near Kilindini, Kenya, towed off by SS Clan MacRae (Cn/D/gr/www)


Thursday 1 October

Western Front - siege of Antwerp to 9th

Baltic Operations - Submarines E.1 and E.9 broke through into the Baltic in October 1914, followed in August and September 1915 by E.8, E.18, E.19 although E.13 was lost in the attempt. Known as the Baltic Flotilla.


Friday 2 October

Western Front - Battle of Arras

Dover Straits

B.3, submarine, B-class, Dover Patrol 4th Flotilla. Attacked by U-boat S of Goodwins, torpedo missed, may have been U.18 (Rn/Mn/D/ge)


Saturday 3 October

Belgian Coast - Royal Marine Brigade was the first unit of the RN Division to land at Antwerp


Monday 5 October

North Sea

Two Admiralty minesweeping trawlers sweeping in company near the North Hinder lightship, off the Belgian coast, disappeared with all hands, believed mined and sunk. Neither vessel was seen to sink, but other ships in the area reported an explosion at 1930, followed 15 minutes by another, perhaps when the surviving sweeper went to the assistance of the first (Hepper):

DRUMOAK, Admiralty trawler, 208/1902, North of Scotland Steam Fishing, Aberdeen-reg A516, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.342, Skipper Robert Smith Ellington RNR. Believed mined and sunk (H/D/He - off Belgian coast; L/C/wi - off River Tyne estuary, in 55.01N, 01.22.45W); Skipper and 9 ratings lost. Note: “Wreck Index“ refers to discrepencies in WW1 records which place her loss off the Tyne as well as the Belgian coast (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/3109)

PRINCESS BEATRICE, Admiralty trawler, 214/1912, North Shields-reg SN202, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.287, Skipper Alexander Hall RNR, serving with Dover Patrol. Mined, sank off Belgian coast; Skipper and 10 ratings lost (+L/C/D/He/dk/dq; ADM.137/3109, ADM.1/8396/355)


Tuesday 6 October

German torpedo boat S.116 sunk by submarine E.9 off Western Ems


Wednesday 7 October

German Pacific Possessions - Japanese forces occupied Yap island, in effect taking possession of the Caroline Islands, including such future bases as Truk


Thursday 8 October

Zeppelin Airwar - RNAS Sopwith Tabloid bombed and destroyed Army airship Z.IX/Z.9 (Production No. LZ.25) in shed at Dusseldorf

Cameroons Campaign

BALBUS, patrol vessel, Nigerian Government tug, taken into service 9/14, 3-37mm, taking part in combined naval and military operation from Duala against German forces further inland, towing lighter armed with 6in gun. Force had to retreat later in the day, Balbus went aground so hard she had to be abandoned. Note: Dittmar does not list her as lost, possibly salvaged (Rn/D)


Friday 9 October

North Sea

Antrim, armoured cruiser, Devonshire-class, flagship 3rd CS Grand Fleet, on patrol off Norwegian coast. Attacked by U-boat about 20 miles SW of Skudesnes in the afternoon (gf - 59N, 04.40E), missed by two torpedoes and then attempted to ram (Rn/Mn/D/bi/ge/gf)


Saturday 10 October

Western Front - Antwerp fell on 9th, last forts surrendered on 10th.

See Despatch, dated 2 November 1914 in London Gazette, No 28996 - Operations around Antwerp


Sunday 11 October

Western Front - Battles of Flanders to 30 November

German Pacific Possessions - Australian gunboat Nusa (ex-German yacht) captured German armed survey ship Komet near Talassia, north coast of New Britain island, retained by RAN as gunboat Una

Dutch coast

Cdre Tyrwhitt took Harwich Force's First Flotilla to sea at 0400 on the 11th to patrol close inshore and try and prevent German submarines reaching Antwerp and using it as a base. Third Flotilla took over on the 13th. Between these two dates, two 1st DF, I-class destroyers, both presumably taking part, were attacked by U-boats off the Dutch coast:

Attack (ge -10th) - off Schouwen Bank (Mn/D/ge/ty)

Goshawk (Mn/D/ge/ty)


Tuesday 13 October

Western Front - Battles of Flanders, Armentières to 2 November

Dover Straits

Humber and Severn, river monitors, Humber-class, Dover Patrol, ordered to escort transports back from Ostend, evacuation had already taken place and turned back for Dover. Attacked at close range by U-boat half way across, but missed (Rn/Mn/ge)


Wednesday 14 October

Auxiliary cruiser minelayer Berlin, 17,324grt, 2-4.1in sailed from Germany for operations around British Isles


Thursday 15 October

Eastern Front (Poland) - Battle of Warsaw to 21st

North Sea

Edgar-class protected cruisers Crescent (flag, Adm de Chair), Edgar, Endymion, Theseus, Hawke and possibly Grafton of 10th CS, detached from Northern Patrol and patrolling a line between Peterhead and the Naze. HMS Crescent left for Cromarty for engine repairs and to coal, weather too bad to transfer flag and command passed to Edgar. Around 1320 on the 15th, Theseus, 80 miles offshore and zigzagging at 13kts sighted a torpedo passing 200yds astern in 57.50N, 00.33E, believed fired by U.9 although U.17 was in the area. Edgar wirelessed all ships to steam northwest at full speed, but no reply received from Hawke. Adm Jellicoe, C-in-C ordered out flotilla leader Swift and a division of destroyers for Hawke's last reported position in 57.47N, 00.12E. By this time Hawke had been lost:

HAWKE, 7,350t, 1891, 2-9.2in/10-6in/12-6pdr/4-18in tt, 20kts, c544 crew, Pennant No.A9, Capt Hugh Williams, five cruisers spread line abreast at 10 miles intervals, Endymion to starboard and Hawke next. At 0930 Hawke signalled Endymion to close so mails could be collected from her, both stopped and Hawke sent a boat. Endymion then passed under Hawke's stern to close the other ships, Hawke rehoisted her boat and got up to 12 knots to regain station. About 1030, there was an explosion starboard side abreast foremost funnel, torpedoed once by U.9 (Otto Weddigen), engine stopped, and started to list to starboard, only time for two boats to be lowered, turned over after 15min, floated bottom up for a few minutes then went down bow first in 57.40N, 00.13E (dx - 60 miles E of Kinnaird Head); 527 lives lost - 26 officers, 498 ratings, 1 DOW and 2 canteen staff (Cn - 524 lost; bi - 525; He/ke - 500). Of the 70 survivors, 21 were rescued from a life-raft by Swift and taken into Scapa Flow on the 17th, and one boat, which drifted away with 3 officers and 46 men (ss - gunner and 49 men), was picked up five hours later by Norwegian SS Modesta, landed at Aberdeen (ss - Peterhead) also on the 17th. The second boat was crushed by the overturning ship (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bi/dk/dx/ge/gf/ke/ss; ADM.1/8398/374, ADM.1/8398/377, ADM.137/997)


Friday 16 October

Western Front - Battles of Flanders, Yser River to 30 November

North Sea

Swift, leader, 4th DF Grand Fleet, dispatched from Scapa Flow with division of destroyers on 15th to search for missing Hawke. Reported U-boat near position where Hawke was last heard from, but no ship, searched all night and at 0900 spotted a raft with an officer and 20 men, reportedly attacked a number of times, and only by manoeuvring at high speed and screened by the other destroyers was it possible to rescue them. Search continued until the following morning when Swift returned to Scapa Flow (Cn/D/bi/ge/gf/ss)

Nymphe and Alarm, part of a division of four 2nd DF, H-class destroyers, Grand Fleet, with Lyra, Nymphe, Nemesis, Alarm steaming in line abreast on patrol off E entrance to Scapa Flow a few hours after the attack on Swift. U.9 attempted bow and stern shots around 1330, Nymphe sighted a periscope, gave the alarm and attempted to ram, torpedo missed her bow by feet, crossed ahead of Nemesis, and Alarm had to turn rapidly to port to avoid it (Rn/Cn/D/ge/gf/kt)


Saturday 17 October

Naval Intelligence - Following the sinking of four German torpedo boats (below), naval signal code books, mainly for use by flag officers were dragged up on 30/11/14 by British trawlers. This was the third major German code book capture

Grand Fleet - Because of the U-boat threat to undefended Scapa Flow, the Grand Fleet started moving to temporary bases in western Scotland and northern Ireland, further away from the North Sea area of operations

off Orkneys

Leda, minesweeper, ex-Alarm-class torpedo gunboat. Entering Scapa Flow and reported torpedoes fired at her, subsequently found to have been a destroyers' accidental discharge (Mn/gf)

Swift, flotilla leader, Grand Fleet. Reported another U-boat attack off Scapa Flow (Mn/ge)

 Action off the Texel

Undaunted, light cruiser, Arethusa-class, 3rd DF leader, Capt Cecil Fox, and Lance, Lennox, Legion, Loyal, destroyers, I-class, c970t, 1913/14, 3-4in/1-2pdr/4-21in tt, 1st Div, 3rd DF, all Harwich Force, off Dutch coast on patrol for German flotilla movements, on station in the Broad Fourteens at 1400, then 50 miles SW of Texel. Smoke sighted and four German 400t torpedo boats spotted, Undaunted signalled “General Chase” and by 1630 all four - S.115, S.117, S.118, S.119 had been sunk by gunfire (dx - 40 miles SW of Texel), British destroyers slightly damaged; Loyal had an officer and two ratings seriously wounded, one of the ratings dying; Legion had two ratings wounded (Rn/Cn/D/dk/dx)


Sunday 18 October

North Sea

E.3, submarine, E-class, 655/796t, 1912,1-12pdr/4-18in tt with 8 torpedoes, 15/9kts, 30 crew, Pennant No.I.83, Harwich-based 8th Overseas Flotilla, Lt-Cdr George Cholmley, sailed with E.8 from Harwich on 16th for patrol of Borkum at mouth of River Ems, on surface in daytime, 6 men in conning tower. Sighted at 1025 by U.27 (Bernd Wegener), torpedoed once from 300yds, blown in two and sank off Borkum Riff or Reef (H - cause unknown; J - German cruiser Strassburg in Heligoland Bight); 3 officers and 25 ratings lost, 4 men were seen in water but no immediate attempt was made to rescue them because of more possible British submarines in the area, U.27 surfaced 30min later but found nobody. E.3 was the first RN submarine sunk in action. Wreck located near Schiermonnikoog in 1997 (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/bw/dk/dx/ge/ke/on/un)

Belgian Coast

Dover Patrol was only made a separate command under Rear-Adm Hood on the 12th, and in spite of bad weather that prevented sailing any sooner, by the 17th ships were off the Belgian coast, ready to support the Belgian and French armies in their attempt to halt the Germans along the River Yser, west of Ostend and Zeebrugge. That day four scout cruisers including Attentive (flag, Adm Hood), 20 destroyers and three monitors sailed, Adm Hood reaching Nieuport about midnight to establish communications. Next day - the 18th, Attentive and the monitors, Foresight and her four destroyers bombarded German positions and played a major role in holding their infantry attacks:

Attentive, Adventure-class, Foresight, Forward-class, scout cruisers and 6th DF Leaders, Humber, Mersey, Severn, Humber-class monitors, Amazon, Mohawk, Nubian, E-class destroyers, 6th DF. Heavily engaged by shore-based artillery, some shrapnel damage; Mersey lost one Royal Marine on the 20th and Severn, one officer ashore on the same day (Rn/D/dk/dp/dq/dx)

see Despatch, dated 11 November 1914 in London Gazette No.29126 - Belgian Coast Operations


Monday 19 October

Western Front - Battles of Flanders, First Battle of Ypres to 17 November

Indian Ocean

One possible Admiralty collier (and another British steamship) captured by Emden:

Exford, collier (kp - Admiralty chartered), 4,542/1911, Tatem Steam Navigation Co, Cardiff-reg, sailing UK for India with 5,500t Welsh coal. Sighted at 0030 (L - in 08.27N, 74.49E; kp 8.39N, 75.07E), stopped about 0100 using siren and signal lamp, retained as collier. Emden currently in company with British steamships Buresk, Troilus and St Egbert, later that day at 1900, released St Egbert with prisoners. Exford recaptured by armed merchant cruiser Empress of Asia, arrived Singapore 11 December (+L/Mn/kp)


Tuesday 20 October

U-boat Warfare - SS Glitra was first British merchant ship sunk by U-boat

Belgian Coast

Amazon, Viking, destroyers, F-class, c1,100t, 2-4in/2-18in tt, in company with other 6th DF destroyers and monitors of Dover Patrol, and five French destroyers, in action against German shore targets. A 4in gun on Viking burst and she retired disabled, Amazon (flag, Adm Hood) badly holed by return fire during bombardment of batteries near Lombartzyde just north of Nieuport, put out of action, sent home for repairs; no lives lost (Rn/D/dk/dp)


Wednesday 21 October

Western Front - Battles of Flanders, First Battle of Ypres, Langemarck to 24th


Thursday 22 October

German minefields - minelayer/auxiliary cruiser Berlin, carrying 2,000 moored contact mines laid large field about 19 miles E of N of Tory Island, off N Ireland on night of 22nd/23rd


Friday 23 October

Mesopotamian Campaign - Because of increasing Turkish hostility, British/Indian forces were dispatched to protect British oil interests in the Persian Gulf area, and arrived off Bahrein ready to land

Belgian Coast

Myrmidon, destroyer, B-class, with patrol flotillas and Wildfire, old composite sloop, Nymphe-class, two of the various unsuitable vessels operating as gunboats in support of the Alled armies. U-boat attack failed (Rn/D/dp)


Sunday 25 October

Naval Aviation - Only 11 years after the Wright brother's first successful powered flight, the Royal Navy attempted to attack Zeppelin sheds at Cuxhaven using "aircraft carriers", but the seaplanes were unable to take off from the water. Seaplane carriers Engadine and Riviera took part escorted by Harwich Force:

North Sea

During the attempted Cuxhaven Raid, two Harwich Force ships encountered U-boats:

Fearless, scout cruiser, Active-class, leader 1st DF (broad pendant, Cdre Tyrhwitt). Believed attacked by submarine, possibly off Ems River, two torpedoes reported (Cn/D/ty)

Badger, destroyer, I-class, c990t, 1st DF, Lt-Cdr G Freemantle. Ran down U.19 in pitch dark and believed to have sunk her off the Dutch coast. Although badly damaged the submarine reached port; Badger’s own bows “bent up” (Cn/D/ge/gf/ty)


Monday 26 October

U-boat Warfare - First U-boat attack without warning. French liner Amiral Ganteaume carrying Belgian refugees mistaken for troopship and torpedoed by U.24 off Cape Gris-Nez, reached port


Tuesday 27 October

off N Ireland

AUDACIOUS (above, sinking - Maritime Quest), dreadnought, King George V-class, 25,700t, 1912, 10-13.5in/16-4in/3-21in tt, 21kts, c900 crew, Pennant No.54, 2nd BS Grand Fleet, Capt Cecil Dampier. With most of Grand Fleet now in Lough Swilly, the eight dreadnoughts of 2nd BS sailed from Loch na Keal, Isle of Mull on the 26th for firing practice, rendezvousing at 0500 on 27th with light cruiser Liverpool, tugs Plover and Flying Condor, and towed targets 30 miles N by W of Tory Island (Rn/gf - 55.45N, 08.30W). Four hours later, steaming in line ahead, the squadron was just turning to port in fairly heavy seas, Audacious at number three. Explosion port side aft around 0900, 20 miles N¼E of Tory Island (dx - 18 miles N3ºE of Tory Is; gf - 55.34N, 08.30W), came to a stop with port engine-room flooded and centre engine-room partly flooded, not known if mined or torpedoed, rest of squadron steamed away and called for assistance. Damage comparatively light but progressive flooding made her increasingly difficult to manage as the weather worsened. Liverpool circled and the tugs closed in as she began to settle by the stern, then stopped going down and moved ahead slowly under own power. Around 1300, White Star liner Olympic arrived in response to the SOS and tried to take her in tow, but she was now badly down by stern, hard to manage in the seas and the towline parted. Fleet collier Thornhill tried and also failed. Until 1600 it was hoped she could be saved, but by the time battleship Exmouth arrived to tow her in, Audacious' stern was awash and the remaining crew taken off by 1915. At 2045 she capsized and floated upside down for 15min before an immense ammunition explosion sank her at 2100 (in believed loss position: ke/wi - 17 miles N¼E of Tory Island in 55.33.34N, 08.12.30W, although there may some discrepency between the explosion position and distance made before going down), mining confirmed by the sinking of SS Manchester Commerce the previous afternoon, field laid by Berlin on 22/23 October; no lives lost, remaining survivors rescued by Olympic using her lifeboats. Audacious was a major loss to Adm Jellicoe and the Grand Fleet. The Admiralty tried to hide her loss and withheld information from the British press, but a photograph taken by an American on board Olympic soon appeared around the world. Wreck lies capsized in general depth of 200ft (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/gf/ke/wi)

Liverpool, light cruiser, Bristol-class, 1st LCS Grand Fleet, standing by. When Audacious finally blew up, debris landed on Liverpool's deck; one petty officer killed (D/dk/gf)


Wednesday 28 October

Belgian Coast

Falcon, destroyer, C-class, 420t, 1-12pdr/5-6pdr/2-18in tt, 6th DF Dover Patrol, Lt Hubert Wauton, on anti-submarine patrol with destroyer Syren off Westende in NE Channel. Came under heavy, accurate shore-fire from Westende battery at c1230, returned fire and stayed on station, at 1400 between Nieuport and Ostend hit by 8in shell on port forward 6pdr muzzle, ship completely out of action and brought into Dunkirk by Acting Sub-Lt du Boulay; captain and 7 ratings killed, 2 ratings DOW, gunner and about 12 more ratings wounded (Rn/dk/dp/dq)

Venerable, battleship, London-class, 5th BS Channel Fleet, Brilliant, old cruiser, Apollo-class (expended at Zeebrugge in 1918), Wildfire, old composite sloop, Nymphe-class, Rinaldo, old sloop, Condor-class, together with gunboat Bustard and three monitors, bombarding targets between Westende and Lombartzyde. Serious damage only avoided by continual course alterations although Wildfire badly hit on the waterline and sent home for repairs. In the afternoon Venerable ran aground but was helped off on rising tide by Brilliant with no damage, Brilliant (Rn/dp - one man killed, several wounded) and Rinaldo (Rn - 8 wounded) hit; only confirmed life lost was 1 rating in Rinaldo on 29th (Rn/D/dk)

Eastern Mediterranean

WOOD, Admiralty blockship. Scuttled, no other details (source uncertain)


Thursday 29 October

German-Turkish naval forces bombarded Russian ports, Turkey entered war on German side


Friday 30 October

North Sea

ROHILLA, Admiralty hospital ship, ex-passenger liner, 7,891/1906, British India Steam Navigation Co, Glasgow-reg, hired 6/8/14, total of 229 on board including 100 medical staff, a Catholic priest and an injured naval gunner from Scapa Flow, Mr Neilson in command, sailed Leith Docks 29th for Dunkirk to pick up wounded troops from Western Front, severe SE gale with heavy seas. Possibly struck the Whitby Rock (wi - also possibly mined, although this appears unlikely at this stage in the war), at 0410 driven on to the The Scar rocks 600yd offshore, S of Whitby (wi - in 54.29.21N, 00.35.42W), broke her back; Whitby, Redcar and Upgang lifeboats launched in appalling conditions and saved some of those onboard, Tynemouth lifeboat Henry Vernon rescued over 50 after pouring oil on the water. Ninety lives lost - 62 crew and 28 naval medical staff, but 138 were rescued (wd - 86 lost, 143 saved including the Master and all nurses). Wreck remains lay in depths of 20-50ft. Sister hospital ship Rewa was torpedoed in 1918 (+Lr/D/dk/wd/wi)

Belgian Coast

Vestal, old sloop, Condor-class, 980t, 6-4in/4-3pdr, taking part in bombardment of Westende area. Hit on forecastle about 1100 by same 8in battery that hit Falcon, possibly disabled; 1 rating killed (Rn/dk/dq)


Saturday 31 October

Admiralty authorised hostilities against Turkey although war has not yet been declared

German East Africa Campaign - Light cruiser Koenigsberg located in Rufuji River delta by HMS Chatham

Dover Straits

HERMES, sometimes classed as seaplane carrier, 2nd class or light cruiser, Highflyer-class, 5,650t, 1898, 11?6in/9?12pdr/2?18in tt, 20kts, 450 crew, converted at Chatham in 1913 to depot ship for Naval Wing of Royal Flying Corps, subsequently Royal Naval Air Service with launching platform forward & stowage platform aft for 3 seaplanes, although only 2 carried, commissioned 5/13, after trials and manoeuvres, paid off 12/13. Equipment reinstalled 8/14, recommissioned as RNAS transport and supply ship 31/8, serving with Nore Command, Capt Charles Lambe. Arrived at Dunkirk from Portsmouth the previous evening to unload seaplanes, departed morning of 31st, but at 0930 ordered to return because of submarine alarm. Ten minutes later, destroyer Liberty reported Hermes had been torpedoed twice by U.27 (Bernd Wegener), sank two hours later near Outer Ruytingen Bank, 8 miles WNW of Calais (wi - in 51N, 01.20E); 1 officer and 20 ratings lost (Cn/ge - 22 lost; He/ke - 44 casualties, 400 survivors). Short Folder seaplane No.82 sank with her, but others were taken off by ferry Invicta (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bt/dk/dx/ge/ke/wi; ADM.1/8401/402)




U-boat Warfare - Chief of German Naval Staff proposed a submarine blockade of Britain, rejected by German Chancellor; small German UC-type coastal minelaying submarines ordered for delivery in sections by rail; first one launched April 1915

Venus, old light cruiser, Eclipse-class, 5,600t, Ireland-based 11th CS. November - Lost foremast in gale, presumably British Isles waters (Cn/D)


Sunday 1 November

South East Pacific


Aware that Adm von Spee's East Asiatic Cruiser Squadron was heading across the Pacific for South American waters, the Admiralty ordered Adm Cradock who had been working his way down the east coast of South America searching for German raiders and merchantmen, to concentrate a strong-enough squadron off the southern coast of Chile. His main force, two old armoured cruisers Good Hope (Flag) and Monmouth, newly-commissioned with large numbers of reservists, were no match for the worked-up 8.2in-armed Scharnhorst and Gneisenau with their crack gunnery, neither were light cruiser Glasgow and armed merchant cruiser Otranto for German light cruisers Leipzig, Dresden, later joined by Nurnberg. Old 12in-gunned battleship Canopus was some 300 miles behind convoying British colliers. The four British ships were now heading in a northerly direction, 15 miles apart but only searching for the expected Leipzig, Glasgow nearest the Chilean coast some 50 miles W of Coronel. Smoke was sighted at 1620, Glasgow confirmed it was not one German light cruiser but two armoured cruisers, and shortly fell back on Good Hope, Cradock tried to force the action while the setting sun was behind him blinding the Germans, but they declined. Instead von Spee waited for the sun to set leaving the British ships silhouetted and his own ships lost in the dusk before opening fire around 1900, strong winds and heavy seas meant the British lower casemate guns could not be worked. In a short time both Good Hope and Monmouth had been overwhelmed and sunk, and Glasgow damaged but along with Otranto managed to escape. Two days later Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Nurnberg entered Valparaiso for 24 hours, and on 8 December, the whole squadron appeared off the Falklands Islands (ADM.116/1354, ADM.116/1355, ADM.137/3851):

GOOD HOPE, large or 1st class armoured cruiser, Drake-class, 14,150t, 1901, 2-9.2in/16-6in/12-12pdr/2-18in tt, 23kts, c900 crew, Pennant No.P.16, joined 6th CS Grand Fleet 8/14, to South Atlantic, Capt Philip Franklin, flagship Rear-Adm Sir Christopher Cradock. Engaged by Scharnhorst - 8-8.2in guns versus 2-9.2in, third salvo put forward 9.2in out of action followed by serious hits to the forepart, upper bridge and foretop, repeatedly hit amidships setting her on fire, after turret hit twice, large explosion between mainmast and after funnel at 1950, flames reaching 200ft, ship left silent and dead in the water. Von Spee lost contact around 2000 and ordered his light cruisers to search for the two large British ship that were presumably damaged and finish them with torpedoes, Good Hope was not found but went down around this time, her end not seen in the darkness and the driving rain; 926 lives lost - 52 officers, 871 ratings and 3 canteen staff, no survivors (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/dk/ke/nb/nh)

MONMOUTH (below - Navy Photos), large or 1st class armoured cruiser, Monmouth or County-class, 9,800t, 1901, 14?6in/9?12pdr/2-18in tt, 23 kts, c678 crew, Pennant No.D.28, joined 5th CS West Africa station 8/14, then South America station, sent to Pernambuco to join flagship Good Hope, Capt Frank Brandt. Engaged by Gneisenau which stayed out of range of Monmouth's 6in guns, foremost 6in turret blown off and forecastle on fire, hit by between 30 and 40 shells, many amidships, after part on fire and tried to break away to the west, found by 2100 by light cruiser Nurnberg which had just reached the area of battle, Monmouth flooded, down by the bows and listing so far to port the port guns could not bear. Nurnberg stayed on that side and opened fire, then stopped to allow Monmouth to strike, she did not and the German re-opened fire, Monmouth capsized around 2120; 734 lives lost - 42 officers and 692 ratings, no survivors except 4 men previously landed on Albrohos Rocks as lookouts who escaped the action, the seas were too rough for Nurnberg to lower boats (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/dk/ke/nb/nh)

Glasgow, light cruiser, Bristol-class, 5,300t, 2-6in/10-4in, South America station, Capt John Luce. Initially engaged by Leipzig, then by Dresden, hit total of five times, about 1919 by unexploded 4.1in shell from Leipzig on conning tower support, then badly damaged by a 4.1in shell port aft on the waterline. Glasgow found the mortally damaged Monmouth but had to leave her around 2020 to locate and warn Canopus; no lives lost. However, Glasgow did lose about 50 parrots, pets of the crew that were released prior to the battle but refused to leave the ship, only ten survived (Rn/D/dk/nb)


Monday 2 November

Russia declared war on Turkey

East African Campaign - Action at Tanga, German East Africa to 5th

U-boat Warfare - Partly because of indiscriminate German minelaying, Britain declared entire North Sea a British military zone as from the 5th


Tuesday 3 November

Dardanelles - In advance of a declaration of war, an Anglo-French Squadron bombarded the Turkish outer forts, British battlecruisers Indefatigable, Indomitable and French battleships Suffren, Vérité took part

North Sea

IVANHOE, Admiralty trawler, 190/1898, Grimsby-reg GY902, United Steam Fishing, hired 10/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel (wi - minesweeper), Admiralty No.664, Skipper J Freer. Wrecked in Firth of Forth (He - patrol vessel, stranded four cables from Martello tower, Black Rock, off Leith, Firth of Forth in poor weather; wi - from Lowestoft for minesweeping and return, wrecked near Black Rock, Leith, in 55.59.30N, 03.10W); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/dk/wi; ADM.137/72)

First Bombardment of British Coast - Raid on Gorleston

German 1st Scouting Group of battlecruisers (Adm Hipper) raided Gorleston/Great Yarmouth apparently with the main aim of covering the laying a minefield off Yarmouth. Although an attack was anticipated in the southern North Sea area, the only ships that encountered the Germans were minesweeping gunboat Halcyon and patrol destroyers Lively and Leopard, all of which came under fire from heavy guns around the same time that Yarmouth was shelled. Three submarines headed out of Gorleston for the sound of the guns but one was mined, more destroyers of the Yarmouth Patrol came out too late to take part, and Harwich force failed to intercept:

Halcyon, minesweeper, ex-Dryad-class torpedo gunboat, 1,070t, originally 2-4.7in/3-18in tt, Lowestoft-based, sweeping off Smith’s Knoll, about 20 miles NE of Yarmouth. Sighted large warships about 4 miles S of Cross Sands LV, steamed towards them and made challenge, fired at by 11in and other guns and turned away, made report at 0700, escaped with minimum damage by frequent course changes and under cover of smokescreen laid by Lively; one rating DOW (Rn/Cn/D/dk/dk/dx/nb/nh/ty)

Lively, B-class, 435t and Leopard, C-class, 400t, both destroyers armed with 1-12pdr/5-6pdr/2-18in tt, patrol or local defence flotillas, probably Yarmouth Patrol, Lively 2 miles SW of Halcyon, Leopard astern of Lively near Scroby Buoy. Spotting Halcyon's plight, Lively laid a smokescreen between her and the enemy, all three ships came under heavy fire and were chased by the Germans until fearful of possible British minefields they turned east (Rn/Cn/D/dx/nb)

D.5, submarine, D class, 495/620t, 1911, 1?12pdr/3?18in tt with 6 torpedoes (Cn - contrary to other sources, only D.4 was fitted with a gun), 14/9kts, 25 crew, Pennant No.I.75, Harwich-based 8th Flotilla, Lt-Cdr Godfrey Herbert, moored off Gorleston with D.3 and E.10, all under orders, D.5 for Terschelling. Put to sea at 0815 to intercept the German warships (H/C - 3 October), at 1030, mined aft off Great Yarmouth (He - about two miles SE of South Cross lightship; dx - 2 miles S of South Cross Sand buoy), and sank in less than a minute. As this was away from the scene of German minelaying, it was probably a drifting British mine; 1 officer and 20 ratings lost, 5 survived including the bridge party, CO and three crew picked up by local fishing drifter Faithful and a fifth by drifter Homeland. Crew of Faithful awarded £75 for saving life in dangerous waters (+J/Rn/Rn/C/Cn/D/bw/dk/dx/ke/nh/on; ADM.1/8401/405, ADM.137/72)

Light cruiser Kolberg laid a line of mines 5 miles long in Smith's Knoll passage, probably as the German force left the area, but the laying was spotted by a Lowestoft fisherman and reported by 1100. As they returned to base, armoured cruiser Yorck was mined and sunk in a defensive field in Jade Bay. A number of British vessels were lost in the Yarmouth minefield, including three fishing vessels the same day.


Wednesday 4 November

Belgian Coast Operations - Bombardment of Lombartzyde near Nieuport by old gunboats Bustard and Excellent

German light cruiser Karlsruhe destroyed by internal explosion in central Atlantic, E of Trinidad

Admiralty blockships - Admiralty accounts refer to 49 merchantmen bought during the war for use as blockships for a total sum of £424,249. Dittmarr lists 41, nine of which were not expended for this purpose. An additional one is listed in Colledge, three more in “Wreck Index”, four have been located at Gallipoli, two ex-dummy battleships were expended as blockships and a possible one more gives a total of 43 merchant ships. Apart from ex-battleship Hood (following), six old cruisers were expended during the Zeebrugge/Ostend raids

English Channel

HOOD, Admiralty blockship, ex-turret battleship, 14,150t, 1891, 380ft, removed from effective list 1911, fitted with first experimental anti-torpedo bulges 1913, on sale list 8/14. Scuttled in South Ship Channel, Portland Harbour, Dorset to fill gap in the defences (wi - in 50.34.08N, 02.25.12W). Wreck lies upside down in around 50ft, with keel only a few feet below the water at low tide (C/Cn/D/pt/wi)


Thursday 5 November

Britain and France declared war on Turkey, Britain annexed Cyprus

North Sea

MARY, Admiralty trawler, 256/1906, J Marr & Son, Fleetwood-reg FD84, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.361, Skipper William Stephen Greenaway RNR, sweeping Yarmouth field laid near Smith’s Knoll Buoy by German Kolberg with trawlers Columbia and Driver. (He – 3rd; all other sources, including casualties – 5th). Mined just after 1000, after part destroyed, fore part settled and sank with two minutes (wi - in 52.35N, 01.54E); Skipper and 7 ratings lost, 6 survivors rescued by Columbia and Driver (+L/Lr/C/D/He/ap/dk/fd/wi; ADM.137/3110)


 Friday 6 November

Belgian Coast Operations - Bombardment of Westend and Lombartzyde by monitor Humber and old gunboat Bustard

Mesopotamian Campaign - British/Indian forces started to land in Mesopotamia from the Persian Gulf supported by old battleship Ocean (Capt Hayes-Sadler), sloops Odin, Espiegle, and including Government yacht Lewis Pelly, launch-tugs Garmsir, Sirdar-I-Naphti, Mashona, Miner, all manned, armed and commissioned by HMS Ocean. Royal Navy Battle Honour - MESOPOTAMIA 1914-17

Mesopotamian Campaign

Odin, sloop, Epiegle-class, 1,070t, 6-4in/4-3pdr, Capt Hayes-Sadler in command and crewed by Espiegle, with convoy carrying Anglo-Indian expeditionary force, entered Shatt-el-Arab and came under Turkish fire. Odin in 40-minute duel silenced a 4-gun battery at Fort Fao or Al Faw guarding the Shatt-el-Arab entrance, hit twice and later fired on by riflemen from trenches. Espiegle hit entrenchments further upstream opposite Abadan (Rn/D/gb)


Saturday 7 November

German Pacific Possessions - Japanese captured Tsingtau.

See Army Despatches, first one dated 9 October 1914, in London Gazette, No.19601 - Tsingtau Campaign


Sunday 8 November

Balkan Front - Third Austrian invasion of Serbia


Monday 9 November

Indian Ocean

Sinking of Emden

German light cruiser SMS Emden headed for the Cocos Islands to destroy the cable and wireless station on the smaller Direction Island, appeared at 0550 and a warning was immediately sent out by cable station superintendent. Emden anchored and sent armed party ashore which destroyed the installations over the next two and half hours. Around 0630, the warning signal had been intercepted by light cruiser HMAS Melbourne escorting an Australian troop convoy only 50 miles away to the north, sister-ship Sydney was detached to investigate. Arriving off Cocos at 0915, Sydney sighted Emden which opened accurate fire at 0940 from 9,500yds, Sydney's after control station was soon hit. Making the most of her longer-range guns, Sydney brought down Emden's foremost funnel, foremast, then second funnel and third, the badly damaged Emden headed for the northerly North Keeling Island and ran aground at 1120. Sydney left to pursue the escaping collier SS Buresk, captured some time before. Schooner Ayesha was seized by German landing party after Emden left them ashore to go and fight Sydney, sailed to Padang, Dutch East Indies, and on to Turkish-occupied Yemen. The Germans then travelled overland to Constantinople.

Sydney, Royal Australian Navy, light cruiser, Chatham-class, 6,000t, 8-6in/4-3pdr/2-21in tt, Capt John Glossop, Australian Fleet. Slightly damaged; 3 ratings killed, 1 DOW and 12 wounded. Royal Navy Single Ship Action - Sydney v EMDEN 1914 (Rn/Cn/D/dk/kp)

see Despatch, dated 15 November 1914 in London Gazette, No.29025


Tuesday 10 November

Arabian Coastal Operations - British-Indian forces bombarded and stormed Sheikh Sa'id, southern Arabia and destroyed defences, armoured cruiser Duke of Edinburgh & troops of 29th Indian Infantry Brigade took part

German East Africa

NEWBRIDGE (1), Admiralty blockship, ex-collier, 3,737/1906, 342ft, Temperley SS Co, London-reg, purchased 1914, originally for use at Dover, sent to East Africa, filled with crushed rock and dynamite charges, 14 volunteer crew, Cdr Raymond Fitzmaurice. This was the first operation against the trapped German cruiser Koenigsberg. In the early morning, under fire but under cover of 6in cruiser gunfire, reached scuttling position 8 miles down the Ssuninga channel of the Rufuji river delta where it met the Ssimba-Uranga arm, swung across the river and anchored bow and stern, charges fired at 0550 and settled to the bottom. This still left two navigable channels - the northern Kikunja and the southern Kiomboni - by which Koenigsberg could reach the sea 10 miles away (L/Lr/Rn/D/dx/kp)


Wednesday 11 November

Western Front - Battles of Flanders, First Battle of Ypres, Nonne Boschen

Eastern Front (Poland) - Battle of Lodz to 25th

North Atlantic off Northern Scotland

Crescent (flag, Adm de Chair) and Edgar, old 1st-class protected cruisers, Edgar-class, 7,350t, 10th CS on Northern Patrol, steaming to SW of Foula Island to watch Fair Isle Channel for two reported minelayers, encountered full westerly gale with high and breaking seas, ordered to return to Scapa Flow but impossible to turn ship without risk of capsizing. Crescent lost boats and deck fittings, deck and sides began to give and open up, fires in foremost boiler put out by rising water, bridge smashed and Admirals sea cabin swept overboard, big gun broke loose in after turret and only stopped by filling the turret with hammocks. Edgar similarly damaged. Adm de Chair described it as "quite the most appalling gale I ever experienced in all my years at sea" and did not expect to survive; Edgar lost one man overboard. Half of the 10th CS sent to Clyde for refits, but inspections were so unfavourable all seven "Edgar's" of the 10th old Training Squadron paid off on 20th to be replaced by converted liners - armed merchant cruisers (Cn/D/dk/ss)

Dover Straits

NIGER, minesweeper, ex-Alarm-class torpedo gunboat, 810t, 1892, 2-4.7in/4-3pdr/3-18in tt, 19kts, c90 crew, converted to minesweeper 1909, retained guns, fitted with kite winch & gallows on quarterdeck, now with Downs Boarding Flotilla, Dover Patrol, Lt-Cdr Arthur Muir. At anchor off Deal Pier as supervising vessel for local examination service, with two merchant steamers anchored nearby. Torpedo fired from direction of South Sand Head by U.12 (Walter Forstmann), track spotted at 600-800 yards on port beam, orders given to put port engine astern and helm over, but torpedo passed between the two steamers and hit amidships under the bridge at 1210. Ship settled by the head, slowly capsized to port and at 1230 sank bow first 1½m from Deal Pier (wi - in 51.13.12N, 01.26.29E); 15 ratings lost (He – 1 man killed; ke/wi - all 8 officers and 77 ratings saved), survivors rescued by North Deal and Kingsdown lifeboats, 47 landed at Deal, remainder by tugs at Ramsgate (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/dk/dp/dq/ke/un/wi; ADM.137/3111)


Thursday 12 November

Balkan Front - Defeat of Montenegrins at Grahovo, at Bosnian frontier

South African Campaign - Action against South African rebels, Mushroom Valley


Sunday 15 November

North Sea

Parthian, Admiralty trawler, Grimsby-reg, 202/1911, hired 8/14. In collision with and sank SS Vera, 2,391grt off Norfolk coast (wi - 4 miles E of Cley-next-the-Sea, in 52.58.15N 01.09.30E) (gr/wi)


Monday 16 November

South East Pacific

NORTH WALES (1), Admiralty collier, 3,691/1905, North Wales Shipping Co, Newcastle-reg, Mr George Owens, sailing Cardiff (kp - Tyne)/Juan Fernandez for Falkland Islands with coal. Captured by Dresden, sunk by bombs 360 miles SW¼W true of Valparaiso (L/Mn - in 37.30S, 77W); crew to tender Rhakotis, landed a month later at Callao (+L/Lr/Mn/kp)


Wednesday 18 November

German auxiliary cruiser minelayer Berlin entered Trondheim and interned


Friday 20 November

Northern British waters

Achilles, armoured cruiser, Warrior-class, 13,550t, 6-9.2in/4-7.5in/26-3pdr, 2nd CS Grand Fleet, at gun practice. Lyddite shell detonated in 9.2in gun, 11 gun crew injured, all survived (Rn/Cn/D/dk/gf)


Saturday 21 November

Mesopotamian Campaign - British-Indian forces occupied Basra by 23rd; sloops Espiegle, Lawrence (RIM), Odin, and gunboats including Comet, Lewis Pelly took part

Zeppelin Airwar - RNAS Avro 504’s bombed Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen, Navy airship L.7 (Production No. LZ.32) survived the attack.

See Despatch in London Gazette No. 29025

North Sea

SPIDER, Admiralty-owned trawler, ex-Assyrian, 271/c1908, originally Hull-reg H914, purchased by Admiralty 4/1909, one of six vessels which, prewar, trained crews of the fishery reserve in minesweeping, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No. possibly 54, commissioned as minesweeper, originally based at Portsmouth, now with Auxiliary Patrol, Chief Gunner Albert Frankland in command. (He – 22nd) - Wrecked/stranded at Lowestoft, Suffolk; no lives lost (hw - later re-floated). Note: in one of two accounts, “Wreck Index” describes her as damaged by U-boat-laid mine (but this was too early in the war), beached on Newcombe Sand, then towed towards Lowestoft but sank opposite the Hamilton Dock, in 52.28.15N, 01.45.26E “where she lay for many years”. In Hepper’s account “she was heading inshore at 2am (presumably on the 22nd) in a strong easterly gale with very heavy seas, and was driven onto the beach near the war Signal Station, at the northern end of the breakwater, Lowestoft, the crew being taken off by lifeboat. She was abandoned as a wreck. Remains sold in April 1915 although the hull apparently remained largely intact. This was to cause much concern later, with sand building up around the wreck to form a hazard to shipping.” (+C/D/He/dk/hw/wi; ADM.137/76)


Sunday 22 November

North Sea

CONDOR (2) (C - Condor II), Admiralty trawler, 227/1905, Thos Baskcomb, Grimsby-reg GY85, hired 11/14, 1-6pdr. Wrecked off Lowestoft, Suffolk (wi - in 52.29N, 01.48E; D - mined or foundered off Lowestoft; C - in Firth of Forth); no lives lost. Note: “Wreck Index” states that the original source for the Forth loss position “is incorrect”. Hepper identifies her as taken up for service as a patrol vessel, but had not been fitted out (hence no 6pdr gun presumably). Stranded off Lowestoft on Newcome Sands at 1050 in strong easterly gale, crew taken off by local lifeboat an hour later, and vessel abandoned as wreck. Note: she was probably lost in the same situation and around the same time as HMT Spider above (+Lr/C/D/bm/dk/wi; ADM.137/76)


Monday 23 November

Belgian Coast Operations - Old Duncan-class battleships Russell and Exmouth, 6th BS bombarded Zeebrugge, but inflicted little damage

U-boat Warfare – the loss of British SS Malachite in the English Channel was the first U-boat sinkings since SS Glitra a month earlier take place

North Sea

Garry, destroyer, E-class, 660t, Scapa Flow Local Defence Flotilla, Cdr W Wilson. U.18 rammed and damaged by trawler Dorothy Grey off Scapa Flow in Pentland Firth, then rammed and sunk by Garry (un – in 58.41N, 02.55W) (Cn/D/gf/ub/un)


Wednesday 25 November

North Sea

D.2, submarine, D class, 489/603t, 1910, 1?12pdr/3?18in tt with 6 torpedoes, 14/9kts, c25 crew, Pennant No.I.72, Harwich-based 8th Flotilla, two days earlier on 23rd running on the surface in heavy seas, her commanding officer Lt-Cdr Jameson was washed overboard. Next day with replacement Lt-Cdr Clement Head in command, D.2 sailed for patrol off Borkum island, Ems estuary, nothing more heard from her, “overdue, presumed lost”. On or around 25th (ke - possibly 25th; J - 1 December) - Lost, cause unknown, perhaps mined or accident (C/Cn/D/bw/dx - may have been sunk by gunfire of German torpedo boat or patrol craft off Western Ems on 25th); 4 officers and 22 ratings lost (+J/C/Cn/D/He/bs/bw/dk/dx/ke/on)


Thursday 26 November

North Sea

BULWARK (below, in 1904 - Maritime Quest), old battleship, London-class, 15,700t, 1899, 4-12in/12-6in/18-12pdr/4-18in tt, 18kts, c750 crew, Pennant No.95, 5th BS Channel Fleet, originally Portland-based, transferred to Sheerness on 15th, Capt Guy Sclater, believed returned from patrol, moored at No.17 Buoy, in Kethole Reach off Sheerness in the River Medway, loading ammunition from lighters alongside. Suddenly blew up at 0753 with "an appalling explosion... when the smoke cleared she had entirely disappeared" (wi - in 51.25.21N, 00.39.16E), sabotage was originally suspected but in mid-December the court of enquiry established that ammunition had accidentally ignited, probably caused by careless handling of black powder charges on upper deck; 792 lives lost - 50 officers, 738 ratings and 4 canteen staff (Rn/He/wi - 738 lives lost, 12 survivors; dx - 746 lost). Wreck lies in 30ft marked by two buoys. Bulwark was only the first of five large British warships destroyed by internal explosions, probably due to cordite problems, followed by minelayer Princess Irene and armoured cruiser Natal in 1915, dreadnought Vanguard in 1917, and monitor Glatton in 1918 (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dx/ke/tr/wi; ADM.116/1370)


Saturday 28 November

German East Africa Campaign - German shipping and harbour installations destroyed at Dar-es-Salaam; old battleship Goliath, old light cruiser Fox, gunboat Duplex, ex-German tug Helmuth took part, bombardment continued on the 30th. For his part in the operations at Dar-es-Salaam, Cdr Henry Peel Ritchie of HMS Goliath was awarded the Victoria Cross, the first naval one of World War 1





Wednesday 2 December

Balkan Front - Austrians occupied Belgrade, Battle of the Kolubara or Rudnik Malyen, 3rd to 9th


Friday 4 December

Mesopotamian Campaign

Attacks mounted up the Shatt-el-Arab to take the strategic town of Kurnah/Al Qurnah 46 miles N of Basra at the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris, surrendered on the 9th. Amphibious landing and fire support provided by sloops Espiegle, Odin, armed paddle steamer Lawrence (RIM), armed launches Lewis Pelly, Miner, Shaitan and two river steamers mounting 18pdr field guns:

Miner, armed launch-tug, 50/1880, in service from 11/14, 1-12pdr/1-3pdr/1mg. Came under heavy fire from the shore off Kurnah, holed, returned downsteam and beached; no lives believed lost (Rn/D/dk)


 Monday 7 December

Eastern Front (Poland) - Second Battle of Warsaw to 13th

Mesopotamian Campaign

Shaitan, armed launch, 1-3pdr, taken up 11/14, Lt-Cdr Elkes RNR, continuing operations to take Kurnah. Disabled by heavy fire; commander killed and 1 rating DOW, both on HMS Ocean's books (Rn/D/dk)


Tuesday 8 December


With news of the British defeat off Coronel, battlecruisers Invincible (flag, Vice-Adm Sturdee) and Inflexible, 2nd BCS Grand Fleet were ordered to the South Atlantic sailing from Devonport on 11 November. At this time it was not known if von Spee would head round Cape Horn, go north to Panama Canal, or even turn back into the Pacific. Of the ships in the South Atlantic, old battleship Canopus reached the Falklands on the 12 November and remained at Port Stanley as guardship, berthed on the mud, while armoured cruisers Carnarvon (flag, Rear-Adm Stoddart), Cornwall, Kent, and light cruisers Bristol, Glasgow sailed for a rendezvous at Abrolhos Rocks which Adm Sturdee reached on the 26th. On this same day Adm von Spee, after coaling off the southern Chile coast, sailed to attack the Falkland Islands and destroy the facilities there. Fortunately for the British, they were so delayed rounding Cape Horn that Adm Sturdee was able to reach there first, arriving the morning of 7 December, by which time armed merchant cruiser Macedonia had joined. His plan was to coal, allow Bristol to repair her engines, then sail by the 9th for Cape Horn before von Spee came east.

The first German ships were sighted from Sapper Hill at 0750. At this time Macedonia was on patrol off Port Stanley and had not coaled, Invincible and Inflexible were coaling, only Carnarvon and Glasgow had finished refuelling, and Cornwall, Kent and Bristol were still waiting, Cornwall also had an engine opened up at 6 hours notice and Bristol was still repairing hers with fires drawn. As Gneisenau and Nurnberg approached to shell the wireless station, Canopus fired four shells at extreme range around 0915, fragments of one or perhaps a ricochet possibly hit Gneisenau, they turned away to join the German flagship and the squadron headed SE away from the Falklands at full speed. Kent had left the harbour by 0915, Glasgow weighed to join her, Inflexible, Invincible and Cornwall sailed out at 1000, followed by Carnarvon and then around 1100 by Bristol which with Macedonia was diverted to search for the German colliers, sinking two out of three southeast of the Falklands.

Invincible and Inflexible in the lead opened fire on the lagging Leipzig at 1251, then realising there was no escape, von Spee ordered his three light cruisers to scatter south at 1320 while the two armoured cruisers headed NE to cover their retreat. At this time, the two British battlecruisers joined by the slower Carnarvon engaged armoured cruisers Scharnhorst (flag, sunk 1617) and Gneisenau (sunk around 1800). Armoured cruiser Kent went after light cruiser Nurnberg (action started 1615, sunk 1927), sister ship Cornwall after Leipzig, and light cruiser Glasgow after Dresden (which escaped). Because Glasgow could only gain on Dresden slowly, she transferred her attention to Leipzig to give Cornwall time to catch up, Glasgow opening fire at 1453, Cornwall coming into action around 1615. After Leipzig was sunk (at 2123), Glasgow went after Dresden again but with her speed reduced lost the German in the mist and rain.

Battlecruisers, Invincible-class, 20,080, 8-12in/16-4in/4-18in tt:

Invincible, initially ranged on Gneisenau, hit by about 20 mainly 8.2in shells, foremast strut carried away, one 4in gun out of action and one bunker flooded; no killed or wounded (Rn/D/dk/nb/nh)

Inflexible, Capt Phillimore. Initially ranged on Scharnhorst, hit three times, little damage; 1 rating lost, 2 slightly wounded (Rn/D/dk/nb/nh)

Armoured cruisers:

Carnarvon, Devonshire-class, 10,850t, 4-7.5in/6-6in/2-18in tt. Engaged in action with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, no reported hits; no killed or wounded (Rn/D/dk/nb/nh)

Kent, Kent-class, 9,800t, 14-6in/10-12pdr/2-18in tt, Capt Allen. In action with Nurnberg, hit 38 times, wireless room wrecked but little structural damage because of armour; 5 ratings lost, three more DOW (nb - 4 killed, 12 wounded) (Rn/D/dk/nb/nh)

Cornwall, Kent-class, 9,800t, 14-6in/10-12pdr/2-18in tt, Capt Ellerton. In action with Leipzig, hit 18 times, two bunkers flooded, listed to port; no killed or wounded (Rn/D/dk/nb/nh)

Light cruiser:

Glasgow, Bristol-class, 5,300t, 2-6in/10-4in/2-18in tt, Capt Luce. In action with Leipzig, hit twice, one boiler damaged; one rating lost, 1 DOW, 4 wounded (Rn/D/dk/nb/nh)

Royal Navy Battle Honour - FALKLANDS 1914

see Despatch, dated 19 December 1914 in London Gazette, No.29087


Wednesday 9 December

U.11 mined off Belgian coast on this date in 51.20N, 02.52E (ub/un)

Mesopotamian Campaign

British-Indian forces captured Kurnah/Al Qurnah, surrender taken by Capt Hayes-Sadler. Ships taking part over the four or five days (see 4th) hit by shell and rifle-fire, Royal Navy casualties included the two killed on Shaitan and ten wounded (Rn/gb)


Friday 11 December

northern British waters

Cockatrice, destroyer, K-class, c1,300t, 4th DF Grand Fleet, on patrol in "very bad" weather. Unable to maintain station, with other destroyers forced to run for shelter, "suffered some"/"badly" damaged (D/gf/gr)


Sunday 13 December

Auxiliary cruiser Cormoran running out coal and supplies was interned at the US Pacific island of Guam


Victoria Cross - Lt Norman Douglas Holbrook (CO, HM S/M B.11) for sinking Turkish guardship/old battleship Messudiyeh


Tuesday 15 December

Balkan Front - Serbians recaptured Belgrade


Expecting a German raid somewhere along the East coast of England through the intelligence work of Room 40 (the Yorkshire Raid next day), the Admiralty ordered 2nd BS and 1st LCS from Scapa Flow, Adm Beatty's 1st BCS and available destroyers from Cromarty, and 3rd CS from Rosyth to rendezvous and sweep south, heavy seas were encountered:

Conqueror, dreadnought, 2nd BS. Lost 3 ratings, swept overboard (dk/gf)

Boadicea and Blanche, scout cruisers, Boadicea-class, 3,800t, attached to Grand Fleet battle squadrons, sailed with 2nd BS early in the day. Boadicea's bridge carried away by the seas in Pentland Firth, reportedly several men swept overboard and drowned, forced to return and sent to Clyde for repairs, Blanche less seriously damaged and repaired at Scapa; no lives listed as lost (Rn/Cn/D/dk/gf/gr)

Belgian Coast

Revenge, later renamed Redoubtable, old battleship, Royal Sovereign-class, 15,580t, 4-12in/10-6in/7-18in tt, on sale list 8/14, now bombarding ship, Dover Patrol, with dreadnought Majestic and two or three gunboats, bombarding gun positions on Belgian coast around Zeebrugge. Revenge badly hit probably by 8in shell. Returned next day without Majestic because of the risks, again hit by 8in shell, badly damaged below the waterline, had to retire for docking. No lives lost (Rn/D/dq)


Wednesday 16 December

German Raid on English coastal towns of Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby

(1) Fleet encounter

German 1st SG battlecruisers and 2nd SG light cruisers escorted by destroyers sailed to attack the Yorkshire coast. Battlecruisers Seydlitz, Moltke and armoured cruiser Blucher were to bombard Hartlepool, battlecruisers Derfflinger and Von der Tann to bombard Scarborough, and light cruiser Kolberg to lay up to 100 mines off Flamborough Head. Both the German and British battlefleets were out in support of their forces. Coming south in anticipation of this attack the seven 4th DF destroyers screening Adm Beatty's battlecruisers - Lynx, Ambuscade, Unity, Hardy of 1st Div and Shark, Acasta, Spitfire of 2nd Div, met destroyers from the German light cruiser screen in the Dogger Bank area, in c54.10N, 03.00E at 0515. When challenged, they opened fire damaging Lynx and Ambuscade, the remaining destroyers then sighted cruiser Hamburg close by at 0553. This time Hardy and Shark opened fire and it was Hardy's turn to be damaged.

All K-class destroyers, c1,300t, 3-4in/2-21in tt:

Lynx, Cdr R Parry. Hit several times, not too badly damaged. Unity initially stood by, before she made for Leith for repairs; no lives lost, 1 man wounded (Rn/D/dk/gf)

Ambuscade, Lt-Cdr G Coles. Holed forward, had to leave the line around 0550 with 5ft of water in mess-deck, crippled and called for assistance. After seeing Lynx out of danger, Unity searched for Ambuscade and escorted her into Leith; no lives lost (Rn/D/dk/gf)

Hardy, Lt-Cdr L Crabbe. Wireless shot away, holed on waterline, bridge wrecked, severely damaged by 0600 with steering gear disabled and had to turn out of line, managed to proceed at 0620 and limped into port escorted by Spitfire; 2 ratings killed, 1 officer and 14 men wounded (Rn/D/ap/dk/gf)

(2) Attack on Hartlepool

As Seydlitz, Moltke and Blucher approached at dawn, they were spotted by patrol destroyers Doon, Waveney, Test and Moy, a division of the 9th DF already at sea about 5 miles NE of the port; scout cruisers Patrol and Forward and submarine C.9 were unable to leave harbour because of the low state of tide. The destroyers came under 11in fire around 0800, three of them being hit by shell fragments with Doon suffering casualties, then the Germans opened fire on the Hartlepool defences consisting of 3-6in guns. Both C.9 and Patrol came out at this time, followed by Forward, but Patrol was badly hit. In return, the shore batteries hit Moltke and Blucher several times:

Doon, E-class, 615t, 4-12pdr/2-18in tt, Lt-Cdr H Fraser. One rating killed and one DOW (Rn - 3 killed, 6 wounded) (Rn/D/dk)

Patrol, Pathfinder-class, 2,940t, 9-4in/2014in tt, leader, 9th DF, Capt Alan Bruce. Worked her way out of the tidal harbour under fire, once clear, hit by two 8.2in shells from Blucher, then straddled by the battlecruisers 11in. Ran hard aground near South Gare breakwater, probably saved from destruction by the shore batteries, badly holed but reached the Tees safely; 4 ratings lost, 7 wounded (Rn/D/dk/gf)

Two merchantmen were damaged and two fishing vessels sunk in the docks during the Hartlepool bombardment.

(3) Attacks on Scarborough and Whitby

Three German ships appeared off the defenceless town of Scarborough just before 0800, battlecruisers Derfflinger and Von der Tann opened fire, while light cruiser Kolberg went to lay mines off Flamborough Head. The two battlecruisers then headed north for Whitby, and opened fire on this equally defenceless port just after 0900, departing after 10min and ignoring two tramp steamers passing to the south. Four fishing vessels were damaged in Scarborough during the bombardment.

Although the retreating German ships were sighted by ships of the Grand Fleet's 1st LCS and 2nd BS in the low visibility, they could not be brought to action.


Location unknown

MARGARET, Admiralty drifter, 115grt (ms – possibly 1886), purchased November 1914. Possibly sunk as blockship, no other details (C only)


Thursday 17 December


LORENZO, Admiralty trawler, 173/1906, Hellyers Steam Fishing, Hull-reg H865, hired 9/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel, 1 x 6pdr, Admiralty No.603. Wrecked on Kirk rocks in Hoy Sound, W entrance to Scapa Flow between Mainland & Hoy islands; no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk)

North Sea

Bellona, scout cruiser, Boadicea-class, 3,800t and Broke, flotilla leader, Faulknor-class, 2,000t, both Grand Fleet, following Scarborough Raid and before returning to Scapa Flow, Grand Fleet carried out battle practice with Harwich Force. Both in collision and "seriously damaged", escorted to Rosyth by cruiser Devonshire; no lives lost (Cn/D/dk/gf)


Friday 18 December

U.5 lost, either mined or accident, off the Belgian coast around this date (ub/un)


Saturday 19 December

Turkish Coastal Operations - independent harassing action near Alexandretta by old light cruiser Doris

North Sea

Three days after the Yorkshire Raid, minesweeping gunboats Skipjack, Gossamer, Jason, on passage from Sheerness to Scapa Flow to rejoin Grand Fleet, were ordered to sweep from Flamborough Head north to Scarborough to determine the extent of the minefield laid by the German Kolberg, but only found two mines off Scarborough. Grimsby-based Admiralty-hired minesweeping trawlers were then sweeping closer inshore, and a number of mines were swept up or detonated in sweeps. As Skipjack joined them, Orianda was mined and sunk close by, and two more damaged, all off Scarborough. Skipjack and the rest of the sweepers anchored until the tide rose:

ORIANDA, 273/1914, Grimsby-reg GY291, hired 9/14, Admiralty No.99, Lt Hubert Boothby RNR. Went down within 10min with engines at full ahead, the tip of her masthead the last part to disappear (do - c1 mile SE of Scarborough Castle; wi – wreck lies in 54.15.17N, 00.18.32W); 1 rating lost. Wreck stands upright and remains in one piece (+L/Rn/C/D/He/ap/dk/do/sc/wi)

Passing, 459/1913, Grimsby-reg GY877, hired 8/14, 1-12pdr or 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.58, later 1542, Lt G Parsons. Badly holed (ap - first to be mined), down by the bows, badly on fire, steam-pipe severed and blowing off steam. Assisted by sweeping partner, then towed stern-first across Cayton Bay by paddle minesweeper Brighton Queen (SNO), beached on Scarborough Sands; no lives lost. Salvaged and put back into service (C/D/ap/dk/do/sc)

Star of Britain, 228/1908, hired 9/14, Aberdeen-reg, Lt C Crossley RNR. Leaking badly from mines exploding close alongside, in danger of sinking but saved; no lives lost (D/ap/dk/sc)

see Despatch, dated 19 February 1915 in London Despatch, No.29076 - East Coast Minesweeping Operations


Sunday 20 December

Western Front - First Battle of Champagne (actions continued to end of March 1915)

North Sea

Two hired auxiliaries mined in the Kolberg-laid Scarborough field:

Valiant, Admiralty yacht, 1,855/1893, hired 18/11/14, Cdr C Barlow RNR (Adm Rtd), heading for Cromarty. Mined off Filey about 0900, propellers and rudder blown off, two trawlers brought her into Scarborough. Next day, taken in tow by yacht Eileen for the Humber and on to Isle of Wight for repairs; no lives lost (Rn/Mn/ap/dk/sc)

GARMO, Admiralty trawler, 203/1900, Ocean Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY1165, hired 11/14, believed as patrol vessel (He – minesweeper), armed, Admiralty No.810, Skipper Thaddeus Gilbert RNR, on patrol rather than minesweeping (He – minesweeping). Mined about an hour after Valiant, turned right over and sank off Scarborough (wi - 3.5 miles SE of Scarborough Castle, in 54.15.12N, 00.17.06W); skipper died of injuries from the explosion and five ratings lost, survivors saved by HM Drifter Principal. Wreck lies at 80ft (+L/Lr/Rn/Mn/C/D/He/ap/dk/sc/wi; ADM.1/8407/478)

Dover Straits

Two Admiralty blockships, purchased for scuttling in the gap between Admiralty Pier and Southern Breakwater at Dover:

MONTROSE, passenger-cargo liner, 7,207/1897, 443ft, (D - 4,452grt, 365ft), famous for carrying murderer Dr. Crippen and his mistress across the Atlantic in 1910 only for them to be arrested after the captain had sent a wireless message ahead, Canadian Pacific Railway, London-reg, purchased 28 October, fitted with large gantries for hanging anti-torpedo nets, filled with cement and ready for scuttling. (wi – 28 December 1916) - Broke loose from moorings within the harbour during a gale, drifted through the entrance and on towards Goodwin Sands, grounded near East Goodwin LV on South Sand Head (wi - in 51.14.56N, 01.34.12E), and broke in two. Wreck still lies in very shallow water. SS Spanish Prince was bought as replacement and scuttled in March 1915 (Lr/C/D/dq/wi)

LIVONIAN, 4,017/1881, 420ft, Glasgow-reg, Allan Line SS, purchased 1914. Shortly after loss of Montrose - Scuttled on west side of entrance (Lr/D/dq)


Friday 25 December

North Sea

Admiralty trawler (and two British steamships) mined in Scarborough field laid by cruiser Kolberg:

NIGHT HAWK Admiralty trawler, 287/1911, Pioneer Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY643, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.57, 13 crew, Sub-Lt or Lt William Senior RNR i/c, Skipper Evans, sweeping between Flamborough Head and Whitby. On Christmas Eve put into Whitby for the night with her unit, came out on Christmas Day at 0700. “Whole bottom of the ship fell out with her engines and all hands that happened to be below”, disappeared in less than 10sec (He – a minute) off Scarborough (Mn - 5.5 miles E of; sc - off Whitby; wi - in 54.16N 00.15W); six ratings lost in the explosion, 7 survivors including Lt Senior who rescued most of them from the freezing water using a liferaft which he sculled through the icy water (+L/Lr/Rn/Mn/C/D/He/ap/dk/sc/wi; ADM.1/8407/488)

Cuxhaven Raid

Naval Aviation - two months after their first unsuccessful attempt, the RNAS was able to launch an attack on the Zeppelin sheds at Cuxhaven, but without causing any damage. Light cruisers Arethusa, Fearless, Undaunted, seaplane carriers Empress, Engadine, Riviera, destroyers including Lurcher, submarines D.6, E.11, seaplanes Nos.119, 120, 135, 136, 811, 814, 815 were amongst those taking part:

Cuxhaven Force, attempts were made by U.20, U.22 and U.30 to attack the ships. U.20 fired a torpedo at one of the light cruisers but missed, and the other two were prevented from attacking by the destroyer screen. Zeppelins and seaplanes also dropped bombs without success (Rn/ge)

see Notice in London Gazette, No.29076 - Naval Seaplane Operations in Heligoland Bight


Saturday 26 December

North Sea

Two auxiliaries lost in gales:

FAIR ISLE, Admiralty trawler, 192/1909, R H Charlton, Granton-reg GN70, hired 1914 as minesweeper (wi - patrol trawler), 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.263, (wi - A Wilson, Capt). Ran aground at 1815 in heavy weather in Sinclair Bay, N of Wick, Caithness (wi - in 58.30N, 03.07.30W), abandoned as wreck; no lives lost. Salved and refloated 1917, repaired as Grimsby GY820, rehired April 1917 by Admiralty as minesweeper, in service to 1920 (+Lr/C/D/dk/wi; ADM.137/82)

TOM TIT, Admiralty trawler, 169/1904, Kelsall Brothers & Beeching, Hull-reg H35, hired 11/14 as minesweeper (D/He - auxiliary patrol vessel), Admiralty No.424, Skipper John CarIton RNR. Driven ashore around 1030 in gale and wrecked near Peterhead, N of Aberdeen (wi - in 57.30N, 01.46W); no lives lost from Tom Tit, but local lifeboat Alexander Tulloch was wrecked while assisting and lost three of her crew (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw/wi; ADM.137/82)


Sunday 27 December

North Sea

Five ships of the Grand Fleet damaged in collision or by heavy weather:

Monarch and Conqueror, dreadnoughts, Orion-class, 25,870t, 1911, 2nd BS, returning to Scapa Flow with the Fleet, entering narrow entrance of the Pentland Firth in the dark and a whole gale. Monarch stopped to avoid a patrol trawler, and Conqueror rammed her. Monarch's stern stove in, reached Scapa, left on 29th for repairs at Devonport, returned 20 February 1915; no lives lost. Conqueror fractured stempiece and badly damaged starboard forepart, extensive underwater injuries, brought into Scapa, special salvage plant sent up from Liverpool, patched up by around 18 January, arrived Invergordon 24th for further work, headed south for full repairs, not back in action for a considerable time; no lives lost. With the loss of Audacious, 2nd BS Grand Fleet was down from 8 to 5 ships (Rn/D/Cn/dk/gf/gr)

Hope, Redpole, Ruby, destroyers, H-class, 970t, 2nd DF. All damaged by the gale force conditions, sent to dockyards for repairs; HMS Hope lost one man drowned (D/dk/gf/gr)


SUCCESS, destroyer, B-class, 425t, 1901, 1?12pdr/5?6pdr/2?18in tt, 30kts, 63 crew, Pennant No.D.24, possibly serving with Forth-based 8th Patrol Flotilla, Lt William Pennefather, sailed from Aberdeen on the 26th after coaling and heading for Rosyth, port shaft appeared damaged and run at slower speed than starboard one, weather bad with fog. No account taken of the defective shaft, the strength of the wind, and approaching the coast at night. Ran aground off Fife Ness (wi - on Cambo Sands, Kingsbarns, just NW of Fife Ness, in 56.18N, 02.37.36W) around 0500, still on the 27th. Progressively flooded, including engine room and most compartments by 31st, and abandoned; no lives lost, crew believed taken off on the 27th by two local lifeboats, Not refloated, later heavily salvaged, only keel remains buried in the sand (+J/C/Cn/D/dk/ke/wi; ADM.156/14)


Tuesday 29 December

Caucasus Front - Battle of Sarikamish to 3 January 1915



Various blockships were purchased by the Admiralty for scuttling in a number of British locations, where they were finally scuttled is sometimes uncertain, and the dates unknown:


click map to enlarge

No.1 Barrier in Kirk Sound, between Lamb Holm island & Mainland

purchased 1914, scuttled 1914

THAMES, 1,327/1887, 279ft, Carron Co, Grangemouth-reg. (wi - in 58.53.30N, 02.54W). Stern later removed and hull cut down to main deck (Lr/D/wi)

purchased 1914/15, scuttled 1915

NUMIDIAN, 4,836/1891, 400ft, Allan Line SS Co, Glasgow-reg. (wi - in 58.53.42N, 02.53.53W). Mostly salvaged in 1924, pile of scattered wreckage left (Lr/D/wi


No.2 Barrier, Skerry Sound, between Glims Holm & Lamb Holm islands

purchased 1914, scuttled 1914

ARGYLE (may be spelt Argyll), 1,185/1872, 241ft, T Wilson & Sons, Hull-reg. (wi - in 58.52.53N, 02.54.02W) (Lr/D/wi)

REINFELD, 3,582/1893, 340ft, was Continentale Rhederei AG, Hamburg-reg. Scuttled in centre of channel (wi - in 58.52.57N, 02.53.56W). Wreck much broken up, close to SS Elton (below), now part of Churchill Barrier (Lr/D/wi)

TEESWOOD, 1,589/1882, 278ft, was Westwood Co, Christiana, Norway-reg, then The Admiralty, Middlesbrough-reg. (wi - in 58.53.02N, 02.53.50W). Only engine block remains (Lr/D/wi)

purchased 1914/15, scuttled 1915

ALMERIA, 2,418/1888, 293ft, Almeria SS, Cardiff-reg, purchased as accommodation ship 1914/15, assigned as blockship for Scapa Flow (wi - in 58.52.57N, 02.53.51W) (Lr/D/wi)

ELTON, 2,461/1888, 300ft, R Ropner, West Hartlepool-reg. (wi - in 58.52.58N, 02.53.52W). Parts of ship were visible at low tide (Lr/D/wi)

ROSEWOOD, 1,757/1889, 259ft, Constantine & Pickering SS Co, South Shields-reg. (wi - in 58.53.11N, 02.54.19W). Wreck now almost completely dispersed (Lr/D/wi)


No.3 Barrier, East Weddel Sound, between Burray & Glims Holm islands

purchased 1914/15, scuttled 1915

GARTSHORE, 1,564/1880, 255ft, Gart SS Co, South Shields-reg (D - for use at Portland). (wi - in 58.52.17N, 02.54.47W) (Lr/D/wi)

LAPLAND, 1,234/1890, 256ft, Liverpool & Hamburg SS Co, Liverpool-reg. (wi - in 58.52.17N, 02.54.47W). Now incorporated in Churchill Barrier (Lr/D/wi)

REGINALD, 930/1878, 240ft, The Admiralty, Glasgow-reg. (wi - in 58.52.17N, 02.54.48W). Some of the wreck remains (Lr/D/wi)


No.4 Barrier, in middle of Water Sound, between South Ronaldshay & Burray islands

purchased 1914, scuttled 1914

CLIO, 2,733/1889, 300ft, T Wilson & Sons, Hull-reg. (wi - in 58.50.15N, 02.54.15W) (Lr/D/wi)

PONTOS, 5,703/1900, 430ft (wi - 2,265/1891, 305ft), Andros, Greece-reg. (wi - in 58.50.24N, 02.54.05W). Wreck lies in centre of the Sound, partly visible (Lr/D/wi)

purchased 1914/15, scuttled 1915

LORNE, 1,186/1873, 241ft, T Wilson & Sons, Hull-reg (D - for use at Portland). (wi - in 58.50.30N, 02.54.04W). Wreck dispersed with explosives but much still dries out at low tide (Lr/D/wi)


Burra Sound, between Hoy & Graemsay islands

purchased 1914, scuttled 1914

URMSTON GRANGE, 3,423/1894, Houlder Line, London-reg; scuttled in about 40-60ft depth (wi - in 58.55.40N, 03.18.38W). Dispersed by explosives in 1962 to clear shipping channel (Lr/C/wi/www)

purchased 1914/15

ROTHERFIELD, 2,831/1889, 320ft, Woodfield SS Co, London-reg. Scuttled in about 40-60ft (wi - in 58.55.40N, 03.18.38W). Dispersed by explosives 1962 to clear shipping channel. Note: WW2 blockships in this channel include Inverlane, Tabarka, Doyle - see Dyle below (Lr/D/wi)

purchased 1914/15, scuttled 1915

BUDRIE, 2,252/1882, 285ft, Arab Steamers, Bombay-reg. Scuttled in about 40-60ft, second blockship from north (wi - in 58.55.40N, 03.18.38W). Wreck dispersed in 1962 to clear shipping channel (Lr/wi/www)

GOBERNADOR BORIES, 2,332/1882, 285ft, Ballenera de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile-reg. Scuttled in about 40-60ft (wi - in 58.55.25N, 03.18.33W). Wreck lies in 50ft, and is described as one of the favourite dives of Scapa (Lr/D/wi/www)

RONDA, 1,941/1889, 274ft, T Wilson & Sons, Hull-reg, held in reserve. Scuttled in deep-water channel in about 40-60ft (wi - in 58.55.40N, 03.18.38W). Wreck dispersed in 1962 to clear shipping channel (Lr/D/ms/wi/www)


Scapa Flow location unknown

purchased 1914/15

DYLE, 1,510/1879, 260ft, Schaldis SS of Belgium, Antwerp-reg. Note: Internet diving sites only list World War 2 blockship Doyle, 1,761/1907 that was scuttled in Burra Sound between Hoy & Graemsay islands (Lr/D)

GARTMORE, 1,774/1879, 270ft, Gart SS CO, Glasgow-reg, for use at Scapa Flow. Final location not known, possibly not Scapa Flow (Lr/D)



purchased 1914/15 - final scuttling location not known

Sunderland, Durham

BERKSHIRE (1), 2,285/1894, 285ft, Berkshire SS Co, Newcastle-reg (Lr/D)

CHICKLADE, 2,410/1888, 299ft, W Coupland, West Hartlepool-reg (Lr/D)

FERNLANDS, 2,042/1885, 276ft, R Hardy, West Hartlepool-reg (Lr/D)

TYNEDALE, 2,948/1889, 320ft, SS Tynedale of Belfast Co, Belfast-reg (Lr/D)

for Portland, Dorset

GOTHLAND, 1,485/1871, 251ft, Liverpool & Hamburg SS, Liverpool-reg (Lr/D)



Central Mediterranean

Two Admiralty blockships, 180ft long, Puglia SS Co, Bari, Italy-reg, purchased 1914/15, for use at Malta; location and date of scuttling not known:

GARGANO, 700/1884 (Lr/D)

LUCANO, 709/1884 (Lr/D)



Dardanelles Campaign - Russians asked the Allies to take Turkish pressure off their forces in the Caucasus. First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill gained support of the War Council for a naval attack on the Dardanelles. By the end of January, Admiralty directed to bombard and take Gallipoli with Constantinople as its objective, but no troops were to be made available

U.31 possibly mined in North Sea in January


Friday 1 January

English Channel

FORMIDABLE (below - Maritime Quest), battleship, Formidable-class, 15,800t, 1898, 4-12in/12-6in/18-12pdr/4-18in tt, 18kts, c800 crew, Pennant No.50, 5th BS, Capt Arthur Loxley, flagship Vice-Adm Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander-­in?Chief, Channel Fleet, Squadron based at Sheerness but now less HMS Bulwark. Sailed 30 December for firing practice off Portland, escorted by six Harwich Force destroyers as far as Folkestone where they turned back as the Channel was believed free of U-boats, now only accompanied by attached light cruiser Topaze of 5th BS and Diamond of 6th. Reaching Portland at daybreak on New Year's Day, 6th BS did not enter harbour but exercised 25 miles from Portland Bill for most of the day, Adm Bayly decided to stay at sea and to be ready for further exercises next day, headed for a position south of the Isle of Wight. Abreast of the Needles at 1900, and in accordance with Fleet Orders that if there was any possibilty of a submarine attack a course change should be made just after dark, the squadron turned back with the two cruisers following, sailing a straight course for Start Point, Devon ready to turn again, Formidable now at rear, sea rough, night cloudy with visibility two miles. Torpedoed by U.24 (Rudolph Schneider) starboard side abreast foremost funnel at 0220 (He - 0230), engine-room flooded and ship listed 20° to starboard, at 0230 Formidable was seen to fall out of line, Topaze came up to find her lowering launch, pinnace and two barges, one of which capsized in the now violent seas. About 0305 a second torpedo hit port-side abreast after funnel, rising sea and wind and intense darkness made rescue difficult for Topaze and Diamond. With bows now awash, Formidable began to heel rapidly to starboard around 0445, settling by the bow, abandon ship was ordered and she sank (dx - 21 mile E of Start Point; ke - 25 miles off Portland; wi - off Start Point, in 50.13.12N, 03.03.58W); 547 men drowned or died of exposure - 34 officers including Capt Loxley, 511 ratings and 2 canteen staff (He - 35 officers and 512 men died, and 233 survived; ke - 233 survivors), Topaze took off 43 men from the barge, Diamond rescued 37, the launch got clear, picked up more men, then was found at noon near Berry Head by Brixham trawler Provident and her crew of 4 who took off all 71 in gale-force winds before the launch sank. Another boat drifted ashore near Lyme Regis with 46 men (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ke/un; ADM.116/1437A)


Monday 4 January

North Sea

C.31, submarine, C-class, c290/320t, 1909, 2?18in tt with 4 torpedoes, 13/7½kts, c16 crew, Pennant No.I.61, 4th Submarine Flotilla, Dover Patrol, Lt George Pilkington, sailed Dover 4th to investigate German naval activity off Zeebrugge, then report to Harwich on 7th, never heard from again, “overdue, presumed lost”. On or after 4th (ke - possiby 4th) - Lost off Belgium coast, cause unknown, possibly mined in German field off Zeebrugge or by accident, RNAS aircraft failed to observe any salvage operations off Zeebrugge that may have been connected with her loss, Cdre Keyes went out night of the 9th/10th with destroyers Lurcher and Firedrake in the forelorn hope of finding her. Declared lost on the 7th; 3 officers and 14 ratings lost, no survivors (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bs/bw/dk/dq/dx/ke/on)


Wednesday 6 January

North Sea

BANYERS or The Banyers, Admiralty trawler, 448/1914, South Western Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY128, hired 12/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.450, Lt Hubert Boothby RNR, sweeping. Mined in Scarborough field laid by German cruiser Kolberg between Fiely and Scarborough, sank “very quickly” off Cayton Bay, S of Scarborough (wi - in 54.15.07N, 00.15.24W); 2 ratings lost (He/wi - 6 crew), Skipper escaped through wheel-house window, 11 survivors rescued by other ships. Lt Boothby lost HMS Orianda less than a month before, was awarded the DSC and later wrote about his experiences in “Spunyarn”, published 1935 (+L/Lr/C/D/He/ap/dk/wi; ADM.137/84)


Saturday 9 January

North Atlantic

Charybdis, old light cruiser, Astraea-class, 4,360t, 12th CS, operating in South Western Approaches in 1914. Damaged in collision presumably in Atlantic. Laid up at Bermuda, commissioned for harbour service in 1917, converted to cargo carrier March 1918 for mercantile operation (Rn/Cn/D)


Tuesday 12 January

German East Africa Campaign - Mafia Is, S of Zanzibar and off Rufuji River captured by troops of King's African Rifles. Old light cruiser Fox, armed merchant cruiser Kinfauns Castle took part. supported to seaward by light cruiser Weymouth, gunboat Duplex and ex-German tug Adjutant


Wednesday 13 January


ROEDEAN, ex-Roebuck, auxiliary screw minesweeper, railway packet, 1,094/1897, Great Western Railway Co, Milford Haven-reg, hired 2/10/14, armed with 1 or 2-12pdr, Pennant No.M.35, renamed Roedean 12/14, Cdr Stephen Pidgeon RNR. Sank at entrance to Longhope Sound, SE Hoy island (wi - in 58.48.36N, 03.09.48W), cause originally not recorded; no lives lost. “Wreck Index” notes that one source describes her as mined, but with Hepper, goes on to confirm that she actually dragged her anchor in bad weather, collided with the bow of harbour repair hulk Fisgard, ex-Imperieuse, was holed, and foundered as she passed down the starboard side of Fisgard. Cdr Pidgeon was reprimanded for only having one anchor out (+J/Lr/C/Cn/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.1/8409/20)

Atlantic off N Ireland

VIKNOR, ex-Viking or The Viking, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, ex-cruise ship, 5,386/1888, Viking Cruise Co, 15kts, hired 19/11/14, Pennant No.M.82, 10th CS Grand Fleet, Cdr Ernest Ballantyne, most northerly ship on Northern Patrol line B north of the Shetlands. On the 11th, at around 62N, 02.24W, intercepted Norwegian SS Bergensfiord carrying an important German secret service agent and other nationals from New York, Viknor ordered to put prize crew on board, escort the Norwegian ship towards Lerwick, then continue on to Liverpool with a total of eight German prisoners. Last message from Viknor on 13th (He – off Malin Head; ss - at 1600 in 56.18N, 09W, course S21ºW), nothing more was heard of her. Probably 13th - Believed sunk off Northern Ireland by one of Berlin's mines broken free by heavy gales off Tory Island (Rn - foundered in heavy weather; C - Wrecked on north coast of Ireland), wreckage and bodies washed ashore at Portrush; 294 lives lost - 22 officers, 196 ratings, 74 MN and 1 canteen staff plus prisoners, no survivors (He – 259, ke - 295) (+J/Rn/C/D/bi/dk/gf/ke/ss; ADM.137/185, ADM.116/1442)


Saturday 16 January

Dover Straits

CHAR, Admiralty screw tug, 149/1899, North Eastern Railway Co, West Hartlepool-reg, hired 17/11/14 as ABS, patrol and inspection tug in The Downs, Lt John Whale RNR, failed to answer radio signals from 16th, went missing. Run down at 0100 “in very rough conditions” by SS Erivan, sank between Deal and Goodwin Sands (wi - near North Goodwin buoy in 51.17.15N, 01.29.45E), wreck found with masts above water; 3 officers, 8 ratings and 7 MMR lost, no survivors (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/gs/wi; ADM.1/8409/18)


Sunday 17 January

North Sea

Archer, destroyer, I-class, c990t, 1st DF, taking part in Harwich Force sweep by three light cruisers and 32 destroyers in to Heligoland Bight, returning in the afternoon. Rammed by trawler and damaged, escorted to Sheerness by sister-ship Ferret (Cn/D/ty)


Monday 18 January

North Sea

Duke of Cornwall, Admiralty armed boarding vessel, 1,528/1898, hired 31/10/14. Collided with and sank trawler Earl Marischal 206grt, 30 miles NE by N of Buchan Ness, one of the trawler crew was lost (D/gr)

E.10, submarine, E-class, c667/807t, 1913, 1-12pdr/5-18in tt with 10 torpedoes, 15/9kts, c30 crew, Pennant No.I.90, Harwich-based 8th Flotilla, Lt-Cdr William Fraser, sailed from Harwich on 18th in company with E.5 and E.15 for Heligoland patrol, E.10 to the NNW of the island, never seen or heard from again, “overdue, presumed lost”. On or after 18th (ke - possibly 18th) - Lost, cause unknown, possibly mined off Heligoland in unknown field laid by Germans on 22 December; 3 officers and 28 ratings lost, no survivors. Wreck discovered in 130ft of water near Heligoland in 2003, damage to starboard ballast tanks and open hatches suggest a mine explosion while running on the surface, presumably at night (+J/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/ke/on)


Friday 19 January

North Sea

BLAKEDOWN, Admiralty trawler, 207/1900, Grimsby-reg GY1162, hired 1/15, Admiralty No.1044. (Other sources – 19 February) - Stranded and total wreck at Crudensgeir or Cruden Skares, near Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (wi - Bay of Cruden, near Newburgh, in 57.24.30N, 01.51.15W); no lives lost (+D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/86)


Thursday 21 January

U.7 accidentally torpedoed by U.22 off Dutch coast


Sunday 24 January


Contemporary postcard of the Battle from the scrapbook of Leading Signalman George Smith,

present on board HM Destroyer Forester

German 1st SG - battlecruisers Seydlitz (flag, Adm Hipper), Moltke (both 11in-armed), Derfflinger (12in), armoured cruiser Blücher (8.2in), 2nd SG light cruisers Graudenz, Stralsund, Rostock, Kolberg, and destroyers sailed to attack British fishing vessels and patrols on the Dogger Bank (map right - click to enlarge). Warned by Room 40, Grand Fleet including the 1st LCS (Cdre Goodenough) and 1st BCS (Lion, flag, Adm Beatty) together with Harwich Force (Cdre Tyrwhitt) put to sea to rendezvous in the NE part of the Bank.

Delays due to fog meant that Harwich Force light cruiser Arethusa was heading north half an hour ahead of light cruiser leaders Aurora, Undaunted and their destroyers. Shortly after 0700 Aurora, sighted a cruiser in the SE Dogger Bank area, believed her to be Arethusa and challenged, then opened fire on the German Kolberg at 0715 from 8,000yds:

Aurora, Arethusa-class, 4,400t, 2-6in/6-4in/4-21in tt, leader 1st DF Harwich Force. Hit three times and slightly damaged, Kolberg damaged more severely and turned away (Rn/Cn/D/ty)

As the British ships continued towards the rendezvous, the Germans sighted 1st LCS, shortly turned for home and by 0750 could be seen by Adm Beatty’s 1st LCS. In the ensuing stern chase, the battlecruisers headed approximately south east:

                                                                                    Blücher – Derfflinger – Moltke - Seydlitz >

 Indomitable       - New Zealand - Princess Royal – Tiger - Lion >

with Indomitable lagging behind. Lion opened fire on Blücher at 0852, started hitting at 0907, then moved up to Derfflinger while Tiger and Princess Royal concentrated on Blücher, both Germans being hit. Lion received her first damage around 0928, and at 0935 Beatty ordered 1st BCS to engage their opposite numbers - New Zealand on Blücher, Princess Royal on Derfflinger, Tiger on Moltke, Lion on Seydlitz. Unfortunately Tiger fired at Seydlitz, leaving Moltke free to concentrate on Lion, and although the German ships were being hit, Lion was again hurt at 0954 and 1001. Blücher now pulled out of line while the other three German ships continued on their course, and by 1048 was circling out of control.

Lion was damaged again at 1018 and between 1035 and 1050. At 1100 her damaged was so severe she dropped astern, then due to signalling errors, the other three British battlecruisers concentrated on Blücher. Adm Beatty crossed to destroyer Attack and by 1150 was getting ready to transfer his flag to Princess Royal and continue after the Germans. Then at noon the battlecruisers returned from sinking Blücher. Although Seydlitz and Derfflinger were badly damaged (their experiences led to far better flash protection that served them well at Jutland), Adm Beatty was deeply disappointed he had failed to destroy all four big ships. Tiger was also hit but the other three battlecruisers were untouched:

Lion, Lion-class, 29,680t, 8-13.5in/16-4in/2-21in tt. Hit and damaged a number of times: (1) three German ships firing at her by 0928, shell hit on waterline penetrated the bunkers but damage made good, (2) when Moltke was not engaged, A-turret smashed at 0954 and one gun out of action, (3) 11in shell from Seydlitz pierced the armour at 1001, flooding started and listed to port, (4) hit hard at 1018 - one shell struck the armour below the waterline, drove in several plates and flooded foremost port bunker, and a second pierced armour on waterline, burst in torpedo body room and flooded all adjacent compartments, (5) when Blücher pulled out of line, the other three German ships again concentrated on Lion, hit by numerous shells between 1035 and 1050, armour pierced and more flooding, shell burst in A-turret lobby and started fire, (6) at 1100, shell drove in armour on the waterline abreast one of the boiler rooms, seriously damaged, port engine had to be stopped, light and power failed, list to port increased to 10°, speed dropped to 15kts and Lion dropped astern. She continued for home without Adm Beatty at 12kts, around 1430 speed dropped to 8kts, Indomitable took her in tow and she reached the Firth of Forth at dawn on the 26th; 11 men wounded. Fired a total of 243 heavy shells, hit Blücher once, Derfflinger once, Seydlitz twice, in turn hit by 16-11in and 12in shells, also 1-8.2in. Temporarily repaired at Rosyth, repairs completed by Palmers, returned to service as flagship of new Battle Cruiser force (Rn/Cn/D)

Tiger, improved Lion-class, 35,700t, 8-13.5in/12-6in/4-21in tt. Hit by 6 shells including one 11in on Q-turret, splinters jammed training gear and left turret out of action; 1 officer and 9 men killed, 3 officers and 5 men wounded (Cn - 10 crew killed, 11 wounded). Repaired by 8 February (Rn/Cn/D/ti)

Meteor, destroyer, M-class, 980t, 3-4in/1-2pdr/4-21in tt, 1st DF Harwich Force, Captain D’s ship, Capt H Meade. Came up on the battered Blücher, manoeuvred to fire a torpedo and hit forward by heavy shell at 1120, exploded in foremost boiler room, almost putting her out of action; 3 stokers killed, 1 DOW and 2 crew wounded. Towed into Humber by destroyer Liberty (Rn/Cn/D/ty)

Royal Navy Battle Honour - DOGGER BANK 1915

see Despatch, dated 2 February 1915 in London gazette, No.29088


Tuesday 26 January

North Sea

Britannia, battleship, King Edward VII-class, c17,290t, 3rd BS Grand Fleet. Ran aground on Inchkeith island, Firth of Forth in fog, ashore for 36hr and considerably damaged, refloated, needed dockyard repairs (Cn/D/gf)


Thursday 28 January

Dardanelles Campaign - British Government agreed to naval attack on the Dardanelles

Commerce raiding - Auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich sank American sailing ship William P Frye, the first US loss of the war


Friday 29 January

U-boat Raid - U.21, the first U-boat in the Irish Sea, shelled airship sheds on Walney Is, Barrow-in-Furness but did little damage, driven off by shore batteries.


Saturday 30 January

U-boat warfare - three British steamships torpedoed by U.20 in English Channel, the first merchant ships sunk without warning, apparently as a deliberate policy.

Irish Sea

Admiralty collier (and two British steamships) captured by U.21 (Otto Hersing) in Liverpool Bay:

BEN CRUACHAN, 3,092/1902, Morrison Shipping Co, North Shields-reg, Mr W Harley, sailing Scapa Flow for Liverpool (te/wi - Cardiff for Scapa Flow with coal). Torpedoed but failed to sink, U-boat went alongside, boarding party laid explosive scuttling charges, ship sank at 1030, 15 miles NW of Morecambe LV (L/te/un/wi - in 53.36N, 03.51W); crew in two boats directed to steer for sailing trawler Margaret, landed at Fleetwood (+L/Lr/Mn/ap/ge/te/un/wi)




North Sea

E.11, submarine, E-class, 667/807t, Harwich-based 8th Flotilla. February - Ran ashore on Scroby Sands, Great Yarmouth, got off (Cn/gr)

North Atlantic

Two armed merchant cruisers of 10th CS on Northern Patrol damaged in the winter gales, dates not known, possibly February:

Caribbean, 5,824/1890, hired 19/11/14, 8-4.7in/2-6pdr, normally on line B, north of Shetlands, proving unsuitable, old and slow. Rolled in heavy weather up to 50º with gunwhale submerged, reported dynamo disabled and funnel shifted (Mn/D/bi)

Teutonic, 9,984/1889, hired 5/9/14, on patrol in heavy seas possibly N of Shetlands. Six-inch shell unshipped from ready-use rack, exploded against bulwarks; no one injured, damage repaired by crew (D/bi)


Wednesday 3 February

Suez Canal - Turkish attack on Suez Canal repulsed with the support of British and French warships, battleships Swiftsure, Ocean, old light cruisers, Minerva, Proserpine, sloop Clio, armed merchant cruiser Himalaya, torpedo boat No.043, Royal Indian Marine armed troopships Dufferin, Hardinge took part; Royal Navy Battle Honour - SUEZ CANAL 1915, to 4th.

See Army Despatches, dated 6 February 1915 to 9 April 1916, in London Gazette, No.29632 - Egyptian Campaign,  including Defence of Suez Canal and Western Desert Operations

South African Campaign - Surrender of South African rebels, Upington

Atlantic off NW Scotland

CLAN MACNAUGHTON, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, ex-passenger ship, 4,985/1911, 14kts, Cayzer, Irvine/Clan Line, Glasgow-reg, hired 19/11/14, 8-4.7in, Pennant No.M.81, 10th CS Grand Fleet, 261 crew, Cdr Robert Jeffreys i/c, master, Lt George Weldrick RNR, sailed from Liverpool on 23 January. On Northern Patrol line D to NNW of St Kilda, heavy SW gale on 2nd, "one of the worst the Tenth Cruiser Squadron experienced during the whole war", 10th CS ships lying to with heavy seas sweeping over them, all ships except Clan Macnaughton answered signals on morning of 3rd, went missing. Night of 2nd/3rd (usually listed as 3rd) - Believed foundered off Hebrides (Mn/C/Cn/D/ke - presumed mined; Mn - in 58.47N, 09.27W), Digby, Hildebrand, Patuca spent a week searching but only found some wreckage (He - in the area of 60.25N 09.37W), ship considered stable and seaworthy but floating mines, probably Berlin's, reported in the area, possibly hit one during the gale; 277 lives lost – 20 officers, 190 ratings and 67 MN (bi – 284 lives, ke - 261). Contrary to other sources, Hepper reports there were concerns about her stability (+J/Rn/Mn/C/Cn/D/He/bi/dk/gf/ke/ss; ADM.116/1441)

Suez Canal

Hardinge, armed troopship (RIM), 7,457t, 1900, c8-4in/8-3pdr, Cdr T Linberry, taking part in defence of Suez Canal, providing naval support for British-Indian counter-attack 3 miles S of Tussum. Under fire from 4in and heavier guns from 0700, could not locate them, so concentrated firing on infantry. About 0825 both funnels damaged and ship so badly hit, had to slip and move out of channel into Lake Timsah to avoid sinking in the channel; no one killed (Rn/D)


Thursday 4 February

U-boat Warfare - Denied a swift victory on land, Germany decided to start unrestricted submarine warfare without warning against merchant shipping from the 18th. Admiralty hired drifter Tarlair equipped with first anti-submarine hydrophone.


Saturday 6 February

North Sea

ERNE, destroyer, E-class, 620t, 1903, 4?12pdr/2?18in tt, 25kts, 70 crew, Pennant No.N.58, Scapa Flow Patrol Flotilla, Lt-Cdr John Landon. Grounded on the beach about 800yds S of Rattray Head lighthouse on the Aberdeen coast in severe easterly gale, failed to be refloated and abandoned as a wreck in October; no lives lost. A survey in November found her back was broken, wreck sold for £405 in January 1916 to Forth shipbreaking, Bo’ness for BU (+J/C/Cn/D/He/dk/gf/ke; ADM.156/2471, ADM.116/1422)

Dover Straits

JOHN SHERBURN, Admiralty trawler, 244/1902 (wi - 1915), Humber Steam Trawling, Hull-reg H644, hired 1915 (D - 12/14) as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.815, Dover Patrol, Lt Walter Smith RNR (wi - S Carnassa, Captain). (Other sources – 6 March) - Stranded in poor weather in St Margaret's Bay, near Dover, wrecked (wi - in 51.07N, 01.27E); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dq/dk/hw/wi; ADM.137/90)

German East Africa

ADJUTANT, patrol vessel, ex-German tug, 231/1905, captured 10 October 1914 in East Africa by light cruiser Dartmouth, armed with 1-3pdr, took part in capture of Mafia Island 12 January, now with force blockading light cruiser Königsberg in Rufiji delta, Sub?Lt Wilfred Price in command, carrying out reconnaissance of one of the entrances. Heavily shelled from the shore by German forces protecting approaches to Königsberg, steam-pipe cut, drifted ashore and recaptured; 1 ratings lost, rest of crew taken prisoner. Salvaged by the Germans, got through British naval blockade, steamed to Dar-es-Salaam, taken to pieces by railway engineers and carried by train to Kigoma, reassembled for operations on Lake Tanganyika. Hepper, possibly in error, reports that “light cruiser Pyramus later closed and destroyed her where she lay” (Rn/C/Cn/D/ap/dk/kp)


Saturday 13 February

Atlantic off N Ireland

BEDOUIN, Admiralty trawler, 188/1902, GN80, T L Devlin, Granton-reg hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.353, Skipper George Hollins RNR (wi - W Forbes up to 1914). Sailed from Sheephaven, northern Ireland to clear mines in the Berlin's Tory Island field with other trawlers, recovering her gear around 1555 and at least one mine seen to be snagged, orders given to veer away, but one exploded blowing away her starboard quarter, sank stern first off Tory Is, off Co Donegal; no lives lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/3116)


Monday 15 February

Dover Straits

Undaunted, light cruiser, Arethusa-class, 3rd DF leader, Harwich Force and eight destroyers, probably division of 3rd DF on passage from Harwich to Irish Sea because of increased U-boat activity there. Unsuccessful U-boat torpedo attack off Dungeness, possibly by U.16 (Rn/Mn/Cn/D/ty)


Thursday 18 February

U-boat Warfare - First German unrestricted submarine campaign came into effect. All waters around British Isles including the English Channel declared a War Zone where all merchant ships could be destroyed without ensuring the safety of passengers and crew; neutral ships would be at risk from attack. Britain extended the defensive arming of merchant ships to protect themselves against surfaced U-boats leading to later German claims that armed vessels should be treated as warships. US protests led to U-boats being ordered not to attack ships flying neutral flags, hospital ships (unless obviously engaged in trooping) and Belgian Relief ships. The sinking shortly of the liner Lusitania started to swing American opinion strongly against Germany, leading up to entry into the war two years later. In 1915, only some 20 percent of ships were sunk without warning (some sources list start date as the 28th)


GOLDFINCH, destroyer, H-class, 970t, 1910, 2-4in/2-12pdr/2-21in tt, 27kts, 72 crew, Pennant No.H.44, 2nd DF Grand Fleet, Lt-Cdr Reginald Stone. Night of 18th/19th - Ran aground in dense fog on Start Point, Sanday Is (wi - in 59.17N, 02.25W), abandoned as a wreck; no lives lost. Sold for BU 4/19, possibly to Metal Industries (+J/C/Cn/D/He/dx/gf/ke/wi)

Sparrowhawk, destroyer, K-class, c1,300t, 4th DF Grand Fleet. Probably sometime in February after Goldfinch was lost - Went ashore, got off, but "considerably damaged" (Cn/D/gr/gf)


Friday 19 February

U-boat Warfare - Norwegian tanker Belridge carrying oil from US to Holland torpedoed without warning and damaged by U.8 in Dover Straits, first neutral ship attacked in the new U-boat campaign

Dardanelles Campaign

First Bombardment of Outer Dardanelles Forts

Gallipoli and area - click to enlarge

Vengeance, battleship, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 4-12in/12-6in/12-12pdr/4-18in tt, 8th BS Channel Fleet 8/14, later to Mediterranean. The bombardment of the defences around Cape Helles on the European side and Kum Kale/Orkanie on the Asiatic was initially carried out by battlecruiser Inflexible (flag, Adm Carden, C-in-C), battleships Albion, Cornwallis, Triumph, the French Suffren (French flag) and Bouvet, supported by French Suffren and light cruiser Amethyst. Vengeance (division flag, Adm de Robeck) observed for her division, and the force was later joined by dreadnought Queen Elizabeth and battleship Agamemnon. Vengeance fired at and was fired on by Orkanie batteries on Asiatic side, not hit but spars and rigging damaged by four near misses, Cornwallis was slightly less damaged (Rn/Cn/D)

Royal Navy Battle Honour - DARDANELLES 1915-16, to 8 January 1916


Saturday 20 February

Dardanelles Campaign - Second planned bombardment to complete the destruction of the outer forts cancelled because of gale-force conditions, accurate gunlaying not possible and spotting aircraft could not fly. The bad weather continued until the 25th

North Sea

CORCYRA, Admiralty trawler, 225/1914, Grimsby-reg GY63, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.278, Skipper Leonard Shenton RNR. Stranded (H - wrecked) near Bacton, Norfolk; no lives lost. Later salved, but not taken back into Naval service, in Fishery Reserve, listed until 1919, served again in WW2 (+C/D/He/dk)


Monday 22 February

Central Atlantic

Carnarvon, armoured cruiser, Devonshire-class, 10,850t, flag, Rear-Adm Stoddart, searching South American waters for light cruiser Karlsruhe and raider Kronprinz Wilhelm. Left Abrolhos Rock anchorage, shortly after weighing she hit uncharted shoal and ripped 95ft of bottom plating, beached and out of action, patched and sent into Rio de Janeiro where repairs were allowed because she had "suffered peril of the sea". Flag transferred to cruiser Vindictive (Rn/Cn/D/gr)


Tuesday 23 February

Dardanelles Campaign - Royal Marines occupied Greek island of Lemnos, off the Dardanelles; the harbour of Mudros became a major advanced Allied base

off N Scotland

TERN, Admiralty trawler, 199/1907, Kelsall Bros & Beeching, Hull-reg H.961, hired 10/14 as minesweeper (D/He - auxiliary patrol vessel), Admiralty No.548, Skipper Daniel Stather RNR (wi - J Lewis). Wrecked (H - Mined) in Loch Erribol, E of Cape Wrath (wi - in 58.30N, 04.40W); 6 ratings lost. Note: exclusion from Lloyds listing suggests loss was due to marine cause, confirmed by Hepper (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw/wi; ADM.1/8413/55, ADM.1/8413/60)

English Channel

Two non-commissioned Admiralty chartered colliers torpedoed and sunk by U.8 (Alfred Stoss):

OAKBY, 1,976/1897, Sir R Ropner & Co, West Hartlepool-reg, Mr F Bartlett, sailng London for Barry/Cardiff in ballast (would probably be carrying coal in that case; un – London for Barry Roads in ballast). Hit port side, forecastle was level with the water within 5min, 2nd engineer went below to stop engines to allow boats to be lowered, armed trawler Isle of Man came up and tried to tow her to Dover, but sank 4 miles E by N of Royal Sovereign LV (L - yorpedoed 2 miles E of Royal Sovereign LV, sank off Folkestone Pier; Mn - sank near Varne LV; wi - in 50.44N, 00.32E) (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un/wi)

BRANKSOME CHINE, 2,026/1899, Branksome Chine SS Co (H G Harper & Co), Cardiff-reg, Mr F Anstey, Grimsby Roads for Portsmouth with coal. Sank 6 miles E by S ¾S of Beachy Head, near Eastbourne (L - about 6 miles ESE of; wi - in 50.41.06N, 00.20.30E) (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un/wi)


Thursday 25 February

Dardanelles Campaign

Second Bombardment of Outer Dardanelles Forts

Second bombardment resumed after delays due to bad weather. Runs were made by battleships Vengeance and Cornwallis, French Suffren and Charlemagne, supported by anchored dreadnought Queen Elizabeth, battleships Agamemnon, Irresistible and French Gaulois. Fired was opened around around 1015, but within a short time, Agamemnon was hit:

Agamemnon, battleship, Lord Nelson-class, 17,680t, 4-12in/10-9.2in/24-12pdr/5-18in tt, 5th BS Channel Fleet 8/14, later to Mediterranean, anchored about 2½m WSW of Cape Yeni Shehr on Asiatic side. Cape Helles batteries opened fire at 1017 at 10,000yds and straddled her after 15min, ordered to weigh but within 10min hit by seven armour piercing shells, most of which broke up, but holed above waterline, hydraulic engine and main derrick damaged; 3 ratings killed, one DOW and four seriously injured. Cleared up wreckage, continued in action and repaired damage off Tenedos next day (Rn/Cn/D/da/dk)

By 1500 the outer batteries had been practically silenced by the Anglo-French ships. Minesweeping trawlers escorted by destroyers and covered by battleships Vengeance, Albion and Triumph then started sweeping the entrance. At 1600 the rest of the fleet retired to Tenedos. By 2000 the sweepers had penetrated four miles without finding any mines.


Friday 26 February

Dardanelles Campaign

Battleships Albion, Triumph and Majestic entered the Straits at 0800 to complete the destruction of the entrance forts and to attack the defences further inside, Albion along the European or north shore, Majestic along the Asiatic or south. Both soon came under fire which they returned, but as the day progressed the fixed shore guns were joined by concealed and mobile howitzer and field gun batteries and only by constantly shifting their positions could the two battleships avoid serious damage, that is until Majestic was hit. They were recalled at 1600:

Majestic, battleship, Majestic-class, c16,000t, 4-12in/12-6in/18-12pdr/5-18in tt, 7th BS Channel Fleet 8/14, later to Mediterranean, now with howitzer mounted on each of her turrets. Holed below waterline and leaking (Rn/Cn/D/da/vc)

Before then, at 1430, Royal Marine covering and Royal Navy demolition parties were landed near the entrance forts to complete their destruction, men from Irresistible on the European side, and from Vengeance on the Asiatic side covered by battleship Cornwallis, light cruiser Dublin and destroyers Racoon and Basilisk. The missions were successfully carried out with some casualties; Lt-Cdr Eric Gascoigne Robinson who led the Vengeance demolition party was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry under fire. He later took part in the successful destruction of stranded submarine E.15.



MARCH 1915

Dover Straits

SPANISH PRINCE, 6,505/1894, 450ft, Prince Line, Newcastle-reg, purchased as replacement for Dover blockship Montrose lost 20 December 1914, fitted out in same way; March - Scuttled on east side of southern entrance across from Livonian (ms – 6,394grt, owned by J Knott, scuttled off Dover Breakwater, November 1914) (Lr/D/dq/ms)


Monday 1 March

Dardanelles Campaign

Battleships Albion and Ocean, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 4-12in/12-6in, Triumph, Swiftsure-class, 11,985t, 4-10in/14-7.5in, and Majestic, Majestic-class, c16,060t, 4-12in/12-6in, taking part in the second attack within the Dardanelles after more delays due to the weather. Albion and Triumph to engage Fort Dardanos, Ocean and Majestic to search for mobile guns. All ships engaged by concealed guns, continually hit sometimes by 4in howitzers but not seriously; 1 officer and 4 men in Albion injured by splinters (Rn/Cn/D/da)

That night the trawlers started sweeping towards Kephez Point, escorted by destroyers Basilisk, Grasshopper, Racoon and Mosquito supported by light cruiser Amethyst. Just short of the first line of mines at 2300 they were illuminated by searchlights, subjected to heavy fire by the minefield protection guns, and forced to withdraw under cover of the supporting ships.


Tuesday 2 March

Dardanelles Campaign

Battleships Canopus, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 4-12in/12-6in, Cornwallis, Duncan-class, c15,000t, 4-12in/12-6in and Swiftsure, Swiftsure-class, 11,800, 4-10in/14-7.5in, taking part in third attack within the Straits. Opened fire on Fort Dardanos at 1420 which did not reply until 1615 but immediately straddled the ships. Canopus hit on quarter-deck wrecking wardroom, another shell carried away main topmast, and a third went through after funnel and wrecked two boats, all ships received minor damage; one man slightly wounded. Weather remained bad making aerial reconnaissance impossible, and again that night the minesweeping trawlers were driven back. However further landings were made by beach and demolition parties around Cape Helles and Kum Kale on the 3rd and 4th (Rn/Cn/D/da)


Wednesday 3 March


RONDO, Admiralty trawler, 117/1893, George F Sleight, Grimsby-reg GY528, hired 1915 (D - 11/14) as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.666, (wi - F Harlow, Captain up to 1914). (He – 2nd) - Stranded on Unicorn Rocks, Tingwall, Shetland Islands at 2015 (wi - position unknown, but quotes 60.20N, 01.15W), bow held by rocks, flooded rapidly and sank by the stern, a wreck; crew stood by for an hour before leaving her in the boat, no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/98)


Thursday 4 March

U.8 detected by indicator nets in their first success, then sunk by destroyers Ghurka and Maori in Strait of Dover

Dardanelles Campaign

Landings by beach and demolition parties around Kum Kale resulted in a number of Royal Navy and Royal Marine casualties, including two ratings killed from battleship Lord Nelson, one from battleship Ocean, and 23 Marines from the Plymouth Battalion of the Royal Naval Division. Others died of wounds (dk)


Friday 5 March

Dardanelles Campaign - Phase 1 had been successful with the outer defences destroyed, beach and demolition parties landed, little damage to the bombarding ships, and few casualties. Now Adm Carden was ready for Phase 2 - sweeping the minefields, believed to consist of ten lines of mines starting 8 miles inside the entrance and reducing the gun and other defences right up to the Narrows. For the latter, naval forces included 14 British and 4 French capital ships and four British light cruisers, but the only minesweepers were eight slow trawlers.

Turkish Coastal Operations - Attempt to reduce Smyrna (Izmir) forts by bombardment was unsuccessful because of defensive minefields; battleships Swiftsure, Triumph, armoured cruiser Euryalus, seaplane carrier Aenne Rickmers, five trawler minesweepers took part. Minesweeper No.285 sunk on 8th, Aenne Rickmers damaged on 11th

Dardanelles Campaign

Queen Elizabeth, dreadnought, Queen Elizabeth-class, 31,500t, completed January 1915, 8-15in/16-6in, taking leading part in first bombardment of the inner defences, anchored in the Aegean 2½m W of Gaba Tepe and firing over the Gallipoli peninsula at the Narrows forts, spotting by seaplanes and battleship Albion within the Straits. Turks brought up mobile field guns and howitzers, mainly 12pdrs and hit her 17 times, no serious damage (Rn/Cn/D/da)


Saturday 6 March

Dardanelles Campaign

Queen Elizabeth continued indirect fire across the peninsula with Albion spotting, while Agamemnon and Lord Nelson entered the straits to carry out their attacks on the Narrows forts:

Majestic, battleship, Majestic-class, covering Albion while she spotted. Hit by a heavy shell from Messudieh Fort (Rn/Cn/D)

Agamemnon and Lord Nelson, battleships, Lord Nelson-class, c17,700t, 4-12in/10-9.2in, nicknamed "Aggie" and "Nellie", covered by the French battleship division, opened fire about 1230 on the powerful Chanak forts. Agamemnon soon hit on armour by 6in shell, at 1300 on quarterdeck apparently by 14in shell which blew a great hole, wrecked the wardroom and gunroom and drove splinters through the foretop, followed by two more heavy shells. As both ships continued to come under intense fire from many batteries, both were hit several times from 1400 on, rigging and upper works damaged. Agamemnon hit by a total of 8 heavy shells, Lord Nelson by 7 including one which hit her armour below the waterline, flooded two bunkers and also sent splinters into her conning tower; Capt McClintock and two crew wounded by the splinters. Both ships returned to Tenedos, and next day Lord Nelson left for Mudros and the repair ships there (Rn/Cn/D/da)

Smyrna Blockade

Triumph, battleship, Swiftsure-class and Euryalus, armoured cruiser, Cressy-class, 12,000t, 2-9.2in/12-6in, taking part in blockade of Smyrna to prevent it being used as a submarine base. The intention was to destroy the forts ready for an attack, with minesweeping trawlers sweeping ahead, covered by Triumph, Swiftsure and Euryalus. Turks opened heavy and accurate fire forcing the trawlers to withdraw, Triumph, Euryalus and minesweepers hit; 1 officer DOW, 1 officer and 6 ratings wounded (Rn/Cn/D)


Sunday 7 March

German East Africa Campaign - British lake steamers Winifred and Kavirondo drove German gunboat Mwanza ashore at the southern end of Lake Victoria and established local control

Bristol Channel

BENGROVE, Admiralty collier, 3,840/1910, Steam Transport Co (Joseph Hoult & Co), Liverpool-reg, 33 crew, Mr W Barber, Barry for France with 5,850t coal, steaming at 9kts. Torpedoed abaft engine room by U.20 Walther Schweiger), settled with list to starboard, boats ordered away, sank stern first about 30min later, 5 miles NNE of Ilfracombe, Devon (L - 5 miles N of; wi - in 51.17.52N 04.07.28W); crew rowed to SS Paignton, transferred to Ilfracombe lifeboat, landed there soon after 1500 (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)

Dardanelles Campaign

Dublin, light cruiser, Chatham-class, 6,000t, 8-6in/4-3pdr/2-21in tt, in Gulf of Xeros/Saros, keeping watch off Bulair at the neck of Gallipoli peninsula. Hidden battery opened fire, hit four times, damage not serious (Rn/Cn/D)


Monday 8 March

Smyrna Blockade

OKINO, Admiralty trawler, 241/1914, H L Taylor, Grimsby-reg GY4, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.285, 15 crew, Lt Geoffrey Whitehouse RNR in command, sweeping channel into Smyrna (Izmir) at night to allow battleships to close and bombard the forts, battleships Triumph and Swiftsure firing on the searchlights. Night of 8th/9th - Mined and sunk about 3,000yds from Fort Yeni Kali, S side of Gulf of Smyrna (H/C/D/sc - in the Dardanelles); 10 crew lost, skipper and four men saved (+L/Lr/Rn/C/D/He/ap/dk/sc; ADM.1/8413/60, ADM.137/1089)


Tuesday 9 March

North Sea

Leviathan, armoured cruiser, Drake-class, was 6th CS Grand Fleet, now ordered to Rosyth prior to becoming flagship North American Station, zig-zagging near Bell Rock around 1730. Torpedo fired by U.12, missed (Rn/Cn/D/gf)


Wednesday 10 March

Western Front - Battles of Neuve Chapelle to 13th

U.12 rammed by destroyer Ariel off Fife Ness in North Sea

North Sea

Indomitable, battlecruiser, Invincible-class, Rosyth-based 3rd BCS, sailing Scapa Flow for Rosyth. Sighted submarine getting into position to fire off Montrose at dusk, turned and forced the U-boat to dive (Rn/Cn)

Ariel, destroyer, I-class, c990t, 2-4in/2-12pdr/2-21in tt, 1st DF, now believed based at Rosyth for service with Grand Fleet, Lt-Cdr Cyril Calaghan. U-boat sighted by trawler off Fife Ness, SE Scotland, three destroyers including Attack and Acheron called up, spotted her on the surface and opened fire, Ariel then rammed the conning tower as she submerged, U.12 came back up, was hit again and scuttled by the crew. Ariel's bow considerably damaged, stern high out of water, docked at Leith for repairs (Rn/Cn/D/ap/gf/ub)

Dardanelles Campaign

MANX HERO, Admiralty trawler, 221/1910, W H Beeley, Grimsby-reg GY585, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.339, Skipper Edward Bray RNR, one of seven trawlers with 3rd Minesweeping Group accompanied by two picket boats, four escorting destroyers and supported by battleship Canopus and light cruiser Amethyst, taking part in attempt to sweep Kephez minefields in the dark. Instead of sweeping against the strong 3-4kt current, the intention was to get above the first line of mines and sweep down. Trawlers reached their position, passed sweeps in pairs and started back. Night of 10th/11th - Two mines exploded, one of them possibly so close to Manx Hero she sank, otherwise she hit a third, Turks opened fire, two trawlers hit and damaged by 6in shells, all then retired under destroyer cover; no lives lost in Manx Hero, crew picked up by HM Trawler Koorah (+L/Lr/Rn/C/D/He/ap/dk/sc; ADM.137/1089)


Thursday 11 March

German auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich, running out of coal and with machinery wearing out, entered Newport News (Va), interned around 8/4/15

North Channel

Ambrose, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 4,595/1903, hired 20/11/14, 10th CS. Heading for Liverpool to coal, approaching North Channel, two torpedoes fired in separate attacks off Oversay Island (ss - Ornsay island) off Islay, possibly by U.20. During third attack, conning tower spotted and fired at (Rn/Mn/D/bi/ss)

BAYANO, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, ex-passenger ship, 5,948/1913, 14kts, Elders & Fyffes, Liverpool, hired 8/14 (C/wi - 21/11/14), 2-6in, Pennant No.M.78, 10th CS Northern Patrol, Cdr Henry Carr i/c, master, Lt Bernard Dunphy RNR. After coaling in the Clyde, left night of 10th to return to patrol line (Rn/wd - for Liverpool to coal), sailing without lights at 13kts, very calm dark night. Torpedoed by U.27 (Bernd Wegener) amidships under boiler room around 0515, magazines exploded and she sank within 4min in Firth of Clyde, 10 miles SE by E of Corsewall Point, Galloway (ke - 10 miles WNW of; wi - in 55.03.03N, 05.26.03W); 196 lives lost - 14 officers, 124 ratings and 59 merchant seamen (ke - 195 lost), 26 survivors - 2nd i/c, 7 officers and men picked up by ABS Tara, 18 PO's and men on two liferafts by SS Balmerino and landed at Ayr. Wreck believed to lie at 330ft (+J/L/Rn/Mn/C/Cn/D/He/bi/dk/gf/ke/ss/te/un/wd/wi; ADM.137/185)

Dardanelles Campaign

Six trawler minesweepers again attempted to sweep the Kephez lines; one unknown trawler hit by 6in shell and repaired by Agamemnon's carpenters. Gunfire so heavy the trawlers soon withdrew, next night the French sweepers failed to make any progress sailing against the current, and it was decided to man some of the trawlers with regular navy crews. It was noted that the mines were “not as violent as North Sea mines” (Rn/ap/da)

Smyrna Blockade

Aenne Rickmers, seaplane carrier, German steamship, 7,000t/4,083grt, 1911, 1-12pdr/2 seaplanes, seized at Port Said 8/14, taken over as seaplane carrier in January with minimum of modifications, under Red ensign with mixed naval/civilian crew, French aircraft with French pilots and British observers, operated off Sinai, Syrian & Turkish coasts, taking part in British naval blockade of Smyrna. Torpedoed by German-commanded, Turkish torpedo boat Demir Hisar at 0200, grounded at Mudros for shoring-up by HMS Reliance, refloated 12 May, to Alexandria for repairs, completed 18 June. Recommissioned as HMS Anne with naval crew 5 August, paid off August 1917 (Rn/C/Cn/D/bt/nw)


Friday 12 March

North Sea

INVERGYLE, Admiralty collier, 1,794/1907, Invergyle SS Co (Stewart & Gray), Glasgow-reg, Mr D Minto, Scapa Flow for Hartlepool in ballast. (te/un - 13th) - Torpedoed by U.23 (Hans Schulthess), sank 12 miles NNE of Tyne estuary (L/wi - 15 miles NNE of, in 55.18.40N, 01.25.44W) (+L/Mn/Lr/te/un/wi)


Saturday 13 March

U-boat Warfare - First neutral sinking, possibly by mistake, Swedish steamer Hanna carrying coal from Tyne to Las Palmas torpedoed without warning and sunk in North Sea off Scarborough

North Channel

G.M.V., Admiralty drifter, 94/1907, Lowestoft-reg LT.1062, hired 2/15 as net drifter, 1-3pdr, Admiralty No.1109, Skipper William Woodgate RNR. In collision with minesweeping trawler Hungarian (186grt) off Mull of Kintyre/Larne, Co Antrim in North Channel (wi - blt 1909, Inverness-reg, Skipper G McLeod, lost in 54.53N, 05.33W); no lives lost (+D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/100)


Sunday 14 March

Western Front - Battles of Neuve Chapelle, St. Eloi to 15th

Light cruiser Dresden discovered at Chilean island of Mas a Fuera, Juan Fernandez group in SE Pacific by armoured cruiser Kent, light cruiser Glasgow & armed merchant cruiser Orama, shelled, then scuttled

off NW & W Scotland

ORLANDO, Admiralty trawler, 276/1907, Dolphin Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY248, hired 8/14 as minesweeper (wi – armed patrol trawler), armed, Admiralty No.365, Skipper Frederick Mercer RNR. Ran ashore on Sgeir More (possibly Mhor) rock, Tarskavaig Point, southern Isle of Skye in bad weather and wrecked (H/D - near Stornaway, Hebrides; wi - in 58.12N, 06.22W); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/wi; ADM.137/100)

Digby, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 3,966/1913, hired 22/11/14 (later French Artois), 10th CS. (bi - 15th) - Held up in the Clyde because of attacks on Ambrose and Bayano, now heading for patrol area. Cleared North Channel, chased by U-boat off Skerryvore, took refuge in Tobermory Harbour, following day escorted out by destroyer and headed for patrol line (Mn/D/bi/ss)

Caribbean, 5,824/1890 and Colombella, 8,292/1902, armed merchant cruisers hired c19/11/14, 10th CS Northern Patrol. Dates not known - Attacked by U-boat(s) around the time of the attacks on Ambrose and Digby, escaped (D/ss)

Dardanelles Campaign

Amethyst, old light cruiser, Gem-class, 3,000t, 12-4in/8-3pdr/2-18in tt, supporting minesweepers in final attempt to clear the Kephez mines at night. Trawlers headed for positions above the mines to be swept, heavy fire disabled all the working crews of two trawlers with damage to gear and winches in the rest so great, only two vessels could get out their sweeps, leaving four trawlers and one picket boat out of action. Amethyst was near Kephez Point at this time trying to draw fire from the sweepers. Night of 14th/15th - Two shells exploded in stoker’s bathroom, starboard side forward and on messdeck; 21 killed and 28 severely wounded, of whom 4 DOW in Amethyst. Around 5 killed and 15 wounded in the other vessels (dk – only three others killed on the 14th, one in battleship Ocean and two on trawler Fentonian (following)) (Rn/Cn/da/dk/sm/sc)

Fentonian, Admiralty trawler, 221/1913, Grimsby-reg GY804, hired 3/15 as minesweeper, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.448; 2 crew killed (D/dk)


Monday 15 March

Aviation war - start of German aircraft attacks on shipping in North Sea, 10 vessels bombed in March and April near North Hinder and Galloper LV's

Dardanelles Campaign

Dartmouth, light cruiser, Weymouth-class, 5,800t, believed within Dardanelles. Boiler explosion (1 of 12 Yarrow-manufactured) totally wrecking a boiler room, moved and anchored astern of battleship Agamemnon off Tenedos at 1100; 4 killed, seven died of injuries. Back in action within Dardanelles by 17th/18th (Rn/D/da/dk)


Wednesday 17 March

North Sea

Nemesis and Nymphe, destroyers, H-class, 970t, 2nd DF, taking part in Grand Fleet movements in northern and central North Sea since 16th, weather now too bad and Flotilla sent back to Scapa. Two ships collided, both needed docking for repairs (D/gf/gr)


Thursday 18 March

Naval Aviation - Only days after construction had been approved by the Admiralty on 28 February, the maiden flight of small non-rigid Sea Scout-class SS.1 airship took place at RNAS Station, Kingsnorth, Kent; sometimes referred to as SS Submarine Scout. Smaller and cheaper than the planned rigid airships, they joined RNAS aircraft on maritime patrols off the British coasts. By the end of the war more than 200 British non-rigid airships of different types had been built, of which more than 100 were operational, plus 200 naval balloons

U.29 rammed and sunk by battleship Dreadnought in North Sea, E of Pentland Firth

North Sea

Neptune, dreadnought, 1st BS, and Dreadnought, the first dreadnought battleship, 21,840t, 10-12in/27-12pdr, flagship 4th BS, both Grand Fleet, battle fleet and cruisers carried out "strategical exercise" in the early morning, then returned to their bases because of submarine warnings, 1st BS to Scapa, and 4th BS detached to Cromarty. Marlborough, flagship 1st BS reported sighting a periscope east of the Pentland Firth at 1218 and that a torpedo had passed just astern of Neptune. Around 1230 as 4th BS crossed under the stern of the rest of the battle fleet to head for Cromarty, Dreadnought sighted the periscope, altered course and rammed, sinking U.29 commanded by Lt-Cdr Otto Weddigen (dx - in 58.21N, 01.12E) who had sunk the three Cressy's and Hawke in U.9 (Cn/D/dx/gf)

Lord Airedale, Admiralty trawler, 215/1911, Grimsby-reg, hired 2/15 as minesweeper, Skipper J R Dawson, believed at anchor in "hurricane-force winds". Sank 150yds off the beach at Bridlington, Yorkshire probably after dragging her anchor; Skipper and 11 ratings lost. Salvaged and returned to service (D/dk)

Dardanelles Campaign

Final Naval Attack on the Narrows

Gallipoli and area - click to enlarge

With Adm de Robeck now in command, an all out attack was launched against the Narrows defences by most of the 14 British and 4 French capital ships in three main groups. Ranging from the European side to the Asiatic in line abreast, these were (ships lost in italic CAPITALS sunk, and italic lower case damaged):

Line A, 1st Division - Queen Elizabeth, Agamemnon, Lord Nelson, Inflexible to go in first to bombard and dominate the Narrows forts.

Line B, 3rd Division - French ships Gaulois, Charlemagne, BOUVET, Suffren to pass through Line A and engage the forts more closely, covered by Prince George on the European side and Triumph on the Asiatic

2nd Division ships Vengeance, IRRESISTIBLE, Albion, OCEAN to relieve the French Line, and Majestic/Swiftsure to take over from Prince George/Triumph.

Canopus and Cornwallis were reserved for minesweeping cover that night

Line A was in action about 1130, came under fire from concealed guns and howitzers but not badly hit until Agamemnon and Inflexible began to suffer:

Agamemnon, battleship, Lord Nelson-class, 17,680t, 4-12in/10-9.2in. Between 1245 and 1310 hit at least 12 times by 6in howitzers from Eren Keui, five times on the armour without damage, seven times above it, with much structural damage, continued in operation (Rn/Cn/D/da/sm/tg)

Inflexible, battlecruiser, Invincible-class, 20,080t, 8-12in/16-4in. Also under fire from Eren Keui howitzers, hit on the bridge and wireless put out of action about 1220, hit three more times in the next 10min and picket boat alongside sunk, forebridge on fire and hit twice more, stayed on station to support the French; some men wounded (Rn/Cn/D)

Queen Elizabeth, dreadnought, Queen Elizabeth-class, 31,500t, 8-15in/16-6in. Hit frequently on superstructure, not seriously damaged, continued in operation; few if any casualties (Rn/Cn/D/tg)

French Line B with Prince George and Triumph passed through Line A at 1220, Suffren was badly damaged, Gaulois badly holed and had to be beached on Rabbit Island, then as BOUVET passed back through British Line A she blew up near the Asiatic shore around 1345, presumed at the time to have been hit in a magazine by a Turkish shell or possibly by shore torpedo.

The British 2nd Division ships proceeded to take the place of the retiring French, opening fire at 1439. At 1514 there was a heavy explosion alongside Irresistible from a heavy shell. Between 1530 and 1600 mines were reported where Bouvet went down. Shortly after and in an area far short of the Kephez lines of mines, Inflexible exploded one, then Irresistible and, after trying to tow Irresistible clear, Ocean detonated yet another nearly two hours later.

Before then the general recall for all ships had been hoisted:

Inflexible, battlecruiser, Capt Phillimore, on station in Line A since 1430. Mined on starboard bow by the forward submerged flat around 1611, immediately flooded, ship began to list and settle by the head, made for Tenedos and water continued to rise, reached there with difficulty an hour and a half after the explosion, anchored on north side of island; 3 officers, 31 ratings and 1 civilian contractor lost including every man in the forward flat killed, wounded taken off in a cutter during the journey to Tenedos. Towed to Malta and repaired by May (Rn/Cn/dk)

IRRESISTIBLE (above, sinking - Pat Gariepy), battleship, Formidable-class, 15,800t, 1898, 4-12in/12-6in/18-12pdr/4-18in tt, 18kts, c780 crew, Pennant No.64, 5th BS Channel Fleet 8/14, then to Mediterranean, Capt Douglas Dent, with 2nd Division, hit alongside at 1514 by heavy shell from Fort Hamadieh and by 1532 had taken a slight list, drifting with engines stopped about 1615. Mined near Eren Keui Bay (J/C - shore torpedo from White Cliffs battery), exploded under starboard engine-room near centre-line, engine-room quickly flooded, midship bulkhead buckled and port engine-room flooded leaving both engines disabled. Took 7° list to starboard, down by the stern and Turks concentrated fire on her, destroyer Wear and a picket boat came to assist and Ocean was ordered to stand by to tow. As Irresistible could not be saved, abandon ship was ordered under heavy fire causing casualties on deck, but 10 volunteers stayed to get a wire across to Ocean, list increased and ship lay bows on to the Asiatic shore leaving Ocean subjected to cross-fire. The two ship's captains decided to take off the volunteers, Irresistible abandoned at 1750, and Ocean withdrew, the intention being for destroyers and minesweepers to try to save her after dark. According to the Turks, she drifted back towards the Narrows Forts, was fired on and sank about 1930 (He – about 2000; da - now partly salvaged, lays in 40.04N, 26.20E); 4 officers killed and one DOW, 7 ratings killed and one more DOW, only three men got out of the rapidly flooded engine room, 28 surviving officers and 582 men taken off by Wear (ke - 200 casualties, 610 survivors) (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/da/dk/ke/mf; ADM.116/1443)

OCEAN, battleship, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 1898, 4-12in/12-6in/12-12pdr/4-18in tt, c750 crew, Pennant No.N.56, 8th BS Channel Fleet 8/14, later to Mediterranean, Capt Arthur Hayes-Sadler, with 2nd Division, now withdrawing under heavy fire from Dardanos and other forts. Mined around 1805 (J - shore torpedo from White Cliffs battery; C - by shore batteries), detonated starboard side adjacent to coal bunkers, nearby passages flooded and helmed jammed to port, at the same time, hit starboard-side aft by a shell, tiller-room and starboard steering engine-room flooded and repairs not possible, took 15° list. Abandon ship ordered and crew taken off. Ship abandoned, hopefully to drift out of danger if she stayed afloat, Jed lay off with Capt Hayes-Sadler on board until dark, finally left to her fate about 1930. The Turks reported she drifted into Morto Bay and sank there about 2230 (da - now partly salvaged, lays in 40.03N, 26.17E); 1 rating lost (He/ke - all 683 crew saved), most of crew taken off by destroyers Colne, Jed and Chelmer under cross fire, four men accidently left on board rescued by Jed after dark (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/ke/mf; ADM.116/1443)

Mosquito, Racoon, G-class, c1,100t and Chelmer, Jed, Kennet, Wear, E-class, c630t, destroyers taking part in rescue operations, all subjected to "terrific" enemy gunfire. Racoon damaged by the concussion of a large shell bursting under water, also by shrapnel bullets; all destroyers "sustained comparatively few casualties” (D/dd)

The loss of Bouvet, Irresistible, Ocean and near-fatal damage to Inflexible were all due to a line of just 20 mines laid in Eren Keui Bay parallel to the Asiatic shore by 365t auxiliary minelayer Nousret or Nusret. The final Allied attempt to break through to Constantinople by naval power alone was over in just one day, with three capital ships sunk and three out of action out of the 16 taking part.


Sunday 21 March

Dardanelles Campaign

TB.064, torpedo boat, Yarrow 125ft-type, c87t, 1886, 19kts, 2-3pdr/5-14in tt, 16 crew, Chief Gunner James Cottrell in command. One of  a group of six torpedo boats, including TB’s 063 and 070, sailed on 17th from Port Said for Mudros on the island of Lemnos, in company with old light cruiser Doris and collier Kasala. On the 20th, off the island of Khio (or Chios) with the weather worsening, they coaled, but TB.064 only took on half her bunkers. Continuing on to Lemnos in strong NE gales and following a course change, 064 became separated, and Doris, after reaching Mudros with the other five TB's, went out to search for the missing one. She was found off the east coast of the island, at anchor, with hardly any remaining coal and in no condition to proceed. Night of 21st - anchors dragged, drifted ashore and wrecked E side of Lemnos island; no lives lost, crew saved after a stoker swam ashore with a line (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/ke; ADM.137/3119)


Monday 22 March

Eastern Front - Russians captured Przemysl


Wednesday 24 March

North Sea

Undaunted, light cruiser, Arethusa-class, 4,400t, 3rd DF leader and Landrail, destroyer, L-class, c1,300t, 3rd DF, Harwich Force, in collision. Damaged to Undaunted not known but three crew drowned, Landrail towed home with badly crumpled bow (D/dk)


Thursday 25 March

U-boat Warfare - First deliberate neutral sinking, Dutch SS Medea sailing Valencia for London with oranges, stopped and searched then sunk by U.28 in English Channel off Beachy Head. Dutch government made strong protests


Tuesday 30 March

off SW Scotland

TRYGON, Admiralty trawler, 289/1908, Fleetwood-reg FD.221, Mount Steam Fishing, hired 1914 as minesweeper (D - 2/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel; He – 1915 as patrol vessel), Admiralty No.978, Lt Henry Oakley RNR (wi - J Price, Captain). In collision with SS Myrtle Grove, 2,640grt (ms - Myrtlegrove), foundered in River Clyde (wi - exact position unknown, but River Clyde, in 55.58N, 04.52W); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/ms/dk/fd/wi; ADM.137/103)

APRIL 1915

U-boat Warfare - First Flanders UB flotilla commissioned, six boats operational by end of April; U.37 possibly mined off Zeebrugge, Belgium during the month


Friday 2 April

English Channel

LOCHWOOD, Admiralty collier, 2,042/1900, Constantine & Pickering SS Co, Middlesbrough-reg, 21 crew, Mr T Scott, from Barry with 3,200t coal, steaming at 8kts in misty weather with sea rough, strong WSW wind. U.24 (Rudolf Schneider) sighted on reverse course on port beam about 1¼m distant, turned away, hoisted Norwegian ensign and went to full speed. U-boat followed, fired a first torpedo at 1745 and a second at 1815, then approached within hailing distance, ordered Lochwood to stop and gave the crew 10min to abandon ship, while doing so a third torpedo hit port-side abaft the engine-room. U.24 made off at 1900 and Lochwood sank at 1930, 25 miles SW of Start Point, Devon (wi - in 49.54.30N, 04.04W) (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)


Tuesday 6 April

Western Front - Battle of the Woevre to 15th


Friday 9 April

Auxiliary Patrol - British order for 50 American-built motor launches (ML.1-50) placed with Elco of Bayonne, NY through Canadian Vickers; further orders reached ML.580


Sunday 11 April

German auxiliary cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm entered Newport News (Va) in poor mechanical condition, interned on 27th

English Channel

Sarnia, Admiralty armed boarding steamer, 1,498/1910, hired 14/11/14, 2-12pdr, Cdr H Muir RNR. At 0700 Brixham smack Addax reported seeing a U-boat chasing a steamer half an hour earlier, at 0730 Sarnia sighted the French SS Frederic Franck 3½m off with crew in boats and U.24 (Rudolf Schneider)  alongside. Sarnia approached, the U-boat submerged, and Sarnia circled the steamer firing at the periscope. Around 0820 a first torpedo was evaded, then a second. Having called for destroyer help, she continued circling, firing at and attempting to ram the periscope until 1020 when the U-boat made off; the French steamer was only damaged (Mn/D)


Monday 12 April

Mesopotamian Campaign - Turkish attacks on Kurnah/Al Qurnah to 14th held by British/Indian forces, Turks retreating along River Euphates towards Nasiriya pursued by vessels of the River Flotilla.


Wednesday 14 April

German East Africa Campaign - German supply ship Kronburg, ex-British SS Rubens detained at Hamburg 8/14, now carrying supplies for light cruiser Königsberg still lying in the Rufuji River delta, sunk by old light cruiser Hyacinth in the Indian Ocean


Saturday 17 April

SW Scotland

Virginian, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 10,760/1905, hired 13/11/14, 10th CS. Ran ashore in Clyde opposite Govan Ferry, blocked river and delayed armed merchant cruiser Oropesa leaving for her patrol (Mn/D)

Dardanelles Campaign

Gallipoli - click to enlarge

E.15 (below, sister-boat E.4 - Navy Photos), submarine, E-class, 667/807t, 23/4/14, 1-12pdr/5-18in tt with 10 torpedoes, 15kts/9kts, 30 crew, Pennant No.I.95, Harwich until 1915, then to Mediterranean, Lt-Cdr Theodore Brodie, first Allied attempt to break through Dardanelles to reach Sea of Marmara since failure of French Saphir on 15 January, departed Mudros night of 16th carrying former British Vice-Consul at Chanak, now Lt Palmer RNVR. The submerged submarine was swept by a strong current into shoal water and grounded, undamaged S of Kephez Point light at around 0600 on the 17th (Cn/D/He – 15th) only a few hundred yards from Fort Dardanos, fired on by the Fort's guns before they realised she was aground, one shell killed Lt Brodie as he climbed out of the conning tower, another burst in an ammonia tank or battery compartment and asphyxiated and killed five crew; with the captain lost, survivors took to water and taken prisoner. Turkish attempts to salvage her started with a torpedo boat trying to pull her off, this was thwarted by bombing attacks, and the decision taken to destroy E.15 where she lay. Submarine B.6 went in but because of heavy fire, failed to hit her with two torpedoes.

That night - the 17th still - destroyers Scorpion and Grampus could not find her because of screening searchlights. Next morning, B.11 failed in its search because of fog, and that afternoon battleships Majestic and Triumph tried to hit her with big guns from within the Dardanelles, but as the shore defences prevented them getting any nearer than 12,000yds, they had to give up. That night - the 18th (Cn - 16th) - a picket boat each from Majestic and Triumph fitted with 14in torpedo dropping gear were sent in under the command of Lt-Cdr Robinson of Vengeance, the officer who had already displayed much gallantry destroying guns on shore in February. Creeping forward in pitch darkness, the boats aproached Kephez Point, when searchlights caught them and heavy gunfire followed. Neither was hit, a searchlight accidentally illuminated E.14 and Majestic's boat launched her torpedo which may have found the target; shortly hit by a shell , she began to sink. Triumph also fired hers, rescued Majestic's crew and with only one man lost, returned safely. Next morning, the 19th, E.15 was reported destroyed (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/dx/ke/md; ADM.1/8418/90)


Monday 19 April

North Sea

MAYFAIR, naval motor boat No.1, hired 1914, Lt Edward Martin RNVR. Darkened and on patrol in Firth of Forth, W of Inchkeith in approaches to Rosyth, spotted at 2033 by also darkened and patrolling torpedo boat TB.32 which put engines full astern and helm hard a starboard, but hit Mayfair the starboard side, sinking her; no lives lost, all crew picked up by TB.32’s boat(s). Mayfair continued to be listed until 1919, either a clerical error or she was possibly salvaged (He/D only; ADM.137/107, ADM.53/64641)

off NW Scotland

RHODESIA (1), Admiralty trawler, 155/1899, Hull Steam Fishing & Ice, Hull-reg H443, hired 1/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.1215, Skipper Philip Marr RNR (wi - A Gibson, Captain). Wrecked near Stornaway, Isle of Lewis (He/wi - on Obb Rock, S of Tulm Is, South Harris, in 57.41.20N, 06.20.40W); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw/wi)


Thursday 22 April

Western Front - Second Battle of Ypres to 25 May


Saturday 24 April

Western Front - Second Battle of Ypres, St. Julien to 4 May

Mesopotamian Campaign - Turkish attack towards Ahwaz in Persia, to the NE of Basra, held by British/Indian forces

North Sea

Undaunted, light cruiser, Arethusa-class, 4,400t, 3rd DF leader and Landrail, destroyer, L-class, c1,300t, 3-4in/1-12pdr/4-21in tt, 3rd DF, Harwich Force sailed on the 23rd with carrier Empress for a seaplane raid on the German coast, good weather lasted until around 0500 on the 24th when dense fogbanks were encountered near the take-off position. During manoeuvres, Landrail hit Undaunted in the engine-room at 18kts holing her badly, Landrail lost 20-30ft of her forecastle, and both had their wireless knocked out, making it difficult to inform Cdre Tyrwhitt in Arethusa. Undaunted made her way home with 3ft of water in the engine-room, Landrail was towed stern-first by destroyer Mentor and then light cruiser Aurora, both having towing-hawsers part twice in rising seas. At 1830 and drifting close to Terschelling on a lee shore, Arethusa, after her own two failed attempts took up the tow and headed for Yarmouth at 4kts, reaching there at 2100 on the 26th, 71 hours after the collision. Two tugs took Landrail to Chatham where repairs took 5 weeks. Their last collision has been exactly one month before, on 24 March! (Cn/D/dd/gr/ty)


Sunday 25 April

Gallipoli Campaign - The Gallipoli "military" as distinct from the Dardanelles "naval" campaign started with Allied landings around the southern Gallipoli Peninsula

Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli and area - click to enlarge

From south round to the west, French troops landed near Kum Kale as a diversion, British 29th Division landed at "S"-Morto Bay, "V"-Sedd el Bahr or Cape Helles, "W"-Tekke Burnu, "X"-a mile north of Tekke Burnu and Y-beaches, and the two ANZAC divisions further north still at Z-beach north of Gaba Tepe, all, except the French on the European shore. A diversionary demonstration was made off Bulair at the neck of the Peninsular, and follow-up troops landing in the south included a Royal Marine brigade, the Royal Naval Division and an Indian brigade.

The landings required about 200 transports, supported by a fleet of 16 British battleships, 9 cruisers, 24 destroyers, 8 submarines including Australian AE.2, 2 French battleships, 3 cruisers, 5 destroyers, 4 submarines, Russian cruiser Askold, auxiliaries and minesweepers all under the command of Vice-Adm de Robeck, with Cdre Keyes as Chief of Staff.

Ships taking part included (those in italics incurred casualties – either killed in action or died of wounds on this date – and may have been damaged. See note at end of entry):

Fleet Flagship – dreadnought Queen Elizabeth

First Squadron (Main British landings, S to Y beaches) – battleships Swiftsure (2nd flag), Albion, Lord Nelson, Implacable, Vengeance, Prince George (attached to French landings), Goliath, Cornwallis, cruisers Minerva, Euryalus (flag), Talbot, Dublin, and six fleet minesweepers.

Second Squadron (Anzac Cove landings) – battleships Queen (flag), London, Prince of Wales, Triumph, Majestic, cruiser Bacchante, submarine depot ship Adamant, seaplane carrier Ark Royal, balloon ship Manica, destroyers Beagle, Bulldog, Foxhound, Scourge, Chelmer, Colne, Ribble, Usk, and four trawlers.

Third Squadron (feint attack on Bulair) – battleship Canopus, cruisers Dartmouth, Doris, and two destroyers.

Fourth Squadron (cruisers and trawlers attached to First) – cruisers Sapphire, Amethyst, and 12 trawlers.

Fifth Squadron (including minesweepers and netlayers) – battleship Agamemnon, 10 destroyers, three French minesweepers, two netlaying trawlers.

Sixth Squadron (French landings) – two French battleships, three French cruisers, seven destroyers and five torpedo boats.

Seventh Squadron (Smyrna blockade) – four destroyers and armed yacht Triad.

Many of the troops were landed ashore in ship's boats from battleships and by destroyers, the only specialist assault ship was SS River Clyde:

River Clyde, landing assault ship, ex-collier, 3,913/1905, Ormond Cook & Co, Glasgow, purchased 12/4/15, converted by Cdr Unwin of minesweeping gunboat Hussar to land 2,500 troops directly ashore. Ports were cut in River Clyde's side, she towed a steam hopper port side and four lighters alongside, two on either bow, material was carried for a permanent pier and armoured machine-gun positions mounted on the forecastle. In operation, River Clyde was to be grounded, the hopper steam past, ground itself and drop down a gangway, troops would leave through the ports on each side, enter one lighter, cross to the second to reach the hopper and then ashore.

Beached just before 0700 under "murderous fire" at the Seddul Bahr end of V-beach (the other end was Cape Helles), the hopper grounded too far from the shore for the gangway to reach and the front lighter swung away, only 200 troops reached the land in the first three hours, leaving many others dead and wounded. Even this small success was only made possible by Cdr Unwin and members of the crew who in full view of the Turks, secured and held the lighters and hopper as the troops passed over. Cdr Unwin stood in the water holding lines and although wounded, later rescued other wounded from the shore by boat, Midshipman Drewry in command of the hopper was also wounded but carried on until Midshipman Malleson took over, AB William stayed in the water holding the pontoon fast until he was killed and Seaman Samson worked on the lighters all day before being badly wounded. The main body of troops only landed that night. Mid George Leslie Drewry RNR (from Hussar), Mid Wilfred St Aubyn Malleson (battleship Cornwallis), Seaman George McKenzie Samson RNR (Hussar), Cdr Edward Unwin (Hussar), AB William Charles William RFR (Hussar) posthumously, were all awarded the Victoria Cross. River Clyde was later salvaged, sold 1920, renamed Angela, not broken up until 1966 (Rn/C/dx/mf/ms/vc)

Beagle, Bulldog (above - Navy Photos), Foxhound, Scourge, G-class, c1,100t, 1-4in/3-12pdr/2-18in tt and Chelmer, Colne, Ribble, Usk, E-class, c630t, 4-12pdr, 2-18in tt, destroyers taking part in landings on Z-beach, later known as Anzac Cove, with 2nd Squadron (Rear-Adm Thursby). Four thousand men of 3rd Australian Brigade carried as an advanced guard by battleships Queen (flag), Prince of Wales, London and six of the destroyers, rest of the Anzac Corps in transports anchored offshore, cover provided by battleships Triumph, Majestic and cruiser Bacchante. Sixteen laden ship's lifeboats were towed in by picket boats, followed by equally-laden destroyers towing more lifeboats for their troops to disembark in; landing started around 0430, destroyers came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire. Many troops killed on the decks, crews suffered casualties. By 1400, 12,000 troops of 1st Australian Division were ashore with two batteries of Indian artillery, and within 24 hours, the 2nd Australian Division including a New Zealand Brigade had joined them (Rn/Cn/D/dd)

Two more G-class destroyers, 5th DF Mediterranean Fleet, temporarily equipped as minesweepers, also hit by Turkish shore fire, probably other destroyers damaged as well at other times:

Mosquito, heavy casualties including First Lt killed (dk – only man killed) (Cn/D/dd/dk)

Racoon, Lt-Cdr A Muller. Date uncertain, sometime after 25 April - hit in one her boilers off Seddul Bahr (Rn/Cn/D/mf)

Note: Kindell lists the following warship casualties on the 25th. It is not known if all those who died of wounds were wounded on this day or previously:

Dreadnought Queen Elizabeth (1 kia); battleships Agamemnon (3 dow), Albion (2 dow), Canopus (3 kia), Cornwallis (15 kia), Implacable (2 kia), Lord Nelson (4 kia), Prince George (1 kia), Prince of Wales (1 dow), Queen (1 kia), Swiftsure (1 dow), Triumph (1 dow), Vengeance (1 kia); armoured cruisers Bacchante (1 kia, 1 dow), Euryalus (6 kia); destroyers Chelmer (1 kia), Mosquito (1 kia); assault ship River Clyde (1 kia); despatch boat Osiris (1 kia, 1 dow); and submarine depot ship Adamant (1 kia).

More men from some of these ships died of wounds over the succeeding days, but again, it is not known how many of them were wounded on the 25th. It is assumed all these warships may have been damaged to some, mainly small, extent, although some of the casualties may have occurred ashore, during ship-to-shore operations or while serving in other ships e.g. AB William Williams of HMS Hussar awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in action with River Clyde. Royal Navy Division losses on the day were 13, with many more sadly to come (dk)

see Army Despatch, dated 20th May 1915 in London Gazette, No. 29217 and Naval Despatch, dated 1 July 1915 in Gazette, No.29264


Monday 26 April

Gallipoli Campaign

The British Y-beach was evacuated and the French withdrew from the Asiatic shore to reinforce the British right inland of De Totts battery


Tuesday 27 April

Victoria Cross - Lt-Cdr Edward Courtney Boyle (CO, HM S/M E.14) arrived in the Sea of Marmara on the 27th at the start of a successful patrol, returning on 18 May in time to brief Lt-Cdr Nasmith of E.11. Lt-Cdr Boyle was awarded the VC for this and two further patrols

Gallipoli Campaign

BALMEDIE, Admiralty trawler, 205/1906, Balgownie Steam Trawl Fishing Co, Aberdeen-reg A113, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.350, Skipper George Reynolds RNR. In collision, sank in the Dardanelles (C - off); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk)

Scorpion and Wolverine, destroyers, G-class, c,1,100t, 1-4in/3-12pdr/2-18in tt, 5th DF Mediterranean Fleet, two of nine temporarily-equipped minesweeping destroyers, sweeping some way inside the Straits to allow the battleships to reach bombardment positions, sweep wires passed and drawing apart. Turkish 4.1in shore batteries opened fire, Wolverine hit on bridge, Scorpion by shell in seaman’s messdeck which started a fire, soon put out; Wolverine lost Cdr O Prentis her captain, a sub-lieutenant RNR and coxswain (dk – on the 28th, probably night of 27th/28th). There were a few shrapnel holes in Scorpion (Lt-Cdr A B Cunningham - “ABC” of WW2 fame) soon repaired by destroyer depot ship Blenheim. Over the succeeding days, more destroyers were hit and damaged (Cn/D/cu/dd/dk)


Wednesday 28 April

Diplomatic Incidents - US merchant ship Cushing bombed by German aircraft in North Sea

Gallipoli Campaign - First Battle of Krithia; 3rd Royal Marine Battalion landed, Royal Marine Corps Memorable Date - GALLIPOLI

Atlantic off NW Scotland

Many supply ships especially colliers were needed for Admiral Jellicoe's Grand Fleet; some were lost as they passed up the western British Isles:

MOBILE, Admiralty collier, 1,950/1914, Furness, Withy & Co, West Hartlepool-reg, Mr W Fortune, Barry for Scapa Flow with coal. Captured by U.30 (Erich von Rosenberg-Grusczyski), sunk with bombs 25 miles NW of Butt of Lewis, Outer Hebrides (wi - by gunfire, in 58.48N, 06.50W) (+L/Mn/Rn/te/un/wi)

Gallipoli Campaign

Albion, battleship, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 4-12in/12-6in, above Morto Bay on European side off Kereves Dere, providing gunfire support for French forces, shortly after noon, about to be relieved by Lord Nelson. Hit and damaged by Turkish shellfire, leaking and retired to Mudros for three days for repairs (Rn/D/Cn)


Thursday 29 April

Atlantic off W Ireland

Another Grand Fleet supply ship, this time lost off the Irish coast:

CHERBURY, Admiralty collier, 3,220/1911, Cherbury SS Co (T L Duff & Co), Glasgow-reg, 25 crew, Mr James Davidson, Barry south-about Ireland for Cromarty with 5,100t coal. Submarine sighted 4 miles off at 1900, 10min later as Cherbury continued to zig-zag three shells fired, after another 10 to 12 miles a torpedo was fired and missed, then U.30 (Kurt Wippern) came up to within 150yd and signalled abandon ship, Cherbury hove to and complied. A party of Germans boarded, took the ship’s papers and navigational equipment, placed three scuttling charges below, sinking her around 2025, 27 miles WNW of Eagle Is, off Co Mayo (L - 13 miles NNW of; wi - in 54.21N, 10.18W); crew rowed to Eagle Is LH, next morning proceeded to Scotsport and Belmullet. Note: “Wreck Index” describes the first sighting of the U-boat as 27 miles WNW of Eagle Is, followed by a 10 to 12 miles chase (+L/Lr/Mn/Rn/te/un/wi)


Friday 30 April

Victoria Cross - L/Cpl Walter Richard Parker RMLI (Portsmouth Battalion, RN Division), to 1 May, Gallipoli, stretcher bearer, also carried ammunition and supplies to isolated position under intense enemy fire and cared for wounded

Atlantic off SW Ireland

FULGENT, Admiralty collier, 2,008/1910, Westoll Line/James Westoll, Sunderland-reg, collier No.151, presumably Pennant No.Y3.151, 20 crew, Mr C Brown, from Cardiff south-about Ireland for Scapa Flow with 2,750t coal. U.30 (Kurt Wippern) (L/Mn - U.7 but sunk 21 January 1915; ge - U.23) surfaced close astern at 0900 and fired one shot, collier went to full speed, attempted to keep the U-boat astern, but quickly overhauled on the port quarter, second shell hit bridge, engines stopped and ship abandoned. U.30 used the port-side boat to put a scuttling crew on board, charges sank her at 0945, 20 miles WNW from Blasket islands, N entrance to Dingle Bay (L/te/un - 45 miles NW of Skellig Rocks; wi - in 52.10.10N, 11.10W); man at the wheel killed and master badly wounded by second shell, 14 men took to the starboard boat with the master while the rest took the port, the boats stayed together all through the 30th and into the 31st then became separated during the night. The survivors, excluding the master who died two hours after being taken off, were picked up the SS’s Tosto and Angle, and landed at Galway and Kilrush on 1 May (+L/Lr/Mn/ge/te/un/wi)

Gallipoli Campaign

AE.2, Australian submarine, E-class, 655/796t, 1913, 1-12pdr/4-18in tt with 8 torpedoes, 15/9kts, 30 crew, to Mediterranean 3/15, Lt-Cdr Henry Stoker, first Australian/British submarine to break through the Dardanelles to the Sea of Marmara reaching there on the 26th, now heading for Gulf of Atarki, SW part of Marmara to rendezvous with E.14 which had followed AE.2 in. Sighted Turkish gunboat, lost control and came to the surface only 100yds off, Sultan Hissar (French-built 38m-type torpedo boat Sultanhissar) launched torpedoes which missed, then opened fire making a number of hits, AE.2 surfaced to allow the crew to get off, then scuttled near the island of Marmara (C - hit by shore batteries); all crew saved, 4 ratings died as POW's in 1916. Wreck believed found in 1999 at 240ft (+J/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/dx/ke/on/www; ADM.137/2077)



MAY 1915


Saturday 1 May

U-Boat Warfare - First US ship attacked without warning, tanker Gulflight carrying oil from Port Arthur for Rouen, torpedoed and damaged by U.30 off Scillies, Captain and two crew killed. More strong US protests followed; UB.3 went missing in Aegean Sea during the month

North Sea

Old destroyers Recruit and Brazen were on patrol off the Galloper Lightvessel in the Thames Estuary, while Yarmouth trawlers Columbia, Barbados, Miura, Chirsit were searching for a reported U-boat off North Hinder. Recruit was torpedoed and sunk at 1120 by a UB-boat, and about the same time a torpedo was fired at Columbia off the mouth of the Scheldt, probably by another UB. The trawlers continued their search and by 1500 were back at North Hinder when they were attacked by small German TB's A.2 and A.6, a new type based at Zeebrugge and sent overland in sections for assembly at Antwerp. Four torpedoes were fired and Columbia sank, followed by a 20 minute gun action between the TB's and the three surviving trawlers. The Germans then headed back at the sight of Harwich destroyers Laforey, Leonadis, Lawford, Lark coming out in reponse to the loss of Recruit, chased and sank both by gunfire:

RECRUIT (1), destroyer, C-class, 425t, 1896, 1-12pdr/5-6pdr/2-18in tt, 30kts, c63 crew, Pennant No.N.60, Nore Defence Flotilla, Cdr Charles Wrightson. Torpedoed amidships at 1120 by UB.6 (Erich Haecker) (Cn/D - by UB.16), broke in two and sank quickly near Galloper LV (Rn - c30 miles SW of North Hinder LV; ge/un - 30 miles SW of the Galloper), reportedly the first warship sunk by a Flanders Flotilla submarine; 39 ratings lost (He – 34, ke - 43), four officers and 22 men saved by passing Dutch steamer (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/ap/dk/dx/ge/ke/un; ADM1/8420/114, ADM.1/8420/117)

COLUMBIA, Admiralty trawler, 266/1886, Hellyers Steam Fishing, Hull-reg H42, presented (presumably as a private gift) 9/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.200, Canadian Lt-Cdr Walter Hawthorn RNR. Torpedoed shortly after 1500, probably by first torpedo fired by A.6 off North Hinder LV (ap - 4 miles NW of; D - nearby Thornton Ridge; H/L/C - Foreness, near North Foreland, Kent); total of 3 officers and 13 ratings lost, Barbados searched for survivors without success, later discovered one had been rescued by Miura. According to German reports, Lt Hawthorn and two men were picked up as POW’s, but lost when A.2 and A.6 were sunk (+L/Lr/C/D/He/ap/dk/ge; ADM.1/8420/116)

Barbados, Admiralty trawler, (C - 211/1905; D - 183/1907), Hull-reg H.938, hired 10/14 as minesweeper, 1-6pdr AA, Lt Sir James Domville. Second torpedoes fired by A.2 and A.6 missed, then badly damaged by gunfire as Chirsit and Miura came up from some way off; Lt Domville and the skipper wounded. Note: The Colledge tonnage and build date apply to a second trawler named Barbados employed as BDV according to Dittmar & Colledge (C/D/ap)


Sunday 2 May

Eastern Front - Gorlice-Tarnow offensive to late June

Gallipoli Campaign

Albion, battleship, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 4-12in/12-6in, just returned from repairing damage sustained on 28 April, providing gunfire support with Agamemnon, Goliath, Prince George and Vengeance off southern beachheads, operating on French right. Hit badly by Turkish gunfire from Asiatic shore in evening, retired to Mudros again to make good the damage; one man DOW on this date, not known if he was wounded at this time. Next day Prince George, Majestic-class, c16,000t, 4-12in/12-6in, was holed on the waterline by a 6in shell from the Asiatic batteries, had to leave for Mudros, and then for Malta to dock (Rn/D/da)


Thursday 6 May

Gallipoli Campaign - Second Battle of Krithia to 8th; Sub-Lt Arthur Walderne St Clair Tisdall RNVR (Anson Battalion, RN Division) killed ashore on 6th, awarded Victoria Cross for gallantry.

See Army Despatch, dated 26th August 1915 in London Gazette No.29303

North Sea

Two sorties towards the German coast were thwarted by dense fog and resultant collisions involving three destroyers:

Comet and Nemesis, H-class, 970t, 2nd DF Grand Fleet, two of eight destroyers escorting minelayer Orvieto from Scapa into Heligoland Bight. In collision, Nemesis "seriously damaged"; no casualties (D/gf/gr)

Lennox, L-class, c1,300t, 3rd DF, with Harwich Force of light cruisers and destroyers escorting seaplane carriers for attempted raid, fog so thick twice had to anchor. Lennox rammed by one of the carriers and Force recalled; no casualties (D/ty)

Western Mediterranean

TB.92, torpedo boat, Thornycroft 140ft-type, 130t, 1894, 3-3pdr/3-14in tt, Gibraltar Patrol, with one or more TB's watching area to east of Gibraltar for expected U-boats entering the Mediterranean, sighted submarine. Torpedo fired at TB.92, 40 miles W of Alboran island, submarine dived and two attempts made to ram. Believed to be U.21 which left the Ems on 25 April, reaching Cattaro on 13 May (Rn/Cn/ge)


Friday 7 May

U-boat Warfare - Sinking of British liner Lusitania with the loss of 785 passengers including 124 US citizens caused major US-German diplomatic row with United States; notes of protest issued on 14 May, 9 June and 21 July 1915 about U-boat policy. Germany claimed the liner had been an armed merchant cruiser, was believed to be a troop transport and carrying a small quantity of ammunition, but immense diplomatic damage had been done. The Kaiser shortly banned attacks on large passenger ships

Belgian Coast

MAORI, destroyer, F-class, 1,030t, 1909, 2?4in/2?18in tt, 33kts, 68 crew, Pennant No.H.16, 6th DF Dover Patrol, Lt-Cdr or Cdr Benjamin Barrow, with sister ship Crusader (Lt-Cdr Maxwell) reconnoitring Belgian coast, between Hayst and Blankenberge, to lay marks in preparation for shoot by battleship Venerable. Conditions misty and did not clear until mid-afternoon. Around 1515, steering SE at 18 knots. Mined at low water under her starboard quarter, spotted and hit by German shell-fire, sank 2 miles NW of Weilingen LV, near Zeebrugge (He - around 51.21.1N, 03.06.9E), crew got away in their boats, Crusader lowered a boat but her commander decided to retire because of the intense shore fire, and left the boat behind; no lives lost in Maori, 7 officers and 87 ratings reached shore to become POW's, Crusader's boat crew also taken prisoner (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dp/dq/ge/ke; ADM.156/145, ADM.1/8420/124)


Saturday 8 May

North Sea

Limewold, armed trawler, 189/1898, Grimsby-reg, hired 12/14, 1-6pdr, CO on shore sick, Acting Skipper C Bond i/c, on patrol. Shell burst close to the bows at 0430, 20 miles E of Peterhead, submarine spotted one and half miles away right astern and closing fast, turned and returned fire, claimed hit on waterline abreast of conning tower with fifth shot when range down to 600yds, submarine submerged (Mn/D)

Admiralty collier (and one steamship) captured and torpedoed by U.9 (Johannes Spiess):

DON (2), Admiralty collier, 939/1892, Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Co, Goole-reg, Mr W Adron, sailing Cromarty for Blyth in ballast. Sank around 0440, 7 miles E of Coquet Isle, off Amble (wi - in 55.21N, 01.20W) (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)


Sunday 9 May

Western Front - Second Battle of Ypres, Aubers

Suez Canal area

FANNY, tug, no further information, probably civilian vessel but crew included at least three ratings from armoured cruiser HMS Euryalus. Lost in accidental sinking; three ratings drowned, two of them buried at Ismailia, near Suez (dk)


Monday 10 May

North Sea

Dominion, battleship, King Edward VII-class, returning to Rosyth after cruise in northern North Sea with rest of 3rd BS, also 3rd CS, all Grand Fleet, divisions in line ahead, zigzagging at 15kts, had not yet met screening destroyers. (ge - 8th; Cn - May 1916) - unsuccessfully attacked by U.39 about 100 miles ENE of Firth of Forth, two torpedoes missed (Cn/D/gf/ge)


Thursday 13 May

Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli - click to enlarge

GOLIATH, battleship, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 1898, 4-12in/12-6in/12-12pdr/4-18in tt, 18 kts, c750 crew, Pennant No.N.54, 8th BS Channel Fleet 8/14, later to Mediterranean, Capt Thomas Shelford. French forces under heavy attack inland of S-Beach, night of 12th/13th, Goliath and Cornwallis providing gunfire support, both anchored in exposed position in Morto Bay off Seddul Bahr village, Cornwallis astern of Goliath, destroyers Beagle, Bulldog, Pincher, Scorpion, Wolverine on patrol, night very dark, foggy around midnight, attacks were suspected. Turkish destroyer Muavenet-i-Miliet, partly German-manned and commanded by Lt-Cdr Rudoph Firle came down the Dardanelles, avoided Bulldog and Beagle around 0100, spotted the battleships and came round Eski Hissarlik Point under De Totts battery, challenged by Goliath at 0115 but steamed ahead and fired all three torpedo tubes as Goliath opened fire, one torpedo hit abreast fore turret, a second by the foremost funnel, and the third near after turret, ship immediately began listing badly to port and soon on beam ends, turned turtle, floated for a few minutes, then went down bow first; 505 lives lost - 20 officers including her Captain, 479 ratings and 4 canteen staff, 2 ratings DOW (Cn/He/ke - 570 men lost, 180 survivors). Wolverine and Scorpion tried to cut off the torpedo boat as it headed back up the Straits but failed (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ke/mf; ADM.116/1446)


Saturday 15 May

Western Front - Second Battle of Ypres, Festubert to 25th

North Channel

BERKSHIRE (2), Admiralty trawler, 133/1897, North Lincolnshire Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY398, hired 1915 (D - 12/14) as patrol vessel, 1-4in, Admiralty No.995, Skipper Herbert Percy Fleet RNR (wi - A Bland, Captain). In collision with armed yacht Valiant II (1,885grt), sank at 1900 off Cushendall, Red Bay, Co Antrim (He - 6 miles E of Tor Cor Point, in Red Bay; wi - in 55.05N, 06W); no lives lost, crew rescued by armed trawler Alsatian (+Lr/C/D/dk/wi; ADM.137/114, ADM.137/623)


Sunday 16 May

Western Front - Second Battle of Artois (or Souchez, or Vimy Ridge) to 30 June


Monday 17 May

North Sea

German minefield covering a large area S of 56N, E of 02.30E in the Dogger Bank area laid by old light cruiser Hamburg; two U-boats and a large destroyer took part, supported by High Seas Fleet battlecruisers. To prevent its early discovery, four trawlers on fishing grounds in NW Dogger Bank area were captured by torpedo boat(s) and their crews taken prisoner.


Wednesday 19 May

Victoria Cross - Lt-Cdr Martin Eric Nasmith (CO, HM S/M E.11) ordered to 'Go and run amuck in the Marmara', reached the Sea of Marmara on the 19th at the start of successful patrol through to early June, followed by two more. Awarded VC for his exploits


Thursday 20 May

South African Campaign - South Africans captured Windhoek, German South-West Africa


Saturday 22 May

North Sea

Rifleman, destroyer, H-class, 2nd DF Grand Fleet, with other destroyers carrying out contraband control duties E and SE of Pentland Firth because of a U-boat threat to the usual armed boarding steamers. Grounded in fog, needed docking for repairs (Cn/D/gf/gr)

Gallipoli Campaign

Albion, battleship, Canopus-class, 14,300t, 4-12in/12-6in, providing gunfire support off the Anzac beachhead just south of Anzac Cove. Ran aground off Gabe Tepe on 22nd, under close-range fire by Turkish shore batteries and frequently hit, towed off by sister-ship Canopus on 23rd, left for Malta for repairs; reportedly one man killed and ten wounded, believed from Albion. Kindell only lists two Albion casualties around this time -  two men wounded in a shore party on the 22nd who DOW on the 23rd (Cn/D/da/dk/mf)


Sunday 23 May

Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary


Monday 24 May

Western Front - Second Battle of Ypres, Bellewaarde to 25th


Tuesday 25 May

Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli - click to enlarge

First U-boat attacks on ships off Gallipoli by U.21 (Lt-Cdr Otto Hersing):

Vengeance, battleship, Canopus-class, zigzagging up from Mudros to meet sister-ship Canopus and relieve her as gunfire support ship off Anzac Cove, submarines were expected in the area and a periscope was spotted at 0730 off the Dardanelles entrance, it was also seen heading north and at one point passed between battleships Swiftsure and Agamemnon, then disappeared, sea calm and visibility good. Due east of Cape Kephalo, Imbros island at 1000, Vengeance spotted a torpedo coming towards her from shorewards, swung clear and continued on to Gaba Tepe. Alarms and sightings continued during the morning (Rn/D/ge)

TRIUMPH, battleship, Swiftsure-class, 11,985t, building as Chilean Libertad, launched 1903, purchased by Admiralty before completion, 4-10in/14-7.5in/14-14pdr/2-18in tt, 20kts, c700 crew, China Station 8/14, later to Mediterranean, Capt Maurice Fitzmaurice, providing gunfire support for Anzac beachhead, under way off Gaba Tepe with nets down, light guns manned and watertight doors closed, destroyer Chelmer patrolling round her at 15kts. Periscope sighted at 1225 on Triumph's starboard beam, Chelmer dashed for it, Triumph started firing but a a minute later a torpedo fired by U.21 (J - U.51) passed through the nets and hit her, almost immediately took on 10° list and continued to heel over. Chelmer came under her stern walk to take off a large number of men, capsized 10min after being hit, floated bottom-up for 30min then sank bow first just NW of Gaba Tepe off Ari Burnu/Anzac Cove. The scene was apparently so dramatic and unexpected, ANZAC and Turkish troops reportedly stopped fighting and stood to watch her end; 3 officers and 52 ratings lost (Rn/Cn/He/ke - 3 officers, 70 men lost, over 500 survivors). With the U-boat threat, continuous battleship support was no longer possible, a severe blow to the Australian and New Zealand troops (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/ke/mf; ADM.116/1444)


Wednesday 26 May

Naval Aviation - Maiden flight of larger non-rigid C-class Coastal airship at RNAS Station, Kingsnorth, Kent, designed for extended anti-submarine patrols


Thursday 27 May

North Sea

PRINCESS IRENE, minelayer, 6,000/1914, one of two new ferries/liners built for Canadian Pacific Railway, converted by Denny, now 5,934grt, 2-4.7in/2-12pdr/2-6pdr AA/500 mines, 23kts, commissioned 20/1/15, Pennant No.P.47, (Commanding officer: Rn - Cdr T H M Maurice; He - Capt Mervyn Cobbe; ke - Capt M Cole), started to lay minefield NW of Heligoland on 8th/9th with sister ship Princess Margaret, now in River Medway, either alongside or mooored off Sheerness, undergoing repairs and mines, some reportedly with defective pistols, being primed. Major explosion amidships at 1108, followed by more as mines detonated, ship destroyed; at least 358 lives lost - 30 officers, 210 crew, 5 ratings from Chatham base HMS Pembroke, 36 merchant seamen and more than 77 civilians in the dockyard including at least 70 dockyard workers - 21 skilled labourers, 44 shipwrights and 5 yard boys (He – 51 crew, 78 dockyard workers and 6 men in Steam Pinnace 263 lying alongside; ke - 51 crew plus 77 civilian workers killed, 2 crew plus 1 civilian survived) (+J/Rn/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ke; ADM.116/1445, ADM.1/8422/147)

off NW Scotland

ROLULU, Admiralty trawler, 170/1909, George F Sleight, Grimsby-reg GY399, hired 4/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.1468, Skipper James Hodson RNR. Hebrides area, ran aground on Obb Rock, S of Tulm Is, South Harris in bad weather and wrecked, listed heavily to port but stern remained above water long enough for crew to be taken off; no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk; ADM.137/117)

Gallipoli Campaign

MAJESTIC, battleship, Majestic-class, 16,060t, 1895, 4-12in/12-6in/16-12pdr/12-3pdr/5-18in tt, 17kts, c757 crew, Pennant No.D.04, Capt Henry Talbot, flagship of Rear-Adm Nicholson from 26th, providing gunfire support in Cape Helles area (J/He/ke - off W-beach), at anchor among unloading transports with torpedo nets out, as close inshore as possible, destroyers patrolling off shore. Periscope of U.21 (Otto Hersing) (J - U.23) spotted at 0645, 400 yds away on port beam, opened fire immediately but torpedo had already been fired, went right through the nets and hit amidships, second soon followed, ship capsized in 7min off Cape Helles (da - could be seen from V-beach; ke - W shore of Cape Helles; mf - W of Sedd-el-Bahr village; Cn - off Gaba Tepe near Anzac Cove); 42 ratings and 2 canteen staff lost, killed by the explosion or entangled in nets (Rn/Cn/He/ke - 40 casualties; 737 survivors). Sank in only 54ft of water, rested on foremast with fore-end of keel and bottom awash before disappearing under during the November storms. The withdrawal of bombarding battleships following the sinking of Goliath, Triumph and Majestic was a major victory for the Turks (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/da/dk/ke/mf/un; ADM.1/8422/144, ADM.116/1443)


Friday 28 May

English Channel

Admiralty collier (and two steamships) captured and sunk by U.41 (Claus Hansen):

SPENNYMOOR, Admiralty collier, 2,733/1915, Moor Line, Newcastle-reg, sailing Sunderland for Cardiff with pit timber, on maiden voyage. (L - 27th) - Sunk by torpedo 50 miles SW¼W of Start Point (L - 50 miles SW by W of); 5 lives lost including master (+L/te/un)


Sunday 30 May

Aegean Sea

MERION, Admiralty-owned dummy capital ship No 14, battlecruiser “Tiger”, ex-transatlantic liner, 11,621/1902, International Navigation, Liverpool-reg, conversion ordered 21/10/14, hired 1/12/14, converted at Harland & Wolff, Belfast with wood & canvas superstructure and guns, heavily ballasted to approximate proportions of a battlecruiser, armed with 1-3pdr, ready early 1915, based in Aegean from February 1915, heading for Mudros. (un – 29th) - Torpedoed by UB.8 (Ernst von Voight), sank off Mudros, island of Lemnos (D/dx - off Strati Is, S of Lemnos); 2 RNR officers and 2 MMR ratings killed. Note - C/D list her as purchased 30/5/15, the date of her loss; md - Lt von Voight reported attacking a large three funnelled ship at dusk, hit her with one torpedo abreast the forward funnel, but did not see her sink, nor did he identify her as a possible “battlecruiser”. Presumably torpedoed on the 29th, sank on the 30th (Lr/C/Cn/D/dk/dx/md/un/wd)



JUNE 1915

U-boat Warfare - first U-boat mines laid off English coast by Flanders-based UC-boats; first intimation off North Foreland on 1st when HMS Mohawk was mined, then more discovered off Harwich & Dover on 18th

English Channel

Helper, paddle minesweeper, ex-tug, 173/1873, hired 1/4/15. June - In collision with armed trawler Fane 269grt off Portland (D/gr)

off W Scotland

King Orry, Admiralty armed boarding vessel, 1,877/1913, hired 29/10/14. June - Ran aground in the Sound of Islay, refloated (D/gr)


Tuesday 1 June

Dover Straits

Mohawk, destroyer, F-class, 864t, 6th DF Dover Patrol, on patrol off North Foreland near NW end of net area. Saw mines close to her, could not get clear because of strong east-going tide, damaged in first UC-boat-laid field (UC.11 (Walter Gottfried Schmidt) in south entrance to Downs) in the Channel area, towed into Dover with upper deck almost level with the water; 5 ratings lost (Rn/Cn/dk/dp/ge/un)


Wednesday 2 June

North Sea

Arethusa, light cruiser, Arethusa-class, broad pendant, Harwich Force, on patrol with Undaunted on the lookout out for Zeppelins attacking England, light cruisers each carrying a seaplane. Sighted Zeppelin, seaplane took off but forced to return, opened fire on Zeppelin which made off. Several hours later, German seaplane came out of the clouds and dropped three bombs without hitting Arethusa (Rn/Cn/D/ty)


Thursday 3 June

Eastern Front - Recapture of PrzemysI

Mesopotamian Campaign - British-Indian forces advancing up the River Tigris from Kurnah/Al Qurnah captured Amara (note: not Kut al Imara/Amara or just Kut), sloops Clio, Espiegle, Lawrence (RIM) and Odin, armed tug Comet, armed launches Lewis Pelly, Miner, Shaitan, Sumana and stern wheelers Muzaffari/Mozaffir, Shushan took part

North Atlantic

Alcantara, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 15,831/1914, hired 10/3/15. Collided with and sank trawler Kathleen 198grt (D/gr)


Friday 4 June

Gallipoli Campaign - Third Battle of Krithia


Saturday 5 June

U.14 sunk by trawler Oceanic II in North Sea off Peterhead

Atlantic off SW Ireland

Inawilliam, or Ina Williams, Admiralty trawler, 337/1913, hired 4/15, 1-12pdr, Sub-Lt Nettleingham RNR, steaming towards Cahirmore Signal Station, few miles west of Berehaven. Large submarine came to the surface 1 or 2 miles away on port beam, Inawilliam, now 11 miles W of Mizen Head, headed for the U-boat which fired 4 or 5 rounds, then a torpedo which just missed, trawler fired back, hit her once or twice as she submerged and escaped (D/Mn)


Sunday 6 June

Aegean Sea

IMMINGHAM, Admiralty store carrier, ex-passenger steamer, 2,083/1906, Great Central Railway, Grimsby-reg, hired as accommodation ship 10/14, RFA store carrier from 4/15, Pennant No.Y8.50, described as "errand boy" between Imbros island and Mudros during Gallipoli campaign. In collision with hired screw minesweeper Reindeer 1,101grt, sank off Mudros, Lemnos island. Owners claimed £100,000 compensation but only awarded £45,000 by the Admiralty (+Lr/C/Cn/D/ns)


Monday 7 June

German Minefield - Auxiliary minelayer Meteor laid large minefields on the 7th/8th along the North Russian Murman coast at the entrance to the White Sea to interrupt the flow of munitions to, and cargoes from Russia. SS Arndale was the first ship sunk; three more went down in the same month. Six Lowestoft minesweeping trawlers arrived in July to sweep them, and continued until November

Zeppelin Airwar - RNAS aircraft of No.1 Sqdn bombed and destroyed Army airship LZ.38 (Production No. LZ.38) in her shed at Bruxelles Evere, Belgium; Victoria Cross - Flight Sub Lt Reginald Alexander John Warneford RNAS (also No.1 Sqdn), destroyed German Zeppelin LZ.37 (Production No. LZ.37) in the air near Ghent, Belgium. He was killed in a plane crash ten days later


Duke of Albany, Admiralty armed boarding vessel, 1,997/1907, hired 30/10/14, returning to Scapa in thick fog. Grounded on Lother Rock in the Pentland Firth at 0400, refloated with considerable damage seven days later (D/gf/gr)


Tuesday 8 June

St George's Channel area

Admiralty collier (and two schooners) sunk by U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel) off The Smalls:

STRATHCARRON, 4,347/1912, Strathcarron SS Co, Glasgow-reg, sailing Barry for Truro with coal. Torpedoed by U.35, 60 miles W of Lundy Is, off Devon (L - in 51.05N, 06.10W) (+L/Lr/te/un)


Wednesday 9 June


SCHIEHALLION, Admiralty trawler, 198/1903, Aberdeen-reg A905, Grampian Steam Fishing, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.352, Skipper Thomas Barlow RNR. Mined and sunk, no other details; no lives lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk)

Adriatic Sea

Dublin, light cruiser, Chatham-class, 6,000t, 8-6in/4-3pdr/2-21in tt, based at Brindisi from 5/15, Capt Kelly, steaming at high speed with strong escort of French and Italian destroyers off N Albanian coast. Torpedoed by Austrian submarine U.IV (Rudolph Singule) near San Giovanni di Medua, soon worked up to 17kts, got back to Brindisi, but out of action for some time; 13 ratings lost (Rn/Cn/D/dk/ge/md/nw/un)


Thursday 10 June

North Sea

Two torpedo boats, ex-Cricket-class coastal destroyers, c400t, 1907, 26kts, 2-12pdr/3-18in tt, 35 crew, serving with Nore Local Defence Flotilla. Sailed from Harwich at midnight on the 9th, on patrol off Thames estuary, searching for reported submarines with three other TB’s and five destroyers; both mined, laid by UC.11 (Walter Gottfried Schmidt) two days earlier (H/J/tn - torpedoed):

TB.12, ex-Moth, Lt Edward Bulteel, near the Sunk LV at 1530 when there was a large explosion under her bows, believed torpedoed at the time (He/un – confirmed mined). Stayed afloat as other TB's came to her rescue, crew abandoned her when TB.10 came alongside, taken in tow, but now TB.10 suffered an explosion and sank. Trawler took over the tow of TB.12, assisted by destroyer Cynthia, progressed slowly while the TB gradually settled, sinking at 1055 (presumably on the 11th) in 51.44.40N 01.26E. Lt Bulteel and 22 ratings lost (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/sc/tn/un; ADM.156/15)

TB.10, ex-Greenfly, Lt-Cdr John McLeod RN. Alongside TB.12, trying to take her in tow, then believed torpedoed herself at 1610 and broke in half, the two halves rising vertically before sinking off the Sunk LV (He/un – confirmed mined); 22 ratings lost, one more DOW (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/sc/tn/un; ADM.156/15)


Saturday 12 June

North Sea

DESABLA, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 6,047/1913, Bank Line, Glasgow-reg (wi - Admiralty oiler transport No 63, presumably Y7.63), Mr F Cowley, Port Arthur for Hull with linseed/oil (wi - crude oil). U.17 (Hans Walther) sighted astern overtaking rapidly, started shelling continuously from 0720, engines stopped and crew abandoned ship by 0820 during which time the U-boat stood-by. Torpedo fired at 0830, but as she refused to sink, a boarding party placed explosive scuttling charges, by 1230 the submarine had submerged and Desabla was sinking fast 12 miles E of Todhead Point, S of Stonehaven, Kincardine (L - 38 miles ENE of May Is, Firth of Forth; te - 15 miles E of; wi - 13.5 miles ESE of Stonehaven, in 56.54.54N, 01.47.18W); survivors picked up by armed trawlers at 1530 (+L/Lr/D/te/un/wi)


Sunday 13 June

Atlantic off SW England

PELHAM, collier (wi - Admiralty collier transport No.604), 3,534/1906, Thompson SS Co, Sunderland-reg, 26 crew, Malta for Barry Roads in water ballast. U.35 (Waldemar Kophamel) appeared on the surface half a mile away, opened fire, ship turned away and went to full speed but hit repeatedly, engines stopped and ship abandoned. Germans placed bombs which sank her sometime after 1545, 30 miles NW of the Scillies (L - 30 miles N of; wi - in 50.16N, 06.55W;); survivors picked up by drifter Our Allies, landed in Newlyn on 16th at 0145 (+L/te/un/wi)


Monday 14 June

Atlantic off NW Scotland

India, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 10th CS, heading for Clyde to coal. Torpedo fired at her in 59.20N, 07.52W, missed (D/Mn)


Saturday 19 June

North Sea

Birmingham, light cruiser, Birmingham-class, 2nd LCS Grand Fleet, with sister-ship Nottingham, 3rd CS including Argyll and Roxburgh and just four screening destroyers making sweep from Rosyth across North Sea between the 18th and 21st. Attacked by U.32 without success, one of a series of attacks by four U-boats - see 20th (Rn/Cn/D/gf)

Liberty, destroyer, L-class, 3rd DF, with Harwich Force on patrol for Zeppelins attacking England. Liberty stopped to pick up a dog that had fallen overboard, bombed and nearly hit by a German seaplane (Cn/ty)


Sunday 20 June

North Sea

Argyll and Roxburgh, armoured cruisers, Devonshire-class, 10,850t, 4-7.5in/6-6in, 3rd CS, Nottingham, light cruiser, Birmingham-class, 2nd LCS, all Grand Fleet, as the 3rd CS sweep continued, more torpedo attacks took place: Roxburgh, Argyll and Nottingham all missed by U.17, Nottingham missed for a second time by U.6. Before the latter attack, Roxburgh (Capt C Foot), zigzagging at high speed was hit well forward in the bows by U.38 (Max Valentiner) (Cn - U.39) at 1400 in 56.47N, 00.38E, maintained speed at 14kts returning to Rosyth, met by destroyers of 1st DF and escorted in. Considerably damaged, repairs were not completed until April 1916 (Rn/Cn/D/ge/gf/un)


Tuesday 22 June

Eastern Front - Austrians captured Lemberg

English Channel

QUAIL III (He – Quail II), Admiralty trawler, 162/1897, Kelsall Brothers & Beeching, Hull-reg H236, hired 1915 (D - 11/14; He - 1914) as minesweeper, 2-3pdr, Pennant No.645. (Other sources – 23 June, perhaps because her loss was close to midnight on the 22nd) - In collision with tug Bulldog, sank at 2340, 7 miles SW of Portland Bill, Dorset (wi - in 50.30N, 02.30W), no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/fd/hw/wi; ADM.137/126)


Wednesday 23 June

Italian Front - First Battle of the Isonzo to 7 July

U.40 sunk by decoy combination trawler Taranaki/submarine C.24 off Aberdeen, first success by decoy ship against a U-boat

Atlantic off NW Scotland

Bush, Admiralty trawler, 221/1908, Milford-reg, hired 5/15, 1-12pdr, Skipper G King, on patrol off Hebrides about 8 miles NNW of Butt of Lewis, two drifters fishing nearby, wind blowing hard, "considerable sea". Shell landed nearby and submarine sighted, returned fire, third shot fell near the U-boat which submerged, Bush slightly damaged by the six shells fired at her; Admiralty awarded £60 to the crew (D/Mn)


Friday 25 June

Aegean Sea

Heroic, Admiralty armed boarding steamer, 1,869/1906, hired 18/11/14, 2-12pdr, believed blockading Turkish coast, lowered two boats under command of Lt Macdonald and Sub-Lt William to examine five schooners at 1350. Maxim fire opened up from shore on the boats at 1400, boats recalled and covering fire given, men picked up and boats hoisted in around 1430, no doctor aboard, headed back and anchored by HMS Vengeance to transfer wounded; 3 ratings DOW (pg - 12 wounded, AB Wilson died). "Dardanelles: A Midshipman's Diary" reports for 26 June that "several Greek schooners have been seized and brought in (to Mudros) recently by our cruisers and boarding steamers in charge of a midshipman" (D/da/dk/pg)

Gallipoli Campaign - Sea of Marmara

E.12, submarine, E-class, 667/807t, 5/9/14, 1-6pdr/5-18in with 10 torpedoes, Lt-Cdr Bruce, penetrated Dardanelles and now operating in eastern part of Sea of Marmara after spending two days repairing main engines, entered Gulf of Mudania and came across two small steamers towing five sailing vessels, turned out to be decoy vessels. Only 10yds from first steamer when a bomb was thrown which failed to explode, fired on with rifles and small masked gun, two towed vessels joined in and tried to foul E.12's propellers. E.12 returned fire, got clear and sank the two steamers and two of the towed sailing vessels. Engine problems now returned; one rating slightly wounded (Rn/Cn/md)


Saturday 26 June

Western Front - Battle of the Argonne to 4 July


Sunday 27 June

St George's Channel

Admiralty squadron supply ship (and two, probably three other vessels) attacked by U.24 (Rudolf Schneider):

INDRANI (2), 3,640/1888, Donaldson Line (Donaldson Bros, managers), Glasgow-reg, hired 4/8/14 as RFA, probably not commissioned, Pennant No.Y9.7, sailing Glasgow for Montreal with general cargo. Captured by U.24, sunk by torpedo 40 miles W of The Smalls, E of Milford Haven (L/te/un/wi - 36 miles SW of Tuskar Rock, off Rosslare; L/te/wi - also in 51.45N, 06.50W) (+L/Lr/C/D/te/un/wi)


Wednesday 30 June

North Sea

LIGHTNING, destroyer, A-class, 320t, 1895, 1?12pdr/5?6pdr/2?18in tt, 27kts, Pennant No.N.23, Nore Local Defence Flotilla, Lt James Cavendish. Floating mine spotted by destroyer Vulture in the morning near Kentish Knock LV in Thames estuary, and more reported in the afternoon by the light vessel. Vulture and Lightning ordered out to sink them, three were exploded around 2000, and as the destroyers searched for more, Lightning suffered a large explosion which lifted her out of the water and broke her back. Mined, laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner) that morning, forepart sank off Kentish Knock LV (wi - in 51.04.22N, 01.19.02E; dx - off Wielingen LV, Zeebrugge); 15 ratings lost (He – 14 died). After part remained afloat, secured between trawlers Javelin and Libra, and taken back to Sheerness, but not worth repairing and broken up. Note: the first submarine mines were laid by UC.1, 2, 3, 11 in the Harwich and Dover areas (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ge/ke/un/wi; ADM.1/8426/185, ADM.1/8426/191)

Irish Sea

THISTLE IV, Admiralty drifter, 71/1906, Inverness-reg INS163, hired 5/15 as net tender, Admiralty No.2861. Rammed by Elder-Dempster liner Tarquah (3,859grt) in belief the vessel was a U-boat, sank off Great Orme's Head, Llandudno (wi - in 53.22N 03.52W); no lives lost (+C/D/He/dk/wi/dh; ADM.137/128)

JULY 1915

North Sea

Cameo, Admiralty trawler, 172/1898, Hull-reg, hired 2/15, 1-12pdr (ap - 3pdr), Skipper Albert Sayers, on patrol with trawlers Sea Ranger and Eastward Ho!, all Peterhead-based. July - Cameo sighted U-boat, headed in its direction and was fired at, returned fire and hit three times, Eastward Ho! came up and submarine headed away on the surface; skipper wounded and awarded DSC, gunner the DSM (D/ap)

Tuesday 1 July

North Sea

Hampshire, armoured cruiser, Devonshire-class, 7th CS Grand Fleet. Reported a torpedo fired at her in Moray Firth, confirmed as attacked by U.25. Twelve destroyers and local patrol vessels sent to hunt for the attacker, but without success (Cn/ge/gf)

Atlantic off NW Scotland

Patuca, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 6,103/1913, hired 21/11/14, 10th CS Northern Patrol, on line C to NW of Hebrides on lookout for the blockade-running Swedish SS Oscar II, sighted and stopped early morning. Oscar II hit Patuca crushing her own bows and then crashed alongside, hull-to-hull before Patuca's propeller holed the Swede's engine-room. Patuca's plates bulged and propeller flange bent, made seaworthy with collision mats, shoring and cement infill, made for Clyde as ordered at 14kts. Oscar II taken in tow by AMC Digby and ABS Royal Scot, assisted by destroyers Fury and Staunch, but sank after two days (D/bi/gf/gr)

Atlantic off SW England

Two auxiliaries (and three more British vessels) captured and sunk by U.39 (Walter Forstmann) off Cornwall:

CAUCASIAN, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 4,656/1899, Petroleum SS Co (Lane & Macandrew), London-reg, Mr F Robinson, London for New Orleans with creosote. Sunk by gunfire 80 miles S of Lizard Point (L - 60 miles SW of) (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un)

INGLEMOOR, Admiralty collier, 4,331/1912, Moor Line (W Runciman & Co), London-reg, Mr A Stonehouse, Barry for Malta with coal and general cargo. Sunk by torpedo 75 miles SW by W of Lizard Point (L - 60 miles SW of) (+L/Lr/Mn/te/un)


Friday 2 July

UC.2 believed rammed by SS Cottingham in North Sea off Yarmouth, otherwise own mines (un - own mines on 30 June, Cottingham probably hit the wreck)


Sunday 4 July

Atlantic off S Ireland

Anglo-Californian, cargo ship, nitrate carrier converted to horse transport, 7,333/1912, Lawther Latta & Co/Nitrate Producers SS, not armed, Montreal for Avonmouth with 927 horses for Western Front, 150 crew, master, Lt Frederick Parslow RNR aged 60. U.39 (Walter Forstmann) (dx - U.38; ge - U.20 or U.39) surfaced about 0800 a mile or more away on port beam 90 miles SW of Queenstown (L - in 50.15N, 9W; dx - 50.10N, 09W), ship turned stern on and went to full speed, reached 14kts, submarine opened a steady fire about 0900 frequently hitting, Anglo-Californian continued to manoeuvre in an attempt to escape while transmitting SOS’s. Ordered at 1030 by the U-boat to stop and abandon ship, the master decided to do so, then in response to his signals, destroyers Mentor and Miranda requested him to delay as long as possible. He got under way again, but now U.39 opened a heavy fire wrecking the bridge, all the port-side lifeboats and hitting the superstructure. By the time the U-boat had closed to 50yds, the master was dead and the Germans fired on anything that moved. Throughout the action, the master's eldest son, Fred Parslow was at the wheel or what remained of it. When the destroyers arrived, U.39 dived away and Anglo-Californian was brought into Queenstown on the 5th; 21 lives lost including Lt Frederick Daniel Parslow RNR who was awarded the Victoria Cross. His son and the chief engineer received the DSC and others MID. Sunk 9 June 1918 (+L/Mn/dx/ge/ms/un/vc) (Casualty list – Lt Parslow only)


Monday 5 July

Mesopotamian Campaign

Sumana, armed launch-tug, 2-3pdr, Lt W Harris, supporting advance along River Euphrates towards Nasiriya. Turkish shell cut main steam pipe during the day, out of action, back next day (Rn/D)


Tuesday 6 July

Barents Sea

AFRICAN MONARCH, Admiralty collier, 4,003/1898, Monarch SS Co, Glasgow-reg, Cardiff for Archangel with coal, general cargo. Mined, laid by Meteor, sank at entrance to White Sea around 1½m E of Toryaneff Is and 9 miles S of Cape Orloff; two crew killed (+L/Lr/Rn/Mn)


STRATHGARRY, Admiralty trawler, 202/1906, Aberdeen Steam Trawling & Fishing, Aberdeen-reg A97, hired 6/15 (D/He - as boom defence vessel; wi - armed patrol trawler), Admiralty No.5, based at Scapa Flow, Skipper Isaac McFarlane RNR. Ships of 2nd Battle Squadron returning to Scapa Flow anchorage at 0330, passing through boom, battleship Monarch collided with and sank her (wi - in 58.45N, 03.05W); no lives lost (He – one man drowned) (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/129)

off NW Scotland

EDISON, Admiralty trawler, 196/c1896, Hull-reg H430, F & T Ross, hired 1915 as minesweeper (D - 12/14; wi - as armed patrol trawler), Admiralty No.395, Sub?Lt Frederick Townend RNR who had only joined ship that day, now night-time, heading along NW  shore of Isle of Lewis, bound for Carloway. Ran aground on Port Arnol, Lewis, may have steered wrong course or compass affected by new gun installation, but apparently not keeping sufficient look-out. Trawler wrecked  (wi - exact position unknown, “somewhere on the Isle of Lewis”, around 58N, 06W); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.1/8427/198)

German East Africa

German East Africa and Rufigi Delta - from "The Navy Everywhere" by Conrad Gato
(believed out of copyright), click maps to enlarge

Click the title for the story - Chapter 2

Mersey (Cdr R Wilson) and Severn, river monitors, Humber-class, 1,520t, 2-6in/2-4.7in/4-3pdr, 140 crew, after operations off Belgian coast, both ships were due for service in the Dardanelles in March 1915. Sailed 28 April from Malta with fleet messenger Trent, four tugs and a collier, reached Aden 15 May and Mafia Island 3 June, made good defects, fitted with extra protection and exercised with spotting aircraft. German light cruiser Königsberg moored down the Kikunja channel, northernmost tributary of Rufuji delta and 10 miles from the sea. Mersey and Severn entered the channel at 0520 on 6th, immediately came under 3pdr, pom-pom and machine gun fire from shore defences, both hit, but undamaged, whalers Echo, Fly, Childers swept and sounded ahead, light cruisers Weymouth and Pyramus followed in support. By 0630, 6 miles or 11,000yds from Königsberg, anchored, waited for spotting aircraft and opened fire, Königsberg also had spotting station nearby and replied with salvoes. Neither monitor hit for an hour until at 0740, shell struck Mersey's foremost 6in gun shield and put gun out of action, shortly holed near the waterline and pulled back 1,000yds. Severn continued for half an hour, then both ships waited until a second spotting aircraft arrived at 1330, returned to original position and fired until 1530, Königsberg hit around 6 times. Withdrew to prepare for next attempt five days later; Mersey’s casualties were 4 ratings killed, 2 DOW and 2 wounded (Rn/Cn/dk)


Friday 9 July

South African Campaign - Surrender of last German forces in South-West Africa, at Tsumeb


Sunday 11 July

German East Africa

Mersey and Severn, river monitors, Humber-class, some damage and badly worn by shoot on the 6th, only now ready to resume attempt to destroy the Königsberg assisted by aircraft spotting. (dx - 15th) - Again fired on when entering the Rufuji River, both hit but little damage, starting at 1230 they took turns to fire although Königsberg fired back, at 1252 there was a large explosion, Königsberg was then apparently blown up and scuttled at 1346, firing continued until 1420 to complete her destruction, monitors recalled at 1430; two men slightly wounded on Mersey. Other ships taking part included light cruisers Chatham, Dartmouth, Challenger, Hyacinth, Pioneer (RAN), Pyramus, Weymouth, and armed merchant cruiser Laconia; Royal Navy Single Ship Action - Mersey and Severn v KÕNIGSBERG 1915 (Cn/Rn/dx)

see Despatch, dated 15 July 1915 in London Gazette, No.29395 - Destruction of German cruiser “Königsberg”


Monday 12 July

Gallipoli Campaign - British offensive at Helles to 13th


Tuesday 13 July

Barents Sea

T. R. Ferens, Admiralty trawler, 307/1913, Hull-reg, hired 5/15 as minesweeper, one of six trawlers fitted out at Lowestoft to sweep German mines laid in June in White Sea on the route to Archangel, departed 22 June, arrived Alexandrovsk, Murman coast on 6 July, started sweeping successfully. Mined, damaged off one of the headlands (D/sc)


Thursday 15 July

North Sea

AGAMEMNON II, Admiralty trawler, 225/1907, Consolidated Steam Fishing & Ice, Grimsby-reg GY187 (He – Hull), hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.19, Harwich-based, Skipper Frederick Sibley RNR. With other Harwich sweepers clearing minefield discovered that morning, and in fact laid that morning by UC.1 (Egon von Werner). Lt-Cdr Hugh Archer of HMS Actaeon, Sheerness Torpedo School, embarked and in command of operation. Recovering sweep when a mine fouling the wire was pulled into the ship and exploded, sank off the Shipwash Sands, off Orford Ness (wi - in 51.57N, 01.36.45E); 9 ratings lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8427/203)


Sunday 18 July

Italian Front - Second Battle of the Isonzo to 3 August


Tuesday 20 July

U.23 sunk by combination decoy trawler Princess Louise/submarine C.27 off Fair Isle

North Sea

RHIANNON, Admiralty yacht, 126/1914, hired 15/9/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel, 2-3pdr, Pennant No.055, Lt-Cdr George Wellburn RNR. On patrol in Thames Estuary between Longsand and Kentish Knock sands with Admiralty trawler Strathspey, approaching wreck of Norwegian steamer Peik mined and sunk on 5 July. Detonated mine which destroyed the forepart of the vessel, leaving after part afloat before it too sank, off Longsands, off Clacton (wi - in 51.40N, 01.29E). The mine had not been left over from the field that sank Peik and which had been swept; it had been laid by UC.3 (Erwin Weisbach); Cdr Wellburn, 1 officer, 1 rating and 2 MMR killed by explosion (+J/L/C/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8427/194, ADM.1/8427/206)


Wednesday 21 July

North Sea

BRITON (1), Admiralty trawler, 196/1906, John Lewis, Aberdeen-reg A101, hired 2/15, armed, Admiralty No.1170, patrol vessel, 13 crew, Skipper Peter Christie RNR, probably Harwich-based, guardship for outer group of unarmed minesweepers ordered to sweep area around Longsand LV where HMS Rhiannon was lost the day before, most of the crew below having their evening meal. Mined at 1715, mine laid by UC.3 (Erwin Weisbach) on 5 July, “stern broke off, the bow went up into the air and was then hidden by a column of water and smoke. When this cleared away there remained of the ship nothing”, sank 13 cables SW of Longsand LV, off Clacton (wi - in 51.40N, 01.29E); Skipper and 10 ratings lost (wi - all 13 crew lost; He/ap - three crew saved) (+L/Lr/C/D/He/ap/dk+/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8427/194, ADM.1/8428/207)

Eastern Mediterranean

DOROTHEA, naval motor boat, ex-high speed pleasure motor boat, 33grt, 60ft, 11kts, hired 1914, serving with Motor Boat Reserve as HM Motor Boat No 203, 2-3pdrs, also rifles/small arms, manned by RNVR crew, reached Mudros around now as deck cargo, due to serve with flotilla of six motor boats carrying out local patrol duties off Turkish coast including Smyrna (Izmir) area, Lt Henry Holloway RNVR in command. Probably destroyed before she went into action, taking on fuel, spillage and explosion, burnt out; no lives lost (+D/He/ap/dk; ADM.137/775)


Thursday 22 July

Atlantic off NW Scotland

One armed merchant cruiser attacked (and two trawlers captured and sunk) off Hoy Head, SW Orkneys by U.36 (Ernst Graeff):

Columbella, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, 10th CS. Attacked by U.36, W of Orkneys (Mn - in 60.26N, 04.42W) (Rn/Mn/ge)


Friday 23 July

English Channel

WATERLILY, Admiralty drifter, 82/1907, Banff-reg BF595, hired 5/15 as net drifter, Admiralty No.2171, Skipper George Slater RNR. Fitted out at Devonport and now sailing for Granton to take up duties, in collision with trawler Ouse at 0500 off St. Alban's Head, Dorset (wi - in 50.30N 02.00W) and foundered; no lives lost (+D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/132)


Saturday 24 July

Mesopotamian Campaign - British-Indian forces forces advancing from Kurnah/Al Qurnah along the increasingly shallow River Euphrates drove the Turks out of Nasiriya, which was occupied next day. Old stern-wheelers Shushan, Muzaffri and Messudieh (all manned and armed respectively by deeper-draught sloops Espiegle, Odin and launch tug Miner) and armed launch Sumana took part.

U.36 sunk by Q-ship Prince Charles in Atlantic off N Scotland, first success by submarine decoy ship working alone; Prince Charles was not believed damaged in the action.


Sunday 25 July

North Sea

E.16, submarine, E-class, 667/807t, 1-12pdr/5-18in tt, Cdr C Talbot, sailed Yarmouth 24th for Ems, next morning kept under by air patrols. Apparently trapped in anti-submarine net near Borkum Riff LV, struggled to surface to find Zeppelin overhead, bombs dropped as she struggled clear, got free an hour after first entanglement. Sank V.188 off Terschelling next day (Rn/Cn/D)


Monday 26 July

German destroyer V.188 torpedoed and sunk by submarine E.16, 50 miles N of Terschelling


Saturday 31 July

Atlantic off SW England

Two Admiralty fleet messengers sailing in company from Glasgow under sealed orders, bound for Dardanelles, heavy seas with SW force 8 gale blowing, sunk by U.28 (Georg-Günther Freiherr von Forstner) off the Scillies:

TURQUOISE, ex-coaster, 486/c1892, Glasgow-reg, W Robertson, hired 2/7/15, Pennant No.Y4.30, 15 crew, Lt John McNicol RNR, sailing for Bizerta in ballast. In the afternoon sighted surfaced submarine on starboard bow which rapidly approached, ordered to stop but attempted to ram, U.28 opened fire around 1600 making several hits, ship immediately abandoned and sank at 1615, 60 miles SW of Scillies (wi - attacked in 49N, 07.08W, sank 40 miles SW of, in 49.00N 07.00W); one life lost, probably Merchant Navy (He/wi - chief engineer killed by gunfire, two crew wounded), survivors picked up by patrol trawler, landed at St Mary’s next day (+L/Lr/C/Cn/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/1130)

NUGGET, ex-coaster, 405/1889, Glasgow-reg, W Robertson, hired around 23/7/15, Pennant No.Y4.38, 15 crew, Lt Charles Amburger RNR. U.28 approached at speed and ordered crew to abandon ship in spite of conditions, when close enough Nugget went to full-speed and tried to ram, U-boat opened fire hitting the hull with 14 shells, sank at 2100, 45 miles SW of (wi - in 49.05N 06.58W); no lives lost, all crew picked up by Dutch sailing vessel Annetta at 2200, transferred next morning at 0545 to patrol boat, landed at St. Mary's next day at 1030 (+L/Lr/C/Cn/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.137/1130)




U.26 probably sunk in August/September by Russian mine in Gulf of Finland


AORANGI, Admiralty blockship, 4,268/1883, 389ft, Union SS Co, Dunedin (NZ)-reg, chartered as non-commissioned RAN supply ship 8/14, purchased by Admiralty 1915 for use at Scapa Flow. August - Scuttled as part of No.1 Barrier, Kirk Sound, between island of Lamb Holm & Mainland (wi - in 58.53.26N, 02.51.42W). Wreck refloated in 1920 (wi - resunk in Holm Kirkyard) (Lr/D/wi)


Sunday 1 August

Sea of Marmara - Submarine E.11 (Cdr Nasmith RN) raided Constantinople Harbour


Monday 2 August

Atlantic off SW England

PORTIA, Admiralty fleet messenger, ex-coaster, 494/1906, Liverpool-reg, South Wales & Liverpool SS, hired c23/7/15, Pennant No.Y4.36, Lt-Cdr Langton Bromwell (Rtd). Captured by U.28 (Georg-Günther Freiherr von Forstner), sunk by gunfire 70 miles S of Scillies (He – SW of); no lives lost. The third fleet messenger sunk in three days by U.28 (+L/Lr/C/Cn/D/He/cs/dk/un; ADM.137/1131)


Wednesday 4 August

North Sea

C.33 (below, sister-boat C.38 - Navy Photos), submarine, C-class, 290/320t, 1910, 2?18in tt with 4 torpedoes, 13/7½kts, c16 crew, Pennant No.I.63, Rosyth-based 7th Flotilla, Lt Gerald Carter. Trawler Weelsby, renamed Malta for decoy purposes, left Harwich on 31 July to meet up with C.33 for anti-U-boat patrol off the Norfolk coast, but failed to repeat the earlier successes of C.24 and C.27. At 2015 on the 4th, C.33 slipped her tow to return to harbour independently, last signal at 2150 - "have nothing to communicate", then failed to arrive, “overdue, presumed lost”. (declared lost on the 5th) - Lost, cause unknown, no wreckage found, probably mined in British field near Smith’s Knoll, alternatively an accident as no German claims were made for her sinking; 3 officers and 14 ratings lost, no survivors. Destroyer Firedrake sailed at dawn on the 5th but failed to find any trace of her, declared lost (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/ke/on)


Thursday 5 August

Eastern Front - Germans entered Warsaw, Austrians captured Ivangorod

Caucasus Front - Turks recaptured Van

North Sea

Industry, store carrier, 1,460 tons/497grt, 1901, Admiralty-owned. In collision with Dutch SS Zeeland off Wold LV. Sunk c19 October 1918 (D/gr/ms)

Atlantic off W Ireland

CLEMENTINA, Admiralty yacht, 469/1887, hired 22/9/14, 2-6pdr, Pennant No.025, Examination Service, Capt Thomas Walker (retired Vice Admiral). Closing the SS Adam Smith (299grt) for examination off Tor Cor Point (C/D - off Tor Point) in the early morning, in collision, holed, and flooded from the stokehold aft. To prevent her sinking, run aground and beached nearby. Salvage was abandoned, sold for breaking-up where she lay; no lives lost at this time, but an Assistant Engineer RNR died on 20 September 1915 possibly from injuries sustained. Note: location is confirmed as South Tor Cor or Torcor Point, Co Galway (+J/C/D/He/dk; ADM.137/143)


Friday 6 August

Gallipoli Campaign - ANZAC offensive at Lone Pine to 9th; British landings at Suvla start night of 6th/7th

North Sea

LEANDROS (L/Lr/D/dq - Leander; D - but renamed Leandros), Admiralty trawler, 276/1907, Lindsey Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY.260, hired 8/14 as Leander, minesweeper, Admiralty No.18, Dover Patrol, Skipper Walter Richmond RNR. Mined, laid by UC.5 (Herbert Pustkuchen) three days earlier, sank off North Knock Sand Buoy, off Thames Estuary (wi - in 51.43N, 01.38E); 7 ratings lost (He – 5 died) (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8429/223)


Saturday 7 August

German Minefield - Moray Firth field of nearly 400 mines laid by German auxiliary minelayer Meteor (1,912grt, ex-British Vienna seized Hamburg 4/8/14), night of 7th/8th to foul the approach to Cromarty and the Grand Fleet base of Invergordon, discovered the morning of the 8th by a minesweeping trawler

Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli and area - click to enlarge

Scourge, destroyer, G-class, c1,100t, one of ten destroyers taking part in Suvla landings, each one carried in 500 troops on deck with another 500 in a towed X or motor lighter, Scourge landed her men on C-beach, S of Nibrunesi Point. Now trying to get some of the lighters off the ground, hit in engine-room by Turkish shell around 0830 and had to retire for repairs; casualties uncertain, but one rating lost (Rn/Cn/dd/dk)

X-lighters, ramped self-propelled landing craft, X.1-series, designed for Dardanelles, launched 4-7/15, 160t, could carry 500 troops, carried K numbers, also known as K-boats, motor lighters, nicknamed "beetles". At least 10 lighters, numbered K.1-10 took part in the Suvla landings, some of which may not have got off, others damaged by gunfire (Rn/Cn/da/ec)

see Army Despatch, dated 11 December 1915 in London Gazette No.29429 - Gallipoli Campaign, including Suvla Landings


Sunday 8 August

Baltic Sea - German naval attack on Gulf of Riga, to 21st, driven off by Russian fleet,

Austro-Hungarian submarine U.XII mined in Adriatic off Venice

Sea of Marmara - Turkish old battleship Hayreddin Barbarossa sunk by submarine E.11 (Lt-Cdr Nasmith)

Norwegian Sea

INDIA, Admiralty armed merchant cruiser, ex-passenger ship, 7,940/1896, 18 kts, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co, Greenock-reg, hired 13/3/15, Pennant No.M.81, 10th CS, Northern Patrol, c300 crew, Cdr William Kennedy i/c, master, Lt Richard Groundwater RNR. On patrol off Norwegian coast to intercept iron ore carriers sailing from Narvik for Germany via Rotterdam, with attached hired trawlers Saxon and Newland also 10th CS for inshore duties. Swedish SS Gloria sighted at 0830, India intercepted, boarded and searched her, details of Gloria wirelessed in. Other ships were sighted and followed, at noon ordered to send Gloria into Kirkwall, and proceeded to search for her. Now 1740, alarm gong sounded, and torpedo track seen approaching, could not be avoided and struck starboard side aft near No.3 gun, fired by U.22 (Bruno Hoppe), ship immediately started to settle by stern. Of the four starboard and three port boats kept lowered for such an emergency, six were successfully manned but with ship's way still on, a port boat capsized and on the starboard side the boats were fouled or stove in, ship sank in five minutes, 6-7 miles NNW of Heligver Light near Bodo (te - in 67.30N, 13.20E; ke - mined off Helligvaer/Hellevoer island); 121 lives lost - 11 officers, 53 ratings including some Royal Marines and  57 MMR, number of crew buried ashore in Norway (Mn - 9 officers and 107 men lost, with 189 men saved including the captain; of the latter, 19 officers and 138 men either went down with the ship and came up again or had to dive over the side before rescue; He – 166 lives lost; ke/wd - 10 officers and 150 ratings lost, 141 survivors including Cdr Kennedy), survivors picked up by Swedish SS Gotaland and HM Trawler Saxon, and landed in Norway where they were interned (+J/Mn/C/Cn/D/He/bi/dk/gf/ke/po/te/un/wd; ADM.137/185, ADM.1/8429/229, ADM.1/116/1440)

North Sea

North Sea - click to enlarge 

THE RAMSEY, (J/C - Ramsey), Admiralty armed boarding steamer, 1,443/1895, Isle of Man Steam Passenger Co, Douglas-reg, hired 28/10/14, 2-12pdr, Pennant No.M.14, attached to Grand Fleet, Lt-Cdr Harry Raby RNR (Rn - Lt P Atkins RNR; gf - refers to Acting-Lt Atkins RNR as senior surviving officer), on patrol SE of Pentland Firth. After laying mines in the Moray Firth (see 7 August), Meteor, flying the Russian flag, met The Ramsey around 0600 c70 miles ENE of Kinnaird Head in 58.20N, 00.05W "but nearer to Cromarty". The Ramsey signalled the stranger to stop, closed to about 80yds to lower a boat when the German ensign was hoisted and Meteor (c2-8.8cm/2tt/375 mines) attacked with gunfire and torpedoes, The Ramsey sank in three minutes (J - torpedoed; J/D - SE of Pentland Firth; C - off Firth of Forth; dx - off Moray Firth); 53 lives lost - 5 officers including Cdr Raby, 23 ratings and 25 MMR (He – 65 lives lost, 33 survivors; gf - 54 lives), 4 officers and 39 men taken prisoner, Meteor headed back to Germany, but was scuttled next day and the British POW's released. Note: D - "The Ramsey" is in Navy Lists as "Ramsey" (+J/L/Lr/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/gf/kp; ADM.1/8430/241)

BEN ARDNA, Admiralty trawler, 187/1912, R Irvin, Aberdeen-reg A517, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, Admiralty No.289, Dover Patrol. Engaged in sweeping, mined at 1330, mine laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner) three days before, sank quickly about ¾ mile E of Elbow Buoy, off North Foreland/Broadstairs, Kent; 2 ratings lost. Note: Lloyds lists her as fishing when sunk, not in Admiralty service (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/sc/un; ADM.1/8429/224)


Monday 9 August

German auxiliary minelayer Meteor 1,912grt, ex-British Vienna seized Hamburg 4/8/14. First laid mines off north Russia, now on second mission to lay mines in North Sea, sank HMS Ramsey the day before, now in danger of interception by British light cruisers and scuttled.

North Sea

LYNX (Lynx had three funnels; below, two-funnelled sister-ship Ardent - Navy Photos), destroyer, K-class, c1300t, 1913, 3-4in/2-21in tt with 4 torpedoes, 29kts, 73 crew, Pennant No.H.71, 4th DF Grand Fleet, Cdr John Cole, on patrol with two other destroyers in Moray Firth, SE of Helmsdale. Around 0600 or 0630, explosion under No.1 boiler room,  bridge area destroyed and back broken, fore part sank almost straightaway and stern half ten minutes later. Mined, laid by Meteor off Moray Firth (He - in 58.07N, 02.38W; wi - in 58N, 03W), "position stated to be 2 miles to the northward of the mine-field as then located"; Cdr Cole, 1 officer and 61 ratings lost (Rn/gf - 3 officers and 21 men survived; He/ke/wi - 70 lost including captain, 26 survivors), survivors picked up by SS Vocana later that morning (+J/C/Cn/D/He/dk/dx/ke/sc/wi; ADM.1/8429/230, ADM.137/3603)


Tuesday 10 August

Dover Straits

Cleon, 266/1907, hired 5/15 and Equinox, 198/1899, hired 6/15 both Grimsby-reg Admiralty trawlers, at anchor close together in Dover Harbour. Zeppelin dropped bombs just after midnight, Cleon damaged, one landed near Equinox, exploded in water, funnel and sides riddled with shrapnel; three Equinox crew asleep in their bunks below were wounded; one rating died of wounds (dp - four asleep, two ratings killed outright, one dangerously wounded but recovered) (Mn/D/dp)


Thursday 12 August

Gallipoli Campaign - British offensive at Suvla.

Naval Aviation - Short Type 184 seaplanes from carrier Ben-my-Chree carried out first ever aerial torpedo attacks, launching 14in torpedoes in the Dardanelles area against Turkish ships on the 12th and 17th, results in ships sunk or damaged is uncertain.

Gallipoli Campaign

Swiftsure, battleship, Swiftsure-class, 11,800t, 4-10in/14-7.5in and Grafton, ex-1st-class protected cruiser, Edgar-class, 7,350t, 2-9.2in/10-6in, now bulged or "blister ship", providing gunfire support off Suvla beaches. Swiftsure hit by 12-pdr field gun, 5 ratings lost and 10 wounded, one of whom died, Grafton off C-beach, S of Nibrunesi Point lost 9 ratings killed and 10 wounded (Cn/da/dk)

Manica, kite balloon ship, 4,120/1900, hired 12/5/15, supporting Suvla landings. (da - 14th) - Torpedo fired by UB.8 from 500yds passed under her shallow draught (da - submarine sighted outside net, two torpedoes fired and missed Manica, hit net at acute angle and burst). Attack two days later on a similar vessels also unsuccessful (D/da/md)


Friday 13 August

U-boat Warfare - Troop transport Royal Edward was first British merchant ship sunk in Mediterranean; French ammunition ship Carthage was sunk earlier on 4 July.

Austro-Hungarian submarine U.III sunk by Italian and French warships in Strait of Otranto.

Persian Gulf

Juno, ex-2nd-class cruiser, Eclipse-class, 5,600t, 5-6in/6-4.7in, was 11th CS, arrived Persian Gulf in July, Capt D Wake. Shore party casualties were recorded for August. Apparently German-inspired trouble led to decision to occupy the whole of the island of Bushire on the Persian side of the Gulf, carried out by a small joint naval/army force commanded by Capt Wake on 13th/14th; 4 ratings killed on 13th, 1 officer DOW on 14th, 1 rating on 16th, ship presumably not damaged (Rn/Cn/dk)


Saturday 14 August

WORSLEY, Admiralty trawler, 309/1913, E C Grant, Grimsby-reg GY814, hired 1914 as minesweeper (D - 7/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel), 1-3pdr, believed Harwich-based, Lt James Feetham RNR. On patrol with a second trawler along the Suffolk coast between Sizewell and Shipwash LV, mined under the bridge at 1800, laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow) the previous day, broke in two and sank in under two minutes, one mile N of Aldeburgh Napes buoy, off Suffolk (WI - in 52.09N, 01.36.30E); Lt Feetham lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.137/3123)


Sunday 15 August

UB.4 sunk by Q-ship fishing smack lnverlyon off Yarmouth; Inverlyon was not believed damaged in the action


Monday 16 August

U-boat Raid - U.24 shelled Harrington area of Whitehaven, Cumberland and damaged benzol and naphtha works, which were out of action for four days

North Sea

JAPAN, Admiralty trawler, 205/1904, H L Taylor, Grimsby-reg GY28, hired 1915 (D - 8/14; He - 1914) as minesweeper, Admiralty No.42, Lt Richard Harcourt RNR i/c, Skipper Arthur Barber RNR, believed Harwich-based, sailed from Lowestoft or Harwich, sweeping with HMT Touchstone for UC-laid mines, both vessels clearing sweeps at 1915. Winch boat Japan heaved in sweep wire and saw it was fouled by a mine (laid by UC.6, Matthias Graf von Schmettow) only 30yd away, by the time the winch-man’s warning had been heard and acted on, the mine was only 3-4yd distant, insufficient headway was kept on using the trawler’s engines, mine blew up port-side between bridge and foremast, sinking her within 30sec off S end of Shipwash shoal, off Harwich (wi - three entries - in 51.53.28N, 01.34.29E, in 51.57N, 01.36.45E and in  51.52.40N, 01.37E); five ratings killed (He – 4 killed), two of the bodies were picked up by HMT Lord Roberts and Touchstone and landed at HMS Ganges, survivors rescued from the water within 15min (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.137/3124)

Eastern Mediterranean

B.6, (Lt C MacArthur) and B.11 (Lt N Holbrook), submarines, B-class, 287/316t, 2-18in tt, Mudros-based, from Alexandria with ABS Heroic for patrol off the Libyan/Egyptian border, information received that Turkish arms would be smuggled to Senussi tribesmen by German U-boats. Lt Holbrook attempted to land in a small boat under a flag of truce near Sollum, became suspicious and pulled back to B.11, shore group opened fire and riddled casings and bridge screens of both submarines with bullets; Lt Holbrook hit in the face by a ricochet, on B.6, ERA killed and fell overboard, CERA badly wounded, Coxswain slightly (Cn/dk/md)

Gallipoli Campaign

LUNDY, Admiralty trawler, 188/1908, Hull Steam Fishing & Ice Co, Hull-reg H993, hired 5/15, 1?3pdr, Admiralty No.1791, patrol vessel, Skipper Henry Charles Taylor RNR, in Suvla Bay, alongside SS Kalyan, taking on ammunition. Anchorage came under fire and master of the Kalyan decided to move position, slowly, with Lundy still secured. As more shells landed, one of them nearby, Kalyan increased speed and turned slightly, Lundy failed to hear the shouted warnings, her stern was dragged under the stern of the larger ship, the hull holed by the propeller, and she flooded and sank; one ratings lost (He - the engineer dying 'of shock' in the process); crew got away in their boat(s) (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw; ADM.137/3135)


Tuesday 17 August

North Sea

Princess Margaret, auxiliary minelayer, 5,934/1914, and Mentor, destroyer, M-class, 1,055t, 3-4in/2-1pdr/4-12in tt, 10th DF, Cdr E Inman. Princess Margaret escorted by two divisions of 10th DF, supported by Harwich LCS and four 4th DF destroyers, sailed to lay field off Amrun Bank, 25 miles N of Heligoland, heading S from Horns Reef LV, very dark night, sea calm, heavily overcast. Ran into division of German 2nd TBF, attacked with torpedoes, Princess Margaret missed but Mentor's bows blown away under water, steamed back to Harwich; no casualties listed. Operation called off (Rn/Cn/D/ty)

St George's Channel/Atlantic off SW England

Three Admiralty colliers, all presumably chartered (and six, probably seven more vessels) captured by U.38 (Max Valentiner) and all sunk (except one which escaped):

KIRKBY, 3,034/1891, Sir R Ropner & Co, West Hartlepool-reg, Mr W Hewison, Barry for Manchester with coal. Torpedoed by U.38, 23 miles W by S of Bardsey Isle (L/wi - 20 miles WSW of, in 52.30N, 05.10W) (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)

THE QUEEN, coastal collier, 557/1897, John Hay & Sons, Glasgow-reg, Mr D Macalister, Ayr for Devonport with coal. Sunk by gunfire, 40 miles NNE of The Smalls LH, E of Milford Haven (wi - in 52.15N, 05.05W) (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)

GLENBY, 2,196/1900, Sir R Ropner & Co, West Hartlepool-reg, Mr W Crighton, Cardiff for Archangel with coal. Sunk by gunfire, 30 miles N of The Smalls (L - 30 miles W of; wi - in 52.13N, 05.45W); two crew lost (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)


Wednesday 18 August

Baltic Sea - Action in Gulf of Riga, Russian Navy inflicted some damage on German fleet


E.13 (below, stranded - Navy Photos/Antoine), submarine, E-class, 667/807t, 22/9/14, 1-12pdr/5-18in tt with 10 torpedoes, 15kts/9kts, c30 crew, Pennant No.I.93, served at Harwich, Lt-Cdr Geoffrey Layton. Ordered with E.8 to join E.1 and E.9 in the Baltic, sailed Harwich 14th, now approaching the Sound separating Denmark from Sweden late on the 18th, and E.13 dived. (C - 3 September) - Compass failed shortly before 2300, surfaced and ran hard aground on the SE of Saltholm island between Copenhagen and Malmo in neutral waters, tried all night to get clear and at 0500 on the 19th, Danish torpedo boat Narhvalen arrived to inform the captain that there was a 24 hour limit for getting off, no assistance could be given and a guardship would anchor nearby.

German destroyer came up but left when two more Danish TB's arrived, by this time it was accepted that E.13 could not be refloated and the crew were waiting to be taken off. About 0900 (or 0930) two German destroyers approached from the south flying the signal "abandon ship immediately", the leading G.132 fired one or two torpedoes which hit the bottom and failed to damage E.13, then both opened fire with machine guns, crew jumped into the water and swam for the shore or the Danish vessels but the Germans apparently fired on them until torpedo boat Soulven interposed herself, destroyers left and surviving men picked up by the Danes; 15 ratings lost by gunfire or drowning, 23 survivors landed in Copenhagen that evening and interned, Lt-Cdr Layton and 1st Lt Paul Eddis later withdrew their parole and escaped back home. The wrecked boat was interned (Cn - 18th; J - 3 September), sold to Danish shipbreakers Petersen & Albeck December 1921 (J - 1919), BU at Copenhagen. E.8 safely reached Revel (Tallinn) (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/ke; ADM.137/146) (Casualty list, for the 19th)


POONAH, Admiralty trawler, 171/1903, Hull Steam Fishing & Ice, Hull-reg H737, hired 11/14 as minesweeper, 1?3pdr, Admiralty No.550. In collision with minesweeping trawler HMT Northward (204grt), foundered off Stromness, Orkneys (hw - in Suvla Bay); no lives lost (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/hw; ADM.137/146)

North Sea

Lilac, fleet sweeping sloop, Acacia-class, 1,200t, 2-12pdr/2-3pdr, recently joined Grand Fleet minesweeping flotilla, Lt-Cdr Leslie Fisher, sweeping Meteor-laid field in Cromarty Firth, bad weather with heavy sea running. (sc - 8th) - Stem hit mine, bows blown off nearly as far as bridge, remains hung down from keel, now drew nearly 30-40ft of water, towed by sister-ship Hollyhock into Peterhead, received new bow and rejoined flotilla some months later; 16 ratings lost (Rn/Cn/D/dk/gf/sc)

Aegean Sea

Barry, fleet messenger and store carrier, ex-excursion paddle steamer, 398/1907, hired 29/6/15 (C - as minesweeper), Pendant No.Y4.28, based at Mudros, serving as supply ship off Dardanelles, carrying supplies to Suvla Bay. In collision with hired screw minesweeper Whitby Abbey (do - ABS) in Mudros Bay, island of Lemnos, stern badly damaged and had to unload cargo, repaired by repair ship Reliance. Believed returned to duties in September carrying men, ammunition, mail and supplies to Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, often under shellfire but never hit (C/Cn/D/da/do)


Thursday 19 August

U-boat Warfare - In spite of German assurances that large passenger liners would not be attacked, British liner Arabic was sunk without warning with the loss of 2 or 3 US citizens. Strong US protests led to German claim she was zig-zagging and as a single-funnelled vessel, not easily identified as a liner. Germany shortly extended assurances to small passenger ships. Also "The Baralong Incident" - U.27 sunk by Q-ship Baralong in Atlantic off SW England; Baralong was not damaged in the action

Baltic Sea - German battlecruiser Moltke torpedoed and damaged by submarine E.1 off Gulf of Riga

Atlantic off SW England

Possibly three Admiralty-hired colliers sunk by gunfire of U.38 (Max Valentiner):

RESTORMEL, (wi - Admiralty-requisitioned collier, released for this one voyage and cargo), 2,118/1901, New Restormel SS Co, Cardiff-reg, 19 crew, Seville for Clyde with 3,300t iron ore. U.38 surfaced close by, fired two shells and ordered her to stop, crew tried to abandon ship but master headed away at full-speed. Firing continued and ship finally hove-to, crew abandoned ship and a torpedo was fired hitting her in No.2 hold. Restormel was still afloat after the sinking of the nearby Baron Erskine, the U-boat returned, fired four shells into the engine-room and she sank at 0900, 28 miles NNW of Bishop Rock, Scillies (wi - in 50.15N, 06.52W); armed yacht Rovenska arrived, forced the submarine to withdraw, the survivors were then rescued and landed at Penzance (+L/te/un/wi)

BARON ERSKINE, 5,585/1911, Hogarth Shipping Co, Ardrossan-reg, 114 crew, on Admiralty charter for this voyage, Avonmouth for New Orleans in ballast. After U.38 had shelled Restormel, the U-boat headed for the expectant Baron Erskine and fired a warning shot, she headed at full speed for Land’s End sending SOS, continued to be chased and shelled. At 0840 shrapnel brought down the radio aerial, she stopped and after the crew had taken to the boats, torpedo hit port side in the engine-room. Six more shells were fired into the hull, she went down at 0920, 25 miles NNW of Bishop Rock (wi - in 50.12N, 06.50W); ship’s boats headed for St Ives, picked up by Rovenska and landed at Penzance (+L/te/un/wi)

SAMARA (wi - Admiralty requisitioned collier No.563), 3,172/1906, MacLay & McIntyre, Glasgow-reg, sailing Colombo via Port Said for Bristol with sugar. Shelled by U.38, ship abandoned, sank 35 miles W of Bishop Rock (L - 30 miles W of; wi - 35 miles NW of, in 49.45N, 07.20W); survivors picked up by HMT Dewsland, landed at Penzance that day at 1730 (+L/te/un/wi)


"The Baralong Incident"

Admiralty collier (and a second British vessel) sunk by U.27 (Bernd Wegener). An attack on a third vessel led to U.27 being sunk by HMS Baralong:

BEN VRACKIE, Admiralty collier, 3,908/1905, Watson Brothers Shipping Co, Glasgow-reg, sailing Cardiff for Malta with coal and stores. (te/un - 18th) - Captured by U.27, sunk by gunfire 55 miles NW by N of Scillies (L - in 50.24N, 07.55W; te/un - 50.30N, 07.30W) (+L/Lr/te/un)

Nicosian, cargo steamship, 6,369/1912, Leyland Line, Liverpool, sailing New Orleans for Liverpool, carrying mules. (L - 20th) - stopped at 1500 by U.27 (Wegener), 73 miles S by W of Old Head of Kinsale (L - in 50.22N, 08.12W; dx - 50.43N, 07.22W; ge - c100 miles S of Queenstown), Q-ship Baralong was nearby, sighted Nicosian and received signals she had been captured by one or two U-boats. Baralong, headed as if to pick up Nicosian's crew from their boats, the U-boat passed behind the stopped ship to intercept the new arrival and when she appeared again, Baralong had the White Ensign hoisted and opened a heavy fire from 600yds which soon sank U.27. As Baralong picked up Nicosian's crew, Germans were seen swimming for the stopped ship and fearing they would board and scuttle her, opened fire on them in the water. Four Germans managed to reach her and disappeared below. With guns and ammunition onboard, Baralong sent her small Royal Marine contingent across to hunt them down, no doubt on a "shoot-on-sight" basis, before they could do any damage. All four were killed. Nicosian's crew returned and brought her into Bristol holed by U-boat shells. On the bases of reports by some of the American muleteers carried by Nicosian, the Germans described the incident as an atrocity and demanded the crew of Baralong be tried for murder and punished. Britain agreed to an impartial tribunal as long as the enquiry included the sinkings of liner Arabic, firing on the boats of collier Ruel and the attack on E.13 in neutral waters. The Germans dropped their demands although still threatened reprisals (+L/Rn/Mn/dx/ge/ms)


Albert Medal 1st Class, later George Cross - CPO Michael Sullivan Keogh, HMS Ark Royal, aircraft taking off from Imbros airfield, crashed and caught fire, attempted to rescue the fatally injured pilot


Saturday 21 August

Gallipoli Campaign - British offensive at Suvla

U-boat warfare - UC.5 was the first minelayer to penetrate the English Channel


Monday 23 August

North Sea

MIURA, Admiralty trawler, 257/1911, Neale & West, Cardiff-reg CF36, hired 1914 (D - 2/15; He - 1915) as auxiliary patrol vessel, 1-3pdr or 6pdr, Admiralty No.979, Lt Leslie Kersey RNR. On patrol off Great Yarmouth, explosion on starboard quarter at 1245, heeled over, righted, then slowly settled by the stern, sank off Yarmouth, Norfolk (wi - in 52.36.16N, 01.54.20E). Not known if she had been mined or torpedoed although survivors gave evidence that a U-boat was involved. Most sources list her as mined, Hepper as torpedoed. In either case, the submarine involved was UB.2 (Werner Fürbringer); 11 ratings lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/ap/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.137/3125)

Belgian Coast

Albyn, ex-Albion, paddle minesweeper, 363/1893, hired 26/5/15, 1-6pdr AA, one of the first six hired paddlers to arrive at Dover 14/7/15 as the Dover Paddlers, Lt A Daniels RNR i/c, night before swept ahead of monitors for Zeebrugge shoot, now daylight on 23rd, returning to Dover. (do - 22nd) - Attacked by German seaplane, a reported seven bombs dropped in two groups, avoided by helm and engine changes. During many subsequent operations, the paddle minesweepers with their broad beam often became the focus of German air attacks; it was reported on 10 June 1916 that "The paddle sweepers at Dunkirk... (had their routine work) enlivened on most days by attacks from hostile aircraft" (D/do/sc)

Atlantic off SW Ireland

One, possibly two Admiralty-chartered vessels stopped by U.38 (Max Valentiner) and sunk with bombs off Fastnet Rock, off Co Cork:

SILVIA, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 5,268/1913, Oil Tank SS Co, Liverpool-reg, 41 crew, Mr J Prouse, Halifax (NS) for Queenstown with 6,600t fumace fuel oil. U.38 sighted two miles away on starboard beam at 1100, started shelling, tanker stopped and abandoned, U-boat closed, boarded and placed charges in engine room, pulled off a short distance and opened fire after they had exploded, Silvia sank at 1215, 47 miles W of (L/wi - 40 miles W of, in 51.07N, 10.46W), ship's confidential papers thrown overboard by Master in weighted bag; survivors picked up by armed trawler at 1900, landed at Berehaven (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)

TRAFALGAR, 4,572/1911, Glasgow-reg, Glasgow Shipowners, 31 crew, Mr W Peter (wi - on Admiralty charter), Mejillones for Clyde with nitrates. Sunk 54 miles SW by W of (L - 54 miles SW of; wi - in 50.39N, 10.27W) (+L/te/un/)


Wednesday 25 August

Eastern Front - Austro-Germans captured Brest-Litovsk


Thursday 26 August

North Sea

JASPER, Admiralty-owned trawler, 221/1912, previously Kingston Steam Trawling, purchased by Admiralty pre-war, 1-6pdr, Admiralty No.164, commissioned as minesweeper, Lt William St Clair Fleming RNR. Taking part in sweeping field laid by German auxiliary minelayer Meteor in Moray Firth, mined at 0935 and sank quickly (He - 58.13N, 02.22W; wi - in 58N, 03W); 8 ratings killed (He – 7 died; wi - 11) (+Mn/C/D/He/dk/wi; ADM.1/8431/250)


Saturday 28 August

North Sea

DANE, Admiralty trawler, 265/1913, 'D' Line Steam Fishing, Grimsby-reg GY947, hired 4/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.1446, believed Harwich-based, Lt Parker RNR. Mined at 0750, laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow), sank about 1 mile NW of North Aldeburgh Napes buoy, off Suffolk (wi - 2½m ESE of Thorpe Ness, in 52.10.08N, 01.41.06E); 4 ratings lost and 1 more DOW (wi - 8 killed) (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8431/251)

Irish Sea

DOLORES, naval motor boat, ex-high speed pleasure motor boat, 12grt, hired 1914, serving with Motor Boat Reserve as HM Motor Boat No.55 (number also used by motor boat Arabian), armed with rifles/small arms, manned by RNVR crew, Sub?Lt Harold Bishop Mylchreest RNR in command. Caught fire, burnt to the waterline and sank alongside the quay in Douglas Harbour, Isle of Man (wi - in 54.08.45N, 04.28.05W); no lives lost (+D/He/dk/wi)


Sunday 29 August

North Sea

C.29, submarine, C-class, c290/320t, 1909, 2?18in tt with 4 torpedoes, 13/7½kts, 16 crew, Pennant No.I.59, Rosyth-based 7th Flotilla, Lt William Schofield, on anti-U-boat patrol with decoy trawler Ariadne, submerged, in tow and in telephone contact with Ariadne. Underwater explosion and tow rope went slack, mined off the Humber near Outer Dowsing LV (bw - 53.59N, 01.25E), accidentally towed into British minefield laid in January; 2 officers and 15 ratings lost (He – all 16 crew lost), no survivors (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/dx/go/ke/on)




Wednesday 1 September

Auxiliary Patrol - First 6 Elco-built ML's reached Portsmouth, overhauled and carried out trials, ML's 1, 2, 3 commissioned at Portsmouth on 14 October

North Sea

Two Admiralty trawlers, both Grimsby-reg and Harwich-based (and one steamship), mined and sunk in field laid by UC.7 (Franz Wäger) the day before off the Shipwash, off Orford Ness:

NADINE, Admiralty trawler, 150/1898, Orient Steam Fishing, GY138, hired 11/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Pennant No.693, tender to HMS Ganges, shore training establishment at Shotley, Suffollk, Skipper Percy Michael Saunders RNR. Sank off North Shipwash Buoy (wi - 52.01.18N, 01.37.35E); Skipper and 8 ratings lost (He – 3 survivors) (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8432/257)

MALTA (1) Admiralty trawler, 138/1897, W Grant, GY325, hired 11/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Pennant No.700, had operated with submarine C.33 as trawler-submarine decoy, Skipper Frank McPherson RNR. Sank 2 cables NW of North Shipwash Buoy (wi - in 52.01.18N, 01.37.35E); 7 ratings lost (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/qs/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8432/259)


Friday 3 September

North Sea

CHURSTON, Admiralty collier, 2,470/1914, Wilton SS Co, Dartmouth-reg, Mr W Martin, from Cardiff with 2,310t Welsh coal. Mined at 0850, laid by UC.7 (Franz Wäger), tugs attempted to take her in tow but weather too bad, finally sank at 1300, 2½m S of Orford Ness (W/te - in 52.01N, 01.38E); four crew lost, survivors picked up by naval patrol vessel (+L/Lr/sc/te/un/wi)


Saturday 4 September

U-boat Warfare - SS Natal Transport was the first recorded British merchant ship lost in the Mediterranean to a U-boat

North Sea

Dahlia, fleet sweeping sloop, Acacia-class, 1,200t, 2-12pdr/2-3pdr, Grand Fleet minesweeping flotilla, Lt G Parsons, sweeping Meteor-laid field in Cromarty Firth. (Rn - 2nd) - Mined and very badly damaged, bows blown off but ship saved and repaired; 3 ratings killed, one missing and one died of wounds, Lt Parsons severely injured (Rn/Cn/D/dk/gf/sc)

Atlantic off SW Ireland

Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler (and a British steamship) captured off Fastnet Rock and sunk by U.33 (Konrad Gansser), then on passage for the Dardanelles:

CYMBELINE, 4,505/1902, Bear Creek Oil & Shipping Co (C T Bowring & Co), Liverpool-reg, Port Arthur for Dartmouth with oil. Sunk by torpedo 96 miles W by S of (H/te/un - also 29 miles W by S of; un – in 51.16N, 12.04W); six crew lost (+L/Mn/Lr/te/un)


E.7, submarine, E-class, 655/796t, 1913, 1-12pdr/4-18in tt with 8 torpedoes, 15/9kts, 30 crew, Pennant No.I.87, fitted with 6pdr in 1915, Lt-Cdr Archibald Cochrane, attempting to break through Dardanelles defences to Sea of Marmara to relieve E.11 and partner E.7, set out from Kephalo Bay at 0200 on 4th. Reached Nagara Point at 0700, starboard propeller fouled anti-submarine net, struggled for 12 hours to get free, blowing and flooding tanks and manouevring, which only alerted the defences. Lt Heino von Hemburg, commander of UB.14 (ke - U.14) was rowed out to the approximate position, reportedly by the boat's cook, with one or more small mines which were lowered and detonated near the trapped submarine. According to Hepper, the first mine exploded at 1030 shaking the boat, and a second at 1840 which broke lights and other equipment. Lt Cochrane accepted E.7 would be destroyed, burnt the confidential papers, prepared for scuttling, came to the surface and blew her up (C/Cn - on 5th); no lives lost, all 38 crew saved, taken to Constantinople as POW's (+J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/bw/dk/go/ke)


Tuesday 7 September

Belgian Coast

Attentive, scout cruiser, Adventure-class, 2,670t, c9-4in/2-14in tt, 6th DF leader, Capt Johnson, in support of Dover Patrol bombardment force preparing to carry out Ostend shoot, forced to wait for haze to clear. Bombed by aircraft, Attentive hit on deck, one 4in gun disabled; two men killed and seven wounded (Rn/Cn/D/dk/dp/dq)


Wednesday 8 September

Dover Straits

Leven, destroyer, C-class, 420t, Dover Patrol, dark night. In collision with transport carrying 2,000 troops, bow flattened, found drifting broadside in heavy swell in the direction of Boulogne by destroyer Viking, taken in tow stern-first into Dover assisted by destroyer Tartar and tug Lady Crundall (Cn/D/dp/gr)


Thursday 9 September

North Sea

BALAKANI, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 3,696/1899, Petroleum SS Co, London-reg, Mr F White, Port Arthur for London with oil fuel. Mined, laid by UC.1 (Egon von Werner), sank ½m SW of South Longsand Buoy, off Clacton (L/te - 51.31.15N, 01.20E; wi - ½m SW by S of, in 51.31.11N, 01.20.57E); six crew lost (+L/Lr/te/un/wi)


Friday 10 September

North Sea

Fearless, scout cruiser, Active-class, 4,000t, 1st DF leader, Harwich Force, sailing with battlecruiser force supporting minelaying operation in the Heligoland Bight on the night of 10th/11th. Collided with unidentified destroyer during mining, Fearless sustained "considerable damage"; but apparently no deaths. Kindell confirms that Fearless was in collision with destroyer Hydra, also 1st DF and that the the cruiser lost two men killed with two more dying of injuries, and Hydra, one man killed (Cn/dk/gf/gr)


Saturday 11 September

Atlantic W of Scotland

Patia, 6,103/1913, hired 21/11/14 and Oropesa, 5,364/1895, hired 22/11/14 (later French Champagne), armed merchant cruisers, 10th CS, on patrol W of Hebrides at night. In collision about 2200, both sent to Clyde for repairs, Oropesa damaged from waterline to upper deck at point of impact and leaking, Patia's stem badly damaged, escorted in by AMC Ebro and later a destroyer and trawlers, attacked by U-boat on passage (Mn/D/bi/gf/gr)


Tuesday 14 September

Dover Straits

CITY OF DUNDEE, Admiralty trawler, 269/1914, Fleetwood-reg FD4, T F Kelsall, hired 11/14 as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.678, Lt Albert Coles DSC RNR, Dover Patrol. In collision with Dutch steamship Patroclus, nearly cut in two and began to sink at once, going down off Folkestone, Kent at 1900; Warrant Officer and 6 ratings lost, Lt Coles was on the upper bridge at the time, became entangled in signal halliards and nearly pulled down, reached the surface, swam to a raft and pulled on board three other men, survivors picked up after hour and a half in the water (+Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/ft/sc; ADM.137/151)


Wednesday 15 September

U.6 sunk by British submarine E.16 off Stavanger, Norway


Thursday 16 September

North Sea

Warspite, dreadnought, Queen Elizabeth-class, 31,500t, completed 3/15, 5th BS Grand Fleet. Damaged by grounding off Dunbar in the Firth of Forth, repaired (Cn - at Rosyth 17/9-20/11/15; gf - Tyne), rejoined 5th BS on 23/11/15 (Cn/gf/gr)


Saturday 18 September

Eastern Front - Germans captured Vilna by 19th.

U-boat Warfare - following US protests over the sinking of Arabic (19 August) and Hesperian (4 September) and because of limited success with the unrestricted submarine campaign, the Germans decided that by the end of September U-boats should: (1) stop attacks off the west coast of the British Isles and in the English Channel; (2) carry out attacks in the North Sea strictly according to prize rules; (3) transfer their main area of operations to the Mediterranean where there was less chance of meeting US ships or killing their citizens. There were no shipping losses to U-boat attack in the restricted areas in October and November, although they restarted in December.

Dover Straits

Admiralty trawler (and two other British vessels) mined, all believed laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow) three days before:

LYDIAN, Admiralty trawler, 244/1908, S A Laycock, Milford Haven-reg M232, hired 1915 (D - 8/14) as auxiliary patrol vessel, Admiralty No.162, Dover Patrol, Skipper James Charles Phillips. Sank at 1100 off South Foreland, near Dover, Kent (He - off Leathercoat Point, St Margaret's Bay; wi - in 51.08N, 01.27E); Skipper and 7 ratings lost, 2 survivors (+L/Lr/C/D/He/dk/dq/sc/un/wi; ADM.1/8434/279, ADM.137/152)

Gallipoli Campaign

Swiftsure, battleship, Swiftsure-class, 11,890t, proceeding Mudros for Suvla. Believed attacked by U-boat - possibly U.21, but not recorded in German Official History (Rn/Cn/D/ge)


Monday 20 September

Central Mediterranean

LINKMOOR, Admiralty collier, 4,306/1914, Moor Line, London-reg, sailing Lemnos for Malta with coal. Captured by U.35 (Waldermar Kophamel), sunk by gunfire 50 miles W of Cape Matapan (L/te - in 36.16N, 21.18E) (+L/Lr/te/un)


Thursday 23 September

North Sea

Christopher, destroyer, K-class, 1,300t, 4th DF Grand Fleet. In collision with armed boarding vessel King Orry 1,877grt in fog, Christopher damaged (D/Cn/gf/gr)


Friday 24 September

U.41 sunk by Q-ship steamer Baralong in Atlantic, 90 miles W of Ushant, Baralong was not damaged in the action, her second success in five weeks

Belgian Coast

Southern North Sea and Dover Straits (with later defences)
click maps to enlarge

GREAT HEART (may be spelt Greatheart or Great Hart), Admiralty drifter, 78/1911, Inverness-reg INS233, hired 6/15 as net drifter, Admiralty No.1395, Dover Patrol, Skipper William Davidson RNR. Sailed with other drifters to screen monitors that were due to carry out a bombardment of Ostend and Zeebrugge - apparently streaming her buoyed nets as protection against submarine attack. Just off Dover, sunk by explosion (He - about 2 miles off harbour entrance; wi - in 51N, 01.20E), cause unknown at the time, and probably considered due to one of her own net mines. Now confirmed mined, laid by UC.6 (Matthias Graf von Schmettow), two days earlier; Skipper and 7 ratings lost. Admiralty yacht Sanda was lost next day as part of the bombardment force (+L/Rn/C/D/He/dk/dq/un/wi; ADM.1/8434/284)


Saturday 25 September

Western Front - Battle of Loos to 8 October; Second Battle of Champagne to 6 November

Belgian Coast

SANDA, ex-St Serf, Admiralty yacht, 300/1906, hired 26/1/15 as auxiliary patrol vessel, 2-6pdr, Pennant No.073, Dover Patrol, Lt-Cdr Henry Gartside-Tipping RN Rtd, aged over 70 in August 1914, volunteered for war service, “the oldest naval officer serving at sea”. Sailed in company with monitor bombardment force including Prince Eugene and General Crauford evening of 24th for Zeebrugge shoot, to start on 25th at 0700 in support of attack by British Army. Sanda was screening net drifters, shore batteries started replying at 0900. Hit near the deckhouse and sunk, probably by 8in shell from German batteries at Blankenberghe around 0915; 4 officers including the captain, 5 ratings and 4 MN lost (Rn - 12 officers and men lost; ap - 4 officers, 11 men killed or missing), survivors rescued by drifter Fearless (+J/Rn/C/D/he/ap/dk/dp/dq; ADM.1/8437/315)


Monday 27 September

Mesopotamian Campaign - First Battle of Kut/Kut al Imara/Amara on the River Tigris by British/Indian forces advancing from Amara, taken on 28th. Armed paddle launch-tug Comet, and armed launches Shaitan, Sumana took part

 off N Scotland

CARIBBEAN, Admiralty accommodation ship, ex-passenger ship, 5,820/1890, Royal Mail Steam Packet Co, London-reg, hired 19/11/14 as armed merchant cruiser, accommodation ship 6/15, now fitted out as receiving ship for dockyard workmen, Cdr Henry Bethune in command, sailed from Liverpool on passage for Scapa Flow in “extremely heavy weather”. Shipped a lot of water and got into difficulties off Cape Wrath, sent out SOS in the afternoon of the 26th, light cruiser Birkenhead and tugs came out from Scapa and tried to tow her to safety, foundered around 0730 on the 27th (He - in 58.14N 05.42W); most of crew taken off early hours of 27th, but 15 lives lost - 6 ratings, 7 MN and 2 canteen staff (Lr/C/Cn/D/He/bi/wd/dk; ADM.156/16)


Tuesday 28 September

Central Mediterranean

H. C. HENRY, Admiralty chartered red-ensign oiler, 4,219/1909, Steamer "H C Henry" Co, Vancouver (BC)-reg, sailing London/Alexandria for Mudros with tar oil. Captured by U.39 (Walter Forstmann), sunk by gunfire 59 miles S½E of Cape Matapan, Greece (L - 30 miles SW of Cerigotto Is/Anti-Kythera) (+L/Lr/te/un)

Mesopotamian Campaign

Comet (1), armed paddle launch-tug, 144t. Only a boom which included a dhow and two iron barges at the centre appeared to prevent the final capture of Kut. Comet (Lt-Cdr Cookson, on the books of sloop Clio), Shaitan and Sumana steamed up under heavy rifle and machine gun fire, Comet went ahead to ram the dhow, failed to break through, gunfire also failed, Lt-Cdr Cookson jumped onto the dhow with an axe to try to cut the wire hawsers securing her, was riddled with bullets from close-range and killed, no other lives lost. The gunboats sank the dhow with gunfire and all retired. Early next day, the Turks had gone, the boom was dismantled and Kut occupied. Lt-Cdr Edgar Christopher Cookson DSO was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (Rn/D/dk/vc)


Wednesday 29 September

Western Front - French captured crest of Vimy Ridge


Thursday 30 September 1914

Mesopotamian Campaign

Shaitan and Sumana, launches, both armed with 3pdrs, with Comet continued to chase the retreating Turks north from Kut up the increasingly shoaling River Tigris. By the 30th Shaitan was fast aground near Kut and Sumana had broken both rudders by grounding, only Comet remained in action (D/Rn)

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