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London Gazette Naval Minesweeping Despatch
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Relevant chapter from "History of the Great War - Naval Operations"


Volume 2 by Corbett


II. The Raid on the Yorkshire Coast, December 16


including plans, below and right

The Raid on the Yorkshire Coast, No 2 (6.4Mb)


(click to enlarge plans or follow links to text)

Strategical Plan of the Raid on the Yorkshire Coast, England


Bombardment of Hartlepool, England





Wednesday 16 December 1914

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 Blücher were to bombard Hartlepool, battlecruisers Derfflinger and Von der Tann to bombard Scarborough then Whitby, 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.


The Attacking German Warships

(images, all Maritime Quest except one)

Hartlepool Group

SMS Seydlitz, battlecruiser

SMS Moltke, battlecruiser


SMS Blucher, armoured cruiser

  Scarborough and Whitby Group   Minelaying  

SMS Derfflinger, battlecruiser


SMS Von der Tann, battlecruiser


SMS Kolberg (Cyberheritage/Terry Phillips)


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 (above), 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 Acasta or K-class destroyers, c1,300t, 3-4in/2-21in tt:




HMS Lynx (Photo Ships)


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)


HMS Ambuscade (Photo Ships)


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)


HMS Hardy (Photo Ships)


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 died, 1 officer and 14 ratings wounded (Rn/D/ap/dk/gf)


(2) Attack on Hartlepool


As Seydlitz, Moltke and Blücher 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 Blücher several times:


HMS Doon (Photo Ships)


Doon, E-class, 615t, 4-12pdr/2-18in tt, Lt-Cdr H Fraser. One rating died and 11 wounded, of whom one later DOW (Rn - 3 killed, 6 wounded) (Rn/D/dk)


HMS Patrol (CyberHeritage)


Patrol, Pathfinder-class scout cruiser, 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 Blücher, 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 died and 4 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.







Saturday 19 December


Three days after the Yorkshire Raid, minesweeping gunboats Skipjack (left - Photo Ships), 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)



Sunday 20 December


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)



Friday 25 December


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)



Wednesday 6 January 1915


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)



(click for source abbreviations)



With thanks to the London Gazette



Gazette No. 29076 - 16 FEBRUARY 1915



Admiralty, 19th February, 1915


The following Memorandum has been furnished by the Admiral Commanding the East Coast Minesweepers, detailing the recent mine-sweeping operations off Scarborough.



From the 19th to the 31st December sweeping operations were conducted by the East Coast Mine sweepers with the object of clearing the minefield which had been laid by the enemy off Scarborough.


At the beginning there was no indication of the position of the mines, although owing to losses of passing merchant ships it was known that a minefield had been laid.


In order to ascertain how the mines lay it was necessary to work at all times of tide with a consequent large increase in the element of danger


The following officers are specially noticed for their services during the operations:

Commander Richard H Walters, R N, A M S Staff, was in charge of the whole of the mine sweeping operations from 19th to 31st December. During this period a large number of mines were swept up and destroyed. By the 25th December, a channel had been cleared, and traffic was able to pass through by daylight.


Commander (now Captain) Lionel G Preston, RN, HMS "Skipjack," on the 19th December, proceeded at once into the middle of the area where the mines had exploded to give assistance to the damaged trawlers. He anchored between the trawlers and the mines which had been brought to the surface, and proceeded to sunk them


Lieutenant Godfrey Craih Parsons, R N , HMS "Pekin," displayed, great skill and devotion to duty in continuing to command his group of trawlers after having been mined in Trawler No 58 on 19th December. On this day his group exploded eight mines, and brought to the surface six more, Trawler No 99 being blown up and Nos 58 and 465 damaged, all in the space of about 10 minutes.


Lieutenant H Boothby, R N R, HMS "Pekin".  When Trawler No 99 ("Orianda") in which he was serving was blown up by a mine on the 19th December, Lieutenant Boothby successfully got all his crew (except one who was killed) into safety.  Lieutenant Boothby was again blown up on 6th January, 1915, in Trawler No 450 ("The Banyers").


Lieutenant C. V. Crossley, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Pekin". Whilst sweeping on 19th December, three violent explosions occurred close under the stern of his ship, Trawler No. 465 (“Star of Britain”). He controlled the crew, and himself crawled into a confined space near the screw shaft, discovered the damage, and temporarily stopped the leak sufficiently to enable the pumps to keep the water down and save the ship.

Believed to be HMS Solon, 295grt, built 1912,
but possibly in World War 2 (Photo Ships)

Skipper T. Trendall, R.N.T.R., Trawler "Solon," No.55, on his own responsibility went to the assistance of the Steamer "Gallier," which had just been mined on the night of 25th December. It was low water at the time and dark, and the "Gallier" was showing no lights, so had to be searched for in the mine field.


Skipper Ernest V. Snowline, R.N.T.R., Drifter "Hilda and Ernest," No. 201, carried out his duties as Commodore of the Flotilla of Lowestoft drifters under Chief Gunner Franklin, R.N., in a most satisfactory manner. He kept to his station in heavy weather, standing by the S.S. "Gallier" after she had been damaged by a mine.


Lieutenant W. G. Wood, R.N.R., Trawler "Restrivo," No. 48, did excellent work in going to the assistance of damaged trawlers on 19th December, and performed the risky duty of crossing the mine field at low water when sent to bring in the "Valiant," which had been disabled by a mine.


Skipper George W. Thornton, R.N.T.R., Trawler "Passing," No. 58, displayed great coolness and rendered valuable assistance to Lieutenant Parsons in controlling the crew when No. 58 had been mined.


Skipper William Allerton, R.N.T.R., Drifter "Eager," No. 202, kept to his station in heavy weather, standing by the S.S. "Gallier" after she had been damaged by a mine.


Sub-Lieutenant W. L. Scott, R.N.R., Drifter "Principal," went alongside the Trawler "Garmo" in a dinghy to rescue a man at considerable risk to himself and his boat, as the vessel was floating nearly vertical at the time, with only the forecastle above water. She turned completely over and sank a few minutes after he left her.


Skipper Thomas B. Belton, R.N.T.R., Drifter "Retriever," No. 223, kept to his station, marking the safe channel for shipping when all other drifters were driven in by the weather.

The following are also commended for Good Service done under dangerous conditions:

Robert A. Gray, Engineman, R.N.R. No. 694ES, M.S.Tr. No. 465.

William A. Lewis, P.O., 1cl., O.N. 178498,. M.S.Tr. No. 450.

Christopher Briggs, Engineman, R.N.R. No. 1542ES, M.S.Tr. No. 450.

William Gladding, Cook, R.N.R. No.223T.C., M.S.Tr. No. 450.

Robert Frost, Second Hand, R.N.R. No.81D.A., M.S.Tr. No. 43.

Edwin F. Frankland, Deck Hand, R.N.R. No. 2481D.A.,.M.S.Tr. No. 49.

George Newman, Engineman, R.N.R, No. 625ES, M.S.Tr.No.451.

William R. Kemp, Engineman, R.N.R. No. 846ES, M.S.Tr. No. 49.



 - Killed, Died and Wounded

With thanks to Don Kindell





Wednesday, 16 December 1914



Doon, old destroyer, damaged by German battlecruisers in raid on Hartlepool, one rating died of wounds next day




 FRASER, James, Stoker 1c, SS 109383 (Ch)




 Bodiam, Albert, Victor, Leading Seaman, 222793 (Ch), slightly

 Credland, Harold, Able Seaman, 177695 (Ch), DOW next day

 Gale, Clifford Alfred, Stoker 1c, K 12925 (Ch)

 Hawkridge, Frederick William, Mate,

 Horne, William Frederick, Able Seaman, J 6275 (Ch)

 Jacob, Edward Charles, Leading Seaman, 234400 (Ch)

 Maver, Renwick Graham, Able Seaman, 181417 (Ch)

 May, Frederick George, Stoker 1c, K 3570 (Ch)

 Milne, James, Stoker 1c, 291911 (Ch), slightly

 Moynihan, John, Stoker 1c, K 9032 (Ch)

 Watts, William, Stoker 1c, K 14524 (Ch), slightly



Hardy, destroyer, damaged in action during raid




 RIGSBY, Harold H, Leading Seaman, 212189 (Po), DOW

 WOOLGAR, George W, Able Seaman, J 5689 (Po)




 Adlam, Henry James, Able Seaman, 209445 (Po)

 Atkins, George, Stoker 1c (RFR B 9628), SS 107000 (Ch)

 Bailey, James Albert, Stoker Petty Officer, 290613 (Po)

 Belton, Philip John, Leading Seaman, 228011 (Po)

 Chapple, Edwin John, Leading Signalman, 212392 (Po), severely

 Goulding, William, Able Seaman, J 5417 (Po)

 Greiffenhagen, Rider M W, Sub Lieutenant,

 Johnson, John Walter, Signalman, J 6110 (Po)

 Ledley, Alfred William, Able Seaman, J 12133 (Po)

 Lewis, Jesse Gordon, Able Seaman, 217891 (Po)

 Manser, Thomas George, Able Seaman, J 11678 (Po), severely

 Myers, John, Stoker 1c, SS 111735 (Po)

 Niven, W J, Engine Room Artificer, RNR, 1196 E A, slightly injured

 Plackett, Samuel Sidney, Stoker 1c, SS 111988 (Po)

 Watts, Edward Charles, Able Seaman, 205399 (Po)



Patrol, light cruiser, damaged by German battlecruisers in raid on Hartlepool




 CUMMINGS, Ernest C, Able Seaman, J 8662 (Ch)

 FLYNN, George M (real name, but served as George M Martin), Armourer's Crew, 345449 (Ch)

 HOOK, Ralph W, Leading Seaman, 224557 (Ch)

 SHERIDAN, Patrick J, Engine Room Artificer 1c, 280091 (Ch)




 Gilbert, Charles, Stoker 1c, K 12645 (Ch)

 Mcclure, Robert, Shipwright 2c, 344936 (Ch)

 Pace, William James, Leading Seaman, 227986 (Ch)

 Richmond, Robert Henry, Engine Room Artificer 3c, M 1367 (Ch)



HM Coast Guard Station Whitby

 RANDELL, Frederick, Boatman (Coast Guard), 301408 (Po), kill in raid.





Thursday, 17 December 1914


Doon, old destroyer, damaged on 16th

 CREDLAND, Harold, Able Seaman, 177695 (Ch), DOW






Saturday, 19 December 1914


Orianda, hired trawler, minesweeper, mined and sunk in North Sea

 WILSON, James, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 546



Sunday, 20 December 1914


Garmo, hired trawler, auxiliary patrol, mined and sunk in North Sea

 BERRY, Thomas W, Able Seaman (RFR B 8968), SS 2084 (Ch)

 GILBERT, Thaddeus, Ty/Skipper, RNR, died of wounds

 HARE, John R, Cook, RNR, TC 146

 HARRIS, Thomas G, Able Seaman (RFR B 10043), SS 2550 (Ch)

 SPARROW, Walter R, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 1999

 THORNTON, Joseph W, 2nd Hand, RNR, SA 58


Friday, 25 December 1914


Night Hawk, hired trawler, minesweeper, mined and sunk in North Sea

 CHAPPLE, Alfred W J, Engineman, RNR, ES 25

 CHURCH, Joseph, Trimmer, RNR, TS 198

 HEARNE, Arthur H, Trimmer, RNR, TS 43

 HUBBARD, George H, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 324

 ROWBOTHAM, William H, Engineman, RNR, ES 42

 SHEARSMITH, Thomas H, Cook, RNR, TC 108



Wednesday, 6 January 1915


Banyers or The Banyers, hired trawler, minesweeper, mined and sunk in North Sea

 STRICKLAND, Thomas, 2nd Hand, RNR, 526 SA

 THIRKETTLE, Albert W, Deck Hand, RNR, 1303 DA




With thanks to the London Gazette


Many of the honours and gallantry awards listed in the London Gazette do not identify ships or battles/campaigns. Therefore the following listings will be incomplete



Gazette 29076 - 16 FEBRUARY 1915


East Coast Minesweeping Operations


The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointment to the Distinguished Service Order and for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross in respect of the undermentioned Officers, in recognition of their services mentioned in the foregoing despatch (above):


To be a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.

 Lieutenant H. Boothby, R.N.R.


To receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

 Lieutenant C. V. Crossley, R.N.R.

 Skipper T. Trendall, R.N.T.R.

 Skipper Ernest V. Snowline, R.N.T.R.


To receive the Distinguished Service Medal.

 Robert A. Gray, Engineman, R.N.R., No. 694ES.

 William A. Lewis, Petty Officer, 1st Class, O.N.178498.

 Christopher Briggs, Engineman, R.N.R., No. 1542ES.

 William Gladding, Cook, R.N.R., No. 223TC.

 Robert Frost, Second Hand, R.N.R., No. 81DA.



29123 - 9 APRIL 1915


To receive the Distinguished Service Medal


For services rendered in action off Hartlepool on 16th December, 1914

 John Walter Johnson, Signalman, O.N. J 6110, H.M.S. "Hardy."




to those listed in the above Despatch



29423 - 31 DECEMBER 1915


..... promotions in and appointments to the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, in recognition of the Services of the undermentioned Officers during the War:


To be Additional Members of the Military Division of the Third Class, or Companions, of the said Most Honourable Order:


Captain Lionel George Preston, R.N.



..... appointments to the Distinguished Service Order ..... in recognition of their bravery and devotion to duty during minesweeping and mine-laying operations: 


To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order.


Commander (Acting Captain) Richard Huth Walters, R.N.



29374 - 19 NOVEMBER 1915




The KING has further been graciously pleased to give orders for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned Officers:


Lieutenant Godfrey Craik Parsons, R.N. In recognition of his consistently gallant behaviour, whilst engaged in mine-sweeping operations, and particularly on the 4th September, 1915, when, the vessel in which he was serving having struck a mine and Lieutenant Parsons himself having been crippled by severe wounds, he nevertheless crawled from the bridge to the boat-deck to obtain assistance for another Officer who was lying unconscious on the bridge.



29264 - 13 AUGUST 1915



NAVAL DESPATCH dated 1 July 1915


To receive the Distinguished Service Medal,


For services during the attack on minefields under fire:


Engineman, R.N.R. (Trawler Section), Wm. Richard Kemp, O.N. 846, E.S.


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