SMS Konigsberg's Career in Outline
Action in Outline
London Gazette Naval
Royal Navy Casualties
- killed and died
Royal Navy Gallantry
"History of the Great War - Naval
Operations", Volumes 1 & 2 only
Volume 1 by Corbett
The Eastern Fleet
– from the Opening of the War to the
Intervention of Japan
Reappearance of the
Karlsruhe, Emden and
Redistribution after Coronel and
the Turkish Intervention – Fate of the
Koenigsberg, Emden and Karlsruhe
Volume 2 by Corbett
the Oversea Expeditions and Commerce
Defence In the Outer Seas
plan, top right
3 Chapter to be added
log books of
Mersey, 1915-17, including the Action
Severn, 1915-19, including the Action
Navy Single Ship Action - Mersey
and Severn v KŐNIGSBERG 1915
S.M.S. "Konigsberg" in the Rufiji Delta
of the Rufigi River, East Africa,
from "The Navy Everywhere"
by Conrad Gato.
- Bottling up the "Konisgberg"
to chapter in text)
CAREER in OUTLINE
Tuesday 4 August 1914
German Warships at
East African Waters
- light cruiser Königsberg
3,814t, 10-4.1in, sank one merchant ship
of 6,601grt and old protected cruiser
Pegasus (Photo Ships)
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 Königsberg (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 Königsberg 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, Königsberg 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. Königsberg 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. Königsberg
returned to the Rufuji
River delta and was not discovered there
until the end of October
of the HMS Pegasus wounded in hospital
to Alison Drewery, whose Great Grandfather
Whitton can be seen standing in the centre
cruiser Königsberg located in Rufuji River
delta by HMS Chatham.
- Photo Ships),
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 Königsberg. 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 Königsberg could
reach the sea 10 miles away
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
Tanganyika. Hepper, possibly in error,
reports that “light
cruiser Pyramus later closed and
destroyed her where she lay”
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
ACTION IN OUTLINE
(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
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 (Cn/Rn/dx)
for source abbreviations)
wrecked, abandoned and also disarmed SMS
Königsberg. Her guns,
especially the 4.1in went on to play
an important part in the German land
campaign in East Africa (CyberHeritage/Terry
thanks to the London Gazette
29395 - 7
GERMAN CRUISER “KÖNIGSBERG”
dated 15 July 1915
8th December, 1915.
following Despatch has been received from
the Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope
Be pleased to lay before their Lordships the
following report of the operations against,
the "Konigsberg" on the 6th and 11th
accordance with orders issued by me, the
various vessels concerned took up their
appointed stations on the 5th July, in
readiness for the operations on the
4.15 a.m. on the 6th July, H.M.S. "Severn,"
Captain Eric J. A. Fullerton, R.N., and
H.M.S. "Mersey," Commander Robert A. Wilson,
weighed and proceeded across the bar into
the Kikunja branch of the Rufiji river,
which they entered about 5.20 a.m.
"Severn" was anchored head and stern and
fire was opened on the "Konigsberg" by 6.30
a.m. The "Mersey" was similarly moored and
opened fire shortly after.
Monitors were fired on with 3-pounders,
pom-poms and machine-guns when entering the
river and on their way up, and they replied
to the fire.
5.25 a.m. an aeroplane, with
Flight-Commander Harold E. M. Watkins as
pilot, and carrying six bombs, left the
aerodrome on Mafia Island. The bombs were
dropped at the "Konigsberg" with the
intention of hampering any interference she
might attempt with the Monitors while they
were getting into position.
5.40 a.m. another aeroplane, with
Flight-Commander John T. Cull as pilot, and
Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harwood J. Arnold as
observer, left the aerodrome for the purpose
of spotting for the Monitors.
5.45 a.m. I transferred my Flag to the
"Weymouth," Captain Denis B. Crampton,
M.V.O., and at 6.30 a.m. proceeded across
the bar, with the Whalers "Echo" and " Fly "
sweeping, and the "Childers" sounding ahead;
the "Pyramus," Commander Viscount Kelburn,
being in company.
"Weymouth" grounded on the bar for a few
minutes on the way across, but soon came off
with the rising tide, and advanced as far as
the entrance to the river, where she
from small guns was opened on her, and on
the Whalers, from the shore, but beyond one
shell, which struck the "Fly," no damage was
sustained. A few rounds from the 6-inch guns
put a stop to the firing, although it was
impossible to locate the position of the
guns owing to their being concealed amongst
the trees and dense undergrowth.
anchoring, the "Weymouth" did what was
possible to assist the Monitors by
bombarding at long range a position at
Pemba, where a spotting and observation
station was supposed to be, and by keeping
down the enemy's fire at the aeroplanes.
This was done very effectively.
the same time the "Pioneer," Commander
(Acting) Thomas W. Biddlecombe, R.A.N.,
under the orders of "Hyacinth," Captain
David M. Anderson, M.V.O., engaged the
defences at the Ssimba Uranga Mouth, her
fire being returned until the defences were
to the operations of the Monitors; fire was
opened, as before stated, at 6.30 a.m., but
as the "Konigsberg" was out of sight it was
very difficult to obtain satisfactory
results, and the difficulties of the
observers in the aeroplanes in marking the
fall of the shots which fell amongst the
trees were very great, and made systematic
shooting most difficult.
being only two aeroplanes available,
considerable intervals elapsed between the
departure of one and the arrival of its
relief from the aerodrome 30 miles distant,
and this resulted in a loss of shooting
12.35 one of the aeroplanes broke down, and
at 3.50 the second one also. I signalled to
Captain Fullerton to move further up the
river, which he did, until about 12.50 the
tops of the "Konigsberg's" masts were
"Konigsberg" kept up a heavy fire on the
Monitors until about 12.30, when her fire
slackened. At 2.40 p.m. she ceased firing,
having for some time limited her fire to one
gun. At 3.30 p.m. the Monitors ceased fire,
and retired out of the river, rejoining my
Flag off Koma Island at 6 p.m. On their way
out they were again attacked by the small
guns from the banks.
had returned over the bar in "Weymouth" at
12.30 p.m., and transferred to "Hyacinth" at
"Mersey" had four men killed and four
wounded, two of whom have since died, and
her foremost 6-in. gun, at which most of the
casualties occurred, was put out of action.
The "Severn" fortunately suffered no losses
various ships, whalers, tugs, &c.,
anchored for the night off the Delta, and
proceeded to their various stations for
coaling, &c., the following morning.
view of the many difficulties in the way,
and the heavy and accurate fire to which the
monitors were subjected, I consider that the
operations on 6th July, though not a
complete and final success, are creditable
to Captain Fullerton and Commander Wilson.
it was necessary to make a fresh attack on
the "Konigsberg" to complete her
destruction, further operations were carried
out on the 11th July, by which date the
aeroplanes were again ready for service, and
the monitors had made good certain defects
and completed with coal.
reinforced the crew of the "Severn" by
Acting Sub-Lieutenant Arthur G. Mack, with
six Petty Officers and men; and the crew of
the "Mersey" by Lieutenant Richard Ussher
and Lieutenant Rundle B. Watson, with six
Petty Officers and men. All the above were
drawn from "Hyacinth."
attack was carried out on the same lines as
on the previous occasion, and the same mouth
of the river was used.
monitors crossed the bar at 11.45 a.m.,
followed up to the entrance by ''Weymouth''
and "Pyramus," the latter proceeding three
miles inside, and both searching the banks.
"Hyacinth" and "Pioneer" bombarded the
Ssimba Uranga entrance.
this occasion the monitors did not fire
simultaneously; the "Mersey" remained under
way, and fired while "Severn" moored, and
ceased fire when "Severn" commenced.
"Severn" was moored in a position 1,000
yards closer to the enemy than on the 6th
July, which made her fire much more
observers in the aeroplanes, by their
excellent spotting, soon got the guns on the
target, and hit after hit was rapidly
signalled. At 12.50 it was reported that the
"Konigsberg" was on fire.
previously arranged with Captain Fullerton,
as soon as they had got the situation well
in hand, the monitors moved up the. River,
and completed the destruction of the
''Konigsberg" by 2.30 p.m., when I ordered
them to withdraw.
"Konigsberg" is now a complete wreck, having
suffered from shells, fire and explosions,
several of which latter were observed.
only casualties sustained were three men
slightly wounded in the "Mersey." There were
no casualties in "Severn."
8.0 p.m. all ships, except those detached on
patrol, had returned.
have much pleasure in bringing to the notice
of their Lordships the names of the
following Officers and men:
Eric J. A. Fullerton, H.M.S. "Severn."
Robert A. Wilson, H.M.S. "Mersey."
Denis B. Crampton, M.V.O., H.M.S.
The Hon. Robert O. B. Bridgeman.
Commander Robert Gordon, in command of the
Commander John T. Cull.
Lieutenant Vivian G. Blackburn.
Sub-Lieutenant Harwood J. Arnold.
Lieutenant Harold E. M. Watkins.
Paymaster Harold G. Badger, H.M.S.
"Hyacinth." This Officer volunteered to
observe during the first attack on the
"Konigsberg," though he had had no previous
experience of flying.
Lieutenant Alan G. Bishop, Royal Marine
Light Infantry, of H.M.S. "Hyacinth." This
Officer volunteered to observe during the
second attack on the " Konigsberg," though
he had had no previous experience of flying.
Mechanic Ebenezer Henry Alexander Boggis,
Chatham 14849, who went up on the 25th April
with Flight Commander Cull, and photographed
the "Konigsberg" at a height of 700 feet.
They were heavily fired on, and the engine
of the machine was badly damaged.
serious risks have been run by the officers
and men who have flown in this climate,
where the effect of the atmosphere and the
extreme heat of the sun are quite unknown to
those whose flying experience is limited to
moderate climates. "Bumps" of 250 feet have
been experienced several times, and the
temperature varies from extreme cold when
flying at a height to a great heat, with
burning, tropical sun, when on land.
the operations against the "Konigsberg" on
the 6th July both the personnel and materiel
of the Royal Naval Air Service were worked
to the extreme limit of endurance. The total
distance covered by the two available
aeroplanes on that date was no less than 950
miles, and the time in the air, working
watch and watch, was 13 hours.
will sum up by saying that the Flying
Officers, one and all, have earned my
Carpenter William J. Leverett, H.M.S.
"Hyacinth." This Officer was in charge of
the fitting out of the two Monitors.
also desire to bring to their Lordships'
notice the Master of the tug "Revenger,"
John Osment Richards, and the following
members of her crew, who most readily
volunteered to serve in their tug and to
proceed into the river to the assistance of
the Monitors and tow them out if necessary:
Walker, Navigating Master.
Edward Milton, Mate.
James Kennedy, Chief Engineer.
John Hills, Second Engineer.
Robert Rayner, Third Engineer.
four tugs "Blackcock," "Revenger," "Sarah
Joliffe," and " T. A. Joliffe" were manned
by Naval Officers and men, with the
exception of the above named, and although
their services were not called for I
consider the example they set was most
have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient
H. KING HALL, Vice-Admiral,
Commander in Chief.
Navy Everywhere" by Conrad Gato.
the title for the story - Chapter 2
CASUALTIES - Killed and Died
thanks to Don Kindell
Not all casualties directly
linked to the destruction of the
have been identified.
Pegasus (Photo Ships)
old light cruiser, sunk by German light cruiser
Konigsberg off Zanzibar, four men died of wounds
on 26, 27 September, 6, 8 October
James, Private, RMLI, 8638 (Ply)
Henry, Leading Stoker, K 13867 (Dev)
George A, Ordinary Seaman, J 15443 (Dev)
Gilbert F, Able Seaman, 219216 (Dev)
Harry J, Leading Stoker, 308768 (Dev)
Edgar T, Stoker Petty Officer, 303260 (Dev)
Richard, Able Seaman, J 4765 (Dev)
John H, Lieutenant,
Edgar J, Private, RMLI, 10266 (Ply)
Joseph P, Stoker 1c, K 5600 (Dev)
Alfred G, Armourer's Crew, M 6421 (Dev)
James, Able Seaman, 234368 (Dev),
John H, Chief Engine Room Artificer 1c, 269246
James, Stoker 1c, K 13530 (Dev)
Benjamin C, Stoker 1c, K 13531 (Dev)
Lancelot L, Ordinary Seaman, J 15515 (Dev)
Ernest E, Petty Officer, 162971 (Dev)
John W, Able Seaman, J 521 (Dev)
Ernest J, Petty Officer, 163249 (Dev)
John, Leading Stoker, 311808 (Dev)
James W, Painter 2c, M 899 (Dev)
William, Stoker 1c, 301157 (Dev)
Thomas W, Corporal, RMLI, 14645 (Ply)
Maurice C, Chief Stoker, 172311 (Dev)
James, Stoker 1c, K 14411 (Dev)
Edward, Blacksmith, 340351 (Dev)
Alfred F, Ship's Cook, 344527 (Dev)
Herbert, Stoker 1c, K 13538 (Dev)
George E, Leading Seaman, 22187 (Dev)
James, Able Seaman, 180994 (Dev)
Thomas, Signalman, J 9090 (Dev)
Richard C, Lieutenant Commander,
Alfred G, Able Seaman, 220217 (Dev)
Douglas H, Ordinary Seaman, J 15969 (Dev)
old light cruiser, lost 20th
James B, Armourer's Mate, 345905 (Dev),
light cruiser, lost 20th
David Private RMLI 12483 (Ply)
old light cruiser, sunk 20 September
William J, Petty Officer 1c, 184201 (Dev),
old light cruiser, sunk 20 September
Daniel, Leading Carpenter's Crew, 346759 (Dev),
patrol vessel, ex-German tug, damaged by
shore fire and recaptured by Germans
Edward R, Able Seaman, J 592 (Ch)
armed merchant cruiser (took part in
operations against Königsberg)
3416 C, died in
river monitor, damaged by return gunfire
from German light cruiser Konigsberg, 2
men died of wounds on 10 and 17 July
Henry G, Able Seaman (RFR B 6513), 215246
Colin, Able Seaman (RFR B 4604), 228314 (Po)
John, Able Seaman (RFR B 4227), 198849 (Po)
Jack G, Chief Petty Officer, 155141 (Po)
river monitor, damaged on 6th
Reginald J, Sick Berth Steward, 350785 (Po),
Alexander W, Able Seaman (RFR B 746),
thanks to the London Gazette
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
29395 - 7
Majesty The KING (is) pleased to give
orders for the appointment of the
following Officers to the Distinguished
Service Order, in recognition of
their services, as mentioned, on the
occasion of the operations against the "Konigsberg":
Eric John Arthur Fullerton, R.N. Was in
charge of the two Monitors, and conducted
the operations in the river with complete
Robert Amcotts Wilson, R.N. These two
Officers had to deal with a very difficult
task, entering a river of which very
imperfect information was obtainable,
against an unknown and invisible defence,
which might well have been very serious,
and there is no doubt that the Monitors
were most fortunate in not being more
severely handled by the enemy.
Commander Robert Gordon, R.N.A.S.
(Captain, temporary Major, R.M.). Was in
command of the Air Squadron. Was
indefatigable in his work, and ran great
risks in spotting and reconnoitring.
Commander John Tulloch Cull, R.N.A.S.
Sub-Lieutenant Harwood James Arnold,
Commander Cull and Flight Sub-Lieutenant
Arnold were spotting on the 11th July,
under fire, in a Biplane, when the enemy's
fire damaged it so that it descended in a
quarter of an hour from 3,200 feet to
2,000 feet. During this time no attempt
was made to return to Headquarters at
Mafia, although it was obvious that this
could not be done unless a start was made
at once. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Arnold
continued to send his spotting signals the
whole time, and when a quarter of an hour
later the machine was again hit and forced
to descend, Flight Commander Cull
controlled the machine and Flight
Sub-Lieutenant Arnold continued to send
spotting corrections to the last, after
warning the Monitors that they were coming
down, and would endeavour to land near
them. The aeroplane finally came
down in the river, turning over and over.
Flight Commander Cull was nearly drowned,
but was assisted by Flight Sub-Lieutenant
Arnold, and both were rescued by a boat
from the "Mersey."
following Petty Officers and men have been
awarded the Distinguished Service
Medal for their services on the same
Petty Officer William J. Sercombe, O.N.
Seaman George A. Hogg, O.N. 202097
Telegraphist Percival Jacobs, O.N. J34831.
(2nd Class) William Sheppherd, O.N.
Edward Redhead, R.M.L.I. (R.F.R., Plym.
Yeoman of Signals E. W. Pettingale, O.N.
Seaman H. J. Carter, O.N. 217542.
Seaman William Corry, O.N. 190507 (R.F.R.
(2nd Class) Richard Thompson, O.N. 105721.
Naval Air Service.
Mechanic Ebenezer Henry Alexander Boggis,
29423 - 31
The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the appointment of
the undermentioned Officers to be
Companions of the
Distinguished Service Order:
Commander Raymond Fitzmaurice, R.N. For his services
in charge of the operation of blocking the
Rufigi river to prevent the escape of the
Konigsberg on the 10th November, 1914.
Commander Fitzmaurice was on board the
collier "Newbridge," which was sunk
up the river, and was exposed to heavy
fire at short range from both banks both
when entering the river and again when
returning in the steam cutter of H.M.S.
Officer Noted for
Promotion for War Service.
Fleet Surgeon Alfred James Hewitt, R.N., has been noted for
accelerated promotion in recognition of the
conspicuous gallantry and
very exceptional professional ability which
he displayed as Medical
Officer of H.M.S. "Pegasus" when
that ship was sunk by
the "Königsberg'' in September, 1914.
the Distinguished Service Cross:
(now actg. Payr. Lieut.-Cdr.) Harold Gordon
Badger, R.N. For distinguished services as
Observer in one of the seaplanes employed on
spotting duties during the attack on the
"Königsberg " on the 6th and 11th July 1915.