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World War 1 at Sea

 

ROYAL NAVY VESSELS LOST and DAMAGED, JUNE to DECEMBER 1914


by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

 

HMS Amphion, scout cruiser,  sinking on 6 August

(Navy Photos/Bruce Constable, click to enlarge)

on to January 1915

or back to contents

 

Notes:

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

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

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

(4) Click for Notes, Abbreviations and Sources

(5) Link to Royal Navy casualty lists

 

 

1914

TOWARDS A GLOBAL WAR

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.

 


 

AUGUST 1914

 

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

 

BRITAIN AND THE EMPIRE AT WAR

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

BATTLE OF HELIGOLAND BIGHT

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

 


 

SEPTEMBER 1914

 

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)

 


 

OCTOBER 1914

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)

 


 

NOVEMBER 1914 

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

BATTLE OF CORONEL

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

 


 

DECEMBER 1914

 

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

BATTLE OF THE FALKLANDS

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

Dardanelles

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

Orkneys

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

Orkneys

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

 

1914/1915

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:

SCAPA FLOW


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)

 

OTHER BRITISH PORTS

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)

 
 

on to January 1915

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revised 01/8/14


 

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