Today in British History

25th April 1918

The Imperial German Navy wasn’t having it all their own way in April 1918. At 1.45 AM HMS. Jessamine spotted a German submarine on the surface about 12 miles south of Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford. She dropped 6 depth charges on the U-Boat and sank her. There was one survivor of the crew of 42- Petty Officer Karl Eschenberg, who was blown through an escape hatch as the submarine went down.

The U-Boat was U-104, a relatively new ship that was commissioned on 12 August 1917. She was on her fourth patrol under Kapitänleutnant Kurt Bernis. Bernis had sunk 8 ships while in command of U-104, the last being SS Fern which was torpedoed 6 miles east of the Kish Lightship on 22nd April with the loss of 13 crewmen. The following day U-104 was attacked by USS Cushing who dropped 15 depth charges and severely damaged the submarine. The crew were trying to repair the damage when they were attacked by HMS. Jessamine.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/oldweather/ADM53-45363/ADM 53-45363-088_1.jpg

On 2 March 1918 U-104 had sunk the SS. Kenmare 25 miles north west of Anglesey with the loss of 29 of her 35 crew.

Other U-Boat sinkings around the British Isles in April 1918

11 April UB-33 struck a mine in the Strait of Dover with the loss of all 28 crew.

17 April UB-82 depth charged in the Irish Sea by two Royal Navy trawlers with the loss of all 32 crew.

19 April UB-78 struck a mine in the Strait of Dover with the loss of all 35 crew.

22 April UB-55 struck a mine in the Strait of Dover with the loss of 23 of her 29 crew.

30 April UB-85 foundered off the Antrim coast. All 34 crew were rescued by either HMS Coreopsis or HM Drifter Coreopsis II. Depending on which Wikipedia page you want to believe.
 
26th April 2018

Great Britain formally handed ownership of HMS Erebus and Terror to Canada yesterday. The wrecks, located in 2014 and 2016 respectively, were part of the Franklin expedition that disappeared in 1845 while searching for the North West passage. Britain is retaining 65 artifacts already recovered from the ships, but everything else, both ships and everything still on board them will now be jointly owned by Canada and the Inuit Heritage Trust.

Sir John Franklin and all the 128 men who accompanied him died on the expedition.

Britain gifts long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Parks Canada to explore wreck of HMS Terror with security issues unresolved | CBC News

How the Discovery of Two Lost Ships Solved an Arctic Mystery
 
26th April 2018

Great Britain formally handed ownership of HMS Erebus and Terror to Canada yesterday. The wrecks, located in 2014 and 2016 respectively, were part of the Franklin expedition that disappeared in 1845 while searching for the North West passage. Britain is retaining 65 artifacts already recovered from the ships, but everything else, both ships and everything still on board them will now be jointly owned by Canada and the Inuit Heritage Trust.

Sir John Franklin and all the 128 men who accompanied him died on the expedition.

Britain gifts long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Parks Canada to explore wreck of HMS Terror with security issues unresolved | CBC News

How the Discovery of Two Lost Ships Solved an Arctic Mystery
A wee song about Lord Franklin.

 
2 -10 May 1918

Kaiserliche Marine losses around the British Isles

2nd May - UB-31 struck a mine in the Strait of Dover with the loss of all 22 crew.

4th May – SMS A71, a Torpedo Boat, struck a mine in the North Sea and sank with the loss of six crew.

5th May – UB-119 rammed by the steamer Green Island between Rathlin Island and the Donegal Coast with the loss of all 34 crew.

9th May – UC-78 - rammed by the steamer Queen Alexandra in the English Channel with the loss of all 29 crew.

10th May – UB-16 was torpedoed by HM Submarine E34 off the Suffolk coast. 15 dead and one survivor, her Captain, Oberleutnant Vicco von der Lühe. von der Lühe died as a POW in England in March 1919 and is interred in Cannock Chase.

UB-16 had had a long career being commissioned on 12th May 1915. She was on her 87th patrol and had sunk 26 ships including HMS Recruit in August 1917
 
@Gary Cooper

Two of those U boats were sunk by civilian vessels it would seem. Were they auxiliaries or simply have a go types?
GreenIsland was acquired by the Admiralty as a collier but was released back to the owners in February of 1918. Queen Alexandria was a troop carrier and rammed the submarine off Cherbourg. She was returned to the Clyde in 1919. Strangely enough she was again requisitioned during WW2 and served as an accommodation ship at Greenock. She continued in civvy service until 1958. So 45 ish years service. :cool:
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
10th May – UB-16 was torpedoed by HM Submarine E34 off the Suffolk coast. 15 dead and one survivor, her Captain, Oberleutnant Vicco von der Lühe. von der Lühe died as a POW in England in March 1919 and is interred in Cannock Chase.

UB-16 had had a long career being commissioned on 12th May 1915. She was on her 87th patrol and had sunk 26 ships including HMS Recruit in August 1917
That's twenty-nine patrols per year, (commissioned to being nailed,) and nearly one in three successful.
Off the top of your head do you know the average duration of U-boat patrols back then ?
 
@Gary Cooper

Two of those U boats were sunk by civilian vessels it would seem. Were they auxiliaries or simply have a go types?
I don't have it to hand but I have read an account of a running battle that occurred between a WWI U Boat and a "Spillers Yacht" along the Antrim Coast. From memory it was the Whetasheaf but there were several similarly named vessels (including this one). I'll try and contibute it when I have more time.
 
Ok a day early...1981 Bobby Sands died.


I just amended his Wiki to give the nationality as “British” rather than “Irish”.

It’s what he would have wanted.

After all he was a British MP.





(Member of Parliament not Military Police or he’d have deserved a lot worse than slow death smeared in fæces)
 
That's twenty-nine patrols per year, (commissioned to being nailed,) and nearly one in three successful.
Off the top of your head do you know the average duration of U-boat patrols back then ?
I don't. But UB-16's patrols were probably short ones. On her first she sank three fishing vessels on 3rd June 1915 and then there's a break to 12th June. Presumably she returned to port for some period in the intervening 9 days. The link below lists all her Commanders during the war. If you click on them you get a list of the ships they sank which gives some indication of the length of time they spent on patrol.

UB 16 - German and Austrian U-boats of World War One - Kaiserliche Marine - uboat.net

The Imperial Navy of WW1 had different designations for their submarines. Those designated UB were coastal torpedo attack boats so their patrols would, I assume, have been of short duration. By contrast those designated U were Ocean-going diesel-powered torpedo attack boats and were presumably designed for longer patrols. U-19 as an example fought through the war from start to finish and conducted 12 patrols. She sank 25 vessels between 2 and 11 June 1915, presumably on one patrol.

U 19 - German and Austrian U-boats of World War One - Kaiserliche Marine - uboat.net

If you click on the ships sunk, you'll get the location of the sinking.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
That's twenty-nine patrols per year, (commissioned to being nailed,) and nearly one in three successful.
Off the top of your head do you know the average duration of U-boat patrols back then ?
Submarine warfare being in its infancy, I imagine battery technology and payload issues prevented patrols of any great length.
 
Submarine warfare being in its infancy, I imagine battery technology and payload issues prevented patrols of any great length.
I think lead-acid battery technology was surprising well developed by 1914, and electric motors certainly were. I've been all over the web trying to find out more and ended up back at wiki.
SM U-19 (Germany) - Wikipedia
Range:
9,700 nmi (18,000 km; 11,200 mi) at 8 kn surfaced
80 nmi (150 km; 92 mi) at 5 kn submerged

For the period, that looks pretty impressive to me.
 
That's twenty-nine patrols per year, (commissioned to being nailed,) and nearly one in three successful.
Off the top of your head do you know the average duration of U-boat patrols back then ?
I think from recollection it would have been between a week and ten days. Perhaps shorter. Don't forget they were small boats and provisions, largely canned and no means of reprovisioning torpedos, battery life issues and crucially fuel. From your stats that would have been just over one every other week.
 

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