Today in British History

29 August 1918
Sinking of UB-109



A sonar mosaic of the UB-109 wreck, from 2014.

The Dover Barrage, designed to stop German submarines from passing through the Straits of Dover on their way to the English Channel or the North Atlantic, had grown increasingly sophisticated by the final months of the war. In addition to anti-submarine trawlers and contact mines at a variety of depths, the barrage now had sophisticated means of detecting submarines, and operators on shore who could detonate mines remotely once submarines were detected. These means included hydrophones, picking up any sounds made by the submarines, and large “Bragg loops” of wire, which would detect the large amount of metal in a submarine by induction (similarly to how many intersections with traffic lights detect the presence of a waiting car).

The German submarine UB-109 had left Zeebrugge a month earlier (the blockships sunk there by the British no longer being an obstacle) for a mission to the Azores, and decided to return via the Straits of Dover. There, they were detected by a hydrophone, and then by a Bragg loop seventeen minutes later. At 4:20 AM, the operator on shore then detonated one to four mines in the vicinity. The explosion broke the submarine nearly in two, and it quickly sunk to the sea floor. Many of those in the vicinity of the conning tower survived the initial blast (although they suffered ear damage from the sudden rise in air pressure) and were able to escape, as the water was not too deep. Eight survivors were picked up by an anti-submarine trawler soon after.

A sunken U-boat in shallow water provided a great opportunity for the Royal Navy. Within a day, a team of divers called the “Tin Openers” had found the wreck and began exploring it, hoping to find documents with intelligence value, or at the very least more information about the working of German U-boats.

Photo and text credit today-in-wwi.tumblr.com

It's interesting to see how sophisticated British anti-submarine defences had become. But surely the Germans should have known by 1918 that the Dover Straits were impassable.

Among the survivors was Kapitänleutnant Kurt Ramien, commander of the submarine.
Kapitänleutnant Kurt Ramien - German and Austrian U-boats of World War One - Kaiserliche Marine - uboat.net
 


The sinking of HMS Courageous on 17 September 1939. She was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-29 and sank with the loss of over 500 crew. HMS Courageous was the first British warship sunk by enemy action in WW2.
 


The sinking of HMS Courageous on 17 September 1939. She was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-29 and sank with the loss of over 500 crew. HMS Courageous was the first British warship sunk by enemy action in WW2.
Incidentally

U29

The commander of the German submarine force, Commodore Karl Dönitz, regarded the sinking of Courageous as "a wonderful success" and it led to widespread jubilation in the Kriegsmarine (German navy). Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, commander of the Kriegsmarine, directed that Schuhart be awarded the Iron Cross First Class and that all other members of the U-29 crew receive the Iron Cross Second Class.[4]
During U-29's career, she sank twelve ships, totaling 67,277 gross register tons (GRT) and one warship of 22,500 tons. At the beginning of 1941, U-29 was removed from front line duty and reassigned to the 24th U-boat Flotilla as a training submarine. The U-boat was used in this role until 17 April 1944 when the she was decommissioned and used for instruction.[5]
Fate
U-29 was scuttled in Kupfermühlen Bay, (east of Flensburg), on 5 May 1945 as part of Operation Regenbogen. The wreck was still in situ as of 1993.[5]
 
20th September 1746



In the aftermath of the 1745 Rebellion and the defeat at Culloden Prince Charles Edward Stuart escaped to France aboard the ship “L'Heureux.”

Charlie had spent several months on the run in Scotland hunted by soldiers and the Royal Navy at sea. The Young Pretender flitted between the west Highlands mainland, Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Most famously, he was taken to Portree on Skye by Flora MacDonald while badly disguised as an Irishwoman named Betty Burke. Flora was a loyalist but took pity on the hapless Charles. Poor Flora was later arrested and briefly sent to the Tower of London. She was released under a general amnesty in 1747. Charles eventually rendezvoused with the Froggy navy at Loch nan Uamh near Arisaig.

Heads up and photo by scotianostra via Tumblr
 
28 September 1928

According to his own account, this day 90 years ago Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin in his lab at St. Mary's Hospital, London.. The discovery was made when Fleming noticed that an open petri dish was contaminated by blue-green mould which formed a visible growth and a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around it. The contents of the petri dish was reputedly the product of one of Fleming's sneezes containing Staphylococcus bacteria. The mould was later identified as a type of Penicillium and the antibiotic developed from it was named Penicillin. The first recorded cure with penicillin was on 25 November 1930 when Cecil Paine treated and cured a child with neonatal conjunctivitis in the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield.
 
Here's one for the migration watchers. On this day in 1066 there was a rather significant arrival of immigrants from France. They landed at Pevensey in Sussex under their leader, William.

That was one in the eye for King Harold.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator


The sinking of HMS Courageous on 17 September 1939. She was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-29 and sank with the loss of over 500 crew. HMS Courageous was the first British warship sunk by enemy action in WW2.
There was me thinking Royal Oak was the first, with those sort of warnings you'd have thought Scapa Flow would have been better protected.
 
There was me thinking Royal Oak was the first, with those sort of warnings you'd have thought Scapa Flow would have been better protected.
Nope that comes in 17 days or so time.
Here's one for the migration watchers. On this day in 1066 there was a rather significant arrival of immigrants from France. They landed at Pevensey in Sussex under their leader, William.

That was one in the eye for King Harold.
....or not dependent on who you read, anyway they'd come from Normandy and the real poke in the eye was that Guillaume refused to do Homage to the French King for England-hence it was claimed "by right of conquest." As usual the Danes/ Normans fought dirty and made Harold fight two battles. I call foul and want a rematch. Brexit will do
 
29 September 1918. The Battle of the Canal du Nord, the final breaking of the main Hindenburg Line. And the saving of the day by crossing of the canal at Bellenglise by 46th (North Midland) Division.
 
30 September 1918

The Armistice of Salonica, signed the day before, came into effect at noon on 30 September 1918, taking Bulgaria out of the war. The Bulgarians faced with revolution at home and defeat in Macedonia following the successful allied Vardar offensive had sued for peace a week earlier. The terms of the armistice included the evacuation of Bulgarian-occupied Greek and Serbian territories and the removal of all German and Austro-Hungarian forces from Bulgaria within a month.

Amongst the allied troops facing the Bulgarians at the time were the 22nd, 26th, 27th and 28th British Infantry Divisions of the British Salonika Army under Gen. George Milne.
 
Two of the original soldiers of 7/SWB in 22nd Division were Privates 14991 Parfitt H and 14992 Parfitt CW, alias Punch and Bill, my Grandfather and his elder brother. By this date Punch had been discharged with a Silver War badge, malaria and gas-poisoning, and Bill was a PoW.

For more on the campaign go to the Salonika Campaign Society website.
 
10 October 1918
The Sinking of the R.M.S Leinster



One of the anchors of the Leinster which was raised about 25 years ago and which now serves as a memorial in Dun Laoighre​


Shortly before 9 a.m. the R.M.S Leinster left Carlisle Pier, Kingstown bound for Holyhead On board were 771 passengers and crew. In command was Captain William Birch, a 61 year old Dubliner who had settled with his family in Holyhead. The Leinster had a crew of 77. Also on board were 22 postal sorters from Dublin Post Office, working in the ship's onboard postal sorting room. There were 180 civilian passengers and 491 military personnel, many of them going on or returning from leave. The passengers came from Ireland, Britain, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.


RMS Leinster photographed in early 1918​

An hour into the voyage and about 16 miles from Kingstown, people on deck spotted a torpedo track in the water. The torpedo had been fired by UB-123 and it missed the ship, passing in front of the bow. Minutes later a second torpedo hit the Leinster on the port side where the postal sorting room was located. All but one sorter died in the blast or drowned in the flooding sorting room. The survivor was named John Higgins who survived by clinging on to electrical cables while allowing the rising water carry him up to a trapdoor in the ceiling.

Meanwhile the ship turned through 180 degrees in an attempt to return to port while at the same time beginning to launch the lifeboats. At this point a third torpedo hit her in the starboard side and the Leinster sank a few minutes later. Officially 501 people died in the sinking, but modern research sets the figure between 529 and 564 casualties.

The sinking of the RMS Leinster led to the greatest ever loss of life in the Irish Sea. Amongst the casualties were Captain Birch and 36 of his crew. Two of the Leinster's three Royal Navy gunners died. 115 civilians lost their lives, including almost all of the members of the Gould family from Limerick. May Gould was travelling with her five children to join her husband, who was working in a munitions factory in England. One daughter survived the tragedy. Amongst the military casualties was 19 year old Clerk Josephine Carr from Cork who became the first member of the Women's Royal Naval Service to die on active service. Her body was not recovered and she is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

UB-123, commanded by Oberleutnant Robert Ramm, hit a mine in the North Sea on 18 October while returning to Germany. She sank with the loss of the entire crew of 35 men.

RMS Leinster Casualty List here

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/99298118/r.m.s.-leinster
 
25th October 1415: The Battle of Agincourt

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
 
25th October 1854: Battle of Balaclava

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
 
25th October 1854: Battle of Balaclava

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Also the occasion of the less well-known Charge of the Heavy Brigade.

Swords of the Heavy Brigade



The heavy Brigade, commanded by Brigadier the Honourable James Scarlett, was composed of the 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons (The Royals), 2nd(Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons (The Scots Greys), 4th (Royal Irish)Regiment of Dragoon Guards, 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s) Regiment of Dragoon Guards, 6th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragoons. Like their counterparts in the light cavalry, troopers of heavy cavalry regiments carried one of two sword patterns during the Battle of Balaclava. The first–and probably the most common–was the Pattern 1821 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s Sword (fig. E), and the second was the new Pattern 1853 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword (fig. F). As with the light cavalry, it is possible that nearly half of the regiments were armed with the new swords, but we know that at least some troopers of the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons were armed with the new sword.

The P1821 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s Sword had a slightly curved, single edged blade with one fuller on each side, and a very protective bowl guard. The leather-wrapped wooden grip was the same as that found on the P1821 Light Cavalry Trooper’s Sword.

Officers carried the Pattern 1821 Heavy Cavalry Officer’s Sword. When they were first introduced these swords had pipe-back blades (fig. G), but these were replaced in 1845 with the more versatile fullered “Wilkinson” style blade (fig. H). As with the light cavalry officers’ swords, both blade types would have been used at Balaclava because some officers would not have gone to the expense of buying a new sword if their old pipe-back was still serviceable. The guard of the P1821 Heavy Cavalry Officer’s Sword is a pierced bowl guard decorated with what has been dubbed a honeysuckle design. Collectors often refer to these as “honeysuckle hilts”. The grips have a wood core with a shagreen covering and silver or copper wire wrap.

Non-Regulation Swords

There is no doubt that some officers of both the light and heavy brigades used non-regulation swords. Some of these may have been regimental special patterns, while others may have been a non-regulation pattern made to the preferences of the individual officers. These non-regulation swords are fascinating but beyond the scope of this brief overview of regulation cavalry swords.

Tumblr
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Coincidentally and off topic for this thread, a mucker (posted overnight on the regimental site) recently found a sword that, it would seem, belonged to the Paymaster of 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars) and had probably been carried by him at Sahagún, 21 December 1808, when 15th (400 sabres) charged and routed a brigade of French cavalry, destroying a regiment of chaussers in the process.

Battle of Sahagún - Wikipedia

Primary Battle Honour of 15th, 15th/19th and the Light Dragoons.
 
27 October 1914

The sinking of HMS Audacious

HMS Audacious was fatally damaged by a mine about 25 miles off the Donegal coast near Tory Island. The minefield had been laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin. The mine exploded at 0845, 16 feet under the bottom of the ship and the Captain of Audacious, Captain Cecil Dampier, assuming that the ship had been torpedoed hoisted the submarine warning which caused the dreadnoughts to depart the area while smaller ships remained to render assistance. The port engine room and nearby compartments flooded immediately, causing the ship to list 15 degrees. Some starboard compartments were flooded to reduce the list and Dampier turned south sailing at 9 knots in an effort to reach land and beach the ship. However after ten miles, the rising water forced the abandonment of the centre and starboard engine rooms and the ship came to a stop. Dampier ordered all but 250 essential crewmen taken off the ship onto HMS Liverpool and RMS Olympic. At 1330 Olympic, the largest ship in the area attempted to tow the battleship but the line was cut by Liverpool’s propellor. Another attempt was made to tow the ship but the line snapped. At 1700 Dampier ordered another 200 men off the ship and Audacious was finally abandoned as darkness fell. At 2045 she heeled over and 15 minutes later an explosion in one of the magazines sent Audacious to the bottom. The only fatality of the day was William Burgess, a Petty Officer on HMS Liverpool who was struck by a piece of armour plate that flew 800m after the explosion.​
 
27 October 1914

The sinking of HMS Audacious

HMS Audacious was fatally damaged by a mine about 25 miles off the Donegal coast near Tory Island. The minefield had been laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin. The mine exploded at 0845, 16 feet under the bottom of the ship and the Captain of Audacious, Captain Cecil Dampier, assuming that the ship had been torpedoed hoisted the submarine warning which caused the dreadnoughts to depart the area while smaller ships remained to render assistance. The port engine room and nearby compartments flooded immediately, causing the ship to list 15 degrees. Some starboard compartments were flooded to reduce the list and Dampier turned south sailing at 9 knots in an effort to reach land and beach the ship. However after ten miles, the rising water forced the abandonment of the centre and starboard engine rooms and the ship came to a stop. Dampier ordered all but 250 essential crewmen taken off the ship onto HMS Liverpool and RMS Olympic. At 1330 Olympic, the largest ship in the area attempted to tow the battleship but the line was cut by Liverpool’s propellor. Another attempt was made to tow the ship but the line snapped. At 1700 Dampier ordered another 200 men off the ship and Audacious was finally abandoned as darkness fell. At 2045 she heeled over and 15 minutes later an explosion in one of the magazines sent Audacious to the bottom. The only fatality of the day was William Burgess, a Petty Officer on HMS Liverpool who was struck by a piece of armour plate that flew 800m after the explosion.​
My Grandfather went off to War on the Olympic, there was much laughter when they realised it was the titanic s sister ship
 
The only fatality of the day was William Burgess, a Petty Officer on HMS Liverpool who was struck by a piece of armour plate that flew 800m after the explosion.
What a shit piece of fate.

RIP
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer

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