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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Big catch for trawler Elvina in 1916


melliget
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Noticed in passing:

The Times, Wednesday, Jul 12, 1916

A fishing trawler, the Elvina, of Nordby (Fanö

Island), reports that while trawling about 40 miles

north-west of Fanö Island the nets caught in a

sunken submarine of unknown nationality.

Just wondering if this was a known location for a submarine sinking? A quick google suggests it could have been UB 53 (Sprenger) that came up in a mine field, but it seems an unlikely place to be trawling. How they could identify it as sunken submarine and not something else is beyond me. I assume they weren't able to haul up the nets! Did they throw it back?

Martin

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No doubt you are right, ionia. My mistake. I googled "submarine Fanö mine 1916" and came across "The German Submarine War 1914-1918" (Gibson, Prendergast):

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=uqj0bZ...;q=&f=false

Sometimes, when you land in the middle of a book like this, it's difficult to work out the year without tracing back (it's a little bug bear of mine).

Thanks.

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The location is defenitely Fanö Island on the westcoast of Danmark, but at the moment no british or german submarine came into my mind as being an candidate for this "catch" of the ELVINA.

One possibiliy: U 77 went missing after leaving Helgoland on 05.07.1916, she did lay her minefield off Kinnaird Head, but afterwards ? On the other hand the TIMES report from 12.07.1916 was much to early for an returning U 77, so in my opinion it was an false report...

Oliver

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Trawler skippers usually have a fair idea of what they have snagged their net on, but to report confidently that he had 'caught' a sunken submarine, I think the skipper of the Elvina must have succeeded in recovering his net and have found some pieces of wreckage in it that were characteristic of a submarine. Unless he was in very shallow water and someone went down to have a look.

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in my opinion it was an false report...

It may well be, Oliver. Thought I'd just report it here on the off chance there was an element of truth.

regards,

Martin

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Thanks Sierge Gunner. I guess either of those scenarios is possible. I wonder how deep it is "40 miles north-west of Fanö Island" ? The report does sound like the trawler skipper was confident of identifying it as a submarine. Then again, it is a newspaper report so perhaps shouldn't put too much store into it. I just thought that, if there was some possibility that there is the wreck of an unidentified submarine somewhere near that location, it was worth a mention.

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I'd say that the considered opinion of an experienced trawler skipper that he had snagged the wreck of a sunken submarine at a particular location was at least as credible, if not more so, than many of the ambitious and unconfirmed claims of warships and armed merchantmen to have sunk U-boats.

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... the considered opinion of an experienced trawler skipper that he had snagged the wreck of a sunken submarine ...

Well, but on the other hand not very much danish skippers at that time (Summer 1916) had ever seen an submarine or had one into their nets!

While seeing drawings of U-Boats from Captains of attacked merchant vessels at the NA files, I'm often wondering if it really was an submarine they saw or anything else...

Oliver

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True, Oliver - skippers more often scream 'submarine' when something snags their nets and starts towing them backwards ...

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