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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

British Merchant Ships in the Black Sea


Rockturner
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Does anyone have any details of British Merchant ships caught in the Black Sea after Turkey entered the war in late 1914 and decided to close off the Straits. Any information would be appreciated, known ships, crew lists and any harbours or posts where these ships' crews were virtually imprisoned until the end of the war.

cheers

LonerangerVC

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LLoyd's War Losses: The First World War lists 9 British vessels as being detained in Turkish ports at the outbreak of the war:

Assiout, 3146 grt, built 1899, — scuttled March 5, 1915 as a blockship at the entrance to Izmir

Billiter, 832 grt, built 1898, — scuttled March 6, 1915 as a blockship at the entrance to Izmir

City of Khios, 3496 grt, built 1878 — scuttled March 6, 1915 as a blockship at the entrance to Izmir

Craigforth, 2900 grt, built 1907 — shelled and sunk by Russian cruiser Pamiat Merkuria, May 4, 1915, off Kozlu as Iskondar

Intibah, 202 grt, built ??? — released postwar

Maggie Grech, 624 grt, built 1889 — released postwar

Mary Louise (tug), 100 grt, built 1879

Newa, 549 grt, built 1872 — Shelled and sunk by Russian cruisers Kagul & Pamiat Merkuria, March 7, 1915 at Eregli, voyage Istanbul - Eregli, in ballast

Sheffield, 647 grt, built 1877 — released postwar

A number of British ships also ended up in Russian Black Sea ports as the war began.

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Thanks Michael,

You've given me something to start with. I wonder if any of the archives or libraries around the UK would have some sort of list of the ships and or crews caught in the Black Sea for the duration of the war. It's an interesting subject and one I was not aware of until recently. It is to wondered how these men survived so long being cut off from their country and shipping lines? I suppose some did and others were not so fortunate.

regards

LonerangerVC

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LonerangerVC,

I'm aware of at least four British vessels that were at Russian ports, and thus ended up being used by the Russians in the Black Sea as if their own vessels. (There could have been more.) One only of those four was recovered by their owners after the war ended:

Friederike, 3574 grt, built 1905 — scuttled at Novorossisk, June 21, 1918 to avoid coming under German control

Patagonia, 6,011 grt, built 1913 — torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UB 7 on September 15, 1915 off Odessa

Rockcliffe, 3,073 grt, built 1904 — sunk by the German submarine U 38 off Vardane on July 2, 1916

Wolverton, 3,868 grt, built 1914 — recovered by owners at the end of the war

Both Friederike and Wolverton were damaged during the war — Friederike by bombardment at Novorossisk on October 30, 1914 while Wolverton hit a mine near Odessa on March 16, 1915

Best wishes,

Michael

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I'm aware of at least four British vessels that were at Russian ports, and thus ended up being used by the Russians in the Black Sea as if their own vessels. (There could have been more.) One only of those four was recovered by their owners after the war ended:

I believe that an arrangement was reached with their owners whereby the ships were contracted to the Russians and not as might be implied just taken over by them. A goodly proportion of shipping in the Black Sea when the war began was Greek owned.

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