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Antonia

Ship from UK captured by Germans en route to South America in 1914 - name/details please?

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Antonia

Hello all, this forum has been so helpful in answering questions about my own family, but this time I am asking on behalf of a lovely chap who is a customer in the library where I work. He is 85 years old and looking for some information about an interesting chapter in his mother's life.

 

Ivy Patti Catley was born in London in 1892. In 1914, she and her sister Constance (perhaps known as Daisy) sailed to South America for Ivy's health, and was bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina. En route, apparently the ship they were on was intercepted by a German ship, and the passengers became prisoners of war. Her son says that he believes once the passengers were taken prisoner, the Germans opened the stopcocks on the ship and sank or disabled it, but he is not totally sure that's correct. He says the German navy treated the prisoners well. The following year, Ivy returned to the UK on the ship 'Essequibo', arriving at Liverpool on 28 June, 1915.

 

I have found Ivy Catley on the ship's manifest for the 'Essequibo' incoming to the UK in 1915 on Ancestry, but I can't find her on a ship's manifest for an outgoing voyage from the UK to South America the year before.

 

The customer would really like to find out the name of the ship that was captured, the date it happened, and any details about that whole incident, so I was wondering if it rang a bell with any of you? It would really give him a thrill to be able to uncover a bit of a mystery of his mother's early life, and I'm hoping someone can help!

Edited by Antonia

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seaJane

This is a list of losses due to u-boats month by month: https://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/losses_year.html

 

 

I've looked at the 1914 sinkings and none of the steamers (obviously I haven't checked the fighting ships) seem to have been en route to Argentina. I did consider carrying on the search to early 1915 but it's getting rather late at night, sorry!

 

I don't know enough about uboat.net to say how comprehensive it is, but hopefully someone else may be able to help.

 

sJ

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johnboy

Uboat net is quite accurate but at that time  I think u boats only ventured to just off Ireland and if the passeners were made POW it must have been by a German ship, No room on on a Uboat! At that time Naval actions were taking place around West Indies, The Falklands and off a lot of the S American coast,

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seaJane

johnboy, the thing that slipped out of my brain was that Antonia did actually say ship, not submarine or boat! How silly of me not to double check.... 

 

I was wondering where the sinking was, as in how far en route to Argentina they were, but I should have taken more time. Well spotted! (In my defence, I may have been distracted by faint mis-memories of the Laconia and the U-boat in the second world war).

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tbirduk

It depends how far they got to Buenos Aires when they were captured, I believe the only Surface Raiders operating  in the South Atlantic at the start of the War were the SMS Dresden and SMS Cap Trafalgar.

 SMS Dresden sunk a couple of Cargo ships off Brazil before heading into the Pacific to join Spee's Asiatic Squadron  
 SMS Cap Trafalgar did not find any victims before she ran into HMS Carmania which was a little confusing as the Cap Trafalgar had been disguised to look like RMS Carmania 
 The most likely culprit would be SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm which operated between September 1914 and March 1915 see attachment

Kronprinz_Wilhelm_Lecture_Flyer.jpg

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GreyC

Hi,

if it was the SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm here are (according to German Wikipedia - so to be viewed with due caution) the ships stopped by the Hilfskreuzer (the list provides more info than that of the newspaper article above):

  • Fischer-Schoner Pittan, Russland, Heimathafen: Riga
  • Handelsdampfer Indian Prince, 2.848 BRT, Großbritannien, Heimathafen: Newcastle; aufgebracht am 4. September 1914
  • Dampfer La Correntina, 8.529 BRT, Großbritannien; Houlder-Linie, Heimathafen: Liverpool; mit zwei 4,7-Zoll-Heckgeschützen bewaffneter Ex-Liniendampfer; aufgebracht am 7. Oktober 1914[37]
  • Viermastbark Union, 2.183 BRT, Frankreich, Bordeaux; aufgebracht und versenkt am 28. Oktober 1914
  • Bark Anne de Bretagne, 2.063 BRT, Frankreich, Nantes; aufgebracht und versenkt am 21. November 1914
  • Handelsdampfer Bellevue, 3.814 BRT, Großbritannien, Glasgow; aufgebracht am 4. Dezember 1914
  • Handelsdampfer Mont Agel, 4.803 BRT, Frankreich, Marseille; aufgebracht und versenkt am 4. Dezember 1914
  • Handelsdampfer Hemisphere, 3.486 BRT, Großbritannien; Hemisphere SS Co. Ltd., Heimathafen: Liverpool; aufgebracht am 28. Dezember 1914
  • Handelsdampfer Potaro, 4.419 BRT, Großbritannien; Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., Heimathafen: Belfast; aufgebracht am 10. Januar 1915
  • Liniendampfer Highland Brae, 7.634 BRT, Großbritannien; H & W Nelson Ltd., Heimathafen: London; aufgebracht am 14. Januar 1915
  • Dreimastschoner Wilfred M., 251 BRT, Großbritannien, Heimathafen: Bridgetown (Barbados); aufgebracht und versenkt am 30. Januar 1915
  • Bark Semantha, 2.280 BRT, Norwegen, Risör; aufgebracht am 5. Februar 1915
  • Handelsdampfer Chasehill, Großbritannien; aufgebracht am 22. Februar 1915, nicht versenkt, Gefangene an Bord gegeben
  • Handelsdampfer Guadeloupe, 6.603 BRT, Frankreich, Le Havre; aufgebracht und versenkt im 22. Februar 1915
  • Passagierdampfer Tamar, 3.207 BRT, Großbritannien, Middlesbrough; aufgebracht und versenkt im 24. März 1915
  • Handelsdampfer Coleby, 3.824 BRT, Großbritannien, Stockton; versenkt am 27. März 1915

I highlited the more likely candidates if British. Most of them were cargo-ships, but they may have had passenger accomodations, too.

The Sierra Cordoba had taken over the first load of prisoners on 23rd Oct. 1914, and released them in Montevideo at the end of November 1914. Some of those highlited were captured in 1915. Some of these POW´s Internees were transferred to the Chasehill in 1915.

Find attached a rare photo of part of the crew of SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm after their internment in the USA in April of 1915. The ship was later converted to troopship USS von Steuben.

So if one would check the ship´s manifestos of those in question (if available) one would either find them or conclude that it wasn´t the SMS K-W which stopped them.

GreyC

xKronprinzWilhelm_Luchs.jpg.66f3740664ea8111f7903c700960bb0b.jpg

 
Edited by GreyC

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Antonia

Wow! seaJane,  GreyC, tbirduk, johnboy, thank you all so much for this information, I really appreciate it! I'm headed into the library this afternoon and I'll take GreyC's list of captured ships with me just in case any of the names ring a bell with this gentleman. I will press him again for any details, but I think his mother didn't talk about it very much. I think it must have been a ship rather than a U-boat, for the passengers to be taken on board. I'll delve a little deeper with the information you've given me here. Thank you all again - I am really grateful. I'll be back when I've spoken to the gentleman again - he comes into the library most days.

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Antonia

I saw the gentleman again today - he is going to scour his memory and family artefacts and see if he can come up with any other details. He did say the ship Ivy Catley was on was sunk by the Germans, and the captain went down with the ship.

Edited by Antonia

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johnboy

There are probably one or two ships they were on,But with no passenger lists to go on it will be impossible to say, Does he remember where they sailed from as that might narrow it down a bit, At this stage I think that guessing is not going to help the old gent,

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seaJane

I have looked on International Red Cross POW records and cannot find the lady under any conceivable spelling variant of her name.

 

I hate to ask, but it is definitely the right name (he has not given her married name by accident?) and spelling?

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DavidOwen

As a civillian was she transported to a South American country and released so no POW record generated?

From where did Essequibo's return voyage originate? Might that give a clue which could be cross-referenced with the movements of the raiders?

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GreyC

Hi all, hi Owen,

as my list (from WIKIPEDIA) suggests some of the civilians were (in 1915) landed in Montevideo. So others might have been released in a similar way.

It´s a long shot, of course, but if the captain of the ship went down with it, his name would help, too. Is there a list of merchant navy fatalities sorted chronologically and/or by region?

Best,

GreyC

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DavidOwen
9 minutes ago, GreyC said:

Is there a list of merchant navy fatalities sorted chronologically and/or by region?

Wikipedia does list ships sunk by month (e.g.November 1914 here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shipwrecks_in_November_1914 ) all showing location and by what method it was sunk and in some cases links to more information about the vessel itself. The fate of crew / passengers is also recorded.

Bit of a slog to go through them all...

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GreyC

Thank´s David!

GreyC

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tbirduk

according to one of the reviewers here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cruise-Kronprinz-Wilhelm-Alfred-Niezychowski/dp/B0008974WK/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=#customerReviews
there were no casualties?
I do note that the flyer I posted earlier said "without losing the lives of any Passengers" - deliberate terminology to avoid mentioning loss of crew?

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charlie2

The CWGC doesn‘t record any deaths from the the ships sunk by the SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm.

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DavidOwen

SMS Karlsruhe, a German Light Cruiser, operated just north of Brazil (mostly but not always in the vicinity of St Paul Rocks) and captured / sunk 15 British merchantmen before being destroyed by a spontaneous internal explosion on 4th November 1914.

Some of the vessels concerned were (list from Wikipedia so usual cautions):

Bowes Castle captured and scuttled 18/8/14

Strathroy - scuttled 31/8/14

Maple Branch - scuttled 3/9/14

Highland Hope - scuttled 14/9/14

Indrani - - scuttled 17/9/14

Cornish City - scuttled 21/9/14

Rio Iguassu - scuttled 22/9/14

Niceto de Larrinaga - scuttled 6/10/(17)* 1914

Lynrowan - scuttled 7/10/(17)* 1914

Cervantes - scuttled 8/10/(17)* 1914

Pruth - scuttled 9/10/(17)* 1914

Condor - scuttled 11/10/(17)* 1914

Glanton - scuttled 18/10/(17)* 1914 (record specifically mentions crew taken POW)

Hurstdale - scuttled 23/10/(17)* 1914 - a "refrigerated cargo liner" again crew taken POW

Vandyck - sunk 26/10/(17)* 1914 confused records also have this vessel as scuttled on 2/11/14 and crew taken POW

 

*original year entered in error.

 

 

Edited by DavidOwen
* correcting year mistakes

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GreyC

Hi David,

how come, that the list contains 8 ships that were supposedly sunk by the SMS Karlsruhe which was itself out of operation since 1914?

GreyC

 

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DavidOwen
5 minutes ago, GreyC said:

Hi David,

how come, that the list contains 8 ships that were supposedly sunk by the SMS Karlsruhe which was itself out of operation since 1914?

GreyC

 

Because I put the wrong year on them! Sorry will go back and put the correct ones on too.

 

However, there was another cruiser SMS Karlsruhe launched in 1916 - but those ships sunk were by the original and came from 1914 lists.

Edited by DavidOwen

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GreyC

Ah, ok. Doodoo occurs. :)

GreyC

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DavidOwen

A number of the vessels named in post #18 above feature in extracts from Lloyd's List of cases heard at the Hamburg Prize Court between July and December 1915 - document at Kew sadly not yet digitised http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9516095

Still going through TNA records for the others, but it is clear all the above vessels appear to have had their Board of Trade Registry entries closed in 1914, confirming their loss.

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DavidOwen

Pruth - prize court http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9708597 which leads me to:

 

GOLD MINE: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2617306 which contains lists of names of seamen released after capture on many of the vessels listed above . Sadly the abstract does not make mention of any civilians involved... Again must be seen at Kew as not digitised.

 

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GreyC

Well done, Owen!

GreyC

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