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Remembered Today:

HMS Hyacinth Able Seaman KIA 15 February1917


Ferguson73uk

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Hello All.

I am looking into the death of a family member - 187381 Able Seaman Cyril Wintle RN HMS Hyacinth - who was reported killed in action on 15 February 1917. His burial place was poignantly recorded as 'Buried At Ndyimbwa, East Africa, On A Small Knoll Marked By Blazed Tree, R. Bank Kaibiga River, 100 Yards W. of Ndyimbwa-ungwara, 5 Hours From Ndyimbwa. (Map Ref. G.e.f.k.9.d.)'

Cyril was born in Ilfracombe but moved to my home town of Barry where he met and married Ada. 

I should be very grateful for any information as to what action he was involved in on that date.

Thanks!

Jonathan

Edited by Ferguson73uk
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The ships logs for HMS Hyacinth can be seen here: https://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-05-HMS_Hyacinth.htm

 

Unfortunately looks like the entry shown for the 15th February 1917 is actually a duplicate of the 16th. Might be worth contacting the site owner as presumably they have access to the original document.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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Of more interest is the log of HMS TALBOT, his previous ship which he left on 2 January 1917. The log records that, on that date, she discharged at Zanzibar one stoker and two seamen to HM Whaler SALAMANDER. Cyril Wintle could have been one of those seamen. SALAMANDER features 82 times in HYACINTH's log.

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That sounds very promising. There was no ship named 'Zanzibar', it appears (though there was one in WW2) so that would fit. Thanks again!

 

Jonathan

 

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I cannot find the town, but from other ships logs I got the position of HMW Salamander as below at the relevant time (assuming he was on Salamander). Given he died on 15 Feb, it gives an approx position of the elusive Ndyimbwa

 

 

a salamander.jpg.b2b21637aab38af60b37adcd81999c02.jpg

 

 

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On that basis the most likely spot would be the delta of the Rufiji River (where the Koenigsberg was sunk in 1915). There are a fair number of rivers making up the delta

 

But I cannot get any link to the Kaibiga River

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The log of HMS MERSEY places her and SALAMANDER at the town of Salale in the Rufiji Delta on 15 Feb 1917. SALAMANDER was there between 9.15 and 3.20.

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Added Salale to map. And one of the Rufiji River. Possible that Salale is Ndyimbwa ?

 

salamander.jpg.db49a4c369752abbb8134b56f518b9c9.jpg

 

 

salale.jpg.a19f35716e3feb73da9d526ca991c4c9.jpg

 

 

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This is great information. Thanks so much everyone! 

 

Jonathan

2 hours ago, horatio2 said:

Out of interest have you managed to locate the town and river where he was buried? I have had no luck.

No, we haven't. We have been looking for some time without success. This latest information is very helpful.

 

Jonathan

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Still a mystery where he was actually serving when "killed in action".

There were several whalers supporting the East Africa campaign including : FLY, PICKLE, CHARON, CHILDERS, ECHO, STYX, PRATTLER and SALAMANDER. It would appear that they were based on Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salaam but cruised widely in theatre including the Rufiji delta. Most of them were coming and going in the delta at some time during the crucial mid-February 1917 date.  There were still German troops in the delta so perhaps pot-shots were taken at passing ships. 

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The Times has reports of the area until mid Jan, then nothing till April

 

rufiji.jpg.cbbfbf6ff98137fe67bd48f563035efc.jpg

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Looks like Cyril was a lone casualty on that date. Thanks again both; the rest of my family will also be very interested in what you've discovered!

 

Jonathan

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4 minutes ago, Ferguson73uk said:

Looks like Cyril was a lone casualty on that date.

 

Yes, I would be fairly sure he was . If you look on CWGC where the memorial to him is located at Dar es Saalam, you will see that there are only 3 RN casualties on the memorial for the whole of WW1, and no others at the time he died

 

By the way have you tried to find the map ref Map Ref. G.e.f.k.9.d.  in your OP. I suspect that someone on the forum has access to WW1 British Military maps for that time

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No, I haven't been able to locate a map to find the burial site. I'll keep searching though!

 

Jonathan

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  • 1 month later...

I cannot prove it but I think he may have been on a team of RN Lewis gunners supporting infantry operations.  I believe that the team took casualties.

 

I have mentioned the team (originally operating a RN 12-pounder) here:

 

http://www.kaiserscross.com/188001/447622.html

 

Good Luck    Harry

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  • 1 year later...

I could find a small village Ndyimbwe (not Ndyimbwa) on an old British map.

The area should be also correct, but without a River or stream named Kaibiga.

Ndyimbwe Village GEA.png

Original source: German East Africa. Mohŏro scale 1:300,000

https://digitalcollections.lib.uct.ac.za/collection/islandora-24787

 

These British maps from 1916, which are now online available, are based on

captured German maps1910, which is proved by the many German descriptions.

 

“. . . 5 Hours from Ndyimbwa” Fife hours by British units or the Schutztruppe? ( - :D - )

 

Should be worth to post the original source in GWF:

https://digitalcollections.lib.uct.ac.za/military-maps?page=1&display=list

 

Cheers Holger

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  • 2 months later...

My grandfather Harold Charles Royan was the Signaller on the Hyacinth from 1st April 1916 to 30th April 1917 based out of the Cape Yard. 

 

I will look at all the links here and thank you all for the information you have found. 

 

 

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