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Loss of the YOLA 1917


clive_hughes

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Hello,

I'm trying to discover more about a merchant shipping loss in 1917, as part of an ongoing listing of Anglesey's war dead.

The vessel (?SS) YOLA (Lloyds ref. 109432) is shown by the Lloyds List as having gone missing on 28 January 1917.

The Master, Hugh Owen was born at Amlwch, Anglesey and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. He is also named on the town memorial at Amlwch, but there exists a family "memorial grave" at Llanfechell Churchyard some 5 miles away, on which he is recorded as "drowned at sea...by enemy action".

Can anyone enlighten me as to the cause of her loss, and also where this took place?

LST_164

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Yes Yola was a steamer, she was of 3533 grt and built in 1898. She's listed in Lloyd's War Losses: The First World War as missing after sailing from New York, 26 Jan 1917, for London, with a cargo of wheat. Oliver Lörscher and I are currently involved in an effort to attribute out previously unexplained losses (ships listed as missing).

In this case, we both have just recently have come to believe that Yola was torpedoed twice and sunk by U 55 on February 7, 1917 west of Ushant. U 55 observed the ship sink but was unable to obtain the name of the vessel. the U-boat described her though as a grain steamer with a southeasterly course.

Best wishes,

Michael

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In this case, we both have just recently have come to believe that Yola was torpedoed twice and sunk by U 55 on February 7, 1917 west of Ushant. U 55 observed the ship sink but was unable to obtain the name of the vessel. the U-boat described her though as a grain steamer with a southeasterly course.

Michael,

Thanks for that information. Very interesting. I think that casualties could be included on the Tower Hill Memorial (and local War Memorials) if their ships just vanished whilst sailing in a danger zone, even if no obvious cause was known, but from recollection the old CWGC printed registers gave no indications in this case.

I take it for granted there were no survivors. The wording on the family grave suggests they at least were convinced that mines or submarines had played a part in the tragedy. A little surprisingly, given his status, Captain Hugh Owen is not included in the local volume which lists Amlwch's war heroes & dead.

There are possibly other Anglesey mercantile marine casualties who were aboard vessels that just went missing, so I might bother you again some time. For now, however, I'm grateful for your kind assistance.

Regards,

LST_164

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LST_164,

Well Hugh Owen is in the CWGC database. Some but not all ships that went missing were regarded by the Admiralty at the time as likely warloss (sunk by U-boat or mined) with no survivors. Yola was one of those. The actual matching up of which U-boat sank which ship didn't happen until well after the war ended — late 1930s for ship lost in 1918. A few more missing ships and their crews were recognized as war losses at this time.

Actually, in the case of Yola, it was relatively easy for the Admiralty to declare her a war loss -- unrestricted submarine warfare began on February 1, 1917.

Of course, given that U-boats sank over 6,500 vessels overall, there's going to be some small number of missed cases and misattributions...

Best wishes,

Michael

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LST_164,

Well Hugh Owen is in the CWGC database. Some but not all ships that went missing were regarded by the Admiralty at the time as likely warloss (sunk by U-boat or mined) with no survivors. Yola was one of those. The actual matching up of which U-boat sank which ship didn't happen until well after the war ended — late 1930s for ship lost in 1918. A few more missing ships and their crews were recognized as war losses at this time.

Actually, in the case of Yola, it was relatively easy for the Admiralty to declare her a war loss -- unrestricted submarine warfare began on February 1, 1917.

Of course, given that U-boats sank over 6,500 vessels overall, there's going to be some small number of missed cases and misattributions...

Michael,

that's a fascinating insight into the amount of time it took to attribute some sinkings to the war!!

I must check my casualty lists for other instances of "missing" vessels, though it will inevitably include some genuinely lost through storm or some other mishap.

Unfortunately a fair number of Mercantile Marine names listed on local Anglesey memorials have no ship or date attached, yet seem to be absent from the CWGC listing. In one notable case an entire local Holyhead crew was drowned following a collision with another steamer outside Dublin - yet despite the lack of enemy involvement the names are all on the War Memorial! (but of course not listed by CWGC)

Other names belong to ships which don't seem to be listed as war sinkings, and I know that at least a few of these simply died of natural causes or accidents.

Thanks again for your help.

LST_164

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  • 10 years later...

Curiously a friend of mine, knowing my interest in the Great War, sent me a photograph of the grave.  The captain of U-55 was by all contemporary accounts a bit of a bastard.  He was reported to have machine-gunned survivors, to have taken survivors onto his casing then submerged on three occasions.  He also torpedoed a fully marked hospital ship.

 

it was not until after the war that the details of his KTB record of sinking a grain steamer WSWo Lands End was "mapped" onto the Yola.  He had overestimated the tonnage - not unusual - but other details were close enough.

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Kapitanleutnant Wilhelm Werner of U 55 (his third command) was one of the more successful U-boat commanders of the war (65 ships of 134,000 tons sunk or captured), but was indeed accused of a number of atrocities.  In the end, he was only indicted for one, in connection with the sinking of the steamship TORRINGTON on 8 April 1917.  He never appeared before the war crimes court at Leipzig, having apparently fled to Brazil.  He is reported to have returned to Germany later and even to have become a National Socialist deputy in the Reichstag, but I am not aware of any confirmation of this.

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FROM GERMAN WIKIPEDIA  You may find of interest...or not.

 

Werner was the son of the later state prosecutor Max Werner and his wife Eugenie, née Schacke. He was baptized Protestant and was married since October 15, 1925 with Henriette Luise Moewes (born June 30, 1899 in Königshain ). [3] His widow settled after the war in Dossenheim down. [4]

Imperial Navy [ edit | Edit ]

Promotions in the Imperial Navy :

After attending a humanistic grammar school in Weimar, Werner joined the Imperial Navy as a midshipman in 1905 (sail training ship Charlotte and Naval School Mürwik ) and began his practical training on a torpedo boat of the II Minesearch Division. In 1906 he was promoted to Ensign to the Sea and 1908 Lieutenant to the Sea . He then received a special training in the submarine weapon. Between 1907 and 1914 he served on the following ships: Charlemagne , Hansa , King Wilhelm , T 54 . From 1910 he served as a lieutenant to the sea service as a watch officer on the boats U 1 and U 13 . At the outbreak of the First World War Werner was commander of the torpedo boat T 55 of the 2nd minesweeping division. During the war followed uses as a half flotilla chief (August to September 1914), as a watch officer of the Submarine Take-Off Commission (UAK) and watch officer onU 38 and commander of UB 9 (18 February to March 1915). In winter 1914/15 he became commander of UB 7 , which operated in the Mediterranean , the Black Sea and the Dardanelles (6 May 1915 to 11 April 1916). In the summer of 1916 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. This was accompanied by a change of department. From 8 June 1916 he was commander of U 55 , which he commanded until 3 August 1918. [4] With U 55 , he made 13 patrols and was able to enemy tonnage of nearly 127,000  GRT sink. For his achievements he was awarded by William II the highest Prussian valor award, the Order Pour le Mérite . He had previously received both classes of the Iron Cross and the Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with swords.

However, Werner was accused by the Allied side of several war crimes :

  • On April 8, 1917, he sank the steamer Torrington in the Celtic Sea . He drowned the 34 survivors by ordering them onto the upper deck of his submarine and then diving. Only the captain he took as a prisoner of war with him to Germany.
  • On the same patrol he sunk on April 13, 1917 the steamer Toro . He killed the 14 crew members in the same way. He took only the captain and another crew member as a prisoner of war to Germany.
  • On January 4, 1918, he sank the hospital ship Rewa and thus violated the Hague Rules of Land Warfare of 1907 (Agreement X: Convention for the Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of the Principles of the Geneva Convention (of 6 July 1906)) .
  • On July 31, 1917 at 21:00 clock came to a momentous torpedo attack on the steamer Belgian Prince , who was hit in the middle of the ship. Due to the failure of the generators could no longer be called for help. 44 men then went into the lifeboats. Werner appeared and fired on the ship with a machine gun . He then ordered the survivors to come to the upper deck of the submarine. Most of the life vests were then removed. The lifejackets were thrown by the German sailors in the sea. Subsequently, all lifeboats - except for the captain dinghy - were perforated with axes. Then the submarine of the still buoyant Prince Belgian ran two nautical miles and stopped on the high seas. At 10:00 pm, Werner had the submarine dive and the people on deck drowned all but three survivors. The next day at 7:00 am Werner had the damaged Belgain Prince sunk with a blasting cartridge. At 8:00 o'clock, the sloop Gladiolus rushed to rescue and rescue the three surviving sailors. [5]

He also sunk on 17 July 1918 Carpathia , which took in 1912 after the sinking of the Titanic 705 survivors on board and thus saved from drowning. Werner handed over command of U 55 to Alexander Weiss on August 10, 1918 .

In the post-war period, Werner briefly belonged to the Free Corps "Lettow" under the leadership of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck . On June 28, 1919 (last year March 1, 1920), his military career in the Reichswehr is initially over. [3]

Interwar and SS career [ edit | Edit ]

Although the Allied demanded extradition of Werner as a war criminal under Section 231 of the Versailles Treaty was prevented from the political side, he emigrated by official order in July 1919 under assumed (= wrong) name to Brazil in the state of São Paulo . After initially working on a coffee facenda , he finally found a job as an "unskilled" architect at the German-Brazilian company Gebr. Weisflog in Caieiras near São Paulo . In the fall of 1924 he returned to the German Reich and operated in the context of the Leipzig trials, the resumption of his war crimes trial. The Supreme Court adopted Decision of 30 March 1926, the method of murder in the sinking of Torrington except tracking and disposal in the other cases, the termination of the proceedings. [2] As of October 1925, he managed the manor of his newly wed wife in Sokolov, district Grottkau . [6]

Promotions in the SS :

In September 1930 Werner joined the NSDAP (membership number 332.139) and on June 1, 1931, the SS (membership number 9,916). In 1931 he was entrusted with the construction of the SS inUpper Silesia . In the SS, he reached the rank of SS brigade leader and was for a short time also deputy of the upper section leader Southeast. From 1938 he belonged to the personal staff of theReichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler and was for a short time liaison officer for the Sudetenland . In the SS he held the following posts: [3]

 

  • July 20, 1931 to March 21, 1932: commissioned administrator of the SS Sturmbann II./23. SS-Standard ( district of Opole ).
  • March 21, 1932 to December 24, 1932: SS leader 23rd SS-Standarte ( Beuthen ).
  • September 10, 1932 (first line-up) until December 24, 1933: at the same time SS leader of the 45th SS-Standarte ( district of Neisse ), assigned SS section VI.
  • December 24, 1932 to November 16, 1933: SS leader z. b. V. of the SS section VI ( Brieg ).
  • November 16, 1933 to August 1, 1935: SS leader (until March 18, 1934 with F. b.) SS-Section XXIV (Upper Silesia) in Neustadt OS (later Katowice ), assigned SS-Südost.
  • 1 August 1935 to 1 April 1936: SS leader z. b. V. of the SS upper section southeast.
  • November 29, 1935: Member of the State Tax Office of Silesia for the customs border employee examinations of the SS-Higa (Higa = Hilfsgrenzangestellte).
  • April 1936: ideological examiner at the Judicial Examination Office of the Higher Regional Court in Breslau.
  • April 1, 1936 to November 1, 1938: SS leader at the staff of the SS upper section southeast, at the same time leader of the SS-Higa-Sturmbannes Südost (until the dissolution of Sturmbann).
  • January 30, 1937 to November 1, 1938: at the same time representative of the leader of the SS Southeastern Section ("in the event of a 3-day absence").
  • April 21, 1937: Deputy arbitrator at the Great Court of Arbitration of the Reichsführer SS .
  • June 24 to July 17, 1937: Deputy RHF SS Upper Section Southeast.
  • June 20, 1938: 4th assistant referee at the Great Court of Arbitration of the Reichsführer SS .
  • June 24, 1938 to July 14, 1938: executive representative of the leader of the SS upper section southeast.
  • November 1, 1938 to May 8, 1945: SS leader in the personal staff of the Reichsführer SS .
  • November 1, 1938 to August 1939: at the same time a leader of the links between Reichsführer SS and SS Gruppenführer Henlein . [3]

Military career in the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS [ edit | Edit ]

Promotions in the Wehrmacht :

  • July 1, 1937: as Major d. R. was taken to the officer corps of the leave of absence of the Luftwaffe .
  • August 27, 1939: Lieutenant Colonel d. R. z. V. (Air Force).
  • October 1, 1942: Colonel d. R. (Air Force).
  • December 1942: Takeover into active employment.
  • 1944: taken over as a colonel in the army.
24px-QSicon_Formatierung.svg.png This article or section consists mainly of lists that should be better textual . Please help Wikipedia to improve that. More about is here to find.

Werner served in the following military units: [3] [4]

  • April 4, 1937 to April 25, 1937: Call for a selection exercise at Flak Division 20 (Wroclaw).
  • August 12, 1937 to September 9, 1937: Convocation to Luftwaffe gun training at Flak Regiment 20 (Wroclaw-Hartlieb).
  • 5 August to 14 September 1938: Convocation to Luftwaffe gun training at Flak Regiment 20 in Wroclaw .
  • August 9, 1939: Convocation to Luftwaffe gun training at the staff of Luftgaukommando IV Dresden .
  • 1939/40: Allotment to the Reserve Flak Division (Res Flak Abt) 303.
  • June 20, 1940 to July 1941: Commander Flak Regiment 49 of the 21st Flak Division .
  • July 1941 to September 1, 1944: Commander Flak Regiment 52 .
  • March 21, 1944 to January 1945: also Flakeinsatzführer 1st Jagddivision of the Air Force (Luftgaukommando III).
  • 1st September 1944 to January 1945: Commander SS-ArKo 113 of the XIII. SS Army Corps .

Political career [ edit | Edit ]

In the election to the Prussian state parliament on 24 April 1932 (state list of the NSDAP for the constituency 9 "Opole") his candidacy remained unsuccessful. In June 1933 he took over the post of district deputy of the district Grottkau . 1934 followed the appointment to the Prussian provincial council . From November 12, 1933 until the end of Nazi rule on May 8, 1945 Werner also sat as a deputy for the constituency 9 (Oppeln) in the National Socialist Reichstag .

 

Awards [ edit | Edit ]

Military awards [ edit | Edit ]

Party and SS Awards [ edit | Edit ]

Respectfully,

 

Joe R

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It's an old thread, but many thanks to you all for contributing to it - adding further interesting background to the story of the Yola sinking.  

 

Clive 

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