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Remembered Today:

Q27 - HMS Warner


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Interested to know if anyone has any information on Q27 HMS Warner. Sunk by U-boat 13.3.1917.

My grandfather, William Henry Dean Gardner was, I believe, an officer on the Warner. He told us while he was alive that he was taken aboard the U-boat that sank the Warner and take to Cuxhaven as a prisoner. He waas then transferred to Holzminden POW Camp in Germany for the duration of the War. I have photos of him in Holzminden as well as his "promise not to excape card".

The book "British Merchant Ships sunk by U boats in the 1014-1918 War" by Alan J. Tennent 1990 indicates that 1 Officer, Wireless Operator and 4 Seamen were taken prisoner. Since the Navy list for March 1917 lists my grandfather as an RNR Temp Sub-Lieut I guess the officer mentioned in Tennent's book is probably my grandfather.

Any other info would be appreciated.

Ron

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Michael Lowrey

Ron,

Have a copy of U 61's KTB describing the sinking of Warner --can send you a copy if you're interested.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Ron,

Have a copy of U 61's KTB describing the sinking of Warner --can send you a copy if you're interested.

Best wishes,

Michael

Michael,

I would really appreciate a copy.

Thankyou

Ron

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Michael Lowrey is also a member of this forum and will no doubt surface in this thread shortly.

76 mins later ....

Michael, I would be also be grateful if you could e-mail me a copy of the relevant passage. I assume U 61's is a typescript KTB.

Thanks and regards

Mick

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historydavid

Ron, this is what I have on WARNER.

WARNER, also called Q 27, former cargo ship, built 1911, 1,273 grt, armament not known, served 17/1/17 to 13/3/17 sunk, by torpedo from U 61 off SW coast of Ireland. 11 crewmen died.

Hope that helps

David

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Terence Munson

Ron - First, welcome to the Forum. I don't have any more information to add on the 'Warner' but I wondered if you have any family connections with Grimsby (Lincolnshire) and its fishing history? A long shot I know but listed in the index of the registers of sea fishing apprentices are two named Gardner who signed indentures:

William on 26th January 1881, Register Ref. 208 / 1 / 1 /88, and:

Frank on 5th November 1879, Register Ref. 208 / 2 / 51.

If either are relatives I could look them up on my next visit to the archives.

Cheers Terry

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  • 2 months later...

Michael,

Do you know if the Royal Navy men who were on the Q ships would have had the ship shown on their service record? My grandfather was a career sailor who, according to his daughter (my mother), was on a ship that sunk off the coast of Ireland. He survived and was landed in Ireland. This was in 1917 when his service record shows his ship as HMS Excellent: a shore base. I identified HMS Warner as a possibility for his shipwreck and have read the enquiry papers at Kew, but he is not named. How else could he be shipwrecked whilst serving on a shore base? I would really like to solve this mystery for my mother who is now in her 80s.

I would greatly appreciate any help.

Sue

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Sue

When I originally started researching my grandfather I found no reference to the Warner. I was by comparing dates and then finally by correspondence that he wrote that I was able to confirm that the Warner was his ship. There certainly were survivors from the Warner but can't help with their names apart from Lieut Yuile & CPO Sims. The captain was Thomas Wyburn Biddlecombe who was killed.

Lieut Yuile wrote a report which states that there was a total of 52 survivors, 9 of whom were captured by the German submarine. Lieut Yuile states that the survivors were taken to Galway.

I hope this is of some assistance in tracking down your grandfather's ship.

Ron

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Ron

Thank you for your reply. Where did you find the report by Lt Yuile that you refer to? Is it anywhere that I can access? I realise that you have given me the names that you know, but it would be interesting to read. I understand that there was an amount of secrecy about these Q ships, which is probably why we cannot find references to them.

Sue

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Hello Susan,

Not sure how much you know about Decoy Ships that were in service throughout the war.

Decoy Ships were a ploy used by the Admiralty against the German submarines that preyed on British shipping. Almost all types of vessels were used, Drifters, Trawlers, Merchants and even naval Sloops (see separate thread Q 16). They all had one thing in common, however, in that the armaments they carried, including torpeos in some cases, were concealed or disguised so that a submarine commander would be led to believe they were an easy target.

A decoy would hope to meet up with a submarine, tempt it to close on the surface, then reveal the armaments and hopefully sink it. To assist in this "a panic party" would even try to give the impression of the ship being abandoned.

There were many such vessels in service, some for the duration and others for a shorter period. They usually operated under a series of names, changing when they suspected they had been identified by a submarine as a decoy. In the case of Warner, Q 27 was its alternate name, it only had two names because of its short service life. In some cases, eg G & E, which served for 17 months, used Bird, Extirpator, Foam Crest, I'll Try, Ledger 929, Nelson, and S 3.

It took quite a lot of courage for the crew to allow their ship to be set up as a sitting duck, perhaps taking fire or a torpedo, before they were able to reply. They had some successes early on but the German commanders became wise to the ploy and the success rate fell away rapidly.

Best wishes

David

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Sue,

I have a copy of the document - 2 pages. I'll scan it this weekend and send it directly to you. Send me a message with your email address and I'll get it to you sometime over the next couple of days.

Ron

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Ron

Thank you for your offer. I would love to read what you have. However, I do not seem to have full access to this site, although registered, and cannot get a message through to the administrator to query this or to you personally. I am new to the site so perhaps I am doing something wrong. I do not wish to publish my e mail address in public so is there a way you can send to me through this site?

Thanks

Sue

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Hi Ron

I am still having trouble accessing various services on this site. Do you have to pay to be a full member? I have clicked in 'Subscriptions' in My Controls, but there was nothing there to take me any further. I hope you do not mind helping me, but it annoys me that I cannot understand how to work it.

Sue

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Sue

Up near the top of the page, to the right of 'My Controls' is 'New Messages'. Click on this and you should be able to read my message to you.

If you want to send me a message through this site just click on RDG just to the left of this message. It will give you an option to send me a message.

The only charges on this site are those which are paid by members voluntarily to support its continuation.

Ron

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Hi Ron

Thank you so much for your reply. I have not got 'new messages' on my screen and when I click on RDG and then on send a message I get a message saying that I cannot use that facility. I sent a message to the administrator and the reply was that the messaging service is temporarily disabled for members in group 'members 1'. Perhaps I will be able to access it later. I am going away today for a few days and will try again when I get back. I hope that you will not mind if I post a message next weekend to let you know how things are. I really appreciate your help. I thought I was a being a bit thick!

All the best

Sue

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sue,

I've tried a few more times to get my email address to you but without success. I have also asked the administrator to pass it on to you. As soon as we have some success I'll send some pages through to you.

Ron

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Q ships/decoy ship policy ought perhaps to be viewed against the changing pattern of German submarine strategy. As long as the Germans observed prize regulations and made their confrontations on the surface, the Q ship was viable. Once the KDM embarked on the second phase of unrestricted submarine warfare (31st Jan 1917 to the end of the war) the Q ships were finished.

Unfortunately Admiralty had not cottoned on that the rules of the game had changed. Indeed more Q ship confrontations took place in 1917 than at any other time. Sixty three I believe. By August 1917 KDM had built up a fairly accurate mosaic of where Q ships were likely to attack and just what characteristics to look out for ie ships sailing alone , flying no or neutral colours, larger than expected crews. These vessels were invariably sunk on site by U-boats operating at periscope depth.

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Michael Lowrey

Clio,

Very true. U-boat sinkings peaked (both wars) in April 1917. From then on, as of now only one U-boat is attributed as being sunk by a Q-ship.

Two other factors that also helped made Q-ships ineffective: defensive arming of merchant ships and convoys. Both greatly reduced the background number of easy to sink unarmed merchant ships sailing independently.

Best wishes,

Michael

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ron, I have had a message from the administrator that 10 qualifying posts have to be made before getting into Members2 group. It shows 6 posts next to my last message so will need to write some more. Please let me know if you are still reading this and perhaps I can try to reach 10 posts.

Sue

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Hi Ron.

I am writing again to try to get my posts up to 10

Sue

Hi Ron This should be number 9. Sue

Hi Ron This should be number 9

Sue

This does not seem to be working now

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  • 1 year later...

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