26 or 28 June 1917 Fishing Vessel FRIGATE BIRD GY 591
11.6 gt. 42.5 ft. x 12.9 ft. O.N. not recorded.
Built 1907 at Fraserburgh, (builders name not recorded).
Description: Fishing by drift nets and lines, powered by motor
and sails (Lug, Mizzen, Fore and Jib).
Formerly registered at Fraserburgh, Frigate Bird FR 256
Aug.1915 Sold to Edward E. Cox, Grimsby. Registered (2nd Class), Frigate Bird GY 591
26 or 28 June 1917:
The "Frigate Bird" was captured and sunk off Flamborough Head by the German submarine "UC 63" (Karsten von Heydebreck). Crew of five lost. Presumed a case of lifeboat not reaching safety? See in "Harbinger's" account, an extract from Naval Intelligence Documents - seems she went out alone. Registry closed 1 Feb. 1919.
FARROW, John William (38) Deck Hand.
Born: Sheringham. Husband of Fearlene. Farrow (nee Love),
of 94, Ladysmith Road, Grimsby.
SADLER, Horice Samuel (16) Deck Hand.
Born: Grimsby. Son of Maria Sadler (nee Green), of 162, Victor Street, Grimsby, and the late Christopher Sadler (Skipper).
SADLER, Christopher (49) Skipper.
Born: Sheringham. Husband of Maria Sadler (nee Green),
of 162, Victor Street, Grimsby.
SADLER, William Richard (62) Deck Hand.
Born: Sheringham. Husband of Ann Sophia Sadler,
of 32, Fraser Street, Grimsby.
SKUDDER, William Emmanuel (55) Deck Hand.
Born: Greenwich, London. Husband of Ada Skudder,
of 129, Weelsby Street, Grimsby.
28 June 1917 Steam Yacht FRANCES GY 903
20 gt. 56ft x 11ft. O.N. 93135
Built 1888 by Cook Welton & Gemmell at Hull.
May.1888 Registered Steam Yacht "Frances" by George W. Long Hull.
Aug.1913 Sold to Walter Crampin Grimsby. Registered Frances GY 903
Nov.1915 Sold to Alfred Bannister Grimsby.
28 June 1917
"Frances" was captured by the German submarine "UC 63"
(Karsten von Heydebreck) 10 miles N.E. of Spurn Point. Sunk by bomb.
Extract from Naval Intelligence Document:
N.I.D.- Form Ia M.F.V. "ELSIE" & others sunk 28th June 1917,
"At about 5 o'clock* the submarine fired two shots at the steam liner "FRANCIS" (GY.903) the skipper of which reports that he was about 10 miles off the coast between Withernsea & Dimlington. He first saw what he thought was a sailing vessel to the north, but when it came nearer it proved to be a submarine with a group of men on the forecastle & conning tower, which gave the appearance of sails. After the shots had been fired skipper stopped his vessel; the submarine came alongside & ordered the crew on board. The German crew more completely ransacked this vessel than the others, & took with them the clock, weather glass, compass & the side lights & went down into the cabin. Skipper reports that his green book was in his bunk & does not know whether it fell into the hands of the Germans or not. This vessel was also sunk by a bomb which blew in the side of the ship in the same way as the "WILLIAM AND BETSY" & the "ROSE OF JUNE".
The submarine then steered West pursuing a number of motor boats which were seen making their way towards land as fast as possible, & at 7.30 fired two shots at the M.F.V. "DILIGENCE" (H.217) in a position 9 or 10 miles E. by S. of Dimlington. The skipper got the boat out & rowed away but was ordered back to his own ship in order to take the crews of the "ELSIE", "WILLIAM AND BETSY" & "FRANCIS" on board. When that was done a German jumped on board the "DILIGENCE" & smashed her motor with a big hammer. After this the submarine steamed away E.N.E., one of the officers shouting that they were going to sink some other ships, one of them is supposed to be the M.F.V. "HARBINGER" (GY.880) and two or three reports were heard.
"The "DILIGENCE" after the submarine had left her hoisted a sail & was shortly afterwards picked up by the motor boats "ABY" (GY.74) & "ANNIE" (GY.230) who had been making their way to the shore away from the submarine, & towed them to Grimsby."
*Note: Deposition by Master of "Elsie". Gives time "Francis" was attacked, as 6.a.m. Note also throughout the report "Frances" is spelt with an I,!
28 June 1917 Fishing Vessel ROSE OF JUNE GY 515
19.71 gt. 41.5 ft. x 13.4 ft. No O.N. given.
Built: Eyemouth 1898, (builders name not recorded).
Description: Wood, line fishing vessel. Powered by Sail,
(One mast, Lug sail) and Motor.
1914 Owner J.W. Brown Newbiggen (Northumberland)
Registered Rose of June BH 26 (Blyth)
29.Jun.1915 Sold to John Robinson & Sam Chapman Cleethorpes.
Registered (1st Class) Rose of June GY 515 (Robinson & Chapman)
Skipper: Geo. Grice.
30.Jul.1915 Sold to John H. Turner Grimsby. Skipper H. Burnett.
28 June 1917
"Rose of June" was captured by the German submarine "UC 63"
(Karsten von Heydebreck), 10 miles N.E. of Spurn Point. Sunk by bombs.
Her crew were eventually landed safely - see Naval Intelligence Report
extracts in the list under "William and Betsy" and "Frank" for details.
Registry closed 30 November 1917.
28 June 1917 Fishing Vessel FRANK GY 983 (Damaged)
20.05 gt. 39 ft. x 13.8 ft.
Built 1916, Grimsby, Builder's name not recorded in register.
Description: Sail and Motor; Dandy rig, Main, Fore and Mizzen.
Mode of Fishing: Line. Crew: Five Men
Oct.1916 Registered Frank GY 983 (Frank Bryan, Grimsby)
28 June 1917:
"Frank" was captured by the German submarine "UC 63"
(Karsten von Heydebreck) 18 miles N.E. of Spurn Point.
Extract from the Auxiliary Patrol report by C.O. J. A. Campbell,
Lieut. RNR. of H.M.D. White Rose II. dated 29 June 1917.
"At 10.a.m. of the 28th I received orders to patrol round a
position 8 miles N. 50 E. of the Humber Light Vessel I proceeded
with the section immediately and at 10.30.a.m. picked up a boat
having five men of the motor coble "ROSE OF JUNE" on board.
The skipper reported that his vessel had been sunk by a submarine
9 miles S.E. from my position, at 6.a.m. He had been brought
up that distance by a Lowestoft herring boat, and described the
submarine as being very small with a small disappearing gun
mounted forward of the conning tower, and a high straight bow.
I sent this crew to Immingham by the drifter "Scot II".
At 3.30.p.m. in a position approximately eleven miles E by N
of the Humber Light Vessel I picked up the motor coble "Frank".
He had on board crews, five men in each, of the fishing vessels
"Glenelg" and "Harbinger" sunk by the submarine at about 9.a.m.
Two of the submarine crew also boarded the "Frank"
destroyed his engine, and threw overboard all his food, water, and
most of his fish. On the fish remaining they poured oil or some
liquid, said by one of the skippers to be poison.
The description of the submarine given by these skippers coincided
exactly with that given by the skipper of the Rose of June.
Both the skipper of the "Glenelg" and the skipper of the
"Harbinger" said the submarine sunk the inshore boats first and
admitted being much further out than any of the boats sunk earlier in
the morning. I sent in the "Frank" with these crews in tow of the
drifter "Two Boys" at 4.p.m."
17 October 1917 H.M.Trawler RUBY Admiralty No. 2970
251 gt. 121.8ft. x 22.6ft. O.N. 139299. 1 x 12 pdr.
Built 1915 by Cochrane S.B. Selby (Yard No. 659), for the Kingston Steam Trawling Co. Ltd. Hull.
Sept. 1916 Registered Ruby H 494 (Kingston S.T. Co.)
Sept.1 916 Requisitioned by the Admiralty, converted for minesweeping but in use as an patrol vessel at the time lost.
C.O. Skipper Harold Walter Jameson RNR
The trawler "Ruby" was one of the local escort vessels of convoy OF8 out of Falmouth on the 13th. October. After OF8 had been handed on, they took over as escorts to convoy HG20, which had left Gibraltar on 8th October '17, bound for London.
On Wednesday morning 17, October, one of the convoy, the cargo ship "Polvena" was torpedoed by "U 53" (Hans Rose), off the island of Ushant. Three of "Polvena's" crew were killed, the rest were taken off. Two of the escorts, Admiralty trawlers "Ruby" and "Conway Castle" Admiralty No.1987 (SA 35, Swansea), were ordered to stand by the ship, which was still afloat, until a tug arrived. They patrolled around the vessel until 5.30pm when the "Ruby" was hit by a torpedo, she broke up and sank, with the loss of all eighteen hands. This second attack was made by "U 79" (Werner Löwe), who had missed his intended target "Polvena", and hit the "Ruby" instead. The approximate position is given as 48° 50'N, 5° 10'W.
[ADM.137/3290 & ADM.242.]
Grimsby Casualties: (I have details of all 18 crew if required).
BRYAN, David, (38) Engineman, No.5081 ES. RNR.
Born 19 December 1878, Grimsby. Son of John and Jane Bryan, of Grimsby; husband of Edith Bryan (nee Harvey), of 41, Buller Street, Grimsby. RNR District: Grimsby.
CWGC Link Chatham Naval Memorial
HUBBARD, Henry Irison (20) Deck Hand, No.13846 DA RNR.
Born 1 March 1897, Grimsby. Son of John William and Martha Ann Hubbard, of 12, Edward Terrace, Garibaldi Street, Grimsby. RNR District: Grimsby.
CWGC Link Chatham Naval Memorial
STANBRIDGE, Edwin Albert(18) Deck Hand, No.14081 DA RNR.
Born 3 January 1899, Paddington, London. Son of John and Sarah Stanbridge of 25, Nicholson Street, Cleethorpes, Grimsby. RNR District: Grimsby.
CWGC Link Chatham Naval Memorial
The Kingston Steam Trawling Co. Ltd. of Hull signed contracts in 1915 with shipbuilders Cochrane and Sons Ltd. Selby for a class of four vessels, yard numbers 659 to 662 to be built to an amended design of the "Onyx", (Yard number 581, built 1913 for the Kingston S. T. Co.Ltd Registered 20.12.1913, H 1029).
The names chosen were "Ruby", "Garnet", "Topaz" and "Chrysolite". On completion each one was requisitioned for war service. The three surviving trawlers served in the WW2. "Topaz", was lost with all eleven hands in 1940 (sunk off Cromer by enemy aircraft).
28 June 1917 Fishing Vessel ELSIE GY 530
13.62 gt. 37 ft. x 10.9 ft. No O.N. given.
Built 1889 Brightlingsea, (builders name not recorded).
Description: Fishing vessel (Liner) powered by sail, (One pole mast and mainsail) and auxiliary motor.
17.Jul.1915 Sold to Robert Ellis Popple of Grimsby. Registered (2nd Class), "Elsie" Gy 530 (by R.E. Popple). Skipper G. West
28 June 1917
"Elsie" was captured by the German submarine "UC 63" (Karsten von Heydebreck), 10 miles N.E. of Spurn Point. Sunk by bomb. Crew landed safely, see "Diligence" listing. Registry closed 8.Sept.1917
Extract from Naval Intelligence Documents:
N.I.D.- Form Ia M.F.V. "ELSIE" & others sunk 28th June 1917,
Report from N.I. Officer, Grimsby dated 28th June 1917.
"Skipper Reports that he was in a position E. by S. 10 miles from Dimlington at 3.30 this morning when it was just coming light. The submarine then came alongside out of the water on his starboard quarter sheered to the stern of the "ELSIE" & came alongside on her on the port side. The crew of the "ELSIE" were ordered to get life belts and to come on board which they did, & were sent forward; the crew of the submarine took the ship's compass & flag. A bomb was placed in the engine room which caused the vessel to sink. The green book was in the cabin which no German entered entered & it may therefore be presumed to have gone down with the boat. The submarine then went Southwards & at about 4. o'clock fell in with the "WILLIAM AND BETSY" in a position 10 miles East of Dimlington."
28 June 1917 S.S. HARBINGER GY 880
39 gt. 60.4ft. x 12.2ft. O.N. 90424
Built 1885 by John G. Fay & Co. Northam, Southampton.
Description: Fishing Vessel. Two masted schooner, Iron frame,
clinker below and carvel above water line. 10 hp Steam/screw.
1885 Registered "Harbinger" Southampton.
Mar.1916 Sold to Edward Brown of Scunthorpe:-
Registered Harbinger GY 880 (E. Brown).
28 June 1917
"Harbinger" was captured by the German submarine "UC 63"
(Karsten von Heydebreck), 18 miles off Spurn Point. Sunk by bombs.
No casualties recorded. Registry closed 27 July 1917.
See report extract below and in list under "Frank".
Extract from the N.I.O.'s (Grimsby) report dated 29th June 1917.
The skipper of the steam liner "HARBINGER" (GY.880)
E. Greenleaf, 148 Lovett Street, New Cleethorpes, reports this
morning as follows:-
"While fishing yesterday morning, 28th June in company with the
motor fishing vessels "GLENELG" and "FRANK" at a point 18 miles
E.N.E. from Humber Light Vessel, he observed a German S/M
alongside the "GLENELG" about one mile distant. The fishing crew
were already in their dinghy and the "GLENELG" sank immediately.
As only one report was heard, it is presumed that the vessel was
sunk by a bomb.
The S/M then persued M.F.V. "FRANK" but observing the
"HARBINGER" endeavouring to make her escape she changed her
course and fired three shots at the latter compelling her to stop.
An Officer of the S/M then boarded the "HARBINGER" and after
plundering the vessel of 3 clocks, barometer, compass and fishing
gear, placed a bomb in the engineroom. The skipper reports that
he burnt the Greenbook.
The "HARBINGER" then launches her boat and rowed away
but was ordered to take on board the crew of the "FRANK" which
however she was unable to do, there being no room.
The S/M then steamed up to the "FRANK" and plundered the
vessel and then broke her motor but did not interfere with the crew.
As the "HARBINGER" was still afloat the S/M fired three shots
from her gun but as this did not have the required effect
another bomb was placed on board which blew off her bows and
The crews of the "HARBINGER" and "GLENELG" then boarded
the "FRANK" and sailed for home but fell in with the patrol."
Page 188, par.4
"Enquiries have been made at this office by relatives of the crew of
the "FRIGATE BIRD" (A.769 or B.C.K. 68). It is feared that these
are missing but no information can so far be obtained as to which
section she belonged nor in what position this vessel was fishing but
it is presumed she was one of those attacked by S/M between 3.a.m.,
and 8 a.m. yesterday morning."
15 August 1917 F.V. ALICE GY 541
17.68 gt. 42.2 ft. x 11.7 ft. No O.N. given - Recorded as 2nd Class.
Built at Whitby 1903. Formerly SH 282 (Scarborough)
Description: Fishing, Coble rig, with lines and nets. Crew: 5
Powered by sail,( Jib, Foresail and Mizzen), and auxiliary motor.
12.Jul.1915 Sold to East Anglian Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. Grimsby.
Registered Alice GY 541 (East Anglian S.F.Co.), Skipper W. Crawford.
Vessel posted as missing since 14 August 1917.
15 August 1917:
"Alice" was captured and sunk off the Humber by the German submarine "UC 63" (Karsten von Heydebreck),
(Position given: 53° 38' N. 00° 55' E.). Crew of five not recovered. Registry closed 23 November 1917.
CAMPBELL, Samuel, (52) Skipper.
Born: Greenwich. 439 Grimsby Road, New Cleethorpes, Grimsby.
FRAYNE, John (57) Deck Hand.
Born: London. 119 Kent Street, Grimsby
RICHARDSON, John R. (27) Motorman 1.
Born: Fleetwood. Husband of Mrs. Richardson, of 31, Ward Street, New Cleethorpes.
ROBINSON, John (45) Deck Hand.
Born: Greenwich. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, of 4, Clerke Street, New Cleethorpes.
STEVENS, William (55) Deck Hand.
Born: Hornchurch. 83 Freeston Street, New Cleethorpes, Grimsby.
"Chrysolite" as GY 260, (registered at Grimsby in 1930).
The sinking of the "Polvena" is attributed to the torpedo attack by
"U 53" (Hans Rose), and at that time she was said to be carrying general cargo - this news item almost 35 years later tells a different story:
From The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 28 August 1952 p.1 of 8
BRITISH WARSHIP INTERVENS IN SALVAGE DISPUTE
'But Italians carried on with work.'
Morlaix (Brittany). Wednesday
The British naval sloop Wave ordered an Italian salvage ship, Rostro, to stop salvaging and leave a sunken wreck 25 miles north of Ushant, north-west France, but the Italian ship refused to leave the spot.
The French minesweeper Belfort, returning from the scene, reported this to the French Admiralty today.
The Wave, a Fisheries Protection vessel and minesweeper, told the Italian ship that a British salvage company, Risdon Beazley, Ltd., claimed to have received authority from the British Government to recover copper and lead from the wreck, believed to be that of the British cargo vessel Polvena, torpedoed in October 1917.
The Italians replied that the wreck was not the Polvena, but that it was an unidentified wreck which they had the right to strip.
The Polvena had a cargo of 15,000 ingots of copper and 3,000 bars of lead, total weight of 4,000 tons. Risdon Reazley, Ltd., bought the rights in the ship and cargo from an insurance company after the sinking.
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