First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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Navy - Naval Forces & Battles

Latest hand-picked First World War news. See also: See also 'Submarines, U-Boats', 'War Wrecks', 'WWI Photographs', 'WW1 Memorabilia'.

The Navy`s Bloodiest Day: New BBC documentary on the Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland took place 100 years ago and has gone down in British maritime history as one of the greatest disasters of the First World War. That day – May 31, 1916 – saw battleships clash on a scale that has never been witnessed before or since, with 151 British warships from the Royal Navy`s Grand Fleet taking on 99 ships from the German High Seas Fleet. The Royal Navy was anticipating a famous victory in the North Sea. However, it did not pan out like that. By the end of the 12-hour battle, Britain had lost 14 warships and 6,094 lives, while 11 German ships had been sunk with the loss of 2,551 sailors. Never before had the Royal Navy seen such cataclysmic loss of life in a single day.
(express.co.uk)

Last remaining ship from sea battle that turned the tide of WW1 will be become a floating museum
The First World War's last surviving battleship is on course to be transformed into a floating museum after securing a £12 million lottery funding boost. The National Museum of the Royal Navy says HMS Caroline will be opened as a 'world class' visitor attraction ahead of the centenary of its most famous wartime engagement - the 1916 Battle of Jutland off the coast of Denmark. The derelict vessel, which is currently docked in the same Belfast shipyards where the Titanic was built, was in danger of rusting away before moves to restore it started to build up steam last year.
(dailymail.co.uk)

WW1 "aircraft carrier" discovered rusting by the River Thames (photos)
The worlds' oldest surviving aircraft carrier - the 1918 Thorneycroft Seaplane Lighter discovered rusting by the River Thames - is currently being restored at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset. The 58-feet-long "Lighter T3" was towed behind the RN destroyers allowing aircraft to take off at sea during the First World War. In total 50 of these vessels were build during the war.

The thought of a 58-feet-long aircraft carrier is a bit mind twisting - if you remember that modern aircraft carriers can be up to 1,000 feet long.
(dailymail.co.uk)

British merchant navy captain who tried to ram a German U-boat to be remembered in exhibition
It was one of the most controversial WWI events, used by both sides for maximum propaganda advantage. But the act of bravery by British merchant sailor Charles Fryatt as he tried to ram a German U-boat - and his death by German firing squad - have been forgotten. A new exhibition featuring artefacts linked to these events will open at the Imperial War Museum North, in Manchester, to restore his place in history. Captain Fryatt became a hero in Britain and a villain in Germany for his actions on 28 March 1915 when the SS Brussels – a passenger ferry – was intercepted by a submarine, U33, in the North Sea.
(telegraph.co.uk)

French battleship Danton, sunk in 1917 by a German submarine, found
A French battleship sunk in 1917 by a German submarine has been discovered in good condition on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. The Danton, with gun turrets still intact, is sitting upright in over 1,000m of water. It was discovered by the Fugro geosciences company during a survey for a gas pipeline. The Danton, which sank with 296 sailors still onboard, lies 35km southwest of Sardinia. The Danton's Captain Delage stood on the bridge with his officers and made no attempt to leave the ship as it went under. A comparison with the original plans for the battleship, especially the position of its 240mm guns, confirms the wreck's identity.
(bbc.co.uk)

German U-boat attack almost prolonged the First World War
In 1918 the RMS Leinster left Ireland for Wales, with 771 passengers and crew on board, but only an hour into the journey they were torpedoed by a German U-boat. It was the greatest ever loss of life in the Irish Sea and nearly lengthened World War I, but the sinking of the RMS Leinster has now become just a footnote in maritime history. Everyone on board was forced to cling to rafts in a grim struggle for survival. Philip Lecane, author of "Torpedoed!: The RMS Leinster Disaster", said in spite of its function as a merchant ship, soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses formed the majority of passengers.
(walesonline.co.uk)

British destroyer HMS Fairy's battle with U-boat UC75
HMS Fairy was a 380-ton C Class British destroyer, with six guns: one 12 pounder forward and 5 six pounders at her sides and stern. She also had depth charges and two 18" torpedo tubes on her decks. On May 31, 1918 the weather was quite reasonable when a convoy of 30 merchant ships rounded Flamborough Head. Escorting the convoy was HMS Fairy, the senior officer's ship under the command of Lieut GH Barnish. At 2.05am, there was a crashing noise. The steamer Blaydonian had run over the hull of submerged u-boat UC75 (Unterseeboot C-75), a German minelayer commanded by Walter Schmitz. HMS Fairy raced to the scene and challenged the u-boat.
(bridlingtonfreepress)

Winston's Little Army - 10,000 naval servicemen on the Western Front
The exploits of legendary fighting force "Winston's Little Army" are published online, including the story of the youngest officer to die in the Great War. The war records of over 10,000 naval servicemen who fought on the Western Front in the Royal Naval Division are online for the first time. Founded in 1914 by Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, it was formed from the surplus of men unable to get a place aboard warships. The files document the date and cause of death of 10,200 men who fell 1914-1918, over 1,000 of them on April 28 1917 during the fight for Gavrelle windmill in the battle of Arras - the bloodiest day in the history of the Royal Marines.
(telegraph.co.uk)

Battleship HMS Dominion sails on to big screen for first time in a century   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Long-lost film of warship HMS Dominion is set to be shown in public after over a century. Footage of the launch is to take centre stage at a Blackpool and the North West on Film event. Lost for decades, some of the films were discovered in 1994 and 800 reels were acquired by the British Film Institute. HMS Dominion was a King Edward VII-class Royal Navy battleship, laid down at Vickers on May 23, 1902. She was at Rosyth in Fife as part of the Third Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet at the outbreak of WW1. After the squadron was moved to Sheerness in 1916, Dominion was without success attacked by a German submarine and by June 1917 was under refit at Portsmouth.
(nwemail)

The war against the U-boat in the first world war
The primary role of Naval Aviation in WW1 was antisubmarine warfare. "The United States Naval Air Force, Foreign Service, executed 30 attacks against enemy submarines, of which 10 were considered to have been at least partially successful; it dropped 100 tons of high explosives on enemy objectives, and it had to its credit a total of 22,000 flights... almost always the damage inflicted by aircraft, when operating against surface craft, was of a contributory and indirect nature—the seaplane summoned destroyers to the scene of action and the submarine was destroyed` describes what is meant by ‘indirect` in this sense." Spoke LCdr. W. Atlee Edwards in 1925.
(warandgame)

Divers find sunken WWI minesweeper of the Royal Canadian Navy
Divers probing a shipwreck off the north coast of Wales have traced the origins of a bell from the sunken vessel and discovered a long-lost treasure of Canada's naval history: a 90-year-old minesweeper built by the fledgling Royal Canadian Navy during World War One. A rare surviving symbol of country's coming of age as a modest maritime power, the 38m trawler was commissioned mid-war as part of an urgent ship-construction project aimed at taking over Canada's coastal defences from a besieged Britain.
(cdnn.info)

1918 July 19 - German submarine Sinks The San Diego
During World War 1, Germany sent 6 submarines on missions to the American coast to plant mines. All along the U.S. coast from Chesapeake Bay to the Long Island minefields were planted. Eight miles south of Fire Island on July 19, 1918, the U.S. armored cruiser San Diego was rocked by an explosion, which blew a hole in the hull at the port engine room, killing 2 seamen instantly. As the San Diego sank stern first into the flat sea, more than 1,200 crew members were afloat on boats rafts or in the water. They sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and "My Country ‘Tis of Thee" as the ship sank from sight. The San Diego was the only major U.S. warship lost in WWI.
(brooklyneagle)

June 21 1919 Admiral Ludwig von Reuter sunk the German war fleet
After Germany`s defeat in the First World War, 74 ships of the German royal navy were trapped in Scapa Flow Bay awaiting a decision of the Versailles treaty. After the British Royal Navy left the bay to conduct a military exercise, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter ordered the synchronised sinking of the 74 ships to prevent them from falling into British hands. In 5 hours 51 ships sank. 9 sailors were killed - the last WWI victims. Admiral von Reuter became a POW together with 1,773 officers and ship crew. The British proclaimed him a criminal, and the Germans glorified him as a war hero who defended the honour of the German navy.
(javno)

The only British World War I ship still in England falling apart   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Hampshire County Council has been accused of letting one of the most important ships in naval history fall apart. The M33, a monitor ship which saw service in Gallipolli, is the only British World War 1 ship still remaining in England, and one of only 2 that survived. But a row has now erupted over its future. The navy is to spend £1.2m on the dock where it is berthed next to HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. But the county council, which owns the ship, is not prepared to spend £1.2m doing it up so it can be a tourist attraction where visitors can go on board.
(portsmouth.co.uk)

U.S. Involvement in World War One and Lusitania
President Woodrow Wilson had promised to stay neutral, but he hardly followed through. In fact the US was never neutral, and the Lusitania did not have 'innocent cargo'. The US had been shipping war materials to Germany's enemies for some time. The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 by Germany was justified. After warning of "unrestricted submarine warfare" to any ships found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Germans had every right to torpedo the Lusitania. The Lusitania's cargo, according to Howard Zinn contained: 1,248 cases of 3-inch shells, 4,927 boxes of cartridges (1000 rounds per box), 2,000 cases of small-arms ammunition. ...hardly an innocent cargo.
(pennlive)

Black troops aboard ill-fated vessel in 1917 honoured   (Article no longer available from the original source)
It took less time for the SS Mendi to sink during World War 1 in 1917 than it took to hold a memorial service for the 607 black troops on board the Mendi. The year 1917 marked South Africa‘s worst marine disaster. While sailing through fog on Feb 21, 1917, the troopship SS Mendi collided with the liner SS Darro in the English Channel. The Mendi sank in 20 minutes. Of the 802 members of the South African Native Labour Contingent, more than 600 drowned. The bravery showed under the Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dhyoba has been remembered through the years. The Darro, which despite the fog and not emitting warning signals, had been sailing at maximum speed.
(theherald)

WWI sub searchers - Hunters of the Steel Sharks book
Imagine dozens of small wooden boats scouring the seas for German U-boats bent on starving England into submission. The U.S. Navy did as it entered World War 1, and ordered the construction of what became a fleet of 300 sub chasers. The 110-foot craft were equipped with depth charges, deck guns and underwater listening devices. The book relies on documents kept by Lt. George Dole, who commanded one of the craft. While larger destroyers escorted convoys, the sub chasers waited, watched and listened for their prey. They also helped with mine-clearing, diplomatic duties and the ill-fated Allied intervention in the young Soviet Union in 1919.
(estripes)

The first Bermudian to die in the Great War
In 1912, Edmund William Smith joined the Royal Navy, left Bermuda, and went into Bermuda's history. In 1914, HMS Aboukir was a 14 year-old coal-fired ship designated as a cruiser. Since the Royal Navy was shifting from coal to oil, HMS Aboukir was obsolete. However, on 3rd August 1914 every ship of the RN's fleet was pressed into service. That's how this Bermudian found himself at sea in the North Sea, on 22nd Sept 1914. HMS Aboukir, along with HMS Cressy, and HMS Hogue, all part of the 7th Cruiser Squadron of the 3rd Fleet, assigned a patrolling task that kept them at sea. All 3 were torpedoed by German submarine U-9.
(bermudasun)

Treasure hunt for WW1 code book -- military espionage history
What brought David Kahn to Estonia's 14th-largest island Osmussaar is perhaps the most famous code book of military espionage history. Russian warships coming from ports in Finland fired on the German cruiser the Magdeburg in the early part of the First World War on the 26th of August, 1914 in the waters off Osmussaar. From the deck of the destroyed ship, the enemy was able to snatch the code book of the Imperial Navy.
(hs)

1918-1930: Mutiny and resistance in the British Royal Navy
A history of mutinies and rebellions in the British Royal Navy and Royal Marines from the wave of mutiny towards the end of World War I, through the Russian Revolution and up until 1930. Whilst the mutinies in the German and French Navies in the First World War have been well documented, little information is available about the British Royal Navy. There was considerable talk of mutiny at Portsmouth, in 1918. The threat was serious enough for an admiralty agent Lionel Yexley to write a report warning the Admiralty. The conditions of the sailors justified a mutiny: Wartime inflation had reduced the sailors' 19 pence a day to a mere pittance.
(libcom)

WW1 wreck mystery -- "It's a wreck that shouldn't be there"
Archaeologists are to investigate a wreck reported to be that of a German warship previously said to have been salvaged and scrapped. Records claim the V81, which was at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, was raised in 1937. However, members of Diving Club said it was still on the seabed. Information on the fate of the V81 is "cloudy". The destroyer was part of the German High Seas Fleet which fought the Royal Navy in the Battle of Jutland, off Denmark's coast. Some 8,648 British and German sailors lost their lives in one day's fighting on 31 May into 1 June 1916. In 1919, the vessel and 73 other German warships were scuttled in Scapa Flow, Orkney.
(bbc)

RMS Lusitania - Torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat
The RMS Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat on her 202nd crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The incident played a role in the US entry into WWI. President Woodrow Wilson, who was officially promising to keep the US out of the war, may have falsely claimed that the Lusitania was a wrongful victim, if indeed the ship had been carrying munitions as the Germans claimed. On May 7, 1915, already within sight of the coast of Southern Ireland, it was spotted by the submarine U-20, commanded by Captain Walther Schweiger. Before the voyage, a secret warning, given to the wealthiest passengers, reported of U-boat activity and advised not to travel.
(thefreedictionary)

Evan Allan - Last WW1 navy veteran dies
Evan Allan, who has died in Melbourne at the age of 106, was the last Australian veteran to serve through the whole of the first and second world wars, after defying his parents by volunteering for the fledgling Royal Australian Navy (Ran) in March 1914. As soon as he was big enough to pass muster, the 14-year-old ran away to sea. he was posted as a seaman-rating to the cruiser HMAS Encounter, and was thus present when his ship fired the Australian fleet's first shot in anger, as Commonwealth forces attacked the German half of the huge island of New Guinea, north-east of Australia.
(guardian)

Battle of Jutland - Greatest naval battle in history in North Sea
The Daily Mirror reports on the heavy losses the Royal Navy suffered when it engaged the German Fleet at the Battle of Jutland. British lose 3 battlecruisers, 3 cruisers and 8 torpedo-boat destroyers. Two German dreadnoughts sunk - Foe battle cruiser blown up, another disabled and stopping and third seriously damaged. The British ships on which the brunt of the fighting fell were the battlecruiser fleet and some cruisers and light cruisers, supported by 4 fast battleships. Among these the losses were heavy. The German battle fleet, aided by a low visibility, avoided prolonged action, though not before receiving damage from our battleships.
(bbc)


See also

'Submarines, U-Boats'

'War Wrecks'

'WWI Photographs'

'WW1 Memorabilia'.