Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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Date Name Information
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes 01010
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes Concluding, Mr Forbes hoped that no matter how much of his tory the writer might omit, on no account was he to fail to record the gratitude of himself and his fellow prisoners to their German captors, who throughout the seven weeks treated them as brothers. When the Crefeld was parting from the Karlsruhe, bringing them to Tenerife, the cruiser had dipped her ensign and flew a signal wishing them a good and safe journey home.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes Speaking of how they passed their time when their captors were not giving them exhibitions of ship sinking, Mr Forbes told of some exciting shark fishing at night. ‘You know’ he explained ‘the seamen regard the shark as his bitterest enemy and every man aboard, from the captain to the cabin boy, will turn out to see a shark done in’.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes Questioned as to the attitude of the German sailors towards the war, and as to their hopes of victory, Mr Forbes said that neither the officers nor the crew of the Crefeld hand any heart in the business. The commander of the Crefeld was positively sick of the sight of the destruction of so much valuable shipping, and he was constantly apologising to them and bemoaning the fact that his ship had degenerated to the position of prison ship. The general opinion of the crew was that it mattered little to them whether Germany won or lost. As for the naval officers, one of them once stated that the Karlsruhe was not out to fight, but to destroy commerce and then run away. In this officer’s opinion, British gunners were superior to German.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes The British Consul had his hands full in providing accommodations for us, which he did at the best hotels. On Sunday 1st November, 100 of us sailed for Liverpool on the Androiuha, and on our way we had slight revenge on our enemies. A Hamburg sailing vessel that had been so long out of port that they had never heard of the war, asked us for the correct time and informed us that she was bound for Falmouth. We did not enlighten them as to the war, but instead our commander sent out a wireless to any cruisers in the vicinity informing them of the whereabouts of the sailor. She was captured as a result of this and towed into Queenstown a few days later.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes They were still transferring this cargo from the Condor when the Crefeld was ordered to proceed with her prisoners, now 419 in number, to Tenerife. Her commander had orders that on no account were he to put into Tenerife before Thursday 22nd October. When we eventfully reached that port we discovered that that was the only day for a fortnight that the approaches had not been guarded by a British cruiser. In passing a small coastal steamer which dipped its ensign to the Crefeld, the commander of the latter, fearing his presence would be reported before he could gain the safety of territorial waters, hoisted the Spanish ensign to return the salute. For this act the authorities at Tenerife fined him £100 and will detain the vessel during the war.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes On 5th September, our third day on board, we were laying ‘heave to’ with the cruiser over the horizon scouting. When she returned she was followed by the Hamburg steamer, Ascunction, which transferred eleven men of the crew of the Strathroy, a British coal boat, which had been captured on 31st August. A prize crew had been put on the Strathroy and she was only sent to the bottom when all her cargo of coal had been used up by the cruiser. This was on 28th September. By this time the cruiser had Rio Negro as well as the Ascunction assisting as scouts. On 14th September we came up with the Highland Hope, of the Nelson line, out from the River Plate with meat. She followed the others to the bottom after the crew had joined us on the Crefeld. The next was the Indians, coal laden, which was kept going with a prize crew. On the 21st the S. S. Marie from Portland, Oregon, bound for Belfast with a cargo of grain, was met with and sunk, and while the wreckers were busy, the cruiser sighted another vessel on the horizon and made in her direction. We followed and on coming up found the Cornish City hove up. This was the first ship we were permitted to see sunk. On 22nd September the Iquassu was sunk and on 5th October the S.S. Farn, coal laden from Barry, had her crew transferred and a prize crew put on board to keep her going. We now resembled a small fleet. On 6th October, at night, we came up on a steamer from Buenos Aires laden with fodder and motor cars for our troops in France. Of course she was sent to the bottom, and while her crew were being towed off to us through the darkness, we struck up ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, and at the sound of our English voices the men sent up a cheer. They did not expect to find friends on a German prisoner ship. The S.S. Lynrowan was the next to go, and from her we received the first ladies – the captain’s wife and a lady passenger. On the 8th it was the Cevantes and on the 9th the Pruth. On the 11th the cruiser made perhaps her most important capture. It almost looked as if this ship, the Condor, had been purposely sent by the agents to be captured, though of course the crew did not know of this. Four of these were Germans who were taken aboard the cruiser and not sent with the rest to the Crefeld. The capture as effected in this way. The Farn was out on scout and sighting the Condor signalled to her to come closer as she wanted to speak to her. The condor replied. The Farn had run up the British ensign and signalled that her engine had broken down and asked the Condor to stand by while they did their repairs. This was merely a ruse to give the cruiser time to get up. When she did so the Condor was found to have on board a cargo of tinned provisions, oil and dynamite, everything, in fact, that the cruiser stood in need of.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes I have a little pocket diary that I kept, but before giving you a few extracts from it let me say that it was evident to us that the Karlsruhe was constantly kept supplied with wireless information as to the movements of all vessels in that part of the south Atlantic. She knew exactly where on the track would meet a ship, what that ship carried, and where her destination was, and she also knew when to clear away from the route for a few hours so as to avoid British cruisers. She was able to inform our ship, Crefeld, that the British ships, Monmouth, Good Hope and Glasgow, had passed through the Straits of Magellan on the day they did. Just think of it! There we were for seven weeks, right in the beaten track, with often as many as six ships lying around the cruiser, and not a sign of a British cruiser in all that time. The Karlsruhe would leave us sometimes for days at a time and we would dodge about and ‘heave to’ at night. Then some morning we would get up to find the cruiser lying alongside as usual. We soon learned that on these occasions, the Karlsruhe was replenishing her bunkers, but from where or how we never learned.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes I may say here that the treatment and the courtesy we received at the hands of the officers of the Crefeld was everything that we could have wished. We were berthed in first class cabins amidships, dined with the officers in the saloon, and made to feel our position as little as possible. I do not care what German soldiers may be doing on the continent, I must say that German officers, both of the navy and merchant service, are considerate, courteous, and gentlemanly. It was not their fault that during the last month of our sojourn on board we had scarcely anything to eat but bread and butter. As fresh crews of other captured ships were added daily to our company, the stores gradually gave out, and the diet was pretty Spartan during the last month. It was probably to spare our feelings that we were not allowed to see our ship sunk. Whether she was scuttled or blown up with dynamite we could not say, but later, when we were permitted to see others sunk, we saw that this was accomplished by putting a charge of dynamite aft and another forward. These would blow great vents in the ship’s sides, and few of them took more than half an hour to go down.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes From 7am to 3pm the slaughter went on, the butchers were soaking in blood, and the ship was swimming with it. Meanwhile, in obedience of orders, we were steaming at seven knots in the wake of the cruiser, which was steering a course off the beaten track so as to avoid a British man-o-war, no doubt. At 3pm we were signalled to stop and to swing out our lifeboats. These were filled with the ships stores, and a cutter was sent to tow them to the cruiser. Several trips were made in this way, and when all our stores, the live canaries, the live rabbits and three cases of typewriters had been transferred to the cruiser, our Chinese firemen and our English sailors were towed across to the Crefeld. As a compliment to us, the officers and engineers, the cruiser then sent her own cutter to take us off. We were received on board the Crefeld by the commander, who said he was pleased to welcome us to his ship, but he was extremely sorry at the circumstances of our reception. At that moment the commander of the cruiser was signalled that he was to treat us as well as was possible in the circumstances according to rank and as first class passengers. We were then made to sign our parole that we would not take up arms against Germany or Austria-Hungary.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes The German officer apologised to our captain for having to stop us and deprive us of our cargo. He instructed us to pack up all our personal belongings, as we were about to be transferred to the North German Lloyd Steamship Crefeld, which had meantime come astern of the cruiser, and which was evidently in attendance of the latter. Having examined our papers, he signalled to the cruiser the nature of our cargo, and the cruiser replied that all livestock was to immediately slaughtered. Our man in charge of the animals was asked to do the killing, for which the German officer said he would be paid, but he had not the heart to tackle the job. Five men were sent off from the cruiser to do the butchering, bringing along a ‘humane killer’, a pole-axe, and some hand hammers. None of them had any experience of slaughtering, and a more sickening sight I never hope to witness than that. As I remarked to the officer in charge, it was the bloodiest day’s work the Karlsruhe had ever done.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes ‘Our Ship was S.S. Maple Branch of Sunderland outward bound from Liverpool on 20th august, with a general cargo for South America. Portion of the cargo consisted of very valuable animals, prize stock for Chile, which we were to have landed at Valparaiso. There were six bulls, on weighed 1½ tonnes and cost £800 in Liverpool, 40 prize rams, 400 prize fowl, turkeys, guinea fowl, silver pheasants, rabbits and canaries. We sighted nothing during the first thirteen days of our voyage, and this mind you, in spite of the fact that our Admiralty assures us that the route is very well patrolled and protected by British cruisers. About dawn on the fourteenth day (3rd September) we sighted a cruiser on the horizon. We knew it to be a cruiser, though we could not make out her ensign in the faint light. She at once signalled us to ‘heave to’, which we did, and it was only when she came up close that we saw that we had fallen into the hands of the German cruiser Karlsruhe. The commander of the Karlsruhe then signalled that he was sending off a boat with officers and a boarding party, and a few minutes later these came aboard the Maple Branch.
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes Mr F W Forbes, an Englishman, and a ship’s engineering, who has made his home at Lisnamorrow, of which district his wife is a native, has just returned after experiencing for seven weeks the hospitality of a German prison ship. He has given the following interesting account of his adventures to our representative:-
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes 01009
29/05/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 14th November 1914: Lisnamorrow Engineer’s Experience
24/05/2018 Able Seaman Samuel Gourley Samuel M Gourley, Portglenone, son of Me James Gourley, senior postmaster in Portglenone, was with the Royal Naval Volunteers in the trenches at Antwerp. He returned to Portglenone on a few days furlough. The naval marine from Portglenone was one of a party of defenders who, mud stained, dirty and unshaven, returned to Dover from Ostend. Only a week previously he left Dover, and with his comrades embarked for a port unknown. They landed in France, and were sent direct to the trenches, where they were under fire at once. Several chaps around him were struck, but he escaped. While in the trenches and during the erection of a telegraph apparatus, a hawker with postcards was caught in the act of photographing the trench, immediately afterwards being shot as a spy. On the retreat he experienced many thrilling adventures. At one time they were almost led into German lines, but through the intervention of a Belgian officer they were put on the right track, and the treacherous guide was shot. Most of them got back to England safely about eight days after they had started out; but some strayed into Holland and were interned there, others were left lifeless in the trenches. Another Royal Navy Reservist, on arriving at Liverpool from Antwerp, said when they got back to Ostend, they were just unloading the big 9.2 naval guns, which were expected to help them at Antwerp. Had they had them, the city might have been standing today. Our big naval guns would easily have beaten the enemy’s siege guns, they have a longer range and trajectory suitable to the country, which is flat.
24/05/2018 Able Seaman Samuel Gourley 01008
24/05/2018 Able Seaman Samuel Gourley From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 31st October 1914: A Portglenone Man at Antwerp
22/05/2018 L/Corp William Shanks M.M. Few towns have more nobly responded to the call of the Empire than the historic village on the banks of the Moyola. When Castledawson Ulster Volunteers echoed the words of their great leader that they wanted to remain in the Empire because, if necessary, they were prepared to die that Empire, theirs’ were no empty words. That they meant what they said had been shown by their action in sending a second contribution to join their twenty five companions already in Finner Camp. These men left on Monday, and after being presented with comforts and other gifts, were accompanied to the station by cheering crowds. The little band of four consisted of William Shanks and Alex Leslie, youths of the party, John Hawe, the third married man to leave Castledawson, and Charleton McNally, the veteran of the party, a widower and a grandfather, who already has two married sons somewhere in the trenches of France, and whose grandsons are sufficiently old to feel pride in their grandfather’s action. Few, not already acquainted with him, would have guessed that the possessor of that firm, well set-up boyish figure marching so blithely to the station, had served sixteen years in the Londonderry Garrison Artillery and that that service had begun as long ago as 1885. ‘There’s not a better man than ‘Chat’ in Finner Camp’ was the consensus of opinion. The veteran himself was confident of his own ability to do his share of whatever duty arose, for as he took farewell of his friends on the platform he said ‘I only hope that I may have an opportunity of joining my tweo lads at the front, and if we three get together we will show some of these Germans the stuff that McNallys are made of.’
22/05/2018 L/Corp William Shanks M.M. 01007
22/05/2018 L/Corp William Shanks M.M. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 17th October 1914: Castledawson Grandfather for Kitchener’s Army
18/05/2018 Mr John Fulton John Fulton became Commander of the Castledawson Ulster Volunteer Force in October 1914, succeeding Georg Weir, who along with 25 others, had gone off to enlist at Finner Camp.
18/05/2018 Pte. Samuel J Campbell Sam Campbell was a member of Castledawson U.V.F.
18/05/2018 Pte. Samuel J Campbell Mr John Fulton, the new commander of the Castledawson U.V.F., presented Mr George Weir, who now commands the twenty-five who have gone, with a dressing case, on behalf of the section commanders of the company. Commander Weir replied on behalf of himself and the men for all the gifts, and he and his fellow Volunteers would have an opportunity of seeing Berlin before they again saw Castledawson. The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing. Enthusiastic scenes were witnessed on Tuesday morning, when Commander Weir and his companions departed for Finner Camp by the first morning train. Everyone in the village was astir at an early hour, and crowds had assembled at the volunteer headquarters, when Commander Weir paraded his men. Castledawson First Company Boys Brigade, under Lieutenants Hueston and Evans, headed the procession to the railway station and Castledawson and Tullinkesey Companies U.V.F. brought up the rear. The men, who departed in high spirits amid the cheers of hundreds, were – Commander George Weir, Signaller Hiram Kerr, and Privates Bob Loughrey, Henry Loughrey, William Bradley, George Sampson, Robert Woods, George Garvin, Jim Milligan, Hugh Leslie, David Fulton, Bob Speer, Jack Harte, Tom Trainor, Sam Campbell, Frank Hueston, George McNeill, Henry Brown, Eddie Mawhinney, Tom Pickering, John Evans, Samuel White, James McFadden, George Garvin and John Overend.
18/05/2018 Pte. Samuel J Campbell 01006
18/05/2018 Pte. Samuel J Campbell From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 3rd October 1914:
18/05/2018 Pte. John Jack Harte M.M. Jack Harte was a member of Castledawson U.V.F.
18/05/2018 Pte. John Jack Harte M.M. Mr John Fulton, the new commander of the Castledawson U.V.F., presented Mr George Weir, who now commands the twenty-five who have gone, with a dressing case, on behalf of the section commanders of the company. Commander Weir replied on behalf of himself and the men for all the gifts, and he and his fellow Volunteers would have an opportunity of seeing Berlin before they again saw Castledawson. The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing. Enthusiastic scenes were witnessed on Tuesday morning, when Commander Weir and his companions departed for Finner Camp by the first morning train. Everyone in the village was astir at an early hour, and crowds had assembled at the volunteer headquarters, when Commander Weir paraded his men. Castledawson First Company Boys Brigade, under Lieutenants Hueston and Evans, headed the procession to the railway station and Castledawson and Tullinkesey Companies U.V.F. brought up the rear. The men, who departed in high spirits amid the cheers of hundreds, were – Commander George Weir, Signaller Hiram Kerr, and Privates Bob Loughrey, Henry Loughrey, William Bradley, George Sampson, Robert Woods, George Garvin, Jim Milligan, Hugh Leslie, David Fulton, Bob Speer, Jack Harte, Tom Trainor, Sam Campbell, Frank Hueston, George McNeill, Henry Brown, Eddie Mawhinney, Tom Pickering, John Evans, Samuel White, James McFadden, George Garvin and John Overend.
18/05/2018 Pte. John Jack Harte M.M. 01006
18/05/2018 Pte. John Jack Harte M.M. From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 3rd October 1914:
18/05/2018 Mr John Fulton Mr John Fulton, the new commander of the Castledawson U.V.F., presented Mr George Weir, who now commands the twenty-five who have gone, with a dressing case, on behalf of the section commanders of the company. Commander Weir replied on behalf of himself and the men for all the gifts, and he and his fellow Volunteers would have an opportunity of seeing Berlin before they again saw Castledawson. The remainder of the evening was spent in dancing. Enthusiastic scenes were witnessed on Tuesday morning, when Commander Weir and his companions departed for Finner Camp by the first morning train. Everyone in the village was astir at an early hour, and crowds had assembled at the volunteer headquarters, when Commander Weir paraded his men. Castledawson First Company Boys Brigade, under Lieutenants Hueston and Evans, headed the procession to the railway station and Castledawson and Tullinkesey Companies U.V.F. brought up the rear. The men, who departed in high spirits amid the cheers of hundreds, were – Commander George Weir, Signaller Hiram Kerr, and Privates Bob Loughrey, Henry Loughrey, William Bradley, George Sampson, Robert Woods, George Garvin, Jim Milligan, Hugh Leslie, David Fulton, Bob Speer, Jack Harte, Tom Trainor, Sam Campbell, Frank Hueston, George McNeill, Henry Brown, Eddie Mawhinney, Tom Pickering, John Evans, Samuel White, James McFadden, George Garvin and John Overend.
18/05/2018 Mr John Fulton 01006
18/05/2018 Mr John Fulton From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 3rd October 1914:
11/05/2018 Swrt George Christie The official bureau has issued a graphic account of the disaster resulting in the sinking of the Amphion. Some trawlers sighted the German mine-layer, and on their report, the British destroyers were able to locate and sink her. On returning, the destroyers altered their course somewhat to avoid the danger zone, but at 6:30 am the Amphion struck a mine. The force of the explosion rendered the captain momentarily insensible, but when he recovered he ran to the engine room to have the engines stopped. At the moment of the explosion, the Amphion was steaming twenty knots an hour. Efforts were made to tow her to the nearest harbour, but apparently her back had been broken in the explosion as she commenced to settle down. Immediate steps were taken to have the wounded removed to some of the sister destroyers. Twenty three minutes after the captain, who was the last to go, had left her, there was another explosion which blew up the entire fore part of the vessel, and it is believed this was caused by a second mine exploding at the fore magazine. One Amphion shell was thrown on the deck of another destroyer, killing two of our men and one German prisoner. Throughout the entire period of excitement, our bluejackets’ conduct was admirable.
11/05/2018 Swrt George Christie 01005
11/05/2018 Swrt George Christie From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 22nd August 1914: The Amphion Disaster – Interesting Story
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon 01004
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon 01003
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon Many thanks to Wesley Wright of the Friends of the Somme (Mid Ulster Branch) for the discovery and research.
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon is buried in Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery on the outskirts of Plymouth.
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon His next of kin was listed as Miss Brigid Harte who was living at Cornstalk, Manorhamilton, County Leitrim.
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon was with HMS Victory with the Royal Naval Reserve when he drowned on 19th December 1919.
08/05/2018 Deck Hand Patrick McIlkennon Patrick McIlkennon was born in Bellaghy on 17th Mar 1901.
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