One Dive to HMHS DRINA, Sadly, sunk on St David's Day 1917 off Milford Haven, Rules of engagement of Civilian Vessels had taken a sinister & cruel change.
Queen Victoria agreed to have a Charter for Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Vessels after 26th September 1839, the Archive Repositary covering the Company Dealings remains with University College London.
VICTORY BONDS gained promoted sales as civilian & passenger Vessels were becoming far more heavily & intensely sunk without any required warning as rules of engagement became discarded.
Rules had actually earlier been adhered to since the 1907 Declaration of Paris, where Civilian Vessels wd have to be inspected & only if carrying military or associated would have their crew & passengers allowed to disembark safely prior to sinking being permitted.
Rules of engagement had been radically revised RMSP (Royal Mail Steam Packet) Drina, SS (Steam Ship) Drina, HMHS (Her/His Majesty's Hospital Ship) Drina became the listed term for that old girl.
So often vessels had been carrying hidden War effort arms & goods plus military personnel & both sides basically had been deceiving plus blaming the other. (as per Lusitania & Athenia sinkings).
It wd probably have been detrimental to have media or ministerial releases make 'large news' of a Drina sinking affair as she was about to enter Milford Haven.
So Ironic for der Kaiser to declare on 17th March 1917 that UBoats wd be unrestricted re sinkings of civilian vessels.
TO DATE WE CAN NOT BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN WHICH U BOAT WAS RESPONSIBLE SINCE THERE WERE ACTUALLY 3 WITH THE 65 number. UC65, UB65 & U65. Odds on it was UC65 under Otto Steinbrink.
Why not MINES? (I have been down to DRINA! & seen the bow area, undamagedx there as far aft as the start of the Bilge Turns & start of Bilge Keels, nobody saw the Sub in the vicinity & 2 explosions are recorded not sight of Torpedo tracks.
THE REPORTED SUB RESPONSIBLE IS UC65 WHILST AS ALWAYS, LET US LOOK FOR WHAT ELSE COULD BE EVEN JUST POSSIBLE.
THERE SEEMS CONVENIENT MEAT & COFFEE FROM THEIR (SAID TO BE) BRAZILIAN VOYAGE, From Buenos Aires, via Lisbon & Falmouth WHILST OTHER LISTS SHOW 4KT of LUMBER CARRIED, WITHOUT MENTION OF WHETHER IT WAS DECK CARGO, THAT WOULD HAVE HELPED IT CAPSIZE?, NO MENTION IS ALSO MADE OF THE 1000 TONNES OF SAND LOADED AS BALLAST FOR DRINA'S HOSPITAL SHIP DUTIES BEING REMOVED, SO THAT MAY HAVE REMAINED IN PLACE.
Some of the 15? dead are said to be interred at a local cemetary so far I have not been able to locate them, Complement aboard stood at 334 of which 133 crew were listed to have survived, remarkably similar to the complement of a serving Hospital Ship level.
The difference was far more likely to have been picked up Patients & Passengers fom Falmouth Vessels. The 'crew number' is remarkably similar to what had been a medical staffed vessel crew number.
That meat plus other cargo inc perhaps deck cargo carrying vessel from Brazil seems to have had quite a large CREW list, for a vessel withdrawn from Hospital Ship Duties & returning to Liverpool to go back to its Hospital Ship action?.
189 passengers numbers seems a large number, unless reporting data released then on the vessel activities & movements had been not quite as they appear, mercifully no heavy sea conditions prevailed when the Torpedo strikes were recorded.
Passenger list stood at 189, all of which survived, the first explosion was timed at 11.57 pm Saint David's Day March the 1st 1917, this had been followed by a second Torpedo? 45 minutes after the stroke of 12 o'clock which places it into the 2nd of March and whilst survivors were boarding lifeboats which were plentiful on this vessel (see GA Drawing).
SS Drina:- A vessel of 11463 DWT Built with Quadruple Expansion steam system at Harland & Wolff to a Royal Mail Steam Packet vessel.
Royal Mail Steam Packet flag can be seen above.
Passenger carrying and ventilation capability can be gauged from the high standing vents plainly visible.
Master of SS Drina was Capt. C. V Fletcher of a long term seafaring family & whose father had passed on in 1915 whilst aboard the sister vessel SS Darro, his Brother Capt. G. Fletcher also served with the same line until he resigned when Master of the SS Sambre.
This voyage had a chequered beginning to it's final voyage, German Raider SMS Seagull was hunting Allied vessels off South America and Captured lightly armed RMSP Vessel SS Radnorshire 110 miles East of Pernambuco now called Recife (Brazil), capture dated on the 7th January 1917 it was sunk on the 8th & 60 of the captured crew taken aboard SMS Seagull to Germany where they were later released.
SS Radnorshire Master Cpt C. L. Willetts plus 11 other crew by unlisted methods were taken aboard Japanese vessel SS Hudson Maru then later put on Dutch Steamer SS Hollandia, some reports mention they were transferred to SS Drina at some stage to finish their journey, that report lists Drina as having been actually lost to a mine.
During almost 10 or so years covering mine damage Wire Guided Missiles M20 M22 & Exocet I did cover considerable mine damage effect & having personally only seen the fwd area of SS Drina hull, I can confirm that no mine related damage is evident there on Forefoot to Bilge Keels plus starboard forepart to Collision Bulkhead, I have not checked the vsl Port bow area. (it was an unexpected dip & took place after other divers had tried to cover the sternpart, plus tide had started to pick up speed.
Another diver whose assessments down the years I have found reliable has been on the upturned bottom of the hull not covering or firmly identifying midsection area, no mine type damage was encountered by him, circa midship, others inc. one of the owners & his son have reported visually checking stern running gear without encountering major explosion evidence to prop blades or noting impact damage. (A mine could on occasions also cause a wide implosive bottom or side damage) & it does cause a markedly different pattern to a Torpedo)
RECORDS STATE THAT DRINA WAS HIT BY 2 TORPEDOS, one considerably after the initial strike, with Lifeboat capacity far in excess of personnel aboard 320 or so Survivors were rescued, most of those lost seem engine Room personnel or below deck crew, same as likely with mine damage.
Closer inspections are needed firstly on the wreck's actual direction heading on the bottom, then determine whether the vessel lays true, or has a broken back in it's layout.
Joggled Plating does from the way it caved in to a RIB's moderately weighted anchor now seem quite soft at least in forward region.
The Starboard vertical side would overhang plus affect light if along seabed searches for Torpedo damage was being carried out & the exhaled bubbles wd run up along the hull at an angle, disorientating those not used to such.
Angles on hull structure fwd plus aft along unbalanced rudder skeg wd help piece the angle & vessel current layout, (rudder plate now reported to have fallen to the seabed, along with seabed contours plus scour which may be present will all need consideration for any (especially air) dives. Beneath the stern on seabed large bones were recently reported & the afterdeck was a place where a small number of live Cattle/sheep were carried in shelter & the Butcher you see in the pictures was one of those responsible for slaughter & providing fresh meat for the galley & this could well stem from such. (rather than the 'frozen meat if such was being carried & wd be in sealed compartments.)
Actual Starboard Vertical side areas will lay on the Port side of the overturned wreck, since by the vessel's settled attitude & these may present themselves above seabed, or after the first Torpedo did the vessel turn & allow another Torpedo to the other side, either way, the vessel was loaded & Torpedo impacts may be well above actual Bilge turns & Bilge Keels.
If access to Vessel is intended, it's higher Port Vertical side would allow safer more search access.
Later another RMSP vessel 4310 DWT SS Brecknockshire, ex (originally) Aberystwyth Steam Nav. Co. vessel SS Salopian was also sunk by SMS Seagull 1917 15 February, It is unclear whether SS Drina was in the area or involved with this & rescued personnel. (so some further clarification re dates, personnel & transferring is called for.
SS Drina had one buff Funnel & 2 masts plus had been the very first civilian vessel taken over in Aug 1914 as a Hospital Ship, & for stability took aboard 1000 tons of low loaded sand for ballast there is believed to be some record of modifications in 1916, no record has been found of that low loaded ballast sand's removal.
13.5 Speed, twin Propellor 500.7 ft Long with 62.3 ft Beam.
Vaguely she is 'said' but not officially declared to have been taken from her Hospital ship duties, however was still recorded as visited by Prince Albert who was a patient on Royal Naval Hospital Ship DRINA for quite some time until transferred with his Surgeon to another Hospital Ship in Scapa Flow as a Hospital Ship July 1915 & remained on Hire listed as a Hospital vessel at time of sinking, his ailment was never defined.
It is believed she had gone back to commercial use capable of carrying 75000 Quarters of beef with Refrigeration to cope with such.
First D class vessels, SS Deseada then Demarara went into service as Royal Mail ships, next SS Desna, SS Darro, then SS DRINA who at the time of her sinking was said to be carrying NO PASSENGERS in spite of having 95 first Class 38 2nd Class & 800 3rd Class capacity when troop movement plus casualties with USA & Canadian involvement had become high priority.
Bruce Rogers had been with 2WW's /Halliburton when 'D' Class vessels were being visited by them for recovery of Specie, Darro in fact was too deep for profitable Sat. System recoverage.
Reports on USA Newspapers (there are copies here) do repeatedly declare that SS Drina Passengers had been rescued & local reports show around 100 to have been saved, VERY strange to have the figure of saved to be reduced to around a quarter of survivors readily accountable for, it makes one think Ministry wished lesser shock to the Wartime public..
DRINA's maiden voyage had been to a South American Location & it is always easy to change figures relating to an old manifest if felt warranted, those in charge of listings wd be Ministry Parties.
Officially she was listed to be carrying (strangely from South America, 4KT of timber or Lumber) plus 190 tons of Carbon also some Specie which covers currencies in gold or valued material, elsewhere Meat & Coffee is recorded.
Meat was another continually stated cargo, which to date we can not find supporting provenance, Drina's freezer capable holds in it's orig. GA drawings spaces are not huge & freezer capable compartments are, positioned well aft of midships & low in hull, originally when starting to carry Meat 75000 quarters of Beef is listed as capacity to be carried on hooks.
Very strange combination for a vessel which had apparently undergone some alteration work, however true nature of alteration is strangely not listed any more or known, in Feb 1916 Her Hospital ship staff, many of which were Sutton in Ashfield Ambulance plus stores which at the start of her service were taken off.
We do have released figures on how many of SS Drina's actual crew survived, Captain C. V. Fletcher were to have survived the reported 2 x Torpedo attack by U Boat.
U65 was operating from Pula in Croatia & was indeed at the end of WW1 scuttled there in the harbour.
It has always been listed as sunk by UC65 outside Milford Haven, carrying 7 Torpedos & Mines, recorded to have been sunk by HMS C15 Submarine circa 03 Nov 1917, however nobody seems to have considered the approach to Milford Haven having been mined & thus the 2 explosions, nothing is absolutely proven thus far.
However, recently after checking the other '65' UB65 type UB111 found off Padstow, this one could not have sunk DRINA since it was not launched until June 1917 reported sunk off Padstow & was found comparatively undamaged on the seabed off Padstow & seems likely to have been covering shipping via Bristol Newport Cardiff Barry Swansea which has Milford Haven nearby, along with routes from those to Falmouth English Channel plus Irish Sea to Irish & Northward locations with heavy traffic bound for Liverpool accessible
HOWEVER DANIEL TRIMBLE IS LISTED AS SHIP'S BUTCHER, actually it is correctly spelt DANIEL TRIMBEL, kindly pointed out by his Grandson researcher David Peel
Daniel Trimbel was picked up after 36 hours in that temperature Water which seems hardly possible particularly that close to shore in range of rescuers, lifeboats etc & David Peel as his grandson has the Discharge Cert & other Documents supporting this serving aboard SS DRINA at the time of sinking, so let us advise this.
WE CANNOT BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN YET WHICH U BOAT WAS RESPONSIBLE, UB65 WAS LISTED LOST TO IT'S OWN TORPEDO EXPLODING 10 JULY 1918 OFF UK. However UB65 has been located off Padstow and identified by UBoat expert Innes McCartney in 2003 in 60 metres, with hardly any external damage & the vessel itself intact but with HATCHES OPEN which could well indicate that escapes had been attempted.
There is a picture of a UB65 propellor in existance which I shall ask permission to add to the page. From the Padstow Location to Milford Approaches 4 to 5 hours (or less) brings it to Milford entrance it seems to have been mainly a Torpedo user UB65.
UC65 HAD BEEN LOST OFF UK SHORES TO A TORPEDO FROM ALLIED SUB C15 under Lt. E. H. Dolphin 3 NOVEMBER 1917. & THIS UC65 IS REPORTED TO BE & MAY WELL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LOSS OF SS DRINA.
UC65 has been shown in some reports to be under KAPITAN LAFRANZ, in THE FLANDERS FLOTILLA repeatedly loading Mines & being SUCCESSFUL with 210 000 Tons of Sinkings in the Channel WHILST THANKS TO EARNEST RESEARCH by David Peel, it was KAPITAN OTTO STEINBRINK HAS ACTUALLY BEEN FOUND TO BE IN CHARGE of UC65 NOV 1916 to JULY 1917 when SS DRINA WAS LOST.
Being actually credited with the level of sinkings UC65 been needs careful sifting since it wd seem to be more than just minelaying.
UC65 in 8 operations has been credited with sinking a total of 94 Vessels virtually all of which lost in English Channel plus approaches there.
As yet the damage locations from either Torpedo has not been accurately located on SS Drina (More inspection required)
Research is called for on which of the numerous flotillas were operating from Heligoland.
UC65 Has been listed elsewhere to be one of 2 successful Uboats on MINE LAYING capacity in Channel & approaches throughout, whether it left for Milford approach, cannot be completely ruled out. (Does anyone have St George's Channel & Irish Sea sinkings claims)
U65 IS THE LEAST LIKELY SINCE IT HAD WORKED MAINLY FROM A VERY FAR OFF CROATIAN BASE AT PULA BUT DID HAVE WIDE RANGE OF REPORTEDLY CLAIMED LOSSES SUCH AS RN VESSELS DON DIEGO OFF MALTA 21 MAY 1917 PLUS IN UK WATERS ANOTHER VESSEL IS RECORDED ATTRIBUTABLE to U65 OR PERHAPS EVEN RECORDED WHEN NOT INCLUDING THE 'C' WAS GLENART CASTLE BEING LOST ON 1st of MARCH BETWEEN HAVRE & SOUTHAMPTON, hardly truly possible because that day is the same SS DRINA went down. With 15 knots surface speed & 9 knots submerged speed I suppose it is only just possible.
A earlier than the Roman Colosseum can actually be seen in the Croatian based U65 Harbour town.
A researcher David Peel does however have record of a crewmember, his grandfather, Daniel Trimbel, Drina's Butcher being picked up 36 hours after the sinking and surviving to continue sailing in sister ships, as declared in his discharge Document which has been kept.
DAVID PEEL's RESEARCH SHOWS UC65 TO BE THE MOST LIKELY UBOAT INVOLVED not U65 or UB65, PLEASE CONTACT US with any INFORMATION
Thanks in advance to anyone who does have relevant info. & can supply it.
I shall leave all unaltered AS YET WHILST RESEARCH CONTINUES & convey thanks to a Mr D Peel for the following:- recd 17th Jan 2008.
My Grandfather, Daniel Trimbel, survived the sinking of the SS Drina in March 1917, (it wasn't only the captain who survived thankfully!) he was the, or a, ship's butcher from Birkenhead. I have his 'Continuous Certificate of Discharge' with some details of the sinking and his service subsequently.
If I can help Taff or if he would like any more information please ask him to contact me, I found his article very interesting.
THIS IS VERY SIGNIFICANT AND COULD ACTUALLY SEE US ADD OR DELETE CONSIDERABLY SINCE DATA RE UB65 & UC65 is down in 44 meters off Eastbourne Sussex.
NB only UC65 and one other at the time had the distinct mine laying tubes which allowed it to lay 18 mines then continue it's Torpedo & deck gun activities.
1918 alone had 134 Uboats in action when Allies lost 192 ships plus 5400 personnel.
In conflict with UK Press releases particularly on USA Newspapers (we have copies) list the SS DRINA PASSENGERS to have been landed safely.
SS Drina was listed to have been 'protectively armed', (armament unlisted) however being an RN vsl with such a voyage route with Raider presence it may well have required more than a Merchant Vessel standard 2 1/2 Pounder 'sub chaser'.
All other than one lost Crew member from Ireland, one from Scotland and one originally from Newport S Wales seem to be Liverpool region based & as pointed by Dave Peel seem largely Engine Room or below decks crewmembers.
SS Drina lays upturned, on sand with her fwd parts which I have visited visited well into the sand, she leans fwd onto her stbd vertical side at roughly 30 degrees, anchor chain of the inspecting vessel had to be followed to SS Drina along a soft Sandy Bottom at depth reading of close to 200 ft. Hawse pipes on lower side are below sand surface level, I have not seen port bow side.
I spent a couple of years mainly on Heliox & Trimix use daily out in Middle East, sadly I had only air to use on the SS Drina 'dip' so had to concentrate carefully, take care to record what was seen, get back to anchor & ascend in plenty of time.
Much of the Baraka Terminal Oilfield was from circa 165 ft at the Storage Tanker & other Oil jackets Flare stack bordered at 200 ft then well over 200.
Oilfield work off Sharjah & Dubai, normally we used gas & PP mixes, whilst when required to carry out sequences of repet. dives with 24 hrs we wd have then have to use Air & USN tables since no repets were made on Heliox or Trimix.
When tired & at end of a long hard working day, or several days on repets you do need to concentrate or the old narcose effect could creep in unnoticed & you could be getting called up fm Surface on the comms to find where the shackle in your hand should have gone at all or been fitted!!!, you only had to rise 10 to 20 ft & thought pattern usually came back, though if a diver had to be called up, it was best to bring him off the job all the way, rather than try to get him back onto the job.
I was very lucky not once to have been narcose down there, 'look at your line, keep concentrating on the simple things needing to be done, keep knowing what you are down to do, do not get distracted or look about or your thought pattern, repeat the simple task several times or thoughts can be ruined.
At this time the inspecting dive vessel's anchor & chain had landed heavily on the riveted plates & ran off into tide lee of the wreck itself onto the fine sand bottom.
It at first was a disappointment until the high off bottom darkness of the DRINA side came into view as I approached travelling along the anchor chain.
The SS Drina? hull which stands well proud of the seabed towards the main traffic lines to Milford Haven n/east of Skokholm Island charts show 34 metres depth wheras that is clearance over the high off bottom stern at low water, seabed it wd be worth using a 200ft or metre equivalent table.
When I saw her circa 1990 there was no visible Major fwd impact damage, undulation or depressions between frames ahead of the comparatively small bilge keels which are compatible with size & type on the GA Drwg. which I recently saw.
Having checked the GA Drawings Bilge keels size & attachment format & dimension relating to the vessel does fit with fabrication cnstruction shown on drawing.
No rivets missing, fwd plating firmly in situ & the only recent damage to the fwd hull shell was on the flat bottom roughly between fwd ends of the Bilge keels where the diving vessel anchor had dropped from the inspection vessel & had penetrated through a plate, plating is intact but evidently not robustly firm.
I peered inside the hull thru that freshly caused anchor caused opening & from vacant space ahead of what appeared to be a collision bulkhead located (estimated) roughly near frame #100 to rear of the forefoot I wd expect this to be the non reinforced water ballast area.
I would have wished to accurately check the beam size of the bessel amidship since it did seem quite narrow (but far from impossible) to become the beam size given for SS DRINA amidship.
One reliable source has since expressed surprise at the large midship beam dimension encountered <(has anyone been able to check dimension at this region?)
N.B. Cross checking is justifiable since a rather smaller vessel SS TENET was seen sinking capsized near this area in 1912.
It is however remarkable that as a bottom mark of a vessel, albeit reflecting larger than a U Boat that no depth charging was carried out as was the practice on static non Allied vessels giving trace or suspected on bottom in both wars.
The inshore Merchant Vessel passage from Cornwall Northward in towards & past Padstow area for Bristol & Newport Cardiff Barry Swansea Milford Ports in WW2 had been a non mined zone & thus a very strongly U Boat operated area where sub hunter & Convoy protecting vessels had charged about and naturally depth charged any seabed vessels even suspected of being U Boats.
On the approach to Milford However with the turbulent high flows up to 6 knots or more & out towards Grassholm plus the Hats & Barrels along with Ramsey & it's Westward Reefs the Goose race between southern ends flows of Skokholm & Skomer would make it difficult for 9knots submerged U Boats to negotiate & attack. The bottom peaks & walls in the Goose Race itself, several are 20 metre chunks form the bottom it quite surprised me at the conformity of the Goose Race Bottom.
Torpedo attack it wd seem would be normally attempted from starboard of an inbound vessel to keep well off the obstructed zone to the west.
It will be interesting to locate the actual areas of the 2 x Torpedo strikes which if all is correct assumption at least one should be somewhere along the Starboard of SS DRINA.
More info seeping out, re HMHS Drina & times of Explosions, first, 11.57 PM 1st March 1917, 'more of a Torpedo attack seems to have been likely now, second explosion 45 minutes past the stroke of 12 midnight taking it into the 2nd of March.
Some of those killed & recovered buried locally, complement aboard at the time seems remarkably large @ circa 334!.
Survivors!! ?=189 'passengers alone!' seems a heckuva lot?, however add to this 148 CREW!!! it does seem strange for a vessel that size & carrying such cargo.
So much seems not to add up & such a large number of crew? HAVING ALREADY CALLED AT FALMOUTH, was nothing discharged there? whilst much or many could have been'taken aboard'?)
Hospitals & medical bases along South Coast in retrospect bear a question, was more capacity & clearer Hospital ships required for imminent Western Front Spring offensive with USA & Canadian Involvement increasing etc..
Transferral in large numbers wd be speedier by sea, with less publicity etc & up the river FAL for example was a place for onship casualties transfer & alongside berthage room, (Liners were later stored there).
Several other shore forts, bases and stations along South Coast were in use as Hospitals, shoreside at that time, cannot track how heavy their loads of casualties were circa then.
Vessel was lost at end of a voyage listed to have been from Beunos Aires via Lisbon & Falmouth, with a listed Deck Cargo of Lumber?, plus Coffee, Refrigerated Meat etc, plus the 1000T SAND Ballast put aboard for HMHS stability work, no record of it has discovered it being removed.
UC65 has long been the Mines plus torpedo successful Unterzeebooten always credited, however >>>>a recently discovered & virtually undamaged UB65, down off Padstow in 60 metres too was really well positioned on that same inshore safely unmined area used in WW2 as well covering Bristol, Newport, Cardiff, Barry, Swansea Milford & those bound outwards to Ireland Irish Sea Liverpool & Northward.
Originally reported lost to it's own Torpedo in 1918 at 51.07N & 09.42W UB65 stands 6 Miles North of Padstow in 60 Meteres with open Hatches indicating perhaps escapes or attempts to do so by the 37 man Crew. That same inshore passage where UB65 now stands in WW2 was mined to only a deep level so cargo vessels cd travel above it safely, above the mines level however it accounted for at least 3 WW2 Uboats, & according to the Crayfish boys of old several more.
The Beautiful Croatian location of PULA can be seen below in it's modern day state, it seems far too distant & difficult to relate to a U Boat heading to sink the vessel pictured adjacent to it.
The name DRINA relates to a River Drina the Croatian (Now BOSNIA eastern Border with SERBIA) in a Serbian Yugoslavia area which has seemed in long term conflict with Croatia as recent past Balkans affairs seem likely to continue or even increase, let us hope not.
65 numbers shows (I think?) that at least one of the 3 UBoats bearing that 65 number had been a 63 Class Type as seen in the picture.
The least likely to have sunk the SS DRINA was a 63 Class U65 Built 1915 in Kiel based at Croatian Natural Harbour of PULA, with 4 x 533 mm Torpedos & a 88mm Gun with surface speed of 16.5kn & sumerged speed 9kn operating to 50 Metres depth. In 11 operations fm PULA 52 vessels were sunk.
Between 1914 & 1918 wartime a total of 8 Submarines were never to return to that base.
When Pula was evacuated late in WW1 it's crew scuttled U65 & I believe it can be dived upon to this day.
A Type U 63, U65 was made.
Shipyard Germaniawerft, Kiel (Werk 249)
Ordered 17 May, 1915 Laid down 4 Jun, 1915
Launched 21 Mar, 1916 Commissioned 11 May, 1916
U65 was a petrol fuelled vessel, similar to the U86 pictured above which had been involved in some atrocities.
U65 Commanders 11 May, 1916 - 18 July, 1918 Hermann von Fischel, who doing his duty was the Commander was in charge at the time of SS DRINA loss.
19 Jul, 1918 - 29 Sep, 1918 Gustav Sieß
30 Sep, 1918 - 28 Oct, 1918 Clemens Wickel
Career 11 patrols
2 Jul, 1916 - 18 Nov, 1916 IV Flotilla
18 Nov, 1916 - 28 Oct, 1918 Pola/Mittelmeer I Flotilla
Successes 49 ships sunk for a total of 77.916 tons.
2 ships damaged for a total of 7.860 tons.
Fate 28 Oct, 1918 - Scuttled at Pola in position 44.52N, 13.50E during the evacuation from there.
By now, harshness of War actions has taken horrifying aspects. In October 1916 the U-boats returned to British waters with the obligation of applying prize rules. Despite this restraint, they sank 337,000 tons during this month, followed by 961,000 tons of shipping sunk between November 1916 and January 1917.
In February 1917, the German Admiral Staff was finally able to convince the Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg to declare unrestricted U-boat warfare. Immediately the sinkings went up to 520,000 tons.
One of the 2 Main Submarine Operation bases PULA in Croatia was an Austro Hungarian location for initially dealing with the Dardanelles & later this seemed condoned by Italy after their entry in the War, initially in 1915 they had lost their Dreadnought Svent Istvan in an attack on the base, later with Austrian Hungarian German & vessel Flags changes & registrations U boats operated into the Mediterranean and by 1917 they were operating considerably distant fron the PULA base. (Italy had in fact declared War on Austro-Hungarians but not Germany at this stage)so strangely the German Flagged UBoats could use the Pula base with comparative impunity.
Pula remains a Historically much fought over zone with even it's end of first century BC Roman Amphitheatre still prominently standing, largely Croat polulation.
The harshness of this campaign was unnecessarily further driven home by two unhappy incidents, where two U-boats - SM U-55 (Kptlt. Wilhelm Werner) and SM U-44 (Kptlt. Paul Wagenführ) - were allegedly involved in the killing of survivors of ships - SS Torrington and SS Belgian Prince - they had sunk in April and July 1917. The worst case of these kinds of atrocities was supposed to have happened on 27 June, 1918, when SM U-86 (Oblt.z.S. Helmut Patzig), against international law and standing orders of the Imperial German Navy, sank the hospital ship LLandovery Castle. On top of that, he ordered his U-boat to ram the life boats and shot at the survivors. Of a crew of 258 of the Llandovery Castle only 24 survived. For this war crime, Patzig and his watch officers were tried after the war before a German court at Leipzig and were condemned to four years imprisonment.
The SS DRINA wreck when viewing Skokholm Island looking from the car parking spot between St Anne's Head and Dale is almost the width of Island, & FAR to left on/of the picture itself, plus almost parallel with the inshore tip of Skokholm Island.
Other Divers (the present owners) had been on the stern gear which is intact plus high from the seabed itself, Sister vessel SS Darro is shown below.
Below is SS Darro which that SS Drina sinking Survivor Daniel Trimbel quicky joined and served on.
Also is shown SS DESNA Below that is SS Demarara & Lastly SS Deseado, later some A Class vessels wd be introduced for their duties.
One other vessel went down in this region generally the smaller SS TENET which was seen upside down prior to going down & could well be worth eliminating.
Finally found is a pic believed to be the UC65 responsible ***Plus a we shall need to find further data re a UBoat reported damaged quite a while after the Drina sinking, across the Channel from Padstow off Gower Peninsula near Port Eynon by 'Coastal Defence' & research whatever form that took.
Since it is only a short distance across to where the recently located UB65 rests off Padstow. (data is scant so please advise whatever can be confirmed)
Plus 10 Miles West of Lundy is not a sort of course to take unless it was to travel an evasive course?.
DANIEL TRIMBEL a survivor of SS Drina & pic kindly provided by David Peel (Daniel's Grandson) and absolutely great researcher who gently brings far more sensible things to my notice than can be imagined. Daniel Trimble Trimbel is far right.
The Spelling of Trimbel from Trimble has been perhaps a 'sign of the time', just a slip since on his Birth Cert. it was again TRIMBLE, much travelled he Had been on the ARCADIAN for the landings at Gallipoli.
Stop off at Alexandria (Egypt) sees the crewmembers getting a Picture with Daniel at the left, prior to what became a failed Winston Churchill plan Maritime failure.
After that Drina sinking, Daniel Trimble went on to serve on the Darro.
Bringing about the Gallipoli Dardanelles Land Disaster from that 1915 April 25 'Anzac Day' landing time.
That is what brought Anzac Day about & another Story, my Grandfather David Luther Isaac, who was wounded in a largely Territorials Landing there in June 1915, by then all hospital ships had been full.
He was like so very many others taken through the Surf to the towed in barges then on to Levantine commercial ships without medical staff or equipment & was taken to Tigne Hospital on Malta where he died of his wounds & due to the lack of space, like many more is Buried, sharing one grave with 2 others from Gallipoli who did not make it.
Those vessels passing from Gallipoli to Malta at 24 hours prior to reaching destinations inc. other locations had been instructed to check how many wounded had died en route & these were put overboard (buried at sea!) rather than bring them ashore.
A horrifying war where around half a Million casualties was total between both sides & Allied Prisoners of War held by Turks amounted to ONLY 122 men a far different situation to Western Front rules of war.
Andrew Wingrove came to us with more delightful information & Identity relating to this picture.
I shall gladly paste in here:-I came across your website yesterday. In your story about the Drina I spotted a picture with my grandfather in it. He is the figure on the left. Alvey William George Wingrove and his father Albert Edward Wingrove both served in the Royal Navy Reserve as part of the St Johns Ambulance Brigade. They were both on the Drina from the outbreak of the war for almost a year until they transferred to another ship. The Drina is covered in the book The fitting out and maintenance of a Hospital Ship by Edward Sutton. A copy of this book is in the National Maritime museum. OUR THANKS TO ANDREW.
I have no idea why I felt I should visit DRINA, 'could even have been a mid life crisis hope to show the younger divers that the old codger could still go in the 'oggin.
I was just 'in kit as a safety man!' on a visit to Drina site by RIB along with some people that had recently become owners of the wreck.
Some dives had taken place, it was nearing the end of a tidal period where access was even reasonable.
I had somehow, probably through being 'the guy handy with cameras & reports in the war zone' become well approved for working underwater on, plus surveying shipping of all sorts, from Supply Vessels to VLCC, ULCC & the sorts of Super Tankers over 500,000 DWT such as Shell Battillus & Bellamya compiling, recording & conveying findings to Classification Societies & other factors.
I spent time Oilfield Diving working at locations well prior to sensible 'North Sea' regulations caming in to govern operations.
Days when helmets lacking Oral Nasal facility such as Dulam etc gave wonderfully clear surface to diver & response communications but far less safety cover & scuba was equipment used for depths & ops they wd not now be considered safe for.
Everyday Dives I had been using Heliox Trimix & Air to over 200 ft had been regular everyday professional requirements & I honestly felt at home with it.
Sharks had plenty of fish to eat where we worked, Groupers & Hamours etc were large & plentiful & Tuna Jacks & Barracuda plus all else abounded. Only when Spearfishing yellowfin Tuna Jacks did the Sharks become a menace to Divers taking catches to the surface outside the confines of a drilling Jacket. Sharks seldom actually venture within Jackets unless they adopted archedback & fins down poses which meant they had been excited & fully intended taking something.
RMSP Drina, HMHS Drina, SS Drina, call her what you will did seem to intrigue me, what people were saying did not seem to slot readily into places & visiting a vessel of circa 11000 DWT did not present a problem.
Curiosity seems all which drew me to do an unpaid drop, on Drina, I did not cover a large area & basically information emerging years later cloaks Drina with an enigmatic shield of possibilities plus reasons & causes.
Some well planned, systematically recorded visits, long after my drop on it will perhaps eventually provide fact plus clarity for a presently clouded picture.
A sinking on St David's Day 1917 happened under full view of Skokholm & St Annes head was virtually a local Titanic affair, whilst facts & figures seem not to have been confirmedly made available.
For those bothering to visit the Museum on Milford Docks you will surprisingly find nothing, relating to a vessel Torpedoed twice, in full view of Skokholm Island plus mainland observation points whilst casualties had been interred locally & well over 300 survivors rescued.
"Oh it was carrying Meat from South America" seemed the general info available, whilst even gentle research shows DRINA had called at Lisbon, next at FALMOUTH, where up river Fal towards Truro, liners & Hospital Ships had been berthed prior to DRINA proceeding to Milford Haven or was it Pembroke Dock? Military base & Hospital, it wd take a lot more research to uncover or confirm various aspects.
Vessels & War damaged vessels I attended in Persian Gulf had high levels of disguised reasons, cargos, Internationally Military equipment, sources, destinations, shrouding movements which in war zones seems rather more common & perhaps more noticeable & identifiable nowadays.
What becomes released to the public is what it is felt that public may be needed to know, but then, who does not know that?.
Take a look at the listed Cargo of the vessel shown below, it would have taken little imagination to composite or alter plus interchange the listed losses of matter or items. So think again!.
Here, below is another report which accounts perhaps for 12 Passengers, plus states that UC65 mine or perhaps mine & Torpedo combination? accounted for the sinking.
Unless of course they had been landed at Falmouth which wd have been the Norm rather than keeping them on a circular trip to Milford Haven & then on to Liverpool. (Though that is where they could be taken on RMSP vessels)
Another ship sailing for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was sunk by the German Raiding Vessel SeaGull. Brecknockshire was captured and sunk on February 15, 1917. In all 11 ships of the line were lost in the war. Radnorshire is a traditional county in Wales bordering Brecknockshire.
Captain C. L. Willatts was in command with a crew of 71 when Radnorshire departed Pernambuco, Brazil on January 5, 1917.
She was sailing for London, England and then Le Havre, France. Her cargo consisted of 6,500 tons of coffee, cocoa and sugar being shipped to Hard and Rand, coffee importers.
On January 12, 1917 her captain and 11 of the crew were transferred to the captured Japanese steamship Hudson Maru.
They arrived in Pernambuco, Brazil, four days later.
They then sailed for Lisbon, Portugal on the Dutch steamer Hollandia on January 23. And continued the journey home on the English steamship Drina sailing for Liverpool, England.
On March 1st Drina struck a mine laid by the German submarine UC-65 off Milford Haven, Wales and sank with the loss of fifteen souls.
The other 60 crewmen of the Radnorshire remained on SeaGull until March 22, 1917 when she returned to Germany and then were freed.
Pernambuco is now known as Recife, Brazil.
Website was contacted by a Ms Lucy London who researches many things inc WW1 & female Casualties therein with a delightful manner plus pattern of recording.
Chatham Naval Memorial lists some touching items & even has a Chatham Memorial Synagogue Burial Ground whereat a Stewardess Sarah Hafkin is interred Lost on the S.S. Saidieh (of London) Cargo, Hull bound out of Alexandria torpedoed in the North Sea June 01 1915.
HERE HMHS "DRINA" BECOMES STRANGELY MENTIONED SEVERAL TIMES, PERHAPS DUE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO?< THAT HOWEVER WD NOT HAVE BEEN DONE RELATING TO A ORDINARY HMHS, BEAR IN MIND " DRINA" WAS INITIALLY THE FIRST HOSP SHIP TO BE USED OR PREPARED IN WW1.
Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval nursing Service (QARNNS) records several other sad losses Plus Nursing Sister Caroline Maud Edwards HMHS "DRINA" who though inexplicably listed to "DRINA" was lost When HMS "Natal" perished in Cronarty Firth 30 Dec 1915.
Also On that "Natal" loss is Recorded Sister Eliza Millicent Elvens, QARNNS listing HMHS "DRINA". without reason.
Plus again on that 30 Dec loss, Nursing Sister Olive Kathleen Rowlett QARNNS, iis recorded there again with HMHS "DRINA" again entered.
It is just possible the unmentionable aspect relates to when DRINA was a HMHS at Scapa well out of the way of Media Newshounds caring for Prince Albert subsequently it quickly turned to an RMSP, and later became a HMHSS for the Spring 1917 Western Front plans.
Rather than ROYAL MAIL STEAM PACKET, the Conversion to HMHS again was the Prince Albert being 'stored on it under medical Care for some time when he apparently was very 'unwell'.
HMHS, to RMSP Royal Mail Steam Packet and then back to HMHS again
Mystery prevails & my thanks to Lucy London for delightful research & my best wishes to her with her discoveries.
This Cross to Mariners of all Nationalities lost here stands on the Hill over 'Freshwater', vessels which lay sunk over the last few hundred years for 30 miles East, 30 miles West plus offshore around the Islands to the Smalls & beyond amounts to an immense number of lives lost.
A great many of wrecks which which myself & other Crayfish Divers encountered from the Transit, Quo Vadis, Vigilant, Aquarius, Lady Carol, & several more alone became an amazing number.
We never had time to look around, 'we' inc. the boat Skippers were paid by what we caught & time not catching whilst Tides plus weather permitted was a waste of money for all.
Two vessels Crayfish boys never stopped at was the 2 Landing Craft lost trying vainly to gain entry to Milford Haven, when the Submarine boom was not raised for them to run in from the heavy weather encountered on their run from North to join the Dunkirk Invading force, several reasons for not moving the boom has arisen down the years. (each time those brave men cause sighs from all)
Both vessels had been steel covered to protect the landing passengers, heavily armed too & were very much needed, they had become top heavy shallow drafted vessels in the process.
The crews were so much more brave than is ever fully discussed, they had to brave the horrendous weather rather than be allowed into Milford Haven & both were lost with all Hands, one Midway along the centre of Freshwater & the other in Shallower depths closer to Sheep Island.
Ionian Crew members interred at Manorbier & over the years along that coast, just looking at the number of wrecks can bring the number of people lost to attention.
The Cross on the Hill though does bring a particularly honourable memory to those of those Scarab Landing Craft who could not be helped by those in sight plus radio contact with them.
One to the right of the picture & the other in the centre of the bay which lets Crow rock be just discerned in the distance left.