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Date: 16 June 1915


More Piracy Off Pembrokeshire Coast.

At about 6.30 on Sunday morning two more crews, victims of the German submarine campaign on the west coast were brought into Milford Haven by the steam liner "Queen Alexandra." 23 men from the Liverpool four masted barque "Crown of India," and 10 from the Norwegian barque "Bellglade." It was the same story of ruthless attacks on harmless traders though it would appear from the narrative of one of the captains that the manners of the Germans were somewhat better than in recent cases. These were the first crews from sailing ships to land here in such circumstances. Most of the men were accommodated at the John Cory Sailors' Rest and Bethel, but a representative of the "Telegraph" found the two skippers and mates just finishing a hearty breakfast in company with host Tom Lewis, at the Commercial Hotel. Their experiences although of course distressing enough were not so thrilling as many recorded during the past few days mainly owing to the fact that they were allowed fairly good time to get away.

A number of the men were seen outside the Bethel, one of them a Swansea man, a seaman on the "Crown of India," said they were 35 hours out from Barry when attacked. He was at the time up in the main royal yard, and another man was on the mizen when the first warning shot passed through the main upper topsail and the other a point off the port quarter. They got safely into their boats, and the captain seeing a Norwegian barque in the distance he steered the boats in that direction. Their ship went down stern first with full sails set and it was a fine spectacle.

A Japanese sailor also put in his word saying "we could save nothing but ourselves and the two ship's cats had to perish."

Capt. Branch told our representative that they left Barry Dock on Friday bound for Pernambuco, Brazil, with a cargo of coal, and when 70 miles west-south-west of St. Anne's Head two shots were sent across his ship. He had previously observed the submarine so he knew what this meant, and put up his flag, and they then got the two boats out the men getting into them in good order. They pulled hard to get clear of the vessel and were nearly half-a-mile off when the Germans sunk the ship after ramming nine shells into her. He had no word with the pirates not being close enough, but be could see she was one of the latest type of submarine 200 feet in length at least. Seeing a Norwegian barque in the distance he headed his boats in that direction, but soon found that the submarine was on the same track, and therefore altered his course. He witnessed the attack on the Norwegian and afterwards the two crews were picked up by the steamer, "Queen Alexandra," and he added, "The skipper and crew treated us like toffs."

Capt. Hana, of the Norwegian barque, Bellglade, said his vessel belonged to Tonsberg, and was coming from Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a cargo of coals for Sharpness, Bristol Channel. On Saturday evening about 6.30 he had reached the point named by Capt. Branch, and was some three miles away from his ship, which he saw attacked and sunk by a submarine. He also saw the crew in the boats making for him so he stopped, with the idea of picking them up, but the submarine then turned up near him, about three or four ships length off. The commander blew the whistle and ordered him to come aboard with his papers, which he did. He said "You are carrying contraband of war, and I must sink your ship," and then told him to go back and get his boat out. Asked how be was received aboard the submarine Capt. Hana, who spoke good English, replied "Oh, not so bad." The commander was not in any way domineering. There were about eight men on the deck platform, and the number of the submarine was U 35. After he got his men into the boat, the Germans put three shells into the Bellglade, and from the first one a splinter of iron fell near their boat. The steamer, Queen Alexandra, hove in sight on the horizon, and suddenly the submarine was submerged and was not seen again. The barque was not sunk and was left water-logged and derelict. The Germans must have taken the steamer to be a patrol boat with guns.

'More Piracy Off Pembrokeshire Coast.' Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph. 16 June 1915. 3.

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