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Description

Date: 27 February 1915

Transcript:

SUBMARINED.
WELSH STEAMER SUNK.
GERMAN PIRATES GIVE NO WARNING.
Four Victims.
SWANSEA TRADER TORPEDOED.

The s.s. Cambank, owned by the Morevale Shipping Company, Cardiff, was torpedoed on Saturday morning 10 miles of Point Lynas, Anglesey.

Four of the crew lost their lives—the third engineer, two firemen, and the donkeyman. The other 20 were saved.

The Cambank was bound from Huelva to Garston with iron ore.

She had a gross tonnage of 3,112 tons. She was built in 1899 by Messrs. J. Readhead and Sons, South Shields.

THE CAPTAIN'S STORY.

Captain Thomas Richard Prescott, who has been master of the Cambank for over two years, arrived at Cardiff on Sunday morning, together with Mr. A. V. James, the mate, who lives in Machen place, Mr. Fred Conroy, chief engineer, of Clive-road, Canton, Mr. Ivor Morris, second engineer, of Penarth, Mr. Hector D. Turpin, steward, of Clive-street, Grangetown, Mr. C. H. Blackmoore, messroom steward, the cook, and four other members of the crew.

Seen by a Press representative, the captain seemed in the best of health, despite his exciting experiences.

They were ou the way, he said, from Huelva to Garston, with a cargo of copper ingots, 800 tons, and sulphur ore, 4,156 tons. "It was an unfortunate voyage," he added. "We left Huelva on February 6th, and everything went well until the 13th, when we caught a gale of westerly wind, which drove our fore hatch in and bent the bulwarks and stanchions on the fore deck and did other deck damage, which necessitated our going into Falmouth for repairs.

"We arrived there on Sunday, the 14th, and the repairs were finished on the Tuesday. A gale was blowing, however, and we could not get away until the Wednesday. The gale was still strong then, and we anchored in Helford river until Thursday, and then left for Garston.

"Everything went well until we got to Point Lynas, which we, reached about 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, and took our pilot aboard.

Three Submarines Reported.

"l was on the bridge at the time, and I asked the pilot if there were any submarines about, and he replied there were three reported in the vicinity, but he thought it was all 'bunkum.' I took precautions, however, and got the starboard lifeboat out, and we were getting the port lifeboat out, too, when we saw the periscope of a submarine about 250 yards away on the port beam, and at the same time the track of the torpedo. We put the helm hard to port to try and turn our stem towards the torpedo, but before the steamer could answer her helm the torpedo struck us about midship, under the boiler.

"There was a terrible explosion, which shook the ship and fetched the tunnel down, and caused a heavy sea to come aboard and flood the decks and cabin."

No Warning.

"Had you any warning at all?"

"Not the slightest, and immediately the projectile struck the ship the submarine dived, and I saw no more of it."

Proceeding, the captain said: "I gave orders to lower the boat we had ready, and for the men to get into it. All except Boyle, Quigley, and Sinclair put in an appearance, and I think they must have been killed by the explosion. Lynch, I am told, in trying to get into the boat, got between the boat and the ship, and we never saw any more of him.

"It was a very risky thing lowering the boat, as the ship had so much weigh on and there was a danger of it capsizing. It was only a matter of minutes, too. There was just the one explosion, and the vessel began settling down at once. About 15 minutes after she had been struck, and we were well away from her, she sank, breaking in two at midships, the two ends 'cocking up' and the centre portions diving straight down.

"There was no warning, and I

Never saw the Germans.

All I saw was about two feet of the periscope coming out of the water. From the time we saw the periscope to the time the thing struck us was only two or three seconds."

The captain said the mate, Mr. James, was, however, in his bunk when the explosion occurred, and he jumped up and out, but the sea which rushed over the ship and down below caught him and knocked him back into his cabin. He managed to get out, however, but only in his sleeping attire. The steward was similarly caught.

The chief engineer, Mr. Conroy, who was going down to the engine-room, also had a narrow escape. Immediately the explosion occurred the engine-room filled with water; this forced him up, and he tried to get through a fanlight, but could not do so. He thereupon swam a distance and got out through the door.

The captain went on to say that all except the four men mentioned got into the lifeboat without mishap. They set sail and rowed towards Point Lynas. When they had been in the boat about an hour and a half the Bull Boy lifeboat took them in tow.

About a quarter of an hour after that a patrol boat took them all aboard, gave them tea, and some of the men who were only partly dressed, clothes. They arrived at Amlwch about 2 o'clock, and Captain Prescott was particularly warm in his praise of the manner in which they were received and treated there.

Source:
'Submarined.' The South Wales Weekly Post. 27 Feb. 1915. 3.

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