Date: 26 February 1915



Two British vessels fell victims to Germany's campaign of piracy during the week-end. One, the Cardiff steamer Cambank, with a cargo of copper, was torpedoed without warning off the Anglesey coast, four lives being lost; and the second, a small coal steamer, the Downshire, of 337 tons, was blown up off the Calf of Man, the crew in this case being allowed to leave in boats. The Cambank was laden with a valuable cargo of copper from Huelva. She carried a crew of twenty-four.

The vessel had just taken on board a pilot for Liverpool when she was torpedoed. She was sunk only four or five miles from the coast, and disappeared within the view of the coastguard and several people on the shore.

The vessel was torpedoed at very short range, and some of the crew saw the wake of the torpedo as it sped through the water hardly beneath the surface.

The torpedo struck amidships, wrecking the engine-room, and within three minutes the Cambank had gone down. Immediately after the explosion the crew made for the boats, but owing to the heavy list and the rapidity with which the vessel sank, it was possible to handle only one. Into this, however, twenty of the crew, including Captain Prescott and the pilot (Mr. Pass), managed to scramble just in time.

Two Liverpool firemen who were below—Michael Lynch and Charles Sinclair—were killed outright, while a donkeyman named Quigley, of Glasgow, fell short in jumping into the boat, and was drowned.

The third engineer, Joseph Boyle, of Garston, who was terribly injured, was almost pulled into safety. With his last ounce of strength he was able to clutch the outstretched arm of Seaman Joseph Bunbury, who made an heroic attempt to save him, but when Bunbury had all but reached the boat, the injured man's grasp failed, and the water closed over him.

Both the captain of the Cambank and the pilot saw the submarine's periscope simultaneously with the wake of the torpedo.

A crowd on the beach welcomed the wrecked sailors when they were brought in, and there were some distressing scenes when the villagers learned that four of the crew had been lost.


The Downshire belonged to the East Downshire Steamship Company. She was stopped by a German submarine off the Calf of Man about five o'clock on Saturday evening. The crew of eleven were given five minutes to leave in the boats, and the vessel was then sunk.

It is thought that the raider was the U21.

The crew of the Downshire sighted the submarine first about two miles away. Every effort was made to escape, but the submarine overhauled the steamer in a few minutes. Three shots were fired from a machine-gun at the Downshire, which stopped after the third shot. The submarine drew up about fifty yards off, and the captain told the Downshire's crew to put out their boats and get into them.

The Downshire's boat went alongside the submarine, and the captain and three other men went on board. Five of the German sailors got into the empty boat, taking a bomb with them, and one of the German officers ordered two of the Downshire's men to row them over to the ship. The Downshire was then blown up.

Her crew were afterwards picked up by trawlers.


'Torpedoed.' Abergavenny Chronicle and Monmouthshire Advertiser. 26 Feb. 1915. 6.

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