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Date: 17 June 1915



Another story of submarine outrage comes from Milford Haven, and once again very serious loss of life has to be recorded. The death roll, unless by some means the men have been rescued unknown to the survivors, amounts to 22—seven British and 15 Chinese.

The steamship Strathnairn, of Glasgow, bound from Cardiff with a cargo of coal, was torpedoed 25 miles off the Bishops (near Scilly Islands) which appears to be a favourite haunt of the pirates. The strathnairn [sic] carried a crew of 33 hands, eight being British and the remainder Chinese.

Eleven survivors were brought into Milford Haven by the steam barge Thomond, the Chinese walking over the docks into the town barefoot, with the few belongings that they could save, and were escorted to the John Cory Sailors' Rest for the night. One of them in broken English was able to give an outline of the tragic occurrence, and tried to describe how the boats capsized and his shipmates were lost. He also showed how the submarine crept round the ill-fated ship to the stern, apparently to ascertain her name.

One British Survivor.

The only British survivor is the second officer, Mr. James Wood, of Belfast, who gave his version very clearly when met after reporting the affair. He said:

We left Cardiff at 8 o'clock on Tuesday night. The ship was struck by a torpedo without the slightest warning amidships, 25 miles north-east of the Bishops, Scillies. The force of it burst the boiler, and soon the ship listed heavily to port. We never saw the submarine till after she had done the foul work. Then she went within 20 feet, of the sinking ship. As soon as possible after the ship was struck the four boats were got out. Mine, however, was the only one to get clear away, for one was smashed, and the other two capsized on being cut clear of the davits. The captain and other officers were in these.

The submarine never offered to assist the solitary beat. In fact, Mr. Wood, observing the Strathnairn was not sinking quickly, pluckily attempted twice to get back to the ship but each time he was foiled by the submarine driving him off. He could not see the number of the submarine, as little more than the periscope was visible.

At 12.45 midnight they were picked up by the schooner Amanda, of Padstow, transferred to the steamer Rosabella, Chester, and at the entrance of Milford Haven were again transhipped [sic] to the Thomond.

(The Strathnairn was a steamer of 4.336 tons gross, owned by the Strathnairn Steamship Co., Ltd., of Glasgow. She was built in 1901.)

'Out from Cardiff.' The Cambria Daily Leader. 17 June 1915. 3.

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