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The STRATH CARRON was built by the Greenock and Grangemouth Dockyard Co in 1912. The vessel was on hire to the Admiralty as a collier or coal transporter for the fleet.

The STRATH CARRON had left Barry on Monday 7 June 1915 with coal for Zanzibar. At around 6.20m the next day, without warning, the ship was struck by a torpedo on its port side.

Contemporary newspapers printed crew accounts - "It was our water tanks that allowed us to escape as we did. For it kept her up sufficiently long for us to get clear". Another stated account stated “There was not much time for thinking but we were well prepared, the boats all being in readiness for an emergency, and every man obeyed the Captain's orders to the letter so there was no commotion and we got nicely away, but the ship soon afterwards sank".

After the lifeboats were some distance astern of the sinking ship, the periscope of a submarine was seen a quarter of a mile away. Five minutes later, it surfaced and remained surfaced until 6.45 am, when it submerged to begin an attack run on the French schooner LA LIBERTE some 6 miles away to the east.

The crew of the STRATH CARRON were witnesses to the shells that were fired causing the schooner to sink.

The crews of the STRATH CARRON and LA LIBERTE then rowed their lifeboats towards each other and stayed together until picked up by the steamship BRANKSOME HALL. They were landed at Milford Haven and taken to the Bethel or Institute of the National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

The u-boat responsible was U-35 was under the command of Waldemar Kophamel. U-35 would go on to be the most successful u-boat of the Great War - undertaking 17 patrols during which 226 ships were sunk. The submarine was surrendered on 26 November 1918 and broken up at Blyth the following year.

To read more of the story, follow the link below:

Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph, 9 June 1915

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