James Henry Skyrme from Williamston Terrace, Guilford was serving as a Leading Stoker on board HMS Amphion which became the first British ship to be sunk by a mine laid by Konig Louise, a German minelayer, on August 6th. HMS Amphion was cruising in the North Sea as part of the British 2nd Destroyer Flotilla leaving Harwich at dawn to sweep northwards to German waters.
About 150 sailors and one officer were killed, including 4 Pembrokeshire men, one of whom was James Henry Skyrme. The war was only 32 hours old. James was aged 33 and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Herbert James Street’s diary – ‘The stokers had apparently had a break for cocoa just before
Amphion struck the mine. Herbert had finished his cocoa and returned to the boiler room where
he was killed. Gollop took a few minutes more to empty his mug and thus survived.’ Stephen Arla Phillips was serving as an Armourer First Class on board HMS Akoubir off the Dutc coast. He had retired from service but was recalled at the outbreak of war. It became the first ship to be torpedoed on September 22nd. It broke in two and sank within 30 minutes. His body was never recovered but he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Monument.

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