A forgotten piece of Cork naval history

100 years ago this week, just before shipping was made safer by the entry of the United States into World War I, a number of Cork vessels were sunk by German U-boats and mines. Patrick G O’Shea recalls one of the lost ships, on which a relative was killed.

By Patrick O’Shea, UCC President

 

The SS Lismore which was torpedoed outside Le Havre, France on April 12, 1917, with the loss of five crew.

When I was a child my maternal grandmother “Babs” (Scriven) Watkins often spoke of the death of her brother Richard Scriven in the sinking of the SS Lismore by a German U-boat as it was “going out of the harbour”.

The assumption was that she was talking about Cork Harbour. I often wondered why the sinking of a Cork ship with a Cork crew, near Cork Harbour, had not received any publicity.

I discovered recently that “the harbour” referred not to Cork Harbour, but to the French port of Le Havre, which literally means “the harbour”.

April 1917 was the most brutal month of the war, with the greatest loss of shipping. But wartime secrecy played a role in the lack of publicity at the time.

The Lismore was built for the Cork Steam Packet Company in Dundee, and was launched in 1905.

It was sunk by the German submarine UB-38 at 8pm on April 12, 1917, while on a voyage from Le Havre to the Bristol Channel in ballast.

The Lismore was under the command of Captain Henry Blanchard, later the Port of Cork’s harbourmaster. He gave the following account of the sinking to William J Barry for the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society in 1919:

“I had just come off the bridge, leaving the second officer, Mr Fluery, in charge, and had only reached my room with the chief officer, Mr H Hore, when we were startled by a fearful explosion which jammed the door, and it looked as if our means of exit was cut off.

“However, after our combined efforts we succeeded in forcing it open, and stepping out we found water up to our waists, and a scene of the most awful devastation met our eyes, the engine room skylight being a mass of twisted iron and broken glass, the steam escaping from the engine room in dense clouds.

“I realised at once that the ‘Lismore’ was doomed, and immediately we set to work to lower away the after starboard lifeboat.

“As we did so the ship took a heavy list to starboard and commenced to go down by the head, thus adding to the difficulty and danger of lowering the boat, and at the same time the position of the ship caused the lowering falls to foul, but fortunately a heavy sea lifted the lifeboat and when she rose on it automatically freed the falls; then she drifted right aft, the steamer’s stern being out of the water, with the propeller rapidly revolving over our heads.

“In fact, we thought our last moment had come. We even felt our faces fanned by the breeze caused by it, but we miraculously drifted clear, and in about four minutes the ship went down. We then rowed about amidst the floating debris, and hearing cries around us, succeeded in picking up five of our crew who were struggling in the water.

“Immediately after this the submarine came to the surface quite close, with position of her crew on deck armed with rifles.

“She then approached, threw a line ordering us to make it fast to our boat. We did so, and the submarine steadied us, head on to the sea. Her commander [Captain Wilhelm Amberger] questioned us as to cargo, identity of the ship, where we were bound, etc. When he learned that we were not carrying any cargo, he became quite angry, evidently because the result of his action did not cause the loss of a cargo-laden steamer.

“The submarine then commenced to tow us, with her deck partly awash. She had the towing rope made fast to a revolving drum on her deck, and was slowly drawing us on to her partly submerged deck.

“Seeing this, I passed the word along to slip the rope, but the chance of doing so unobserved did not occur. The result was that we were towed right on until we struck the submarine, when we let go and drifted clear.

“On seeing this the U-boat came full speed astern, and striking us on the port bow damaged four planks. We immediately hailed them that our boat was badly holed, in a sinking condition, and very likely we would be drowned before we reached the shore.

“The submarine then disappeared for a while, but shortly re-appeared, and the officer in charge asked us: ‘Were we sure we were sinking?’ We answered in the affirmative, and he ironically said ‘good-bye’ and disappeared in the darkness.

“After waiting some time to ascertain if there were any other survivors and that the submarine had really taken her departure, we set sail on our boat, and with a favourable breeze, set a course for the land, until we made out the light on Cap d’Antifer Lighthouse, on the French coast, when we were fortunately seen and picked up by a British patrol boat and taken into Le Havre.

“We were treated with great kindness by the British Admiralty and the officials of the British and Foreign Sailors’ Society. Seven of our crew who were wounded when the torpedo struck the ship, received every care and attention that medical science could afford during their stay at Le Havre.”

Those who drowned were: Second officer William Henry Fluery from Tramore, Co Waterford; 1st engineer Alexander Barrie, 2 Waterloo Terrace, Cork; Sailors John Crone (5 Morton Villas, Dunbar Street, Cork) and William O’Brien (17 Broad Lane, Cork); Carpenter Richard Scriven, 10 Castle View Terrace, Cork.

Those saved were: Captain Henry Blanchard, Richard Hore, chief officer, R King, 2nd engineer; A Grant, J O’Sullivan, P Collins, W Moore, T. O’Brien, sailors; M Walsh, steward; J White, cook; J Curtain, J O’Driscoll, M Ahern, H Gould, J McGuire, A Higgins, J Murphy, J Fenton, A Power, fishermen and 2 gunners.

The wreck of the Lismore lies in the English Channel, off Cap d’Antifer, France.

Another Cork ship, the SS Bandon was sunk by a German mine off Ardmore, Co Waterford, on the following day, April 13, with the loss of 28 lives.

The previous week, the US had declared war on Germany, and at the beginning of May 1917, the US Navy arrived in Cobh, then Queenstown, under the command of Commander Joseph Taussig. His fleet began to provide protective escorts for shipping, and the losses declined for the remainder of the war.

  • Patrick O’Shea is president of University College Cork

News & Events

University College Cork, Western Road, Cork, Ireland   |    +353(21) 480 2110   |   [email protected]
Copyright © UCC 2015/Irish Examiner 2015   |   Website by Doodle

1

Attach Id ( 626 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 482

1

Attach Id ( 630 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 489

1

Attach Id ( 636 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 495

1

Attach Id ( 2614 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 804

1

Attach Id ( 2619 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 824

1

Attach Id ( 2599 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 838

1

Attach Id ( 2609 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 850

1

Attach Id ( 2605 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 860

1

Attach Id ( 2622 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 868

1

Attach Id ( 2625 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 876

1

Attach Id ( 1536 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 1062

1

Attach Id ( 2628 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 880

1

Attach Id ( 2631 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 885

1

Attach Id ( 2647 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 910

1

Attach Id ( 2641 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 893

1

Attach Id ( 2635 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 900

1

Attach Id ( 3114 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 915

1

Attach Id ( 1862 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 921

1

Attach Id ( 1867 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 925

1

Attach Id ( 1870 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 929

1

Attach Id ( 1879 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 950

1

Attach Id ( 1883 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 938

1

Attach Id ( 1887 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 933

1

Attach Id ( 2587 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 2408

1

Attach Id ( 3562 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3451

1

Attach Id ( 3609 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3461

1

Attach Id ( 3544 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3466

1

Attach Id ( 3617 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3470

1

Attach Id ( 3553 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3479

1

Attach Id ( 3809 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3713

1

Attach Id ( 4740 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 3840

1

Attach Id ( 29980 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 29935

1

Attach Id ( 4310 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 4212

1

Attach Id ( 4735 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 4223

1

Attach Id ( 5203 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 4876

1

Attach Id ( 5206 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 4880

1

Attach Id ( 5209 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 4884

1

Attach Id ( 5193 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5191

1

Attach Id ( 5319 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5222

1

Attach Id ( 5277 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5233

1

Attach Id ( 5391 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5238

1

Attach Id ( 5422 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5242

1

Attach Id ( 6361 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5549

1

Attach Id ( 5737 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5557

1

Attach Id ( 5874 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5553

1

Attach Id ( 6358 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 5893

1

Attach Id ( 6355 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6191

1

Attach Id ( 6536 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6419

1

Attach Id ( 6533 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6423

1

Attach Id ( 6551 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6428

1

Attach Id ( 6546 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6434

1

Attach Id ( 7285 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6797

1

Attach Id ( 7282 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6801

1

Attach Id ( 7293 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 6805

1

Attach Id ( 7535 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7459

1

Attach Id ( 7719 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7607

1

Attach Id ( 7741 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7596

1

Attach Id ( 7748 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7602

1

Attach Id ( 7874 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7630

1

Attach Id ( 7803 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7618

1

Attach Id ( 8155 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 7887

1

Attach Id ( 8335 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8184

1

Attach Id ( 8374 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8368

1

Attach Id ( 8687 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8386

1

Attach Id ( 8660 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8378

1

Attach Id ( 8887 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8704

1

Attach Id ( 9112 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8710

1

Attach Id ( 8901 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8720

1

Attach Id ( 8904 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8724

1

Attach Id ( 8836 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8730

1

Attach Id ( 9117 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 8735

1

Attach Id ( 9540 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9525

1

Attach Id ( 9653 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9616

1

Attach Id ( 9656 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9620

1

Attach Id ( 9939 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9819

1

Attach Id ( 9942 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9824

1

Attach Id ( 10242 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9833

1

Attach Id ( 10030 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9841

1

Attach Id ( 10033 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9837

1

Attach Id ( 29370 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 29331

1

Attach Id ( 10061 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 9815

1

Attach Id ( 10476 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 10255

1

Attach Id ( 29490 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 29435

1

Attach Id ( 10621 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 10482

1

Attach Id ( 10616 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 10488

1

Attach Id ( 10627 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 10493

1

Attach Id ( 10624 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 10541

1

Attach Id ( 29730 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 29714

1

Attach Id ( 11012 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 10962

1

Attach Id ( 11286 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11048

1

Attach Id ( 11489 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11053

1

Attach Id ( 11760 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11077

1

Attach Id ( 11496 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11090

1

Attach Id ( 11648 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11512

1

Attach Id ( 11734 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11511

1

Attach Id ( 12134 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11807

1

Attach Id ( 12141 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12020

1

Attach Id ( 12131 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 11811

1

Attach Id ( 12503 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12433

1

Attach Id ( 12523 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12437

1

Attach Id ( 12506 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12497

1

Attach Id ( 13009 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12695

1

Attach Id ( 13012 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12701

1

Attach Id ( 13017 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 12706

1

Attach Id ( 15839 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13178

1

Attach Id ( 14236 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13272

1

Attach Id ( 15858 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13183

1

Attach Id ( 14404 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13187

1

Attach Id ( 15412 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13195

1

Attach Id ( 15423 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13200

1

Attach Id ( 15419 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13205

1

Attach Id ( 15427 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13214

1

Attach Id ( 15845 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13220

1

Attach Id ( 15430 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13224

1

Attach Id ( 14091 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13231

1

Attach Id ( 15437 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13237

1

Attach Id ( 15388 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13242

1

Attach Id ( 15380 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13253

1

Attach Id ( 15850 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13266

1

Attach Id ( 15842 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13276

1

Attach Id ( 14353 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13281

1

Attach Id ( 15855 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13285

1

Attach Id ( 15377 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13289

1

Attach Id ( 15831 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 13295

1

Attach Id ( 16697 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 14508

1

Attach Id ( 14939 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 14513

1

Attach Id ( 16700 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 14517

1

Attach Id ( 14968 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 14521

1

Attach Id ( 16288 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 14525

1

Attach Id ( 14882 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 14555

1

Attach Id ( 16282 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 15465

1

Attach Id ( 16162 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 15884

1

Attach Id ( 16264 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 15880

1

Attach Id ( 16261 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 15876

1

Attach Id ( 16270 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 15892

1

Attach Id ( 16153 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 15872

1

Attach Id ( 16074 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16053

1

Attach Id ( 16675 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16303

1

Attach Id ( 16694 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16307

1

Attach Id ( 16682 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16311

1

Attach Id ( 16685 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16315

1

Attach Id ( 16679 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16319

1

Attach Id ( 16688 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16539

1

Attach Id ( 17893 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16752

1

Attach Id ( 17770 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16738

1

Attach Id ( 17884 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16734

1

Attach Id ( 17780 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16747

1

Attach Id ( 17890 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16769

1

Attach Id ( 17767 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16761

1

Attach Id ( 17897 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16742

1

Attach Id ( 17880 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16757

1

Attach Id ( 17887 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16765

1

Attach Id ( 17787 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 16730

1

Attach Id ( 17874 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 17602

1

Attach Id ( 17877 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 17606

1

Attach Id ( 18187 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18115

1

Attach Id ( 18718 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18196

1

Attach Id ( 29241 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 29162

1

Attach Id ( 18313 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18192

1

Attach Id ( 18320 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18310

1

Attach Id ( 18323 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18282

1

Attach Id ( 18456 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18317

1

Attach Id ( 19238 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18722

1

Attach Id ( 19228 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18726

1

Attach Id ( 19231 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18747

1

Attach Id ( 19594 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18742

1

Attach Id ( 19179 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18738

1

Attach Id ( 19190 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18760

1

Attach Id ( 19225 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18764

1

Attach Id ( 19205 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 18768

1

Attach Id ( 19838 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 19598

1

Attach Id ( 19784 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 19603

1

Attach Id ( 20573 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 19607

1

Attach Id ( 20580 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 19611

1

Attach Id ( 20567 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 20324

1

Attach Id ( 20833 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 20728

1

Attach Id ( 20861 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 20850

1

Attach Id ( 21000 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 20956

1

Attach Id ( 21563 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21008

1

Attach Id ( 21410 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21012

1

Attach Id ( 22185 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21016

1

Attach Id ( 21267 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21029

1

Attach Id ( 21560 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21042

1

Attach Id ( 21586 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21046

1

Attach Id ( 22191 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21020

1

Attach Id ( 21352 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21025

1

Attach Id ( 21400 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21033

1

Attach Id ( 21589 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21038

1

Attach Id ( 21407 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21050

1

Attach Id ( 21805 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21596

1

Attach Id ( 22174 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 21921

1

Attach Id ( 22045 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 22042

1

Attach Id ( 22374 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 22358

1

Attach Id ( 22488 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 22384

1

Attach Id ( 22493 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 22388

1

Attach Id ( 22499 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 22396

1

Attach Id ( 23090 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 22986

1

Attach Id ( 23087 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23017

1

Attach Id ( 23409 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23193

1

Attach Id ( 23414 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23197

1

Attach Id ( 23455 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23201

1

Attach Id ( 23640 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23205

1

Attach Id ( 23368 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23211

1

Attach Id ( 23994 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23649

1

Attach Id ( 23736 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23677

1

Attach Id ( 24143 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 23998

1

Attach Id ( 24146 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24002

1

Attach Id ( 24149 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24006

1

Attach Id ( 25081 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24495

1

Attach Id ( 25063 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24571

1

Attach Id ( 24846 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24575

1

Attach Id ( 24797 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24582

1

Attach Id ( 24784 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24586

1

Attach Id ( 25059 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 24591

1

Attach Id ( 25324 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25085

1

Attach Id ( 25320 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25090

1

Attach Id ( 25431 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25095

1

Attach Id ( 25879 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25441

1

Attach Id ( 25882 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25445

1

Attach Id ( 25875 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25437

1

Attach Id ( 25868 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25678

1

Attach Id ( 25871 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 25683

1

Attach Id ( 26692 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 26142

1

Attach Id ( 27051 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 26962

1

Attach Id ( 27149 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27016

1

Attach Id ( 27188 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27176

1

Attach Id ( 27318 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27195

1

Attach Id ( 27472 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27332

1

Attach Id ( 27475 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27336

1

Attach Id ( 27614 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27552

1

Attach Id ( 27765 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 27744

1

Attach Id ( 30638 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 30544

1

Attach Id ( 30641 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 30548

1

Attach Id ( 31168 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 30907

1

Attach Id ( 33152 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 33140

1

Attach Id ( 35478 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 35325

1

Attach Id ( 35801 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 35599

1

Attach Id ( 35791 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 35660

1

Attach Id ( 35796 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 35768

1

Attach Id ( 36182 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 36105

1

Attach Id ( 36428 ) not integer for post_thumbnail 36395