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SUBMARINES OFF LANCA- SHIRE. BRITISH MERCHANT STEAMERS BLOWN UP. I FOOD SHIP TORPEDOED OFF HAVRE. A few weeks ago Grand Admiral von Tirpitz threatened a submarine war ul,on British commerce. He is doing what he can to make the threat good. On Saturday German submarines appeared in the Irish Sea, and saiik three British merchant steamers. The crews in each case were given ten minutes to clear into the boats, and the hips were then sunk by bombs placed on board. The most serious loes is that of the Ben Cruaehan, 3.092 tons, with coal from Cardiff to Liverpool. The Lin<la Blanche, of Angle- sea, with a general cargo from Manchester to Belfast, and the Kilcoan, of Liverpool, both small colliers of under 500 tons, were the other victims. In the Channel, off Havre, the British steamer Tokomaru has been sunk, apparently by a torpedo. She brought New Zealand's gifts for Belgian refugees, her cargo in- eluding 97,000 carcases of mutton. The Ikaria, also torpedoed, has been taken into Havre. I "SORRY—BUT THIS IS WAR." I The crews of the Ben Cruachan and the Linda Blanche, numbering twenty-three and eleven respectively, were landed at Fleet- wood on Saturday night. The Ben Cruaehan was fifteen m iles north-west of the north- west lightship when a submarine suddenly arose to the surface on the starboard. Its nationality was at first in doubt, but pre- sently a German flag was hoisted, and a gun trained on the steamer. On being ordered to stop, the captain, John Heggie, at once complied, and two German officers came a board. They asked to see the ship's papers, and questioned the ca ptain. The submarine commander then said:— "I am ven- sorry to inconvenience you, but I shall have to sink your boat. This is war." He added, "You will have ten minutes to clear off the steamer. Get as many of your belongings as you can and your money together." The crew hastily gathered together theii clothing and their personal belongings, end packed them into their bags, the German officers meanwhile looking on. In less than ten minutes the crew were away in their two small boats, and as they left they saw German sailors carying what looked like ex- plosive shells to the steamer. The crew had been away from the steamer about ten minutes when there was a terrific explosion, and the steamer shook from stem to stein, lurched forward, and sank. The submarine then disappeared below the surface. An hour later the men were picked up by a nshing vessel and landed at Fleetwood. I CIGARS AND CIGARETTES. I The German submarine was next seen I about 12.30, when it arose a quarter of a mile to the starboard of the steamer Linda Blanche. The same process was gone through as in the case of the pther steamer, though in this instance the German officers ordered the captain to come aboard the submarine, and bring his ship's papers with him. Meanwhile the submarine drew along- side the steamer, and while the ship's papers were being examined the German crew handed cigars and cigarettes to the crew of the steamer. The ship's papers having been examined, the captain was informed that he would have ten minutes in which the crew could collect their belongings and get clear of the ship. The crew launched their two small boats, and got into them, the German officer tell- ing them to proceed to a Fleetwood trawler, which was fishing two miles away. As the crew were leaving the steamer they saw German sailors place a couple of explosive shells, with time fuses, on board, one being placed under the captain's bridge and the other in the forecastle. Five minutes later there was a terrific explosion, and the ship I heaved over and sank. I UNKNOWN STEAMER BLOWN UP. I When last seen the submarine was going in the direction of two steamers which were approaching the English coast. The crew of the Linda Blanche were conveyed to Fleetwood on board a trawler. The captain of the trawler, John Burch, said that he saw a big steamer blown up and sink five miles to the westward. He reached the spot in a quarter of an hour, but could find no signs of the crew, al- though there was an immense quantity of wreckage, consisting of ship's furniture, floating about. None of this, however, gave any clue as to the identity of the ship. The captain picked up a large case for life-belts, of which it could have held forty. From this it is assumed that the steamer blown up was a large one, carrying thirty or forty hands, who, it is presumed, were blown up with the ship, a torpedo, apparently, having done the damage. There was no confirma- tion of this report up to a late hour. I GERMANS AT THE SALUTE. I All accounts agree that the Germans be- haved with kindness and consideration. The quartermaster of the Ben Cruchan said "The German were very decent to us. They told us where we could find the trawl- ing fleet. The chief officer of the submarine shook hands with our skipper and said: I am very sorry, captain, but war is war.' When our skipper got off the submarine into the lifeboats the German crew stood at the salute, and the chief officer shouted: 'I hope you will all get picked up before the bad weather comes on.' The submarine dis- appeared, and we were left to do the best we could. It was a mercy that we were picked up by the fishing smack." Another officer said: "It was a barefaced thing the way they did it on us. They were not submerged at all. They simply steamed up to us on the surface—they were very gentlemanly; I'll give them every credit for that-and we were only 2-i hours off port. In fact, the captain was dressed ready for going into Liverpool. He never expected to see Lu enemy submarine there." One of the crew of the Linda Blanche said that the submarine was the U21. THE THIRD VESSEL. I Eleven members of the crew of the steamer Kilcoan, of Belfast, were landed at Douglas on Saturday night by the steam collier Gladys. The Gladys left Garston on Saturday with coals for Douglas, and at about 2.30 in the afternoon,. when about eighteen miles north-west of Liverpool Bar, she was hailed by a German submarine which came along- side. The German officer in command ordered that the Gladys should follow him to another steamer close by, which proved to be the Kilcoan. They found the crew of this vessel in two boats, which the Gladys took in tow. A German officer then boarded the Kilcoan from the submarine, and after re- moving all her flags and papers, blew her up. He courteously expressed regret to the Kilcoan's master for having to take this course. The master of the Gladys wanted to land the crew at Liverpool, but the sub- marine commander insisted on his proceed- ing to the Isle of Man. The German officers offered the Kilcoan's sailors cigars, but they were refused. The submarine apparently had no number. She carried one gun. The Kilcoan was a steamer of 456 tons, owned by Messrs. W. J. Harbinson and C. L. UacKea 11. I PASSENGER SHIP'S ESCAPE. I The Belfast Company's passenger steamer Graphic, which arrived at Liverpool on Saturday evening, was chased by a sub- marine, but escaped by steaming head to wind and using her superior speed. The Graphic was making for Liverpool, and came upon the scene while the submarine was destroying one of the three lost steamers. "Captain Porter, her skipper, quickly realising the danger, outwitted the German commander by clever manoeuvring. The submarine was only about a mile and a half away at the time. Lifebelts were served out to every soul on board-about 200, including' the crew—-tlie lifeboats were got ready, and the boilers were put to the greatest test they had ever had. There was an exciting chase for seven miles. The nominal speed of the latest sub- marine on the surface is greater than the Graphic could possibly do, but the British captain knew that the underwater craft cannot battle with a strong sea and wind when not submerged. The Graphic, there- fore altered her course head on to wind and sea, and at length the submarine had to give up the pursuit. The Graphic arrived safelv at Liverpool only an hour late, although her course had been altered. TORPEDOED IN THE CHANNEL. I The ships torpedoed in the Channel were the British steamers Tokomaru and Ikaria. The Tokomaru was sunk seven miles west- north-west of Cape Antifer by a German submarine. Her -crew were saved by French torpedo boats. The Tokomaru had on board 97|000 car- rases of mutton and merchandise and cloth- ing from New Zealand for Belgian refugees. The Ikari;t, which was torpedoed fifteen miles west of Cape Antifer, did not sink. Escorted by French torpedo craft, she was towed into Havre. The Ikaria is a steel screw steamer of 4,335 tons, built on the Tvne in 1900, and belongs to the Leyland Shipping Company, Ltd., of Liverpool. The Tokomaru is a vessel of 6,084 tone, built in 1893, and owned by the Shaw. Savill, and Albion Co., Ltd.




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