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"HMS Dunraven" by Charles Pears
|Launched||7 December 1909|
|Fate||Sunk, 10 August 1917|
|Displacement||3,100 long tons (3,150 t)|
On 8 August 1917, 130 miles southwest of Ushant in the Bay of Biscay, disguised as the collier Boverton and commanded by Gordon Campbell, VC, Dunraven spotted UC-71, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Reinhold Saltzwedel. Saltzwedel believed the disguised ship was a merchant vessel. The U-boat submerged and closed with Dunraven before surfacing astern at 11:43 am and opening fire at long range. Dunraven made smoke and sent off a panic party (a small number of men who "abandon ship" during an attack to continue the impersonation of a merchant).
Shells began hitting Dunraven, detonating her depth charges and setting her stern afire. Her crew remained hidden letting the fires burn. Then a 4-inch (102 mm) gun and crew were blown away revealing Dunraven's identity as a warship, and UC-71 submerged. A second "panic party" abandoned ship. Dunraven was hit by a torpedo. A third "panic party" went over the side, leaving only two guns manned. UC-71 surfaced, shelled Dunraven and again submerged. Campbell replied with two torpedoes that missed, and around 3 pm, the undamaged U-boat left that area. Only one of Dunraven's crew was killed, but the Q-Ship was sinking.
Captain Campbell later wrote:
- "It had been a fair and honest fight, and I lost it. Referring to my crew, words cannot express what I am feeling. No one let me down. No one could have done better."
Notes and references
- "Professional Notes: H.M.S. Dunraven, August 8, 1917". United States Naval Institute Proceedings. United States Naval Institute. 45 (January 1919): 435. 1919.
- Winchester, Clarence, ed. (1937), "Salute to a Hero", Shipping Wonders of the World, pp. 129–135 illustrated account of Gordon Campbell, "the most famous Q-ship officer", including his time with HMS Dunraven