Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Eskimo
Eskimo, a British passenger steamship, was captured by SMS SeaGull in the early afternoon of July 26, 1916, just outside Norway territorial waters near Risor, Norway. At the time SeaGull was sailing under the name Vineta. This temporary name change was intended to confuse the enemy.
Eskimo was built by Earles Shipbuilding in Hull, England and launched April 9, 1910. She was 331 feet in length, and 3,326 cargo tons. She was owned and operated by the Ellerman's Wilson Line, sailing between Christiania, Norway and Newcastle, England carrying passengers and mail. She was equipped with wireless. Christiania is now known as Oslo.
Captain A. H. Bean was in command of Eskimo with a crew of 37 and 3 passengers when the ship was sighted outside Norwegian territorial waters by SeaGull. The unarmed ship was captured and the Norwegian torpedo boat KNM Glimt approached to investigate the situation. When it was determined the ships were 1.5 miles outside territorial waters the torpedo boat left the scene.
After capture Captain Bean and his crew were transferred to SeaGull and replaced by a German prize crew. While sailing to Swinemuende, Germany the two ships were in Swedish territorial waters when an English sailor, Richard Stevenson, jumped overboard and swam toward a nearby Danish yacht. The captain of SeaGull, Count Dohna, seeing he was a strong swimmer made no effort to recapture the daring soul. After sailing to Germany the passengers, all women, were released and sailed to Copenhagen, Denmark. The crew, except the one swimmer, were interned.
While Eskimo was a passenger steamship she did carry mail and some cargo including pitprops, iron and steel ingots. The crew of SeaGull was particularly pleased with the capture of a large quantity of Danish sweet condensed cream in cans.
Eskimo was utilized by the German Navy to set and tend anti-submarine nets in the Baltic. On January 21, 1919 she was returned to the Ellerman's Wilson line. In 1921 she was sold to Cie de Navigation Paquet, Marseilles, France, and scrapped in 1929.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Prisoners of War 1914-1918 The Eskimo captain and crew listed as POWs.
Emigrant Ships from Norway Some information about Eskimo.
Das Bundesarchiv Official German war records archive site.
DER MOEWE FAHRTEN UND UBENTEUER, by Graf zu Dohna.
HILFSKREUZER MOEWE, by Otto Mielke, SOS Schicksale Deutscher Schiffe.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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