Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Otaki
Otaki, a British owned steamship, was captured and sunk by SMS SeaGull at dusk on March 10, 1917, 420 miles west by 3/4 south from Flores, Portuguese Azores.
Otaki was built in 1906 by William Denny and Brothers, Dumbarton, England for the New Zealand Shipping Company, London. She was a 9,575 ton ship, 465 feet in length, equipped with wireless and refrigerated cargo spaces.
Otaki is a city in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Shipping Company lost 11 vessels during the war.
Captain Archibald Bisset Smith was in command with a crew of 72 when Otaki departed London, England sailing for New York. She was in ballast. The ship was in the service of the British Admiralty and armed with a 4.7-inch gun at the stern.
Six crew members including the captain were killed on Otaki during the capture. The surviving crewmembers arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany aboard SeaGull on March 22, 1917. They were interned as prisoners of war.
In 1920 the New Zealand Shipping Company acquired another ship named Otaki. This ship under the name Pacific Star was torpedoed by the German submarine U-509 on October 27, 1942. She foundered the next day without the loss of life.
In remembrance of the 6 souls lost while serving aboard Otaki, on March 10, 1917.
- Deck Boy Robert Chaffey Keneston, Mercantile Marine, Age 16, Born at Kilburn, London, England.
- Apprentice Basil Hugo Kilner, Mercantile Marine, Born at Lewisham, London.
- Third Engineer Arthur H. Little, Mercantile Marine, Age 26, Born at Durham, England.
- Apprentice William E. Martin, Mercantile Marine, Age 14, Born at Aberdeen, Scotland.
- Master Archibald Bisset Smith, Mercantile Marine, Age 38, Born at Cults, Scotland.
- Steward H. J. Willis, Mercantile Marine, Drowned, Age 50, Born at Hants, England.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Prisoners of War 1914-1918 The Otaki crew listed as prisoners of war.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial to the UK soldiers and sailors lost in the Great War.
uboat.net Fantastic site for information about German submarines.
KRIEGSFAHRTEN DEUTSCHER HILFSKREUZER, by Hermann Albert Karl Jung, 1939.
Hermann A. K. Jung was the Gunnery Officer on the SeaGull.
BLOCKADEBRECHER, by Otto Mielke.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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