Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Voltaire
Voltaire, a British steamship, was captured and sunk by SMS SeaGull in the morning of December 2, 1916, 650 miles west 1/4 north from Fastnet, Ireland.
Voltaire was a British steamship built by D. and W. Henderson Company, Glasgow, Scotland. She was launched for the Lamport and Holt Line on January 31, 1907. She was an 8,618 ton ship, length 485 feet, one funnel, two masts, single screw and a speed of 15 knots. She was armed with a 3-inch gun mounted at the stern. She was equipped with wireless and refrigerated cargo spaces.
Ships of the Lamport and Holt Line were named for poets.
Voltaire was the fourth vessel of the Lamport and Holt fleet to fall victim to a German commerce raider. The German cruiser Karlsruhe captured Cervantes on October 8, 1914 and Van Dyck on October 26, 1914. SeaGull captured and sunk Horace on February 9, 1916.
At the left is Captain R. A. Knight on the day his ship, Voltaire, was captured and sunk. To his right are the Commander of SeaGull, Count Dohna, and Leading seaman Richard Fiedler. To the right is a motion picture camera.
Captain R. A. Knight was in command, with a crew of 91, when Voltaire departed Liverpool, England on November 28, 1916. She was in ballast, sailing for Boston via Halifax, Canada.
On December 12, her captain and crew were transferred to the captured British ship Yarrowdale and arrived at Swinemuende, Germany on December 31. Two US citizens in the crew, David Harrington and Dr. Herbert Snyder, were released on March 8, 1917. The United States was neutral at the time. The others were interned as prisoners of war.
The Lamport and Holt Line later sailed another ship named Voltaire. This ship was sunk by the German raider Thor on April 4, 1941 with the loss of 75 lives.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Prisoners of War 1914-1918 The Voltaire captain and crew listed as POWs.
Ellis Island One of the two US citizens is listed in the immigration records. Requires free registration.
FOUR AMERICAN PRISONERS ABOARD THE YARROWDALE, by Orville McKim.
Orville McKim was the veterinarian on the Georgic.
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