Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Westburn
On February 8, 1916 Westburn, a British steamship, was captured by SMS SeaGull 530 miles north northeast from Pernambuco. Pernambuco is now known as Recife, Brazil. Acting Lieutenant Reinhold Badewitz was in command with a prize crew of seven German sailors when Westburn was scuttled on February 24, 1916, just outside Santa Cruz harbor, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
Westburn was a British steamship built in 1893 by Short Brothers at Sunderland, England for the James Westoll line. She was 351 feet in length and 3,300 tons with a speed of 7 knots.
This was the second of three ships owned by the Westoll line lost to German surface ships during the war. Mary Ada Short was captured and sunk by Prinz Eitel Friedrich on February 18, 1915. Gladys Royle was captured and sunk by Seeadler on January 9, 1917.
Captain A. T. Campbell was in command with a crew of 25 when Westburn sailed from Liverpool on January 31. She was bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina with a cargo of 3,878 tons of Welsh steamcoal.
Twenty-four crewmembers were landed in Tenerife, Canary Islands on February 23, 1916. On February 28, they sailed on the liner Athenic arriving in London on March 3. Captain Campbell and second officer Charles Mattson were on SeaGull when she sailed into Wilhelmshaven, Germany on March 4. They were interned as prisoners of war.
The Canary Islands are a Spanish possession. Spain remained neutral for the duration of the war.
The wreck of the Westburn lies in 90 feet of water and is frequently visited by scuba divers.
Officers and crewmembers of the following ships were aboard Westburn when she landed at Tenerife on February 22, 1916.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Prisoners of War 1914-1918 The Westburn captain and second officer listed as POWs.
DER MOEWE FAHRTEN UND UBENTEUER, by Graf zu Dohna.
HILFSKREUZER MOEWE, by Otto Mielke.
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