Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©
Ships - Yarrowdale
Yarrowdale, a British steamship, was captured by SMS SeaGull as a war prize in the morning of December 11, 1916, 540 miles southeast 3/4 east from Cape Race, Newfoundland.
Yarrowdale, a steam freighter built in 1912 by William Dobson and Company, Newcastle, England was launched for the Mackill Steam Ship Company Limited of Glasgow, Scotland. She was of 4,652 tons, length 390 feet and a speed of 13 knots.
Yarrowdale is a traditional place name in the Scottish border region near the Scotland-England border.
Captain William Buyers was in command with a crew of 49 when Yarrowdale sailed from New York on December 4, 1916 for La Havre, France. The ship was chartered by the French Government. Her cargo consisted of 5,800 tons including 3,400 tons of steel ingots for shell casings, 32,725 rolls of barbed wire, 6,266 cases of cartridges, a considerable quantity of frozen meat and 114 trucks. The trucks were to be delivered to the Russian Army.
On December 12, 1916, many prisoners on the SeaGull were transferred to the Yarrowdale. Thirteen members of the Yarrowdale crew were retained on SeaGull. The Yarrowdale sailed for Germany with a prize crew of 16 German sailors headed by acting Lieutenant Reinhold Badewitz. She arrived in Swinemuende, on December 31, 1916 with 8 captains, 73 ship officers, 143 neutrals and 285 crewmembers from the captured ships.
When Yarrowdale sailed to Germany, 16 members of the crew, including the Captain, were interned as prisoners of war and 21, all neutrals, were released. Three US citizens in the crew, Dave Addison, Charles David Greene and Charles Quinn, were among those freed. The other 13 crewmen remained on SeaGull until March 22, 1917 when she returned to Germany and then were freed.
Officers and crewmembers of the following ships were aboard Yarrowdale when she arrived in Swinemuende.
Yarrowdale was later converted to a raider with the addition of five 150-mm cannon, four 88-mm cannon and two 50-cm torpedo tubes. She sailed in her new guise as Leopard on March 14, 1917 with a crew of 15 officers and 304 men under command of Korvettenkapitan Hans von Laffert. Lieutenant Reinhold Badewitz was one of the officers.
In the afternoon of March 16, she was engaged 200 miles northeast of the Faroe Islands, in the North Sea, by the British cruiser HMS Achilles and Dundee, an armed boarding steamer. Leopard was sunk with all hands.
Some historians believe the British blockade ships relaxed their efforts after the Leopard sank and this aided SeaGull when she passed the location of the sinking four days later. SeaGull was returning from her second Atlantic voyage, arriving in Bremerhaven, Germany on March 22, 1917.
Following World War I, the Torpedo Boat Leopard was built for the Germany Navy. She was launched March 15, 1928 and Christened by the daughter of Hans von Laffert, Marion.
On April 30, 1940, after rudder failure, the Torpedo Boat Leopard was rammed by the mine layer Kaiser and sunk with the loss of one life.
RELATED WEB SITES:
Prisoners of War 1914-1918 The Yarrowdale captain and crew listed as POWs.
SMS Leopard German torpedo boat in WWII.
HOW THE RAIDER YARROWDALE WAS SUNK, by Selwyn M. Day, Sea Breezes, February 1922.
Selwyn M. Day was Commander on the Dundee.
KRIEGSFAHRTEN DEUTSCHER HILFSKREUZER, by Hermann Albert Karl Jung.
Hermann A. K. Jung was the Gunnery Officer on the SeaGull.
LEOPARD V. ACHILLES AND DUNDEE, by K. D. McBride, Mariner's Mirror, 1999.
FOUR AMERICAN PRISONERS ABOARD THE YARROWDALE, by Orville McKim.
Orville McKim was the veterinarian on the Georgic.
GERMAN AUXILIARY CRUISERS OF WORLD WAR I, by George Ransome.
SWITZERLAND AND THE WORLD WAR, by Pleasant Alexander Stovall.
DIARIO DE PERNAMBUCO, by Capitaine Carmene, Commandant du Nantes.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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