The following is copied from Naval records which follow the U-57 as it sank eleven Scarborough trawlers and 29 in between 23rd and 25th September, 1916.
From reports received to date the following operations by a German submarine off the East Coast between 10-30 a.m. 23rd September and 11 a.m. 25th September resulted in the sinking of at least 29 trawlers as follows:-
- Mercurey (sank by bombs and gunfire) 23 Sept 10:30-11am
- Viella (sank by bombs and gunfire) 23 Sept 12:30-1:30pm
- Restless(sunk by bombs and gunfire) 23 Sept 2:30pm
- Beechwold(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 2:30-3:20pm
- Weelsby(sunk by bombs) 23 Sept 3-4pm
- Britannia VII(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 3-4pm
- Refino(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 5:15-5:45pm
- Andromeda(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 5:30-6pm
- Rego(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 5:45-6:30pm
- Cockatrice(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 6:15-6:30pm
- Pheonix(sunk by gunfire) 23 Sept 7:30pm
- Devonshire(sunk by gunfire) 24 Sept 8am
- Briton(sunk by gunfire) 24 Sept 9-9:10am
- Albatross(sunk by gunfire) 24 Sept 9:15-10:15am
- Alphelion(sunk by gunfire) 24 Sept 9:30am
- Renee(disabled by bombs in engine room) 24 Sept 9:30-10:30am
The Renee was ordered to pick up the crews of 4 other trawlers. The movements of the submarine between 10-30am and 8:30p are obscure She appears to have gone NW and then
- Fisher Prince (captured) 24 Sept 8:30pm
A lieutenant and 8 of German crew were placed aboard her, and submarine then cruised around with "Fisher Prince" until 4am capturing the following trawlers and putting the crews on board "Fisher Prince".
- Otter(captured) 24 Sept 10pm
- Harrier(captured) 24 Sept 10pm
- Tarantula(captured) 24 Sept 10:15pm
- Marguerite(captured) 24 Sept 11:25pm
- Sunshine(captured) 24 Sept 11:55pm
- Gamecock(captured) 25 Sept 0:55am
- Lochness(captured) 25 Sept 1am
At 4:30am the engines of the "Fisher Prince" were disabled and all the Germans left her. Submarine proceeded and
- Nil Desperandum(sunk by bombs) 25 Sept 4:30am
Submarine towed the boats till 5:15am when crew were put aboard "Fisher Prince".
At 6:15am Submarine began to sink by gunfire all the trawlers captured during the night. This lasted until about 7am. She then continued and
- St Hilda(sunk by gunfire) 25 Sept 7am
- Quebec(sunk by gunfire) 25 Sept 7am
- Trinidad(sunk by gunfire) 25 Sept 9:50am
Stopped Norwegian SS Tromp 9:50am and sent all crews aboard her from "Fisher Prince". She then
- Fisher Prince(sunk) 25 Sept, 11am
- Seal(sunk) 25 Sept, 11am
Submarine Commander remarked to Master of the "Seal" -
"Sorry I have to sink you but it is war - this is the 21st today".
It is also interesting to note the remarks of the Commander of the submarine made to the Master of the "Ranee" Viz.
"That it was a new submarine carrying a crew of 28 and would be out for 6 weeks", also "where was the English Fleet, as none had been sighted and he surmised that they were all close to land".
It is significant that during the operations of this submarine from 10-30am 23rd September to 11am 25th September no patrol vessel or destroyer appears to have been encountered at any time.
The range of operations appears to have been between 65' South-East by East of the Humber (53 14' N,1 50' E) and 33' East by South of Hartlepool (54 43'N, 0 15' W) occupying 48 hours.
How many of these vessels were outside the limits laid down for fishing in?
The boundary line for fishing as per order 13th May,1916 has been marked in the attached chart in blue pencil. It appears that the "Restless",the "Rego", the "Cockatrice","Albatross",and "Aphelion" were very close to the boundary - and that the "Quebec", "Ranee","Pheonix" and "Mercury" were outside the limit.
With reference to paragraph 6 the position of the Rigoletto, when firing was heard to the Eastward 52 22' N, 0 01' East, was at least five miles to the westward of the boundary of the prohibited area and it does not therefore follow that the trawlers were in prohibited waters , even if they were to the eastward of the Rigoletto. 23rd October, 1916
Owners and skippers are constantly warned by the Naval Authorities, Fishery Authorities, and the Government War Risks Insurance Association of the importance of keeping their vessels out of the prohibited areas.
When the vessels are lost in prohibited areas the Insurance Association is informed, and the owners cannot recover the insurance money unless they can satisfy the Committee of the Association that they were not privy to or responsible for their vessels going out of bounds.
When the vessels are found in prohibited areas, they are kept in dock for considerable periods by the Naval Authorities.
In either case the skippers are liable to be both prosecuted by the Naval Authorities, and suspended for several months by the Association.
These measures have not been very effective, and it seems as if nothing would keep the skippers within bounds now that the profits of trespassing are so great. 28-10-1916
This information was provided by Gil Mayes of the Fleetwood Maritime Heritage•http://www.fleetwood-trawlers.info/