17/11/1915 A hospital ship sunk

Germany’s U-boat war has been turned down a notch since the USA issued an ultimatum after the sinking of the Lusitania. Instead of torpedoing Allied ships on sight they are now mostly adhering to cruiser rules, which means that they must order civilian ships to halt and be searched before they can be sunk. This is so risky for U-boats that, in the Atlantic at least, German U-boats have given up their attacks on merchantmen and ocean liners.

However, in other ways the U-boat war continues. German U-boats are still active in the Mediterranean. And in the Atlantic, they continue to lay mines where they hope to catch British ships.

Yesterday the U-boat UC-5 laid a cluster of mines outside Dover harbour. Today the hospital ship HMHS Anglia leaves Boulogne to carry wounded soldiers back home to England. But as it approaches Dover, it collides with a mine. The tremendous explosion causes the ship to start sinking. Other vessels come to the Anglia‘s aid, desperately trying to rescue the wounded servicemen before they are claimed by the sea. One ship, coincidentally also named the Lusitania, manages to take onboard many of the Anglia‘s passengers and crew, but then it too hits a mine and starts sinking.

Other vessels save as many as they can, but some 134 people meet their end in the Channel.

image sources:

Escaping the sinking ship (Epsom and Ewell History Explorer)

The Anglia sinking (Wikipedia)

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