Monday 3 August 1914

by greatwarliveslost

San Wilfrido

The merchant ship San Wilfrido (Captain C H Williams) becomes the first casualty of the as yet undeclared war when she strikes a mine off Cuxhaven.  Her crew is made prisoners.

The tanker has been commissioned to the fleet of the Eagle Oil Transportation Co, of London four months earlier. She is sailing from Hamburg to the Gulf of Mexico in ballast. In River Elbe about eight miles above Brunsbuttel, orders are received stating that she may proceed to Cuxhaven. No pilot is available to take her through the minefield already at Cuxhaven, so she follows the usual channel. The men in charge of the tugs realize the ship is in danger and shout to the master, who attempts to go full speed astern, but the ship is caught by a strong ebb tide and drifts into the minefield. Three explosions follow and she settles down by the stern with a heavy list to port. A German tug takes the crew of forty off making them the first prisoners of the Great War.

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