Sunday 9 August 1914 – We Lost 7 (plus 1)
The light cruiser HMS Birmingham spots the German submarine U-15, whose engines have failed as she lay stopped on the surface in heavy fog, off Fair Isle. The crew of Birmingham hear hammering from inside the boat from attempts at repairs, and fire on her but miss. As the U-boat begins to dive, Birmingham rams her, cutting her in two. U-15 goes down with all hands. This is the first encounter between ships of the Grand Fleet and a U-boat, and the first action between surface and under surface craft in history, the first case of a submarine being sunk in such action.
On Lake Nyasa, in Central Africa, Commander Edmund L Rhoades sails his gunboat the Gwendolen with its single 3-pounder gun across the lake from the British port of Nkata Bay to the tiny German port of Sphinxhaven, 30 miles away. There he opens fire on and captures the German gunboat Wissman whose commander has not yet heard that war has been declared.
The plus 1 is Henri Bonnefoy a French sport shooter who was a member of the Bronze Medal winning small-bore team shooting competition at the 1908 Olympics. He is killed in action today at age 26.