Saturday 5 September 1914 – We lost 295

by greatwarliveslost

Artist version of HMS Pathfinder sinking

Artist version of HMS Pathfinder sinking

The first sinking of a warship by a submarine in action at sea occurs when the cruiser HMS Pathfinder is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U21 off St Abb’s Head, Berkshire and the Firth of Forth.  At 14:40 the German submarine fires a torpedo that is spotted by a lookout in the crow’s nest.  Captain Francis Martin Leake reacts instantly with the order “Full speed, hard to starboard.”  Pathfinder rolls on her starboard beam, stern deck nearly awash, as her propellers bite into the water, which turns white her engines racing to escape impending doom.  In spite of Leake’s efforts the torpedo’s warhead slams into Pathfinder under the forward funnel, fracturing the steel plating and piercing one of her boilers. Superheated shrapnel punctures the bulkheads surrounding the powder magazine and ignites a massive explosion.  She goes down in four minutes, taking with her two hundred and fifty nine sailors.  The explosion is so massive it is seen from land and a British destroyer in the neighborhood is immediately diverted and pulls eleven survivors, including Captain Leake from the water.  Officer’s Steward 3rd Class George Henry Mead is killed at age 18. He is the first of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.

A mine blows up the Wilson liner Runo about twenty two miles east by north from Tyne.  The twenty-nine fatalities are the first non-combatants to be killed in the Great War at Sea.

In the “Agreement of London”, Great Britain, France and Russia pledge themselves to make no separate peace.

Lieutenant Dalrymple-Clark carries out the first British bombing raid of the war, near the Franco-Belgian border.  According to the official report he “expended one bomb on about forty Germans-some evidently hurt”.

The first night patrol by two Royal Naval Air Service officers (Lieutenants Claude Grahame-White and Richard Thomas Gates, the first the founder and the second is the director/general manager of the Grahame-White Aviation Company) is carried out over London after the report of enemy aircraft.  Gates will be killed accidentally killed in nine days in a flying accident.

Today’s casualties include:

  • The first hockey international killed in the war
  • The first son of a family that will lose three sons in the war

 Today’s highlighted casualty

Lieutenant Auriol Francis Hay Round (Essex Regiment) dies at home at age 22 of tetanus that he contracted from a shell wound received 26th August. He is the first of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War. He played hockey for the County of Essex and played for England against German earlier this year. He is believed to be the first hockey player to fall in the Great War.

photo from