Wednesday 2 February 1916 – We Lost 163
At daybreak the attention of the captain of the trawler King Stephen is attracted by flashes of light apparently from an alarm light. The vessel’s head is turned in the direction of the light, and after steaming some distance the trawler comes on a huge dark mass floating on the water. As light increases, it is seen that the wreckage is that of the Zeppelin L19, deeply submerged, the cabins and portions of the envelope being under water while the rest of envelope is floating. On a platform running along the top of the Zeppelin are seven or eight men who hail the trawler and ask to be taken off. These numbers are quickly augmented by the arrival of the remainder of the crew of sixteen.
The skipper of the King Stephen, which is unarmed, finding his crew of nine outnumbered makes the decision to search for a gunboat or patrol vessel rather than take the German crew on board his ship. In spite of a pledge from the German captain that he will do nothing to interfere with his ship or crew, the British captain departs at 09:30 leaving the Zeppelin’s crew to their fate. All sixteen Germans drown.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of a Member of Parliament
- The son of a General
- The son of a member of the clergy
- A man whose brother was also killed in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Ralph Montacute Brind MC (Dogras) is killed in action in Mesopotamia. He is the son of the late General ‘Sir’ James Brind.
- Lieutenant Francis Elliott (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at Mogadishu at age 35. He is the son of the Reverend Canon J R Elliott Vicar of North Carlton and was the FRGS District Manager of Jubaland. He is a veteran of the South African War.
- Lieutenant Pugh Hinds (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) is killed at age 19. He is the son of John Hinds MP.
- Private Edward Swain (Royal Fusiliers) dies of wounds received in action in Sanctuary Wood. His brother will be killed on 21st March 1918.