Official Number 31332
Great Eastern Railway Magazine November 1916
S. S. ” Colchester” Captured.
The G.E.R. steamer “Colchester ” left Tilbury for Rotterdam on the afternoon of Thursday, September 21st. On the Saturday morning we knew she had been captured and taken to Zeebrugge. It must be conceded that the capture by legitimate methods of warfare of this vessel and of the S.S. “Brussels ” is a proper triumph for the enemy and a proof that they make the most of their possession of a strip of western coast. One notes that when the enemy, without warning, made attempts upon these vessels from underwater craft he did not succeed, but when he adopted means about which we cannot complain he secured two good ships with their cargoes. Perhaps this will cause meditation amongst the apostles of frightfulness and make them wonder whether a little more of the Drake and Frobisher spirit and a little less of Tirpitz strafing might not have caused a lot more inconvenience to Albion.
Captain F. Bennett, the master of the “Colchester,” had only recently been promoted and had no connection with submarine encounters, so that it cannot be conceived that the Germans will find an excuse for serving him as Captain Fryatt was served. The German press takes note of the G.E.R. service, and the appointment of new captains on the Tilbury-Rotterdam service was described as ” a wise precaution.” The German press has obviously an inspired sense of honour. At present Captain Bennett, with his crew, are at Ruhleben. Those who knew him will feel sure that the odds were very much against him when the capture took place : he is a fine British seaman.
Wireless Operator Rodell was unlucky indeed. He had just finished his training for the service and this was his first voyage as independent operator.
The ” Colchester ” has served the Company well. She was built in 1899 for the Harwich-Antwerp passenger and cargo service by Earle’s Shipbuilding Company, Hull, and, as already stated, was queen of the fleet when Captain Fryatt entered the service. She was designed to do 14.5 knots per hour with high and low pressure engines, developing 2,350 I.H.P. and working steam pressure of 90 Ibs. per sq. in. Eleven years later greater speed was required and new four crank triple compound engines were installed having a working steam pressure of 180 lbs. per sq. in. and developing 2,440 I.H.P. Gradually, however, she was ousted by larger and speedier craft and before the war she had become a stand-by boat, being especially associated with large parties of emigrants who for economy’s sake went in her to Antwerp in order to take cheap passages to the States by the German liners subsidised by the German and the Belgian Governments. The “Colchester” survived as a passenger boat until the end of last year but carried cargo only during the war, making one trip with flour and clothing to Ghent to relieve the Belgian population. In the exigencies of war, instead of passing out of the service, she was endowed again with new boilers, deprived of one stack, fitted with bronze propellers, a flying bridge and crow’s nest for better observation of enemy vessels and mines. She became a very nice cargo boat of nearly 14 knots speed, carrying goodly quantities of food out of Holland until she passed from us in the night quietly captured with a large loading of parcels for prisoners of war, which may yet have been delivered to their addresses, although no doubt the loss of some thousands of substantial sacks is lamented by the G.P.O.
List of Crew Interned from MT9/1094 at National Archives.
|SURNAME||FIRST NAME||OCCUPATION||ADDRESS||TOWN||DATE OF BIRTH|
|T||BENNETT||FRANK||MASTER||42 HAWTHORN TERRACE||DOVERCOURT||1880|
|T||CROSBY||FREDERICK GEORGE||FIRST OFFICER||HILLSIDE FRANKS ROAD||DOVERCOURT||1887|
|T||CHILVER||WILLIAM JOHN||2ND OFFICER||58 OAKLAND ROAD||DOVERCOURT||1885|
|T||MCCOWATT||WILLIAM||CHIEF ENGINEER||34 HAWTHORN TERRACE||DOVERCOURT||1874|
|T||COLEMAN||ERNEST||SECOND ENGINEER||20 WHERSTEAD ROAD||IPSWICH||17/7/1888|
|J||RODELL||HERBERT VICTOR||WIRELESS OPERATOR||4 BELGRAVE ROAD||CAMBRIDGE||28/1/1891|
|J||CALVER||WILLIAM JAMES||BOATSWAIN||6 ALBERMARLE STREET||HARWICH||11/2/1877|
|J||ATKINS||CHARLES ARTHUR||COOK||32 ADELAIDE STREET||PARKESTON||27/11/1882|
|J||BANKS||HARRY ROBERT||ABLE SEAMAN||2 WEST STREET||HARWICH||24/4/1878|
|J||MCCLELLAND||FRANCIS||ABLE SEAMAN||GLEN COTTAGE GARLAND ROAD||PARKESTON||1856|
|J||YOUNGS||RICHARD GEORGE||ABLE SEAMAN||SIRDAR TERRACE||PARKESTON||20/1/1897|
|O||GOOD||DENNIS WILLIAM||ABLE SEAMAN||ALPHA COTTAGE BATHSIDE||HARWICH||10/3/1887|
|J||FLATT||WILLIAM||ABLE SEAMAN||12 HAMILTON STREET||PARKESTON||1896|
|J||WATKINS||WILLIAM WALTER||ABLE SEAMAN||28 NEW STREET||GRAVESEND||3/2/1896|
|J||SMY||WILLIAM||ORDINARY SEAMAN||5 GOLDEN LION LANE||HARWICH||1899|
|T||RICHMOND||ALBERT EDWARD||DECK BOY||STOUR VILLA BATHSIDE||HARWICH||1899|
|J||GRAYSTONE||OLIVER HENRY||DONKEYMAN||5 TALBOT ROAD BATHSIDE||HARWICH||9/1/1865|
|J||CHECK||ROBERT BENJAMIN||DONKEYMAN||2 NORMANS COTTAGES BATHSIDE||HARWICH||22/11/1891|
|O||MEACHER||ARTHUR JAMES||FIREMAN||23 KINGS HEAD STREET||HARWICH||20/11/1888|
|J||HINES||WILLIAM||FIREMAN||17 HORDLE STREET||DOVERCOURT||1880|
|J||PARKER||WILLIAM||FIREMAN||2 RAILWAY COTTAGES GEORGE STREET||HARWICH||22/2/1881|
|J||CARTER||FREDERICK W||FIREMAN||7 COKE STREET||HARWICH||13/10/1887|
|J||WOOLLEY||GEORGE VICTOR||FIREMAN||4 ALBERT STREET||HARWICH||5/12/1890|
|J||MARCHANT||WILLIAM||FIREMAN||13 CASTLEGATE STREET||HARWICH||1877|
|J||ABBOTT||W||FIREMAN||21 NORMANS YARD GEORGE STREET||HARWICH||1882|
|J||HAMMOND||ARTHUR RICHARD||FIREMAN||GLEN COTTAGE ALBERMARLE STREET||HARWICH||1/11/1899|
|O||KINGSFORD||HARRY JOHN ATHERTON||PANTRY BOY||13A HORDLE STREET||HARWICH||1897|
|J||CARR||JOHN ALFRED||PANTRY BOY||NEWHAVEN YARD||HARWICH||22/03/1900|