Konigsberg Incident

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    On the evening of August 6, 1914, the lone cargo ship S.S. City of Winchester was steaming southwest through the Gulf of Aden en route to London. With her load of general cargo and the first of India's seasonal tea crop, the City of Winchester represented a humble fraction of Great Britain's merchant power. But on this particular evening, she entered the history books both as the first merchant shipping loss of the First World War, and as the first war time target of the German light cruiser S.M.S. Konigsberg. For as the City of Winchester's Captain George Boyck was called upon by one of his officers to investigate an unidentified vessel approaching their ship, searchlights stabbed out of the evening haze followed by a rapid signal lamp query: 'what ship and nationality.' Captain Boyck believed the approaching vessel to be a British cruiser and so he dutifully replied to the inquiry with the ship's name and port of registry. He was immediately ordered to stop his ship. It was only when a German naval officer accompanied by an armed party of sailors climbed aboard that Captain Boyck realized all was not right. His ship was commandeered by a 'prize crew' from Konigsberg and taken to the east coast of Oman, where she was partially stripped of her cargo and scuttled. Thus began the war time portion of the Konigsberg Incident that had begun in Kiel five months before, and which did not end until 1918. During the course of the Great War this particular chapter in military history resulted in the loss of over a dozen vessels, the deaths of hundreds of men and littering of the East African plains, rivers and bays with relics of the fighting.


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