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17th November 1917 - The Great War, Day by Day - The Wartime Memories Project

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The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day

17th November 1917

On this day:

  • Daily Activity   9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

    Relieved by 2/5th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at 2200.

    Battalion marched to Bertincourt less one Platoon of C Company who were left behind to form an outpost for 2/5 King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on Yorkshire Bank.

    War Diaries

  • Australian Troop Transports   

    HMAT A6 Clan MacCorquodale

    Picture from: AWM P01122.003.

    The HMAT A6 Clan MacCorquodale weighed 5121 tons with an average cruise speed of 15 knots or 27.78 kmph. It was owned by the Cayser, Irvin and Co., Glasgow, and leased by the Commonwealth until 14 April 1915. The Clan MacCorquodale was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean on the 17th November 1917.

    John Doran

  • U-Boat Index - WW1   SM U-153

    Type U 151 Shipyard Reiherstiegw., Hamburg Ordered 29 Nov 1916 Launched 19 Jul 1917 Commissioned 17 Nov 1917

    17 Nov 1917 - 31 Jul 1918 Gernot Goetting.
    1 Aug 1918 - 11 Nov 1918 Paul Pastuszyk.

    Career 1 patrols.
    start date unknown - 11 Nov 1918 U-Kreuzer Flotilla

    Successes 4 ships sunk with a total of 12,742 tons.

    • 15 Mar 1918 U 153 Gernot Goetting Alessandra 2,394 it
    • 14 Apr 1918 U 153 Gernot Goetting Santa Isabel 2,023 br
    • 25 Apr 1918 U 153 Gernot Goetting Willow Branch 3,314 br
    • 9 May 1918 U 153 Gernot Goetting Enrichetta 5,011 it

    Fate 24 Nov 1918 - Surrendered. Scuttled off the Isle of Wight on June 30, 1921.

    There was another U 153 in World War Two.
    That boat was launched from its shipyard on 5 Apr 1941 and commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on 19 Jul 1941.

    John Doran

  • USS Fanning   

    USS Fanning

    Name: USS Fanning Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Company, Newport News, Virginia Laid down: 29 April 1911 Launched: 11 January 1912 Commissioned: 21 June 1912 Decommissioned: 24 November 1919 Fate: Transferred to the United States Coast Guard, 7 June 1924 The first USS Fanning (DD-37) was a modified Paulding-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I and later in the United States Coast Guard, designated as CG-11. She was named for Nathaniel Fanning.

    Fanning was launched on 11 January 1912 by Newport News Shipbuilding Company, Newport News, Virginia; sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth McAlpine; and commissioned on 21 June 1912, Lieutenant W. N. Jeffers in command. She was classified DD-37 on 17 July 1920.

    In the years that preceded World War I, Fanning took part in the training schedule of the Atlantic Fleet, sailing to the Caribbean for winter maneuvers, and exercising off the coast of New England in the summers. Based at Norfolk, Virginia during the major portion of each year, she joined in gunnery practice in this area. ,p> As war raged in Europe, Fanning intensified her preparations for any eventuality. When two German auxiliary cruisers visited Norfolk in September 1916, Fanning acted as part of their escort while they sailed in United States territorial waters. On 8 October, Fanning put out of Newport, Rhode Island, to search for the crews of ships sunk not far from Nantucket Light Ship by the German submarine U-58. The destroyer recovered six survivors and landed them at Newport, Rhode Island the next day. The presence of U-58 led to the speculation that a secret German submarine base might exist in the Long Island Sound—Block Island Sound area; Fanning searched from 12 October to 14 October for evidence of such a base but found nothing, and returned to her regular operating schedule.

    During the latter half of October 1916, Fanning and the fuel ship Jason conducted experiments to develop methods of oiling at sea, a technique which has since given the United States Navy unbounded mobility and sea-keeping qualities. Torpedo and gunnery practices, and fleet maneuvers during the next eight months sharpened Fanning's war-readiness, so that she was able to sail for distant service when called on in June 1917.

    World War I

    Main article: Action of 17 November 1917

    Based at Queenstown, Ireland, Fanning and her sister destroyers patrolled the eastern Atlantic, escorting convoys and rescuing survivors of sunken merchantmen. At 1615 on 17 November 1917, Coxswain Daniel David Loomis sighted the periscope of U-58, and the Officer of the Deck Lieutenant Walter Owen Henry ordered the destroyer to attack. Fanning's first depth charge pattern scored, and as destroyer Nicholson joined the action, the submarine broke surface, her crew pouring out on deck, hands raised in surrender. The depth charge had hit near the submarines diving planes, forcing the submarine to surface, and also knocked out the main generator aboard Fanning. Fanning maneuvered to pick up the prisoners as the damaged submarine sank, the first of two U-boats to fall victim to US Navy destroyers in World War I. Coxswain Daniel David Loomis and Lieutenant Walter Owen Henry both received the Navy Cross for this action.

    Fanning continued escort and patrol duty for the duration of the war. Though she made numerous submarine contacts, all of her attacks were inconclusive. On many occasions, she went to the aid of torpedoed ships, rescuing survivors and carrying them into port. On 8 October 1918, she picked up a total of 103 survivors, 25 from a merchantman and 78 from the Dupetit-Thouars.

    Fanning passed in review before President Woodrow Wilson on board the transport George Washington in Brest Harbor on 13 December, then remained at Brest until March of the following year. After a quick voyage to Plymouth, England, Fanning departed Brest for the States, by way of Lisbon, Portugal, and Ponta Delgada, Azores, in company with several other destroyers, and escorting a large group of submarine chasers. Fanning was placed out of commission at Philadelphia on 24 November 1919.

    Inter-war period

    On 7 June 1924, Fanning was transferred to the Coast Guard with whom she served until 24 November 1930. She was sold for scrap on 2 May 1934.

    John Doran

  • Heligoland Bight 1917   The Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, also called the Action in the Helgoland Bight was an inconclusive naval engagement fought between British and German squadrons on 17 November 1917 during the First World War.

    Background to events

    Following the German Navy's successful raid on the Scandinavian convoy on 17 October 1917, Admiral Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief of the British Grand Fleet, determined to retaliate. On 17 November 1917 a strong force of cruisers under Vice Admiral Trevylyan Napier was sent to attack German minesweepers, which were clearing a channel through British minefields in the Heligoland Bight. The intentions of the German force had been revealed by British Naval Intelligence, allowing the British to mount an ambush. The German sweepers were escorted by a group of cruisers and torpedo-boats under Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter.

    The Battle

    The action began at 0730 roughly 65 nautical miles west of Sylt, when HMS Courageous sighted the enemy. She opened fire at 0737. Admiral Reuter, the German commander, with four light cruisers and eight destroyers, courageously advanced to engage his more powerful enemy in order to cover the withdrawal of his minesweepers, all of which escaped except for the trawler Kehdingen(GE), which was sunk. The battle thereafter developed into a stern chase as the German forces, skilfully using smoke-screens, withdrew south-east at their best speed, under fire from the pursuing British ships of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, the 1st and 6th Light Cruiser Squadrons, and, later, HMS Repulse (which had been detached from the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron and came up at high speed to join the battle). Both sides were hampered in their maneuvers by the presence of naval minefields. The British ships gave up the chase some two hours later, as they reached the edge of known minefields. At about the same time, the light cruisers came under fire of two German battleships, SMS Kaiser and SMS Kaiserin which had come up in support of von Reuter's ships. HMS Caledon was struck by one 12-in shell which did minimal damage and shortly thereafter, the British forces withdrew.

    All personnel on the bridge of the light cruiser HMS Calypso, including her captain, Herbert Edwards, were killed by a 6-in shell. The battle cruiser HMS Repulse, briefly engaged the German ships at about 1000, scoring a single hit on the light cruiser SMS Königsberg that ignited a major fire on board. It was during this battle that Able Seaman John Henry Carless of HMS Caledon won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery in manning a gun despite mortal wounds.

    Order of Battle

    • Royal Navy Ensign British forces - The following British vessels were engaged
    • 1st Cruiser Squadron: Vice Admiral Trevylyan D. W. Napier CB, MVO
    • HMS Courageous (flag; Capt Arthur Bromley)
    • HMS Glorious (Capt Charles B. Miller CB)
    • 13th Destroyer Flotilla
    • HMS Ursa (Cdr John C. Tovey)
    • HMS Nerissa (Lt. Cdr. Montague G. B. Legge DSO)
    • HMS Urchin (Lt Cdr Guy P. Bowles)
    • HMS Umpire (Lt Cdr Roger V. Alison DSO)
    • 6th Light Cruiser Squadron: Rear Admiral Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair CB MVO
    • HMS Cardiff (flag; Capt. Claud H. Sinclair)
    • HMS Ceres (Capt. the Hon. Herbert Meade DSO)
    • HMS Calypso (Capt. Herbert L. Edwards)
    • HMS Caradoc (Capt. William M. Kerr)
    • 13th Destroyer Flotilla
    • HMS Valentine - flotilla leader (Cdr. Charles A. Fremantle)
    • HMS Vimiera (Cdr. Dashwood F. Moir)
    • HMS Vanquisher (Lt Cdr. Kenneth A. Beattie)
    • HMS Vehement (Lt. Vernon Hammersley-Heenan)
    • 1st Light Cruiser Squadron: Commodore Walter H. Cowan CB, MVO, DSO
    • HMS Caledon (Cdre Cowan)
    • HMS Galatea (Capt. Charles M. Forbes DSO)
    • HMS Royalist (Capt. the Hon. Mathew R. Best MVO, DSO)
    • HMS Inconstant (Capt. Francis A. Marten)
    • 13th Destroyer Flotilla
    • HMS Vendetta (Cdr. Charles G. Ramsey)
    • HMS Medway (Lt. Cdr. Charles H. Neill James)
    • 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron Detahment Rear Admiral Richard F. Phillimore CB, MVO
    • HMS Repulse (flag; Capt. William H. D. Boyle)

    KLM Ensign German forces

    • The following German vessels were engaged
    • 2nd Scouting Group (Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter) light cruisers
    • SMS Königsberg (FKpt Karl Feldmann)
    • SMS Pillau (FKpt Gerhard von Gaudecker)
    • SMS Frankfurt (FKpt Otto Seidensticker)
    • SMS Nürnberg (KptzS Walther Hildebrand)
    • 7th Torpedo-Boat Flotilla (KKpt Cordes)
    • S62 (KptLt Fink; lead boat, flotilla)
    • G87 (OLtzS Komorowski)
    • 14th half-flotilla (KptLt Richard Beitzen)
    • G92 (KptLt Arthur von Killinger; lead boat, half-flotilla)
    • G93 (KptLt Reimer)
    • V83 (Kpt Lt Wedig von Keyserlingk)
    • 12th half-flotilla (KKpt Lahs)
    • V43 (OLtzS Narjes; lead boat, half-flotilla)
    • V44 (OLtzS Kautter)
    • V45 (KptLt Laßmann)
    • Minesweepers
    • 6th Minesweeper Half-Flotilla (6.Minensuchhalbflottille) (KptLt d'Ottilié):
    • M66, M7, A36, T74, M53, M4, M3,
    • M14th Auxiliary Minesweeper Half-Flotilla (4.Hilfsminensuchhalbflottille) (KptLt d R Joachim Löwe)
    • A63, A68, A69, A74, A41, A52
    • 2nd Auxiliary Minesweeper Half-Flotilla (KptLt d R Klose): fishing vessels
    • 6th Auxiliary Minesweeper Half-Flotilla (KptLt d R Wilke): fishing vessels
    • 4th Barrier-Breaker Group (IV. Sperrbrechergruppe) (KptLt d R Hillebrand): two vessels Group S
    • North Sea Outpost Half-Flotilla (LtzS Woldag): armed trawlers Fritz Reuter and Kehdingen(GE)
    • 4th Battle Squadron (Vice Admiral Wilhelm Souchon) detachment (KptzS Kurt Graßhoff)
    • SMS Kaiserin (KptzS Kurt Graßhoff)
    • SMS Kaiser (KptzS Max Loesch)
    • attached torpedo-boats (anti-submarine escort)
    • S18 (KptLt Wildemann)
    • S24 (KptLt Paschen)

    John Doran

  • Naval Action - 17th November 1917   The Action of 17 November 1917 was a naval battle of the First World War. The action was fought between a German U-boat and two United States Navy destroyers in the North Atlantic Ocean.


    Based in Queenstown, Ireland, USS Fanning and her sister destroyer USS Nicholson patrolled the eastern waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Their mission was to escort convoys and rescue survivors of sunken merchant ships as well as to seek out and destroy German U-boats. While escorting the eight vessel convoy OQ-20 eastbound, the two destroyers made contact with an enemy submarine. With Arthur S. Carpender commanding, at 0350 on 17 November 1917, Coxswain Daniel David Loomis of the Fanning sighted U-58, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Gustav Amberger. The U-boat had surfaced to extend her periscope. The German submarine lined up for a shot at the British merchant steamer SS Welshman and almost immediately Officer of the Deck Lieutenant William O. Henry ordered the destroyer to make circles and engage. At 0400 Fanning dropped three depth charges, scoring a hit which badly shook up the U-boat. Then USS Nicholson joined in the fighting, commanded by Frank Berrien, and dropped another depth charge herself. U-58 surfaced again and the Americans spotted her conning tower with officers on deck and a crew manning the deck gun. Fanning engaged with her stern gun and fired three shots then Nicholson began firing with her bow gun and at least one shot struck the U-boat. The Germans fired back but none of the rounds met their target. By 0430 the Germans sailors surrendered and came out on deck with hands raised in the air. American fire had hit the submarine near its diving planes making the ship unmanueverable. Kapitänleutnant Amberger ordered the ballast tanks blown and the submarine surfaced. Charges also knocked out the main generator aboard the Fanning. If U-58 had surfaced in a battle ready position, Fanning would have surely been attacked and possibly sunk. The German submariners surrendered and Fanning maneuvered to take prisoners. That ended the action with an American victory. The Fanning and Nicholson's sinking of U-58 was one of only a few engagements of World War I in which U.S. Navy warships sank an enemy submarine. Also the first time U.S. ships sank a submarine in combat. Lieutenant William O. Henry and Coxswain Daniel Lommis both received a Navy Cross for their actions during their encounter with U-58. Fanning and Nicholson continued the war escorting and patrolling the North Atlantic, making several more inconclusive contacts with German submarines. Thirty-eight of the 40 crew members of the U-58 survived to become prisoners of war in the United States.

    John Doran

  • 17th Nov 1917 On the March

  • 17th Nov 1917 On the March

  • 17th Nov 1917 On the March

  • 17th Nov 1917 Working Parties

Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of a unit on a particular day? Do you have a copy of an official war diary entry? Details of an an incident? The loss of a ship? A letter, postcard, photo or any other interesting snipts?

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Want to know more?

There are:10 articles tagged with this date available in our Library

  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Remembering those who died this day.

  • OrdSea. John Henry Carless. VC HMS Caledon. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Arthur Gear. Rifle Brigade 16th Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte. Timothy Hancock. Kings(Liverpool) Regiment 17th Btn.
  • Sgt. Henry Percy Harris. MM Devonshire Regiment 8th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Lance Corpral Joseph Fearns Senior. West Yorkshire Regt (Prince of Wales Own) 1st / 7th Bn Read their Story.
  • Arthur M. Watson. East Lancashire Regiment 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • Gnr. Frank Withers. Royal Garrison Artillery 159th (Devon) Heavy Battery
  • Pte. Harold Wright. Machine Gun Corps 148th Coy. Read their Story.

    Add a name to this list.

  • Items from the Home Front Archive

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