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HMS Drake in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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HMS Drake

25th May 1916 U-Boat Index - WW1  SM U-79

Type UE 1 Shipyard Vulcan, Hamburg (Werk 61) Ordered 9 Mar 1915 Launched 9 Apr 1916 Commissioned 25 May 1916

25 May 1916 - 20 Feb 1917 Heinrich Jeß.
21 Feb 1917 - 26 Oct 1917 Otto Rohrbeck.
27 Oct 1917 - 23 Nov 1917 Otto Dröscher.
24 Nov 1917 - 15 Apr 1918 Karl Thouret.
16 Apr 1918 - 17 Aug 1918 Oblt. Rudolf (i.V.) Zentner.
18 Aug 1918 - 26 Aug 1918 Oblt. Martin Hoffmann.
27 Aug 1918 - 15 Sep 1918 Ltn. Rudolf (i.V.) Haagen.
16 Sep 1918 - 14 Oct 1918 Woldemar Petri.
15 Oct 1918 - 11 Nov 1918 Oblt. Kurt Slevogt

Career 11 patrols.
30 Jul 1916 - 11 Nov 1918 I Flotilla

Successes 22 ships sunk with a total of 34,479 tons.
2 ships damaged with a total of 7,474 tons.
1 ship taken as prize with a total of 1,125 tons.
1 warship sunk with a total of 14,300 tons.
1 warship damaged with a total of 790 tons.

  • 14 Sep 1916 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Counsellor 4,958 br
  • 26 Dec 1916 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Johan 828 da
  • 27 Dec 1916 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Copsewood 599 br
  • 27 Dec 1916 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Ida 1,300 nw
  • 30 Dec 1916 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Danmark 1,875 da
  • 1 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Laupar 1,407 nw
  • 2 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Older 2,256 nw
  • 3 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Angela 2,422 it
  • 3 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Valladares 124 pt
  • 4 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Chinto Maru 2,592 jp
  • 10 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Brookwood 3,093 br
  • 24 Jan 1917 U 79 Heinrich Jeß Nanna (prize) 1,125 nw
  • 14 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Carthaginian 4,444 br
  • 22 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Maggie 1,118 nw
  • 23 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Corientes 280 br
  • 26 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Charles Astie 295 br
  • 26 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Serapis 1,932 br
  • 30 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Bröderna 39 sw
  • 30 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Lancaster 77 sw
  • 30 Jun 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Preceptor 55 sw
  • 13 Aug 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Camito (damaged) 6,611 br
  • 2 Oct 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck HMS Brisk (damaged) 790 br
  • 2 Oct 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Drake (hms) 14,300 br
  • 2 Oct 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Lugano 3,810 br
  • 23 Oct 1917 U 79 Otto Rohrbeck Earl Lennox 226 br
  • 12 Jan 1918 U 79 Karl Thouret Caledonia (damaged) 863 nl
  • 15 Jan 1918 U 79 Karl Thouret Westpolder 749

Fate 21 Nov 1918 - Surrendered to France. Became the french submarine Victor Reveille until being broken up in 1935.

There was another U 79 in World War Two.
That boat was launched from its shipyard on 25 Jan 1941 and commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on 13 Mar 1941.

John Doran

2nd October 1917 HMS Drake  

HMS Brisk

Name HMS Brisk, Type Destroyer Operator Royal Navy.
GRT 790 tons, Country British.
Built 1910. Builder John Brown & Co., Ltd., Clydebank, Glasgow


On the 2nd October 1917 she responded to assistance call from HMS Drake and was damaged when she struck a mine laid by U-79 South West of Bull Point, County Antrim (Barrage 171b)causing 32 casualties.

HMS Brisk was one of the ships sent to assist HMS Drake, which had been torpedoed by U 79 on the 2nd October 1917 .

John Doran

2nd October 1917 HMS Drake  

HMS Drake

HMS Drake was the lead ship of her class of armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy around 1900.

HMS Drake, named after the Elizabeth adventurer Sir Francis Drake,was laid down at Pembroke Dock on 24 April 1899 and launched on 5 March 1901, when she was christened by Mrs. Lort Phillips, wife of local landowner F. Lort Phillips, of Lawrenny. She was completed on 13 January 1903 and assigned to the Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet, under the command of the future First Sea Lord, Captain Francis Bridgeman.

John Jellicoe, also a future First Sea Lord and commander of the Grand Fleet, was her next captain in 1903–04. In 1907 the ship was commanded by Captain Arthur Hayes-Sadler and serving as the flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron under the command of Rear Admiral Charles Henry Adair. The following year, Drake became the flagship of 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet and then was assigned to the 5th Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet of the Channel Fleet from 1910–11.

She served as the flagship of the Australia Station from 1911–13 before returning home and joined the 6th Cruiser Squadron of the 2nd Fleet.

That fleet was merged into the Grand Fleet upon mobilization in mid-1914 and Drake became flagship of Rear Admiral William Grant, commander of the squadron. The squadron was briefly deployed at the beginning of the war to blockade the northern exit from the North Sea.

The ship was refitted in October 1915 and then transferred to the North America and West Indies Station for convoy escort duties. She participated in the unsuccessful search in the West Indies for the SMS Möwe in December 1916.

Drake was torpedoed by the German submarine U-79, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Rohrbeck,on 2 October 1917 after her Convoy HH24 had dispersed for its several destinations. The ship was about 5 miles (8.0 km) off Rathlin Island at the tip of Northern Ireland when she was hit. The torpedo struck No. 2 Boiler Room and caused two of her engine rooms and the boiler room to flood, killing 18 crewmen. These gave her a list and knocked out her steam-powered steering. Her captain decided to steam for Church Bay on Rathlin Island and accidentally collided with the merchant ship SS Mendip Range before she dropped anchor. The collision did not damage Drake much, but Mendip Range was forced to beach herself lest she sink. Drake's crew was taken off before she capsized later that afternoon.

Her wreck at 55°17.1084′N 06°12.5136′WCoordinates: 55°17.1084′N 06°12.5136′W in Church Bay is a favourite site for divers because the wreck is only at a depth between 15–19 metres (49–62 ft) and generally has good visibility. Salvage of the wreck began in 1920 and continued for several years.

On the night of 3 November 1962, the steam trawler Ella Hewett struck the wreck and subsequently sank almost atop Drake. Ammunition and ordnance was salvaged during the 1970s and the wrecks were demolished with depth charges to reduce the chance of any other ships coming to grief on the wrecks. In 1978, the remaining oil fuel was salvaged to reduce pollution from leaking oil.

John Doran

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HMS Drake

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