- HMS Laforey during the Great War -
If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.
Add Stories & Photos
Day by Day
War in the Air
Prisoners of War
The Royal Navy
Training for War
Those Who Served
Women at War
Life on Home Front
Central Powers Army
Central Powers' Navy
World War Two
Add Stories & Photos
Help & FAQ's
Our Facebook Page
Great War Books
Research your Family History.
World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
1st May 1915 Battle off Noorhinder Bank The Battle off Noordhinder Bank on 1 May 1915 was a naval action between a squadron of four British naval trawlers supported by a flotilla of four British destroyers and two German torpedo boats from the Flanders Flotilla. The battle began when the two torpedo boats were sent on a search and rescue mission and ran into a British patrol. The Germans fought with the patrolling trawlers until a heavier force of British destroyers from Harwich Force arrived and sank the German vessels. The battle greatly demoralized the German flotilla at Flanders as the boats that were sunk had just been launched shortly before the battle. The action off Noordhinder Bank highlighted that the Flanders Flotilla was too inadequately armed to protect the coast it was assigned to defend let alone harass British shipping in the channel. Eventually, after other similar defeats, the small torpedo boats such as those used off Noordhinder Bank were relegated to coastal patrol. Heavier units were finally transferred to even the balance of power in the English Channel.
After the 7th Torpedo Boat Half Flotilla was lost during the Battle off Texel, German naval authorities were reluctant to commit any further forces for offensive operations off the coast of Flanders. Despite this, the commander of Marine Corps Flanders – Admiral Ludwig von Schroeder – continued to press for a transfer of a force of submarines and torpedo boats to his command. After several months of resisting Schroeder's demands, the Kaiserliche Marine finally relented and sent him a force of light torpedo boats and submarines. Although these forces were greatly inferior in armament and displacement to those he had requested, Admiral Schroeder put his newly acquired forces to use immediately. He formed the Flanders Torpedo Boat Flotilla made up of 15 "A"-class torpedo boats under the command of Korvettenkapitän Hermann Schoemann. Three days later, on 1 May 1915, two German seaplanes reported a squadron of four trawlers off Noordhinder Bank. One of these seaplanes was forced to make an emergency landing and Schoeman was dispatched with boats SMS A2 and A6 to rescue the seaplane's crew and destroy the trawlers. Meanwhile, while patrolling off the Galloper lightship near Goodwin Sands, HMS Recruit was sunk by the German submarine UB-6. Recruit's consort – Brazen – as well as the four trawlers the German seaplanes had spotted began searching for Recruit's attacker. A2 and A6 caught the trawlers off the Noordhinder Bank at 1500. The trawlers Columbia, Barbados, Chirsit, and Miura were under the command of Lieutenant Sir James Domville onboard Barbados. Armed with a single 3-pounder gun each, the trawlers were outgunned by the German torpedo boats, which were both armed with two torpedo tubes as well as a four-pound gun.
As soon as the trawlers were spotted by Schoeman's boats they were engaged. Rather than attempt to flee, the commander of the squadron of trawlers – Lieutenant Domville – decided to try to fight his way out. A2 and A6 both made torpedo runs against the trawlers, but of the four torpedoes launched, only one hit its target, sinking Columbia and killing the British commander. Outgunned, the trawler Barbados resorted to ramming A6, damaging it enough that the Germans decided to withdraw from the action. Before withdrawing, the Germans managed to rescue a lieutenant and two deckhands from Columbia making them prisoners of war. Upon being attacked, the trawlers had alerted Harwich Force of the situation and as a result a squadron of four "L"-class destroyers were dispatched to rescue the trawlers. The dispatched squadron – consisting of HMS Laforey, Lawford, Leonidas, and Lark from Harwich Force – managed to gain sight of the German boats soon after arriving on the scene. Heavily outgunned, the German boats attempted to make for the safety of the Flanders coast, but were pursued by the British destroyers. Once the British managed to catch up with the torpedo boats, they were engaged in a running fight that lasted nearly an hour. By the end of the action, both torpedo boats were destroyed with many of the Germans, including the new commander of the Flanders Flotilla, going down with their ships. The British destroyers suffered no casualties.
When the battle ended, British losses included Columbia sunk and Barbados damaged. Columbia suffered 16 dead with only one surviving deckhand being recovered after the action. The Germans suffered much worse losing both A2 and A6 along with 13 killed and 46 captured. Among the German dead was the commander of the German forces, Hermann Schoemann. Controversy erupted after it was discovered from the captured Germans that the three men taken from the sinking Columbia had been locked away below decks on one of the torpedoboats. They were left to die when the German vessel started to sink. The Germans reported that they did not have enough time to get to the British prisoners and were barely able to escape the sinking hulk themselves. The battle showed Admiral Schroeder the severe limitations of the "A"-class torpedo boats. Too poorly armed for raiding, the boats were delegated to coastal patro duties. Defeat at Noordhinder allowed Schroeder's pleas for reinforcements to be finally heard by the German Admiralty. He was sent heavier vessels to complement the forces he already possessed. The next engagement involving an "A"-class torpedo boat would also reinforce the perception that the class was too weak for service. Several of the newly constructed boats were put in reserve as soon as larger and more capable boats were transferred to the Flanders Flotilla.John Doran
If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.
Want to know more about HMS Laforey?There are:1 articles tagged HMS Laforey available in our LibraryThese include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.
Those known to have served in
during the Great War 1914-1918.
This page is new, as yet no names have been submitted.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
Looking for help with Family History Research?
Please see Family History FAQ's
We are unable to provide individual research free of charge, but do offer a paid service at competitive rates, the small profit from these services will be put towards the costs of keeping this website running. For more information please see our Research Services Leaflet
Can you help?The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors.
If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.
If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.
- The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website
This website has been running for 16 years and receives in excess of a million hits per month. The website and our group will continue long after the 2014-18 events are over. We hope that people will continue to support us by submitting material and stories in addition to submitting to the new websites set up for the anniversary.
- We are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy. We currently have a huge backlog of stories and historical documents which need to be edited or transcribed for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.
Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to the Great War. If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted.
We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates, add a comment or ask a question.
If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.
June 2017World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 232065 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.
Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.
Want to know more about HMS Laforey?There are:1 articles tagged HMS Laforey available in our Library
Available at discounted prices.
Items from the Home Front Archive
Do you have any photos, postcards, documents or memorabilia relating to this unit? Please add to this archive.
Suggest a link
The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.
This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.
If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.
Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
- All Rights Reserved