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Schooners at War

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The outbreak of war in 1914 brought an end to the very important slate trade with Hamburg and the Baltic. By the time unrestricted German submarine warfare commenced in early 1917, very few ships remained under local ownership. Because these small sailing ships were easy targets for the U-boats, men were reluctant to sign on them and they often sailed shorthanded.

Six of these sailing vessels were sunk by enemy action and at the end of the war only the ELIZABETH and DAVID MORRIS remained. The six Porthmadog schooners sunk by the enemy:

● ELIZABETH ELEANOR built 1903. Capt John Mathias Jones, Criccieth. Stopped and sunk by gunfire 77 miles NWxW from Trevose Head on 13 March 1917 by U 70, KapLt Otto Wünsche.
● ELLEN JAMES built 1904. Capt Richard Cadwalader Jones, Criccieth. Stopped and sunk by gunfire W of Ushant on 3 April 1917 by UC 71, KapLt Hans Valentiner.
● JOHN PRITCHARD built 1906. Capt William Watkin Roberts, Pentrefelin. Stopped and scuttled E of Paxos Island, Greece, on 30 March 1916 by the Austrian k.u.k. U 4, LSL Rudolf Singule.
● MARY ANNIE built 1893. Stopped and scuttled 28 miles SSW of Beachy Head on 25 March 1917 by UC 69, KapLt Erwin Waßner.
● MISS MORRIS built 1896. Capt William O. Morris, Portmadoc. Stopped and scuttled 20 miles SE of Garrucha, Spain, on 11 April 1917 by U 35, KapLt Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière.
● ROBERT MORRIS built 1876. Capt David Davies, Criccieth. Stopped and scuttled 155 miles WSW of Bishop Rockon on 20 November 1917 by U 90, KapLt Walter Remy.

This tribute was suggested by Robert Cadwalader. In association with Porthmadog Maritime Museum.

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