Five British Merchant Ships Torpedoed by Germany
Ship travel around England has become hazardous. Germany has been attacking British merchant ships since October 1914 which saw the first submarine to attack an unarmed merchant ship without warning when the steamship Admiral Ganteaume was torpedoed with 2,500 Belgian refugees aboard. This has caused some British ships like RMS Lusitania to switch national flags which is against international law and caused protests from Germany. Britain contends that this use of the American flag is legitimate in war and cited the British Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 by which states use of a British flag by a foreign vessel was prohibited “unless the assumption had been made for the purpose of escaping capture by the enemy, or by a foreign ship of war in an exercise of belligerent rights.”
This has made the German U boat activity even more aggressive.
On January 30, 1915 five British merchantship were torpedoed in the Irish Sea and English Channel – Linda Blanche, Ben Crachau, Kilkoan, Tokomaru and Icaria. The crews of the first three ships had a chance to escape in boats. The Tokomaru’s crew was left to be picked up by French Torpedo boats. The Icaria did not sink and was towed into French port.
FATE OF THE TOKOMARU – The Captain’s Story of Inhuman German Methods – Hawera and Normandy Star Volume LXIX pg 7