German Raider GREIF aka GRIEF` and cricket

July 14, 2012

I have read with interest the report of WW1 engagement which sunk the German Raider Greif, when it was masquerading as a Norwegian Freighter, supposedly intransit to the River Plate area.

The captain of HMS "COMUS" at the time was Captain Sir Alan Hotham, who would eventually be a key player in Naval Intelligence and indeed the Chief of the Department after his work at the Battle of Jutland.

I refer you to wikipedia "The Barbados Buckle" which tells of the earliest known illustration of cricket outside the U.K. and Ireland, during the American Revolution period of 1775-1783. A forebearer of eventual Admiral Sir Alan Hotham [pron.HUTHAM], was one of five cricket-crazy brothers of the Hotham family at Westminster School in the 1740's and 50's.

He was William, [unmarried like Sir Alan] who was to serve with Nelson and was one of the cricket nuts known as the 'lucky hits of Westminster'.

"Billy" eventual became the first Baron Hotham. In an official piece on the engagement with the German raider the enemy ship is called GREIF (pron GRIFE in German).

An article on the Barbados Buckle appeared in the "Times" of London and this prompted a telephone call from a Mr Hotham who lived on the River Tweed between England and Scotland, who suggested that the cricket-loving UNCLE ALAN, (Admiral Sir Alan Hotham above) had lived at Milne Graden on the River Tweed for a good part of the 20th Century. Uncle Alan had played cricket for Hampshire and was in direct line of dscent from one of the Lucky Hits of Westminster Cricketers, General George Hotham, the youngest of the five brothers, who, at one time, was responsible for looking after business matters for "PRINNY", George Prince of Wales, eventual King George IV.

While in the Caribbean Commodore William Hotham was to give particular attnetion to a youngster in the West India Squadron, one William, who would eventually be in receipt of King George IV's crown  as King William IV.

P.S. we now know that a fascinating link from the events in the West Indies to the actual foundation of MCC and Lord's Cricket Ground has been revealed.

George Finch, 9th earl of Winchilsea was commanding the 87th Regiment of Foot, which he raised at a personal cost of £20,000, and frequently found on Commodore Hotham's vessels around the Southern and Eastern Caribbean. He and one of his officers, Major the Hon.George Damer, [ a nephew of Lord George Germain] were eventually to be part of the officership of the White Conduit Club, which was transmuted into the MCC with Winchilsea at the helm!!!

I hope this interests you. With my schoolboy German I still can't decide whether the WW1 raider was the Grief or the Greif.

Best regards,
Hickling, Norfolk,

PPS - Cricket mates at the WACA might like to know this stuff, cricket being what it is.

Thank you Clive.


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