SMS Westburn

February 09, 2010

SMS Westburn

Dear Mac Gregor.

Thanks for a very interesting site.

Perhaps you can help me or you can give me some advice to get more in information of SMS Westburn.

My grandfather died two months before I was born in 1951, he was a sailor for many years and he worked as second engineer on various boats. 

I have in my possession a small brass cup with inscription SMS Westburn 23.2.16. It is the same date as
the crew of the SMS Westburn was released in St. Cruz in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

I have spent many hours trying to find more information about SMS Westburn and if my grandfather had been on board the SMS Westburn when it was conquered by Seagul in February 1916

I am grateful for any help or ideas I can get, in my continuing quest for more information about SMS

Med vänlig hälsning / Best regards

Christer Eidlert


I have a book The Elusive Seagull, by Edwin P Hoyt Jr, published by Leslie Frewin, London, 1960.

From my Marauders of the Sea. German Armed Merchant Raiders of WW1

To be safe, Moewe decided to vacate this scene, and set a
course for the Canary Islands. But in the evening of the
8th of February, a British collier Westburn was seized,
she was on her way from Cardiff to Buenos Aires, with a
load of Welsh coal. A prize crew plus all the prisoners
that Moewe had collected so regularly, were sent across to
this latest acquistion, and were transported to Santa Cruz
where they were all released.

But, outside the harbour, the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS
Sutlej patiently waited, so, to avoid capture, Westburn
was scuttled.

From the internet:

Such was the success of the Moewe that there were soon too
many prisoners on board for the supplies available.
Extending the Moewe's raiding foray was considered more
important than continuing to hold the captured crews, so
the Westburn was used to land 200 merchant seamen in
Tenerife, neutral Spanish territory.

Prisoners ashore, on 24 February 1916 the Westburn raised
anchor for the last time. Waiting at sea was the British
armoured cruiser Sutlej. Rather than risk loosing the
prize ship to the British, the Westburn was scuttled with

From the internet.

Ships - Westburn



  On February 8, 1916 Westburn, a British steamship, was
captured by SMS SeaGull 530 miles north northeast from
Pernambuco. Pernambuco is now known as Recife, Brazil.
Acting Lieutenant Reinhold Badewitz was in command with
a prize crew of seven German sailors when Westburn was
scuttled on February 24, 1916, just outside Santa Cruz
harbor, Tenerife, Canary Islands.


  Westburn was a British steamship built in 1893 by Short
Brothers at Sunderland, England for the James Westoll
line. She was 351 feet in length and 3,300 tons with a
speed of 7 knots.
  This was the second of three ships owned by the Westoll
line lost to German surface ships during the war. Mary
Ada Short was captured and sunk by Prinz Eitel Friedrich
on February 18, 1915. Gladys Royle was captured and sunk
by Seeadler on January 9, 1917.
  Captain A. T. Campbell was in command with a crew of 25
when Westburn sailed from Liverpool on January 31. She
was bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina with a cargo of
3,878 tons of Welsh steamcoal.
  Twenty-four crewmembers were landed in Tenerife, Canary
Islands on February 23, 1916. On February 28, they
sailed on the liner Athenic arriving in London on March
3. Captain Campbell and second officer Charles Mattson
were on SeaGull when she sailed into Wilhelmshaven,
Germany on March 4. They were interned as prisoners of
  The Canary Islands are a Spanish possession. Spain
remained neutral for the duration of the war.
  The wreck of the Westburn lies in 90 feet of water and
is frequently visited by scuba divers.
  Officers and crewmembers of the following ships were
aboard Westburn when she landed at Tenerife on February
22, 1916.
      Clan MacTavish 18
      Edinburgh 22
      Flamenco 16
      Horace 39
      Luxembourg 33
      Westburn 24


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