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John Gilinsky

Sinking of Vala Q Ship August 21, 1917

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Doea anyone have any information on the final day and fate of "VALA" a Q-ship that was apparently sunk allegedly by a German submarine on August 21, 1917 presumably with NO survivors?

Thanks,

John

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John,

She was sailing from Milford Haven to cruise between the Fastnet and the Scillies, she was one day out when last heard from. When she never returned to Queenstown, Q Ship Heather went to search for her in the Bay of Biscay. On 7th of September the German Government announced by wireless that the former English Steamer Vala had been sunk by a U-Boat. Commander Leopold A. Bernays CMG was in command.

Regards Charles

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Hello

Here is the list of men lost in VALA.

ADAMS WILLIAM J. C.P.O. 189087 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

ATHERTON JAMES A.B. J 41809 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

BEER ALBERT E. P.O. 193877 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

BERNAYS LEOPOLD A. CDR (acting) (emgcy) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

BURNS JOHN TY/ENGINEER LT, RNR VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

CAPEWELL BRIAN H. SHIP'S STEWARD'S ASST M 15985 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

CHARLES RAYNOR H.L. A.B. J 47206 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

CHURCH JOHN J. A.B. (RFR B 2312) 178787 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

CLARK DAVID L/STOKER K 6744 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

COLES VYVIAN H. PAYMASTER, RNR VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

CULLEN THOMAS M. E.R.A., RNR E B 379 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

DUDDY CHARLES A.B. J 47698 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

DUNHAM WILLIAM J. A.B. J 47904 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

EVANS EVAN J. STOKER, RNR T 2901 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

FOOTT JAMES A. CARPENTER'S CREW M 15887 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

FULL GEORGE J. PAINTER 2c M 3112 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

GRAY SAMUEL TY/LT (acting), RNR VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

HALFYARD WALTER H. A.B. (RFR B 4083) 197331 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

HARRIS RICHARD H. P.O. 213377 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

HODGES LAWRENCE J.A. A.B. J 28634 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

HOY THOMAS STOKER, RNR S 1561 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

HURRELL PERCY H. SIGNALMAN, RNVR Z P 1237 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

JOHNSON HENRY TY/LT, RNR VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

JORDAN WILLIAM H. A.B. 224463 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

KENDRICK DAVID J. OFFICER'S COOK 2c L 9688 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

LANG WILLIAM G. COOK'S MATE M 11881 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

LIGGITT ROBERT STOKER, RNR S 3957 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

LOWER LEONARD D. L/SEAMAN, RNR A 3190 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

MANGER ALFRED O/TELEGRAPHIST J 41168 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

PHENNA EDWARD STOKER P.O., RNR U 1504 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

PYNE GEORGE R. A.B. SS 6408 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

PYNE HARRY OFFICER'S STEWARD 3c L 9177 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

RADFORD ALFRED S. L/SEAMAN J 4513 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

RENNIE MARK N. TY/LT, RNR VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

SAMBELLS BENJAMIN E.R.A. 1c 269327 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

SCOTT ROBERT G. A.B. (RFR B 2569) SS 363 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

SLATER FRED TELEGRAPHIST J 36567 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

STEPHENSON ALEXANDER STOKER, RNR T 3021 VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

THOMPSON LEONARD O/TELEGRAPHIST J 34769 (Ch) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

THORBURN JAMES OFFICER'S STEWARD 2c L 8297 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

VINNICOMBE FREDERICK W. A/P.O. 198783 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

WHITE WILLIAM C. A.B. J 17154 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

WOOD JOHN B. C.P.O. TELEGRAPHIST 179611 (Dev) VALA 21/08/17 SHIP LOSS

All best

don

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Doea anyone have any information on the final day and fate of "VALA" a Q-ship that was apparently sunk allegedly by a German submarine on August 21, 1917 presumably with NO survivors?

Thanks,

John

John

The former collier VALA alias Q8 disappeared with all hands in the Bay of Biscay, destroyed by UB.54 on 21st August 1917.

Regards

John

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Vala, a 1016 grt steamer, was sunk by the German submarine UB 54. The action occurred well away from land — the location I have in my notes is 120 miles SW of the Scillies, 48°37'N, 9°28'W.

It was pretty typical for U-boats to interview survivors after they sank a ship sailing independently and then simply continue on. The name "Vala" is given in the U-boa'ts KTB. Sometimes the lifeboats simply weren't recovered later.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Thanks everyone for your information which is much appreciated. Michael's last comment about the modus operandi of uboat commanders regarding the retrieval or non-retrieval of survivors is I think fairly well known and indeed factually based on operational standing orders from the German Admiralty. In the fall of 1917 unrestricted submarine warfare was legally in effect. There may not even have been any survivors to interview simply the commander being able through his own intelligence sources, other communications with German vessels in the area and simple perception before and during his attack at recognizing the ship's name.

Happy New Year!

John

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John,

An interesting concept this; Cdr. Bernay’s was probably one of the most charismatic and strongest Q Boat commanders, Chatterton quotes him as “one of the most unusual personalities in a unique service” I would say hard as nails. I would think that Uboat (KTB) sources would be able to expand on whether she was a Q. Ship or not, quite a kill, the weather was at the time, considered Gale force.

Regards Charles

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John,

first, the sinking occured on 20.08.1917, not 21.08.

from war diary, the following should be of interest:

steamer was estimated at 1000 tons (which is surprisingly correct!), doing little speed, even sometimes stopping, 6 look-outs seen through periscope, so steamer was torpedoed.

Torpedo hit in foreward hold, steamer first laying over to port, but than again on even keel. 2 boats with 12 to 14 men apiece launched from the steamer, but 8 men still visible on board. Boats being fitted with lines at the stern, the steamer always trying to show her bow to the periscope. As an Q-ship was expected now, an second torpedo was fired which hit the after hold. An additional 16 to 20 men left the steamer which now was sinking rapidly.

After 10 min. UB 54 surfaced, found ammunition casks and charts made for warships, later an gunsight marked Q.8, so Q-ship-status confirmed. The crew was questioned and gave the name of the steamer as VALA

weather on the morning of 21.08. was: wind WNW 3, sea 2, but getting worse to wind SW 7 - 8, sea 6 on the afternoon of 21st, so obviously the crew of VALA fell victim to the sea in their boats!

Oliver

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Thanks Lorscher for your reply which from the other side accounts probably for the demise of the entire crew. Ah, the cruel sea, the cruel sea.

John

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HMS VALA:

Does anyone know of any surviving photographs of the ship?

Thanks,

Nick.

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Nick

Yes,just google Q Ship Vala and there are a few.

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I've trawled through various sites and not found anything unfortunately (similar to another search I have made for the sloop HMS Anchusa).

There doesn't seem to be any surviving views of the ship (or the Anchusa!) as far as I can trace. Possibly the builders records may contain something if they survive?

Nick.

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If she ever visited Portsmouth it might be worth contacting either the Central Library or the National Museum of the RN. I forget which of those two holds the archive of the local firm which used to photograph every ship entering harbour ready to sell postcards to the crew.

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Thanks Dave.

Close, but no.

According to another well-informed site this is HMS Bryony from the same class.

Nick.

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