Daily Event for December 20, 2009

Built in 1912 in Flensburg, Germany for Reederei A. Kirsten, Hamburg, the Ophelia was a 1,153 gross ton cargo ship with no claim to fame. In the Great War the Kaiser requisitioned the ship for use as a "hospital ship", but in reality she was a spy ship. On Oct. 8, 1914 she was sighted by HMS D-4 off the Netherlands, the commanding officer of the submarine stated that the ship was painted white with a green band was flying an ensign which was not the national flag of Germany, but he could not make out exactly what flag it was. He also believed that the ship (that he believed to be Ophelia) sighted him as the ship altered it's course and raised the Red Cross.

Because of the suspicious nature of the encounter and the fact that the ship turned away and ran at full speed, he concluded the ship was "scouting" for the enemy. During the inquiry the Germans refuted all of the above information stating that they flew the German commercial flag and the Red Cross flag at all times and that it should have been seen. The Germans admitted sighting a submarine that they believed to be British, but denied running away from it.

A few days later Ophelia was captured by HMS Meteor and taken into Yarmouth, England as a prize. It was finally decided that the Ophelia did not meet the requirements for a hospital ship under international law and was therefore fair game. The British renamed her Huntley.

Now flying the Red Duster the Huntley was torpedoed by the German submarine SMS UB-10 on Dec. 20, 1915 with the loss of two crewmen.

© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in SS Huntley
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Hayes, Thomas J.
Sandall, Henry

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