and Salway Family Tree
From kind permission of Ian Boyle at
The following has been taken from the Court Martial report
and witness statements. The Court Martial was held in
Portsmouth 3 months after the sinking.
sailing on a regular run between Malta and Mudros. She left
Malta at around 15:00hrs on the 18th January 1918 where she was escorted as far as
the Corinth Canal, and passed
through the canal where she was
met by at the Eastern end by HMS Colne. She was carrying Mail,
Officers and ratings to Mudros. Many of the ratings were on
their way to be assigned to other Royal Navy Ships.
At 19:40hrs on the 20th
January 1918, UC 22 spotted a steamer with an escorting
destroyer. Oblt.z.S Carl Bunte, the UC 22 commanding
officer, maneuvered to lay a minefield across formations
path. The first mine was laid at 20:00hrs and the last one
at 20:10hrs. UC 22 then began her torpedo attack.
At about 9pm on the 20th January
struck on the stern port quarter by a torpedo that penetrated
the hull and entered the dynamo compartment just as Colne had
passed over the wake of
toward her starboard side on a zig zag pattern. The ship began
to sink rapidly by the stern.
Hands were abandoning ship and boats were being lowered but
boats were beginning to sink as soon as they reached the water
due in part to still being made fast to the boat deck davits
as the deck became level with the water.
A second torpedo was fired at Colne who then changed course
and increased speed to 21 knots full speed and sailed down the
along the incoming torpedo track and dropped two D Type depth
charges set to 80 feet. After both depth charges exploded
Colne reduced speed to 17 knots and swung around 180 degrees
to starboard and headed to the last sighted position of
by now had sunk.
Crew on board Colne reported a strong smell of oil in the air
and oil was reported on the surface of the water.
Colne stopped for two and half hours picking up survivors and
searching the area no other attacks were reported.
The Courts Martial Summary:
sunk by a torpedo fired by an enemy submarine.
All possible precautions were taken by Colne against attack
and everything possible was done by her to save lifes.
The evidence is insufficient to establish destruction of the
submarine, but there are grounds to believe she was damaged.
The Commanding Officer of the Colne is to blame for making a
false radio call that may have delayed arrival of other ships
to hunt the submarine or render further assistance.
Louvain should have been zig zagging on her track. But the
court is unable to apportion blame as neither the master or
the officer of the watch survived.
The loss of life in boats is traceable to insufficient
amount of boat drill or a complete understanding of it by
ships crew or passengers, and faulty organisation in placing
all the surviving officers together instead of distributing
them among all boats and rafts to have a steadying
The papers regarding her loss may be found in the National
Archives at kew under references: ADM.137/3715 and
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