The_Sinking_of_the_HM_Yacht_Verona.jpg

The Sinking of the HM Yacht Verona

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Date: 24 Feb 1917 [unknown]
Location: off Portmahomack, Dornoch Firthmap
Surname/tag: WW1
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Contents

Summary

The Verona was a luxury yacht (twin-masted schooner), requisitioned in 1914 by the Admiralty for use as an Auxiliary Patrol Yacht. Used for Anti-submarine patrols based at Moray Firth. She was later fitted with a single depth charge on the stern.
May have served as wireless-equipped A/P Group Leader or in special yacht squadrons, at home or in Mediterranean.
24/2/1917 she struck a mine laid by the German submarine UC-33 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Martin Schelle, off Portmahomack, Dornoch Firth in the early morning and sank within a minute with the loss of 23 of her crew, including her captain.

Ownership and Name History

1890 - launched as the Steam Schooner Yacht IMOGEN 31 July 1890 by Fleming & Ferguson, Yard No 151
1891 - renamed LORD BYRON
1892 - transferred to H Paton and renamed KATOOMBA
1894 - transferred to C H Platt and renamed TIGHNAMARA
1895 - renamed VERONA
1913 - transferred to Hugh Andrews of Toddington (Warkworth Shipping), member of the Royal Yacht Squadron
1914 - requisitioned as HM Verona, Armed Yacht 034
1916 - Charles Peter Wilson R.N.R., R.D., took command of VERONA on 4.6.16

Technical Specifications

331grt
165.6ft x 24.1ft x 14.1 ft
Engines by Bow McLachlan & Co, Paisley
1-scre, Steam, triple expansion, T3cy, 140nhp
2 x 6pdr

History

She was ordered by the wealthy Australian J. R. Wood as a wedding present for his bride, the famous actress Elizabeth Jennings.
The luxury steam yacht Tighnamara was a fine example of what Scottish shipbuilders could do when backed by copious quantities of Victorian money. She was launched into the Clyde at Greenock in 1890, and when completed was an elegant, 165 ft-long, twin-masted schooner shape with her single funnel amidships.
Most of her fittings were solid brass, and even her toilets were highly decorated with blue flowers in the loo and curling blue foliage running riot around the china wash-basins, a sure sign in those days that she was the plaything of a seriously rich man.
She was also a good sea boat, and ideal for cruising among the Western Isles. So it's hard to understand why none of her owners kept her for more than a few years. Each one changed her name, so she became successively Katoomba, then Lord Byron, then Imogen. Another change of owner meant that when the Admiralty hired her for war work in November of 1914, she kept her latest name.

Part of the fleet

Times Friday 13 Nov 1914 - "The Admiralty has accepted with thanks an offer from Mr, Hugh Andrews, of Toddington, a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, of the use of his steam yacht Verona for auxilliary service and patrol work in the North Sea."
HM Yacht Verona was ... ordered to round Scotland and take up anti-submarine patrol duties off the east coast from a base in the Moray Firth. There she was suitably equipped to attack any U-boat she might meet, with small guns on her counter-stern and two more at the bow, near her long bowsprit. Later she was modified to take a single depth-charge, which was simply rolled over her stern.
She was never to use the guns or her depth-charge against any of the big mine-laying UC-class boats which were sinking large numbers of Allied ships in small minefields laid off the Scottish coast.
Verona hit a German mine in the early morning of 24 February, 1917, when patrolling some four miles south-east of Tarbat Ness. She sank in less than a minute.

Casualties

Commander [Retd.] Charles Peter Wilson R.N.R., R.D., took command of VERONA on 4.6.16. Prior to then he had been in command of the armed boarding steamer H.M.S HAZEL from 18.11.14. he was the husband of Isa Wilson, South Hill, Bradworthy, Devon. Probate London, 4th. July, 1917, to Widow Isabel. He is buried in Laithkirk Parish Church, Lunedale in a CWG plot.
BARTLETT Charles A RD Captain RNR 84S131
H.M.A.Y. Verona N/E 01.01.16 Gazetted
Auxiliary Patrol 1915 - 1916 - 1917 CB
For services in H.M.A.Y. Verona, 1915.

Roll of Honour

Bibby, Harold Mowbray, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve aged 24. Son of Alfred and Mary Emma Bibby, of 44 Oxford Rd., Bootle, Lancs.:Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 23.
Bragg, Reginald Alfred, Steward, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26. Memorial tile in All Saints Church, Brightlingsea, Essex, commemorating Ridgeway Bragg d. 1917 (transcript 'Ridgeway A Bragg, aged 25, Lost from HM Patrol Yacht 'Verona' off Cromerty, Feb 24th 1917.)
Doyle, Harry Thomas, Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve aged 33. Husband of Lilian Doyle, 24 Lower Park Rd. Brightlingsea, born at Kilburn, London. Commemorated:- Brightlingsea (All Saints) Churchyard, Essex.
Duck, Frederick, Assistant Steward, Mercantile Marine Reserve aged 35. Son of William Henry and Charlotte Eliza Duck, of 7 Stanstead Rd., Southsea. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26
Kesson, William Fraser, 3rd Engineer, Mercantile Marine Reserve aged 22. Son of William and Johan Kesson, 42 Park St., Aberdeen. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 25.
Laurenson, Robert Dowal, Seaman, 1084l. Royal Naval Reserve, Shetland aged 22. Son of Alexander and Robina Laurenson, of Norwick, Haroldswick, Unst, Shetland. Commemorated:- Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. Panel 27.
Lowe, William Robert, Signalman, TynesideZ/9579. Royal Naval Reserve aged 31. Son of John Wardlow and Jane Wilkie Lowe, of 35 Holly Avenue, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Commemorated:- Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent. Panel 27.
Malcolmson, William, Leading Seaman, Royal Naval Reserve, Shetland Section aged 27. Son of George and Barbara Malcolmson, of Cunningsburgh, Shetland; husband of Jessie Malcolmson of Sellafirth, North Yell, Shetland. Commemorated:- Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. Panel 27.
Marett, Joseph, Fireman, 749862. Mercantile Marine Reserve aged 35. Son of Frank W. and Jane Marett, of 32 Elm St., Chapel, Southampton. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26.
McIntosh, Alister Charles Kenneth, Signalman, Z/9578. Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve aged 31. Son of R. Y. and E. E. McIntosh, of 24 Highbury, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Partner in the firm
R. Y. McIntosh & Co. of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Commemorated:- Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent. Panel 27.
Mclaren, Charles, Fireman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26.
Noble, Thomas Herbert, Assistant Paymaster, Royal Naval Reserve aged 24. Only son of Thomas Edwin and Emily Noble, of 79 Park St., Hull. Commemorated:- Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent. Panel 25.
Noel, Phillip, Able Seaman, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 25.
Phillips, Edgar George, Assistant Cook, Mercantile Marine Reserve Age 37. Son of Lionel and Mary Phillips, of Church Knowle, Dorset Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26.
Powell, James Sherratt, Fireman, Mercantile Marine Reserve Age 33. Son of Mary Powell, of Liverpool and the late James Thomas Powell; Husband of Sarah Dentith Taylor (formerly Powell), of 4 Wyncroft St., Dingle, Liverpool. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 25.
Ruthen, Samuel, Petty Officer, 3586C. Royal Naval Reserve aged 41 Son of Phillip James and Sarah Ruthen; husband of Lavinia Ruthen. Commemorated:- Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. Panel 27.
Salmon, George, Cook, 94002, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Husband of L. B. Salmon, of 7 Station Rd., Brightlingsea, Essex. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26.
Shepard, Thomas, Assistant Cook, Mercantile Marine Reserve Age 30. Son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Shepard, of 60 Brintons Rd., Southampton Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26.
Steady, William John, Able Seaman, 59556, Mercantile Marine Reserve Age 47 (born 1869). Husband of Elizabeth Ann Hammond (formerly Steady), of 50 Spring Rd., Brightlingsea. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 25. Memorial tile in All Saints Church, Brightlingsea, Essex, commemorating William J Steady d. 1917 (transcript 'William J Steady, aged 47, Lost from HM Patrol Yacht 'Verona' off Cromerty, Feb 24th 1917.)
Stephen, Alexander, Carpenter, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 25.
Stewart, George Thompson, 2nd Engineer, Mercantile Marine Reserve Age 50. Son of John Campbell Stewart and Annie Stewart, 3 South Constitution St., Aberdeen; Husband of the late Harriet Stewart (nee Hughes), of “Ottowa”, Woolston, Southampton Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 25.
Thorn, Ernest Nelson, Greaser, Mercantile Marine Reserve Age 34. Son of Absalom and Eliza Jane Thorn, of Southampton: husband of Mary Ann Thorn of 28 Inkerman Rd., Bitterne, Southampton. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 26.
Wilson, Charles Peter, Commander, R. D., Royal Naval Reserve. Commemorated:- Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Panel 23.

The Wreck

The broken wreck of the Verona lies in 40 metres in position 57° 51.649’N, 03° 38.592’W. While the wreck is well broken, her bowsprit and bow are still visible lying with a heavy list to starboard. Midships just forward a major break in the hull, probably the result of the explosion when the Verona hit the German mine, the engines and boilers are also well preserved. The sleek lines of the luxury yacht are also visible at the well preserved, sweeping undercut stern.




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