Ships hit during WWI


TypeFishing vessel
GRT79 tons
Country  British
BuilderGeorge Smith Jnr, Buckpool, Buckie Banffshire
OperatorJ Mair, W Mair & J Wood, Portknockie
HistoryRegistration Number BF 313

U-boat attacks on Fishing vessel Gem

DateU-boatLoss typePositionLocationRouteCargoCasualties
129 Jun 1917UC 33 (Martin Schelle)SunkStopped and sunk by gunnery 18 miles ExS of Rattray Head


While fishing in the North sea on 29th June 1917 Gem was captured and sunk. The crew went into the boats lifeboat and started to row to the far off shore. They landed the next night at Boddam Aberdeenshire where they saw a light in a house and knocked at the door. The house belonged to the skipper of Steam Drifter Fragrance PD 513 who was home on compassionate leave as his wife had given birth to a daughter earlier that day. The crew were fed and put to bed in various houses throughout the village where they were well known because many Portknockie boats fished out of Peterhead. The skipper of the Gem took the oars of the small boat home with him and for years afterwards would tell anyone that ‘these oars saved the lives of nine men’. Story per courtesy of John Crawford, Buckie & District Fishing Heritage centre

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