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Bracondale (1903) - a general history

Official No. 115151: Code Letters VFKR.

Masters: 1904-09 T Douglas: 1911-17 B Allen: 1917 Lieutenant Douglas G Jeffrey.

The Bracondale was converted to service as a Q-ship early in 1915 & commissioned as the Q Ship Chagford. At 4.10am on 5 August 1917, when about 120 miles WNW of Tory Island patrolling for submarines of which two were known to be in the area-she was torpedoed by German submarine (U-44 Paul Wagenfuhr). The explosion blew away the canvas screens to reveal her 4 in gun & torpedo-tubes. The U-boat then kept at a distance firing twice more & scoring hits. After trying to entice the enemy with false ‘abandon ship’ Lt D.G. Jeffrey was compelled to leave the sinking vessel. One man was killed in the first hit & the survivors were later picked up by the trawler Saxon. U-44 was seriously damaged by gunfire from the Chagford & although it would have been dangerous for her to dive she stayed on patrol & was rammed & sunk 5 days later by the British destroyer Oracle1 life lost.

Life lost August 1917:

Watkins, Frederick William, able seaman, 20, Whitbourne, Worcester

Lieutenant Jeffery was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, Sub-Lieutenant Allen was awarded a Bar to his Distinguished Service Cross, and Sub-Lieutenant Martin and Assistant Paymaster Manley both received the Distinguished Service Cross.

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