Monday, 17 July 2017

Statement of surviving crewmember of the German cruiser SMS Frauenlob sunk during the Battle of Jutland according to the Dutch newspaper De Tribune dated 5 June 1916

With our thanks for allowing us to publish

An item referred to a statement of an eyewitness of the battle between the British and German fleets.(1) He was one of the survivors of the German cruiser Frauenlob (2) who arrived on board of the Dutch tug Thames at Hoek van Holland, Netherlands. At other sides guns were fired and shells falling down destroying and killing everyone on board of the Frauenlob, arms, legs and bodies of sailors were flew through the air. At 01.00 o’clock was she amidships hit by a torpedo in the engine room with such an explosion that the ship was lifted out of the water. Within 7 minutes she sunk. The outcome of the battle was unknown to the eyewitness. What he did sighted was that when the battle begun on board of two of the six large British cruisers fire broke out and both ship sunk. The survivors of the Frauenlob went on board of 3 mall rafts with as dimensions 1x2 metres in a heavy sea with waves harassing the rafts. On one raft were 8 men sitting of which 6 were finally drowned not able to keep on anymore. During more as 10 hours the men drifted around before taken on board of the Thames. Even then one of them being complete unconscious starved shortly afterwards. Returning to the Netherlands passed the Thames hundreds bodies and a ship floating turned upside-down of an unknown nationality.

1. Battle of Jutland or Skagerrak between the British and German navies 31 May-1 June 1916. British losses 6.094 men killed, 674 men wounded, 3 battle cruisers, 3 armoured cruisers, 8 destroyers total tonnage lost 113.300 tons and German losses 2.551 men killed, 507 wounded, 1 battle cruiser, 1 pre-dreadnought, 4 light cruisers, total tonnage 62.300 tons.
2. Part of the Gazelle-class light cruisers, preceded by the SMS Hela and succeeded by the Bremen-class, laid down by AG Weser, Bremen, Germany with yard number 132 in 1901, launched on 22 March 1902, commissioned on 17 February 1903 and sunk on 31 May 1916.