The Wayfarer

Trooper Fred Quartly, of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, who was on the Wayfarer, which was torpedoed off the Scilly Isles, gives a somewhat graphic account of the affair in a letter. He states that they had about a thousand horses on board, and one man to ten horses, the rest going by another boat. It was about two o’clock on the Sunday, when just off the Scilly Isles, there was an explosion in the bottom of the ship,  making a hole forty feet long and twenty feet wide in one place, and the engine room was filled with water, drowning two of the stokers immediately. The men were got into the boats, one of which capsized, five men being drowned, and then another ship seeing the distress flag flying came along and picked them up. They could not use the wireless as some of it was broken by the explosion. Then as the ship did not sink, the ship’s officers and one of the Yeomanry officers went back again, and they sent for twenty men to come back and feed the horses, and another ship came and took the rest back to Falmouth, and then the ship that picked the first lot up towed the disabled vessel to Queenstown, arriving on the Tuesday evening.  Two salving boats met them on the way back and kept pumping water out of her, or she would undoubtedly have sunk. Trooper Quartly was one of the men who went back to feed the horses, those on the lower deck being three-quarters immersed in water. There was a half gale on the Monday evening, and the disabled vessel sank four feet, and she could not have stood the strain much longer. It was a terrible experience for the men who went back.

Banbury Guardian, July 1915

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