31st October 1915 H.M.Y. ARIES sunk off Dover

H.M.Y. Aries, was a magnificent example of the archetypal ocean-going steam yacht, Aries was built for Sir James Ramsden, one of the industrial magnates of Victorian England, in 1880. Designed as a three-masted iron screw schooner by Ramsden himself.

Aries was constructed in the yards of the Barrow Ship Building Company at Barrow-in-Furness where Sir James was a pivotal figure. Registered at 186½ tons gross (107¼ net). Aries measured 145 feet in length with a 20 foot beam and her screw was driven by a compound two-cylinder engine of 50h.p. Surveyed by Lloyd's at Barrow where she was given their highest rating of 100A1, her sails were supplied by Ratsey and she was completed and ready for the sea by the spring of 1881.Sir James declared himself well satisfied with her but, within ten years, had tired of her and she was sold first to Mr Walter Clark and then to Mr Edward Hore.

Subsequently passing into the ownership of the 10th Duke of Leeds, one of the most distinguished yachtsmen of his day and later Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Aries became a familiar sight at Cowes throughout the 1890's and the golden summers of the Edwardian era. Still flying the Leed's colours when war was declared in August 1914, Aries was immediately offered to the Admiralty for wartime duties and, armed with two 3-pounders, was accepted into service as an Auxilliary Patrol Yacht on 12th September. The fifty-three year old Duke skippered her for almost a year during which she led a small patrol flotilla initially off the Tyne and later in the Dover and Downs area. Shortly after the Duke was transferred to another command however, the yacht Aries, was on patrol in the vicinity of the South Goodwin Lightship. She saw the “S.S. Toward”, of the Clyde Shipping Company blown up, and proceeded to her assistance with three divisions of drifters who were coming off patrol. Lieutenant-Commander Caulder, in charge of the Aries had ordered the trawlers to take the survivors of the “Toward” to Dover, the three divisions of drifter returning to harbour.

Observing what he believed to be an enemy mine inshore of him, he steamed towards it to destroy it. In so doing, he must have bumped another mine somewhere under the bridge, which caused the vessel to break in two, and to sink in about a minute. The commanding officer, four officers and seventeen men were drowned; one officer and four men were saved two of the latter having broken ribs. The mines had been  laid by the German Submarine UC-6, under command of Matthias Graf von Schmettow.


Sunk off Dover on 31th October 1915


ALLEN, Petty Officer 1st Class, 128140. FREDERICK. Royal Navy, Age 48. Born Buxted, Sussex 22 September 1868. Son of Abraham and Sarah Allen of Buxted, Sussex. Husband of Gertrude M. Allen of 121, Framfield Road, Uckfield, Sussex. 

ALWARD, H. Third Engineer. Mercantile Marine Reserve.

AYLES, Fireman and Trimmer. KEITH. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 35. Son of George and Kate Rebecca Ayles of Freshwater, Isle of Wight.

BACON, Assistant Paymaster, Royal Naval Reserve, FRANCIS HUGH. Age 46. Son of the late Rev. James Bacon, of Colombo, Ceylon; husband of Fanny Bacon, of "Ashdene," Regent's Park, Southampton.

CALDER, Lieutenant Commander.H. R.D. Royal Naval Reserve, a holder of the Reserve Decoration reflecting his obvious extensive years of service and experience, it is probably correct to assume that he was the vessels commander at the time of her loss.

CARLING, Able Seaman. 724557. HENRY. Mercantile Marine Reserve.

CHURCH, Signal Boy. EDWARD. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 17. Born Oxford, Oxfordshire. Ward of Alice Sooby of “Marsoville,” Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire.

DRAPER, Assistant Steward, 651148. ERNEST FREDERICK. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 21. Son of George Arthur and Alice Draper of 40, Liverpool Street, Southampton, Hampshire.

FIELDER, Petty Officer 1st Class, 139353. ARTHUR JAMES MAURICE. Royal Navy, Age 43. Born Hammersmith, Middlesex 12 November 1871. Son of Maurice and Mary Fielder of Brighton, Sussex. Husband of Annie Fielder of 68, Sidley Road, Eastbourne, Sussex.

LAMBIE, Deck Hand, 1320SD. JAMES NICHOLSON. Royal Naval Reserve, Aged 18. Son of John W. and Mary B. Lambie of 170, Fort Street, South Shields.

MARTIN, Lieutenant WILLIAM HENRY. Royal Naval Reserve, Age 50. Son of Stephen and Sophia Martin, of Higher Brixham, Devon; husband of Selina Martin, of "Aberfoyle," 97, Hillside Avenue, Bitterne Park, Southampton.

MAJOR, Assistant Steward. GREGORY. Mercantile Marine Reserve.

MANNING, Signal Boy. ARTHUR WILLIAM. Mercantile Marine Reserve.

MOORE, Cook. WILLIAM. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 46. Born Cowes, Isle of Wight. Husband of the late Alice Moore. Father of Margaret Moore of Elm Bank, Kettering, Northamptonshire.

MOSS, Fireman and Trimmer, MMR/786. WILLIAM HENRY. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 20. Born Bristol, Gloucestershire. Son of William and Emily Moss of 80, Seaforth Road, Seaforth, Liverpool, Lancashire.

MOTH, Fireman.HARRY. Mercantile Marine Reserve., Age 27.Son of George and Elizabeth Moth, of West Cowes; husband of Florence Moth, of 1, Mary St., West Cowes, Isle of Wight.

PENDER, Assistant Engineer.FREDERICK WILLIAM. Royal Naval Reserve,.

PRITCHARD, Greaser. EDWARD JOHN. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 43. Born Allum Bay, Isle of Wight 14 May 1874. Son of William and Sarah Pritchard. Probably Edward was a former member of the Royal Navy, Official Number: 276856.

RANDALL, .Seaman, 3459C. FRED. Royal Naval Reserve, Age 31. Probably born Portsmouth, Hampshire 1 February 1883. Husband of Margaret Ethel Sims (formerly Randall) of 20, Albion Terrace, Blackwood, Monmouthshire, Wales.

SHELLEY, Second Engineer. W. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Born New Forest, Hampshire.

SMITH, Steward. GEORGE. Mercantile Marine Reserve, Age 41. Son of Walter George and Ruth Smith of Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire. Husband of Evelyn Matilda Smith of 5, Smith’s View, Cottage Grove, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

TURNER, Second Cook. S.C. Mercantile Marine Reserve.

WINPENNY, Sub-Lieutenant. FREDERICK ENOS. Royal Naval Reserve.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

We should remember them.

This shipwreck is not protected as an offical War Grave.

However WW1 mementoes or souvenirs taken by divers from this shipwreck including the bones of the dead, should be reported to the Receiver of Wreck . https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/receiver-of-wreck