Seaman Thurston Collinson
Royal Navy H.M.S. Columbella
Died of heart failure 29th March 1919, aged 20
Lived in Brierfield
Burnley Express 2nd April 1919

HMS Columbella was an Armed Merchant Cruiser whic was requisitioned from November 1914 to June 1919 when she was returned to civilian service. She was formerly the SS Columbia of the Anchor Line (she was the only Anchor Line liner to survive the war). She was built by D & W Henderson Ltd of Glasgow, as Yard No 425 in 1902 and was 8792 gross registered tons being a twin screw coal burner with a top speed of 18 knots. She was 485 feet long and 56 feet in breadth and was originally a Passenger Cargo vessel on the Glasgow to New-York service.

During her war service HMS Columbella was armed with six 6 inch guns. From November 1914 to August 1917 she served on the Northern Patrol and in the Spitzbergen and Bear Island areas. From September 1917 to November 1918 she served on the Atlantic Convoys.

On 22nd July 1915 off Hoy Head, south- west Orkney, HMS Columbella was attacked by German submarine U36 –commander Ernest Graeff – which also sank two trawlers but escaped. The date is interesting because two days later on 24th July 1915 U36 became the first U boat to be sunk by an unaccompanied Q-boat HMS Prince Charles (commander Lieut. M Wardlow) north of the Hebrides. Prince Charles was a small 373 ton collier and was only armed with one 3 pounder and one 6 pounder guns. U36 was sighted sinking a merchant ship on the surface. HMS Prince Charles waited until the U-boat came close. The submarine fired two shots at long range which missed and then at 600 yards turned broadside on and continued firing. Lt. Wardlaw opened fire himself and hit U36 behind the conning tower. U36 dived, but almost immediately resurfaced and the. Prince Charles closed to within 300 yards, scoring several more hits. U36 slowly sank and her crew surrendered. 15 Uboat crewmen survived but 18 were drowned. HMS Prince Charles was later classed as unsuited for Q-ship work because of her small size, very slow speed and lack of seaworthiness.

After the war HMS Columbella returned to the Anchor Line as SS Columbia and was converted to an oil burner before being laid up on the Clyde in 1926. She was sold to the Byron Line who named her SS Moreas and used her for 3 voyages from Piraeus to New York. She was then sold to the National Greek Line before being scrapped in Venice in 1929




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