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Then and now
Index number : JN00538P005
Decade: 1910 - 1919 Location: Dunbeath
Alexander Mackay (Sandy) RNR, The Shore, Dunbeath, undated (WW1)
Sandy (service no:- 15475DA), a deckhand aged 20 at the time, was tragically drowned off the Farne Islands when his ship, HMS Ascot, was torpedoed by the German submarine SM UB-67 on 10th Nov 1918. His ship was the very last British warship to be lost due to enemy activity in WW1; the Armistice was signed the following day.
Built in 1916 HMS Ascot was an armed paddle-minesweeper (Racecourse class) weighing 810 tons and capable of 15 knots. None of the fifty three men aboard survived.
As part of armistice negotiations the German government had agreed, on 20th October 1918, to withdraw it's submarine fleet; this order was implemented the following day but, for some reason, UB-67 was still operating around three weeks later when Sandy's ship was sunk. It may also be noteworthy that the U-boat had a new commander, Oberleutnant Hellmuth von Doemming (Iron Cross, 1st Class), on the 21st of October 1918 - the same day the recall order was given. Admiral Scheer had other plans for his submarines as he intended to use them as part of a plan to trap and destroy the British fleet in the southern North Sea. Von Doemming (b.9th Nov.1891, Neuruppin), who had left the German Navy with the honorary rank of Kapitänleutnant on 22nd Nov 1919, met with his own fate on 6th April 1921, at the age of 29, when he was killed by French troops during fighting at Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Poland .
Please note that, whilst the details above are believed to be correct, they are unverified.
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