There was dismay this week at news the SS Maud, a Jersey-based 120 ton sailing vessel, has been attacked and sunk by an enemy submarine in the Channel.
Having spent the winter laid-up in St Helier’s Old Harbour the Maud left a few days ago bound for Newfoundland. Just as she was departing the Channel, however, a surfaced German submarine appeared and fired a warning shot across her bow. This was reportedly close enough to warn the crew that the enemy meant business. They immediately abandoned ship, taking to a small punt and rowing away. The dejected men then had to watch as the U-boat used its deck gun to sink their ship.
Having dispatched the Maud, the U-boat then approached the punt, which was leaking badly. The enemy refused a request to tow the small boat but did hand over a couple of bailers to help keep it afloat. Fortunately for the abandoned sailors a passing French fishing vessel rescued them shortly afterwards.
The sinking is a graphic reminder of the threat posed by enemy submarines and of the need to maintain secrecy when it comes to reporting local shipping movements.
A/E/4 contains correspondence with the Censor about risks posed by the enemy intercepting telegrams containing information on local shipping movements.