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  #1  
Old 26-10-2007, 10:21
Jonathan Jonathan is offline
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Default HM Yacht Rhiannon

Does anyone have any information about this vessel or its service? I am a journalist and while researching an article partly about Harwich and the Royal Navy I was intrigued to find the following burial at St Mary's RN cemetery near Shotley:

Name: Harvey, R.
Nationality: UK
Rank: Leading Seaman
Service: RN Reserve
Unit: HM Yacht Rhiannon
Age: 28
Date of death: 20/7/1915
Service No: 2711 B
Additional information: Son of Andrew and Catherine Harvey; husband of Elizabeth Ellen Harvey, of 2607, Algonquin Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

I can find no other reference to Harvey or Rhiannon, nor explanation for his wife's intriguing US address. Can anyone shed any light?
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  #2  
Old 26-10-2007, 12:29
rumrat's Avatar
rumrat rumrat is offline
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Default Re: HM Yacht Rhiannon

Hi Johnathan,
According to the Portsmouth War Memorial HMS RHIANNON was an Armed Yacht and was Mined and sank off Longsand 20 July 1915
Hope this helps
Regards
Dave
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  #3  
Old 26-10-2007, 12:33
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rumrat rumrat is offline
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Default Re: HM Yacht Rhiannon

Hi Johnathan,
According to the Portsmouth War Memorial HMS RHIANNON was an Armed yacht of 138tns ,She was mined and sank off Longsand 20 July 1915.Hope this is of some use
Regards
Dave

Last edited by rumrat : 26-10-2007 at 12:51.
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  #4  
Old 26-10-2007, 13:47
stontamar stontamar is offline
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Default Re: HM Yacht Rhiannon

Hi Jonathan - further to Dave's reply, HMY RHIANNON was a yacht of 126 tons gross, built in 1914 and hired as an Auxiliary Patrol Yacht on 15 September 1914 and armed with two 3 pounders

Leading Seaman Havey was a member of the Royal Naval Reserve and as such he was a professional seaman in service in the mercantile marine in peacetime. On declaration of war in August 1914 he would have been called up for naval service with other reservists.

His service number indicates that he was in his second period of enrolment in the Royal Naval Reserve and that he would have originally joined the Reserve at some time during the period c1905-10. Unfortunately only a selection of RNR ratings records have survived for merchant seamen who enrolled between 1860 and 1913 and these are in to be found at The National Archive at Kew under BT 164. Records of ratings who served in the First or Second World Wars and others up to 1958 can be found on microfiche in BT 377/7.

His connection to Detroit, Michigan would need to be researched separately but one possible explanation is that Harvey visited Detroit whilst serving in the mercantile marine and met his future wife there. There are of course many other explanations!

The vessel was lost off Longsand Head and from this I would expect that RHIANNON was serving with the Harwich local area Auxiliary Patrol under the command of HMS GANGES at Shotley. This will explain why L/S Harvey is buried in St Mary's RN cemetery near Shotley.

Hope you find this posting of some use.

Regards

Dave - stontamar
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  #5  
Old 24-03-2008, 17:59
lelly lelly is offline
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Smile Re: HM Yacht Rhiannon

Hi
I am researching ble Seaman Alan Wright who was lost at sea in the same sinking. There is a bit a mistery about just how it was mined (although it probably was although another ship the Briton was sunk the following day in the same way. I have tagged on below what I have written about Alan Wright and the Rhiannon for his schools Roll of Honour. Stupidly I did not keep a reference for the file at the National Archive but it is with worth a read (not available on line).

Allan Henry Wright, R.N.R. lived at 24, Old Southend Road, Southend-an-Sea, and joined the Navy in 1914. He worked at SHSB as a Lab-boy. He was lost when H.M.Y. Rhiannon was sunk of North Long Sands and the Kentish Knock on 20th July 1915 aged 27 (not off Stornaway on the 19th July as reported in the Southend Standard). It seems from the National Archives that there was some secrecy over the affairs of the sinking of the Rhiannon and of the Briton the following day (21.7.15). The Department of War at the time said that all news to do with these sinkings should be kept top secret and the relatives told only that “the men are “wounded” or “drowned at sea” as the case may be”.

On the 5th July a steamship, the Peik had sunk, possibly torpedoed in the area. There was debate at the Admiralty about whether the Peik should be blown up as a danger to shipping, but then there were rumours that the she had been carrying mines and Trinity House said to blow it up would be too dangerous. It was not even marked with lighted buoys because it was thought that it would too obviously mark the entrance to the river Thames. To further complicate the picture there were rumours that she had been deliberately scuttled and Bowrings Insurance agency asked the government several times if this could be the case before they would pay out on a claim. The conspiracy theories about the Peik revolve around whether they had a pilot on board (which she should have done) and whether he was sober.

A court of enquiry investigation was held at which it was found that the Rhiannon had been patrolling with the armed ship the Strathspey in the area of the Peik when there was a big explosion which blew a hole in the fore part of the ship and she sank in about three minutes with the loss of five lives, the Captain Lt Cdr George W Welbourne, Sub Lt W Waddell, Leading Seaman R Harvey , Alan Wright and Wilson the cook on board. It was a very new ship of around 130 tons built in 1913. Some eyewitnesses said they saw mines floating in the area near the wreck of the Peik and the sunken Rhiannon, others said that they saw mines attached to the Peik (one can only assume the Peik sank in shallow water if it was possible to see this).These sighting were challenged by reports that “several Indian grass bags were observed which were probably mistaken as mines” by the Hotspur who were sent to investigate the area after the sinkings. The area had repeated been swept before the sinking of the two ships, but of course nobody could be sure how thorough this would have been. Documents at the National Archive do not really give a full explanation of what happened. Lloyds Insurance and Bowrings were to be told that there was no reason to withhold any payments on claims on the Peik”, it seems they were not prepared to engage in further investigations with the Norwegian government, probably because the Department of War had more pressing problems!
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2008, 23:52
historydavid historydavid is offline
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Default Re: HM Yacht Rhiannon

From Admiralty records the casualties were:

WADDELL , WILLIAM, S/LT, RNR.
WELLBURN, GEORGE W., LCDR, RNR.
HARVEY, RICHARD, L/SEAMAN, RNR, 2711 B.
WRIGHT, ALAN H., A.B., Mercantile Marine Reserve, 781597.
WILSON, ALEXANDER, COOK, Mercantile Marine Reserve, 745362.
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Best wishes
David


Any info on Admiralty controled ship losses and casualties is taken from a database compiled by Don Kindell from Admiralty records unless otherwise stated.
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2009, 19:55
Roger Roberts Roger Roberts is offline
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Default Re: HM Yacht Rhiannon

I am a new member and have just found the site when looking up my grandfathers ship.

As far as I am aware he served on this ship and was as far as I am aware the only survivor. However cannot seem to find anything that tells me who survived. Any helpful comments would be appreciated.
The comment thatwasposted lastyear by Jonathan re Leading Seaman Harvey. One possible explanation is that as many Cornish people did around the first world war wasthat she emigrated to USA with her parents after he died to work in the car factories.

Roger
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