HAVING CARRIED OUT SOME RESEARCH into sailing Q ships, I was interested in Michael Conway’s article on James J Bibby, the sail training vessel of TS Indefatigable in the January 2011 issue of Sea Breezes.
The author was unable to find any record of actions involving the Q ship Dargle or of any U-boat being captured. Whilst the logbook of the Dargle is unavailable, there are records of the vessel being in action.
In ADM186/430 action between Special Service Vessels and Enemy Submarines 58, lists an action on 31 October, 1917, between the brigantine Dargle in which a submarine was possibly damaged and three of the Dargle’s crew were injured.
ADM 137/3409 Action against enemy submarines involving HM Special Service Schooner Dargle, HMS Star, Armed Trawlers Dentasia, Ethel Nutten and Killdeer lists an action in which a submarine was thought to be sunk on 22 July, 1918. Dargle is referred to as a brigantine in one report and a schooner in the other.
After a sailing Q ship was involved in an action against a U-boat the rig was usually changed in case an escaping submarine was able to provide a description of the “trap ship” as U-boat crews called them. Some of the stories mentioned by Michael Conway may stem from initial reports as several claims were made that U-boats had been sunk when they had merely been damaged, including one in which the captain and a mechanic were taken prisoner after being swept of the conning tower.
There is no record of any capture of a U-boat by a Q-ship, in fact there were no sinkings by sailing Q-ships other than fishing smacks that have been subsequently confirmed apart from the sinking of the British submarine J6 by Cymric in error.
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