Tag Archives: World War I

The Rohilla rescue, October 1914

Naval hospital ship HMHS Rohilla was travelling to Dunkirk during October 1914 to collect wounded soldiers when she struck rocks at Whitby.

For three days the brave lifeboat crews and the people of Whitby and surrounding communities battled extreme conditions to reach the ship and rescue the passengers. Some 84 people lost their lives, but 145 were saved.

Captain Fryatt, ‘killed illegally’

Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt gravestone

Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt’s grave at the parish church, Dovercourt, near Harwich.

Captain CA Fryatt was executed by the Germans during World War Iafter he attempted to ram a U-boat attacking the SS Brussels in 1915 – at the time, the U-boat was threatening to attack the steam-powered passenger ferry.

The SS Brussels was captured. Fryatt was court-martialled and sentenced to death, despite his civilian status.

It’s said that during interrogation, if he had said that he was acting under Admiralty orders, he would have been made a prisoner of war in the usual way – but it seems he was a non-combatant who acted only in self-defence. International outrage followed his execution near Bruges, Belgium.

In 1919, he was reburied at Dovercourt with full military honours.

He certainly has a grand headstone. My thanks to Malcolm Woods for the photo.

Read about Captain Fryatt here and here.

Dazzle-painted warships of World War I


From the wonderful Retronaut – these fantastic geometric paint schemes used during World War I were not designed to hide the ships as to make range-finding difficult and make it more difficult for enemy gunners to find their target.

Read about dazzle-painted warships here. Google finds a many examples here.

My thanks to Malcolm Woods for spotting this one!

PS – Inspired by his discoveries, Malcolm went on to find more examples of dazzle in art and elsewhere, including this painting of the Olympic, paintings by John  Everett, and examples of a very demure 1919 fashion for dazzle swimsuits published by the weblog Camoupedia.

There are still more here, including an article headed ‘Camouflage Sylphs on Coney Island an Optical Illusion: Stripes of Bathing Costumes Used by Plump Persons to Conceal Full Extent of Their Plumpness’ – this concludes thus:

‘Following the service yesterday of fourteen summons upon persons who appeared in the streets in uncovered bathing suits the suggestion was made that camouflage might be perfected to the point where it would hide offenders from the eagle-eyed Coney Island police.’

Elsewhere, a fashion writer puts it this way:

‘If you see coming toward you a woman who in some unaccountable way seems to melt into a sort of rainbow mass above the shoulders, don’t be alarmed; try to find her hat.’

Gosh. Swimming costumes are a bit of a departure for this weblog. If you need more images of dazzle-painted ships to return things to their usual calm order, there are many more examples on the Google Image search.