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Robert Phillips
Royal Newfoundland Navy
Service # 1441X

 

PHILLIPS, Robert - Seaman, was a member of the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, Number 1441X, who was serving with the Royal Navy on H.M. Trawler "Othonna" when he was killed by a mine explosion on 20 Apr 1917, age 29. His father was William John Phillips of Burgoyne’s Cove, Smith Sound, Trinity Bay.
The naval trawler HMT Othonna struck a mine and sank in the North Sea, off Fife Ness, Scotland, with the loss of nine of her crew.
The mine had been laid by SM UC-41, a German Type UC II minelaying submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy during World War I. The U-boat was ordered on 20 November 1915 and was launched on 13 September 1916. She was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on 11 October 1916 as SM UC-41.
In a nine-month career that encompassed seven patrols UC-41 was credited with sinking 18 ships totaling 19,587 tons, either by torpedo or by mines laid, including HMT Othonna.
UC-41 was lost on 21 August 1917 after suffering an unexplained internal explosion of one of her mines which forced her to suddenly rise to the surface in the Tay estuary, where she was spotted by British naval trawlers and depth charged, killing all 27 German sailors and possibly seven British prisoners of war as well.
Her wreck was rediscovered in 2003.

Donated by Bill Meadus

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