by Ben Carver
On 28th March 1915, as captain of the SS Brussels, Captain Fryatt was ordered to stop by U-33 when his ship was near the Maas lightvessel. Seeing the U-boat had surfaced to torpedo his ship, Fryatt ordered full steam ahead and proceeded to try to ram U-33, which was forced to crash dive. This action was in compliance with orders issued by Winston Churchill to captains of merchant ships.
On 25th June 1916, Brussels left Hoek van Holland bound for Harwich. Brussels was taken by the Germans.
At 7 p.m. on 27th July 1916, the Germans committed one of the worst atrocities of the First World War. Captain Fryatt had been court martialled, even though a civilian, for attempting to ram the attacking German submarine and being a franctireur. Having been found guilty, he was executed almost immediately by firing squad, after a show trial lasting barely two hours, during which he was afforded no proper defence. The event caused international outrage, and led to Fryatt’s body being repatriated after the war and given a ceremonial funeral.
This is an outstanding book about this hero and I would very highly recommend it to our readers.
Paperback: 235mm x 165mm, 121 pp illustrated