Puneet Varma (Editor)

HMS Helmuth

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Acquired  1914
Armament  1 × 3-pdr gun
Type  Armed tug

HMS Helmuth was an armed tug of the British Royal Navy. Formerly a German vessel, she was captured by the British at the beginning of World War I and placed into service as a picket. She was involved in several actions of the East African campaign including the Battle of Zanzibar, the Raid on Dar es Salaam, blockading SMS Konigsberg in the Rujifi delta, and the Battle of Tanga.


At the beginning of World War I, Helmuth was present in Zanzibar Harbour under the German flag. Several prominent Germans in Zanzibar had planned to use her in order to sail to German East Africa and escape internment, but her engines were in disrepair and she was seized by the British before any use could be made of her. The British set about repairing her and armed her with a three pounder gun.

Placed under the command of C. J. Charlewood, Helmuth was used as a picket ship at the entrance of Zanzibar Harbour. When the Konigsberg appeared at the entrance of the harbor on 20 September 1914, she was unable to warn the cruiser HMS Pegasus, which was in port repairing her engines. In the ensuing engagement, Pegasus was sunk. Upon leaving the harbor, Konigsberg fired several shots at Helmuth driving her crew overboard and killing a native working in the engine room. Helmuth was only lightly damaged, and was recovered by the British.

On 2 November, during the leadup to the Battle of Tanga, Helmuth was tasked with sweeping the harbour for mines in anticipation of the British landing, though ultimately none were found. On 28 November 1914, Helmuth accompanied the cruiser HMS Fox and the battleship HMS Goliath to Dar es Salaam. The ships were involved in inspecting suspected German passenger ships when the inspecting officers were fired on by German troops.


HMS Helmuth Wikipedia

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