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Official Number:                       129420  

Laid down:

Builder:                                   Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Dundee

Launched:                               24 December 1912

Into Service:                            21 October 1914

Out of service:                         June 1916 - but see below

Fate:                                       Sunk while acting as a Q ship

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  One of an additional group of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW1 to augment the ships of the RFA

Career Data:

24 December 1912 launched by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Dundee as Yard Nr 231 named WESTPHALIA for Leith, Hull & Hamburg Steam Packet Co Ltd ( James  Currie & Co, Managers) Leith

February 1913 completed

22 April 1913 arrived at Grangemouth from Hamburg

24 April 1913 arrived at Dundee from Grangemouth

15 August 1913 at Hamburg Able Seaman John Thorin discharged dead from heart failure

24 October 1913 sailed Dundee for Hamburg with Captain McCrone as Master

8 April 1914 arrived at Dundee from Hamburg

21 October 1914 requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as a Stores Carrier, name unchanged

5 November 1914 at Long Hope alongside HMS FALMOUTH supplying provisions to her

14 January 1914 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS FALMOUTH supplying provisions to her

19 May 1915 at Rosyth alongside HMS ALBERMARLE supplying provisions to her

HMS Albemarle

HMS ALBERMARLE

17 July 1915 at Rosyth alongside HMS ALBERMARLE supplying provisions to her

19 August 1915 at Rosyth alongside HMS ALBERMARLE supplying provisions to her

15 September 1915 at Rosyth alongside HMS ALBERMARLE supplying provisions to her

22 December 1915 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS DONEGAL supplying provisions to her

30 January 1916 at Rosyth alongside HMS ANTRIM supplying provisions to her

20 February 1916 at Rosyth alongside HMS ANTRIM supplying provisions to her

15 March 1916 at Rosyth alongside HMS ANTRIM supplying provisions to her

8 May 1916 at Sheerness alongside HMS ANTRIM supplying provisions to her

June 1916 Stores Carrier service ended

7 March 1917 after conversion and armed with 1 x 4” gun and 2 x 14” torpedo tubes she entered service as a Decoy Ship and served as CULLIST, HAYLING, JURASSIC and  PRIM. Her Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Commander Salisbury H Simpson Royal Navy

17 May 1917 was at Pembroke Dockyard

1 June 1917 on passage from Devonport to the Western Approaches and to anchor at Berehaven, County Cork, Ireland

6 June 1917 arrived Berehaven anchorage, County Cork, Ireland

8 June 1917 while anchored at Berehaven, County Cork, Ireland with the collier Bedale alongside loaded 28 tons of bunker coal

11 June 1917 still at Berehaven anchorage, County Cork, Ireland Collier 202 berthed alongside and delivered 30 tons of drining water and 40 tons of boiler water

12 June 1917 sailed Berehaven, County Cork, Ireland to patrol the Irish Sea and the Western Approaches

20 June 1917 entered Plymouth Sound. A coaling lighter berthed alongside

21 June 1917 loaded 126 tons of bunker coal

22 June 1917 entered No 1 Basin, Devonport Dockyard

24 June 1917 sailed Devonport Dockyard to patrol the Western Approaches

27 June 1917 in the Bristol Channel

30 June 1917 off South Lundy Light House

13 July 1917 when the Cullist was operating between the French and Irish coasts. An enemy submarine was sighted on the surface at 11,000 yards range, from which distance it began shelling the Q-Ship. After firing 38 rounds without recording a hit, the enemy was enticed by Simpson’s tactics to close the range to 5,000 yards, and fired a further 30 rounds, some of which straddled their target. At 1407 hours Cullist returned fire, her gunners getting the range after their second salvo was fired and numerous hits were recorded on the enemy’s conning tower, gun and deck. Then an explosion was seen followed by bright red flames, and three minutes after engaging the submarine it was seen to go down by the bows leaving oil and debris on the surface - the latter included ‘a corpse dressed in blue dungarees, floating face upwards. From this action members of the crew were awarded 1 DSO (see below), 2 DSC's, 4 DSM's and 3 MiD's

20 August 1917 attacked by yet another U-Boat which fled after being fired upon. The ship received damage and two Stokers in the gine room were injured. Three DSM's were awarded for this action. On arrival at Devonport the ship hit a jetty and was damaged requiring time in dry dock

28 August 1917 Lieutenant Commander Salisbury H Simpson Royal Navy the ship's CO was appointed a Companion of the Distingusihed Service Order

28 September 1917 in another hotly contested action, the C O gave the order to open fire at 5,000 yards range - 'thirteen rounds were fired of which eight were direct hits, causing the submarine to settle down by the bow still while about 30 feet of his stern was standing out of the water at an angle of about 30 degrees to the horizon. The submarine remained in this position for about ten to fifteen seconds before disappearing at 12.43 hours.’ Soon afterwards the CO spotted another enemy submarine and set off in pursuit, on this occasion to no avail.

17 November 1917 was sighted by an enemy submarine who opened fire at 8,000 yards range. Within five minutes the enemy had the range and a shell glanced off the CULLIST's side damaging one of three officer's cabins before bursting on the water line. After disappearing in a bank of fog the submarine reappeared and continued to shell the CULLIST with such accuracy that for 50 minutes the decks and bridge were continually sprayed with shell splinters and drenched with water from near misses. In all, the enemy submarine fired 92 rounds. The CULLIST returned fire from 4,500 yards, 14 rounds were fired at the submarine of which 6 were seen to be direct hits. The submarine, although badly damaged, was able to turn away, dive and escape

11 February 1918 torpedoed and sunk by the German U-97 (Kapitänleutnant Hans Von Mohl) in the Irish Sea whilst serving as HMS CULLIST in position 53.48 N 05.51 W with the loss of 43 out of the 70 crew aboard. The survivors were picked up by the trawler JAMES GREEN. Those who were lost are remembered with pride on the Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth Naval memorials. Those lost served in the Royal Navy, the Royal Naval Reserve, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, the Royal Marine Light Infantary and the Mercantile Marine Reserve, Surgeon David John Whitton RNVR is also remembered with pride on a memorial in Kirkcaldy Cemetery, Scotland

Cullist 1


19 February 1918 Lieutenant Commander Salisbury H Simpson DSO Royal Navy the ship's Commanding Officer mentioned in despatches

17 May 1918 Lieutenant Commander Salisbury H Simpson DSO Royal Navy the ship's Commanding Officer awarded the Croix de Guerre by the President of the French Republic - details from the London Gazette of this day

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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