HC Deb 31 May 1878 vol 240 cc1037-8

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether any detailed information had been received respecting the loss of the German iron-clad "Grosser Kurfürst?"


Sir, I am sorry to say that the news which has appeared in the newspapers with regard to the loss of a fine German ship this morning in the Channel, is correct. The German iron-clad Squadron, consisting of the Preussen, König Wilhelm, and Grosser Kurfürst, left Wilhelmshavn on the evening of the 29th instant, for Plymouth, en route to the Mediterranean. The squadron was observed passing Dover at 8.45 A.M.; and at 9.50 A.M., when about seven miles S. S. W. of Folkestone, a collision occurred between the König Wilhelm and the Grosser Kurfürst in an endeavour to avoid a collision with a merchant vessel. The Grosser Kurfürst appears to have sunk at once, and the König Wilhelm to have been severely damaged. The Coastguard at Folkestone rendered immediate assistance; and, on the unfortunate occurrence being reported to the Admiralty, orders were sent to Portsmouth for the Lord Warden and Hercules to proceed to Folkestone at full speed to render assistance. The tug Sampson was also ordered from Sheerness for the same object. The Coastguard officers report that between 180 and 200 lives have been saved, and about 300 lost. A dock will be ready at Portsmouth, and the König Wilhelm is on her way to that port making water fast.