Shelling Drama

The incident in which the Wear-built steamer Blackhill was fired on by insurgent trawlers is described by her master- Captain Peter Ferguson Ridley, of 20 St George's Terrace, East Boldon, in a communique issued in Valcencia to-day. Captain Ridley states that the attack was made when the trawlers were three or four miles away from the Blackhill. They did not make the customary flag signals and the Blackhill changed her course. "While all this was happening," he states, I was able to count 26 shots fired from the trawlers guns. Some of the projectiles they fired fell close to our vessel."
Captain Ridley's account is contained in the Valencia communique which consists of a telegram from the Governor General of the Province of Santander, the following report is stated to have been made by Captain Ridley to the Governor General:-
"On January 1 the Blackhill left Bayonne at 9:30am with a cargo of iron ore. We steamed along quietly until 11:20am when in lattitude 43.30 degrees north, longitude2.06 degrees west, we were attacked by two armed insurgent trawlers from Pasajes."
"The attack was made when the trawlers werre three or four miles away from the steamer, I declare that I saw them leave the port of Pasajes, but they flew no flags and did not make the customary flag signals."
"The Blackhill did not stop, but changed her course to the Northwest, Steaming at about 13 knots we made all speed in that direction."
"While all this was happening i was able to count 26 shots fired from the trawlers guns. Some of the projectiles they fired fell close to our vessel."
"When they ceased to pursue us we resumed our course towards Cape Ajo. We met an armed vessel belonging to the Government and replied to the Government questions put to us."
"while at sea off Santander we were also stopped by a cruiser Koenigsberg. Members of the crerw of the cruiser inspected our vessel and put numerous questions to us. When the incident was over we continued our voyage and reached port at Lastillero (Sandtander)."
It was stated in Berlin on Sunday after the earlier report that the Blackhill had been detained by the Koenigsberg that according to a report recieved from the cruiser itself the Koenigsberg met the Blackhill on the evening of January 1 andas the two ships passed they exchanged their names in the customary manner by morse signals.
No reply has yet been received to the vigorous protest dispatched to the insurgent head-quarters at Burgos by Sir Hnery Chilton British Ambassador regarding the chasing of the Blackhill.

Paper:The Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette
News ArticleThe article highlights tensions in europe during the Spanish civil War and notes Germany flexing its Naval muscles prior to the onset of WW2, which is seen further in a story of another Boldon sea Captain "Stanley Scott". The Blackhill was beset by further incidents where in 1938 Typhus was diagnosed on board with one crewman dying and the ship being ordered to the nearest English port. Upon landing at Portsmouth the rest of the crew were examined and the ship was disinfected and fumigated. Then in 1939 the ship struck a mine and was sunk in the North Sea off the Longsand Head Lightship wit the loss of one crew member. The Survivors were rescued by HMS Gypsy.

email :