In late July 1914, with war looming, the fledgling Dover Patrol was born which, from its early beginnings as a modest and poorly equipped command, became one of the most important Royal Navy commands of the First World War. The Dover Patrol assembled cruisers, monitors, destroyers, armed trawlers and drifters, paddle mine-sweepers, tugs, armed yachts, motor launches and coastal motor boats, submarines, seaplanes, aeroplanes and airships. With these resources it performed several duties simultaneously in the Southern North Sea and the Dover Straits: carrying out anti-submarine patrols; escorting merchantmen, hospital and troop ships; laying sea-mines and even constructing mine barrages; sweeping up German mines; bombarding German military positions on the Belgian coast; and sinking the ever present U-boats.

In Feb 1915, adapted fishing vessels based at Ramsgate were "Arcady", "Lord Charles Beresford", "Paramount", "Loyal Star", "Acceptable", "Try Again", "Campanula", "Lord Cromer", "Rooke", "Majesty", "Frons Olivae", "Dewey", "Joe Chamberlain", "City of Glasgow", "Buckler", "Lord Claud Hamilton", " City of Liverpool", "Reaper" and "City of Edinburgh"

On the 15th March 1915 ten additional Drifters arrive: - "Redwald", "Ocean Hope", "John Lincoln", "Silver Line", "Achievable", "Ocean Pilot", "Ocean Crest", "Feasible", "Present Help" and "R.R.S".

Little Java (pictured above) was a Thames Steam Tug built in 1905 by Cochrane & Sons of Selby and owned by W.Watkins Ltd. In 1915 she was transferred to Ramsgate and operated under Royal Naval Command as H.M.S. Carcass in the Dover Patrol’s Downs Boarding Flotilla. Java was involved in a number of ship rescue incidents, including one in connection with the destroyer H.M.S. Cossack. She was also involved in towing at least two other ships out of dangerous minefields.

On the 28th of November 1917 vessels of the Ramsgate Armed Drifter Squadron (above) engaged a German submarine which was caught recharging its batteries. The Drifters drove the submarine onto the Goodwin Sands where it was wrecked. It's thought that the tug Java was involved in salvaging the submarine's gun which was displayed at Nelson Crescent until the 1960's. The notice reads: 88mm gun salved from German submarine which vessel was engaged on the morning of Nov 28th 1917 by vessels of the Ramsgate Armed Drifter Squadron, driven on the Goodwin Sands and wrecked

A report of the event:

24th November 1917 - 6.30am approx one and one half miles N.E. of Gull Light Vessel, enemy submarine observed by sweepers bound north. "Paramount", "Majesty" and "Present Help" attacked. Later "Feasible", "Acceptable" and "Lord Claud Hamilton" assisted. Enemy fire caused slight damage to Present Help. The sub U.48 eventually blew up, 19 survivors were made prisoners. No casualties on the Drifters and the Admiralty paid awards totalling £31,000. 3 skippers received the D.S.C., 5 ratings the D.S.M. The Vice Admiral at Dover wrote; - " I wish to express my satisfaction at the gallant way in which the Drifters named attacked this submarine armed with a 4" gun"

Karl Edeling was Commander of U.48
Born 25 Apr 1886
Died 24 Nov 1917 Goodwind Sands
30th January 1918 - Drifters under Lt. Commander Williams salved the periscope of U.48. The submarine dissapeared in the sands.

Click HERE to see a 1920 video clip of captured German submarine Deutchland being towed into Ramsgate. It's thought that the tug at the rear is Java.

Java was also operating out of Ramsgate during World War 2 and was the first tug to be involved in the Dunkirk evacuation. She was sold for scrap in May 1965

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