Why this New Series?
For over 90 years the only source of information on British warships lost, and merchant and fishing vessels lost, damaged and attacked in World War 1 has been His Majesty's Stationery Office official publication "British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-1918" (BVLS or HMSO), published in 1919 and reprinted in 1977.
As valuable as it is, the information is limited, often inaccurate in the light of subsequent research, and omits British warships damaged and attacked. Although much of the information to meet these limitations is available in other publications and on websites, it has not been brought together in one place to provide an updated version of the original HMSO publication.
These pages are the result of an attempt to rectify this.
Much more research needs to be done in the official archives before a possibly definitive listing can be claimed. And, as will be seen, even now there is much uncertainty about many ships and how they were sunk, damaged or attacked. No attempt has been made to reconcile these differences, but the sources of these variations have been identified to help those who want to delve further into particular vessels. It also highlights the uncertainty to be found in much historical research.
The lists of Merchant Ships damaged and attacked are from BVLS. No such list exists for naval vessels to my knowledge. Royal Navy warships damaged and attacked is therefore incomplete, except in two respects - all warships damaged in major battles are included, as are all those - plus auxiliaries - which suffered men killed. The latter have been taken from Don Kindell's casualty lists.
Apart from researching the official archives - mainly the National Archives, books not included in my own list of sources, and in-depth searches of the Internet, I would recommend going back to some of the main sources I used for further information.
Amongst these, I would certainly recommend Hepper for warships and auxiliaries, the Wreck Index for merchant vessels lost off the British Isles, Miramar Ship Index for further information on steamships of the time, Uboat.net for U-boat operations and other related sinkings and attacks, and of course my close friend and colleague, Don Kindell for Royal Navy casualties.
I have worked in this area on and off for perhaps 10 years, and originally had great difficulty finding a lot of the information I wanted from published books. I am grateful to all my sources, but particularly want to thank David Hepper for his researches on warship losses in the National Archives, and Uboat.net for making their World War 1 U-boat attack information so readily available.
This an example of how the published book and the internet can complement each other in this day and age.