Danish sailor from a steamship that observed the Battle of Jutland
Lanritz Larson was a Danish sailor who served aboard the Danish Steamer Næsborg which shipped coal, operating out of Copenhagen. On the 14 January the Næsborg sailed into Seaham Harbour and the crew were given a shore pass which expired at 4pm. However Lanritz decided to go out drinking instead, and so crudely modified the expiry time on his pass from 4pm to 9.30pm, by writing it in himself.
According to the Durham Advertiser, this feeble attempt was no match for the keen eye of Detective Wood, who correctly identified the forgery and collected a confession from the suspect. The situation developed further when it came to light that the suspect had been in court for a strikingly similar offence just a week prior. The court admonished the sailor harshly and ordered a fine of 40 Shillings. He was then returned to the Næsborg whose Captain had been looking for him.
The Næsborg was in the vicinity of Jutland when the Battle of 1916 took place. The following is a report of the battle, from the ship’s captain, who observed the action:
“When the Næsborg was on her voyage from Leith to Denmark on Wednesday afternoon, and was 95 miles west of Hanstholm, a few small British warships appeared, pursued by the German Fleet. Suddenly the British warships turned and steamed westwards, violently shelled.
In a few minutes a large number of British Dreadnought cruisers appeared from the north and west. The British then began attacking the German ships, which were reinforced by a large number of warships coming from the south along the west coast of Jutland. At the time a violent fight commenced. The sky seemed to be filled with smoke, and the sea was in a state of uproar. Shells fell around the Danish steamer, which was several miles away.
During the fight the cannonading was so violent that the crew of the Næsborg could not stand erect on the deck. The British Dreadnoughts formed a line in advance of the other ships.
The crew of the Danish steamer saw several large warships sunk, but was unable to state whether they were British or German.
At last, added the Captain, the German Fleet withdrew southwards, pursued by the British. Suddenly several British warships appeared, coming from the west.'”
On 4 January 1917 the Næsborg was transporting coal from Sunderland to Bayonne in France when it was intercepted by UB 18 near Guernsey, The U-boat ordered the crew off the ship and then destroyed it, fortunately there were no casualties and the crew were picked up by a friendly ship.
Civil Parish: Dawdon
Armed force/civilian: Civilian
Residence: Church Street, Seaham Harbour (Location of Arrest)
Næsborg sails from Copenhagen
Organisation membership: A/S Dampsk. Selsk. Neptun Shipping Corporation
Employment: Sailor on the Næsborg
Contributed by Daniel Hyatt
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