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War-time actions

The Orvieto is mentioned several times in the publication " History of The Great War", of which two sections: "The Merchant Navy", and "Naval Operations", are quoted below. The extracts given, isolated as they are from their context, cannot be fully appreciated, but give some idea of the actions in which the vessel was involved. There is nothing very remarkable in the events described.

The Orvieto is described as being of 12,130 tons, owned by the Orient Steam Navigation Company and operating from Sheerness under the command of Captain H H Smyth.

British naval barrage of the Flemish coast, April 1916.

Quoted from The Merchant Navy: Volume 2, written by Archibald Hurd.

" The plan of the barrage involved the use of mine-layers and net-mines. The mines were to be laid by the mine-layers Orvieto, Paris, Princess Margaret and Biarritz, all being merchant ships taken up for the period of hostilities ... Two submarines, UB3 and U10 were destroyed by this means, in addition to UC5, which was caught in a mine but extricated herself. "

10th Cruiser Squadron, monitoring neutral ships, 1916.

Quoted from The Merchant Navy: Volume 3, written by Archibald Hurd.

" During October the Command-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet congratulated the squadron on their success between September 1st and 21st, when 435 vessels were dealt with and 123 sent in. The ships on patrol were only 10; ships proceeding from one patrol to another or rejoining from harbour 7; armed trawlers 4; ships going off patrol to coal or re-fit 7 and 2 armed trawlers. It was a fine record for so small a force. The squadron had been strengthened in August by the addition of the Orvieto (late minelayer). "

Operations against the German High Seas Fleet.

Quoted from Naval Operations: Volume 2, written by Sir Julian S Corbett.

" On assuming the chief command afloat Admiral von Pohl's intention was to adhere to his original policy and the movements of the High Seas Fleet were to be confined to occasional cruises in the Bight, in the hope of forcing the Admiralty's hand and enticing the British fleet into the snare which in his inexperienced eyes, seemed so cunningly set. .. Only two such sorties are said to have been made in February and March; April and May were regarded as more favourable months. This was equally obvious to ourselves, and the Commander-in-Chief had orders to carry out his practice cruises in the North Sea. As a supplementary measure it was decided to lay an interception minefield north west of Heligoland. This was begun on the night of May 8th-9th by the newly fitted liners Princess Margaret and Princess Irene, under escort of the Aurora and two divisions of destroyers from Harwich, and was completed two nights later by the minelayer Orvieto with the Broke and six destroyers from Scapa ... "

Defence of home waters.

Quoted from Naval Operations: Volume 3, written by Sir Julian S Corbett.

" ... on March 20th an extensive mining operation was started to close down the mid-sea approaches to the Thames and to the Straits of Dover between the North Hinder and Galloper. The work was entrusted to four mine-layers from Sheerness: Paris, Biarritz, Princess Margaret and Orvieto, escorted by two divisions of destroyers from Harwich. Simultaneously an air-raid in force was to be made on the ... aerodrome, near Zeebrugge, from which originated the incessant raids on the Kentish coast and Dunkirk. About fifty bombing aeroplanes, British, French and Belgian, with fifteen fighting machines, were assigned to it. For escort they were given a division of the 9th flotilla, which incidentally also covered the minelayers. Owing to the Orvieto running aground they were delayed some hours. The minelaying had not yet begun when at 8.00 am Commander Egerton's division patrolling near the North Hinder light-vessel was attacked by three large German destroyers, but after a little sharp action, in which the Lance suffered somewhat severely, they were driven off and the minelaying proceeded without interruption. Two lines were laid that day, and the Orvieto completed the barrier with a third line on the 23rd"