The Luckiest Mariner In The History Of War

Grace Higgins | December 6th, 2019

Wenman Wykeham-Musgrave was a mariner during World War I, surprisingly he survived being aboard three different ships that were torpedoed and sunk in the space of 90 minutes. Perhaps making him the luckiest or unluckiest mariner to have served during World War I.

nationalinterest.org

Musgrave was a midshipman aboard the HMS Aboukir during the outbreak of the First World War who earned himself a title in the annals of war by being torpedoed not once but three times. Not to mention that the boat he was on sunk every single time, yet he still survived. It happened in 1914 when Aboukir and two other British ships were patrolling the waters off the Dutch coast.

An enemy U-9 spotted the patrol just after dawn and their German captain Otto Weddigen fired off a single torpedo at Aboukir from the small range of 500 yards. The warhead sunk the ship nearly instantly with a huge hole in the starboard, yet Musgrave was able to get out in time and with some of his shipmates were treading water in the cold North Sea.

The two other cruisers made the mistake of believing Aboukir had collided with a mine, so Hogue and Cressy simply moved in to pick up survivors. Musgrave was thrown a rope and just 15 minutes after being hauled aboard, a pair of torpedoes slammed into the ship’s hull. And another 15minutes later the ship joined Aboukir at the bottom of the ocean.

At this point Cressy the remaining vessel realized their major error and fixed its sights on the ocean, quickly spotting the submarine. They fired off shells to drive it off, and the captain believed they had ensured the submarine left the region so they started to rescue sailors in the ocean. Musgrave had been able to save himself a second time and was frantically swimming towards Cressy.

Finally, he was plucked from the exhausting water that had become quite choppy, and then just moments later the U-9’s last two torpedoes hit Cressy straight on. A few moments later Cressy was sinking into the bottom of the ocean and Musgrave found himself swimming again.

Amazingly he was rescued by a Dutch fishing ship, over 1,300 British sailors died in the attack, and only 900 were rescued from the ocean. What is even more amazing, is Musgrave went on to survive the war and lived until the age of 90.

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