SS Yarrowdale (1912)

Leopard, during her brief time with the German Navy. Original believed to be in the public domain.


SS Yarrowdale was a British freighter, launched in 1912. She operated out of Glasgow until 11 December, 1916, when she was captured by the raider SMS Möwe. The Germans thought Yarrowdale would make a good raider, so they sent her back to Germany, with Möwe's accumulated prisoners. Yarrowdale was fitted with five 150mm and four 88mm SK L/40 guns, and two torpedo tubes, recommissioning as SMS Leopard on 7 January, 1917. She sailed on her first raiding voyage two months later, but only nine days out, was intercepted by the cruiser HMS Achilles, and the armed boarding vessel SS Dundee. Dundee sent a six-man boarding team to inspect, and Leopard, disguised as a Norwegian freighter, kept up the ruse as long as possible, before engaging. Dundee and Achilles opened fire, and pummeled Leopard, sinking the ship with all hands, including the inspection team.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: There was a bottle recovered after the action. It contained a message from Leopard's crew giving the date, time, and location, and reading "in action with British cruiser. Fighting for the glory and honor of Germany. A last greeting to our relatives."