BORN HULL 04/04/1871. SON OF LUDWIG FREIDERICH (LOUIS) WITT AND EMMA LAMB. HIS FATHER WAS A SHIP STEWARD, FROM GERMANY, HIS MOTHER, WAS BORN IN HULL. HUSBAND OF GEORGINA DEBNAM WITTY (1876-1925), OF 76 CLARE STREET, BENWELL, NEWCASTLE (PROBATE ADDRESS). HE JOINED THE ROYAL NAVAL RESERVE, ON 15/05/1890. LOST AT SEA, ON 24/01/1918, AGED 47. COMMEMORATED ON CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL, KENT, UK. HE LEFT £136 IN HIS WILL TO HIS WIDOW.
On 21/01/1918 the HM Tug DESIRE was towing the motor lighters X-6 and X-110 when they were confronted by the German U-boat, UB-34 when some 2.5 miles off Filey. The U-boat sank the tug DESIRE with gunfire and laid bombs on the two lighters.
Carl Racey † 28/01/2010 The UB-34 started a run of distruction along the Yorkshire coast when she torpedoed and sunk the Cory Collier HURSTWOOD, off Whitby, on 05/02/1917. The Italian steamer FERRUCIO was torpedoed off Robin Hood’s Bay on 06/02/1917. The Prince Line steamer CORSICAN PRINCE was torpedoed off Whitby High on 07/02/1917, and shortly afterwards, the Glasgow steamer SAINT NINIAN was torpedoed whilst picking up survivors from the CORSICAN PRINCE. On 08/09/1917 the Norwegian steamer ALADDIN was torpedoed 4nm North Flamborough Head. On 27/09/1917 the Cardiff steamer GRELTORIA , on her maiden voyage, was torpedoed 3 miles off Flamborough Head. The next victim of the UB-34 was the LADY HELEN, torpedoed on 27/10/1917, to the north of Scarborough. The following year, on 24/01/1918, the tug HMS DESIRE was scuttled south of Redcar, whilst towing two lighters. Two days later the Newcastle steamer HARTLEY was torpedoed 2 miles NE of Skinningrove. The Norwegian collier ATHOS was torpedoed the same day off Runswick Bay. On the 13/03/1918 the Norwegian steamer ADINE was torpedoed off Redcar. The last victim of the UB-34, along the Yorkshire coast, was the special service vessel (Q-ship) s.s. LOWTYNE, sunk without warning, 3.5 miles ESE of Whitby. ref. used:Carl Racey †, East Coast Shipwreck Research Carl Racey † 27/01/2010 Well over 400 tugs were requisitioned during the First World War by various branches of the British armed services, some for just a short while, others for the duration of the war. This led to an acute shortage of suitable tugs in some areas, especially the Thames, where tugs from other rivers were chartered in to help out. 319 British requisitioned tugs served with the Royal navy, 28 with the Army and the Navy, and 30 with the Army. A further 49 tugs were hired from overseas, including the USA. Read more at wrecksite: https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?66207