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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

German Submarine Attack on Seaham 11 July 1916

Information about the u-boat attack on Seaham, County Durham, in World War One.

If you are familiar with the history of County Durham you may know that Hartlepool was bombarded by the German fleet in 1914, but did you know that Seaham also came under enemy fire in 1916?

The Durham at War project Durham at War will tell the stories of local people, places and events in 1914-1918 by linking evidence from museums, libraries, archives, community and personal collections, and the historic environment.

What Happened at Seaham

The submarine attack on Seaham is a good example of how to uncover the story of an event from the evidence which survives.

Photograph of German submarine shell used in the attack on Seaham, 1916 (image courtesy of DLI Museum, acc. 599)
Icon showing image can be enlarged
Scrapbook about the Great War, by G.S. Boggon of Seaham, 1914-1918 (ref. UD/Sea 36, pages 48-49)

You may want to know:

  • Why Seaham was attacked
  • When the attack took place
  • Was anyone killed
  • Was there much damage
  • Were there many attacks like this on the Durham coastline?

So far we have discovered:

  • One of the shells which was fired from the submarine
  • Several reports of the attack from archives, newspapers and memoirs
  • A translation of the German submarine commander's diary
  • Photographs of the commander, crew and the gun used in the attack
  • Photographs of local places and people
  • A map to help identify where the shells landed

See the evidence for the attack on Seaham in 1916.

If you know of other sources or would like to search for more evidence yourself, see how to volunteer on this WW1 Centenary project.