Captain R. S. Wembsley, late of the North German Lloyd and White Star lines, shares with us this whimsical anecdote:
So it was 1914 and we had just finished building the grandest ship afloat, the SS Commander Triton. We were about to set sail for Southampton, when war broke out in Europe and we found we had a delay.
The fact that we were bringing 300 cwt of munitions to Imperial Germany, by way of England, meant that our ship was certainly liable for impoundment.
As executive officer of the ship, I declared that we would take a roundabout route through the Canary Islands, which at that time were owned by the Kingdom of Spain.
At the Canaries we would reflag ourselves as a Spanish ship, and thereby pass unnoticed direct to Hamburg.
Alas, I forgot to take down the Stars and Stripes at the Starboard Stern, and a German U-boat sank us off Cap Finisterre, although the Stars and Stripes were a neutral flag.
I survived, along with 17 members of the crew, but my face was very red.