On 29th July 1914, Kronprinz Wilhelm arrived in New York and proceeded to refuel and reprovision as usual. Two days later NDL ordered her to load additional large amounts of coal and fresh water. Then on 1st August NDL cancelled Kronprinz Wilhelm’s next sailing scheduled for 4th August. In the meantime they continued to load fuel wherever they could. Portholes and windows were sealed and blacked out. She then sailed, to become one of Germany’s armed raiders, seizing a number of vessels.
On 14th January Captain Thierfelder seized the Nelson liner Highland Brae, on passage from England to Buenos Aires with two thousand tons of coal, ﬁve hundred tons of fresh water and additional provisions. The passengers were transferred to Kronprinz Wilhelm. This meant that the raider now had some 219 prisoners on board that needed guarding and were consuming the limited supplies of food and water.
By 24th January Highland Brae was alongside, and the crew offloaded coal, provisions and fresh water as fast as possible, in spite of a deteriorating sea. After a break for bad weather the two ships came back alongside on the morning of 29th January, and the remaining coal and provisions were transferred. By late afternoon of Saturday, 30th January everything useful had been transferred, and soon after Highland Brae was scuttled by opening the seacocks.
After a successful time as a raider, time ran out for Kronprinz Wilhelm. Thierfelder timed his arrival off Chesapeake Bay for after dark on Saturday, 10th April. Once anchored, the ship and its crew were interned.
Extracted from “The German Greyhounds” – for more details see http://wp.me/P82xkB-40