Butcher, 2nd Class Frederick Priest Merrill, R.A.N., H.M.A.S. Pioneer, wrote to his parents in Sheffield with his account of the sinking of the S.M.S. Königsberg in the Rufiji delta, German East Africa, on 11th July 1915.
“How the Konigsberg was Accounted For.
“We gave them hell,” writes F. P. Merrill, from the East Coast of Africa, in a detailed account of the fight with the Konigsberg, which he has sent to his parents at 143, Weston Street, Sheffield.
“We lost ten good lives demolishing the ‘Kon.,’ and the scores of forts on either bank. On account of the shallow water at the mouth of the river our ships had been unable to get anywhere near the line of fire, and things had been practically at a standstill, so far as attack was concerned. But we have had to be continually on patrol in case she made a bid for freedom.
“After a great deal of preparation by all ships, we were told one Monday morning that the attack on the Konigsberg would be made the following morning daybreak. The captain told us the monitors would go up the river, and certain ships would fire on the coast. Our ship being one drawing the least water, took the lead. Needless to say this delighted us, for we were all raving to have a ‘go.’
“The monitors entered the river before daybreak, and were at once opened fire on from both sides of the bank. Aeroplanes were then flying over the Konigsberg giving the range of the guns to our ships. So the monitors weren’t long in opening fire, miles away. The ‘K’ then commenced to fire broadside guns, and they just rained shells on and around one another as fast as they could, till one by one the Konigsberg’s guns ceased. After two hours’ firing she had only one gun barking, but that was soon silenced, and she was seen to be afire. Descending the river the monitors met with a hot reception all the way, but they fought their way right through, and at once came alongside the hospital ship to dispose of the killed (four) and wounded (four). Two have died since.
“You can imagine how the men felt, firing those great guns from sunrise to sunset. They were all quite deaf for days after. The cause of the casualties was the bursting of a shell fair on top of a gun, and it wiped out the whole of the gun’s crew. To deceive the enemy the monitors were painted green, and trees and foliage placed all around them to make them look as much like the banks as possible.
“We have since been to put the finishing touches on the action. Again the monitors, the Mersey and the Severn, met with severe fighting on entering the river, and the Mersey had the misfortune to have three men slightly wounded by rifle fire. On taking up their positions, they opened lire on the Konigsberg, and to the surprise of the monitors she replied back with four guns. You can imagine it was a shock for the monitors, having only three days previously silenced her guns. However, we got going at once, and, getting the range in no time, gave her ‘hell.’ The aeroplanes reported five hits in fifteen minutes. We heard by wireless that one of our aeroplanes had been brought down, but the crew were safe. Then, later, we heard that the Konigsberg was on fire from stem to stern. All the time this was happening, our ship and the others were pouring fire on the river mouth, and when the monitors came back they didn’t have too many guns playing on them.
“In a chat with one of the Mersey chaps, I was told that his ship went within 2,000 yards of the Konigsberg. She had no funnels, masts, or bridge left, and was all ablaze.” 
Frederick Priest Merrill, an 18 year-old butcher’s assistant, living at 143 Weston Street, Sheffield, at the time of the 1911 Census. He was the son of Frederick and Clara Merrill. He signed on for five years with the Royal Australian Navy on 3rd March 1914.
 ‘Sheffield Daily Telegraph,’ 8th September 1915.