Newport’s importance as a port was enhanced by the new South Dock, officially opened just weeks before war broke out. Many merchant ships were registered at Newport and crewed by local men. Newport’s merchant seamen were soon to find themselves in the front line. In October 1914 two Newport trading vessels were sunk, the Ardmount after hitting a mine and the Clan Grant by the German cruiser Emden. In July 1916, the Canford Chine, a Newport ship trading in the Mediterranean was sunk by shellfire from a German submarine. The crew was able to take to the lifeboats and all survived. In October 1916 the Newport trader Penylan was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in the Mediterranean. Fortunately the ship took two hours to sink and all the crew were able to take to the life boats and were eventually picked up by a French destroyer.