Selman-ı Pak

Type Gunboat Hull Steel
Displacement 98 tonnes Engines 1 triple expansion, Yarrow
Length 38.4 m Machinery Steam
Beam 6.1 m Speed 10 kts
Draught 0.6 m
Armament 1x102 mm QF, 1x76 mm QF, 1x57 mm QF, 3 machine guns
River gunboat Selman-ı Pak under the Turkish flag • Donanma Mecmuası

In 1915 and 1916, Britain commissioned sixteen Fly-class gunboats specifically for operations on the Tigris River during the Mesopotamian campaign. These gunboats were constructed in sections and assembled on-site in Abadan, located along the banks of the Tigris.

Among these vessels was the Firefly, launched in 1915. On 1 December 1915, while engaged in an exchange of fire with Turkish shore batteries on the Tigris, Firefly sustained damage to her boiler, resulting in a loss of power. Forced to be abandoned, she was subsequently seized by the Turks, who renamed her "Selman-ı Pak" after the contemporary name of the ancient Persian town of Ctesiphon, where significant battles between British and Ottoman forces were taking place. After extensive repairs in Baghdad, the Turks utilized her in their own war efforts.

Proving to be an asset for Turkish operations in the region, on 26 February 1917, Selman-ı Pak ran aground and was left stranded. Abandoned by the Turks, the vessel was eventually recaptured by the British gunboat Tarantula and reinstated under her original name, Firefly. Following the conclusion of the war, Firefly met her demise when insurgents sank her on the Euphrates River on 14 May 1924.

Firefly during assembly in Abadan • Imperial War Museum
Selman-ı Pak on the Tigris • “Kampf in der Wüste”, C. Lahr, 1936
Officers and crew of Selman-ı Pak