Gazette No. 29088
- 2 MARCH 1915
3rd March, 1915.
The following despatch has been
received from Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty, K.C.B.,
M.V.O., D.S.O., commanding the First Battle Cruiser
Squadron, reporting the action in the North Sea on
Sunday, the 24th of January, 1915:
"Princess Royal,", 2nd February, 1915.
I have the honour to report that
at daybreak on 24th January, 1915, the following
vessels were patrolling in company.
The Battle Cruisers "Lion”
Captain Alfred E. M. Chatfield, C.V.O., flying my
flag; "Princess Royal," Captain Osmond de B. Brock,
Aide-de-Camp; "Tiger," Captain Henry B. Pelly,
M.V.O.; "New Zealand," Captain Lionel Halsey,
C.M.G., Aide-de-Camp, flying the flag of
Rear-Admiral Sir Archibald Moore, K.C.B., C.V.O.;
and "Indomitable," Captain Francis W. Kennedy.
The Light Cruisers "Southampton,"
flying the broad pendant of Commodore William E.
Goodenough, M.V.O.; "Nottingham," Captain Charles B.
Miller; "Birmingham," Captain Arthur A. M. Duff; and
" Lowestoft," Captain Theobald W. B. Kennedy, were
disposed on my port beam.
Commodore (T) Reginald Y.
Tyrwhitt, C.B., in "Arethusa," "Aurora," Captain
Wilmot S. Nicholson, "Undaunted," Captain Francis G.
St. John, M.V.O., "Arethusa," and the Destroyer
Flotillas were ahead.
At 7.25 a.m. the flash of guns
was observed S.S.E. Shortly afterwards a report
reached me from "Aurora" that she was engaged with
enemy's ships. I immediately altered course to
S.S.E., increased to 22 knots, and ordered the Light
Cruisers and Flotillas to chase S.S.E. to get in
touch and report movements of enemy.
This order was acted upon with
great promptitude, indeed my wishes had already been
forestalled by the respective Senior Officers, and
reports almost immediately followed from
"Southampton," "Arethusa," and "Aurora" as to the
position and composition of the enemy, which
consisted of 3 Battle Cruisers and "Blucher," 6
Light Cruisers, and a number of Destroyers, steering
N.W. The enemy had altered course to S.E. From now
onwards the Light Cruisers maintained touch with the
enemy, and kept me fully informed as to their
The Battle Cruisers worked up to
full speed, steering to the southward. The wind at
the time was N.E., light, with extreme visibility.
At 7.30 a.m. the enemy were sighted on the port bow
steaming fast, steering approximately S.E. distant
Owing to the prompt reports
received we had attained our position on the quarter
of the enemy, and so altered course to S.E. parallel
to them, and settled down to a long stern chase,
gradually increasing our speed until we reached 28.5
knots. Great credit is due to the Engineer Staffs of
"New Zealand" and "Indomitable"-these ships greatly
exceeded their normal speed.
At 8.52 a.m., as we had closed to
within 20,000 yards of the rear ship, the Battle
Cruisers manoeuvred to keep on a line of bearing so
that guns would bear, and "Lion" fired a single
shot, which fell short. The enemy at this time were
in single line ahead, with Light Cruisers ahead and
a large number of Destroyers on their starboard
Single shots were fired at
intervals to test the range, and at 9.9 a.m. "Lion"
made her first hit on the "Blücher," No. 4 in the
line. The "Tiger" opened fire at 9.20 a.m. on the
rear ship, the "Lion" shifted to No. 3 in the line,
at 18,000 yards, this ship being hit by several
salvoes. The enemy returned our fire at 9.14 a.m.
"Princess Royal," on coming into range, opened fire
on "Blücher," the range of the leading ship being
17,500 yards, at 9.35 a.m. "New Zealand" was within
range of "Blücher," which had dropped somewhat
astern, and opened fire on her. "Princess Royal"
shifted to the third ship in the line, inflicting
considerable damage on her.
Our flotilla cruisers and
destroyers had gradually dropped from a position
broad on our beam to our port quarter, so as not to
foul our range with their smoke; but the enemy's
destroyers threatening attack, the "Meteor" and "M"
Division passed ahead of us, Captain the Hon. H.
Meade, D.S.O., handling this Division with
About 9.45 a.m. the situation was
"Blücher, the fourth in their
line, already showed signs of having suffered
severely from gun-fire; their leading ship and No. 3
were also on fire. ''Lion'' was engaging No. 1,
"Princess Royal" No. 3, "New Zealand" No. 4, while
the "Tiger," who was second in our line, fired first
at their No. 1, and when interfered with by smoke,
at their No. 4.
The enemy's destroyers emitted
vast columns of smoke to screen their battle
cruisers, and under cover of this the latter now
appeared to have altered course to the northward to
increase their distance, and certainly the rear
ships hauled out on the port quarter of their
leader, thereby increasing their distance from our
line. The battle cruisers, therefore, were ordered
to form a line of bearing N.N.W., and proceed at
their utmost speed.
Their destroyers then showed
evident signs of an attempt to attack. "Lion" and
"Tiger" opened fire on them, and caused them to
retire and resume their original course.
The Light Cruisers maintained an
excellent position on the port quarter of the
enemy's line, enabling them to observe and keep
touch, or attack any vessel that might fall out of
At 10.48 a.m. the "Blücher,"
which had dropped considerably astern of enemy's
line, hauled out to port, steering north with a
heavy list, on fire, and apparently in a defeated
condition. I consequently ordered "Indomitable" to
attack enemy breaking northward. At 10.54 a.m.
submarines were reported on the starboard bow, and I
personally observed the wash of a periscope, two
points on our starboard bow. I immediately turned to
At 11.3 a.m. an injury to the
"Lion" being reported as incapable of immediate
repair, I directed "Lion" to shape course N.W. At
11.20 a.m. I called the "Attack" alongside, shifting
my flag to her at about 11.35 a.m. I proceeded at
utmost speed to rejoin the Squadron, and met them at
noon retiring N.N.W.
I boarded and hoisted my flag in
"Princess Royal" at about 12.20 p.m., when Captain
Brock acquainted me of what had occurred since the
"Lion" fell out of the line, namely that " Blücher"
had been sunk and that the enemy Battle Cruisers had
continued their course to the eastward in a
considerably damaged condition. He also informed me
that a Zeppelin and a seaplane had endeavoured to
drop bombs on the vessels which went to the rescue
of the survivors of "Blücher."
The good seamanship of Lieut.
Commander Cyril Callaghan, H.M.S. "Attack," in
placing his vessel alongside the "Lion" and
subsequently the "Princess Royal," enabled the
transfer of flag to be made in the shortest possible
At 2 p.m. I closed "Lion" and
received a report that her starboard engine was
giving trouble owing to priming, and at 3.38 p.m. I
ordered "Indomitable" to take her in tow, which was
accomplished by 5 p.m.
The greatest credit is due to the
Captains of "Indomitable" and "Lion" for the
seamanlike manner in which the "Lion" was taken in
tow under difficult circumstances.
The excellent steaming of the
ships engaged in the operation was a conspicuous
I attach an appendix giving the
names of various officers and men who specially
Where all did well it is
difficult to single out Officers and Men for special
mention, and as "Lion" and "Tiger" were the only
ships hit by the enemy, the majority of these I
mention belong to those ships.
I have the
honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,
Commander Charles A. Fountaine,
Lieutenant-Commander Evan C.
Bunbury, H.M.S. "Lion."
Lieutenant Frederick T. Peters,
Lieutenant Charles M. R.
Schwerdt, H.M.S. "Lion."
Engineer-Commander Donald P.
Green, H.M.S. "Lion."
Engineer-Commander James L.
Sands, H.M.S. "Southampton."
Engineer-Commander Thomas H.
Turner, H.M.S. "New Zealand."
George Preece, H.M.S. "Lion."
Knothe, H.M.S. "Indomitable."
Surgeon Probationer James A.
Stirling, R.N.V.R., H.M.S. "Meteor."
Mr. Joseph H. Burton, Gunner
(T), H.M.S. "Lion."
Chief Carpenter Frederick E.
Dailey, H.M.S. "Lion."
Officers and Men.
Petty Officer John William
Kemmett, O.N. 186788, H.M.S. "Lion."
Able Seaman Henry Davis, O.N.
184526, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Able Seaman Hubert F. Griffin,
O.N. J. 14160, H.M.S. "Princess Royal."
Able Seaman Peter Stanley
Livingstone, O.N. 234328, H.M.S. "Lion."
Able Seaman Herbert Robison,
O.N. 209112, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Able Seaman George Henry le
Seilleur, O.N. 156802, H.M.S. "Lion."
Boy, 1st Class, Francis G. H.
Bamford, O.N. J. 26598, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Boy, 1st Class, Julius F.
Rogers, O.N. J. 28329, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Chief Engine-Room Artificer,
1st Class, Evan Richard Hughes, O.N. 268999,
Chief Engine-Room Artificer,
2nd Class, Wm. Beaty Dand, O.N. 270648, H.M.S.
Chief Engine-Room Artificer W.
Gillespie, O.N. 270080, H.M.S. "Meteor."
Mechanician Alexander James
Cannon, O.N. 175440, H.M.S. "Lion."
Mechanician Edward Charles
Ephgrave, O.N. 288231, H.M.S. "Lion."
Chief Stoker Patrick Callaghan,
O.N. 278953, H.M.S, "Lion."
Chief Stoker Alfred Wm. Ferris,
O.N. 175824, H.M.S. "Lion."
Chief Stoker John Ernest James
Portsmouth, O.N. 174232, H.M.S. "New Zealand."
Chief Stoker William James,
O.N.15322Q (R.F.R. Dev. A.3422), H.M.S.
Chief Stoker James Keating,
R.F.R., O.N, 165732, H.M.S. "Meteor."
Stoker Petty Officer Michael
Flood, R.F.R., O.N. 153418, H.M.S. "Meteor."
Stoker Petty Officer Thomas Wm.
Hardy, O.N. 292542, H.M.S. "Indomitable."
Stoker Petty Officer Albert
John Sims, O.N. 276502, H.M.S. " New Zealand."
Stoker Petty Officer Samuel
Westaway, R.F.R., O.N. 300938, H.M.S. "Meteor."
Acting Leading Stoker John
Blackburn, O.N. K. 4844, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Stoker, 1st Class, Alan H.
Bennet, O.N. K. 10700, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Stoker, 2nd Class, Harold
Turner, O.N. K. 22720, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Leading Carpenter's Crew,
Emmanuel Omega Bradley, O.N. 346621, H.M.S.
Leading Carpenter's Crew,
Elisha Currie, O.N. 344851, H.M.S. "Lion."
Sick Berth Attendant Charles S.
Hutchinson O.N. M. 3882, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Chief Writer Samuel G. White,
O.N. 340597, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Third Writer Herbert C. Green,
O.N. M. 8266, H.M.S. "Tiger."
Officers' Steward, 3rd Class,
Fred W. Kearley, O.N. L. 2716, H.M.S. "Tiger."