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ROYAL NAVY DESPATCHES, Part 1 of 3

London Gazette August 1914-July 1916
(editions 28861-29654)


Arranged by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

Announcing the award of the Victoria Cross to Q-ship Skipper Thomas Crisp (Frank Hales, click to enlarge. Also click here for the story)

on to Royal Navy Despatches 1916-1918
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Naval Despatches, Part 1 of 3

(London Gazette edition in brackets)

Antwerp, Naval Brigade operations (28996)

Armoured Car Squadron, RNAS (28948)

Belgian coast operations (29126)

Belgian coast operations (29436)

Declaration of War against Germany (28861)

Declaration of War against Turkey (28963)

Declaration of War against Bulgaria (29333)

Dogger Bank, Battle of (29088)

Emden, sinking of German cruiser (29025)

Falklands, Battle of (29087)

Gallipoli - Naval awards (29214)

Gallipoli - Landings (29264)

Gallipoli - Naval mentions (29507)

Heligoland Bight, Battle of (28948)

Jutland, Battle of - Action in the North Sea (29654)

Königsberg, destruction of German cruiser (29395)

Minesweeping, East Coast operations (29076)

RNAS - operations (28948)

RNAS - Friedrichshafen airship shed attack (29025)

RNAS - Heligoland Bight, Naval seaplane operations (29076)

Submarine operations (28948)

Return to Main Index for all Naval Despatches, as well as Army Despatches that relate to Naval Operations and Mentions

 
 

 
 

 

28861 - 4 AUGUST 1914

 

Foreign Office, August 4th, 1914.

 

A STATE OF WAR.

 

His Majesty's Government informed the German Government on August 4th, 1914, that, unless a satisfactory reply to the request of His Majesty's Government for an assurance that Germany would respect the neutrality of Belgium was received by midnight of that day, His Majesty's Government would feel bound to take all steps in their power to uphold that neutrality and the observance of a treaty to which Germany was as much a party as Great Britain.

 

The result of this communication having been that His Majesty's Ambassador at Berlin had to ask for his passports, His Majesty's Government have accordingly formally notified the German Government that a state of war exists between the two countries, as from 11 p.m. to-day.

 

 


 

 

28948 - 20 OCTOBER 1914

 

  
North Sea - and from the scrapbook of Yeoman of Signals George Smith,

click to enlarge
 

BATTLE OF HELIGOLAND BIGHT

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 1 September 1914

 

also

Services performed by Submarines since the Commencement of Hostilities

Aeroplane and Armoured Motor Support of the Royal Naval Air Service

 

Admiralty, 21st October, 1914.

 

The following despatches have been received from Vice-Admiral (Acting) Sir David Beatty, K. C. B., M. V. O., D. S. O., H.M.S. "Lion," Rear-Admiral Arthur H. Christian, M. V. O., H.M.S. "Euryalus," Commodore Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt, Commodore (T.), H.M.S. "Arethusa," and Commodore Roger J. B. Keyes, C. B., M. V. O., Commodore (S.), reporting the engagement off Heligoland on Friday, the 28th August.

 

A memorandum by the Director of the Air Department, Admiralty, is annexed.

___

 

To the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

H.M.S. "Lion" , 1st September, 1914.

(below - Maritime Quest/Alasdair Hughes)


 

Sir, I have the honour to report that on Thursday, 27th August, at 5 a.m., I proceeded with the First Battle Cruiser Squadron and First Light Cruiser Squadron in company, to rendezvous with the Rear-Admiral, "Invincible."

 

At 4 a.m., 28th August, the movements of the Flotillas commenced as previously arranged, the Battle Cruiser Squadron and Light Cruiser Squadron supporting. The Rear Admiral, "Invincible," with "New Zealand" and four Destroyers having joined my flag, the Squadron passed through the pre-arranged rendezvous.

 

At 8. 10 a.m. I received a signal from the Commodore (T), informing me that the Flotilla was in action with the enemy. This was presumably in the vicinity of their pre-arranged rendezvous. From this time until 11 a.m. I remained about the vicinity ready to support as necessary, intercepting various signals, which contained no information on which I could act.

 

At 11 a.m. the Squadron was attacked by three Submarines. The attack was frustrated by rapid manoeuvring and the four Destroyers were ordered to attack them. Shortly after 11 a.m., various signals having been received indicating that the Commodore (T) and Commodore (S) were both in need of assistance, I ordered the Light Cruiser Squadron to support the Torpedo Flotillas.

 

Later I received a signal from the Commodore (T), stating that he was being attacked by a large Cruiser, and a further signal informing me that he was being hard pressed and asking for assistance. The Captain (D), First Flotilla, also signalled that he was in need of help.

 

From the foregoing the situation appeared to me critical. The Flotillas had advanced only ten miles since 8 a.m., and were only about twenty-five miles from two enemy bases on their flank and rear respectively. Commodore Goodenough had detached two of his Light Cruisers to assist some Destroyers earlier in the day, and these had not yet rejoined. (They rejoined at 2. 30 p.m.) As the reports indicated the presence of many enemy ships - one a large Cruiser - I considered that his force might not be strong enough to deal with the situation sufficiently rapidly, so at 11. 30 a.m. the Battle Cruisers turned to E. S. E., and worked up to full speed. It was evident that to be of any value the support must be overwhelming and carried out at the highest speed possible.

 

I had not lost sight of the risk of Submarines, and possible sortie in force from the enemy's base, especially in view of the mist to the South-East.

 

Our high speed, however, made submarine attack difficult, and the smoothness of the sea made their detection comparatively easy. I considered that we were powerful enough to deal with any sortie except by a Battle Squadron, which was unlikely to come out in time, provided our stroke was sufficiently rapid.

 

At 12. 15 p.m. "Fearless" and First Flotilla were sighted retiring West. At the same time the Light Cruiser Squadron was observed to be engaging an enemy ship ahead. They appeared to have her beat.

 

I then steered N. E. to sounds of firing ahead, and at 12. 30 p.m. sighted "Arethusa" and Third Flotilla retiring to the Westward engaging a Cruiser of the "Kolberg" class on our Port Bow. I steered to cut her off from Heligoland, and at 12. 37 p.m. opened fire. At 12. 42 the enemy turned to N. E., and we chased at 27 knots.

 

At 12. 56 p.m. sighted and engaged a two-funnelled Cruiser ahead. "Lion" fired two salvoes at her, which took effect, and she disappeared into the mist, burning furiously and in a sinking condition. In view of the mist and that she was steering at high speed at right angles to "Lion," who was herself steaming at 28 knots, the "Lion's" firing was very creditable.

 

Our Destroyers had reported the presence of floating mines to the Eastward and I considered it inadvisable to pursue her. It was also essential that the Squadrons should remain concentrated, and I accordingly ordered a withdrawal. The Battle Cruisers turned North and circled to port to complete the destruction of the vessel first engaged. She was sighted again at 1. 25 p.m. steaming S. E. with colours still flying. "Lion" opened fire with two turrets, and at 1. 35 p.m., after receiving two salvoes, she sank.

 

The four attached Destroyers were sent to pick up survivors, but I deeply regret that they subsequently reported that they searched the area but found none.

 

 

At 1. 40 p.m. the Battle Cruisers turned to. the Northward, and "Queen Mary" (above - Photo Ships) was again attacked by a Submarine. The attack was avoided by the use of the helm. "Lowestoft" was also unsuccessfully attacked. The Battle Cruisers covered the retirement until nightfall. By 6 p.m., the retirement having been well executed and all Destroyers accounted for, I altered course, spread the Light Cruisers, and swept northwards in accordance with the Commander-in-Chief's orders. At 7. 45 p.m. I detached "Liverpool" to Rosyth with German prisoners, 7 officers and 79 men, survivors from "Mainz." No further incident occurred.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient Servant,

(Signed) DAVID BEATTY, Vice-Admiral.

____

 

To the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

"Euryalus," 28th September, 1914.

 

Sir, I have the honour to report that in accordance with your orders a reconnaissance in force was carried out in the Heligoland Bight on the 28th August, with the object of attacking the enemy's Light Cruisers and Destroyers.

 

The forces under my orders (viz., the Cruiser Force, under Rear-Admiral H. H. Campbell, C. V. O., "Euryalus," "Amethyst," First and Third Destroyer Flotillas and the Submarines) took up the positions assigned to them on the evening of the 27th August, and, in accordance with directions given, proceeded during the night to approach the Heligoland Bight.

 

The Cruiser Force under Rear-Admiral Campbell, with "Euryalus" (my Flagship) and "Amethyst," was stationed to intercept any enemy vessels chased to the westward. At 4. 30 p.m. on the 28th August these Cruisers, having proceeded to the eastward, fell in with "Lurcher" and three other Destroyers, and the wounded and prisoners in these vessels were transferred in boats to "Bacchante" and "Cressy, " which left for the Nore. "Amethyst" took "Laurel" in tow, and at 9. 30 p.m. "Hogue" (below - Maritime Quest) was detached to take "Arethusa" in tow. This latter is referred to in Commodore R. Y. Tyrwhitt's report, and I quite concur in his remarks as to the skill and rapidity with which this was done in the dark with no lights permissible.

 

 

 

Commodore Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt was in command of the Destroyer Flotillas, and his report is enclosed herewith. His attack was delivered with great skill and gallantry, and he was most ably seconded by Captain William F. Blunt, in "Fearless," and the Officers in command of the Destroyers, who handled their vessels in a manner worthy of the best traditions of the British Navy.

 

Commodore Roger J. B. Keyes, in "Lurcher," had on the 27th August, escorted some Submarines into positions allotted to them in the immediate vicinity of the enemy's coast. On the morning of the 28th August, in company with "Firedrake, " he searched the area to the southward of the Battle Cruisers for the enemy's Submarines, and subsequently, having been detached, was present at the sinking of the German Cruiser "Mainz" (below, SMS Köln also sunk; sister ship SMS Mainz similar - Photo Ships), when he gallantly proceeded alongside her and rescued 220 of her crew, many of whom were wounded. Subsequently he escorted "Laurel" and "Liberty " out of action, and kept them, company till Rear-Admiral Campbell's Cruisers were sighted.

 

 

 

As regards the Submarine Officers, I would specially mention the names of:

 

(a) Lieutenant-Commander Ernest W. Leir. His coolness and resource in rescuing the crews of the "Goshawk's" and "Defender's" boats at a critical time of the action were admirable.

 

(b) Lieutenant-Commander Cecil P. Talbot. In my opinion, the bravery and resource of the Officers in command of Submarines since the war commenced are worthy of the highest commendation.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

A. H. CHRISTIAN, Rear-Admiral.

____

 

H.M.S. "Lowestoft, ", 26th September, 1914.

 

Sir, I have the honour to report that at 5 a.m. on Thursday, 27th August, in accordance with orders received from Their Lordships, I sailed in "Arethusa," in company with the First and Third Flotillas, except "Hornet," "Tigress, ""Hydra," and "Loyal," to carry out the prearranged operations, H.M.S. "Fearless" joined the Flotillas at sea that afternoon.

 

At 6. 53 a.m. on Friday, 28th August, an enemy's Destroyer was sighted, and was chased by the 4th Division of the Third Flotilla.

 

From 7. 20 to 7. 57 a.m. "Arethusa" and the Third Flotilla were engaged with numerous Destroyers and Torpedo Boats which were making for Heligoland; course was altered to port to cut them off.

 

Two Cruisers, with 4 and 2 funnels respectively, were sighted on the port bow at 7. 57 a.m., the nearest of which was engaged. "Arethusa" received a heavy fire from both Cruisers and several Destroyers until 8. 15 a.m., when the four-funnelled Cruiser transferred her fire to "Fearless."

 

Close action was continued with the two-funnelled Cruiser on converging courses until 8. 25 a.m., when a 6-inch projectile from "Arethusa" wrecked the fore bridge of the enemy, who at once turned away in the direction of Heligoland, which was sighted slightly on the starboard bow at about the same time.

 

All ships were at once ordered to turn to the westward, and shortly afterwards speed was reduced to 20 knots.

 

During this action "Arethusa" had been hit many times, and was considerably damaged; only one 6-inch gun remained in action, all other guns and torpedo tubes having been temporarily disabled.

 

Lieutenant Eric W. P. Westmacott (Signal Officer) was killed at my side during this action. I cannot refrain from adding that he carried out his duties calmly and collectedly, and was of the greatest assistance to me.

 

A fire occurred opposite No. 2 gun port side caused by a shell exploding some ammunition, resulting in a terrific blaze for a short period and leaving the deck burning. This was very promptly dealt with and extinguished by Chief Petty Officer Frederick W. Wrench, O.N. 158630.

 

The Flotillas were reformed in Divisions and proceeded at 20 knots. It was now noticed that "Arethusa's"  (below  - Navy Photos) speed had been reduced, "Fearless" reported that the 3rd and 5th Divisions of the First Flotilla had sunk the German Commodore's Destroyer and that two boats' crews belonging to "Defender" had been left behind, as our Destroyers had been fired upon, by a German Cruiser during their act of mercy in saving the survivors of the German Destroyer.

 

 

 

At 10 a.m., hearing that Commodore (S) in "Lurcher" and "Firedrake" were being chased by Light Cruisers, I proceeded to his assistance with "Fearless" and the First Flotilla until 10. 37 a.m., when, having received no news and being in the vicinity of Heligoland, I ordered the ships in company to turn to the westward.

 

All guns except two 4-inch were again in working order, and the upper deck supply of ammunition was replenished.

 

At 10. 55 a.m. a four-funnelled German Cruiser was sighted, and opened a very heavy fire at about 11 o'clock.

 

Our position being somewhat critical, I ordered "Fearless" to attack, and the First Flotilla to attack with torpedoes, which they proceeded to do with great spirit. The Cruiser at once turned away, disappeared in the haze and evaded the attack.

 

About 10 minutes later the same Cruiser appeared on our starboard quarter. Opened fire on her with both 6-inch guns; "Fearless" also engaged her, and one Division of Destroyers attacked her with torpedoes without success.

 

The state of affairs and our position was then reported to the Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron.

 

We received a very severe and almost accurate fire from this Cruiser; salvo after salvo was falling between 10 and 30 yards short, but not a single shell struck; two torpedoes were also fired at us, being well directed, but short.

 

The Cruiser was badly. damaged by "Arethusa's" 6-inch guns and a splendidly directed fire from "Fearless," and she shortly afterwards turned away in the direction of Heligoland.

 

Proceeded, and four minutes later sighted the three-funnelled Cruiser "Mainz." She endured a heavy fire from "Arethusa" and "Fearless" and many Destroyers. After an action of approximately 25 minutes she was seen to be sinking by the head, her engines stopped, besides being on fire.

 

At this moment the Light Cruiser Squadron appeared, and they very speedily reduced the "Mainz" to a condition which must have been indescribable.

 

I then recalled "Fearless" (above - Photo Ships) and the Destroyers, and ordered cease fire.

 

 

 

We then exchanged broadsides with a large, four-funnelled Cruiser on the starboard quarter at long range, without visible effect.

 

The Battle Cruiser Squadron now arrived, and I pointed out this Cruiser to the Admiral Commanding, and was shortly afterwards informed by him that the Cruiser in question had been sunk and another set on fire.

 

The weather during the day was fine, sea calm, but visibility poor, not more than 3 miles at any time when the various actions were taking place, and was such that ranging and spotting were rendered difficult.

 

I then proceeded with 14 Destroyers of the Third Flotilla and 9 of the First Flotilla.

 

"Arethusa's" speed was about 6 knots until 7 p.m., when it was impossible to proceed any further, and fires were drawn in all boilers except two, and assistance called for.

 

At 9. 30 p.m. Captain Wilmot S. Nicholson, of the "Hogue," took my ship in tow in a most seamanlike manner, and, observing that the night was pitch dark and the only lights showing were two small hand lanterns, I consider his action was one which deserves special notice from Their Lordships.

 

I would also specially recommend Lieutenant-Commander Arthur P. N. Thorowgood, of ''Arethusa," for the able manner he prepared the ship for being towed in the dark.

 

H. M. Ship under my command was then towed to the Nore, arriving at 5 p.m. on the 29th August. Steam was then available for slow speed, and the ship was able to proceed to Chatham under her own steam.

 

I beg again to call attention to the services rendered by Captain W. F. Blunt, of H.M.S. "Fearless," and the Commanding Officers of the Destroyers of the First and Third Flotillas, whose gallant attacks on the German Cruisers at critical moments undoubtedly saved "Arethusa" from more severe punishment and possible capture.

 

I cannot adequately express my satisfaction and pride at the spirit and ardour of my Officers and Ship's Company, who carried out their orders with the greatest alacrity under the most trying conditions, especially in view of the fact that the ship, newly built, had not been 48 hours out of the Dockyard before she was in action.

 

It is difficult to specially pick out individuals. but the following came under my special observation:

 

H.M.S. "Arethusa"

 

Lieutenant-Commander Arthur P. N. Thorowgood, First Lieutenant, and in charge of the After Control.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Ernest K. Arbuthnot (G.), in charge of the Fore Control.

 

Sub-Lieutenant Clive A. Robinson, who worked the range-finder throughout the entire action with extraordinary coolness.

 

Assistant Paymaster Kenneth E. Badcock, my Secretary, who attended me on the bridge throughout the entire action.

 

Mr. James D. Godfrey, Gunner (T.), who was in charge of the torpedo tubes.

 

The following men were specially noted:

 

Armourer Arthur F. Hayes, O.N. 34202G (Ch.).

 

Second Sick Berth Steward George Trolley, O.N. M. 296 (Ch.).

 

Chief Yeoman of Signals Albert Fox, O.N. 194656 (Po.), on fore bridge during entire action.

 

Chief Petty Officer Frederick W. Wrench, O.N. 158630 (Ch.) (for ready resource in extinguishing fire caused by explosion of cordite).

 

Private Thomas Millington, R.M.L.I., No. Ch. 17417.

 

Private William J. Beirne, R.M.L.I., No. Ch. 13540.

 

First Writer Albert W. Stone, O.N. 346080 (Po.).

 

I also beg to record the services rendered by the following Officers and Men of H. M. Ships under my orders:

 

H.M.S. "Fearless."

 

Mr. Robert M. Taylor, Gunner, for coolness in action under heavy fire.

 

The following Officers also displayed great resource and energy in effecting repairs to "Fearless" after her return to harbour, and they were ably seconded by the whole of their staffs:

 

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Charles de F. Messervy.

 

Mr. William Morrissey, Carpenter.

 

H.M.S. "Goshawk"

 

Commander The Hon. Herbert Meade, who took his Division into action with great coolness and nerve, and was instrumental in sinking the German Destroyer "V.187," and, with the boats of his Division, saved the survivors in a most chivalrous manner.

 

H.M.S. "Ferret"

 

Commander Geoffrey Mackworth, who, with his Division, most gallantly seconded Commander Meade, of "Goshawk."

 

H.M.S. "Laertes."

(below - Photo Ships)

 

 

Lieutenant-Commander Malcolm L. Goldsmith, whose ship was seriously damaged, taken in tow, and towed out of action by "Fearless. "

 

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Alexander Hill, for repairing steering gear and engines under fire.

 

Sub-Lieutenant George H. Faulkner, who continued to fight his gun after being wounded.

 

Mr. Charles Powell, Acting Boatswain, O.N. 209388, who was gunlayer of the centre gun, which made many hits. He behaved very coolly, and set a good example when getting in tow and clearing away the wreckage after the action.

 

Edward Naylor, Petty Officer, Torpedo Gunner's Mate, O.N. 189136, who fired a torpedo which the Commanding Officer of "Laertes" reports undoubtedly hit the "Mainz," and so helped materially to put her out of action.

 

Stephen Pritchard, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 285152, who very gallantly dived into the cabin flat immediately after a shell had exploded there, and worked a fire hose.

 

Frederick Pierce, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 307943, who was on watch in the engine room and behaved with conspicuous coolness and resource when a shell exploded in No. 2 boiler.

 

H.M.S. "Laurel."

 (below, believed flying flag of White of Cowes, her builder, probably during trials - Photo Ships)

 

 

Commander Frank F. Rose, who most ably commanded his vessel throughout the early part of the action, and after having been wounded in both legs, remained on the bridge until 6 p.m., displaying great devotion to duty.

 

Lieutenant. Charles R. Peploe, First Lieutenant, who took command after Commander Rose was wounded, and continued the action till its close, bringing his Destroyer out in an able and gallant manner under most trying conditions.

 

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Edward H. T. Meeson, who behaved with great coolness during the action, and steamed the ship out of action, although she had been very severely damaged by explosion of her own lyddite, by which the after funnel was nearly demolished. He subsequently assisted to carry out repairs to the vessel.

 

Sam Palmer, Leading Seaman (G.L.2) O.N. 179529, who continued to fight his gun until the end of the action, although severely wounded in the leg.

 

Albert Edmund Sellens, Able Seaman (L.T.O.), O.N. 217245, who was stationed at the fore torpedo tubes; he remained at his post throughout the entire action, although wounded in the arm, and then rendered first aid in a very able manner before being attended to himself.

 

George H. Sturdy, Chief Stoker, O.N. 285547, and

 

Alfred Britton, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 289893, who both showed great coolness in putting out a fire near the centre gun after an explosion had occurred there; several lyddite shells were lying in the immediate vicinity.

 

William R. Boiston, Engine Room Artificer, 3rd class, O.N. M. 1369, who showed great ability and coolness in taking charge of the after boiler room during the action, when an explosion blew in the after funnel and a shell carried away pipes and seriously damaged the main steam pipe.

 

William H. Gorst, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 305616.

 

Edward Crane, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 307275.

 

Harry Wilfred Hawkes, Stoker 1st class, O.N. K. 12086.

 

John W. Bateman, Stoker 1st class, O.N. K. 12100.

 

These men were stationed in the after boiler room and conducted themselves with great coolness during the action, when an explosion blew in the after funnel, and shell carried away pipes and seriously damaged the main steam pipe.

 

H.M.S. "Liberty"

(below, also built by White of Cowes - CyberHeritage)

 

 

The late Lieutenant-Commander Nigel K. W. Barttelot commanded the "Liberty" with great skill and gallantry throughout the action. He was a most promising and able Officer, and I consider his death is a great loss to the Navy.

 

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Frank A. Butler, who showed much resource in effecting repairs during the action.

 

Lieutenant Henry E. Horan, First Lieutenant, who took command after the death of Lieutenant-Commander Barttelot, and brought his ship out of action in an extremely able and gallant manner under most trying conditions.

 

Mr. Harry Morgan, Gunner (T), who carried out his duties with exceptional coolness under fire.

 

Chief Petty Officer James Samuel Beadle, O.N. 171735, who remained at his post at the wheel for over an hour after being wounded in the kidneys.

 

John Galvin, Stoker, Petty Officer, O.N. 279946, who took entire charge, under the Engineer Officer, of the party who stopped leaks, and accomplished his task although working up to his chest in water.

 

H.M.S. "Laforey."

 

Mr. Ernest Roper, Chief Gunner, who carried out his duties with exceptional coolness under fire.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

R. Y. TYRWHITT, Commodore (T).

 

Click for British casualties

 

 


 

 

"Services performed by Submarines since the commencement of hostilities"

 

H.M.S. "Maidstone,", 11th. October, 1914.

 

Sir, In compliance with Their Lordships' directions, I have the honour to report as follows upon the services performed by Submarines since the commencement of hostilities:

 

Three hours after the outbreak of war, Submarines "E.6" (Lieutenant-Commander Cecil P. Talbot), and "E.8" (Lieutenant Commander Francis H. H. Goodhart), proceeded unaccompanied to carry out a reconnaissance in the Heligoland Bight. These two vessels returned with useful information, and had the privilege of being the pioneers on a service which is attended by some risk.

 

During the transportation of the Expeditionary Force the "Lurcher" and "Firedrake" and all the Submarines of the Eighth Submarine Flotilla occupied positions from which they could have attacked the High Sea Fleet, had it emerged to dispute the passage of our transports. This patrol was maintained day and night without relief, until the personnel of our Army had been transported and all chance of effective interference had disappeared.

 

These Submarines have since been incessantly employed on the Enemy's Coast in the Heligoland Bight and elsewhere, and have obtained much valuable information regarding the composition and movement of his patrols. They have occupied his waters and reconnoitred his anchorages, and, while so engaged, have been subjected to skilful and well executed anti-submarine tactics; hunted for hours at a time by Torpedo Craft and attacked by gunfire and torpedoes.

 

At midnight on the 26th August, I embarked in the "Lurcher," and, in company with "Firedrake" and Submarines "D.2" (below - Maritime Quest), "D.8," "E.4," "E.5," "E.6," "E.7," "E.8," and "E.9" of the Eighth Submarine Flotilla, proceeded to take part in the operations in the Heligoland Bight arranged for the. 28th August. The Destroyers scouted for the Submarines until nightfall on the 27th, when the latter proceeded independently to take up various positions from which they could cooperate with the Destroyer Flotillas on the following morning.

 

 

 

At daylight on the 28th August the "Lurcher" and "Firedrake" searched the area, through which the Battle Cruisers were to advance, for hostile Submarines, and then proceeded towards Heligoland in the wake of Submarines "E.6," "E.7," and "E.8," which were exposing themselves with the object of inducing the enemy to chase them to the westward.

 

On approaching Heligoland, the visibility, which had been very good to seaward, reduced to 5, 000 to 6, 000 yards, and this added considerably to the anxieties and responsibilities of the Commanding Officers of Submarines, who handled their vessels with coolness and judgment in an area which was necessarily occupied by friends as well as foes.

 

Low visibility and calm sea are the most unfavourable conditions under which Submarine can operate, and no opportunity occurred of closing with the Enemy's Cruisers to within torpedo range.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Ernest W. Leir, Commanding Submarine "E.4," witnessed the sinking of the German Torpedo Boat Destroyer "V.187" through his periscope, and, observing a Cruiser of the "Stettin" class close, and open fire on the British Destroyers which had lowered their boats to pick up the survivors, he proceeded to attack the Cruiser, but she altered course before he could get within range. After covering the retirement of our Destroyers, which had had to abandon their boats, he returned to the latter, and embarked a Lieutenant and nine men of "Defender," who had been left behind. The boats also contained two Officers and eight men of "V.187," who were unwounded, and eighteen men who were badly wounded. As he could not embark the latter, Lieutenant-Commander Leir left one of the Officers and six unwounded men to navigate the British boats to Heligoland. Before leaving he saw that they were provided with water, biscuit, and a compass. One German Officer and two men were made prisoners of war.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Leir's action in remaining on the surface in the vicinity of the enemy and in a visibility which would have placed his vessel within easy gun range of an enemy appearing out of the mist, was altogether admirable.

 

This enterprising and gallant Officer took part in the reconnaissance which supplied the information on which these operations were based, and I beg to submit his name, and that of Lieutenant -Commander Talbot, the Commanding Officer of "E.6," who exercised patience, judgment and skill in a dangerous position, for the favourable consideration of Their Lordships.

 

On the 13th September, "E.9" (Lieutenant-Commander Max K. Horton), torpedoed and sank the German Light Cruiser "Hela" six miles South of Heligoland.

 

A number of Destroyers were evidently called to the scene after "E.9" had delivered her attack, and these hunted her for several hours.

 

On the 14th September, in accordance with his orders, Lieutenant-Commander Horton examined the outer anchorage of Heligoland, a service attended by considerable risk.

 

On the 25th September, Submarine "E.6" (Lieutenant-Commander C. P. Talbot), while diving, fouled the moorings of a mine laid by the enemy. On rising to the surface she weighed the mine and sinker; the former was securely fixed between the hydroplane and its guard; fortunately, however, the horns of the mine were pointed outboard. The weight of the sinker made it a difficult and dangerous matter to lift the mine clear without exploding it. After half an hour's patient work this was effected by Lieutenant Frederick A. P. Williams-Freeman and Able Seaman Ernest Randall Cremer, Official Number 214235, and the released mine descended to its original depth.

 

On the 6th October, "E.9" (Lieutenant-Commander Max K. Horton), when patrolling off the Ems, torpedoed and sank the enemy's destroyer, "S.126."

 

The enemy's Torpedo Craft pursue tactics, which, in connection with their shallow draft, make them exceedingly difficult to attack with torpedo, and Lieutenant-Commander Horton's success was the result of much patient and skilful zeal. He is a most enterprising submarine officer, and I beg to submit his name for favourable consideration.

 

Lieutenant Charles M. S. Chapman, the Second in Command of "E.9," is also deserving of credit.

 

Against an enemy whose capital vessels have never, and Light Cruisers have seldom, emerged from their fortified harbours, opportunities of delivering Submarine attacks have necessarily been few, and on one occasion only, prior to the 13th September, has one of our Submarines been within torpedo range of a Cruiser during daylight hours.

 

During the exceptionally heavy westerly gales which prevailed between the 14th and 21st September, the position of the Submarines on a lee shore, within a few miles of the Enemy's coast, was an unpleasant one.

 

The short steep seas which accompany westerly gales in the Heligoland Bight made it difficult to keep the conning tower hatches open. There was no rest to be obtained, and even when cruising at a depth of 60 feet, the Submarines were rolling considerably, and pumping - i. e., vertically moving about twenty feet.

 

I submit that it was creditable to the Commanding Officers that they should have maintained their stations under such conditions.

 

Service in the Heligoland Bight is keenly sought after by the Commanding Officers of the Eighth Submarine Flotilla, and they have all shown daring and enterprise in the execution of their duties. These Officers have unanimously expressed to me their admiration of the cool and gallant behaviour of the Officers and men under their command. They are, however, of the opinion that it is impossible to single out individuals when all have performed their duties so admirably, and in this I concur.

 

The following Submarines have been in contact with the enemy during these operations:

 

"D.1" (Lieutenant-Commander Archibald D. Cochrane).

"D.2" (Lieutenant-Commander Arthur G. Jameson).

"D.3" (Lieutenant-Commander Edward C. Boyle) (right, later awarded VC for gallantry in Sea of Marmora - Digger).

"D.5" (Lieutenant-Commander Godfrey Herbert).

"E.4" (Lieutenant-Commander Ernest W. Leir).

"E.5" (Lieutenant-Commander Charles S. Benning).

"E.6" (Lieutenant-Commander Cecil P. Talbot).

"E.7" (Lieutenant-Commander Ferdinand E. B. Feilmann).

"E.9" (Lieutenant-Commander Max K. Horton).

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

(Signed) ROGER KEYES, Commodore (S).

 

 

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Memorandum by the Director of the Air Department, Admiralty.

 

Commander Charles R. Samson, R. N., was in command of the Aeroplane and Armoured Motor Support of the Royal Naval Air Service (Naval Wing) at Dunkerque, between the dates 1st September to 5th October.

 

During this period several notable air reconnaissance's were made, and skirmishes took place. Of these particular mention may be. made of the Aeroplane attack on 4th September on 4 enemy cars and 40 men, on which occasion several bombs were dropped; and of the successful skirmishes at Cassel on 4th September, Savy on 12th September, Aniche on 22nd September, Orchies on 23rd September.

 

On the 22nd September, Flight Lieutenant C. H. Collet, of the Royal Naval Air Service (Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps), flying a Sopwith tractor biplane, made a long flight and a successful attack on the German Zeppelin Airship Shed at Dusseldorf.

 

Lieutenant Collet's feat is notable - gliding down from 6, 000 feet, the last 1, 500 feet in mist, he finally came in sight of the Airship Shed at a height of 400 feet, only a quarter of a mile away from it.

 

Flight Lieutenant Marix, acting under the orders of Squadron Commander Spenser Grey, carried out a successful attack on the Dusseldorf airship shed during the afternoon of the 8th October. From a height of 600 feet he dropped two bombs on the shed, and flames 500 feet high, were seen within thirty seconds. The roof of the shed was also observed to collapse.

 

Lieutenant Marix's machine was under heavy fire from rifles and mitrailleuse and was five times hit whilst making the attack.

 

Squadron Commander Spenser Grey, whilst in charge of a flight of naval aeroplanes at Antwerp, penetrated during a 3 3/4 hours' flight into the enemy's country as far as Cologne on the 8th October. He circled the city under fire at 600 feet and discharged his bombs on the military railway station. Considerable damage was done.

 

11th October, 1914.

 

 


 

 

28963 - 3 NOVEMBER 1914

 

Foreign Office, November 5, 1914.

 

Owing to hostile acts committed by Turkish forces under German officers, a state of war exists between Great Britain and Turkey as from to-day.

 

 


Courtesy - Library of Congress

 

 

 


 

 

28996 - 4 DECEMBER 1914

 

OPERATIONS AROUND ANTWERP

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 2 November 1914

 

Admiralty, 5th December, 1914.

 

The following despatch has been received from Field-Marshal Sir J. D. P. French, G. C. B., G. C. V. O., K. C. M. G., covering a despatch from Major-General A. Paris, C. B., R. M. A., relating to the operations round Antwerp from the 3rd to the 9th October.

 

From Sir J. D. P. French, Field-Marshal, Commanding-in-Chief, to the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

In forwarding this report to the Army Council at the request of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, I have to state that, from a comprehensive review of all the circumstances, the force of Marines and Naval Brigades which assisted in the defence of Antwerp was handled by General Paris with great skill and boldness.

 

Although the results did not include the actual saving of the fortress, the action of the force under General Paris certainly delayed the enemy for a considerable time, and assisted the Belgian Army to be withdrawn in a condition to enable it to reorganize and refit, and regain its value as a fighting force. The destruction of war material and ammunition - which, but for the intervention of this force, would have proved of great value to the enemy - was thus able to be carried out.

 

The assistance which the Belgian Army has rendered throughout the subsequent course of the operations on the canal and the Yeser river has been a valuable asset to the allied cause, and such help must be regarded as an outcome of the intervention of General Paris's force. I am further of opinion that the moral effect produced on the minds of the Belgian Army by this necessarily desperate attempt to bring them succour, before it was too late, has been of great value to their use and efficiency as a fighting force.

 

J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal, Commanding-in-Chief.

___

 

From the Secretary of the Admiralty to Field Marshal Sir J. D. P. French, Commanding-in-Chief. (Enclosure in No. 1.)

 

Admiralty, 2nd November, 1914.

 

Sir,

I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit herewith a despatch from Major-General Paris, reporting the proceedings of the Division round Antwerp from the 3rd to 9th October, with a view to its being considered by you and forwarded to the Army Council with your survey of the operations as a whole.

 

I am, etc.,

W. GRAHAM GREENE.

____

 

From Major-General A. Paris, C. B., Commanding Royal Naval Division

To the Secretary of the Admiralty. (Sub-enclosure in No. 1.)

 

31st October, 1914.

 

Regarding the operations round Antwerp from 3rd to 9th October, I have the honour to report as follows:

 

The Brigade (2,200 all ranks) reached Antwerp during the night 3rd-4th October, and early on. the 4th occupied, with the 7th Belgian Regiment, the trenches facing Lierre, with advanced post on the River Nethe, relieving some exhausted Belgian troops.

 

The outer forts on this front had already fallen and bombardment of the trenches was in progress. This increased in violence during the night and early morning of 5th October, when the advanced posts were driven in and the enemy effected a crossing of the river, which was not under fire from the trenches.

 

About midday the 7th Belgian Regiment was forced to retire, thus exposing my right flank. A vigorous counter-attack, gallantly led by Colonel Tierchon, 2nd Chasseurs, assisted by our aeroplanes, restored the position, late in the afternoon.

 

Unfortunately, an attempt made by the Belgian troops during the night (5th-6th October) to drive the enemy across the river failed, and resulted in the evacuation of practically the whole of the Belgian trenches.

 

The few troops now capable of another counter-attack were unable to make any impression, and the position of the Marine Brigade became untenable.

 

The bombardment, too, was very violent, but the retirement of the Brigade was well carried out, and soon after midday (6th October) an intermediate position, which had been hastily prepared, was occupied.

 

The two Naval Brigades reached Antwerp during the night, 5th-6th October. The 1st Brigade moved out in the afternoon of 5th to assist the withdrawal to the main 2nd Line of Defence.

 

The retirement was carried out during the night, 6th-7th October, without opposition, and the Naval Division occupied the intervals between the forts on the 2nd Line of Defence. The bombardment of the town, forts and trenches began at midnight, 7th-8th October, and continued with increasing intensity until the evacuation of the fortress.

 

As the water supply had been cut, no attempt could be made to subdue the flames, and soon 100 houses were burning. Fortunately, there was no wind, or the whole town and bridges must have been destroyed.

 

During the day (8th October) it appeared evident that the Belgian Army could not hold the forts any longer. About 5.20 p.m. I considered that if the Naval Division was to avoid disaster an immediate retirement under cover of darkness was necessary. General De Guise, the Belgian Commander, was in complete agreement. He was most chivalrous and gallant, insisting on giving orders that the roads and bridges were to be cleared for the passage of the British troops.

 

The retirement began about 7.30 p.m., and was carried out under very difficult conditions.

 

The enemy were reported in force (a Division plus a Reserve Brigade) on our immediate line of retreat, rendering necessary a detour of 15 miles to the north.

 

All the roads were crowded with Belgian troops, refugees, herds of cattle, and all kinds of vehicles, making inter-communication a practical impossibility. Partly for these reasons, partly on account of fatigue, and partly from at present unexplained causes large numbers of the 1st Naval Brigade became detached, and I regret to say are either prisoners or interned in Holland.

 

Marching all night (8th to 9th October), one battalion of 1st Brigade, the 2nd Brigade and Royal Marine Brigade, less one battalion, entrained at St. Gillies Waes and effected their retreat without further incident.

 

The Battalion (Royal Marine Brigade) Rear Guard of the whole force, also entrained late in the afternoon together with many hundreds of refugees, but at Morbeke the line was cut, the engine derailed, and the enemy opened fire.

 

There was considerable confusion. It was dark and the agitation of the refugees made it difficult to pass any orders. However, the battalion behaved admirably, and succeeded in fighting its way through, but with a loss in missing of more than half its number. They then marched another 10 miles to Selzaate and entrained there.

 

Colonel Seely and Colonel Bridges were not part of my command, but they rendered most skilful and helpful services during the evacuation.

 

The casualties are approximately:

 

1st Naval Brigade and 2nd Naval Brigade, 5 killed, 64 wounded, 2, 040 missing.

 

Royal Marine Brigade, 23 killed, 103 wounded, 388 missing.

 

In conclusion, I would call your attention to the good services rendered by the following officers and men during the operations

 

Officers.

 

Staff

Lieut. -Colonel A. H. Ollivant, R. A.

Major Richardson, N. Z. Staff Corps.

Fleet Surgeon E. J. Finch, R. N.

 

1st Brigade

Lieutenant G. G. Grant, R.N.V.R.

Sub-Lieutenant C. O. F. Modin, R.N.V.R.

 

2nd Brigade

Commodore O. Backhouse, R. N., Commanding Brigade.

Captain W. L. Maxwell, Brigade Major.

Sub-Lieutenant H. C. Hedderwick, R.N.V.R.

 

Royal Marine Brigade

Lieut-Colonel C. Mc. N. Parsons, R.M.L.I., in command most of the time.

Major A. H. French, R.M.L.I., 10th Battalion.

Lieutenant D. J. Gowney, R.M.L.I., 10th Battalion.

 

Men.

 

Naval Brigade

Chief Petty Officer B. H. Ellis, No. 748, B Co., R.N.V.R., London.

Chief Petty Officer Payne, D Co.

Petty Officer (Acting) W. Wallace, O.N., Dev., 211, 130.

Stoker Petty Officer W. S. Cole, O.N., Ch. 100, 113.

Leading Seaman (Acting) H. D. Lowe, R. N. R., Dev., No. B. 2542.

Ordinary Seaman G. Ripley, new Army recruit, C Co. (now R.N.V.R.).

Ordinary Seaman T. Machen, new Army recruit, C Co. (now R.N.V.R.).

 

Royal Marine Brigade

Serjeant-Major (Acting) Galliford.

Quartermaster-Serjeant Kenny, R. F. R., Ch. A. 426.

Serjeant G. H. Bruce, R. F. R., Ch. A. 631.

Lance-Corporal T. C. Frank, Ch. 17817.

Lance-Corporal W. J. Cook, Ply. 7685.

Private G. H. Hall, R. F. R., Ch. B. 194.

Private C. J. Fleet, R. F. R., Ch. B. 1585.

Private S. Lang, Ch. 18446.

Serjeant E. Walch (R. Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve), S. B. 508.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

A. PARIS, Major-General, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief.

 

 

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29025 - 29 DECEMBER 1914

 

SINKING OF GERMAN CRUISER "EMDEN"

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 15 November 1914

 

also

RNAS attack on airship sheds and factory at Friedrichshafen

 

Admiralty, 1st January, 1915.

 

The following despatch has been received from Captain John C. T. Glossop, reporting the capture of the German Cruiser ''Emden'' by H. M. A. S. "Sydney."

 

A memorandum is also appended by the Director of the Air Department, Admiralty, containing a report on the aerial attack on the airship sheds and factory at Friedrichshafen.

 

 To the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

Despatch from Captain Glossop.

 

H. M. A. S. "Sydney" at Colombo, 15th November. 1914.

(below - Photo Ships)

 

 

 

Sir,

I have the honour to report that whilst on escort duty with the Convoy under the charge of Captain Silver, H.M.A.S. "Melbourne," at 6. 30 a.m., on Monday, 9th November, a wireless message from Cocos was heard reporting that a foreign warship was off the entrance. I was ordered to raise steam for full speed at 7. 0 a.m. and proceeded thither. I worked up to 20 knots, and at 9. 15 a.m. sighted land ahead and almost immediately the smoke of a ship, which proved to be H.I.G.M.S. "Emden" coming out towards me at a great rate. At 9. 40 a.m., fire was opened, she firing the first shot. I kept my distance as much as possible to obtain the advantage of my guns. Her fire was very accurate and rapid to begin with, but seemed to slacken very quickly, all casualties occurring in this ship almost immediately. First the foremost funnel of her went, secondly the foremast, and she was badly on fire aft, then the second funnel went, and lastly the third funnel, and I saw she was making for the beach on North Keeling Island, where she grounded at 11. 20 a.m. I gave her two more broadsides and left her to pursue a merchant ship which had come up during the action.

 

 

2. Although I had guns on this merchant ship at odd times during the action I had not fired, and as she was making off fast I pursued and overtook her at 12. 10, firing a gun across her bows, and hoisting International Code Signal to stop, which she did. I sent an armed boat and found her to be the S. S. "Buresk," a captured British collier, with 18 Chinese crew, 1 English Steward, 1 Norwegian Cook, and a German Prize Crew of 3 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 12 men. The ship unfortunately was sinking, the Kingston knocked out and damaged to prevent repairing, so I took all on board, fired 4 shells into her and returned to "Emden" (below - Cyber Heritage/Terry Phillips) passing men swimming in the water, for whom I left 2 boats I was towing from "Buresk."

 

 

3. On arriving again off "Emden" she still had her colours up at mainmast head. I enquired by signal, International Code, "Will you surrender ?"and received a reply in Morse "What signal? No signal books. " I then made in Morse "Do you surrender?" and subsequently "Have you received my signal?" to neither of which did I get an answer. The German Officers on board gave me to understand that the Captain would never surrender, and therefore, though very reluctantly, I again fired at her at 4. 30 p.m., ceasing at 4. 35, as she showed white flags and hauled down her ensign by sending a man aloft.

 

4. I then left "Emden" and returned and picked up the "Buresk's" two boats, rescuing 2 sailors (5. 0 p.m.), who had been in the water all day. I returned and sent in one boat to "Emden," manned by her own prize crew from "Buresk," and 1 Officer, and stating I would return to their assistance next morning. This I had to do, as I was desirous to find out the condition of cables and Wireless Station at Direction Island. On the passage over I was again delayed by rescuing another sailor (6. 30 p.m.), and by the time I was again ready and approaching Direction Island it was too late for the night.

 

5. I lay on and off all night and communicated with Direction Island at 8. 0 a.m., 10th November, to find that the "Emden's" party consisting of 3 officers and 40 men, 1 launch and 2 cutters had seized and provisioned a 70 tons schooner (the "Ayesha"), having 4 Maxims, with 2 belts to each. They left the previous night at six o'clock. The Wireless Station was entirely destroyed, 1 cable cut, 1 damaged, and 1 intact. I borrowed a Doctor and 2 Assistants, and proceeded as fast as possible to "Emden's" assistance.

 

6. I sent an Officer on board to see the Captain, and in view of the large number of prisoners and wounded and lack of accommodation, &c., in this ship, and the absolute impossibility of leaving them where they were, he agreed that if I received his Officers and men and all wounded, "then as for such time as they remained in "Sydney'" they would cause no interference with ship or fittings, and would be amenable to the ship's discipline." I therefore set to work at once to tranship them a most difficult operation, the ship being on weather side of Island and the send alongside very heavy. The conditions in the "Emden" were indescribable. I received the last from her at 5. 0 p.m., then had to go round to the lee side to pick up 20 more men who had managed to get ashore from the ship.

 

7. Darkness came on before this could be accomplished, and the ship again stood off and on all night, resuming operations at 5. 0 a.m. on 11th November, a cutter's crew having to land with stretchers to bring wounded round to embarking point. A German Officer, a Doctor, died ashore the previous day. The ship in the meantime ran over to Direction Island to return their Doctor and Assistants, send cables, and was back again at 10. 0 a.m., embarked the remainder of wounded, and proceeded for Colombo by 10. 35 a.m. Wednesday, 11th November.

 

8. Total casualties in "Sydney": Killed 3, severely wounded (since dead) 1, severely wounded 4, wounded 4, slightly wounded 4. In the "Emden" (above, after the action - Great War), I can only approximately state the killed at 7 Officers and 108 men from Captain's statement. I had on board 11 Officers, 9 Warrant Officers, and 191 men, of whom 3 Officers and 53 men were wounded, and of this number 1 Officer and 3 men have since died of wounds.

 

 

9. The damage to "Sydney's" hull and fittings was surprisingly small; in all about 10 hits seem to have been made. The engine and boiler rooms and funnels escaped entirely.

 

10. I have great pleasure in stating that the behaviour of the ship's company was excellent in every way, and with such a large proportion of young hands and people under training it is all the more gratifying. The engines worked magnificently, and higher results than trials were obtained, and I cannot speak too highly of the Medical Staff and arrangements on subsequent trip, the ship being nothing but a hospital of a most painful description.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

JOHN C. T. GLOSSOP, Captain.

 

 

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RNAS attack on airship sheds and factory at Friedrichshafen

 

Memorandum by the Director of the Air Department, Admiralty,

17th December, 1914.

 

On 21st November, 1914, Squadron Commander E. F. Briggs, Flight Commander J. T. Babington, and Flight Lieutenant S. V. Sippe, Royal Navy, carried out an aerial attack on the Zeppelin airship sheds and factory at Friedrickshafen on Lake Constance.

 

Leaving French Territory shortly before 10 a.m., they arrived over their objective at about noon, and, although under a very heavy rifle, machine-gun and shrapnel fire from the moment they were sighted, they all three dived steeply to within a few hundred feet of the sheds, when they released their bombs - in all eleven.

 

Squadron Commander Briggs was wounded, brought down, and made a prisoner, but the other two officers regained their starting-point, after a flight of more than four hours across hostile country under very bad weather conditions.

 

It is believed that the damage caused by this attack includes the destruction of one airship and serious damage to the larger shed, and also demolition of the hydrogen-producing plant, which had only lately been completed. Later reports stated that flames of considerable magnitude were seen issuing from the factory immediately after the raid.

 

 

 


 

 

 

1915

 

 

29076 - 16 FEBRUARY 1915

 

EAST COAST MINESWEEPING OPERATIONS

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 19 February 1915

 

Admiralty, 19th February, 1915

 

The following Memorandum has been furnished by the Admiral Commanding the East Coast Minesweepers, detailing the recent mine-sweeping operations off Scarborough.

____

 

From the 19th to the 31st December sweeping operations were conducted by the East Coast Mine sweepers with the object of clearing the minefield which had been laid by the enemy off Scarborough.

 

At the beginning there was no indication of the position of the mines, although owing to losses of passing merchant ships it was known that a minefield had been laid.

 

In order to ascertain how the mines lay it was necessary to work at all times of tide with a consequent large increase in the element of danger

 

The following officers are specially noticed for their services during the operations -

 

Commander Richard H Walters, R.N., A M S Staff, was in charge of the whole of the mine sweeping operations from 19th to 31st December. During this period a large number of mines were swept up and destroyed. By the 25th December, a channel had been cleared, and traffic was able to pass through by daylight.

 

 

Commander (now Captain) Lionel G Preston, R.N., HMS "Skipjack" (below - Photo Ships) on the 19th December, proceeded at once into the middle of the area where the mines had exploded to give assistance to the damaged trawlers. He anchored between the trawlers and the mines which had been brought to the surface, and proceeded to sink them.

 

 

 

Lieutenant Godfrey Craik Parsons, R.N , HMS "Pekin," displayed, great skill and devotion to duty in continuing to command his group of trawlers after having been mined in Trawler No 58 on 19th December. On this day his group exploded eight mines, and brought to the surface six more, Trawler No 99 being blown up and Nos 58 and 465 damaged, all in the space of about 10 minutes.

 

Lieutenant H Boothby, R.N.R., HMS "Pekin". When Trawler No 99 ("Orianda") in which he was serving was blown up by a mine on the 19th December, Lieutenant Boothby successfully got all his crew (except one who was killed) into safety. Lieutenant Boothby was again blown up on 6th January, 1915, in Trawler No 450 ("The Banyers").

 

Lieutenant C. V. Crossley, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Pekin". Whilst sweeping on 19th December, three violent explosions occurred close under the stern of his ship, Trawler No. 465 (“Star of Britain”). He controlled the crew, and himself crawled into a confined space near the screw shaft, discovered the damage, and temporarily stopped the leak sufficiently to enable the pumps to keep the water down and save the ship.

 

Skipper T. Trendall, R.N.T.R., Trawler "Solon," No.55, on his own responsibility went to the assistance of the Steamer "Gallier," which had just been mined on the night of 25th December. It was low water at the time and dark, and the "Gallier" was showing no lights, so had to be searched for in the mine field.

 

Skipper Ernest V. Snowline, R.N.T.R., Drifter "Hilda and Ernest," No. 201, carried out his duties as Commodore of the Flotilla of Lowestoft drifters under Chief Gunner Franklin, R.N., in a most satisfactory manner. He kept to his station in heavy weather, standing by the S.S. "Gallier" after she had been damaged by a mine.

 

Lieutenant W. G. Wood, R.N.R., Trawler "Restrivo," No. 48, did excellent work in going to the assistance of damaged trawlers on 19th December, and performed the risky duty of crossing the mine field at low water when sent to bring in the "Valiant," which had been disabled by a mine.

 

Skipper George W. Thornton, R.N.T.R., Trawler "Passing," No. 58, displayed great coolness and rendered valuable assistance to Lieutenant Parsons in controlling the crew when No. 58 had been mined.

 

Skipper William Allerton, R.N.T.R., Drifter "Eager," No. 202, kept to his station in heavy weather, standing by the S.S. "Gallier" after she had been damaged by a mine.

 

Sub-Lieutenant W. L. Scott, R.N.R., Drifter "Principal," went alongside the Trawler "Garmo" in a dinghy to rescue a man at considerable risk to himself and his boat, as the vessel was floating nearly vertical at the time, with only the forecastle above water. She turned completely over and sank a few minutes after he left her.

 

Skipper Thomas B. Belton, R.N.T.R., Drifter "Retriever," No. 223, kept to his station, marking the safe channel for shipping when all other drifters were driven in by the weather.

 

The following are also commended for Good Service done under dangerous conditions:

Robert A. Gray, Engineman, R.N.R. No. 694ES, M.S.Tr. No. 465.

William A. Lewis, P.O., 1st cl., O.N. 178498, M.S.Tr. No. 450.

Christopher Briggs, Engineman, R.N.R. No. 1542ES, M.S.Tr. No. 450.

William Gladding, Cook, R.N.R. No.223T.C., M.S.Tr. No. 450.

Robert Frost, Second Hand, R.N.R. No.81D.A., M.S.Tr. No. 43.

Edwin F. Frankland, Deck Hand, R.N.R. No. 2481D.A., M.S.Tr. No. 49.

George Newman, Engineman, R.N.R, No. 625ES, M.S.Tr. No.451.

William R. Kemp, Engineman, R.N.R. No. 846ES, M.S.Tr. No. 49.

 

 

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Click here for Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 

 


 

 

Naval Seaplane Operations in Heligoland Bight

 

Admiralty, 19th February, 1915.

 

from the scrapbook of Yeoman of Signals George Smith

 

 

ADMIRALTY MEMORANDUM on the combined operations by H.M. Ships and Naval Seaplanes on the 25th December, 1914.

 

On the 25th December, 1914, an air reconnaissance of the Heligoland Bight, including Cuxhaven, Heligoland, and Wilhelmshaven, was made by naval seaplanes, and the opportunity was taken at the same time of attacking with bombs points of military importance.

 

The reconnaissance involved combined operations by light cruisers, destroyers and seaplane carriers, under Commodore Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt, C.B., and submarines acting under the orders of Commodore Roger Keyes, C.B., M.V.O.

 

The vessels detailed for the operations arrived at their rendezvous before daylight, and as soon as the light was sufficient the seaplanes were hoisted out and despatched. The following Air Service officers and observers took part in the reconnaissance:

 

Pilots.

 

Flight Commander (now Squadron Commander) Douglas Austin Oliver.

Flight Commander Francis Esme Theodore Hewlett.

Flight Commander Robert Peel Ross.

Flight Commander Cecil Francis Kilner.

Flight Lieutenant (now Flight Commander) Arnold John Miley.

Flight Lieutenant Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds.

Flight Sub-Lieutenant (now Flight Lieutenant) Vivian Gaskell Blackburn.

 

Observers

 

Lieutenant Erskine Childers, R.N.V.R.

C.P.O. Mechanic James W. Bell.

C.P.O. Mechanic Gilbert H. W. Budds.

 

The seaplane-carriers were commanded by:

Squadron Commander Cecil J. L'Estrange Malone.

Flight Commander Edmund D. M. Robertson.

Flight Commander Frederick W. Bowhill.

 

At the beginning, of the flight the weather was clear, but on nearing the land the seaplanes met with thick weather, and were compelled to fly low, thus becoming exposed to a heavy fire at short range from ships and shore batteries. Several machines were hit, but all remained in the air for over three hours, and succeeded in obtaining valuable information regarding the disposition of the enemy's ships and defences. Bombs were also dropped on military points. In the meanwhile German submarines, seaplanes and Zeppelins delivered a combined attack upon the light cruisers, destroyers and seaplane-carriers, but were driven off.

 

Flight Commanders Kilner and Ross and Flight Lieutenant Edmonds regained their ships. Flight Commander Oliver, Flight Lieutenant Miley and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Blackburn became short of fuel, and were compelled to descend near Submarine E.11, which with other submarine vessels was watching inshore to assist any seaplane that might be in difficulties. Lieutenant-Commander Martin E. Nasmith (right, later awarded VC in Sea of Marmora - Digger), commanding E.11, although attacked by an airship, succeeded, by his coolness and resource, in rescuing the three pilots. Flight Commander Hewlett, after a flight of 3 1/2 hours, was compelled to descend on account of engine trouble, but was rescued by a Dutch trawler, landed in Holland, and returned safely to England.

 

An expression of their Lordships' appreciation has been conveyed to Commodore Keyes (Commodore S.), Commodore Tyrwhitt (Commodore T.), and to Captain Sueter (Director of the Air Department), for their share in the combined operations which resulted in this successful reconnaissance.

 

 

Click here for Appointments and Awards to Officers mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 

 


 

 

 29087 - 2 MARCH 1915

 

BATTLE OF THE FALKLANDS

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 19 December 1914

 

Admiralty, 3rd March, 1915.

 

The following despatch has been received from Vice-Admiral Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee, K.C.B., C.V.O., C.M.G., reporting the action off the Falkland Islands on Tuesday, the 8th of December, 1914:

 

Invincible at Sea, December 12th, 1914.

 

 

HMS Invincible (Photo Ships)

 

SIR,

I have the honour to forward a report on the action which took place on 8th December, 1914, against a German Squadron off the Falkland Islands.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

F. C. D. STURDEE, Vice-Admiral, Commander-in-Chief.

 

The Secretary, Admiralty.

___

 

(A.) Preliminary Movements.

(B.) Action with the Armoured Cruisers.

(C.) Action with the Light Cruisers.

(D.) Action with the Enemy's Transports.

 

(A.) PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS.

 

The squadron, consisting of H.M. ships "Invincible," flying my flag, Flag Captain Percy T. H. Beamish; "Inflexible" (below - Maritime Quest), Captain Richard F. Phillimore; "Carnarvon," flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Archibald P. Stoddart, Flag Captain Harry L. d'E. Skipwith; "Cornwall," Captain Walter M. Ellerton; "Kent," Captain John D. Allen; "Glasgow," Captain John Luce; "Bristol," Captain Basil H. Fanshawe; and "Macedonia," Captain Bertram S. Evans; arrived at Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, at 10.30 a.m. on Monday, the 7th December, 1914. Coaling was commenced at once, in order that the ships should be ready to resume the search for the enemy's squadron the next evening, the 8th December.

 

 

At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the 8th December, a signal was received from the signal station on shore:

 

"A four-funnel and two-funnel man-of-war in sight from Sapper Hill, steering northwards."

 

At this time, the positions of the various ships of the squadron were as follows:

 

"Macedonia": At anchor as look-out ship.

"Kent" (guard ship) (below - CyberHeritage/Terry Phillips): At anchor in Port William.

“Invincible" and "Inflexible": In Port William.

"Carnarvon": In Port William.

"Cornwall": In Port William.

"Glasgow": In Port Stanley.

"Bristol": In Port Stanley.

 

 

 

The "Kent" was at once ordered to weigh, and a general signal was made to raise steam for full speed.

 

At 8.20 a.m. the signal station reported another column of smoke in sight to the southward, and at 8.45 a.m. the "Kent" passed down the harbour and took up a station at the entrance.

 

The "Canopus" (below - Maritime Quest), Captain Heathcoat S. Grant, reported at 8.47 a.m. that the first two ships were 8 miles off, and that the smoke reported at 8.20 a.m., appeared to be the smoke of two ships about 20 miles off.

 

 

 

At 8.50 a.m. the signal station reported a further column of smoke in sight to the southward.

 

The ''Macedonia'' was ordered to weigh anchor on the inner side of the other ships, and await orders.

 

At 9.20 a.m. the two leading ships of the enemy ("Gneisenau" and "Nürnberg"), with guns trained on the wireless station, came within range of the "Canopus," who opened fire at them across the low land at a range of 11,000 yards. The enemy at once hoisted their colours and turned away. At this time the masts and smoke of the enemy were visible from the upper bridge of the "Invincible" at a range of approximately 17,000 yards across the low land to the south of Port William.

 

 

HMS Cornwall (Photo Ships)

 

HMS Carnarvon (Photo Ships)

 
         
 

HMS Glasgow (Photo Ships)

 

HMS Bristol, light cruiser (CyberHeritage/Terry Phillips)

 

 

A few minutes later the two cruisers altered course to port, as though to close the "Kent" at the entrance to the harbour, but about this time it seems that the ''Invincible'' and '' Inflexible" were seen over the land, as the enemy at once altered course and increased speed to join their consorts.

 

The "Glasgow", weighed and proceeded at 9.40 a.m. with orders to join the "Kent" and observe the enemy's movements.

 

At 9.45 a.m. the squadron-less the "Bristol"-weighed, and proceeded out of harbour in the following order: ''Carnarvon," "Inflexible," "Invincible," and "Cornwall." On passing Cape Pembroke Light, the five ships of the enemy appeared clearly in sight to the south-east, hull down. The visibility was at its maximum, the sea was calm, with a bright sun, a clear sky, and a light breeze from the north-west.

 

At 10.20 a.m. the signal for a general chase was made. The battle cruisers quickly passed ahead of the "Carnarvon" and overtook the "Kent." The "Glasgow" was ordered to keep two miles from the "Invincible," and the "Inflexible" was stationed on the starboard quarter of the flagship. Speed was eased to 20 knots at 11.15 a.m. to enable the other cruisers to get into station.

 

At this time the enemy's funnels and bridges showed just above the horizon.

 

Information was received from the "Bristol" at 11.27 a.m. that three enemy ships had appeared off Port Pleasant, probably colliers or transports. The "Bristol" was therefore directed to take the "Macedonia" under his orders and destroy transports.

 

The enemy were still maintaining their distance, and I decided, at 12.20 p.m., to attack with the two battle cruisers and the "Glasgow."

 

At 12.47 p.m. the signal to "Open fire and engage the enemy" was made.

 

The "Inflexible" opened fire at 12.55 p.m. from her fore turret at the right-hand ship of the enemy, a light cruiser; a few minutes later the "Invincible" opened fire at the same ship.

 

The deliberate fire from a range of 16,500 to 15,000 yards at the right-hand light cruiser, who was dropping astern, became too threatening, and when a shell fell close alongside her at 1.20 p.m. she (the "Leipzig") turned away, with the "Nürnberg " and "Dresden" to the south-west. These light cruisers were at once followed by the "Kent," "Glasgow," and "Cornwall", in accordance with my instructions.

 

The action finally developed into three separate encounters, besides the subsidiary one dealing with the threatened landing.

 

(B.) ACTION WITH THE ARMOURED CRUISERS.

 

The fire of the battle cruisers was directed on the "Scharnhorst" (below - Photo Ships) and "Gneisenau." The effect of this was quickly seen, when at 1.25 p.m., with the "Scharnhorst" leading, they turned about 7 points to port in succession into line ahead and opened fire at 1.30 p.m. Shortly afterwards speed was eased to 24 knots, and the battle cruisers were ordered to turn together, bringing them into line ahead, with the "Invincible" leading.

 

 

 

The range was about 13,500 yards at the final turn, and increased, until, at 2 p.m., it had reached 16,450 yards.

 

The enemy then (2.10 p.m.) turned away about 10 points to starboard and a second chase ensued, until, at 2.45 p.m., the battle cruisers again opened fire; this caused the enemy, at 2.53 p.m., to turn into line ahead to port and open fire at 2.55 p.m.

 

The "Scharnhorst" caught fire forward, but not seriously, and her fire slackened perceptibly; the "Gneisenau" was badly hit by the "Inflexible."

 

At 3.30 p.m. the "Scharnhorst" led round about 10 points to starboard; just previously her fire had slackened perceptibly, and one shell had shot away her third funnel; some guns were not firing, and it would appear that the turn was dictated by a desire to bring her starboard guns into action. The effect of the fire on the "Scharnhorst" became more and more apparent in consequence of smoke from fires, and also escaping steam; at times a shell would cause a large hole to appear in her side, through which could be seen a dull red glow of flame. At 4.4 p.m. the "Scharnhorst," whose flag remained flying to the last, suddenly listed heavily to port, and within a minute it became clear that she was a doomed ship; for the list increased very rapidly until she lay on her beam ends, and at 4.17 p.m. she disappeared.

 

The "Gneisenau" (below - Photo Ships) passed on the far side of her late flagship, and continued a determined but ineffectual effort to fight the two battle cruisers.

 

 

 

At 5.8 p.m. the forward funnel was knocked over and remained resting against the second funnel. She was evidently in serious straits, and her fire slackened very much.

 

At 5.15 p.m. one of the "Gneisenau's" shells struck the "Invincible"; this was her last effective effort.

 

At 5.30 p.m. she turned towards the flagship with a heavy list to starboard, and appeared stopped, with steam pouring from her escape-pipes, and smoke from shell and fires rising everywhere. About this time I ordered the signal "Cease fire," but before it was hoisted the "Gneisenau" opened fire again, and continued to fire from time to time with a single gun.

 

At 5.40 p.m. the three ships closed in on the "Gneisenau," and, at this time, the flag flying at her fore truck was apparently hauled down, but the flag at the peak continued flying.

 

At 5.50 p.m. "Cease fire" was made.

 

At 6 p.m. the "Gneisenau" heeled over very suddenly, showing the men gathered on her decks and then walking on her side as she lay for a minute on her beam ends before sinking.

 

The prisoners of war from the "Gneisenau" report that, by the time the ammunition was expended, some 600 men had been killed and wounded. The surviving officers and men were all ordered on deck and told to provide themselves with hammocks and any articles that could support them in the water.

 

When the ship capsized and sank there were probably some 200 unwounded survivors in the water, but, owing to the shock of the cold water, many were drowned within sight of the boats and ship.

 

Every effort was made to save life as quickly as possible, both by boats and from the ships; life-buoys were thrown and ropes lowered, but only a proportion could be rescued. The "Invincible" alone rescued 108 men, fourteen of whom were found to be dead after being brought on board; these men were buried at sea the following day with full military honours.

 

(C.) ACTION WITH THE LIGHT CRUISERS.

 

At about 1 p.m., when the "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau" turned to port to engage the "Invincible" and "Inflexible” the enemy's light cruisers turned to starboard to escape; the "Dresden" (below - Maritime Quest) was leading and the "Nürnberg" and "Leipzig" followed on each quarter.

 

 

 

In accordance with my instructions, the "Glasgow," "Kent," and "Cornwall" at once went in chase of these ships; the "Carnarvon," whose speed was insufficient to overtake them, closed the battle cruisers.

 

The "Glasgow" drew well ahead of the "Cornwall" and "Kent," and, at 3 p.m., shots were exchanged with the "Leipzig" at 12,000 yards. The "Glasgow's" object was to endeavour to outrange the "Leipzig " with her 6-inch guns and thus cause her to alter course and give the "Cornwall" and "Kent" a chance of coming into action.

 

At 4.17 p.m. the "Cornwall" opened fire, also on the "Leipzig."

 

At 7.17 p.m. the "Leipzig " was on fire fore and aft, and the "Cornwall " and " Glasgow " ceased fire.

 

The ''Leipzig'' (below, sister-ship SMS Danzig - Photo Ships) turned over on her port side and disappeared at 9 p.m. Seven officers and eleven men were saved.

 

 

 

At 3.36 p.m. the "Cornwall" ordered the "Kent" to engage the "Nürnberg," the nearest cruiser to her.

 

Owing to the excellent and strenuous efforts of the engine room department, the "Kent" was able to get within range of the "Nürnberg" at 5 p.m. At 6.35 p.m. the "Nürnberg" was on fire forward and ceased firing. The "Kent" also ceased firing and closed to 3,300 yards; as the colours were still observed to be flying in the "Nürnberg," the "Kent" opened fire again. Fire was finally stopped five minutes later on the colours being hauled down, and every preparation was made to save life. The "Nürnberg" sank at 7.27 p.m., and, as she sank, a group of men were waving a German ensign attached to a staff. Twelve men were rescued, but only seven survived.

 

The "Kent" had four killed and twelve wounded, mostly caused by one shell.

 

During the time the three cruisers were engaged with the "Nürnberg" (below - Photo Ships) and "Leipzig," the "Dresden," who was beyond her consorts, effected her escape owing to her superior speed. The "Glasgow" was the only cruiser with sufficient speed to have had any chance of success. However, she was fully employed in engaging the "Leipzig" for over an hour before either the "Cornwall" or "Kent" could come up and get within range. During this time the "Dresden" was able to increase her distance and get out of sight.

 

 

 

The weather changed after 4 p.m., and the visibility was much reduced; further, the sky was overcast and cloudy, thus assisting the "Dresden" to get away unobserved.

 

(D.) ACTION WITH THE ENEMY'S TRANSPORTS.

 

A report was received at 11.27 a.m. from H.M.S. "Bristol" that three ships of the enemy, probably transports or colliers, had appeared off Port Pleasant. The "Bristol" was ordered to take the "Macedonia" under his orders and destroy the transports.

 

H.M.S. "Macedonia" (below, in civilian use - Photo Ships) reports that only two ships, steamships "Baden" and "Santa Isabel," were present; both ships were sunk after the removal of the crew.

 

 

 

I have pleasure in reporting that the officers and men under my orders carried out their duties with admirable efficiency and coolness, and great credit is due to the Engineer Officers of all the ships, several of which exceeded their normal full speed.

 

The names of the following are specially mentioned:

 

Officers.

 

Commander Richard Herbert Denny Townsend, H.M.S. "Invincible."

Commander Arthur Edward Frederick Bedford, H.M.S. "Kent."

Lieutenant-Commander Wilfred Arthur Thompson, H.M.S. "Glasgow."

Lieutenant-Commander Hubert Edward Danreuther, First and Gunnery Lieutenant, H.M.S. "Invincible."

Engineer-Commander George Edward Andrew, H.M.S. "Kent."

Engineer-Commander Edward John Weeks, H.M.S. "Invincible."

Paymaster Cyril Sheldon Johnson, H.M.S. "Invincible."

Carpenter Thomas Andrew Walls, H.M.S. "Invincible."

Carpenter William Henry Yenning, H.M.S. "Kent."

Carpenter George Henry Egford, H.M.S. "Cornwall."

 

Petty Officers and Men.

 

Chief Petty Officer David Leighton, O.N. 124238; H.M.S. "Kent."

Petty Officer, 2nd Class, Matthew J. Walton (R.F.R., A. 1756), O.N. 118358, H.M.S. "Kent."

Leading Seaman Frederick Sidney Martin, O.N. 233301, H.M.S. "Invincible," Gunner's Mate, Gunlayer, 1st Class.

Signalman Frank Glover, O.N. 225731, H.M.S. "Cornwall."

Chief Engine-Room Artificer, 2nd Class, John George Hill, O.N. 269646, H.M.S. "Cornwall."

Acting Chief Engine-Room Artificer, 2nd Class, Robert Snowdon, O.N. 270654, H.M.S. "Inflexible."

Engine-Room. Artificer, 1st Class, George Henry Francis McCarten, O.N. 270023, H.M.S. "Invincible."

Stoker Petty Officer George S. Brewer, O.N. 150950, H.M.S. "Kent."

Stoker Petty Officer William Alfred Townsend, O.N. 301650, H.M.S. "Cornwall."

Stoker, 1st Class, John Smith, O.N. SS 111915, H.M.S. "Cornwall."

Shipwright, 1st Class, Albert N. E. England, O.N. 341971, H.M.S. "Glasgow."

Shipwright. 2nd Class, Albert C. H. Dymott, O.N. M 8047, H.M.S. "Kent."

Portsmouth R.F.R.B. /3807 Sergeant Charles Mayes, H.M.S. "Kent."

 

F. C. D. STURDEE.

 

 

Click for British casualties

 

Click here for Honours, Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches 

 

 


 

 

 

29088 - 2 MARCH 1915

 

BATTLE OF THE DOGGER BANK

DESPATCH dated 2 February 1915

 

   

North Sea - and from the scrapbook of Yeoman of Signals George Smith

click to enlarge

 

Admiralty, 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:

 

H.M.S. "Princess Royal,", 2nd February, 1915.

 

SIR:

I have the honour to report that at daybreak on 24th January, 1915, the following vessels were patrolling in company.

 

The Battle Cruisers "Lion”  (below - Maritime Quest/Alasdair Hughes), 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" (below - Photo Ships), "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 movements.

 

 

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 14 miles.

 

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 beam.

 

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.

 

STERN CHASE TO THE SOUTH EAST

         
 

Pursuing British Battlecruisers

 

in line ahead, HMS Lion in van

 
         

HMS Indomitable
(all Photo Ships)

HMS New Zealand
 

HMS Princess Royal
 


HMS Tiger
(Maritime Quest)

HMS Lion
(Maritime Quest/Alasdair Hughes)

         
 

German 1st Scouting Group

 

also in line ahead, SMS Seydlitz in van

 
     
 

 SMS Blücher
(all Maritime Quest)

SMS Derfflinger

SMS Moltke

SMS Seydlitz

 

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" (below - Photo Ships) and "M" Division passed ahead of us, Captain the Hon. H. Meade, D.S.O., handling this Division with conspicuous ability.

 

 

 

About 9.45 a.m. the situation was as follows:

 

"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 the line.

 

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 port.

 

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" (above - Photo Ships), in placing his vessel alongside the "Lion" and subsequently the "Princess Royal," enabled the transfer of flag to be made in the shortest possible time.

 

 

 

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 feature.

 

I attach an appendix giving the names of various officers and men who specially distinguished themselves.

 

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,

(Signed) DAVID BEATTY, Vice-Admiral.

 

Officers.

 

Commander Charles A. Fountaine, H.M.S. "Lion."

Lieutenant-Commander Evan C. Bunbury, H.M.S. "Lion."

Lieutenant Frederick T. Peters, H.M.S. "Meteor."

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."

Engineer-Lieutenant-Commander George Preece, H.M.S. "Lion."

Engineer-Lieutenant Albert 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."

 

Petty 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, H.M.S. "Indomitable."

Chief Engine-Room Artificer, 2nd Class, Wm. Beaty Dand, O.N. 270648, H.M.S. "New Zealand."

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, O.N. 174232, H.M.S. "New Zealand."

Chief Stoker Walter E James, O.N. 294406, H.M.S. "Indomitable."

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. "Lion."

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."

 

 

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Click here for Honours, Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 


 

 

29126 - 9 APRIL 1915

 

BELGIAN COAST OPERATIONS

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 11 November 1914

 

  

North Sea Sandbanks and Dover Straits (with later defences)
click maps to enlarge

 

Admiralty, 13th April 1915

 

The following despatch has been received from Rear Admiral the Hon Horace L A Hood C.B., M.V.O., D.S.O., reporting the proceedings of the flotilla off the coast of Belgium between 17th October and 9th November 1914 -

 

The Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

Office of Rear Admiral, Dover Patrol, 11th November 1914

 

SIR - I have the honour to report the proceedings of the flotilla acting off the coast of Belgium between October 17th and November 9th.

 

The flotilla was organised to prevent the movement of large bodies of German troops along the coast roads from Ostend to Nieuport, to support the left flank of the Belgian Army, and to prevent any movement by sea of the enemy’s troops.

 

Operations commenced during the night of October 17th when the "Attentive" flying my flag accompanied by the monitors "Severn" (below - Photo Ships), "Humber" and "Mersey", the light cruiser "Foresight" and several torpedo boat destroyers, arrived and anchored off Nieuport Pier.

 

 

 

Early on the morning of the 18th October information was received that German infantry were advancing on Westende village, and that a battery was in action at Westende Bains. The flotilla at once proceeded up past Westende and Middlekirke to draw the fire and endeavour to silence the guns.

 

A brisk shrapnel fire was opened from the shore, which was immediately replied to, and this commenced the naval operations on the coast which continued for more than three weeks without intermission.

 

During the first week, the enemy’s troops were endeavouring to push forward along the coast roads, and a large accumulation of transport existed within reach of the naval guns.

 

On October 18th, machine guns from the "Severn" were landed at Nieuport to assist in the defence, and Lieutenant E S Wise fell gallantly leading his men.

 

The "Amazon" (below - Photo Ships), flying my flag was badly holed on the waterline and was sent to England for repairs, and during these early days most of the vessels suffered casualties, chiefly from shrapnel shell from the field guns of the enemy.

 

 

 

The presence of the ships on the coast soon caused alterations in the enemy's plans, less and less of their troops were seen, while more and more heavy guns were gradually mounted among the sand dunes that fringe the coast.

 

It soon became evident that more and heavier guns were required in the flotilla. The Scouts therefore returned to England, while H.M.S. "Venerable" and several older cruisers, sloops and gunboats arrived to carry on the operations.

 

Five French torpedo-boat destroyers were placed under my orders by Admiral Favereau, and on the 30th October I had the honour of hoisting my flag in the "Intrepide," and leading the French flotilla into action off Lombartzyde. The greatest harmony and enthusiasm existed between the allied flotillas.

 

As the heavier guns of the enemy came into play it was inevitable that the casualties of the flotilla increased, the most important being the disablement of the 6-inch turret and several shots on the waterline of the "Mersey," the death of the Commanding Officer and eight men and the disablement of 16 others in the "Falcon" (below - Photo Ships), which vessel came under a heavy fire when guarding the "Venerable" against submarine attack; the "Wildfire" and "Vestal" were badly holed, and a number of casualties caused in the ''Brilliant'' and "Rinaldo."

 

 

 

Enemy submarines were seen and torpedoes were fired, and during the latter part of the operations the work of the torpedo craft was chiefly confined to the protection of the larger ships.

 

It gradually became apparent that the rush of the enemy along the coast had been checked, that the operations were developing into a trench warfare, and that the work of the flotilla had, for the moment, ceased. The arrival of allied reinforcements and the inundation of the country surrounding Nieuport rendered the further presence of the ships unnecessary.

 

The work of the squadron was much facilitated by the efforts of Colonel Bridges, attached to the Belgian Headquarters, and to him I am greatly indebted for his constant and unfailing support.

 

I would like especially to bring to your notice:

 

Captaine de fregate Richard, of the "Dunois," Senior Officer of the French flotilla, whose courtesy and gallantry assisted to make the operations a success.

 

Captain C. D. Johnson, M.V.O., in charge of 6th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

Commander Eric J. A. Fullerton, in command of the monitors, whose ships were constantly engaged in the inshore fighting.

 

Commander A. D. M. Cherry, of the "Vestal" (below, as originally built - Photo Ships) who commanded the sloops, which were constantly engaged for the whole period. He remained in command of the flotilla after my departure on 7th November, and continued the bombardment on 8th November, returning to England the next day.

 

 

 

Commander H. C. Halahan, of the "Bustard,” whose gunboat was constantly in action close to the shore.

 

Commander A. L. Snagge, of the "Humber."

 

Commander H. G. L. Oliphant, of the "Amazon."  

Lieutenant-Commander R. A. Wilson, of the "Mersey."

 

Lieutenant-Commander G. L. D. Gibbs, of the "Crusader," in which ship my flag was hoisted during most of the operations.

 

Lieutenant-Commander J. B. Adams, R.N.R., on my staff.

 

Lieutenant H. O. Wauton, of the "Falcon," who maintained his position in a heavy fire on the look-out for submarines, and was unfortunately killed.

 

Lieutenant H. O. Joyce, of the "Vestal," who was badly wounded by a shell, but rallied his men to attend to the wounded, and then got his gun again into action.

 

Sub-Lieutenant C. J. H. DuBoulay, of the "Falcon," who took command of his ship after the Captain and 24 men were killed and wounded.

 

Petty-Officer Robert Chappell, O.N. 207788, of the "Falcon," who, though both legs were shattered and he was dying, continued to try and assist in the tending of the wounded. He shortly afterwards died of his wounds.

 

Petty-Officer Fredk. William Motteram, of the "Falcon," O.N. 183216, for immediate attention to the wounded under fire on 28th October.

 

Able Seaman Ernest Dimmock, of the "Falcon," O.N. 204549, who directly the casualties occurred in " Falcon," finding himself the only person unwounded on deck, went immediately to the helm and conned the ship.

 

Herbert Edward Sturman, of the "Mersey," Boy, 1st class O.N.J. 24887, who, when wounded by shrapnel, continued to serve the guns.

 

Leading Seaman John Thos. Knott, O.N.J. 1186, of the "Brilliant," who, when all men at his gun being killed or wounded, and himself severely wounded, endeavoured to fight his gun.

____

 

The following are specially recommended by their Commanding Officers for their good behaviour and coolness under fire:

Chief Engine Room Artificer William Ernest Brading, of the "Falcon," O.N. 268579.

Private R.M.L.I. Alfred J. Foster, of the "Brilliant," O.N. Ch./10605.

Petty-Officer Sydney Edric Murphy, of the "Mersey," O.N. 190841.

Petty-Officer Henry Sayce, of the "Mersey," O.N. 132956.

Herbert Edward Sturman (Boy), of the "Mersey," O.N. J. 24887.

Leading Signalman Cyril Henry Swan, of the "Sirius," R.F.R., O.N. 230592.

Petty-Officer James Weatherhead, of the "Rinaldo," O.N. 127747.

Leading Seaman John Keane, of the "Rinaldo," O.N. 204128.

Private R.M.L.I. Joseph Martin, of the "Humber" (who landed with Marine detachment), O.N. Ch./15582.

Stoker, 1st, Samuel Johnston, of the "Humber," O.N. Ch./282822 (R.F.R. Ch.B. 4090).

Petty Officer Robt. Frederick Jennings, of the "Vestal," O.N. 157343 (R.F.R. Po. B. 1481).

Petty-Officer Charles Henry Sutton, of the "Vestal” O.N. 158086.

Leading Seaman Frederick Stanley Woodruff, of the "Vestal," O.N. 237062.

Able Seaman William Chapman, of the "Vestal," O.N. 183312 (R.F.R. Po. B. 1666).

Officer's Steward James Whiteman, of the "Vestal," O.N. L. 1275.

 

I beg to append a list of the vessels engaged.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,

HORACE HOOD, Rear-Admiral, Dover Patrol.

___

 

 

Enclosure to Rear-Admiral Hood's despatch of the 11th November.

 

List of Ships Which Took Part in Operations off Belgian Coast.

 

 

“Venerable" (above - Photo Ships), Captain V. H. G. Bernard.

“Attentive," Captain C. D. Johnson, M.V.O.

“Foresight," Captain H. N. Garnett.

“Brilliant," Captain (ret.) H. Christian.

“Sirius," Commander (ret.) W. H. Boys.

“Severn," Commander E. J. A. Fullerton.

“Humber," Commander A. L. Snagge.

“Mersey," Lieutenant-Commander R. A. Wilson.

“Vestal," Commander A. D. M. Cherry.

“Rinaldo," Commander H. J. Kennard.

“Wildfire," Commander E. Altham.

"Bustard," Commander H. C. Halahan.

"Excellent," Lieutenant-Commander (ret.) E. A. Digby.

"Crane," Commander R. H. Coppinger.

"Falcon," Lieutenant H. O. Wauton (killed - 28 October 1914, shore gunfire).

"Flirt," Lieutenant H. S. Braddyll.

"Lizard,” Lieutenant-Commander Evelyn C. O. Thomson.

"Lapwing," Lieutenant-Commander Alexander H. Gye.

"Mermaid," Lieutenant P. R. P. Percival.

"Myrmidon," Lieutenant-Commander (ret.) R. H. B. Hammond-Chambers.

"Racehorse," Lieutenant E. P. U. Pender.

"Syren," Commander T. C. H. Williams.

"Amazon," Commander H. G. L. Oliphant.

"Cossack," Lieutenant-Commander G. C. Harrison.

"Crusader," Lieutenant-Commander G. L. D. Gibbs.

"Maori" (below - Photo Ships) Lieutenant-Commander B. W. Barrow.

"Mohawk," Commander E. R. G. R. Evans, C.B.

"Hazard," Commander N. E. Archdale.

"Nubian," Commander C. E. Cundall.

"Viking," Lieutenant J. P. Gibbs.

 

 

Submarine C. 32 (below, sister-boat C.38 - Navy Photos), Lieutenant-Commander B. V. Layard.

Submarine C. 34, Lieutenant-Commander J. F. Hutchings.

 

 

 

"Dunois," Capitaine de fregate Richard.

"Capitaine Mehl," Lieutenant de vaisseau Rossignal.

"Francis-Gamier," Lieutenant de vaisseau de Pianelli.

"Intrepide," Lieutenant de vaisseau Vaudier.

"Aventurier," Lieutenant de vaisseau Semichon

 

 

Click for some of the British casualties, honours and awards

 

 


 

29214 - 2 JULY 1915

 

GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN

 

Admiralty, 30th June, 1915.

 

With reference to the list of awards to Officers and men of the Royal Naval Division in recognition of their services with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli), which appeared in the London Gazette of the 3rd June, 1915, the following are statements of the services of the Officers and men therein mentioned:

 

Commander Victor L. A. Campbell, Royal Navy. Displayed conspicuous ability and initiative during operations between May 5th and 10th, near Krithia, Cape Helles; owing to his judgment and skill as Officer Commanding the forward line, losses, though heavy, were less severe than they would otherwise have been.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Bernard C. Freyberg, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Displayed conspicuous gallantry on April 25th during the landing operations in the Gulf of Xeros. He swam ashore towing rafts with flares, and although alone, reconnoitred the enemy's position and swam back; he was over two hours in the water.

 

Lieutenant Ernest G. Boissier, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Behaved with gallantry in charge of a machine-gun on May 7th, during operations South of Achi Baba, and effected the destruction of an enemy machine-gun.

 

Lieutenant James Cheetham, Royal Marine Light Infantry. Conducted himself with gallantry on May 1st during operations South of Achi Baba. When the enemy, in strength of about a Battalion, attacked an outpost of 30 men, Lieutenant Cheetham called for two volunteers, and, dashing out to a flank under heavy fire into the open, brought rapid fire to bear on the enemy and thus checked the attack and saved the outpost line.

 

Lieutenant George S. Davidson, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Displayed great courage and coolness in action on May 6th during operations South of Achi Baba.

 

Chief Petty Officer Richard F. Toy, Royal Navy. Behaved with conspicuous gallantry on May 6th during operations South of Achi Baba, leading his platoon after his Company Commander had been wounded, and bringing in Lieutenant-Commander Ford (wounded) under heavy fire.

 

Able Seaman George H. Doe, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Displayed conspicuous gallantry on May 7th during operations South of Achi Baba in continuing to work his machine-gun after the remainder of the crew had been wounded; this resulted in the enemy's shrapnel being turned from the advancing infantry on to himself.

 

Private Charles J. Braddock, Royal Marine Light Infantry. Behaved with distinguished gallantry on May 1st during operations South of Achi Baba. When the enemy in greatly superior numbers attacked an outpost of 30 men he volunteered in company with Lieutenant Cheetham and one other man to counterattack the enemy on a flank in the open under heavy fire, thus assisting to save the outpost line.

 

Bugler Ernest Sillence, Royal Marine Light Infantry. Behaved with distinguished gallantry on May 4th during operations South of Achi Baba in volunteering to throw back enemy bombs into enemy lines at great personal risk, thereby saving the lives of many of his comrades.

 

Petty Officer Walter Mason, Royal Navy. On 9th May, during operations South of Achi Baba, volunteered to bring back two wounded men lying 200 yards in advance of the trenches. This he did, bringing them in one after the other under fire.

 

Leading Seaman John Rogerson, Royal Navy. On May 7th, during operations South of Achi Baba, performed valuable work in making a reconnaissance under fire.

 

Stoker Herbert H. Purnell, Royal Navy. On May 8th, during operations South of Achi Baba, did excellent work in bringing; up machine-guns under severe fire, and later bringing up ammunition under fire when wounded.

 

Serjeant N. Roberts, Royal Marine Light. Infantry. On May 2nd, during operations South of Achi Baba, displayed coolness and gallantry in carrying men out of fire.

 

Private George Stockham, Royal Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve. During the night of May 9th-10th, in operations South of Achi Baba, worked splendidly under fire to recover wounded, until himself severely wounded.

 

 

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29264 - 13 AUGUST 1915

 

GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN - LANDINGS

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 1 July 1915

 

   

Gallipoli and area - click to enlarge

 

Admiralty, 16th August, 1915.

 

The following despatch has been received from Vice-Admiral John M. de Robeck, reporting the landing of the Army on the Gallipoli Peninsula, 25th-26th April, 1915:

 

To the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

"Triad," July 1, 1915.

 

SIR:

I have the honour to forward herewith an account of the operations carried out on the 25th and 26th April, 1915, during which period the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was landed and firmly established in the Gallipoli peninsula.

 

The landing commenced at 4.20 a.m. on 25th. The general scheme was as follows:

 

Two main landings were to take place, the first at a point just north of Gaba Tepe, the second on the southern end of the peninsula. In addition, a landing was to be made at Kum Kale, and a demonstration in force to be carried out in the Gulf of Xeros near Bulair.

 

The night of the 24th-25th was calm and very clear, with a brilliant moon, which set at 3 a.m.

 

The first landing, north of Gaba Tepe, was carried out under the orders of Rear-Admiral C. P. Thursby, C.M.G. His squadron consisted of the following ships:

 

Battleships.

 

Cruiser.

 

Destroyers.

 

Seaplane Carrier.

 

Balloon Ship. 

Trawlers.

 

Queen.

London.

Prince of Wales.

Triumph.

Majestic.

 

Bacchante.

 

Beagle.

Bulldog.

Foxhound.

Scourge.

Colne.

Usk.

Chelmer.

Ribble.

 

Ark Royal.

 

Manica.

 

15

 

 

HMS Bulldog, both destroyers (Photo Ships) 

 

HMS Foxhound

 

To "Queen," "London," and "Prince of Wales" was delegated the duty of actually landing the troops. To "Triumph" (below - Photo Ships), "Majestic," and "Bacchante" the duty of covering the landing by gunfire.

 

 

In this landing a surprise was attempted. The first troops to be landed were embarked in the battleships "Queen," "London," and "Prince of Wales."

 

The squadron then approached the land at 2.58 a.m. at a speed of 5 knots. When within a short distance of the beach selected for landing the boats were sent ahead. At 4.20 a.m. the boats reached the beach and a landing was effected.

 

The remainder of the infantry of the covering force were embarked at 10 p.m., 24th.

 

The troops were landed in two trips, the operation occupying about half an hour, this in spite of the fact that the landing was vigorously opposed, the surprise being only partially effected.

 

The disembarkation of the main body was at once proceeded with. The operations were somewhat delayed owing to the transports having to remain a considerable distance from the shore in order to avoid the howitzer and field guns' fire brought to bear on them and also the fire from warships stationed in the Narrows, Chanak.

 

The beach here was very narrow and continuously under shell fire. The difficulties of disembarkation were accentuated by the necessity of evacuating the wounded; both operations proceeded simultaneously. The service was one which called for great determination and coolness under fire, and the success achieved indicates the spirit animating all concerned. In this respect I would specially mention the extraordinary gallantry and dash shown by the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade (Colonel E. G. Sinclair Maclagan, D.S.O.), who formed the covering force. Many individual acts of devotion to duty were performed by the personnel of the Navy; these are dealt with below. Here I should like to place on record the good service performed by the vessels employed in landing the second part of the covering force; the seamanship displayed and the rapidity with which so large a force was thrown on the beach is deserving of the highest praise.

 

On the 26th the landing of troops, guns and stores continued throughout the day; this was a most trying service, as the enemy kept up an incessant shrapnel fire, and it was extremely difficult to locate the well-concealed guns of the enemy. Occasional bursts of fire from the ships in the Narrows delayed operations somewhat, but these bursts of fire did not last long, and the fire from our ships always drove the enemy's ships away.

 

The enemy heavily counter-attacked, and though supported by a very heavy shrapnel fire he could make no impression on our line, which was every minute becoming stronger. By .nightfall on the 26th April our position north of Gaba Tepe was secure.

 

The landing at the southern extremity of the Gallipoli peninsula was carried out under the orders of Rear-Admiral R. E. Wemyss, C.M.G., M.V.O., his squadron consisting of the following ships:

 

Battleships.

 

Cruisers.

 

Fleet Sweepers.

 

Trawlers.

 

Swiftsure.

Implacable.

Cornwallis.

Albion.

Vengeance.

Lord Nelson.

Prince George.

 

Euryalus.

Talbot.

Minerva.

Dublin.

 

6

 

14

 

 


HMS Vengeance, battleship (both Photo Ships)

 


HMS Dublin, light cruiser

 

Landings in this area were to be attempted at five different places; the conditions at each landing varied considerably. The position of beaches is given below.

 

Position of Beach. - "Y" beach, a point about 7,000 yards north-east of Cape Tekeh. "X" beach, 1,000 yards north-east of Cape T'ekeh. "W" beach, Cape Tekeh-Cape Helles. "V" beach, Cape Helles-Seddul Bahr. Camber, Seddul Bahr. "S" beach, Eski-Hissarlik Point.

 

Taking these landings in the above order:

 

Landing at "Y" Beach. - The troops to be first landed, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, embarked on the 24th in the ''Amethyst'' (below - Photo Ships) and ''Sapphire'' and proceeded with the transports "Southland" and "Braemar Castle" to a position off Cape Tekeh. At 4.0 a.m. the boats proceeded to "Y" beach, timing their arrival there at 5.0 a.m., and pulled ashore covered by fire from H.M.S. "Goliath." The landing was most successfully and expeditiously carried out, the troops gaining the top of the high cliffs overlooking this beach without being opposed; this result I consider due to the rapidity with which the disembarkation was carried out and the well-placed covering fire from ships.

 

 

 

The Scottish Borderers were landed in two trips, followed at once by the Plymouth Battalion Royal Marines. These troops met with severe opposition on the top of the cliffs, where fire from covering ships was of little assistance and, after heavy fighting, were forced to reembark on the 26th. The re-embarkation was carried out by the following ships: "Goliath" (below - Photo Ships),  "Talbot," "Dublin," "Sapphire," and "Amethyst." It was most ably conducted by the beach personnel and covered by the fire of the warships, who prevented the enemy reaching the edge of the cliff, except for a few snipers.

 

 

Landing at "X" Beach.- The 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers (two companies and M.G. Section) embarked in "Implacable" on 24th, which ship proceeded to a position off the landing-place, where the disembarkation of the troops commenced at 4.30 a.m., and was completed at 5.15 a.m.

 

A heavy fire was opened on the cliffs on both sides. The "Implacable" approached the beach, and the troops were ordered to land, fire being continued until the boats were close into the beach. The troops on board the "Implacable " were all landed by 7 a.m. without any casualties. The nature of the beach was very favourable for the covering fire from ships, but the manner in which this landing was carried out might well serve as a model.

 

Landing at "W" Beach.- The 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers embarked in "Euryalus" and "Implacable" on the 24th, who proceeded to positions off the landing place, where the troops embarked in the boats at about 4 a.m. Shortly after 5 a.m. "Euryalus" approached "W" beach and "Implacable" (below - Maritime Quest) "X" beach. At 5 a.m. the covering ships opened a heavy fire on the beach, which was continued up to the last moment before landing. Unfortunately this fire did not have the effect on the extensive wire entanglements and trenches that had been hoped for, and the troops, on landing at 6 a.m., were met with a very heavy fire from rifles, machine guns, and pom-poms, and found the obstructions on the beach undamaged. The formation of this beach lends itself admirably to the defence, the landing-place being commanded by sloping cliffs offering ideal positions for trenches and giving a perfect field of fire. The only weakness in the enemy's position was on the flanks, where it was just possible to land on the rocks and thus enfilade the more important defences. This landing on the rocks was effected with great skill, and some maxims, cleverly concealed in the cliffs and which completely enfiladed the main beach, were rushed with the bayonet. This assisted to a great extent in the success of the landing, the troops, though losing very heavily, were not to be denied and the beach and the approaches to it were soon in our possession

 

 

 

The importance of this success cannot be overestimated; "W" and "V" beaches were the only two of any size, in this area, on which troops, other than infantry, could be disembarked, and failure to capture this one might have had serious consequences as the landing at "V" was held up. The beach was being continuously sniped, and a fierce infantry battle was carried on round it throughout the entire day and the following night. It is impossible to exalt too highly the service rendered by the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in the storming of the beach; the dash and gallantry displayed were superb. Not one whit behind in devotion to duty was the work of the beach personnel, who worked untiringly throughout the day and night, landing troops and stores under continual sniping. The losses due to rifle and machine-gun fire sustained by the boats' crews, to which they had not the satisfaction of being able to reply, bear testimony to the arduous nature of the service.

 

During the night of the 25th-26th enemy attacked continuously, and it was not till 1 p.m. on the 26th, when "V" beach was captured, that our position might be said to be secure.

 

The work of landing troops, guns, and stores continued throughout this period and the conduct of all concerned left nothing to be desired.

 

Landing at "V" Beach.- This beach, it was anticipated, would be the most difficult to capture; it possessed all the advantages for defence which "W" beach had, and in addition the flanks were strongly guarded by the old castle and village of Seddul Bahr on the east and perpendicular cliffs on the west; the whole foreshore was covered with barbed wire entanglements which extended in places under the sea. The position formed a natural amphitheatre with the beach as stage.

 

The first landing here, as at all other places, was made in boats, but the experiment was tried of landing the remainder of the covering force by means of a collier, the "River Clyde." This steamer had been specially prepared for the occasion under the directions of Commander Edward Unwin (right, later awarded the Victoria Cross - Digger); large ports had been cut in her sides and gangways built whereby the troops could reach the lighters which were to form a bridge on to the beach.

 

"V" beach was subjected to a heavy bombardment similarly to "W" beach, with the same result, i.e., when the first trip attempted to land they were met with a murderous fire from rifle, pom-pom and machine gun, which was not opened till the boats had cast off from the steamboats.

 

A landing on the flanks here was impossible and practically all the first trip were either killed or wounded, a few managing to find some slight shelter under a bank on the beach; in several boats all were either killed or wounded; one boat entirely disappeared, and in another there were only two survivors. Immediately after the boats had reached the beach the ''River Clyde'' was run ashore under a heavy fire rather towards the eastern end of the beach, where she could form a convenient breakwater during future landing of stores, &c.

 

As the "River Clyde" grounded, the lighters which were to form the bridge to the shore were run out ahead of the collier, but unfortunately they failed to reach their proper stations and a gap was left between two lighters over which it was impossible for men to cross; some attempted to land by jumping from the lighter which was in position into the sea and wading ashore; this method proved too costly, the lighter being soon heaped with dead and the disembarkation was ordered to cease.

 

The troops in the "River Clyde" were protected from rifle and machine-gun fire and were in comparative safety.

 

Commander Unwin, seeing how things were going, left the "River Clyde" and, standing up to his waist in water under a very heavy fire, got the lighters into position; he was assisted in this work by Midshipman G. L. Drewry, R.N.R. (right - Digger), of H.M.S. "Hussar"; Midshipman W. St. A. Malleson, R.N., of H.M.S. "Cornwallis": Able Seaman W. C. Williams (below right - Digger), O.N. 186774 (R.F.R. B.3766), and Seaman R.N.R. George McKenzie Samson, O.N. 2408A, both of H.M.S. "Hussar."

 

The bridge to the shore, though now passable, could not be used by the troops, anyone appearing on it being instantly shot down, and the men in "River Clyde" remained in her till nightfall.

 

At 9.50 a.m. "Albion" sent in launch and pinnace manned by volunteer crews to assist in completing bridge, which did not quite reach beach; these boats, however, could not be got into position until dark owing to heavy fire.

 

It had already been decided not to continue to disembark on "V" Beach, and all other troops intended for this beach were diverted to "W."

 

The position remained unchanged on "V" beach throughout the day, men of war and the maxims mounted in "River Clyde" doing their utmost to keep down the fire directed on the men under partial shelter on the beach.

 

During this period many heroic deeds were performed in rescuing wounded men in the water.

 

During the night of the 25th-26th the troops in "River Clyde" were able to disembark under cover of darkness and obtain some shelter on the beach and in the village of Seddul Bahr, for possession of which now commenced a most stubborn fight.

 

The fight continued, supported ably by gunfire from H.M.S. "Albion," until 1.24 p.m., when our troops had gained a position from which they assaulted hill 141, which dominated the situation. "Albion" then ceased fire, and the hill, with old fort on top, was most gallantly stormed by the troops, led by Lieutenant-Colonel C. H. H. Doughty-Wylie, General Staff, who fell as the position was won. The taking of this hill effectively cleared the enemy from the neighbourhood of the "V" Beach, which could now be used for the disembarkation of the allied armies. The capture of this beach called for a display of the utmost gallantry and perseverance from the officers and men of both services - that they successfully accomplished their task bordered on the miraculous.

 

Landing on the Camber, Seddul Bahr.- One half company Royal Dublin Fusiliers landed here, without opposition, the Camber being "dead ground." The advance from the Camber, however, was only possible on a narrow front, and after several attempts to enter the village of Seddul Bahr this half company had to withdraw after suffering heavy losses.

 

Landing at "De Totts" "S" Beach.- The 2nd South Wales Borderers (less one company) and a detachment 2nd London Field Company R.E. were landed in boats, convoyed by "Cornwallis"  (below - Maritime Quest), and covered by that ship and "Lord Nelson."

 

 

 

Little opposition was encountered, and the hill was soon in the possession of the South Wales Borderers. The enemy attacked this position on the evening of the 25th and during the 26th, but our troops were firmly established, and with the assistance of the covering ships all attacks were easily beaten off.

 

Landing at Kum Kale.- The landing here was undertaken by the French.

 

It was most important to prevent the enemy occupying positions in this neighbourhood, whence he could bring gun fire to bear on the transports off Cape Helles. It was also hoped that by holding this position it would be possible to deal effectively with the enemy's guns on the Asiatic shore immediately east of Kum Kale, which could fire into Seddul Bahr and De Totts.

 

The French, after a heavy preliminary bombardment, commenced to land at about 10 a.m., and by the afternoon the whole of their force had been landed at Kum Kale. When they attempted to advance to Yeni Shehr, their immediate objective, they were met by heavy fire from well-concealed trenches, and were held up just south of Kum Kale village.

 

During the night of the 25th-26th the enemy made several counter-attacks, all of which were easily driven off; during one of these 400 Turks were captured, their retreat being cut off by the fire from the battleships.

 

On the 26th, when it became apparent that no advance was possible without entailing severe losses and the landing of large reinforcements, the order was given for the French to withdraw and re-embark, which operation was carried out without serious opposition.

 

I now propose to make the following more general remarks on the conduct of the operations:

 

From the very first the co-operation between army and navy was most happy; difficulties which arose were quickly surmounted, and nothing could have succeeded the tactfulness and forethought of Sir Ian Hamilton and his staff.

 

The loyal support which I received from Contre-Amiral E. P. A. Guepratte simplified the task of landing the Allied armies simultaneously.

 

The Russian fleet was represented by H.I.R.M.S. "Askold" (below, cruiser - Photo Ships), which ship was attached to the French squadron. Contre-Amiral Guepratte bears testimony to the value of the support he received from Captain Ivanoff, especially during the landing and re-embarkation of the French troops at Kum Kale.

 

 

 

The detailed organisation of the landing could not be commenced until the Army Headquarters returned from Egypt on the 10th April. The work to be done was very great, and the naval personnel and material available small.

 

Immediately on the arrival of the Army Staff at Mudros, committees, composed of officers of both services, commenced to work out the details of the landing operations, and it was due to these officers' indefatigable efforts that the expedition was ready to land on the 22nd April. The keenness displayed by the officers and men resulted in a good standard of efficiency, especially in the case of the Australian and New Zealand Corps, who appear to be natural boatmen.

 

Such actions as the storming of the Seddul Bahr position by the 29th Division must live in history for ever; innumerable deeds of heroism and daring were performed; the gallantry and absolute contempt for death displayed alone made the operations possible.

 

At Gaba Tepe the landing and the dash of the Australian Brigade for the cliffs was magnificent - nothing could stop such men. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in this, their first battle, set a standard as high as that of any army in history, and one of which their countrymen have every reason to be proud.

 

In closing this despatch I beg to bring to their Lordships' notice the names of certain officers and men who have performed meritorious service. The great traditions of His Majesty's Navy were well maintained, and the list of names submitted of necessity lacks those of many officers and men who performed gallant deeds unobserved and therefore unnoted. This standard was high, and if I specially mention one particular action it is that of Commander Unwin and the two young officers and establishing communication between "River Clyde" and the beach. Rear-Admirals R. E Wemyss, C.M.G., M.V.O., C. P. Thursby, C.M.G., and Stuart Nicholson, M.V.O., have rendered invaluable service. Throughout they have been indefatigable in their efforts to further the success of the operations, and their loyal support has much lightened my duties and responsibilities.

 

I have at all times received the most loyal support from the Commanding Officers of His Majesty's ships during an operation which called for the display of great initiative and Captain R. F. Phillimore, C.B., M.V.O., A.D.C., as principal Beach Master, and Captain D. L. Dent, as principal Naval Transport Officer, performed most valuable service.

 

SPECIAL RECOMMENDATIONS.

 

Commander Edward Unwin, R.N. While in "River Clyde," observing that the lighters which were to form the bridge to the shore had broken adrift, Commander Unwin left the ship and under a murderous fire attempted to get the lighters into position. He worked on until, suffering from the effects of cold and immersion, he was obliged to return to the ship, where he was wrapped up in blankets. Having in some degree recovered, he returned to his work against the doctor's order and completed it. He was later again attended by the doctor for three abrasions caused by bullets, after which he once more left the ship, this time in a lifeboat, to save some wounded men who were lying in shallow water near the beach. He continued at this heroic labour under continuous fire, until forced to stop through pure physical exhaustion.

 

Midshipman George L. Drewry, R.N.R. Assisted Commander Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under heavy rifle and maxim fire. He was wounded in the head, but continued his work and twice subsequently attempted to swim from lighter to lighter with a line.

 

Midshipman Wilfred St. A. Malleson, R.N. (right - Digger). Also assisted Commander Unwin, and after Midshipman Drewry had failed from exhaustion to get a line from lighter to lighter, he swam with it himself and succeeded. The line subsequently broke, and he afterwards made two further but unsuccessful attempts at his self-imposed task.

 

Able Seaman William Chas. Williams, O.N. 186774 (R.F.R. B.3766). Held on to a line in the water for over an hour under heavy fire, until killed.

 

Seaman R.N.R. George McKenzie Samson, O.N. 2408A. Worked on a lighter all day under fire, attending wounded and getting out lines; he was eventually dangerously wounded by maxim fire.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Ralph B. Janvrin, R.N. Conducted the trawlers into Morto Bay, for the landing at "De Totts," with much skill. This officer showed great judgment and coolness under fire, and carried out a difficult task with great success.

 

Lieutenant John A. V. Morse, R.N. Assisted to secure the lighters at the bows of the "River Clyde" under a heavy fire, and was very active throughout the 25th and 26th at "V" beach.

 

Surgeon P. B. Kelly, R.N., attached to R.N.A.S. Was wounded in the foot on the morning of the 25th in "River Clyde." He remained in "River Clyde" until morning of the 27th, during which time he attended 750 wounded men, although in great pain and unable to walk during the last twenty-four hours.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Adrian St. V. Keyes, R.N. General Sir Ian Hamilton reports as follows: "Lieutenant-Commander Keyes showed great coolness, gallantry, and ability. The success of the landing on 'Y' beach was largely due to his good services. When circumstances compelled the force landed there to re-embark, this officer showed exceptional resource and leadership in successfully conducting that difficult operation." I entirely concur in General Hamilton's, opinion of this officer's services on the 25th-26th April.

 

Commander William H. Cottrell, R.N.V.R. This officer has organised the entire system of land communication; has laid and repaired cables several times under fire; and on all occasions shown zeal, tact, and coolness beyond praise.

 

Mr. John Murphy, Boatswain, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Midshipman John Saville Metcalf, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Triumph."

Midshipman Rupert E. M. Bethune, H.M.S. "Inflexible."

Midshipman Eric Oloff de Wet, H.M.S. "London."

Midshipman Charles W. Croxford, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Queen."

Midshipman C. A. L. Mansergh, H.M.S. "Queen."

Midshipman Alfred M. Williams, H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Midshipman Hubert M. Wilson, H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Midshipman G. F. D. Freer, H.M.S, "Lord Nelson."

Midshipman R. V. Symonds-Taylor, H.M.S, “Agamemnon.''

Midshipman C. H. C. Matthey, H.M.S. "Queen Elizabeth."

Lieutenant Massy Goolden, H.M.S. "Prince of Wales."

 

Recommended for accelerated promotion:

Mr. Charles Edward Bounton, Gunner, R.N., H.M.S. "Queen Elizabeth."

 

The following officers are "Commended for service in action":

Captain H. A. S. Fyler, H.M.S. "Agamemnon," Senior Officer inside the Straits.

Captain A. W. Heneage, M.V.O., who organised and trained the minesweepers.

Captain E. K. Loring, Naval Transport Officer, Gaba Tepe.

Captain H. C. Lockyer, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Captain C. Maxwell-Lefroy, H.M.S. "Swiftsure."

Captain The Hon. A. D. E. H. Boyle, M.V.O., H.M.S. "Bacchante."

Captain A. V. Vyvyan, Beach Master, "Z" beach.

Captain C. S. Townsend, Beach Master, "W" beach.

Captain R. C. K. Lambert, Beach Master, "V" beach.

Commander The Hon. L. J. O. Lambart, H.M.S. "Queen."

Commander (now Captain) B. St. G. Collard, Assistant Beach Master, "W" beach.

Commander C. C. Dix, Assistant Beach Master, "Z" beach.

Commander N. W. Diggle, Assistant Beach Master, "V" beach.

Commander H. L. Watts-Jones, H.M.S. "Albion" (acting Captain).

Commander I. W. Gibson, M.V.O., H.M.S. "Albion."

Lieutenant-Commander (now Commander) J. B. Waterlow, H.M.S. "Blenheim."

Lieutenant-Commander H. V. Coates, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Lieutenant-Commander E. H. Cater, H.M.S. "Queen Elizabeth."

Lieutenant-Commander G. H. Pownall, H.M.S. "Adamant" (killed in action - 25 April 1915).

Lieutenant A. W. Bromley, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Lieutenant H. R. W. Turnor, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Lieutenant H. F. Minchin, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Lieutenant Oscar Henderson, H.M.S. "Ribble."

Lieutenant Kenneth Edwards, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson."

Major W. T. C. Jones, D.S.O., R.M.L.I. Beach Master, "X" beach.

Major W. W. Frankis, R.M.L.I., H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Temporary Surgeon W. D. Galloway, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Mr. Alfred M. Mallett, Gunner T., H.M.S. "Ribble."

Mr. John Pippard, Boatswain, H.M.S. "Sapphire."

Midshipman Eric Wheler Bush, H.M.S. "Bacchante."

Midshipman Charles D. H. H. Dixon, H.M.S. "Bacchante."

Midshipman Donald H. Barton, H.M.S. "London."

Midshipman A. W. Clarke, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Probationary Midshipman William D. R. Hargreaves, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Sapphire."

Midshipman F. E. Garner, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Triumph."

Midshipman George H. Morris, R.N.R., H.M.S. "Lord Nelson."

Midshipman The Honourable G. H. E. Russell, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Midshipman D. S. E. Thompson, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Midshipman W. D. Brown, H.M.S. "Implacable."

 

The work accomplished by the destroyer flotillas fully maintained the high standard they have established in these waters.

 

On the 25th and 26th " Wolverine" (Commander O. J. Prentis) (killed in action - 28 April 1915, shore gunfire), "Scorpion" (Lieutenant-Commander (now Commander) A. B. Cunningham), "Renard" (Lieutenant-Commander L. G. B. A. Campbell), "Grampus" (Lieutenant-Commander R. Bacchus), "Pincher" (Lieutenant-Commander H. W. Wyld), and "Rattlesnake" (below - Photo Ships) (Lieutenant-Commander P. G. Wodehouse) carried out mine-sweeping operations under Captain Heneage inside the Dardanelles in a most satisfactory manner, being frequently under heavy fire. On the 26th the French sweepers "Henriette" (Lieutenant de Vaisseau Auverny), "Marius Chambon" (Lieutenant de Vaisseau Blanc), and "Camargue" (Lieutenant de Vaisseau Bergeon) assisted them, "Henriette" doing particularly well.

 

 

 

"Beagle" (Commander (now Captain) H. R. Godfrey), "Bulldog" (Lieutenant-Commander W. B. Mackenzie), "Scourge" (Lieutenant-Commander H. de B. Tupper), "Foxhound" (Commander W. G. Howard), "Colne" (below - Photo Ships) (Commander C. Seymour), "Chelmer" (Lieutenant-Commander (now Commander) H. T. England), "Usk" (Lieutenant-Commander W. G. C. Maxwell), and "Ribble" (Lieutenant-Commander R. W. Wilkinson) assisted in the disembarkation at Gaba Tepe.

 

 

 

Rear-Admiral Thursby reports as follows on the work accomplished by these boats:

 

"The destroyers under Captain C. P. R. Coode (Captain 'D') landed the second part of the covering force with great gallantry and expedition, and it is in my opinion entirely due to the rapidity with which so large a force was thrown on the beach that we were able to establish ourselves there."

 

I entirely concur in Admiral Thursby's remarks on the good work performed by this division.

 

PETTY OFFICERS AND MEN: SPECIAL RECOMMENDATIONS .

 

Petty Officer John Hepburn Russell, O.N. F.839, of the Royal Naval Air Service, was wounded in gallantly going to Commander Unwin's assistance.

 

Petty Officer Mechanic Geoffrey Charlton Paine Rummings, O.N. F.813, Royal Naval Air Service, assisted Commander Unwin in rescuing wounded men.

 

Petty Officer, Second Class, Frederick Gibson, O.N. 191025, R.F.R. B.3829, H.M.S. "Albion," jumped overboard with a line and got his boat beached to complete bridge from "River Clyde" to shore. He then took wounded to "River Clyde" under heavy fire.

 

Ordinary Seaman Jesse Lovelock, H.M.S. "Albion," J.28798, assisted in getting pontoon in position; also helped wounded on beach and in boats to reach "River Clyde," displaying great gallantry and coolness under fire.

 

Able Seaman Lewis Jacobs, O.N. J.4081, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson." Took his boat into "V" beach unaided, after all the remainder of the crew and the troops were killed or wounded. When last seen Jacobs was standing up and endeavouring to pole the cutter to the shore. While thus employed he was killed.

 

Herbert J. G. Merrin, Leading Seaman, O.N. 236225, H.M.S. "Bacchante."

Alfred J. Chatwin, Chief Yeoman Signals, O.N. 156109, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Albert Playford, Petty Officer, O.N. 202189, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Arthur Roake, Able Seaman, O.N. S.S. 1940 (R.F.R. B.8843), H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Henry Thomas Morrison, Seaman, R.N.R., O.N. 1495D., H.M.S. "Albion."

Daniel Roach, Seaman, R.N.R., 1685D, H.M.S. "Albion."

David S. Kerr, Able Seaman, O.N. 239816, H.M.S. "Ribble."

Albert Balson, Petty Officer, O.N. 211943, H.M.S. "Prince of Wales."

William Morgan, Petty Officer, O.N. 193834, H.M.S. "Prince of Wales."

James Getson, Stoker, Petty Officer, O.N. 295438, H.M.S. "London."

Edward L. Barons, Able Seaman, O.N. J.7775, H.M.S. "London."

William Putman, Petty Officer, O.N. 236783, H.M.S. "Queen."

Robert Fletcher, Leading Seaman, O.N. 213297, H.M.S. "Queen."

Samuel Forsey, Able Seaman, S.S. 2359, (R.F.R. B.4597), H.M.S. "Albion."

Henry J. Anstead, Acting C.P.O. 179989, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Kenneth Muskett, Leading Seaman, J.1325, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Thomas P. Roche, Chief Petty Officer (Pensioner), O.N. 165533, H.M.S. "Prince George."

John Maple, Leading Seaman, O.N. 171890, R.F.R. Chat., B.2658), H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Henry Williams, Leading Seaman, O.N. 176765 (R.F.R. Chat., B.1326), H.M.S. "Euryalus."

William F. Hoffman, Able Seaman, O.N. 195940 (R.F.R. Chat., B.2650), H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Henry G. Law, Able Seaman, O.N. 195366, R.F.R. Chat., B.8261), H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Henry Ridsdale, Stoker, R.N.R., O.N. 1136U, H.M.S. "Euryalus."

Colin McKechnie, Leading Seaman, O.N. 157509, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson" (killed - 25 April 1915).

Stanley E. Cullum, Leading Seaman, O.N. 225791, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson" (killed - 25 April 1915).

Frederick T. M. Hyde, Able Seaman, O.N. J.21153, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson" (killed - 25 April 1915).

William E. Rowland, Able Seaman, O.N. J.17029, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson" (wounded).

Albert E. Bex, Able Seaman, O.N. J.17223, "H.M.S. "Lord Nelson" (wounded).

The above men from "Lord Nelson" were part of boats' crews landing troops on "V" beach, a service from which few returned.

 

Commended for service in action:

Harry E. Pallant, Petty Officer, O.N. 186521, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Jesse Bontoft, Petty Officer, O.N. 193398, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Thomas J. Twells, Leading Seaman, O.N. 232269, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Richard Mullis, Leading Seaman, O.N. 220072, H.M.S. "Implacable."

Matthew B. Knight, Leading Seaman, O.N. 230546, H.M.S. "Implacable."

John E. Mayes, Leading Seaman, O.N. 196849 (R.F.R. B.8581), H.M.S. "Implacable."

William J. White, P.O.I., O.N. 142848, H.M.S. "Albion."

Frederick G. Barnes, P.O., O.N. 209085, H.M.S. "Swiftsure."

Henry Minter, P.O., O.N. 163128, H.M.S. "Queen Elizabeth."

Harry R. Jeffcoate, Serjeant, R.M.L.I., Ch.10526, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

Frank E. Trollope, Private, R.M.L.I., Ch. 19239, H.M.S. "Cornwallis."

George Brown, Chief P.O., 276085, H.M.S. "Sapphire."

Bertie Sole, Leading Seaman, 208019 (R.F.R. B.10738), H.M.S. "Sapphire."

Charles H. Soper, Signalman, J.9709, H.M.S. "Sapphire."

Frank Dawe, Able Seaman, 231502, H.M.S. "Albion."

Samuel Quick, Seaman, R.N.R., 3109 B, H.M.S. "Albion."

James Rice, Seaman, R.N.R., 519 D, H.M.S. "Albion."

William Thomas, Seaman, R.N.R., 2208 B, H.M.S. "Albion."

William H. Kitchen, Seaman, R.N.R., 4330 A, H.M.S. "Albion."

Francis A. Sanders, Able Seaman, 221315 (R.F.R. Chat., B.8199), H.M.S. "Euryalus."

William F. Hicks, Able Seaman, S.S. 4795, H.M.S. "Euryalus."

William F. Hayward, Able Seaman, 235109, H.M.S. "London."

George Gilbertson, Able Seaman, 207941 (R.F.R. B.4910), H.M.S. "London."

Andrew Hope, Able Seaman, S.S. 2837 (R.F.R. B.5847), H.M.S. "London."

Charles A. Smith, Able Seaman, J.27753, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson" (wounded).

Basil Brazier, Able Seaman, J.6116, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson " (wounded).

Charles H. Smith, Able Seaman, J.28377, H.M.S., "Lord Nelson."

Henry A. B. Green, Able Seaman, 238024, H.M.S. "Lord Nelson." (wounded).

____

 

No officer could have been better served by his staff than I have been during these operations. The energy and resource of my Chief of Staff, Commodore R. J. B. Keyes, was invaluable, and, in combination with Major-General Braithwaite - Chief of the General Staff - he established a most excellent working agreement between the two services.

 

Captain George P. W. Hope, of "Queen Elizabeth" (below - Photo Ships) acted as my flag captain. His gift of organisation was of the greatest assistance in dealing with the mass of details inseparable from an operation of such magnitude.

 

 

 

Commander the Hon. A. R. M. Ramsay has used his sound practical knowledge of gunnery to great advantage in working out, in connection with the military, the details of gunfire from the covering ships.

 

Captain William W. Godfrey, R.M., a staff officer of great ability, has given me invaluable assistance throughout the operations.

 

I would also mention my secretary, Mr. Basil F. Hood, Acting Paymaster, and secretarial staff, whose good services under the direction and example of Mr. Edward W. Whittington-Ince, Assistant Paymaster, will form the subject of a later separate report. Also Lieutenant-Commander James F. Sommerville (Fleet Wireless Telegraph Officer), and Flag Lieutenants L. S. Ormsby-Johnson, Hugh S. Bowlby, and Richard H. L. Bevan, who have performed good service in organising with the military the intercommunication between the allied fleets and armies.

 

I have, &c.,

J. M. DE ROBECK, Vice- Admiral.

 

 

Click for British casualties

 

Click here for Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 


 

 

29333 - 19 OCTOBER 1915

 

 WAR WITH BULGARIA

 

Foreign Office, October 16, 1915.

 

The Vice-Admiral commanding the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron of the Allied Fleets has declared a blockade of the Bulgarian coast in the Aegean Sea, commencing from 6 a.m. on the 16th instant. Forty-eight hours' grace from the moment of the commencement of the blockade has been assigned for the departure of neutral vessels from the blockaded area.

 

 

 


 

 

29395 - 7 DECEMBER 1915

 

DESTRUCTION OF GERMAN CRUISER “KÖNIGSBERG”

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 15 July 1915

 

German East Africa and Rufigi Delta - from "The Navy Everywhere" by Conrad Gato,
click maps to enlarge

Click the title for the story - Chapter 2

 

 

Admiralty, 8th December, 1915.

 

The following Despatch has been received from the Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope Station:

 

"Challenger,"15th July, 1915.

 

Sir: Be pleased to lay before their Lordships the following report of the operations against, the "Konigsberg" (below - Photo Ships) on the 6th and 11th instant:

 

 

 

In accordance with orders issued by me, the various vessels concerned took up their appointed stations on the 5th July, in readiness for the operations on the following day.

 

At 4.15 a.m. on the 6th July, H.M.S. "Severn," Captain Eric J. A. Fullerton, R.N., and H.M.S. "Mersey," Commander Robert A. Wilson, weighed and proceeded across the bar into the Kikunja branch of the Rufiji river, which they entered about 5.20 a.m.

 

The "Severn" was anchored head and stern and fire was opened on the "Konigsberg" by 6.30 a.m. The "Mersey" was similarly moored and opened fire shortly after.

 

Both Monitors were fired on with 3-pounders, pom-poms and machine-guns when entering the river and on their way up, and they replied to the fire.

 

At 5.25 a.m. an aeroplane, with Flight-Commander Harold E. M. Watkins as pilot, and carrying six bombs, left the aerodrome on Mafia Island. The bombs were dropped at the "Konigsberg" with the intention of hampering any interference she might attempt with the Monitors while they were getting into position.

 

At 5.40 a.m. another aeroplane, with Flight-Commander John T. Cull as pilot, and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harwood J. Arnold as observer, left the aerodrome for the purpose of spotting for the Monitors.

 

At 5.45 a.m. I transferred my Flag to the "Weymouth" (below - Photo Ships), Captain Denis B. Crampton, M.V.O., and at 6.30 a.m. proceeded across the bar, with the Whalers "Echo" and "Fly" sweeping, and the "Childers" sounding ahead; the "Pyramus," Commander Viscount Kelburn, being in company.

 

 

 

The "Weymouth" grounded on the bar for a few minutes on the way across, but soon came off with the rising tide, and advanced as far as the entrance to the river, where she anchored.

 

Fire from small guns was opened on her, and on the Whalers, from the shore, but beyond one shell, which struck the "Fly," no damage was sustained. A few rounds from the 6-inch guns put a stop to the firing, although it was impossible to locate the position of the guns owing to their being concealed amongst the trees and dense undergrowth.

 

After anchoring, the "Weymouth" did what was possible to assist the Monitors by bombarding at long range a position at Pemba, where a spotting and observation station was supposed to be, and by keeping down the enemy's fire at the aeroplanes. This was done very effectively.

 

At the same time the "Pioneer," Commander (Acting) Thomas W. Biddlecombe, R.A.N., under the orders of "Hyacinth," Captain David M. Anderson, M.V.O., engaged the defences at the Ssimba Uranga Mouth, her fire being returned until the defences were silenced.

 

Returning to the operations of the Monitors; fire was opened, as before stated, at 6.30 a.m., but as the "Konigsberg" was out of sight it was very difficult to obtain satisfactory results, and the difficulties of the observers in the aeroplanes in marking the fall of the shots which fell amongst the trees were very great, and made systematic shooting most difficult.

 

There being only two aeroplanes available, considerable intervals elapsed between the departure of one and the arrival of its relief from the aerodrome 30 miles distant, and this resulted in a loss of shooting efficiency.

 

At 12.35 one of the aeroplanes broke down, and at 3.50 the second one also. I signalled to Captain Fullerton to move further up the river, which he did, until about 12.50 the tops of the "Konigsberg's" masts were visible.

 

The "Konigsberg" kept up a heavy fire on the Monitors (below, HMS Mersey - CyberHeritage) until about 12.30, when her fire slackened. At 2.40 p.m. she ceased firing, having for some time limited her fire to one gun. At 3.30 p.m. the Monitors ceased fire, and retired out of the river, rejoining my Flag off Koma Island at 6 p.m. On their way out they were again attacked by the small guns from the banks.

 

 

 

I had returned over the bar in "Weymouth" at 12.30 p.m., and transferred to "Hyacinth" at 3.0 p.m.

 

The "Mersey" had four men killed and four wounded, two of whom have since died, and her foremost 6-in. gun, at which most of the casualties occurred, was put out of action. The "Severn" fortunately suffered no losses or damage.

 

The various ships, whalers, tugs, &c., anchored for the night off the Delta, and proceeded to their various stations for coaling, &c., the following morning.

 

In view of the many difficulties in the way, and the heavy and accurate fire to which the monitors were subjected, I consider that the operations on 6th July, though not a complete and final success, are creditable to Captain Fullerton and Commander Wilson.

 

As it was necessary to make a fresh attack on the "Konigsberg" to complete her destruction, further operations were carried out on the 11th July, by which date the aeroplanes were again ready for service, and the monitors had made good certain defects and completed with coal.

 

I reinforced the crew of the "Severn" (below - Photo Ships) by Acting Sub-Lieutenant Arthur G. Mack, with six Petty Officers and men; and the crew of the "Mersey" by Lieutenant Richard Ussher and Lieutenant Rundle B. Watson, with six Petty Officers and men. All the above were drawn from "Hyacinth."

 

 

 

The attack was carried out on the same lines as on the previous occasion, and the same mouth of the river was used.

 

The monitors crossed the bar at 11.45 a.m., followed up to the entrance by ''Weymouth'' and "Pyramus," the latter proceeding three miles inside, and both searching the banks. "Hyacinth" and "Pioneer" bombarded the Ssimba Uranga entrance.

 

On this occasion the monitors did not fire simultaneously; the "Mersey" remained under way, and fired while "Severn" moored, and ceased fire when "Severn" commenced.

 

The "Severn" was moored in a position 1,000 yards closer to the enemy than on the 6th July, which made her fire much more effective.

 

The observers in the aeroplanes, by their excellent spotting, soon got the guns on the target, and hit after hit was rapidly signalled. At 12.50 it was reported that the "Konigsberg" was on fire.

 

As previously arranged with Captain Fullerton, as soon as they had got the situation well in hand, the monitors moved up the. River, and completed the destruction of the ''Konigsberg" by 2.30 p.m., when I ordered them to withdraw.

 

The "Konigsberg" is now a complete wreck, having suffered from shells, fire and explosions, several of which latter were observed.

 

the abandoned and also disarmed SMS Königsberg. Her guns,

especially the 4.1in, went on to play an important part in the

German land campaign in East Africa (Cyber Heritage/Terry Phillips)

 

The only casualties sustained were three men slightly wounded in the "Mersey." There were no casualties in "Severn."

 

By 8.0 p.m. all ships, except those detached on patrol, had returned.

 

I have much pleasure in bringing to the notice of their Lordships the names of the following Officers and men:

 

Captain Eric J. A. Fullerton, H.M.S. "Severn."

Commander Robert A. Wilson, H.M.S. "Mersey."

Captain Denis B. Crampton, M.V.O., H.M.S. "Weymouth."

Commander The Hon. Robert O. B. Bridgeman.

Squadron Commander Robert Gordon, in command of the Air Squadron.

Flight Commander John T. Cull.

Flight Lieutenant Vivian G. Blackburn.

Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harwood J. Arnold.

Flight Lieutenant Harold E. M. Watkins.

 

Assistant Paymaster Harold G. Badger, H.M.S. "Hyacinth." This Officer volunteered to observe during the first attack on the "Konigsberg," though he had had no previous experience of flying.

 

Acting Lieutenant Alan G. Bishop, Royal Marine Light Infantry, of H.M.S. "Hyacinth." This Officer volunteered to observe during the second attack on the " Konigsberg," though he had had no previous experience of flying.

 

Air Mechanic Ebenezer Henry Alexander Boggis, Chatham 14849, who went up on the 25th April with Flight Commander Cull, and photographed the "Konigsberg" at a height of 700 feet. They were heavily fired on, and the engine of the machine was badly damaged.

 

Most serious risks have been run by the officers and men who have flown in this climate, where the effect of the atmosphere and the extreme heat of the sun are quite unknown to those whose flying experience is limited to moderate climates. "Bumps" of 250 feet have been experienced several times, and the temperature varies from extreme cold when flying at a height to a great heat, with burning, tropical sun, when on land.

 

In the operations against the "Konigsberg" on the 6th July both the personnel and materiel of the Royal Naval Air Service were worked to the extreme limit of endurance. The total distance covered by the two available aeroplanes on that date was no less than 950 miles, and the time in the air, working watch and watch, was 13 hours.

 

I will sum up by saying that the Flying Officers, one and all, have earned my highest commendations.

 

Chief Carpenter William J. Leverett, H.M.S. "Hyacinth." This Officer was in charge of the fitting out of the two Monitors.

 

I also desire to bring to their Lordships' notice the Master of the tug "Revenger," John Osment Richards, and the following members of her crew, who most readily volunteered to serve in their tug and to proceed into the river to the assistance of the Monitors and tow them out if necessary:

 

Frank Walker, Navigating Master.

George Edward Milton, Mate.

Frederick James Kennedy, Chief Engineer.

Lewis John Hills, Second Engineer.

Sidney Robert Rayner, Third Engineer.

 

The four tugs "Blackcock," "Revenger," "Sarah Joliffe," and "T. A. Joliffe" were manned by Naval Officers and men, with the exception of the above named, and although their services were not called for I consider the example they set was most praiseworthy.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, 

H. KING HALL, Vice-Admiral, Commander in Chief.

 

 

Click for British casualties

 

Click here for Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 


 

 

 

1916 

 

 

29436 - 11 JANUARY 1916

 

BELGIAN COAST OPERATIONS

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 3 December 1915

 

  

North Sea Sandbanks and Dover Straits (with later defences)
click maps to enlarge

 

Admiralty, 12th January 1916

 

The following Despatch has been, received from Vice Admiral Reginald H S Bacon, K.C.B., C.V.O., D.S.O., commanding the Dover Patrol, reporting the operations off the Belgian coast between 22nd August and 19th November 1915 -

 

To the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

Office of Vice Admiral, Dover, 3rd December 1915

 

SIR -

In the summer and autumn of this year circumstances enabled offensive operations to be undertaken from the sea at certain points on the Belgian Coast. It is unnecessary to enter into the reasons for the various operations or the exact objectives attacked, since these are well known to Their Lordships.

 

In all cases great care has been taken to confine the fire of the guns to objectives of military or naval importance, so as to inflict the minimum of loss of life and distress on the civil population, the larger number of whom are our allies. In order to carry this principle into effect, it has at times been necessary to modify and even postpone projected attacks. The results therefore have been effective rather than sensational.

 

On the evening of the 22nd August I sailed with H M Ships Sir John Moore (below - Photo Ships) (Commander S B Miller RN), Lord Clive (Commander N H Carter R N ), Prince Rupert (Commander H O Reinold, R N ), and 76 other vessels and auxiliaries and on the following morning attacked the harbour and defences of Zeebrugge. The results were markedly successful, all the objectives selected were damaged or destroyed.

 

 

 

It was satisfactory that extreme accuracy was obtained with the gun fire at the long ranges necessary for the best attack of such defences This accuracy fully justifies the novel methods used and the careful training in attention to details to which the vessels are subjected. A similar organisation was employed in subsequent attacks.

 

On the 6th September I attacked Ostende with five monitors including General Craufurd (Commander E Altham R N.) and "M.25" (below, sister-ship M.26 - Photo Ships) (Lieutenant-Commander B. H. Ramsay, R.N.), and damage was done to submarine workshops and harbour works. The enemy returned our fire with heavy guns of calibre probably larger than our own, and with considerable accuracy. Again the shooting on the part of our vessels was remarkably good, and the assistance rendered by the Auxiliary Craft most valuable.

 

 

 

On the same day Westende was subjected to attack by H.M. Ships "Redoubtable" (Captain V. B. Molteno, R.N.), "Bustard" (Lieutenant O. H. K. Maguire, R.N.), and "Excellent" (Commander G. L. Saurin, R.N.), under the direction of Captain V. B. Molteno, and with results that reflected credit on all concerned.

 

On the 19th September, with several of the vessels, including H.M.S. "Marshal Ney" (Captain H. J. Tweedie, R.N.), I carried out an attack against certain defences in the neighbourhood of Middlekirke, Raversyde and Westende, which resulted in damaging and silencing the batteries. Valuable co-operation was received from the French batteries in the vicinity of Nieuport.

 

On the evening of the 24th September, I despatched H.M.S. "Prince Eugene" (Captain E. Wigram, R.N.) and one other monitor and the requisite auxiliary craft to bombard the following morning the coast of Knocke, Heyst, Zeebrugge and Blankenberghe (east of Ostende), while with the other vessels, including H.M.S. "Lord Clive" (Commander G. R. B. Blount, R.N.), on the same day I carried out an attack on the fortified positions west of that place. Again, during these attacks, considerable damage was done.

 

On the 26th, 27th and 30th September I made further attacks on the various batteries and strong positions at Middlekirke and Westende.

 

On the evening of the 2nd October I sailed with four monitors, and again attacked with satisfactory results the batteries at Zeebrugge on the morning of the 3rd. The whole coast during our passage was showing signs of considerable alarm and unrest as a result of the previous operations. Our advanced vessels were attacked by submarine boats, but without result.

 

On the 6th, 12th, 13th and 18th October and 16th-19th November other batteries or positions of military value have been attacked by the vessels under my command.

 

Up to the present, therefore, concerted operations of considerable magnitude have been carried out on six occasions, and on eight other days attacks on a smaller scale on fortified positions have taken place. The accuracy of the enemy's fire has been good. The damage inflicted on the enemy is known to include the sinking of one torpedo boat, two submarines and one large dredger, the total destruction of three military factories and damage to a fourth, extensive damage to the locks at Zeebrugge and the destruction of thirteen guns of considerable calibre, in addition to the destruction of two ammunition depots and several military storehouses, observation stations and signalling posts, damage to wharves, moles and other secondary places. Further, a considerable number of casualties are known to have been suffered by the enemy.

 

I regret that three vessels were lost during the operations:

 

H.M. Armed Yacht "Sanda," sunk by gunfire (25 September 1915);

H.M. Drifter "Great Heart," sunk by mine (24 September 1915);

H.M. Mine Sweeper "Brighton Queen" (below, in civilian use - Photo Ships) sunk by mine (6 October 1915).

 

 

 

Our total casualties numbered 34 killed and 24 wounded, which, considering the dangers to which the vessels were exposed by gun fire, aircraft, submarine boats and mines on an enemy's coast, may be looked upon as comparatively small in proportion to the number of officers and men taking part in the operations.

 

It is with regret that, among others, I have to report the death of Lieutenant-Commander H. T. Gartside-Tipping, R.N., of the Armed Yacht "Sanda," who was the oldest naval officer afloat. In spite of his advanced age, he rejoined, and with undemonstrative patriotism served at sea as a Lieutenant-Commander.

 

I cannot speak too highly of the manner in which the officers and men under my command have carried out the duties allotted to them. The work has been varied, and to a great extent novel, but in all particulars it has been entered into with a zeal and enthusiasm which could not have been surpassed. The gunnery results have exceeded my expectations.

 

Their Lordships will appreciate the difficulties attendant on the cruising in company by day and night under war conditions of a fleet of 80 vessels comprising several widely different classes, manned partly by trained naval ratings but more largely by officers of the Naval Reserve, whose fleet training has necessarily been scant, and by men whose work in life has hitherto been that of deep sea fishermen.

 

The protection of such a moving fleet by the destroyers in waters which are the natural home of the enemy's submarines has been admirable, and justifies the training and organisation of the personnel of the flotilla. But more remarkable still, in my opinion, is the aptitude shown by the officers and crews of the drifters and trawlers, who in difficult waters, under conditions totally strange to them, have maintained their allotted stations without a single accident. Moreover, these men under fire have exhibited a coolness well worthy of the personnel of a service inured by discipline. The results show how deeply sea adaptability is ingrained in the seafaring race of these islands.

 

It is to the excellent work done by the destroyers under Commodore C. D. Johnson, M.V.O., and the drifters under Captain F. G. Bird, that I ascribe our immunity from loss by submarine attack. The mine sweepers, under Commander W. G. Rigg, R.N., have indefatigably carried out their dangerous duties.

 

Throughout these operations attacks have been made on our vessels by the enemy's aircraft, but latterly the vigilance of our Dunkirk Aerodrome, under Wing-Commander A. M. Longmore, has considerably curtailed their activity.

 

I wish specially to mention the cordial assistance always tendered to me by the Vice- Admiral Favereau, Commanding the French Second Light Cruiser Squadron, whose patrol vessels under Commander Saillard have assisted to protect our ships from submarine dangers. In doing this, I regret to say, their patrols have lost three vessels and several gallant lives.

 

I would also bring to Their Lordships' attention the great assistance rendered to me by Brigadier-General T. Bridges, C.B., attached to the Belgian Mission.

 

Captain H. W. Bowring, throughout these operations, has acted most ably as my Chief of the Staff.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

R. H. BACON, Vice-Admiral, Dover Patrol.

________

 

Officers Specially Recommended.

 

Commodore C. D. Johnson, M.V.O., 6th Flotilla. In command of the Destroyer Flotilla, and has performed much valuable work during the whole: of the operations, and directly responsible for the efficiency with which the patrol was conducted.

 

Captain E. Wigram, H.M.S. "Prince Eugene." Commanded the detached squadron during a successful attack on Zeebrugge on 6th September, which caused considerable loss and inconvenience to the enemy.

 

Captain F. G. Bird, Dover Drifter Patrol. In personal charge of the drifters during five of the major attacks, and contributed materially to the success of the operations.

 

Flag Captain H. W. Bowring, Dover Patrol. Acted as Chief of my Staff during all the operations and afforded me most, valuable assistance.

 

Commander W. G. H. Bickford, Dover Patrol. In charge of the forward observation party under the close fire of the batteries during two attacks, and largely assisted in correcting the fire of the guns.

 

Mr. L. Scarlett, Skipper, R.N.R., H.M. Drifter "Hyacinth." On 25th September, off Zeebrugge, exhibited great coolness in action, remaining and completing his task though exposed to heavy gun fire.

 

Lieutenant L. F. Robinson, H.M.S. "Lord Olive." Gunnery Lieutenant of "Lord Clive," the excellent shooting of which ship has contributed materially to the damage done.

 

Officers Commended for Service in Action.

Lieutenant R. J. B. Drew, H.M.S. "General Craufurd."

Lieutenant-Commander (now Commander) F. H. L. Lewin, 6th Flotilla.

Sub-Lieutenant D. V. S. Watson, R.N.R., Drifter, "Devon County."

Mr. James Peck, Skipper, R.N.R., W.S.A. 869, Drifter "Fearless."

Engineer Sub-Lieutenant W. Wilson, of H.M. Yacht "Sanda."

Lieutenant-Commander R. H. B. Hammond-Chambers, H.M.S. "Tartar."

Flight Commander F. K. Haskins, R.N.A.S., Dunkirk.

Mr. Alexander Buchan, Skipper, R.N.R., W.S.A. 1315, Drifter "Violet May."

Sub-Lieutenant Malcolm N. English, R.N.R., Fleet Messenger 41.

 

Petty Officers and Men Specially Recommended.

R. Spiers, E.R.A., O.N. M.10941, "Lord Clive."

A. Wynn, Chief E.R.A., 1st Cl., O.N. 269218, "Sir John Moore."

E. S. J. White, E.R.A., 4th C1., O.N. M. 12159, "Prince Rupert."

A. H. Woodgate, Ldg. Signalman, O.N. 239957, "General Craufurd."

P. G. Hayward, E.R.A., 4th C1. (Act.), O.N.M.11920, "Prince Eugene."

S. T. Smith, Blacksmith, O.N. M.2725, "Marshal Ney."

D. P. Foley, Ch. Yeo. Sig., O.N. 191303, "Arrogant."

C. Joughin, A.B. (mercantile rating), Fleet Messenger 42.

S. Morriss, Cpl. R.M.L.I., Po., 15842, "Attentive."

T. J. Prior, 2nd Hand, R.N.R., O.N. 1089 S.A., "Hyacinth."

F. Comber, Seaman, R.N.R., O.N. 1622D. "Violet II."

E. Stowe, Petty Officer, O.N. 182402, "Viking."

Wm. Smith, Ldg. Sig., O.N. 213714, "Crusader."

H. J. Tree, Ldg. Sea., O.N. 224325, "Tartar."

G. Wickwar, Ldg. Sig., O.N. 191551, "Cossack."

J. P. Champion, Chief Petty. Officer, O.N. 155570, "Mermaid."

J. Paterson, Chief E.R.A., O.N. 269167, “M.25”.

S. W. J. Spooner, Ldg. Tel. O.N. 222998, "Nubian."

J. Tait, Chief E.R.A., 2nd C1., O.N. 279687. "Lord Clive."

F. H. Banks, Ldg. Sig., O.N. 229772, "Sir John Moore."

T. A. S. Thomson, E.R.A., 3rd C1., O.N. M. 12164, "Prince Rupert."

W. H. White, Yeo. Sig., O.N. 224985, "Arrogant."

W. Ritchie, 2nd Hand, R.N.R., O.N. 1461 S.A., "Chrysanthemum."

C. Parker, Ch. Yeo. Sig., O.N. 161007, "Arrogant."

J. Slee, Chief Petty Officer, O.N. 177228, "Arrogant."

S. A. Quinlan, Boy, 1st Cl., O.N. J. 30847, "General Craufurd."

P. Inkson, Petty Officer, O.N. 215564, "Prince Eugene."

P. G. W. Hill, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. K.3472, "Marshal Ney."

M. D. Phillips, A.B., O.N. 198932 (R.F.R. Dev. B. 3848), Fleet Messenger 43.

F. Jones, Chief Petty Officer, O.N. 170433, "Attentive."

A. Thacker, Engineman, R.N.R., O.N. 1770E.S., "Fearless."

E. Rixon, Sig. R.N.V.R., O.N. Wales Z.876.

R. G. Greening, Pte. R.M.L.I., Po., 13744 (R.F.R., B.1080).

R. Sheriff, Engineman, R.N.R., O.N. 393E.S., "Chrysanthemum."

S. J. Pack, Deck-hand, R.N.R., O.N. 3870D.A., "Rosemma."

R. Watson, Deck-hand, R.N.R , O.N. 4152D.A., "Violet II."

A. Tushaw, Sergt., R.M.L.I., Ch. F, 12651, "Lord Clive."

S. H. L. Macey, Petty Officer, O.N; 164791, "Sir John Moore."

S. T. Pepperell, Shipwright, 2nd Cl., O.N. M.7016, "Prince Rupert."

 

 

Click for some of the British casualties

 

Click here for Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 

 


 

 

29507 - 14 MARCH 1916

 

GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 14 March 1916

 

Admiralty, March 14th, 1916.

 

The undermentioned Officers have been Commended for service in action in despatches received from the Vice-Admiral Commanding the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron covering operations between the time of the landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in April, 1915, and the evacuation in December, 1915-January, 1916:

Rear-Admiral Cecil Fiennes Thursby, K.C.M.G.

Rear-Admiral Arthur Henry Christian, M.V.O.

Rear-Admiral Stuart Nicholson, C.B., M.V.O.

Captain Herbert Arthur Stevenson Fyler, C.B., R.N.

Captain Heathcoat Salusbury Grant, R.N.

Captain Vivian Henry Gerald Bernard, R.N.

Captain Algernon Walker Heneage, C.B., M.V.O., R.N., Commodore 2nd Class.

Captain Henry Montagu Doughty, R.N.

Captain Sidney Robert Drury-Lowe, R.N.

Captain Walter Maurice Ellerton, R.N.

Captain Fawcet Wray, R.N.

Captain John William Leopold McClintock, R.N,

Captain Charles Penrose Rushton Coode, R.N,

Captain Alexander Victor Campbell, M.V.O., R.N.

Captain Arthur Vyell Vyvyan, R.N.

Captain Cecil Dacre Staveley Raikes, R.N.

Captain Frank Larken, R.N.

Captain William Rawdon Napier, R.N.

Captain Arthur Kenneth Macrorie, M.V.O., R.N.

Captain Hugh Gaultier Coghill Somerville, R.N.

Captain Herbert Neville Garnett, R.N.

Captain Rudolf Miles Burmester, R.N.

Captain Henry Edgar Grace, R.N.

Captain Alldin Usborne Moore, R.N.

Captain Harry Rowlandson Godfrey, R.N.

Commander (Acting Captain) Henry Percy Douglas, R.N.

Captain Cresswell John Eyres, R.N.R. (Rear- Admiral, retired).

Engineer Captain Henry Humphreys, R.N.

Wing Captain Frederick Hugh Sykes, R.N.A.S.

Commander Archibald Bertram Watson Higginson, R.N.

Captain Edmund Clifton Carver, R.N.

Commander Maurice Dorsett Evans, R.N.

Commander Claude Seymour, R.N.

Commander Charles Nicolas Tindal-Carill-Worsley, R.N.

Commander George Parker Bevan, R.N.

Commander William Gilbert Howard, R.N.

Commander Arthur Lionel Snagge, R.N.

Commander George Thomas Carlisle Parker Swabey, R.N.

Commander Guy Hamilton, R.N.

Commander Francis Murray Austin, R.N.

Commander Gerald Charles Dickens, R.N.

Commander Charles Rumney Samson, D.S.O., R.N., (Wing Commander, R.N.A.S.).

Commander the Honourable Alexander Maule Ramsay, R.N.

Commander Charles Cabry Dix, R.N.

Commander Cloudesley Varyl Robinson, R.N.

Commander George Gipps, R.N. (killed in action).

Commander Andrew Browne Cunningham, R.N.

Commander Hugh Turnour England, R.N.

Commander Robert Hamilton Clark-Hall, R.N. (Wing Commander R.N.A.S.).

Lieutenant-Commander (Acting Commander) Edward Howell Cater, R.N. (killed in action).

Engineer-Commander William Anderson Wilson, R.N.

Deputy Surgeon-General Octavius William Andrews, M.B., R.N.

Fleet Surgeon John Menary, M.D., R.N.

Fleet Paymaster Frederick Matthew Mitchell, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Charles Edward Lloyd Thomas, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander George Harold de Peyster Chance, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Adrian St. Vincent Keyes, D.S.O., R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander William Lambarde Dodgson, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Leveson Granville Byron Alexander Campbell, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander George Irwin Sanctuary More, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Herbert William Wyld, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Charles Edward Turle, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Richard Evan Williams Kirby, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Frederic Giffard, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Roy Bacchus, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Henry Noel Marryat Hardy, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Ernest Loftus Colley Grattan, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander James Lenox Conyngham Clark, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Percy Frederic Newcombe, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander John Phelips Farquharson, R.N.

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Charles John Limpenny, R.N.

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Lawrence Turner, R.N.

Lieutenant Cecil John L'Estrange-Malone, R.N., (Squadron Commander, R.N.A.S.).

Lieutenant Richard Bell Davies, V.C., D.S.O., R.N., (Wing Commander, R.N.A.S.).

Lieutenant Eric Ritchie Bent, R.N.

Lieutenant Hairy Alexander Dykes Keate, R.N.

Lieutenant Godfrey Colfox Chichester Crookshank, R.N.

Flight Commander Reginald Lennox George Marix, D.S.O., R.N.A.S.

Lieutenant Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds, D.S.O., R.N., (Flight Commander, R.N.A.S.).

Flight Commander Charles Henry Butler, R.N.A.S.

Lieutenant John Moore Heath, R.N.

Lieutenant Edward Theobald Walsh Church, R.N.

Lieutenant John Gould Nicolas, R.N.

Lieutenant Leonard George Addington, R.N.

Flight Lieutenant George Bentley Dacre, D.S.C., R.N.A.S.

Flight Lieutenant Gordon Lindsay Thomson, R.N.A.S.

Flight Lieutenant Edward Harris Dunning, R.N.A.S.

Flight Lieutenant Gilbert Formby Smylie, D.S.C., R.N.A.S.

Engineer Lieutenant Norman Seaton, R.N.

Lieutenant (temporary Captain) Gordon Hamilton Seath, R.M.L.I.

Lieutenant Francis Hastings Thomas, R.M.L.I.

Lieutenant Geoffrey Miles Crick, R.M.L.I.

Lieutenant Ernest Edward Madge, R.N.R.

Lieutenant Ronald Langton Jones, R.N.R.

Acting Lieutenant Jack Ronald Stewart Strange, R.N.R.

Acting Lieutenant John Lewis Sinclair, R.N.R.

Acting Lieutenant Benjamin F. Bolt, R.N.R.

Acting Lieutenant Ernest Donaldson, R.N.R.

Acting Lieutenant David Laidlaw Cowan, R.N.R.

Lieutenant L. H. Strain, R.N.V.R.

Lieutenant William Park, R.N.V.R.

Sub-Lieutenant James Hogg Reid, R.N.R.

Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Edward Daniel. R.N.R.

Carpenter James John Brownridge, R.N., (Warrant Officer, 1st Grade, R.N.A.S.).

Carpenter Thomas Henry Gwilliam, R.N.

Gunner James Holden, R.N.

Boatswain Harry Ham, R.N.

Temporary Acting Boatswain George Lee, R.N.

Signal Boatswain William James Scutt, R.N.

Acting Warrant Telegraphist John A. Britten, R.N.

Midshipman John Edmund Sissmore, R.N. (now Acting Sub-Lieutenant).

Midshipman John Dyson Chapple, R.N. (now Acting Sub-Lieutenant).

Midshipman Maurice John Parkes-Buchanan, R.N.

Midshipman Henry Dunsmore Johnston, R.N.

Midshipman Raymond de Dibon Richardson, R.N.

Midshipman Erskine Knollys Heveningham St. Aubyn, R.N.

Midshipman Haydon Marriott Sutherland Forbes, R.N.

Midshipman Maurice Charles Humphrey Lloyd, R.N.

Midshipman William Henry Monier-Williams, R.N.

Midshipman Eric Wheler Bush, R.N.

Midshipman Charles Douglas Horsfall Herbert Dixon, R.N.

Midshipman Frederick Ernest Garner, R.N.

Probationary Midshipman Reginald Allen, R.N.R.

Probationary Midshipman Bernard Walter Davy, R.N.R.

Probationary Midshipman George Halket Morris, R.N.R.

Skipper Donald McBain Craig, R.N.R.

Skipper John Henry Reynolds, R.N.R.

Skipper Alfred Edward Berry, D.S.C., R.N.R.

Skipper William Appleby Messenger, R.N.R.

Skipper Robert W. Butler, R.N.R.

Skipper George Lyall Thomson, R.N.R.

Skipper Frederick William Barnes, R.N.R.

Skipper George Mellership, R.N.R.

 

The undermentioned Officers have been Commended for service in action in despatches received from the Vice-Admiral Commanding the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron, covering the period of the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula in December, 1915-January, 1916:

Rear-Admiral Sydney Robert Fremantle, M.V.O.

Captain Roger John Brownlow Keyes, C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O., A.D.C., R.N., Commodore, 2nd Class.

Captain Charles Frederick Corbett, M.V.O., R.N.

Captain the Honourable Algernon Douglas Edward Harry Boyle, C.B., M.V.O., R.N.

Captain Douglas Lionel Dent, C.M.G., R.N.

Captain Cecil Minet Staveley, R.N.

Captain Alexander Percy Davidson, R.N.

Captain Henry FitzRoy George Talbot, R.N.

Commander (Acting Captain) the Honourable Lionel John Olive Lambart, R.N.

Commander (Acting Captain) Edward Unwin, V.C., R.N.

Commander Henry Karslake Kitson, R.N.

Commander George Herbert Knowles, R.N.

Commander James Fownes Somerville, R.N.

Assistant Paymaster (Acting Paymaster) Basil Frederick Hood, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander (Acting Commander) George Francis Arthur Mulock, R.N.

Captain (temporary Major) William Wellington Godfrey, C.M.G., R.M.L.I.

Lieutenant-Commander William Bowen Mackenzie, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Edmond Alan Berners Stanley, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Reginald Thornton Amedroz, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Avison Scott, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander John Fawcett, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander James Charles Wauhope, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Richard Hugh Loraine Bevan, R.N.

Lieutenant William Humphry Nigel Yonge, R.N.

Lieutenant Arthur Patrick Saunders, R.N.

Lieutenant Lewes George Gardner, R.N.

Lieutenant Lionel Stanley Ormsby-Johnson, R.N.

Lieutenant Hugh Salvin Bowlby, R.N.

Lieutenant Herbert Julian Carnduff, R.N.

Assistant Paymaster Alec Ernest Haine, R.N.

Assistant Paymaster Edward Watkins Whittington-Ince, R.N.

Assistant Paymaster Gerald Desmond Colville Kiddle, R.N.

Clerk Cyril Branston Wood, R.N.

Assistant Clerk Keith Leslie Dunn, R.N. (now Clerk).

 

 

Click for British casualties

 

Click here for Honours, Appointments and Awards to Officers and Ratings mentioned in the foregoing despatches

 

 


 

 

29654 - 4 JULY 1916

 

ACTION IN THE NORTH SEA - BATTLE OF JUTLAND

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 24 June 1916

 


North Sea - click to enlarge 

 

(the following Order of Battle has been added to the original Gazette Despatch)

 

 

ORDER OF BATTLE

Ships sunk in red, hit or with men killed in blue

(all images are Photo Ships unless otherwise identified)

 

 

BRITISH GRAND FLEET

 

BATTLECRUISER FORCE

first in action with German Fleet

 

Battlecruisers

 

HMS Lion (Maritime Quest/Alasdair Hugh)

 

Lion (Fleet Flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty)

 

1st Battlecruiser Squadron - Princess Royal, Queen Mary, Tiger

 

2nd Battlecruiser Squadron - New Zealand (flagship of Rear-Admiral W C Pakenham), Indefatigable

 

Battleships

temporarily attached

 

HMS Barham

 

5th Battle Squadron - Barham (flagship of Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas), Valiant, Warspite, Malaya

 

Light Cruisers

 

HMS Galatea

 

1st Light Cruiser Squadron - Galatea (broad pennant of Commodore E S Alexander-Sinclair), Phaeton, Inconstant, Cordelia

 

2nd Light Cruiser Squadron - Southampton (broad pennant of Commodore W E Goodenough), Birmingham, Nottingham, Dublin

 

3rd Light Cruiser Squadron - Falmouth (flagship of Rear-Admiral T D W Napier), Yarmouth, Birkenhead, Gloucester

 

Destroyer Flotillas

 

HMS Acheron

 

1st Flotilla - Light cruiser Fearless (Captain C D Roper), destroyers Acheron, Ariel, Attack, Badger, Defender, Goshawk, Hydra, Lapwing, Lizard

 

9th & 10th (combined) Flotilla - destroyers Lydiard (Leader, Commander M L Goldsmith), Landrail, Laurel, Liberty, Moorsom, Morris, Termagant, Turbulent

 

13th Flotilla - Light cruiser Champion (Captain J U Farie), destroyers Moresby, Narborough, Nerissa, Nestor, Nicator, Nomad, Obdurate, Onslow, Pelican, Petard

 

 

Attached Vessel

 

HMS Engadine

 

Engadine, seaplane carrier

 

 

BATTLEFLEET

 

Battleships

 

HMS King George V

 

2nd Battle Squadron

1st Division - King George V (flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Martyn Jerram), Ajax, Centurion, Erin

2nd Division - Orion (flagship of Rear-Admiral A C Leveson), Monarch, Conqueror, Thunder

 

4th Battle Squadron

3rd Division - Iron Duke (Fleet Flagship of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, C-in-C), Royal Oak, Superb (flagship of Rear-Admiral A. L. Duff), Canada

4th Division - Benbow (flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee), Bellerophon, Temeraire, Vanguard

 

1st Battle Squadron

5th Division - Colossus (flagship of Rear-Admiral E F A Gaunt), Collingwood, Neptune, St Vincent

6th Division - Marlborough (flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney), Revenge, Hercules, Agincourt

 

Battlecruisers

temporarily attached to Battlefleet

 

HMS Invincible (Maritime Quest)

 

3rd Battlecruiser Squadron - Invincible (flagship of Rear-Admiral The Honourable H L A Hood), Inflexible, Indomitable

 

Armoured Cruisers

 

HMS Defence (Navy Photos)

 

1st Cruiser Squadron - Defence (flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot), Warrior, Duke of Edinburgh, Black Prince

 

2nd Cruiser Squadron - Minotaur (flagship of Rear-Admiral H L Heath), Hampshire, Cochrane, Shannon

 

Light Cruisers

 

HMS Calliope

 

4th Light Cruiser Squadron - Calliope (broad pennant of Commodore C E Le Mesurier), Constance, Caroline, Royalist, Comus

 

Attached Light Cruisers

 

HMS Active

 

Active, Bellona, Blanche, Boadicea, Canterbury, Chester

 

Destroyer Flotillas

 

HMS Tipperary

 

4th Flotilla - Destroyers Tipperary (Leader, Captain C J Wintour), Acasta, Achates, Ambuscade, Ardent, Broke, Christopher, Contest, Fortune, Garland, Hardy, Midge, Ophelia, Owl, Porpoise, Shark, Sparrowhawk, Spitfire, Unity

 

11th Flotilla - Light cruiser Castor (Commodore J R P Hawksley), destroyers Kempenfelt, Magic, Mandate, Manners, Marne, Martial, Michael, Milbrook, Minion, Mons, Moon, Morning Star, Mounsey, Mystic, Ossory

 

12th Flotilla - Destroyers Faulknor (Leader, Captain A J Stirling), Maenad, Marksman, Marvel, Mary Rose, Menace, Mindful, Mischief, Munster, Narwhal, Nessus, Noble, Nonsuch, Obedient, Onslaught, Opal

 

Attached Vessels

 

HMS Oak

Abdiel, minelayer

Oak, destroyer, tender to HMS Iron Duke

 

Royal Navy Battle Honour - JUTLAND 1916

 

________

 

 

GERMAN HIGH SEAS FLEET

 

BATTLECRUISER FORCE

first in action with German Fleet

 

Battlecruisers

 

SMS Derfflinger (Maritime Quest)

 

I Scouting Group - Lützow (Fleet Flagship of Vizeadmiral Franz Hipper), Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke, Von der Tann

 

Light Cruisers

 

SMS Frankfurt

 

II Scouting Group - Frankfurt (flagship of Konteradmiral F Bödicker), Wiesbaden, Pillau, Elbing

 

Torpedo Boat Flotillas

 

SMS B.97 or B.98

 

Light Cruiser Regensburg (broad pennant of Kommodore Heinrich)

 

II Flotilla - B98 (leader)

III Half-Flotilla - G101, G102, B112, B97

IV Half-Flotilla - B109, B110, B111, G103, G104

 

VI Flotilla - G41 (leader)

XI Half-Flotilla - V44, G87, G86

XII Half-Flotilla - V69, V45, V46, S50, G37

 

IX Flotilla - V28 (leader)

XVII Half-Flotilla - V27, V26, S36, S51, S52

XVIII Half-Flotilla - V30, S34, S33, V29, S35

 

 

BATTLEFLEET

 

Battleships

 

SMS König

 

III Battle Squadron

V Division, König (flagship of Konteradmiral P Behncke), Grosser Kurfürst, Kronprinz, Markgraf

VI Division, Kaiser (flagship of Konteradmiral H Nordmann), Kaiserin, Prinzregent Luitpold, Friedrich der Grosse (Fleet Flagship of Vizeadmiral Reinhard Scheer)

 

I Battle Squadron

I Division, Ostfriesland (flagship of Vizeadmiral E Schmidt), Thüringen, Helgoland, Oldenburg

II Division, Posen (flagship of Konteradmiral W Englehardt), Rheinland, Nassau, Westfalen

 

II Battle Squadron

III Division, Deutschland (flagship of Konteradmiral F Mauve), Hessen, Pommern

IV Division, Hannover (flagship of Konteradmiral F von Dalwigk zu Lichtenfels), Schlesien, Schleswig-Holstein

 

Light Cruisers

 

SMS Munchen

 

IV Scouting Group - Stettin (broad pennant of Kommodore von Reuter), München, Hamburg, Frauenlob, Stuttgart

 

Torpedo Boat Flotillas

 

SMS V3

 

Light Cruiser Rostock (broad pennant of Kommodore Michelson)

 

I Flotilla

I Half-Flotilla - G39 (leader), G40, G38, S32

 

III Flotilla - S53 (leader),

V Half-Flotilla - V71, V73, G88

VI Half-Flotilla - S54, V48, G42

 

V Flotilla - G11 (leader)

IX Half-Flotilla - V2, V4, V6, V1, V3

X Half-Flotilla - G8, G7, V5, G9, G10

 

VII Flotilla - S24 (leader)

XIII Half-Flotilla - S15, S17, S20, S16, S18

XIV Half-Flotilla - S19, S23, V189, V186 (returned to base)

 

 

(the above Order of Battle has been added to the original Gazette Despatch)


 

 

Admiralty, 6th July, 1916.

 

The following Despatch has been received from Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet, reporting-the action in the North Sea on 31st May, 1916 (All times given in this report are Greenwich mean time):

 

"Iron Duke," 24th June, 1916.

(below - Maritime Quest)

 

 

SIR,

Be pleased to inform the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that the German High Sea Fleet was brought to action on 31st May, 1916, to the westward of the Jutland Bank, off the coast of Denmark.

 

The ships of the Grand Fleet, in pursuance of the general policy of periodical sweeps through the North Sea, had left its bases on the previous day, in accordance with instructions issued by me.

 

In the early afternoon of Wednesday, 31 May, the 1st and 2nd Battle-cruiser Squadrons, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Light-cruiser Squadrons and destroyers from the 1st, 9th, 10th and 13th Flotillas, supported by the 5th Battle Squadron, were, in accordance with my directions, scouting to the southward of the Battle Fleet, which was accompanied by the 3rd Battle-cruiser Squadron, 1st and 2nd Cruiser Squadrons, 4th Light-cruiser Squadron, 4th, 11th and 12th Flotillas.

 

The junction of the Battle Fleet with the scouting force after the enemy had been sighted was delayed owing to the southerly course steered by our advanced force during the first hour after commencing their action with the enemy battle-cruisers. This was, of course, unavoidable, as had our battle-cruisers not followed the enemy to the southward the main fleets would never have been in contact.

 

The Battle-cruiser Fleet, gallantly led by Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty, K.C.B., M.V.O., D.S.O., and admirably supported by the ships of the Fifth Battle Squadron under Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas; M.V.O., fought an action under, at times, disadvantageous conditions, especially in regard tp light, in a manner that was in keeping with the best traditions of the service.

 

The following extracts from the report of Sir David Beatty give the course of events before the Battle Fleet came upon the scene:

 

(Beatty) - "At 2.20 p.m. reports were received from 'Galatea' (Commodore Edwyn S. Alexander Sinclair, M.V.O., A.D.C., indicating the presence of enemy vessels. The direction of advance was immediately altered to S.S.E., the course for Horn Reef, so as to place my force between the enemy and his base.

 

"At 2.35 p.m. a considerable amount of smoke was sighted to the eastward. This made it clear that the enemy was to the northward and eastward, and that it would be impossible for him to round the Horn Reef without being brought to action. Course was accordingly altered to the eastward and subsequently to north-eastward, the enemy being sighted at 3.31 p.m. Their force consisted of five battle-cruisers.

 

"After the first report of the enemy, the 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons changed their direction, and, without waiting for orders, spread to the east, thereby forming a screen in advance of the Battle Cruiser Squadrons and 5th Battle Squadron by the time we had hauled up to the course of approach. They engaged enemy light cruisers at long range. In the meantime the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron had come in at high speed, and was able to take station ahead of the battle cruisers by the time we turned to E.S.E., the course on which we first engaged the enemy. In this respect the work of the Light Cruiser Squadrons was excellent, and of great value.

 

"From a report from 'Galatea' at 2.25 p.m. it was evident that the enemy force was considerable, and not merely an isolated unit of light cruisers, so at 2.45 p.m. I ordered 'Engadine' (Lieutenant-Commander C. G. Robinson) to send up a seaplane and scout to N.N.E. This order was carried out very quickly, and by 3.8 p.m. a seaplane, with Flight Lieutenant F. J. Rutland, R.N., as pilot, and Assistant Paymaster G. S. Trewin, R.N., as observer, was well under way; her first reports of the enemy were received in 'Engadine' about 3.30 p.m. Owing to clouds it was necessary to fly very low, and in order to identify four enemy light cruisers the seaplane had to fly at a height of 900 feet within 3,000 yards of them, the light cruisers opening fire on her with every gun that would bear. This in no way interfered with the clarity of their reports, and both Flight Lieutenant Rutland and Assistant Paymaster Trewin are to be congratulated on their achievement, which indicates that seaplanes under such circumstances are of distinct value.

 

"At 3.30 p.m. I increased speed to 25 knots, and formed line of battle, the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron forming astern of the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, with destroyers of the 13th and 9th Flotillas taking station ahead. I turned to E.S.E., slightly converging on the enemy, who were now at a range of 23,000 yards, and formed the ships on a line of bearing to clear the smoke. The 5th Battle Squadron, who had conformed to our movements, were now bearing N.N.W., 10,000 yards. The visibility at this time was good, the sun behind us and the wind S.E. Being between the enemy and his base, our situation was both tactically and strategically good.

 

"At 3.48 p.m. the action commenced at a range of 18,500 yards, both forces opening fire practically simultaneously. Course was altered to the southward, and subsequently the mean direction was S.S.E., the enemy steering a parallel course distant about 18,000 to 14,500 yards.

 

"At 4.8 p.m. the 5th Battle Squadron came into action and opened fire at a range of 20,000 yards. The enemy's fire now seemed to slacken. The destroyer 'Landrail ' (Lieutenant-Commander Francis E. H. G. Hobart), of 9th Flotilla, who was on our port beam, trying to take station ahead, sighted the periscope of a submarine on her port quarter. Though causing considerable inconvenience from smoke, the presence of 'Lydiard' (Commander Malcolm L. Goldsmith) and 'Landrail' undoubtedly preserved the battle-cruisers from closer submarine attack. 'Nottingham' (Captain Charles B. Miller) also reported a submarine on the starboard beam.

 

"Eight destroyers of the 13th Flotilla, ' Nestor' (Commander the Hon. Edward B. S. Bingham), 'Nomad' (Lieutenant-Commander Paul Whitfield), 'Nicator' (Lieutenant Jack E. A. Mocatta), 'Narborough' (Lieutenant-Commander Geoffrey Corlett), 'Pelican' (Lieutenant-Commander Kenneth A. Beattie), 'Petard' (Lieutenant-Commander Evelyn C. O. Thomson), 'Obdurate' (Lieutenant-Commander Cecil H. H. Sams), 'Nerissa' (Lieutenant-Commander Montague C. B. Legge) with ' Moorsom' (Commander John C. Hodgson), and 'Morris' (Lieutenant-Commander Edward S. Graham), of 10th Flotilla, 'Turbulent' (below - Photo Ships) (Lieutenant-Commander Dudley Stuart), and 'Termagant' (Lieutenant-Commander Cuthbert P. Blake), of the 9th Flotilla, having been ordered to attack the enemy with torpedoes when opportunity offered, moved out at 4.15 p.m., simultaneously with a similar movement on the part of the enemy Destroyers. The attack was carried out in the most gallant manner, and with great determination. Before arriving at a, favourable position to fire torpedoes, they intercepted an enemy force consisting of a light-cruiser and fifteen destroyers. A fierce engagement ensued at close quarters, with the result that the enemy were forced to retire on their battlecruisers, having lost two destroyers sunk, and having their torpedo attack frustrated. Our destroyers sustained no loss in this engagement, but their attack on the enemy battle-cruisers was rendered less effective, owing to some of the destroyers having dropped astern during the fight. Their position was therefore unfavourable for torpedo attack.

 

 

 

"'Nestor,' 'Nomad' and 'Nicator' (below - Photo Ships), gallantly led by Commander the Hon. Edward B. S. Bingham, of 'Nestor,' pressed home their attack on the battle-cruisers and fired two torpedoes at them, being subjected to a heavy fire from the enemy's secondary armament. 'Nomad' was badly hit, and apparently remained stopped between the lines. Subsequently 'Nestor' and 'Nicator' altered course to the S.E., and in a short time, the opposing battle-cruisers having turned 16 points, found themselves within close range of a number of enemy battleships. Nothing daunted, though under a terrific fire, they stood on, and their position being favourable for torpedo attack fired a torpedo at the second ship of the enemy line at a range of 3,000 yards. Before they could fire their fourth torpedo, 'Nestor' was badly hit and swung to starboard, 'Nicator' altering course inside her to avoid collision, and thereby being prevented from firing the last torpedo. 'Nicator' made good her escape, and subsequently rejoined the Captain (D), 13th Flotilla. 'Nestor' remained stopped, but carried out an attack on the enemy's battle fleet.

 

 

 

"'Petard,' 'Nerissa,' 'Turbulent', and 'Termagant' also pressed home their attack on the enemy battle-cruisers, firing torpedoes after the engagement with enemy destroyers. 'Petard' reports that all her torpedoes must have crossed the enemy's line, while 'Nerissa' states that one torpedo appeared to strike the rear ship. These destroyer attacks were indicative of the spirit pervading His Majesty's Navy, and were worthy of its highest traditions. I propose to bring to your notice a recommendation of Commander Bingham and other Officers for some recognition of their conspicuous gallantry.

 

"From 4.15 to 4.43 p.m. the conflict between the opposing battle-cruisers was of a very fierce and resolute character. The 5th Battle Squadron was engaging the enemy's rear ships, unfortunately at very long range. Our fire began to tell, the accuracy and rapidity of that of the enemy, depreciating considerably. At 4.18 p.m. the third enemy ship was seen to be on fire. The visibility to the north-eastward had become considerably reduced, and the outline of the ships very indistinct.

 

"At 4.38 p m. 'Southampton' (Commodore William E. Goodenough, M.V.O., A.D.C.) reported the enemy's Battle Fleet ahead. The destroyers were recalled, and at 4.42 p.m. the enemy's Battle Fleet was sighted S.E. Course was altered 16 points in succession to starboard, and I proceeded on a northerly course to lead them towards the Battle Fleet. The enemy battle-cruisers altered course shortly afterwards, and the action continued. ‘Southampton,' with the 2nd Light-cruiser Squadron, held on to the southward to observe. They closed to within 13,000 yards of the enemy Battle Fleet, and came under a very heavy but ineffective fire. 'Southampton's' reports were most valuable. The 5th Battle Squadron were now closing on an opposite course and engaging the enemy battle-cruisers with all guns. The position of the enemy Battle Fleet was communicated to them, and I ordered them to alter course 16 points. Led by Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas, in 'Barham' (below - Photo Ships) (Captain Arthur W. Craig), this squadron supported us brilliantly and effectively.

 

 

 

"At 4.57 p.m. the 5th Battle Squadron turned up astern of me and came under the fire of the leading ships of the enemy Battle Fleet. ‘Fearless' (Captain (D) Charles D. Roper), with the destroyers of 1st Flotilla, joined the battle-cruisers, and, when speed admitted, took station ahead. 'Champion' (Captain (D) James U. Farie), with 13th Flotilla, took station on the 5th Battle Squadron. At 5 p m. the 1st and 3rd Light-cruiser Squadrons, which bad been following me on the southerly course, took station on my starboard bow; the 2nd Light-cruiser Squadron took station on my port quarter.

 

"The weather conditions now became unfavourable, our ships being silhouetted against a clear horizon to the westward, while the enemy were for the most part obscured by mist, only showing up clearly at intervals. These conditions prevailed until we had turned their van at about 6 p.m. Between 5 and 6 p.m. the action continued on a northerly course, the range being about 14,000 yards. During this time the enemy received very severe punishment, and one of their battle-cruisers quitted the line in a considerably damaged condition. This came under my personal observation, and was corroborated by 'Princess Royal' (Captain Walter H. Cowan, M.V.O., D.S.O.) and 'Tiger' (Captain Henry B. Pelly, M.V.O.). Other enemy ships also showed signs of increasing injury. At 5.5 p.m. 'Onslow' (below - Photo Ships) (Lieutenant-Commander John C. Tovey) and 'Moresby' (Lieutenant-Commander Roger V. Alison), who had been detached to assist 'Engadine' with the seaplane, rejoined the battle-cruiser squadrons and took station on the starboard (engaged) bow of 'Lion' (Captain Alfred E. M. Chatfield, C.V.O.). At 5.10 p.m. 'Moresby,' being 2 points before the beam of the leading enemy ship, fired a torpedo at a ship in their line. Eight, minutes later she observed a hit with a torpedo on what was judged to be the sixth ship in the line. 'Moresby' then passed between the lines to clear the range of smoke, and rejoined 'Champion.' In corroboration of this, 'Fearless' reports having seen an enemy heavy ship heavily on fire at about 5.10 p.m., and shortly afterwards a huge cloud of smoke and steam.

 

 

 

"At 5.35 p.m. our course was N.N.E., and the estimated position of the Battle Fleet was N. 16 W., so we gradually hauled to the northeastward, keeping the range of the enemy at 14,000 yards. He was gradually hauling to the eastward, receiving severe punishment at the head of his line, and probably acting on information received from his light-cruisers which had sighted and were engaged with the Third Battle-cruiser Squadron.

 

"Possibly Zeppelins were present also. At 5.50 p.m. British cruisers were sighted on the port bow, and at 5.56 p.m. the leading battleships of the Battle Fleet, bearing north 5 miles. I thereupon altered course to east, and proceeded at utmost speed. This brought the range of the enemy down to 12,000 yards. I made a report to you that the enemy battlecruisers bore south-east. At this time only three of the enemy battle-cruisers were visible, closely followed by battleships of the 'Koenig' class.

 

"At about 6.5 p.m. 'Onslow,' being on the engaged bow of 'Lion’ sighted an enemy light cruiser at a distance of 6,000 yards from us, apparently endeavouring to attack with torpedoes. 'Onslow' at once closed and engaged her, firing 58 rounds at a range of from 4,000 to 2,000 yards, scoring a number of hits. 'Onslow' then closed the enemy battlecruisers, and orders were given for all torpedoes to be fired. At this moment she was struck amidships by a heavy shell, with the result that only one torpedo was fired. Thinking that all his torpedoes had gone, the Commanding Officer proceeded to retire at slow speed. Being informed that he still had three torpedoes, he closed with the light-cruiser previously engaged and torpedoed her. The enemy's Battle Fleet was then sighted, and the remaining torpedoes were fired at them and must have crossed the enemy's track. Damage then caused 'Onslow' to stop.

 

"At 7.15 p.m. 'Defender' (Lieutenant-Commander Lawrence R. Palmer), whose speed had been reduced to 10 knots, while on the disengaged side of the battle-cruisers, by a shell which damaged her foremost boiler, closed 'Onslow' and took her in tow. Shells were falling all round them during this operation, which, however, was successfully accomplished. During the heavy weather of the ensuing night the tow parted twice, but was re-secured. The two struggled on together until 1 p.m. 1st June, when 'Onslow' was transferred to tugs. I consider the performances of these two destroyers to be gallant in the extreme, and I am recommending Lieutenant-Commander J. C. Tovey, of 'Onslow,' and Lieutenant-Commander L. R. Palmer, of 'Defender,' for special recognition. 'Onslow' was possibly the destroyer referred to by the Rear-Admiral Commanding 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron as follows:' Here I should like to bring to your notice the action of a destroyer (name unknown) which we passed close in a disabled condition soon after 6 p.m. She apparently was able to struggle ahead again, and made straight for the 'Derfflinger' to attack her.' "

 

Proceedings of Battle Fleet and Third Battle Cruiser Squadron.

 

(Jellicoe) On receipt of the information that the enemy had been sighted, the British Battle Fleet, with its accompanying cruiser and destroyer force, proceeded at full speed on a S.E. by S. course to close the Battle-cruiser Fleet. During the two hours that elapsed before the arrival of the Battle Fleet on the scene the steaming qualities of the older battleships were severely tested. Great credit is due to the engine-room departments for the manner in which they, as always, responded to the call, the whole Fleet maintaining a speed in excess of the trial speeds of some of the older vessels.

 

The Third Battle-cruiser Squadron, commanded by Rear-Admiral the Hon. Horace L. A. Hood, C.B., M.V.O., D.S.O., which was in advance of the Battle Fleet, was ordered to reinforce Sir David Beatty. At 5.30 p.m. this squadron observed flashes of gunfire and heard the sound of guns to the south-westward. Rear-Admiral- Hood sent the 'Chester' (below - CyberHeritage/Terry Phillips) (Captain Robert N. Lawson) to investigate, and this ship engaged three or four enemy light-cruisers at about 5.45 p.m. The engagement lasted for about twenty minutes, during which period Captain Lawson handled his vessel with great skill against heavy odds, and, although the ship suffered considerably in casualties, her fighting and steaming qualities were unimpaired, and at about 6.5 p.m. she rejoined the Third Battle-cruiser Squadron.

 

 

The Third Battle-cruiser Squadron had turned to the north-westward, and at 6.10 p.m. sighted our battle-cruisers, the squadron taking station ahead of the 'Lion' at 6.21 p.m. in accordance with the orders of the Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle-cruiser Fleet. He reports as follows:

 

(Beatty) "I ordered them to take station ahead, which was carried out magnificently, Rear- Admiral Hood bringing his squadron into action ahead in a most inspiring manner, worthy of his great naval ancestors. At 6.25 p.m. I altered course to the E.S.E. in support of the Third Battle-cruiser Squadron, who were at this time only 8,000 yards from the enemy's leading ship. They were pouring a hot fire into her and caused her to turn to the westward of south. At the same time I made a report to you of the bearing and distance of the enemy battle-fleet.

 

"By 6.50 p.m. the battle-cruisers were clear of our leading battle squadron then bearing about N.N.W. 3 miles, and I ordered the Third Battle-cruiser Squadron to prolong the line astern and reduced to 18 knots. The visibility at this time was very indifferent, not more than 4 miles, and the enemy ships were temporarily lost sight of. It is interesting to note that after 6 p.m., although the visibility became reduced, it was undoubtedly more favourable to us than to the enemy. At intervals their ships showed up clearly, enabling us to punish them very severely and establish a definite superiority over them. From the report of other ships and my own observation it was clear that the enemy suffered considerable damage, battle-cruisers .and battleships alike. The head of their line was crumpled up, leaving battleships as targets for the majority of our battlecruisers. Before leaving us the Fifth Battle Squadron was also engaging battleships. The report of Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas shows that excellent results were obtained, and it can be safely said that his magnificent squadron wrought great execution.

 

"From the report of Rear-Admiral T. D. W. Napier, M.V.O., the Third Light-cruiser Squadron, which had maintained its station on our starboard bow well ahead of the enemy, at 6.25 p.m. attacked with the torpedo. 'Falmouth' (Captain John D. Edwards) and 'Yarmouth' (Captain Thomas D. Pratt) both fired torpedoes at the leading enemy battlecruiser, and it is believed that one torpedo hit,, as a heavy underwater explosion was observed. The Third Light-cruiser Squadron then gallantly attacked the heavy ships with gunfire, with impunity to themselves, thereby demonstrating that the fighting efficiency of the enemy had been seriously impaired. Rear-Admiral Napier deserves great credit for his determined and effective attack. 'Indomitable' (Captain Francis W. Kennedy) reports that about this time one of the 'Derfflinger' class fell out of the enemy's line."

 

(Jellicoe) Meanwhile, at 5.45 p.m., the report of guns had become audible to me, and at 5.55 p.m. flashes were visible from ahead round to the starboard beam, although in the mist no ships could be distinguished, and the position of the enemy's: battle fleet could not be determined. The difference in estimated position by "reckoning" between 'Iron Duke' (Captain Frederic C. Dreyer, C.B.) and 'Lion,’ which was inevitable under the circumstances, added to the uncertainty of the general situation.

 

Shortly after 5.55 p.m. some of the cruisers ahead, under Rear-Admirals Herbert L. Heath, M.V.O., and Sir Robert Arbuthnot, Bt., M.V.O., were seen to be in action, and reports received show that 'Defence' (below - Navy Photos),  flagship (Captain Stanley V. Ellis), and 'Warrior' (Captain Vincent B. Molteno), of the First Cruiser Squadron, engaged an enemy light cruiser at this time. She was subsequently observed to sink.

 

 

 

At 6 p.m. 'Canterbury' (Captain Percy M. R. Royds), which ship was in company with the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron, had engaged enemy light-cruisers which were firing heavily on the torpedo-boat destroyer 'Shark' (lower below - Navy Photos), (Commander Loftus W. Jones), 'Acasta' (Lieutenant-Commander John O. Barron), and 'Christopher' (Lieutenant-Commander Fairfax M. Kerr); as a result of this engagement the 'Shark' was sunk.

 

 

At 6 p.m. vessels, afterwards seen to be our battle-cruisers, were sighted by 'Marlborough' bearing before the starboard beam of the battle fleet.

 

At the same time the Vice-Admiral Commanding, Battle-cruiser Fleet (Beatty), reported to me the position of the enemy battle-cruisers, and at 6.14 p.m. reported the position of the enemy battle fleet.

 

At this period, when the battle fleet was meeting the battle-cruisers and the Fifth Battle Squadron, great care was necessary to ensure that our own ships were not mistaken for enemy vessels.

 

I formed the battle fleet in line of battle on receipt of Sir David Beatty's report, and during deployment the fleets became engaged. Sir David Beatty had meanwhile formed the battle-cruisers ahead of the battle fleet.

 

The divisions of the battle fleet were led by:

 

The Commander-in-Chief.

Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.

Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram, K.C.B.

Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee, Bt., K.C.B., C.V.O., C.M.G.

Rear-Admiral Alexander L. Duff, C.B.

Rear-Admiral Arthur C. Leveson, C.B.

Rear-Admiral Ernest F. A. Gaunt, C.M.G.

 

At 6.16 p.m. 'Defence' and 'Warrior' were observed passing down between the British and, German Battle Fleets under a very heavy fire. 'Defence' disappeared, and 'Warrior' passed to the rear disabled.

 

It is probable that Sir Robert Arbuthnot, during his engagement with the enemy's light cruisers and in his desire to complete their destruction, was not aware of the approach of the enemy's heavy ships, owing to the mist, until he found himself in close proximity to the main fleet, and before he could withdraw his ships they were caught under a heavy fire and disabled. It is not known when 'Black Prince' (below - CyberHeritage/Terry Phillips) (Captain Thomas P. Bonham), of the same squadron, was sunk, but a wireless signal was received from her between 8 and 9 p.m.

 

 

 

The First Battle Squadron became engaged during deployment, .the Vice-Admiral opening fire at 6.17 p.m. on a battleship of the 'Kaiser' class. The other Battle Squadrons, which had previously been firing at an enemy light-cruiser, opened fire at 6.30 p.m. on battleships of the 'Koenig' class (below, SMS Koenig - Photo Ships).

 

 

At 6.6 p.m. the Rear-Admiral Commanding Fifth Battle Squadron, then in company with the battle-cruisers, had sighted the starboard wing division of the battle-fleet on the port bow of 'Barham,' and the first intention of Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas was to form ahead of the remainder of the battle-fleet, but on realising the direction of deployment he was compelled to form astern, a manoeuvre which was well executed by the squadron under a heavy fire from the enemy battle-fleet. An accident to 'Warspite's' steering gear caused her helm to become jammed temporarily and took the ship in the direction of the enemy's line, during which time she was hit several times. Clever handling enabled Captain Edward M. Phillpotts to extricate his ship from a somewhat awkward situation.

 

Owing principally to the mist, but partly to the smoke, it was possible to see only a few ships at a time in the enemy's battle line. Towards the van only some four or five ships were ever visible at once. More could be seen from the rear squadron, but never more than eight to twelve.

 

The action between the battle-fleets lasted intermittently from 6.17 p.m. to 8.20 p.m. at ranges between 9,000 and 12,000 yards, during which time the British Fleet made alterations of course from S.E. by E. to W. in the endeavour to close. The enemy constantly turned away and opened the range under cover of destroyer attacks and smoke screens as the effect of the British fire was felt, and the alterations of course had the effect of bringing the British Fleet (which commenced the action in a position of advantage on the bow of the enemy) to a quarterly bearing from the enemy battle line, but at the same time placed us between the enemy and his bases.

 

At 6.55 p.m. ' Iron Duke' passed the wreck of 'Invincible' (rbelow - Maritime Quest) (Captain Arthur L. Cay), with 'Badger' (Commander C. A. Fremantle) standing by.

 

 

 

During the somewhat brief periods that the ships of the High Sea Fleet were visible through the mist, the heavy and effective fire kept up by the battleships and battle-cruisers of the Grand Fleet caused me much satisfaction, and the enemy vessels were seen to be constantly hit, some being observed to haul out of the line and at least one to sink. The enemy's return fire at this period was not effective, and the damage caused to our ships was insignificant.

 

The Battle-cruisers in the Van.

 

Sir David Beatty reports:

 

(Beatty) "At 7.6 p.m. I received a signal from you that the course of the Fleet was south. Subsequently signals were received up to 8.46 p.m. showing that the course of the Battle Fleet was to the south-westward.

 

"Between 7 and 7.12 p.m. we hauled round gradually to S.W. by S. to regain touch with the enemy, and at 7.14 p.m. again sighted them at a range of about 15,000 yards. The ships sighted at this time were two battlecruisers and two battleships, apparently of the 'Koenig' class. No doubt more continued the line to the northward, but that was all that could be seen. The visibility having improved considerably as the sun descended below the clouds, we re-engaged at 7.17 p.m. and increased speed to 22 knots. At 7.32 p.m. my course was S.W., speed 18 knots, the leading enemy battleship bearing N. W. by W. Again, after a very short time, the enemy showed signs of punishment, one ship being on fire, while another appeared to drop right astern. The destroyers at the head of the enemy's line emitted volumes of grey smoke, covering their capital ships as with a pall, under cover of which they turned away, and at 7.45 p.m. we lost sight of them.

 

"At 7.58 p.m. I ordered the First and Third Light-cruiser Squadrons to sweep to the westward and locate the head of the enemy's line, and at 8.20 p.m. we altered course to west in support. We soon located two battle-cruisers and battleships, and were heavily engaged at a short range of about 10,000 yards. The leading ship was hit repeatedly by 'Lion' and turned away eight points, emitting very high flames and with a heavy list to port. 'Princess Royal' set fire to a three-funnelled battleship. 'New Zealand' (below - Photo Ships) (Captain John F. E. Green) and 'Indomitable' report that the third ship, which they both engaged, hauled out of the line, heeling over and on fire. The mist, which now came down, enveloped them, and ' Falmouth ' reported they were last seen at 8.38 p.m. steaming to the westward.

 

 

 

"At 8.40 p.m. all our battle-cruisers felt a heavy shock as if struck by a mine or torpedo, or possibly sunken wreckage. As, however, examination of the bottoms reveals no sign of such an occurrence, it is assumed that it indicated the blowing up of a great vessel.

 

"I continued on a south-westerly course with my light cruisers spread until 9.24 p.m. Nothing further being sighted, I assumed that the enemy were to the north-westward, and that we had established ourselves well between him and his base. 'Minotaur' (Captain Arthur C. S. H. D'Aeth) was at this time bearing north 5 miles, and I asked her the position of the leading battle squadron of the Battle Fleet. Her reply was that it was not in sight, but was last seen bearing N.N.E. I kept you (Jellicoe) informed of my position, course, and speed, also of the bearing of the enemy.

 

"In view of the gathering darkness, and the fact that our strategical position was such as to make it appear certain that we should locate the enemy at daylight under most favourable circumstances, I did not consider it desirable or proper to close the enemy Battle Fleet during the dark hours. I therefore concluded that I should be carrying out your wishes by turning to the course of the Fleet, reporting to you that I had done so."

 

Details of Battle-fleet Action.

 

(Jellicoe) As was anticipated, the German Fleet appeared to rely very much on torpedo attacks, which were favoured by the low visibility and by the fact that we had arrived in the position of a "following" or "chasing" fleet. A large number of torpedoes were apparently fired, but only one took effect (on 'Marlborough'), and even in this case the ship was able to remain in the line and to continue the action. The enemy's efforts to keep out of effective gun range were aided by the weather conditions, which were ideal for the purpose. Two separate destroyer attacks were made by the enemy.

 

The First Battle Squadron, under Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, came into action at 6.17 p.m. with the enemy's Third Battle Squadron, at a range of about 11,000 yards, and administered severe punishment, both to the battleships and to the battle-cruisers and light-cruisers, which were also engaged. The fire of 'Marlborough' (Captain George P. Ross) was particularly rapid and effective. This ship commenced at 6.17 p.m. by firing seven salvoes at a ship of the 'Kaiser' class, then engaged a cruiser, and again a battleship, and at 6.54 she was hit by a torpedo and took up a considerable list to starboard, but reopened at 7.3 p.m. at a cruiser and at 7.12 p.m. fired fourteen rapid salvoes at a ship of the 'Koenig' class, hitting her frequently until she turned out of the line. The manner in which this effective fire was kept up in spite of the disadvantages due to the injury caused by the torpedo was most creditable to the ship and a very fine example to the squadron.

 

The range decreased during the course of the action to 9,000 yards. The First Battle Squadron received more of the enemy's return fire than the remainder of the battle-fleet, with the exception of the Fifth Battle Squadron. 'Colossus' (below - Photo Ships) (Captain Alfred D. P. R. Pound) was hit but was not seriously damaged, and other ships were straddled with fair frequency.

 

 

 

In the Fourth Battle Squadron - in which squadron my flagship 'Iron Duke' was placed - Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee leading one of the divisions - the enemy engaged was the squadron consisting of 'Koenig' and 'Kaiser' class and some of the battle-cruisers, as well as disabled cruisers and light-cruisers. The mist rendered rangetaking a difficult matter, but the fire of the squadron was effective. 'Iron Duke,' having previously fired at a light-cruiser between the lines, opened fire at 6.30 p.m. on a battleship of the 'Koenig' class at a range of 12,000 yards. The latter was very quickly straddled, and hitting commenced at the second salvo and only ceased when the target ship turned away. The rapidity with which hitting was established was most creditable to the excellent gunnery organisation of the flagship, so ably commanded by my Flag Captain, Captain Frederic C. Dreyer.

 

The fire of other ships of the squadron was principally directed at enemy battle-cruisers and cruisers as they appeared out of the mist. Hits were observed to take effect on several ships.

 

The ships of the Second Battle Squadron, under Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram, were in action with vessels of the 'Kaiser' or 'Koenig' classes between 6.30 and 7.20 p.m., and fired also at an enemy battle-cruiser which had dropped back apparently severely damaged.

 

During the action between the battle fleets the Second Cruiser Squadron, ably commanded by Rear-Admiral Herbert L. Heath, M.V.O., with the addition of 'Duke of Edinburgh' (Captain Henry Blackett) of the First Cruiser Squadron, occupied a position at the van, and acted as a connecting link between the battle fleet and the battle-cruiser fleet. This squadron, although it carried out useful work, did not have an opportunity of coming into action.

 

The attached cruisers 'Boadicea' (Captain Louis C. S. Woollcombe, M.V.O.), 'Active' (Captain Percy Withers), 'Blanche' (Captain John M. Casement), and 'Bellona' (Captain Arthur B. S. Dutton) carried out their duties as repeating-ships with remarkable rapidity and accuracy under difficult conditions.

 

The Fourth Light-cruiser Squadron, under Commodore Charles E. Le Mesurier, occupied a position in the van until ordered to attack enemy destroyers at 7.20 p.m., and again at 8.18 p.m., when they supported the Eleventh Flotilla, which had moved out under Commodore James R. P. Hawksley, M.V.O., to attack. On each occasion the Fourth Lightcruiser Squadron was very well handled by Commodore Le Mesurier, his captains giving him excellent support, and their object was attained, although with some loss in the second attack, when the ships came under the heavy fire of the enemy battle fleet at between 6,500 and 8,000 yards. The 'Calliope' (Commodore Le Mesurier) was hit several times, but did not sustain serious damage, although, I regret to say, she had several casualties. The light cruisers attacked the enemy's battleships with torpedoes at this time, and an explosion on board a ship of the 'Kaiser' class was seen at 8.40 p.m.

 

During these destroyer attacks four enemy torpedo-boat destroyers were sunk by the gunfire of battleships, light-cruisers and destroyers.

 

After the arrival of the British Battle Fleet the enemy's tactics were of a nature generally to avoid further action, in which they were favoured by the conditions of visibility.

 

Night Dispositions.

 

At 9 p.m. the enemy was entirely out of sight, and the threat of torpedo boat-destroyer attacks during the rapidly approaching darkness made it necessary for me to dispose the fleet for the night, with a view to its safety from such attacks, whilst providing for a renewal of action at daylight. I accordingly manoeuvred to remain between the enemy and his bases, placing our flotillas in a position in which they would afford protection to the fleet from destroyer attack, and at the same time be favourably situated for attacking the enemy's heavy ships.

 

Night Attacks by Flotillas.

 

During the night the British heavy ships were not attacked, but the Fourth, Eleventh and Twelfth Flotillas, under Commodore Hawkesley and Captains Charles J. Wintour and Anselan J. B. Stirling, delivered a series of very gallant and successful attacks on the enemy, causing him heavy losses.

 

It was during these attacks that severe losses in the Fourth Flotilla occurred, including that of 'Tipperary' (below - Photo Ships), with the gallant leader of the Flotilla, Captain Wintour. He had brought his flotilla to a high pitch of perfection, and although suffering severely from the fire of the enemy, a heavy toll of enemy vessels was taken, and many gallant actions were performed by the flotilla.

 

 

 

Two torpedoes were seen to take effect on enemy vessels as the result of the attacks of the Fourth Flotilla, one being from 'Spitfire' (Lieutenant-Commander Clarence W. E. Trelawny), and the other from either 'Ardent' (Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Marsden), 'Ambuscade' (Lieutenant-Commander Gordon A. Coles) or 'Garland' (Lieutenant-Commander Reginald S. Goff).

 

The attack carried out by the Twelfth Flotilla (Captain Anselan J. B. Stirling) was admirably executed. The squadron attacked, which consisted of six large vessels, besides light-cruisers, and comprised vessels of the 'Kaiser' class, was taken by surprise. A large number of torpedoes was fired, including some at the second and third ships in the line; those fired at the third ship took effect, and she was observed to blow up. A second attack made twenty minutes later by 'Maenad' (Commander John P. Champion) on the five vessels still remaining, resulted in the fourth ship in the line being also hit.

 

The destroyers were under a heavy fire from the light-cruisers on reaching the rear of the line, but the 'Onslaught' (Lieutenant-Commander Arthur G. Onslow, D.S.C.) was the only vessel which received any material injuries. In the 'Onslaught' Sub-Lieutenant Harry W. A. Kemmis, assisted by Midshipman Reginald G. Arnot, R.N.R., the only executive officers not disabled brought the ship successfully out of action and reached her home port.

 

During the attack carried out by the Eleventh Flotilla, 'Castor'  (below - Photo Ships) (Commodore James R. P. Hawksley) leading the flotilla, engaged and sank an enemy torpedo boat destroyer at point-blank range.

 

 

 

 

Sir David Beatty reports:

 

(Beatty) "The Thirteenth Flotilla, under the command of Captain James U. Farie, in 'Champion,' took station astern of the battle fleet for the night. At 0.30 a.m. on Thursday, 1st June, a large vessel crossed the rear of the flotilla at high speed. She passed close to 'Petard' and 'Turbulent,' switched on searchlights and opened a heavy fire, which disabled 'Turbulent.' At 3.30 a.m. 'Champion' was engaged for a few minutes with four enemy destroyers. 'Moresby' reports four ships of 'Deutschland' class sighted at 2.35 a.m., at whom she fired one torpedo. Two minutes later an explosion was felt by 'Moresby' and 'Obdurate.'

 

"'Fearless' and the 1st Flotilla were very usefully employed as a submarine screen during the earlier part of the 31st May. At 6.10 p.m., when joining the Battle Fleet, 'Fearless' was unable to follow the battle cruisers without fouling the battleships, and therefore took station at the rear of the line. She sighted during the night a battleship of the 'Kaiser' class steaming fast and entirely alone. She was not able to engage her, but believes she was attacked by destroyers further astern. A heavy explosion was observed astern not long after."

 

(Jellicoe) There were many gallant deeds performed by the destroyer flotillas; they surpassed the very highest expectations that I had formed of them.

 

Apart from the proceedings of the flotillas, the Second Light-cruiser Squadron in the rear of the battle fleet was in close action for about 15 minutes at 10.20 p.m. with a squadron comprising one enemy cruiser and four light cruisers, during which period 'Southampton' and 'Dublin' (Captain Albert C. Scott) suffered rather heavy casualties, although their steaming and fighting qualities were not impaired. The return fire of the squadron appeared to be very effective.

 

'Abdiel,' ably commanded by Commander Berwick Curtis, carried out her duties with the success which has always characterised her work.

 

Proceedings on 1st June.

 

At daylight, 1st June, the battle fleet, being then to the southward and westward of the Horn Reef, turned to the northward in search of enemy vessels and for the purpose of collecting our own cruisers and torpedo-boat destroyers. At 2.30 a.m. Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney transferred his flag from 'Marlborough' to 'Revenge,' as the former ship had some difficulty in keeping up the speed of the squadron. 'Marlborough' was detached by my direction to a base, successfully driving off an enemy submarine attack en route. The visibility early on 1st June (three to four miles) was less than on 31st May, and the torpedo boat destroyers, being out of visual touch, did not rejoin until 9 a.m. The British Fleet remained in the proximity of the battlefield and near the line of approach to German ports until 11 a.m. on 1st June, in spite of the disadvantage of long distances from fleet bases and the danger incurred in waters adjacent to enemy coasts from submarines and torpedo craft. The enemy, however, made no sign, and I was reluctantly compelled to the conclusion that the High Sea Fleet had returned into port. Subsequent events proved this assumption to have been correct. Our position must have been known, to the enemy, as at 4 a.m. the Fleet engaged a Zeppelin for about five minutes, during which time she had ample opportunity to note and subsequently report the position and course of the British Fleet.

 

 

 

The waters from the latitude of the Horn Reef to the scene of the action were thoroughly searched, and some survivors from the destroyers 'Ardent' (Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Marsden), 'Fortune' (above - Photo Ships) (Lieutenant Commander Frank G. Terry), and 'Tipperary' (Captain (D) Charles J. Wintour), were picked up, and the 'Sparrowhawk' (Lieutenant-Commander Sydney Hopkins), which had been in collision and was no longer seaworthy, was sunk after her crew had been taken off. A large amount of wreckage was seen, but no enemy ships, and at 1.15 p.m., it being evident that the German Fleet had succeeded in returning to port, course was shaped for our bases, which were reached without further incident on Friday, 2nd June. A cruiser squadron was detached to search for 'Warrior' (below - Photo Ships), which vessel had been abandoned whilst in tow of 'Engadine' on her way to the base owing to bad weather setting in and the vessel becoming unseaworthy, but no trace of her was discovered, and a further subsequent search by a light-cruiser squadron having failed to locate her, it is evident that she foundered.

 

 

Sir David Beatty reports in regard to the 'Engadine ' as follows:

 

(Beatty) "The work of 'Engadine' appears to have been most praiseworthy throughout, and of great value. Lieutenant-Commander C. G. Robinson deserves great credit for the skilful and seamanlike manner in which he handled his ship. He actually towed 'Warrior' for 75 miles between 8.40 p.m., 31st May, and 7.15 a.m., 1st June, and was instrumental in saving the lives of her ship's company."

 

(Jellicoe) I fully endorse his remarks.

 

The Fleet fuelled and replenished with ammunition, and at 9.30 p.m. on 2nd June was reported ready for further action.

 

Losses.

 

The conditions of low visibility under which the day action took place and the approach of darkness enhance the difficulty of giving an accurate report of the damage inflicted or the names of the ships sunk by our forces, but after a most careful examination of the evidence of all officers, who testified to seeing enemy vessels actually sink, and personal interviews with a large number of these officers, I am of opinion that the list shown in the enclosure gives the minimum in regard to numbers, though it is possibly not entirely accurate as regards the particular class of vessel, especially those which were sunk during the night attacks. In addition to the vessels sunk, it is unquestionable that many other ships were very seriously damaged by gunfire and by torpedo attack.

 

I deeply regret to report the loss of H.M. ships 'Queen Mary,' 'Indefatigable’ (below - Maritime Quest), 'Invincible,' 'Defence,' 'Black Prince,' 'Warrior,' and of H.M. T.B.D.'s 'Tipperary,' 'Ardent,' 'Fortune,' 'Shark,' 'Sparrowhawk,' 'Nestor,' 'Nomad,' and 'Turbulent,' and still more do I regret the resultant heavy loss of life. The death of such gallant and distinguished officers as Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot, Bart., Rear-Admiral The Hon. Horace Hood, Captain Charles F. Sowerby, Captain Cecil I. Prowse, Captain Arthur L. Cay, Captain Thomas P. Bonham, Captain Charles J. Wintour, and Captain Stanley V. Ellis, and those who perished with them, is a serious loss to the Navy and to the country. They led officers and men who were equally gallant, and whose death is mourned by their comrades in the Grand Fleet. They fell doing their duty nobly, a death which they would have been the first to desire.

 

 

 

The enemy fought with the gallantry that was expected of him. We particularly admired the conduct of those on board a disabled German light-cruiser which passed down the British line shortly after deployment, under a heavy fire, which was returned by the only gun left in action.

 

The Personnel of the Fleet.

 

The conduct of officers and men throughout the day and night actions was entirely beyond praise. No words of mine could do them justice. On all sides it is reported to me that the glorious traditions of the past were most worthily upheld - whether in heavy ships, cruisers, light-cruisers, or destroyers - the same admirable spirit prevailed. Officers and men were cool and determined, with a cheeriness that would have carried them through anything. The heroism of the wounded was the admiration of all.

 

I cannot adequately express the pride with which the spirit of the Fleet filled me.

 

Details of the work of the various ships during action have now been given. It must never be forgotten, however, that the prelude to action is the work of the engine-room department, and that during action the officers and men of that department perform their most important duties without the incentive which a knowledge of the course of the action gives to those on deck. The qualities of discipline and endurance are taxed to the utmost under these conditions, and they were, as always, most fully maintained throughout the operations under review. Several ships attained speeds that had never before been reached, thus showing very clearly their high state of steaming efficiency. Failures in material were conspicuous by their absence, and several instances are reported of magnificent work on the part of the engine-room departments of injured ships.

 

The artisan ratings also carried out much valuable work during and after the action; they could not have done better.

 

The work of the medical officers of the Fleet, carried out very largely under the most difficult conditions, was entirely admirable and invaluable. Lacking in many cases all the essentials for performing critical operations, and with their staff seriously depleted by casualties, they worked untiringly and with the greatest success. To them we owe a deep debt of gratitude.

 

It will be seen that the hardest fighting fell to the lot of the Battle-cruiser Fleet (the units of which were less heavily armoured than their opponents), the Fifth Battle Squadron, the First Cruiser Squadron, Fourth Light Cruiser Squadron and the Flotillas. This was inevitable under the conditions, and the squadrons and flotillas mentioned as well as the individual vessels composing them were handled with conspicuous ability, as were also the 1st, 2nd and 4th Squadrons of the Battle Fleet and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron.

 

I desire to place on record my high appreciation of the manner in which all the vessels were handled. The conditions were such as to call for great skill and ability, quick judgment and decisions, and this was conspicuous throughout the day.

 

I beg also to draw special attention to the services rendered by Vice-Admiral Sir Cecil Burney (Second in Command of the Grand Fleet), Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Jerram, Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee, Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas, Rear-Admiral Alexander L. Duff, Rear-Admiral Arthur C. Leveson and Rear-Admiral Ernest F. A. Gaunt, commanding squadrons or divisions in the Battle Fleet. They acted throughout with skill and judgment. Sir Cecil Burney's squadron owing to its position was able to see more of the enemy Battle Fleet than the other battle squadrons, and under a leader who has rendered me most valuable and loyal assistance at all times the squadron did excellent work. The magnificent squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas formed a support of great value to Sir David Beatty during the afternoon, and was brought into action in rear of the Battle Fleet in the most judicious manner in the evening.

 

Sir David Beatty once again showed his fine qualities of gallant leadership, firm determination and correct strategic insight. He appreciated the situations at once on sighting first the enemy's lighter forces, then his battlecruisers and finally his battle fleet. I can fully sympathise with his feelings when the evening mist and fading light robbed the Fleet of that complete victory for which he had manoeuvred, and for which the vessels in company with him had striven so hard. The services rendered by him, not only on this, but on two previous occasions, have been of the very greatest value.

 

Sir David Beatty brings to my notice the brilliant support afforded him by Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas; the magnificent manner in which Rear-Admiral The Hon. Horace Hood brought his squadron into action, the able support afforded him by Rear-Admiral William C. Pakenham and Rear-Admiral Osmond de B. Brock, and the good work performed by the Light-cruiser Squadrons under the command respectively of Rear-Admiral Trevylyan D. W. Napier, Commodore William E. Goodenough and Commodore Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair. He states that on every occasion these officers anticipated his wishes and used their forces to the best possible effect.

 

I most fully endorse all his remarks, and I forward also the following extract from his report regarding the valuable services rendered by his staff:

 

(Beatty) ''I desire to record and bring to your notice the great assistance that I received on a day of great anxiety and strain from my Chief of the Staff, Captain Rudolf W. Bentinck, whose good judgment was of the greatest help. He was a tower of strength. My Flag-Commander, the Hon. Reginald A. R. Plunkett, was most valuable in observing the effect of our fire, thereby enabling me to take advantage of the enemy's discomfiture; my Secretary, Frank T. Spickernell, who made accurate notes of events as they occurred, which proved of the utmost value in keeping the situation clearly before me; my Flag Lieutenant-Commander Ralph F. Seymour, who maintained efficient communications under the most difficult circumstances despite the fact that his signalling appliances were continually shot away. All these officers carried out their duties with great coolness on the manoeuvring platform, where they were fully exposed to the enemy's fire."

 

(Jellicoe) I cannot close this despatch without recording the brilliant work of my Chief of the Staff, Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Madden, K.C.B., C.V.O. Throughout a period of 21 months of war his services have been of inestimable value. His good judgment, his long experience in fleets, special gift for organisation, and his capacity for unlimited work, have all been of the greatest assistance to me, and have relieved me of much of the anxiety inseparable from the conduct of the Fleet during the war. In the stages leading up to the Fleet Action and during and after the action he was always at hand to assist, and his judgment never at fault. I owe him more than I can say.

 

My special thanks are due also to Commodore Lionel Halsey, C.M.G., the Captain of the Fleet, who also assists me in the working of the fleet at sea, and to whose good organisation is largely due the rapidity with which the fleet was fuelled and replenished with ammunition on return to its bases. He was of much assistance to me during the action.

 

Commander Charles M. Forbes, my flag commander, and Commander Roger M. Bellairs, of my Staff, plotted the movements of the two fleets with rapidity and accuracy as reports were received; Commander the Hon. Matthew R. Best, M.V.O., of my Staff, acted as observer aloft throughout the action, and his services were of value. These officers carried out their duties with much efficiency during the action.

 

The signals were worked with smoothness and rapidity by Commander Alexander R. W. Woods, assisted by the other signal officers, and all ships responded remarkably well under difficult conditions. The signal departments in all ships deserve great credit for their work. My Flag-Lieutenant, Lieutenant-Commander Herbert Fitzherbert, was also of much service to me throughout the action.

 

The high state of efficiency of the W/T arrangements of the fleet, and the facility with which they were worked before, during and after the action, is a great testimony to the indefatigable work carried out by Commander Richard L. Nicholson. His services have been invaluable throughout the war.

 

A special word of praise is due to the wireless departments in all ships.

 

My Secretaries, Fleet Paymasters Hamnet H. Share, C.B., and Victor H. T. Weekes, recorded with accuracy salient features of the action. Their records have been of much assistance.

 

To the Master of the Fleet, Captain Oliver E. Leggett, I am indebted for the accuracy with which he kept the reckoning throughout the operations.

 

In a separate despatch I propose to bring to the notice of their Lordships the names of officers and men all of whom did not come under my personal observation, but who had the opportunity of specially distinguishing themselves.

 

I append the full text of Sir David Beatty's report to me, from which, as will be seen, I have made copious extracts in order to make my narrative continuous and complete.

 

I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

J. R. JELLICOE, Admiral, Commander-in-Chief.

 

NOTE.-The list of ships and commanding officers which took part in the action has been withheld from publication for the present in accordance with practice.

 

[ENCLOSURE.]

 

List of Enemy Vessels put out of action, 31, May-1 June, 1916.

 

Battleships or Battle-cruisers.

 

2 Battleships, "Dreadnought " type.

1 Battleship, "Deutschland " type. (Seen to sink.)

1 Battle-cruiser. (Sunk - 'Lützow' admitted by Germans.)

1 Battleship, "Dreadnought" type.

1 Battle-cruiser. (Seen to be so severely damaged as to render it extremely doubtful if they could reach port.)

 

Light-cruisers.

 

5 Light-cruisers. (Seen to sink; one of them had the appearance of being a larger type, and might have been a battleship.)

 

Torpedo-boat Destroyers.

 

6 Torpedo-boat Destroyers. (Seen to sink.)

3 Torpedo-boat Destroyers. (Seen to be so severely damaged as to render it extremely doubtful if they could reach port.)

 

Submarines.

 

1 Submarine. (Sunk.)

________

 

"Lion," 19th June, 1916.

 

(Note: the sections of Admiral Beatty’s despatch that were included in Admiral Jellicoe’s have been italicised)

 

Sir,

I have the honour to report that at 2.37 p.m. on 31st May, 1916, I was cruising and steering to the northward to join your Flag.

 

The Light Cruiser Screen was disposed from E. to W.

 

At 2.20 p.m. reports were received from 'Galatea' (below - Photo Ships) Commodore Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair, M.V.O., A.D.C.) indicating the presence of enemy vessels. The direction of advance was immediately altered to S.S.E., the course for Horn Reef, so as to place my force between the enemy and his base. At 2.35 p.m. a considerable amount of smoke was sighted to the eastward. This made it clear that the enemy was to the northward and eastward, and that it would be impossible for him to round the Horn Reef without being brought to action. Course was accordingly altered to the eastward, and subsequently to north-eastward, the enemy being sighted at 3.31 p.m. Their force consisted of five battle cruisers.

 

 

 

After the first reports of the enemy the 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons changed their direction, and, without waiting for orders, spread to the east, thereby forming a screen in advance of the Battle Cruiser Squadrons and 5th Battle Squadron by the time we had hauled up to the course of approach. They engaged enemy light cruisers at long range. In the meantime the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron had come in at high speed, and was able to take station ahead of the battle cruisers by the time we turned to E.S.E., the course on which we first engaged the enemy. In this respect the work of the Light Cruiser Squadrons was excellent and of great value.

 

From a report from 'Galatea' at 2.25 p.m. it was evident that the enemy force was considerable, and not merely an isolated unit of light cruisers, so at 2.45 p.m. I ordered 'Engadine' (Lieutenant-Commander C. G. Robinson) to send up a seaplane and scout to N.N.E. This order was carried out very quickly, and by 3.8 p.m. a seaplane, with Flight Lieutenant F. J. Rutland, R.N., as pilot, and Assistant Paymaster G. S. Trewin, R.N., as observer, was well under way; her first reports of the enemy were received in 'Engadine' about 3.30 p.m. Owing to clouds it was necessary to fly very low, and in order to identify four enemy light cruisers the seaplane had to fly at a height of 900 ft. within 3,000 yards of them, the light cruisers opening fire on her with every gun that would bear. This in no way interfered with the clarity of their reports, and both Flight Lieutenant Rutland and Assistant Paymaster Trewin are to be congratulated on their achievement, which indicates that seaplanes under such circumstances are of distinct value.

 

At 3.30 p.m. I increased speed to 25 knots and formed line of battle, the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron forming astern of the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, with destroyers of the 13th and 9th Flotillas taking station ahead. I turned to E.S.E., slightly converging on the enemy, who were now at a range of 23,000 yards, and formed the ships on a line of bearing to clear the smoke. The 5th Battle Squadron, who had conformed to our movements, were now bearing N.N.W., 10,000 yards. The visibility at this time was good, the sun behind us and the wind S.E. Being between the enemy and his base, our situation was both tactically and strategically good.

 

At 3.48 p.m. the action commenced at a range of 18,500 yards, both forces opening fire practically simultaneously. Course was altered to the southward, and subsequently the mean direction was S.S.E., the enemy steering a parallel course distant about 18,000 to 14,500 yards.

 

At 4.8 p.m. the 5th Battle Squadron came into action and opened fire at a range of 20,000 yards. The enemy's fire now seemed to slacken. The destroyer 'Landrail' (Lieutenant- Commander Francis E. H. G. Hobart), of the 9th Flotilla, which was on our port beam, trying to take station ahead, sighted the periscope of a submarine on her port quarter. Though causing considerable inconvenience from smoke, the presence of 'Lydiard' (Commander Malcolm L. Goldsmith) and 'Landrail' undoubtedly preserved the battlecruisers from closer submarine attack. 'Nottingham ' (Captain Charles B. Miller) also reported a submarine on the starboard beam.

 

Eight destroyers of the 13th Flotilla, 'Nestor' (Commander the Hon. Edward B. S. Bingham), 'Nomad' (Lieutenant-Commander Paul Whitfield), 'Nicator' (Lieutenant Jack E. A. Mocatta), 'Narborough' (Lieutenant-Commander Geoffrey Corlett), 'Pelican' (Lieutenant-Commander Kenneth A. Beattie), 'Petard' (Lieutenant-Commander Evelyn C. O. Thomson), 'Obdurate ' (Lieutenant-Cecil H. H. Sams), 'Nerissa' (Lieutenant-Commander Montague C. B. Legge), with 'Moorsom' (Commander John C. Hodgson) and 'Morris' (Lieutenant-Commander Edward S. Graham), of 10th Flotilla, 'Turbulent' (Lieutenant-Commander Dudley Stuart), 'Termagant' (Lieutenant-Commander Cuthbert P. Blake), of the 9th Flotilla, having been ordered to attack the enemy with torpedoes when opportunity offered, moved out at 4.15 p.m. simultaneously with a similar movement on the part of the enemy's destroyers. The attack was carried out in the most gallant manner and with great determination. Before arriving at a favourable position to fire torpedoes they intercepted an enemy force consisting of a light cruiser and 15 destroyers. A fierce engagement ensued at close quarters, with the result that the enemy were forced to retire on their battle-cruisers, having lost two destroyers sunk and having their torpedo attack frustrated. Our destroyers sustained no loss in this engagement, but their attack on the enemy battle-cruisers was rendered less effective owing to some of the destroyers having dropped astern during the fight. Their position was therefore unfavourable for torpedo attack.

 

'Nestor,' 'Nomad' and 'Nicator,' gallantly led by Commander Hon. E. B. S. Bingham, of 'Nestor,' pressed home their attack on the battle-cruisers and fired two torpedoes at them, being subjected to a heavy fire from the enemy's secondary armament. 'Nomad' was badly hit and apparently remained stopped between the lines. Subsequently 'Nestor' and 'Nicator' altered course to the S.E., and in a short time, the opposing battlecruisers having turned 16 points, found themselves within close range of a number of enemy battleships. Nothing daunted, though under a terrific fire, they stood on, and their position being favourable for torpedo attack, fired a torpedo at the second ship of the enemy line at a range of 3,000 yards. Before they could fire their fourth torpedo 'Nestor' was badly hit and swung to starboard, 'Nicator' altering course inside her to avoid collision and thereby being prevented from firing the last torpedo. 'Nicator' made good her escape, and subsequently rejoined the Captain D, 13th Flotilla. 'Nestor' remained stopped, but was afloat when last seen. 'Moorsom ' also carried out an attack on the enemy's Battle Fleet.

 

'Petard,' 'Nerissa,' 'Turbulent' and 'Termagant' also pressed home their attack on the enemy battle-cruisers, firing torpedoes after the engagement with enemy destroyers. 'Petard' reports that all her torpedoes must have crossed the enemy's line, while 'Nerissa' states that one torpedo appeared to strike the rear ship. These destroyer attacks were indicative of the spirit pervading His Majesty's Navy, and were worthy of its highest traditions. I propose to bring to your notice a recommendation of Commander Bingham and other Officers for some recognition of their conspicuous gallantry.

 

From 4.15 to 4.43 p.m. the conflict between the opposing battle-cruisers was of a very fierce and resolute character. The 5th Battle Squadron was engaging the enemy's rear ships, unfortunately at very long range. Our fire began to tell, the accuracy and rapidity of that of the enemy depreciating considerably. At 4.18 p.m. the third enemy ship was seen to be on fire. The visibility to the north-eastward had become considerably reduced, and the outline of the ships very indistinct.

 

At 4.38 p.m. 'Southampton' (Commodore William E. Goodenough, M.V.O., A.D.C.) reported the enemy's Battle Fleet ahead. The destroyers were recalled, and at 4.42 p.m. the enemy's Battle Fleet was sighted S.E. Course was altered 16 points in succession to starboard, and I proceeded on a northerly course to lead them towards the Battle Fleet. The enemy battle-cruisers altered course shortly afterwards, and the action continued. 'Southampton,' with the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, held on to the southward to observe. They closed to within 13,000 yards of the enemy Battle Fleet, and came under a very heavy but ineffective fire. 'Southampton's' reports were most valuable. The 5th Battle Squadron were now closing on an opposite course and engaging the enemy battle-cruisers with all guns. The position of the enemy Battle Fleet was communicated to them, and I ordered them to alter course 16 points. Led by Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas in 'Barham' (Captain Arthur W. Craig), this squadron supported us brilliantly and effectively.

 

At 4.57 p.m. the 5th Battle Squadron turned up astern of me and came under the fire of the leading ships of the enemy Battle Fleet. 'Fearless' (Captain (D) Charles O. Roper), with the destroyers of 1st Flotilla, joined the battle-cruisers and, when speed admitted, took station ahead. 'Champion' (Captain (D) James U. Farie), with 13th Flotilla, took station on the 5th Battle Squadron. At 5 p.m. the 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons, which had been following me on the southerly course, took station on my starboard bow; the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron took station on my port quarter.

 

The weather conditions now became unfavourable, our ships being silhouetted against a clear horizon to the westward, while the enemy were for the most part obscured by mist, only showing up clearly at intervals. These conditions prevailed until we had turned their van .at about 6 p.m. Between 5 and 6 p.m. the action continued on a northerly course, the range being about 14,000 yards. During this time the enemy received very severe punishment, and one of their battle-cruisers quitted the line in a considerably damaged condition. This came under my personal observation, and was corroborated by 'Princess Royal' (Captain Walter H. Cowan, M.V.O., D.S.O.) and 'Tiger' (Captain Henry B. Pelly, M.V.O.). Other enemy ships also showed signs of increasing injury. At 5.5 p.m. 'Onslow' (Lieutenant-Commander John C. Tovey), and 'Moresby' (Lieutenant-Commander Roger V. Alison), who had been detached to assist 'Engadine' (below - Photo Ships) with the seaplane, rejoined the Battle Cruiser Squadrons, and took station on the starboard (engaged) bow of 'Lion' (Captain Alfred E. M. Chatfield, C.V.O.). At 5.10 p.m. 'Moresby,' being 2 points before the beam of the leading enemy ship, fired a torpedo at a ship in their line. Eight minutes later she observed a hit with a torpedo on what was judged to be the sixth ship in the line. 'Moresby' then passed between the lines to clear the range of smoke and rejoined 'Champion.' In corroboration of this 'Fearless' reports having seen an enemy heavy ship heavily on fire at about 5.10 p.m. and shortly afterwards a huge cloud of smoke and steam.

 

 

 

At 5.35 p.m. our course was N.N.E., and the estimated position of the Battle Fleet was N. 16 W., so we gradually hauled to the north-eastward, keeping the range of the enemy at 14,000 yards. He was gradually hauling to the eastward, receiving severe punishment at the head of his line, and probably acting on information received from his light cruisers, which had sighted, and were engaged with, the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron. Possibly Zeppelins were present also. At 5.50 p.m. British cruisers were sighted on the port bow, and at 5.56 p.m. the leading battleships of the Battle Fleet, bearing north 5 miles. I thereupon altered course to east, and proceeded at utmost speed. This brought the range of the enemy down to 12,000 yards. I made a report to you (Jellicoe) that the enemy battle-cruisers bore south-east. At this time only three of the enemy battle-cruisers were visible, closely followed by battleships of the 'Koenig ' class.

 

At about 6.5 p.m. 'Onslow,' being on the engaged bow of 'Lion,' sighted an enemy light cruiser at a distance of 6,000 yards from us, apparently endeavouring to attack with torpedoes. 'Onslow' at once closed and engaged her, firing 58 rounds at a range of from 4,000 to 2,000 yards, scoring a number of hits. 'Onslow' then closed the enemy battle-cruisers, and orders were given for all torpedoes to be fired. At this moment she was struck amidships by a heavy shell, with the result that only one torpedo was fired. Thinking that all his torpedoes had gone, the commanding officer proceeded to retire at slow speed. Being informed that he still had three torpedoes, he closed the light cruiser previously engaged, and torpedoed her. The enemy's Battle Fleet was then sighted, and the remaining torpedoes were fired at them, and must have crossed the enemy's track. Damage then caused 'Onslow' to stop.

 

At 7.15 p.m. 'Defender' (Lieutenant-Commander Lawrence R. Palmer), whose speed had been reduced to 10 knots while on the disengaged side of the battle-cruisers by a 12- inch shell, which damaged her foremost boiler, closed 'Onslow' and took her in tow. Shells were falling all round them during this operation, which, however, was successfully accomplished. During the heavy weather of the ensuing night the tow parted twice, but was resecured. The two struggled on together until 1 p.m. 1st June, when 'Onslow' was transferred to tugs. I consider the performances of these two destroyers to be gallant in the extreme, and I am recommending Lieut.-Commander J. C. Tovey of 'Onslow' and Lieut.-Commander L. R. Palmer of 'Defender' for special recognition. ' Onslow' was possibly the destroyer referred to by Rear-Admiral Commanding 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron as follows:'' Here I should like to bring to your notice the action of a destroyer (name unknown) which we passed close in a disabled condition soon after 6 p.m. She apparently was able to struggle ahead again and made straight for the 'Derfflinger' to attack her."

 

At 6.20 p.m. the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron appeared ahead, steaming South towards the enemy's van. I ordered them to take station ahead, which was carried out magnificently, Rear-Admiral Hood bringing his squadron into action ahead in a most inspiring manner, worthy of his great naval ancestors. At 6.25 p.m. I altered course to the E.S.E. in support of the Third Battle Cruiser Squadron, who were at this time only 8,000 yards from the enemy's leading ship. They were pouring a hot fire into her and caused her to turn to the Westward of South. At the same time I made a report to you of the bearing and distance of the enemy Battle Fleet.

 

By 6.50 p.m. the battle cruisers were clear of our leading Battle Squadron then bearing about N.N.W. 3 miles from 'Lion,' and I ordered the 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron to prolong the line astern and reduced to 18 knots. The visibility at this time was very indifferent, not more than 4 miles, and the enemy ships were temporarily lost sight of. It is interesting to note that after 6 p.m., although the visibility became reduced, it was undoubtedly more favourable to us than to the enemy. At intervals their ships showed up clearly, enabling us to punish them very severely and establish a definite superiority over them. From the reports of other ships and my own observation it was clear that the enemy suffered considerable damage, battle-cruisers and battleships alike. The head of their line was crumpled up, leaving battleships as targets for the majority of our battle cruisers. Before leaving us the 5th Battle Squadron was also engaging battleships. The report of Rear-Admiral Evan-Thorn as shows that excellent results were obtained, and it can be safely said that his magnificent squadron wrought great execution.

 

From the report of Rear-Admiral T. D. W. Napier, M.V.O., the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron, which had maintained its station on our starboard bow well ahead of the enemy, at 6.25 p.m. attacked with the torpedo. 'Falmouth' (Captain John D. Edwards) and 'Yarmouth' (Captain Thomas D. Pratt) both fired torpedoes at the leading enemy battle-cruiser, and it is believed that one torpedo hit, as a heavy underwater explosion was observed. The 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron then gallantly attacked the heavy ships with gunfire, with impunity to themselves, thereby demonstrating that the fighting efficiency of the enemy had been seriously impaired. Rear-Admiral Napier deserves great credit for his determined and effective attack. 'Indomitable' (Captain Francis W. Kennedy) reports that about this time one of the 'Derfflinger' class (below, SMS Derfflinger - Maritime Quest)  fell out of the enemy's line.

 

 

 

At 7.6 p.m. I received a signal from you that the course of the Fleet was South. Subsequently signals were received up to 8.46 p.m. showing that the course of the Battle Fleet was to the South-westward. Between 7 and 7.12 p.m. we hauled round gradually to S.W. by S. to regain touch with the enemy, and at 7.14 p.m. again sighted them at a range of about 15,000 yards. The ships sighted at this time were two battle-cruisers and two battleships, apparently of the 'Koenig' class. No doubt more continued the line to the Northward, but that was all that could be seen. The visibility having improved considerably as the sun descended below the clouds, we re-engaged at 7.17 p.m. and increased speed to 22 knots. At 7.32 p.m. my course was S.W., speed 18 knots, the leading enemy battleship bearing N.W. by W. Again after a very short time the enemy showed signs of punishment, one ship being on fire, while another appeared to drop right astern. The destroyers at the head of the enemy's line emitted volumes of grey smoke, covering their capital ships as with a pall, under cover of which they turned away, and at 7.45 p.m. we lost sight of them.

 

At 7.58 p.m. I ordered the 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons to sweep to the Westward and locate the head of the enemy's line, and at 8.20 p.m. we altered course to West in support. We soon located two battle-cruisers and battleships, and were heavily engaged at a short range of about 10,000 yards. The leading ship was hit repeatedly by 'Lion,' and turned away 8 points, emitting very high flames and with a heavy list to port. 'Princess Royal' set fire to a three-funnelled battleship; 'New Zealand' (Captain John F. E Green) and 'Indomitable' report that the third ship, which they both engaged, hauled out of the line heeling over and on fire. The mist which now came down enveloped them, and 'Falmouth' reported they were last seen at 8.38 p.m. steaming to the Westward.

 

At 8.40 p.m. all our battle-cruisers felt a heavy shock as if struck by a mine or torpedo, or possibly sunken wreckage. As, however, examination of the bottoms reveals no sign of such an occurrence, it is assumed that it indicated the blowing up of a great vessel.

 

I continued on a south-westerly course with my light cruisers spread until 9.24 p.m. Nothing further being sighted, I assumed that the enemy were to the North-westward, and that we had established ourselves well between him and his base. 'Minotaur' (Captain. Arthur C. S. H. D'Aeth) was at this time bearing North 5 miles, and I asked her the position of the leading Battle Squadron of the Battle Fleet. Her reply was that it was not in sight, but was last seen bearing N.N.E. I kept you informed of my position, course and speed, also of the bearing of the enemy.

 

In view of the gathering darkness, and of the fact that our strategical position was such as to make it appear certain that we should locate the enemy at daylight under most favourable circumstances, I did not consider it desirable or proper to close the enemy Battle Fleet during the dark hours. I therefore concluded that I should be carrying out your wishes by turning to the course of the Fleet, reporting to you that I had done so.

 

The 13th Flotilla, under the command of Captain James U. Farie, in 'Champion' took station astern of the Battle Fleet for the night. At 0.30 a.m. on Thursday, 1st June, a large vessel crossed the rear of the flotilla at high speed. She passed close to 'Petard' and 'Turbulent,' switched on searchlights, and opened a heavy fire, which disabled 'Turbulent.' At 3.30 a.m. 'Champion' was engaged for a few minutes, with four enemy destroyers. 'Moresby' reports four ships of 'Deutschland' class sighted at 2.35 a.m., at whom she fired one torpedo. Two minutes later an explosion was felt by 'Moresby' and 'Obdurate.'

 

'Fearless' and the 1st Flotilla were very usefully employed as a submarine screen during the earlier part of the 31st May. At 6.10 p.m., when joining the Battle Fleet, ' Fearless' was unable to follow the battle cruisers without fouling the battleships, and therefore took station at the rear of the line. She sighted during the night a battleship of the ' Kaiser ' class steaming fast and entirely alone. She was not able to engage her, but believes she was attacked by destroyers further astern. A heavy explosion was observed astern not long after.

 

The 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons were almost continuously in touch with the battle cruisers, one or both squadrons being usually ahead. In this position they were of great value. They very effectively protected the head of our line from torpedo attack by light cruisers or destroyers, and were prompt in helping to regain touch when the enemy's line was temporarily lost sight of. The 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron was at the rear of our battle line during the night, and at 9 p.m. assisted to repel a destroyer attack on the 5th Battle Squadron. They were also heavily engaged at 10.20 p.m. with five enemy cruisers or light cruisers, 'Southampton' and 'Dublin' (below - Photo Ships) (Captain Albert C. Scott) suffering severe casualties during an action lasting about 15 minutes. 'Birmingham' (Captain Arthur A. M. Duff), at 11.30 p.m., sighted two or more heavy ships steering South. A report of this was received by me at 11.40 p.m. as steering W.S.W. They were thought at the time to be battle cruisers, but it is since considered that they were probably battleships.

 

 

 

The work of 'Engadine' appears to have been most praiseworthy throughout, and of great value. Lieutenant-Commander C. G. Robinson deserves great credit for the skilful and seamanlike manner in which he handled his ship. He actually towed 'Warrior' for 75 miles between 8.40 p.m., 31st May, and 7.15 a.m., 1st June, and was instrumental in saving the lives of her ship's company.

 

It is impossible to give a definite statement of the losses inflicted on the enemy. The visibility was for the most part low and fluctuating, and caution forbade me to close the range too much with my inferior force.

 

A review of all the reports which I have received leads me to conclude that the enemy's losses were considerably greater than those which we had sustained, in spite of their superiority, and included battleships, battlecruisers, light cruisers, and destroyers.

 

This is eloquent testimony to the very high standard of gunnery and torpedo efficiency of His Majesty's Ships. The control and drill remained undisturbed throughout, in many cases despite heavy damage to material and personnel. Our superiority over the enemy in this respect was very marked, their efficiency becoming rapidly reduced under punishment, while ours was maintained throughout.

 

As was to be expected, the behaviour of the ships' companies under the terrible conditions of a modern sea battle was magnificent without exception. The strain on their moral was a severe test of discipline and training. Officers and men were imbued with one thought, the desire to defeat the enemy. The fortitude of the wounded was admirable. A report from the Commanding Officer of 'Chester' gives a splendid instance of devotion to duty. Boy (1st class) John Travers Cornwell, of 'Chester,' was mortally wounded early in the action. He nevertheless remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders till the end of the action, with the gun's crew dead and wounded all round him. His age was under 16 1/2 years. I regret that he has since died, but I recommend his case for special recognition in justice to his memory, and as an acknowledgment of the high example set by him.

 

In such a conflict as raged continuously for five hours it was inevitable that we should suffer severe losses. It was necessary to maintain touch with greatly superior forces in fluctuating visibility, often very low. We lost 'Invincible,' 'Indefatigable' and 'Queen Mary,' from which ships there were few survivors. The casualties in other ships were heavy, and I wish to express my deepest regret at the loss of so many gallant comrades, officers and men. They died gloriously.

 

Exceptional skill was displayed by the Medical Officers of the Fleet. They performed operations and tended the wounded under conditions of extreme difficulty. In some cases their staff was seriously depleted by casualties, and the inevitable lack of such essentials as adequate light, hot water, &c., in ships damaged by shell fire, tried their skill, resource and physical endurance to the utmost.

 

As usual, the Engine Room Departments of all ships displayed the highest qualities of technical skill, discipline and endurance. High speed is a primary factor in the tactics of the squadrons under my command, and the Engine Room Departments never fail.

 

I have already made mention of the brilliant support afforded me by Rear-Admiral H. Evan-Thomas, M.V.O., and the 5th Battle Squadron, and of the magnificent manner in which Rear-Admiral Hon. H. L. A. Hood, C.B., M.V.O., D.S.O., brought his squadron into action. I desire to record my great regret at his loss, which is a national misfortune. I would now bring to your notice the able support rendered to me by Rear-Admiral W. C. Pakenham, C.B., and Rear-Admiral O. de B. Brock, C.B. In the course of my report I have expressed my appreciation of the good work performed by the Light Cruiser Squadrons under the command respectively of Rear-Admiral T. D. W. Napier, M.V.O., Commodore W. E. Goodenough, M.V.O., and Commodore E. S. Alexander-Sinclair, M.V.O. On every occasion these officers anticipated my wishes, and used their forces to the best possible effect.

 

I desire also to bring to your notice the skill with which their respective ships were handled by the Commanding Officers. With such Flag Officers, Commodores and Captains to support me my task was lightened.

 

The destroyers of the 1st and 13th Flotillas were handled by their respective Commanding Officers with skill, dash and courage. I desire to record my very great regret at the loss of Captains C. F. Sowerby ('Indefatigable') (below, sinking - Maritime Quest), C. I. Prowse ('Queen Mary'), and A. L. Cay ('Invincible'), all officers of the highest attainments, who can be ill spared at this time of stress.

 

 

 

I wish to endorse the report of the Rear-Admiral Commanding the 5th Battle Squadron as to the ability displayed by the Commanding Officers of his squadron.

 

In conclusion, I desire to record and bring to your notice the great assistance that I received on a day of great anxiety and strain from my Chief of the Staff, Captain R. W. Bentinck, whose good judgment was of the greatest help. He was a tower of strength. My Flag Commander, Hon. R. A. R. Plunkett, was most valuable in observing the effect of our fire, thereby enabling me to take advantage of the enemy's discomfiture; my Secretary, F. T. Spickernell, who made accurate notes of events as they occurred, which proved of the utmost value in keeping the situation clearly before me; my Flag Lieutenant, Commander R. F. Seymour, who maintained efficient communications under the most difficult circumstances, despite the fact that his signalling appliances were continually shot away. All these Officers carried out their duties with great coolness on the manoeuvring platform, where they were fully exposed to the enemy's fire.

 

In accordance with your wishes, I am forwarding in a separate letter a full list of Officers and Men whom I wish to recommend to your notice.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

David Beatty, Vice-Admiral. The Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet.

 

NOTE. - The list of Ships and Commanding Officers which took part in the action has been withheld from publication for the present in accordance with practice.

 

 

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