(above) from the outer
arm of the jetty showing the narrow entrance the
ships had to come through.
(17 Sept) At 8 PM a mine was sighted at the
entrance to Reval, and the Violent was ordered to
sink it (see above).
While the Fleet was stopped during this
operation Petty Officer Mitchell
Officer's Cook 1c Frederick C
MITCHELL L 4508 on the 17th)
of the Flagship Curacoa was caught in one the Paravane wires &
dragged over the side and cut in two, his body passed
between the lines partly submerged, and before it
could be picked up, sank. Search was made for the
body for half an hour without results, so Ensigns
were half-masted & the Funeral Service read over
the spot where he sank. The Fleet then proceeded
underway for Reval.
On arriving off the entrance the Fleet was met by
a squadron of Seaplanes which manoeuvred very well
considering the very high wind & rough state of
The Fleet formed into 3 columns in line abreast 3rd
Division of Destroyers leading followed by the 4
Light Cruiser at 2 1/2 cables apart, the fourth
Division of Destroyers bringing up the rear.
As we rounded the point to the harbour, Reval
presented a very pleasing appearance with its large
domed churches showing up against a clear sky &
back ground. We were given to understand that we were
to go alongside the jetty, so steam was kept raised
ready to go alongside.
10 o'clock on Sunday morning
(18 Sept). The destroyers were ordered to proceed alongside the outer arm
of the Jetty, Vanquisher leading the way. It was rather a ticklish piece of work
as the ships had to be manoeuvred through a small gap which didn't allow for
much room for turning as the channel was very narrow with mud banks on either
side, and owing to the strong wind it was anything but an easy job. We made two attempts before we successfully negotiated the
turn, but eventually we secured alongside a small
steamer, the other boats coming in as the other ahead
cleared the entrance.
The President of Foreign Ministers invited all
Captains to lunch with him, while a concert was
arranged at the Town Hall for the men. An hours
entertainment was arranged, but as assistance in the
way of turns from the Fleet was asked for, it
finished with a 3 1/2 hours entertainment.
I didn't go ashore here, but from the reports the
outside appearance was far superior to the interior,
the streets were very narrow & dirty, the homes
badly needing repair etc.
(19 Sept) at 6 AM we left for Helsingfors the capital
of Finland, about 64 miles across the Gulf.
Helsingfors Capital of Finland
Helsingfors was reached about 11 AM today Monday
after a rough passage across the Gulf from Reval
20th . The entrance to Helsingfors is surrounded by
numerous small islands, so it was necessary to have
Finnish pilots. Our pilot couldn't speak English or
French, but as he could speak Russian, one of our
Petty Officers who had been in Russia for 2 or 3
years & could speak a little Russian and so did
the interpreting part of the business & so got
over the difficulty.
All the Destroyers proceeded to the inner harbour
& the Light Cruiser to the other side of the
The people here were very civil & obliging. It
is one of the prettiest little seaports I've been to.
The streets were well laid out. The main street
especially was very pretty with extensive gardens
running through the centre.
Owing to the rate of exchange which was 230 marks
to the £1 we found things very cheap. I purchased a
lot of glass ware, scent & several other things
at a very cheap rate.
The Franco Restaurant that I went into gave a very
good spread for 12 marks equivalent to 1/-. The
orchestra played while you had lunch. The lunch
consisted of steak, onions, potatoes & cabbage,
with cheese, Black & White bread & pats of
butter all for a bob.
I had a thorough good walk round here & it
seemed hard to realise Helsingfors is ice bound for 4
months of the year.
Our stay at Helsingfors lasted for three days. I
think we all enjoyed ourselves here and would have
liked to stay for at least another week, but we had
to adhere to our original programme so the Fleet left
at 2 PM on Thursday (22 Sept) for out next port of call,
Stockholm the Capital of Sweden.
Cathedral at Helsingfors (left)
with gilt domes. The General Post Office &
Archeological Society's building is just behind
View of the Pilot Station
where pilots were changed
After leaving Helsingfors we caught rough weather
crossing the Baltic & all night long we were
ploughing through heavy head seas, tossing &
rolling about like corks, but as it was only a nights
trip across we didn't mind much. At 5 AM we were well
under the shelter of the Aland Islands & picked
up Pilots off the Island of Upsala to begin our 60
mile trip up the Fjords to Stockholm.
The scenery was magnificent all the way up,
although towards the close of the summer season the
riverside bungalows were gaily decorated. We passed a
Swedish Naval Base & Garrison about 20 miles
before we got to Stockholm, the Swedish Sailors
standing to attention as we passed quite close to the
shore at this point. Am afraid the snaps I took don't
give a very adequate view as to what it really looked
We arrived off Stockholm at noon & proceeded
direct to the jetty to land Lt Donnell from our ship
to Hospital seriously ill.
The remainder of the Fleet went & anchored
close to the oiler Petroleum that had been sent out
from England to fill us up with oil fuel as we had by
this time run fairly short of oil.
After oiling all ships proceeded independently and
anchored in pairs off Stockholm.
The Football team were to play the Swedish Navy at
the Stadium. The City is built something like Venice
i.e. on a group of Islands. I believe it is called
the Venice of the Baltic.
The Royal Palace was quite close to our anchorage
but the King & Queen were away at the time.
Concerts & Balls were arranged for the Officers
as usual, the men having to shift for themselves. We
played the Swedish Navy at the Stadium & lost
Things were very dear here. The rate of exchange
16.80 against the pre war 18.44 made things much
worse. It cost you 1 Krona to open your mouth & 2
Krona to shut it, not reckoning the cost to fill it.
Three of us went into a Café & ordered steak,
vegetables & stout. The piece of steak was about
half the size of the palm or the hand with 2 potatoes
& a spoonful of onions with a glass of stout,
price 21/- the three. Next move, exit the three of
Everyone here seemed to be the owner of a bicycle.
What I saw of the place I thought very nice, but
owing to the lack of funds as the banks were closed
& if you wanted to change any money at the
Café's they diddled you over so that the £1 dropped
in value from 17/- at the banks to 13/- in the
Café's, so we weren't having any.
Life in this place begins when it was time for us
to return onboard about 11.30 PM, so I didn't bother
to go ashore here again. This night a Stoker from the
flagship Curacoa fell overboard when coming off at
night & was drowned before he could be picked up
(believed to be Stoker 1c Arthur BILLINGHURST K 57348 on Saturday, 24
He was buried the next day with full honours. Swedish
Army & Navy lined the routes.
The ships were open to visitors on Sunday
(25 Sept). We had
crowds onboard, but very few of the men offered to
take the visitors round owing most probably to lack
of knowledge of the language, although several who
came could speak a little English. Still it made it
rather a stiff job trying to make them understand
things & also understanding the large number of
questions that were being asked.
I wasn't sorry to leave Stockholm. Why? I couldn't
say, except that I was disappointed with the place.
We left at 9 AM on Tuesday Sept 27th
for Copenhagen about 500 miles distant. As we also
had a night attack to do we didn't anticipate
reaching Copenhagen until early on Thursday morning.
The weather was still rather rough when we left.
Royal Danish Yacht proceeding up harbour after the King had
We arrived here at 8 AM today Thursday Sept 29th.
The Destroyers proceeded up harbour with the
Flagship. The other three Light Cruisers remaining
Friday 30th H.M King of Denmark arrived
in his Yacht accompanied by three Destroyers.
As soon as H.M. the King arrived, ships were
dressed & manned as the Yacht made way to her
moorings just abreast us.
The King didn't remain long after arrival, but
proceeded ashore in his steamboat for the palace. He
was due back at 2PM to inspect the Flagship & did
so as Hon British Admiral for which he received a 17
gun salute, the forts returning same.
All Captains were commanded to dine with him at 7
PM on Saturday Oct 1st.
Invitations were received for Officers to pay a
visit to the Porcelain Factory.
Visitors coming alongside at Copenhagen
The Danes are a very likeable, kind people, our
men made many friends here, consequently visitors
came onboard in large numbers.
The town itself is planned on quite a large scale
as regards the width of the roads, in the form of
avenues with a special track for bicycles. As
bicycles are very cheap here everyone seems to own a
machine. The Langalene Gardens that run parallel to
the river possess some very fine monuments of which I
took snaps of several, although it was raining
slightly when I went onshore. We had a very pleasant
stay her of 4 days & were sorry to leave.
Bronze Mermaid on the
Langalene Front, the Destroyers
Violent & Venetia are in the middle distance