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Alderton, Frederick William
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===(1)=== [[File:Alderton, Frederick William-01.png|thumb|Page 1 - Paula Bird]] Summary of notes made immediately after the action of the 31st May, 1916.<br> ---- The following is not meant as an account of the Battle, but merely a rough summary of my impressions, written in the hope that it will pass the Censor and perhaps interest some of my Friends who were not so fortunate as I. ---- On the 31st May I had the afternoon watch, which promised to be very dull and uneventful. Contrary to usual practice during these sweeps of the North Sea there were no rumours of any sort as to our own movements or those of the enemy. I do not believe that at Noon even the most optimistic of us had any hopes of meeting the enemy. We were steaming East by South approximately and as usual zigzagging to avoid a possible Fritz. The 5th B.S., in the order of "Barham" , "Valiant" , "Warspite" and "Malaya" , were about 5 minutes to North of Sir David Beatty and his six Battle Cruisers. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons were spread ahead with the 13th T.B.D. Flotilla. 2.30 p.m. Saw an intercepted signal from "Galatea" to "Lion" stating that a large amount of smoke had been sighted. Apparently a Fleet under way. Shortly afterwards we heard that our Light Cruisers and T.B.Ds. were in touch with the enemy's Light Cruisers and T.B.Ds. As this was our first intimation that any Germans were on the ocean at all our surprise and excitement may well be imagined. Faces at once brightened and glasses scanned the horizon for a sign of the enemy. The pessimists still held out and declared that in all probability it was some wretched Hun Light Cruisers which would easily escape us. 3.0 p.m. Sounded off action. About 3.15.p.m. passed the "Engadine" with a seaplane in the water alongside. Officers and men doubled to their stations, most of them never even guessing that a German had actually been sighted, thinking that it was merely the same old game, i.e.'Be ready'. When I arrived in my Turret B I knew that the Light Cruisers had been in action and that there was no time to spare. I had a hurried look round to see that all was well and told the men what I could viz. that we might expect to meet anything from a German Light Cruiser to the High Sea Fleet, and that B Turret had got to get in the maximum number of rounds allowed by the Control. We had up to date been favoured by good luck but we must now be ready for anything and still not miss a salvo. The men were greatly cheered by the news, assured me that no chance would be missed to ease off a round at the Huns and at once began to make little extra preparations, taking off superfluous clothing etc. They made all sorts of weird and wonderful jokes as to what would happen to a German ship that should be so fortunate as to come within range of us.
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