CAPTAINS REPORT, H.M.S. BELLONA.
2nd June 1916.
With reference to your signal No. 1550 of to-day I have the honour to report as follows : though I fear my remarks will be of little value, as I felt at the end of the action that owing to the length of the line and the low visibility, I had gathered but little of what had happened.
2. As regards BELLONA's special duty of repeating signals : The signals appeared to me to be comparatively few, simple, and such as might be expected, and I imagine they got through with rapidity and accuracy.
3. BELLONA lay from 3/4 of a mile to a mile on the off side of the 5th Division, in this position I had expected to get a fair share of "overs" round about me ; but as a matter of fact only one large shell fell close (about 50 yards over), and it seemed to me that the enemy was firing mostly short. There was, of course, never any great volume of fire.
4. His salvoes seemed to cover an extraordinarily small area, a thing which has struck me before.
5. It seemed to me that we had the better visibility, and I expect the enemy was hampered by smoke.
6. I was not able to get much idea of what our own shooting was like. During the whole action I only saw two of the enemy's big ships. I did see our shots hit; the enemy twice, but beyond that it seemed to me that we also were shooting short.
7. I saw no Zeppelin or air craft of any description ; I did not expect a Zeppelin attack, but I certainly thought they would have them there for reporting our movements, &c.
8. I only observed one effort by hostile torpedo craft, and that only seemed to be made by three boats.
9. I could not understand the action of certain of our 4 funnelled cruisers. They seemed to me to be not only uselessly exposing themselves to the enemy's heavy ships, but also getting in the way of our torpedoes, and hampering our line with their smoke. I naturally know nothing of the reason for their action, and merely give this as an impression.
I have the honour to be. Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
ARTHUR B. S. DUTTON,