Lt Cdr Paul Whitfield (ADM 137/4808 P.50)

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MARINE LAZARETT,
WILHELMSHAVEN.
(late “NOMAD”)
8.6.16.
Dear Captain Farie,
As you see from my address, I am writing from the Naval Hospital here. I asked a Naval officer here whether the sinking of the Nomad and rescue of her crew had been put in the papers, and was informed that that had been done. If this had not been done, I suppose there was nothing to tell you or the Admiralty, the ill fate of the Nomad. With this in my mind, and when I was well enough, I considered the advisability of writing my official report to you. A report of this kind must be complete and concise, and by the time the Censor’s pencil had done its work, I think my report would arrive to you in anything but a complete form. The second side to the question is, that knowing that my report will be censored, I could not put down everything I should like to. I should very much like your advice, as to whether I should postpone my report, or send it on now. A rough report I will give you now, which may clear up things. Our misfortune lay in getting a shell from one of their Light Cruisers clean through a Main Steam pipe, killing instantly the Engineer officer and I think a leading stoker. At the same time from two boilers came the report that they could not get water. We then shut off burners from the Upper Deck, engaging the enemy meanwhile. The ship finally stopped, though steam continued to pour from the Engine Room. With the ship stopped bad luck had it that the only gun that would bear was the after one, and that couldn’t be fought owing to the steam from the E.R. obliterating everything. Several of our destroyers passed close, but I did not signal to them tor assistance as I saw they were all wanted and busy. I then noticed that we had started to list to Port considerably, and so I thought that rather than let the torpedoes go down with the ship, and before the list became too bad, I would give them a run for their money, and fired all four at the enemy’s battleships who were on the Starboard beam. I think they were of the "Kaiser" class, and if any were hit at about 3.0 p.m. G.M.T. I put a claim in. Having no one within our gun range, we set to work putting small fires out etc. and I also prepared for being towed, in case a friendly destroyer came along. Just about this time the 1st High Sea Fleet spotted us, and started a “Battle Practice” at us with 6" or bigger guns. Salvo after Salvo shook us, and wounded a few. The ship sinking fast, I gave the order to abandon her and pull clear, and about 3 minutes after, she went down vertically by the stern. Three German Torpedo Boats picked us up. It was grand practice for them, but murder for us, and so exasperating as we could not hit back. The officers and crew behaved splendidly, and while waiting for “the end”, or my order to abandon ship, they might have been having their usual forenoon stand easy, to look at them. I cannot find out the names or numbers of our casualties because all my officers and men except the wounded have gone to some prison camp. The following I am sure of:- Killed:-
Eng.Lt.Commdr. W.Benoy,
W.Read, A.B,
J.Wiles, A.B,
? (Sto. or Lg. Sto.)
Wounded:-
Myself,
Willis, E.R.A,
St. P.O. ?
R.Amey, A.B,
J.Walker, A.B.
With my usual luck, I met three different salvoes and am wounded as follows. Upper and lower lips torn to pieces - (since sewn together). Three teeth removed. Shrapnel hole through the throat - each hole about the size of a 4/- piece. Splinter hole in the right forearm and right ear cut. Shot or splinter hole in the right chest. Left hand burned - now fit for duty. This is just a rough description of the last of the “Nomad”, and I nearly cried as she went down. I am longing to hear our losses - they would have me believe that nearly our whole Navy has gone, and they don’t like me one bit when I tell them I don’t believe them. I expect to be here 3 or 4 weeks yet. Hoping you and the flotilla are all going & strong and asking you to excuse this handwriting, paper etc. Yours sincerely, (Signed) PAUL WHITFIELD.