Report from First Light Cruiser Squadron

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project


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Enclosure No. 10 to Battle Cruiser Fleet Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
No. 30.
2nd June 1916.
I HAVE the honour to report for your information the part taken by the First Light Cruiser Squadron in the recent action and afterwards.
2. At 6.7 p.m. on 31st May, owing to damage to the port after forced draught fan, GALATEA's speed was reduced to 18 knots for a time, but after temporary repairs had been made a speed of 24 knots was attained. INCONSTANT was placed in charge of PHAETON and CORDELIA until GALATEA was able to rejoin next morning. Report from Captain of INCONSTANT covering that period is enclosed.

3. At 2.18 p.m. on 31st May in latitude 56° 52' N., longitude 5° 21' E., GALATEA and PHAETON being in the Port Wing position of the Light Cruiser Screen, course and speed of Battle Cruiser Fleet being S.E., 20 knots, attention was drawn by a steamer, bearing S. 72 E. about 12 miles, blowing off steam and the masts and two funnels of a war vessel were made out in her vicinity. This was reported by GALATEA, who in company with PHAETON, closed at high speed. It was then found that two German Destroyers had stopped the steamer and that a squadron of Cruisers and Torpedo-boat Destroyers were a little to the North-eastward apparently steaming in various directions which made it difficult to send an adequate report.

4. At 2.28 p.m. GALATEA and PHAETON opened fire on the two destroyers who proceeded to the Northward at speed

5. At 2.32 p.m. a three-funnelled cruiser opened fire at 15,000 yards, salvoes falling both sides of GALATEA and PHAETON, but only one 5.9-in. shell hit GALATEA; this did not burst.

On the approach of the other enemy cruisers the First Light Cruiser Squadron — INCONSTANT and CORDELIA were closing — proceeded to the North-west in extended order keeping just out of gun range, the Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Fleet, who was to the West-south-westward about 15 miles, having signalled that he was steering east, and it was hoped by drawing the enemy North-west the Battle Cruisers would be able to get in behind them, but shortly afterwards the Battle Cruisers were seen in action with the enemy's heavy ships.

6. At 3.35 p.m. the enemy's Light Cruisers turned to the South-eastward and the 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons, the latter having come up, followed on a parallel course.

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7. At 3.45 p.m. the Battle Cruisers were sighted about South-south-east in action with an enemy to the South-eastward.

About 4.0 p.m. the Fifth Battle Squadron was sighted to the South-west and opened fire on the enemy's Light Cruisers, which turned to the Northward under cover of smoke bombs. 1st and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons followed them.

8. At 4.15 p.m. the enemy's Light Cruisers turned again to the South-east and course was altered to steam parallel.

9. At 5.1 p.m. the Battle Cruisers were sighted to the Southward steering about North-west, and course was altered to North-west.

10. At 5.27 p.m. a signal was received from LION to keep touch with enemy's Battle Cruisers; these were not in sight, but course was altered to Northward and shortly after the enemy's Battle Cruisers were made out steering in the same direction about 16,000 yards on Starboard beam. The Squadron continued in this direction.

11. At 5.50 p.m. a signal was received from LION for Light Cruisers to attack with torpedoes; speed was increased to get into position, but, shortly after, the advance Cruisers of our Battle Fleet were met steering a South-easterly course and the leading ships of the latter turned to port when quite close, but almost immediately turned 12 points to starboard and it appeared that the Battle Fleet was going to deploy in that direction.

12. At 6.7 p.m. course was altered to the Westward and then to the Northward between the 4th and 5th Divisions of the Battle Fleet to get out of the way.

At this time the port forced draught fan broke down and speed had to be reduced. INCONSTANT was directed to go on with PHAETON and CORDELIA to the head of the line, GALATEA following and taking station at the head of the Battle Fleet clear of Fourth Light Cruiser Squadron and Destroyers by 8 p.m., remaining in that position for the night.

13. At 2.35 a.m. on 1st June, on the Battle Cruisers being sighted, GALATEA, who was then able to steam 24 knots, rejoined the First Light Cruiser Squadron.

14. During the action several metal cylinders about the size of a picket boat's funnel were passed, these had been thrown overboard by enemy Light Cruisers with material in them to make smoke.

15. On the 1st June, in latitude 56° 25' N., longitude 6° 21' E., several bodies with life-belts which did not appear to be British were seen and shortly afterwards two pear-shaped blue and white mines were passed; it was thought that these and the bodies must have belonged to a German destroyer.

16. At 7.30 p.m. on the 31st May in latitude 57° 0' N., longitude 6° 23' E., the wreck of what is believed to be INVINCIBLE was passed, the bow and stern standing out of the water. As GALATEA passed the stern sunk. There was practically

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no wreckage about and none of the crew were seen at the time, but on passing the same spot next day three or four bodies in life-belts were seen in the same vicinity. The above position was verified on the second day.

About 7 miles 331 degrees from the wreck of INVINCIBLE a large amount of heavy oil and a great deal of wreckage was seen; this did not appear to have come from INVINCIBLE.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
Commodore Commanding
First Light Cruiser Squadron.

The Vice-Admiral Commanding,
Battle Cruiser Fleet.


C. 141/46.

H.M.S. "Inconstant,"
2nd June 1916.

I HAVE the honour to report as follows with regard to my movements after receiving your signal to go on with the 1st L.C.S. at 6.27 p.m. on 31st May.

2. I proceeded full speed on an Easterly and then Southerly Course passing round the Battle Fleet. Owing to the necessity of keeping on the far side of the Repeating Light Cruisers of the various Battle Squadrons and to the fact that the Battle Fleet was continually altering course to starboard, I had to go on the outside of a circle and it was not until about 7.25 p.m. that I reached the head of the Battle Fleet line.

3. On arrival at the head of the Battle Line, I found the 5 ships of the 4th L.C.S. with at least one complete Destroyer Flotilla, a Light Cruiser and also four or five Cruisers.

4. The Battle Cruisers were at this time about 4 miles ahead of the Battle Fleet, and I moved up and placed the three ships of the 1st L.C.S. on the engaged quarter of the Battle Cruisers, from where we could prevent a Destroyer attack coming down from the bow on to our Battle Fleet, and at the same time afford some protection to the rear of the Battle Cruiser Line.

5. At about 8.0 p.m. the ship struck or was struck by something. CORDELIA has since reported that she struck something at about the same time, so it is assumed we struck some submerged wreckage.

6. At about 8.15 p.m. the Battle Cruisers became engaged, apparently with the Enemy's Battle Fleet, and the 3rd L.C.S., who were ahead of the Battle Cruiser Line, went on at full speed and became engaged, but I could not see against whom. Owing

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to this the Battle Cruisers had no Light Cruisers at the head of their line, and so I proceeded there at full speed.

7. At 8.29 p.m. all three ships of hte Squadron sighted a submarine breaking surface on the Port Side. This was reported by W/T.

8. Owing to the overs, I passed about 2,000 yards on the dis-engaged side of hte line and formed on the engaged bow of the Battle Cruiser Fleet. By the time I got there, the 3rd L.C.S. had ceased firing.

9. In order to prevent having too many independent Squadrons, just before dark, I took station with the 1st L.C.S. astern of the 3rd L.C.S.

10. At 9.57 p.m. I received a signal from the S.O., B.C.F., to take station W. by S.. 4 miles from LION. LION's estimated position at this time was about 12 miles N.E.

11. I picked up the Battle Cruisers at daylight, steering South. At 2.35 a.m. LION signalled "Course N.", and again at 3.10 a.m., "Course N.E."

12. At 4.10 a.m. LION signalled, "Spread well to Westward and endeavour to locate enemy. Keep linking ships in visual touch."

Whilst spread in this manner, GALATEA rejoined and took command of 1st L.C.S.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

The Commodore Commanding,
First Light Cruiser Squadron.

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