Reports from Destroyer Flotillas (Battle Cruiser Fleet)

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LETTER OF PROCEEDINGS OF CAPTAIN (D), 13th flotilla

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Enclosure No. 17 to Battle Cruiser Fleet, Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
No. 60.
HMS Champion
3rd June 1916.
Sir,
I have the honour to forward the following report of Proceedings of H.M.S. " Champion " and 13th Destroyer Flotilla during the recent action of the 31st May-lst June 1916.

2. At2.50p.m.,31stMay,H.M.S."Onslow"and"Moresby" were detached to join H.M.S. " Engadine," but attacked enemy Battle Cruiser Fleet with remainder of Flotilla, as described in paragraph 5.

3. At commencement cf action station was taken up on the starboard bow of H.M.S. " Lion," Destroyers in comj)any being :

Nestor Commander Hon Edward B. S.
Bingham.
Nomad Lieut. Commander Paul Whitfield.
Narborough „ „ „ Geoffrey Corlett,
Obdurate „ „ „ Cecil H. H. Sams.
Petard „ „ „ Evelyn C. O. Thomson.
Pelican „ „ „ Kenneth A, Beattie.
Nerissa „ „ „ Montague C. B. Legge.
Onslow „ „ „ John C. Tovey
Moresby „ „ „ Roger V. Alison
Nicator Lieutenant Jack E.A. Mocatta
Termagant Lieut. Commander Cuthbert P. Blake
Turbulent „ „ „ DudleyStuart.

(The last two named Destroyers being temporarily attached.)

4. At 4.30 p.m. Enemy's Battle Fleet was sighted by " Champion " and reported to you.

5. At 4.15 p.m. the whole Flotilla was ordered to attack Enemy Battle Cruiser Fleet. This attack was well carried out, and it is thought that at least two Enemy Destroyers were sunk. I regret to state that H.M.S. " Nestor " (Commander Hon. E. B. S. Bingham) and H.M.S. " Nomad " (Lieutenant Commander Paul Whitfield) did not return from this action, and must be considered to have been sunk.

6. At 7.45 p.m. H.M.S. " Onslow " was reported unable to steam, and was taken in tow by H.M.S. " Defender."

7. No further opportunity of attacking Enemy occurred during the day.

8. At night station was taken astern of Battle Fleet, course South. About 11.30 p.m. heavy jfiring was opened on our starboard beam, apparently at some of our Destroyers between

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the 13th Flotilla and the enemy. I hauled out to the eastward as I was unable to attack with any of our own Flotilla, our own forcesbeingbetweenmeandtheEnemy. Ithenresumedcourse South ; firing was observed at intervals during the night on our starboard beam. Destroyers of the 13th Flotilla, with the exception of H.M.S. " Obdurate " and " Moresby," lost touch with, me during the night. H.M.S. " Narborough " as Senior Officer, reports that he took charge of the remainder, and rejoined the Fleet at 9.45 a.m. on the 1st instant. H.M.S. " Marksman " and " Maenad " joined me at about 2.30a.m. At2.50a.m.coursewasalteredtoNorthtoconform with signal received from the Commander-in-Chief.

9. At 3.25 a.m. four Destroyers, steering southward, were sighted ; owing to the mist I was uncertain at first who they were; but at 3.30 a.m. I made them out to be the enemy, and opened fire, range about 3,000 yards. Two torpedoes were fired at " Champion," the first one passing under our bows, the second just missing close astern. Enemy passed on opposite course, and when sliip had been steadied after avoiding torpedoes, the enemy had disappeared in the mist, and T resumed my same course.

10. At 4.30 a.m. H.M.S. " Obdurate " picked up two survivors, and H.M.S. " Marksman " one survivor, from H.M.S, " Ardent." At 5 a.m. two rafts were sighted, and H.M.S. " Moresby " rescued seven men, and H.M.S. " Maenad " eleven men, survivors from H.M.S. " Fortune."

11. At about 6 a.m. H.M.S. "Marksman" was detached to examine vessel to westward, which appeared to be a disabled Destroyer, and lost touch with me. Nothing further occurred, and I returned to base, by your orders, arriving at 3.30 p.m., 2nd June 1916.

12. Letter of Proceedings from H.M.S. " Narborough." the Senior Officer surviving from Destroyer attack, is attached. Reports have been called for from remainder of Kith Flotilla, and an addendum to this letter will be forw^arded when the reports have been collected.

13. In addition to loss of H.M.S. " Nestor " and " Nomad," H.M.S. " Turbulent " (Lieutenant-Commander Dudley Stuart) is reported by H.M.S. " Narborough " to have been lost sight of at 0.30 a.m. on the 1st instant, and w^as probably rammed, or sunk b}' gunfire.

Total casualties and names have not yet been ascertained.

I have the honour to be.
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
J. U. FARIE,
13th Flotilla.


The Vice-Admiral Commanding
Battle Cruiser Fleet, HMS Lion.

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Enclosure No. 18 to Battle Cruiser Fleet, Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6,10.

ADDENDUM TO LETTER OF PROCEEDINGS NO. 60 OF 3rd JUNE 1916.

H.M.S. " Champion."
7th June 1916.
No. 60.
Sir,
With reference to paragraph 12 of my letter of proceedings No. 60 of 3rd June 1916, I have the honour to forward this addendum, containing extracts from reports received from destroyers of 13th Flotilla, who were engaged in the action, 31st May-1st June 1916.

H.M.S. Obdurate, dated 3rd June 1916.

On receiving the signal to carry out torpedo attack on enemy battle cruiser fleet, OBDURATE turned towards the enemy and soon became engaged with their destroyers and one light cruiser. Range varied from 6,000 to 3,000 yards, and during the destroyer action one of the enemy's destroyers was blown up and two others badly damaged probably one of these two sank as the guns firing at her lost sight of her.
The enemy destroyers and light cruiser were driven back to the protection of their big ships, and OBDURATE was then too far astern to deliver a torpedo attack. OBDURATE was hit twice by a 4.1 shell, but suffered no casualties.

H.M.S. Petard, dated 2nd June 1916.

On receiving the signal to attack with torpedoes, I attacked with TURBULENT. The first torpedo fired was set for high speed, six feet deep, and was aimed at the head of the German destroyer flotilla, which was crossing over to meet our attack. The track was closely followed, and tube's crew state that they undoubtedly saw it hit a German Destroyer about amidships and explode, I opened fire with my gun on this destroyer a few minutes later, and she was then lying stopped, with her upper deck awash and obviously sinking.
PETARD then took part in the general engagement with the German Destroyers, and the three remaining torpedoes were fired at a range of about 7,000 yards on the bow of the German Battle Cruiser Fleet. All these torpedoes must have crossed the track of the German fine.
At 12.15 a.m. course was altered to S.W. by W., and ten minutes later the line crossed ahead of a division of German Battleships. I sighted the leading battleship about six points on my starboard bow steering S.E. at about 400 or 500 yards. This ship switched on recognition lights, consisting of two red over one white light and, as some destroyer ahead of me in the line then switched on her "fighting lights," I think the Germans at once knew we were enemy. As PETARD had no torpedoes


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left I could not attack, so I increased to full speed, and altered course slightly to port to avoid being rammed. I passed about 200 yards ahead of the German ship, who appeared to be one of the WITTELSBACH class. As soon as we were clear of her stem, she illuminated us with searchlights, and we came under a heavy fire from her and the next ship in the line. Two salvoes seemed to strike us, and, in all, I think, we received six hits.
I regret that I never saw TURBULENT, who was in station astern of PETARD, after passing the German Squadron; according to the evidence of some of my Ship's Company, I am afraid she must have been rammed and sunk.

H.M.S. Pelican, dated 4th June 1916.

PELICAN was unable to fire torpedoes owing to the other two divisions being engaged by enemy torpedo craft between the fleets, and by a division of the 9th Flotilla, who were coming up in the opposite direction.
At about 10.35 p.m. there was heavy firing in N. Westerly direction, and destroyers were seen in the searchlight rays of attacking ships. Shortly afterwards there was a huge explosion in that direction. At 0.40, June 1st, when on a course S.W., speed 30 knots, I observed two ships on starboard quarter, which were at first taken to be our Light Cruisers. They switched on three vertical lights, the upper two being red and lower green, at the same time PELICAN's " stem was lit up by a searchlight which was immediately transferred to PETARD and TURBULENT, who were astern. When sighted position was unfavourable for attack.

H.M.S. Nerissa dated 5th June 1916.

4.30 p.m., commenced attack on a northerly course, owing to enemy turning 16 points, this attack had eventually to be carried out on a southerly course, which I did in company with TERMAGANT, but firing two torpedoes, range 7,000 yards. Just previous to this attack NOMAD was observed quite close, stopped and apparently badly damaged in the engine room. One torpedo apparently took effect on rear ship.

H.M.S. Onslow, dated 2nd June 1916.

At about 6.5 p.m., sighting an enemy Light Cruiser, class uncertain, with 3 funnels, with topgallant forecastle only about 6,000 yards from 1st B.C.S., I decided to attack her. All guns engaged enemy Light Cruiser, and 58 rounds were fired at a range of 2,000 to 4,000 yards ; undoubtedly a large number of hits were scored, as they were easily spotted at this range. I then gave orders for all torpedoes to be fired. I saw the first torpedo leave the ship, and immediately was struck by a big shell amidships the starboard side. There was a big escape of steam, completely enveloping both torpedo tubes. Sub-Lieutenant Moore, Leading Signalman Cassin, also several other


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ratings and myself saw the torpedo hit Light Cruiser below conning tower, and explode.
Owing to two shells having exploded in No. 2 Boiler room, and badly damaged main feed tank and all the water in the reserve feed tank being now used, at 7.0 p.m. ship stopped and electric current was lost. At 7.15 p.m. DEFENDER closed ONSLOW and asked if assistance was required. On learning DEFENDER could only steam 10 knots, I asked to be taken in tow whilst endeavouring to effect repairs ; this DEFENDER did under very trying circumstances, and with large enemy ships rapidly approaching. In tow of DEFENDER I then proceeded W.by N. Using salt-waterfeed, Engineer Lieutenant Commander Foulkes raised speed for slow speed to enable me to use steering engine, and when weather got worse to lessen strain on towing hawser. Owing to ship's condition I decided to make for the nearest port —Aberdeen— arriving there about 1.0 p.m. the 2nd June.

H.M.S. Moresby dated 3rd June 1916.

At 5.0 p.m. an enemy Dreadnought squadron then observed steering Northward was attacked. At 5.10 p.m., being two points before the beam of the leading ship 6-8,000 yards, a long range torpedo was fired at the third ship. About 8 minutes later I observed an upheaval due to a torpedo, and am informed it was on the 6th ship. This agrees with the director setting. The enemy were then straddling frequently ; my smoke was bad ; I therefore turned towards the enemy and ran between the lines, in order to clear the range from smoke nuisance.
At about 2.35 a.m., four DEUTSCHLAND class ships were seen bearing West, 4,000 yards. I hauled out to port, firing a H.S. torpedo at 2.37 G.M.T. No more could be fired as left tube was empty, and the fore director was pointed skywards when the sight bore of that tube. Mist and smoke prevented the enemy being seen again.

H.M.S. Nicator, dated 4th June 1916.

At 4.15 p.m. torpedo attack was carried out. Two torpedoes were fired at a range of about 6,000 yards. During this attack enemy's Destroyers were continually engaged with gunfire, and were observed to be retiring, leaving at least two in a disabled condition. A third torpedo was fired at second ship of enemy's Battle Fleet at a range of about 3,000 yards. NESTOR and NICATOR continued to close until within about 2,500 yards, when NESTOR was hit in the region of No. 1 Boiler Room; she immediately altered course 8 points to starboard, and NICATOR was obliged to alter inside her to avoid collision, thereby failing to fire a 4th torpedo.
At 3.30 p.m., June 1st, in Lat. 55.50 N., Long. 0.55 W., a torpedo fired by a hostile submarine was observed approaching from abaft the starboard beam at an angle of 30 degrees, running on the surface ; helm was at once put hard a starboard and


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telegraphs to full speed. Torpedo passed ahead. On resuming course a submerged explosion was very distinctly felt all over the ship, but no damage could be found. Submarine was not sighted.
- * * * * * [1]
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
J. U. FARIE,
Captain (D),
13th Destroyer Flotilla.


The Vice-Admiral Commanding
Battle Cruiser Fleet. H.M.S. Lion.


Enclosure No. 19 to Battle Cruiser Fleet. Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
From—Captain (D), 13th Destroyer Flotilla,
To —The Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Fleet.
Date —9th June 1916.
No. —60.
Submitted.
Enclosed are action reports from Destroyers in accordance with your signal of to-day.

J. U. FARIE.
Captain (D),
13th Destroyer Flotilla.


H.M.S. NARBOROUGH,


2nd June 1916.

Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report in accordance with your orders the following movements of the 13th Flotilla on 31st May and 1st June 1916.
Previous to action commencing the Flotilla was stationed ahead of Battle Cruiser Squadron. Shortly after the action had commenced Destroyers were ordered to attack with torpedoes, second and third Divisions drew out to Port of CHAMPION in accordance with orders signalled to get ahead for attacking. Third Division followed second Division down to the attack, but PETARD and TURBULENT were separated by NOTTINGHAM crossing PETARD's bows. PETARD and TURBULENT proceeded independently.
Previous to turning, the German High Sea Fleet were observed coming up from the Southward.
Before getting into the favourable position to fire Torpedoes, enemy's Light Cruisers and Destroyers, fourteen or fifteen in No., came across towards our Battle Cruiser Squadron, and were


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intercepted by 13th and 9th Flotillas. General firing took place the Third Division were unable to open fire owing to the 9th Flotilla, who had come up in the opposite direction, getting between them and enemy Destroyers. Enemy's flotilla retired to their own Battle Cruiser Squadron after short action. It is thought that at least two enemy Destroyers were sunk.
The position of enemy's Battle Cruiser Squadron was then unfavourable for firing Torpedoes, and in view of enemy's Battle Fleet having been sighted, I decided not to fire Torpedoes at long range at Battle Cruiser Squadron, but to retain all Torpedoes for use pending Fleet action. Accordingly NARBOROUGH and PELICAN rejoined CHAMPION. The remaining Destroyers of the 13th Flotilla rejoined CHAMPION except NESTOR and NOMAD, who had been observed badly damaged.
Proceeded in company of CHAMPION from 8 p.m. till midnight. Firing was observed to starboard beam at intervals between 10 and 11 p.m. and a heavy action at 11.30 p.m. Several ships were seen on starboard beam about midnight, but it could not be made out whether hostile.
At 0.30 a.m., 1st June 1916, a large vessel making much smoke was observed crossing the rear of the Flotilla from starboard to port at a fast speed. This vessel was thought to be one of our Light Cruisers or an Armoured Cruiser of the WARRIOR class, one of whom had been on our starboard quarter during the First Watch. When on starboard quarter at about 1,000 yards vessel switched on two red lights over one green for a few seconds, then switched searchlights on to rear boats and opened heavy fire. PETARD was struck and severely damaged; TURBULENT was either rammed or heavily shelled and no further note of her was obtained. Vessel was immediately lost sight of owing to heavy smoke.
Flotilla then proceeded to the Westward.
At Daylight it was noticed that Destroyers ahead were not in touch with CHAMPION. I took charge of Destroyers 13th Flotilla, consisting of NARBOROUGH, PELICAN, NERISSA, NICATOR, and PETARD, and placed myself under orders of LYDIARD of 9th Flotilla. TERMAGANT had previously rejoined 9th Flotilla.
On receiving orders by W/T to join Battle Cruiser Squadron I proceeded as requisite, rejoining Fleet at 9.45 a.m., having previously despatched PETARD and NICATOR to base as they were running short of fuel. At 7 p.m.. 13th Flotilla were ordered to join BADGER and return to base. Arrived base at 2 p.m. 2nd June 1916.
I have the honour to be.
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
GEOFFREY CORLETT,
Lieutenant-Commander.


To Captain (D)
13th Destroyer Flotilla,
H.M.S. Champion.




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H.M.S. OBDURATE,

13th Flotilla,
3rd June 1916.


Sir,
I BEG to report that at the commencement of the action on 31st May between H.M. Battle Cruisers and the German High Sea Fleet, OBDURATE was separated from the remainder of the 13th Flotilla, and was about 1,000 yards on the engaged side of LION.
Every endeavour was made to join the flotilla, but this was not accomplished when the signal was made to carry out a Torpedo Attack on the enemy.
On receiving the Signal. OBDURATE turned towards the enemy's Battle Cruiser Fleet and soon became engaged with their destroyers and one Light Cruiser, who were apparently approaching to carry out a torpedo attack on our Battle Cruisers.
Range varied from 6,000 to 3,000 yards, and during the destroyer action one of the enemy's destroyers was blown up, and two others badly damaged probably one of those two sank as the guns firing at her lost sight of her.
The enemy Destroyers and light cruisers were driven back to the protection of their big ships' guns, and the OBDURATE was then too far astern to deliver a torpedo attack. OBDURATE was hit twice by a 4.1 shell, but suffered no casualties.
OBDURATE then rejoined CHAMPION, and remained with her till ordered to return to base at 1 p.m. on 1st June.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant.
C. H. HUTTON SAMS,
Lieut.-Com.


Captain (D),
13th Flotilla,
H.M.S. Champion.



H.M.S. PETARD,

13th Destroyer Flotilla,
2nd June 1916.


Sir,

I HAVE the honour to report the proceedings of H.M. Ship under my command during the action on 31st May
2. PETARD was in company with 13th Flotilla ahead of LION at the commencement of the action, and when destroyers were ordered to attack was in station astern of PELICAN and NARBOROUGH. Owing to NOTTINGHAM cutting through flotilla. PETARD had to reduce speed and pass astern of her, and then being some distance astern of PELICAN. I decided to attack with TURBULENT, and accordingly attacked immediately after NESTOR's division. The first torpedo fired was set for high speed, six feet deep, and was aimed by Mr. Epworth, Gunner


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(T), at the head of the German Destroyer Flotilla, which was crossing over to meet our attack. The track of the torpedo was closely followed, and the tube's crew state they undoubtedly saw it hit a German T.B.D. about amidships and explode. I certainly myself opened fire with my guns on this T.B.D. a few minutes later, and she was then lying stopped, with her upper deck awash and obviously sinking.
3. PETARD then took part in the general engagement with the German Destroyers, and the three remaining torpedoes were fired at a range of about 7,000 yards on the bow of the German Battle Cruisers. All these torpedoes were fired at about the second or third German Battle Cruiser, and must have crossed the track of the German line.
4. After this, as our Fleet had turned to the Northward, PETARD proceeded to rejoin, and passing the spot where the hull of QUEEN MARY was lying, picked up the Captain of the after turret of that ship. PETARD then passed astern of the 5th Battle Squadron and rejoined CHAMPION. PETARD remained with the Flotilla, and accompanied it South during the night.
5. At 12.15 a.m. course was altered to S.W. by W.,and about ten minutes later the line crossed ahead of a division of German Battleships. I sighted the leading Battleship about six points on my starboard bow, steering S.E. at about 400 or 500 yards. This ship switched on recognition lights, consisting of two red over one white light and, as some destroyer ahead of me in the line then switched on her "fighting lights," I think the Germans at once knew we were enemy. As PETARD had no torpedoes left, I could not attack, so I increased to full speed and altered course slightly to port to avoid being rammed. I passed about 200 yards ahead of the German ship, who appeared to be one of the WITTLESBACH class.
6. As soon as we were clear of her stem, she illuminated us with searchlights, and we came under a heavy fire from her and the next ship in the line. Two salvoes seemed to strike us, and in all, I think, we received six hits.
No. 1 was aft on the port side of the Quarterdeck ; this shot disabled the whole after gun's crew and supply party.
No. 2 blew a hole in the ship's side in the Commanding Officer's cabin, about three feet by two, and then wrecked the whole of the Officers' cabins.
No. 3 made a large hole in the upper deck on top of No. 2 stokehold, and then entering the stokehold cut an oil pressure gauge pipe. The oil spurting out of this pipe made a considerable fire.
No. 4 hit below the midship gun platform and did little damage.
No. 5 was, apparently, a shrapnel, and this burst just short of the ship in line with the two foremost funnels, covering the whole of that part of the ship with splinters. Most of the cowls and plates in this part of the ship were penetrated by these.


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No. 6 hit a cowl aft and did little damage besides.
If only PETARD had had some torpedoes left, I am certain a successful torpedo attack could easily have been made.
- * * * * * [2]
10. I regret that I never saw TURBULENT, who was in station astern of PETARD, after passing this German Squadron. According to the evidence of some of my ship's company I am afraid she must have been rammed and sunk.
11. After this action PETARD proceeded as fast as possible, and eventually rejoined the Flotilla at daylight. At 6.0 p.m. PETARD and NICATOR were detached to return to Rosyth. At 7.0 a.m. NICATOR transferred Probationary Surgeon Neil MacLeod to PETARD, who carried out his work in a most excellent manner but, I am afraid, was too late to save most of the wounded. Previous to his arrival C.P.O. Thomas Knight, O.N. (165,128), had done his utmost for them.
12. At 3.30 p.m. in Lat. 55.50 N., Long. 0.55 W., NICATOR reported that she was attacked by a submarine, and a torpedo passed under her stern. PETARD and NICATOR eventually arrived at Rosyth at 7.45 p.m.
- * * * * * [3]
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
E. C. O. THOMSON,
Lieutenant Commander.


The Captain (D),
13th Destroyer Flotilla.



H.M.S. PELICAN.

13th Flotilla,
4th June 1916.



Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report the following proceedings of H.M. Ship under my command during the engagement of 31st May-1st June 1916.
The formation of the fleet was cruising order, course S.S. 1 E., 19½ knots.
The enemy Battle cruisers accompanied by destroyers were sighted at 3.15 p.m. G.M.T.
At 3.45 CHAMPION and 13th Flotilla formed single line ahead and took station on starboard bow of the B.C.F.
Fire was opened by the enemy at 3.48 and by our fleet at 3.50. At 4.20, having received a signal to attack with torpedoes, the 13th Flotilla proceeded in the order 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divs. The 3rd Div., consisting of NARBOROUGH and PELICAN,


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were unable to fire torpedoes owing to the other two divisions being engaged by enemy torpedo craft between the fleets and by a division of 9th Flotilla, who were coming up in the opposite direction; we therefore turned to rejoin CHAMPION.
The flotilla reformed in single line ahead and took station on the disengaged side of 5th Battle Squadron, Course Nly.
At 6.00 the Grand Fleet was sighted steering about S. by E., and fire was opened at 6.l5 p.m.
Between 7.10 and 10.20 Courses were South and South-West with speeds varying between 10 and 20 knots, during which time firing was observed on Starboard beam and quarter.
At about 10.35 there was heavy firing in N.Wly. direction, and destroyers were seen in the Search light rays attacking ships. Shortly after there was a huge explosion in that direction.
At 0.40, June 1st, when on a Course S.W., speed 30 knots, observed two ships on Starboard quarter, which were at first taken to be our Light Cruisers. They switched on three vertical lights, the upper two being red and the lower green, at the same time PELICAN's stern was fit up by a Search light, which was immediately transferred to PETARD and TURBULENT who were astern.
When sighted position was unfavourable for attack and, as she was shortly lost sight of, PELICAN proceeded to regain touch with the flotilla.
At daybreak it was found that the destroyers then in company were as follows:- NARBOROUGH, PELICAN, PETARD, NERISSA, NICATOR, and a division of 9th Flotilla, led by LYDIARD. These were formed up at 1.30 a.m. and steered N. 70 W. at 15 knots.
At 5.35, having received a signal to rejoin B.C.F., NARBOROUGH, PELICAN and NERISSA proceeded S. 60 E. at 25 knots.
At 9.50 sighted Grand Fleet, and at 10.08 joined Flag LION, and took up position for submarine screen, Course N. by W.
At 4.0 p.m. PELICAN was ordered to return to base to replenish with fuel, where she arrived at 1.30 p.m., 2 June, with 9 tons of oil only remaining on board.
Nothing of importance occurred on the passage back.
The conduct of all officers and men was everything that could be desired under the trying circumstances of waiting to join in the action which I felt confident would be the case, having had the majority of them under my command for over two years.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
KENNETH A. BEATTIE,
Lieut.-Commander.


The Captain (D),
13th Flotilla.


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H.M.S. NERISSA,

5th June 1916.

Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report proceedings of H.M. Ship under my command during recent action in the North Sea on 31st May 1910, and 1st June 1916. Being in company with 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, NEW ZEALAND, INDEFATIGABLE, BARHAM, MALAYA, VALIANT, WARSPITE, CHAMPION, FEARLESS, 13th Flotilla, two divisions of first Flotilla, one division of 10th Flotilla, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Light Cruiser Squadrons.

31st May.
P.M.
3.0. 1st Light Cruiser Squadron reported in action.
3.30. Sighted enemy's Battle Cruisers, five in number, with destroyers and Light Cruisers. 13th Flotilla took station ahead of 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, having been screening them previously.
3.44. Enemy opened fire and action developed.
4.0. Sighted High Sea Fleet ahead.
4.30.13th Flotilla ordered to attack enemy's Battle Cruisers with torpedoes. Took station astern of 3rd division of 13th Flotilla and commenced attack on a Northerly course, owing to enemy turning 16 points, this attack had eventually to be carried out on a Southerly course, which I did in company with TERMAGANT, firing two torpedoes, range 7,000 yards. Just previous to this attack NOMAD was observed quite close, stopped and apparently badly damaged in the Engine Room, the enemy's Light Cruisers were firing accurate salvoes during the attack, and this fire was returned, though spotting was very difficult, one torpedo apparently took effect on rear ship. Rejoined CHAMPION on disengaged side of Battle Cruisers, steering to the Northward and joined the Grand Fleet, remaining in company with CHAMPION throughout the remainder of the action.
9.10. Altered Course to South 20 knots.
9.36. Altered Course to S.S.E. 17 knots.
11.40. Observed firing and searchlights abaft starboard beam, a ship apparently being attacked by destroyers, many salvoes fell between NERISSA and MORESBY, who was next ahead.
11.45. Lost touch with MORESBY and remained in company with LYDIARD. Course S.E.,25 knots.

1st June.
A.M.
12.28. Altered Course to S.W., 30 knots.
1.20. Altered Course to N. 70 W., 25 knots; more firing astern was observed.


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A.M.
3. 0. 15 knots.
5.30. Altered course to N. 70 E., 25 knots, to rejoin Battle Cruiser Squadron in company with NARBOROUGH and PELICAN.
- * * * * [4]
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
M. G. B. LEGGE,
Lieutenant-Commander,


The Captain (D),
H.M.S. Champion.


H.M.S. ONSLOW

c/o G.P.O.,
2nd June, 1916.
Sir,
I HAVE the honour to forward the following report of the part taken by H.M. Ship under my command during the action of the 3 1st May, 1916. During the forenoon and early afternoon of Wednesday, 31st May, ONSLOW, working as a unit of the 13th Flotilla, was screening the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron. At 2.50 p.m. ONSLOW and MORESBY were detached to close ENGADINE. I took MORESBY under my orders and proceeded to close ENGADINE at 25 knots course East, at 3.0 p.m. ENGADINE stopped and hoisted out one seaplane then steamed N. by E., 20 knots, waiting for seaplane to return, finally hoisting it in at 3.45 p.m. At 3.50 p.m. enemy's Battle Cruisers were sighted steering approximate S.S.E., shortly afterwards being engaged by the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron and 5th Battle Squadron on a nearly parallel course. I then asked the Commanding Officer of ENGADINE if he further required assistance of ONSLOW and MORESBY, and on receiving reply "No," I proceeded with MORESBY to close the nearest squadron, the 5th Battle Squadron, at 30 knots, course S.S.E.at4.55p.m. I again sighted the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron and enemy's Battle Cruisers returning, steering approximately N.N.E. I turned to N.N.E., taking station about 3 miles on engaged bow of LION. I found that steering N.N.E. ONSLOW was rapidly opening from LION and closing enemy's Battle Cruisers about 5 points on their engaged bow, distant 18,000 yards. I was unable to see any enemy's Light Cruisers or Destroyers ahead of their Battle Cruisers, and deemed it a favourable opportunity to deliver an attack with torpedoes, and with this idea proceeded to close enemy more. Shortly afterwards four enemy Light Cruisers appeared ahead of their Battle Cruisers and closed ONSLOW. and opened a heavy and very accurate fire on both ONSLOW and MORESBY.


Page 237

Realising I should be unable to get within torpedo range, at 5.5 p.m. I retired N.W. in the direction of LION, MORESBY, to avoid making a double target with ONSLOW, separated and went astern of 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, ONSLOW taking station astern of 1st Light Cruiser Squadron on engaged bow of LION, course N.N.E. Armoured cruisers of Grand Fleet were sighted at 5.45p.m. Grand Fleet Battle Squadron at 5.50p.m.
I had been endeavouring to join up with one of our Destroyer Flotillas, the only one close was the 1st Flotilla on the disengaged beam of 1st Battle (Vuiser Squadron. As I was in a most advantageous position for repelling enemy's Destroyers endeavouring to attack 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, or delivering an attack mj'^self, I considered it better for me to remainonengagedbowof"Lion." Atabout6.5p.m.enemy's Battle Cruisers turned to a course about S.E., 1st Battle Cruiser Scj[uadron turned to approximately the same course shortly afterwards. At this moment sighting an enemy Light Cruiser, cla'^s uncertain, with 3 funnels and topgallant forecastle, only about 6,000 yards from 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, I decided to attack her to endeavour to frustrate her firing torpedoes at our Battle Cruisers. I gave orders to all guns to engage enemy Light Cruiser, and 58 rounds were fired at a range of 2,000 to 4,000 3ards, undoubtedly a large number of hits were scored as .the}' were easily spotted at this range. While closing this Light Cruiser I saw Enemy Battle Cruisers had again turned, placing "Onslow" 4 points on their port bow about 11,000 yards. I then gave orders for all torpedoes to be fired at enemy Battle Cruiser line by Gunner T, on receiving a further executive signal from myself oji the bridge. On arriving at 8,000 yards from leading enemy Battle Cruiser I gave this signal and turned the ship to port to bring enemy on my starboard beam. There appeared to be delay in carrying out the order, and Sub- Lieutenant R. L. Moore ran down to tubes and got astride foremost tube alongside Captain of tube's crew. On the sights coming on to centre enemy's Battle Cruiser, he gave the order to fire. I saw this torpedo leave the tube and instantaneously the ship was struck by a big shell amidships the starboard side. Immediately there was a big escape of steam, completely enveloping both Torpedo tubes. On enquiring I received a report that all torpedoes had been fired and consequently turned away at greatly reduced speed, passing about 3,500 yards from enemy's Light Cruiser previously mentioned. I sent to Sub- Lieutenant Moore to find out damage done ; while doing this he discovered only one torpedo had been fired, and observing enemy's Light Cruiser beam on, and apparenth' temporarily stopped, fired a torpedo at her. Sub-Lieutenant Moore, Leading Signalman Cassin, also several other ratings and myself, saw torpedo hit Light Cruiser below conning tower and explode. Sub-Lieutenant Moore then came forward and reported to me we still had two torpedoes left, and at the same time drew my attention to enemy's fine of battleships. " Onslow " was on


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their port bow about 8,000 j^ards. Both remaming torpedoes were tired under the .supervision of Sub-Lieutenant Moore ; they started the run satisfactorily and must have crossed enemy's hne. I then proceeded to close H.M..S. " Champion." with the idea of rejoining 13tli Flotilla, l)ut owing to tMo sliells having exploded in No. 2 boiler room, and badh' damaged main feed tank, and all the water in reserve feed tank being now used at 7.0 p.m., ship stopped, and owing to loss of electric current, I was unable to answer " Champion's " searchhght. At 7.15 p.m." Defender " closed " Onslow " and asked if assistance was required. On learning " Defender " could only steam ten knots, I asked to be taken in tow whilst endeavouring to effect repairs, this " Defender " did under very trying conditions and with largeenemj^shipsrapidlyapproaching. Intowof"Defender" I then proceeded W. by N. Using salt water feed, Engineer Lieutenant Commander Foulkes raised steam for slow speed to enable me to use steering engine and Avhen weather got worse, tolessenstrainontowinghawser. Owingtotheship'scondition, No. 2 boiler room and cajDtain's cabin fiat were flooded and a considerable quantity of water also getting into Wardroom and Officers' cabin flat, and weather getting bad, I decided to make for nearest port—Aberdeen—arriving there at 1.0 p.m. the 2nd June.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
JACK C. TOVEY,
Lieutenant-Commander.


Captain (D),
13th Flotilla.

H.M.S. MORESBY,

3rd June 1916.

REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS 31st MAY TO 2nd JUNE.
Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report that H.M.S. " Moresby," under my Command, was in company with " Engadine " and " Onslow " at the commencement of the Action. Onslow's " orders were carried out and at 5 p.m. an enemy " Dreadnought " squadron, then observed steering Northward, was attacked. I. 5.10p.m.,beingtwopointsbeforethebeamoftheleading Ship, 6-8,000 yards, a long range torpedo was fu'ed at the third Ship. The enemy bad station did not justify further expendi- ture in view of the night work expected to follow. About eight minutes later I observed an upheaval due to a Torpedo and am informed it was on the sixth Ship. This agrees with the director setting. The enemy were then straddhhg frequently —my smoke was bad^—^I therefore turned towards the enemy and ran between the lines in order to clear the range from smoke nuisance.


Page 239

The enemy shooting was very good and had they fired double salvoes they would have hit. ^y observing attentively and using large helm, the Ship was not straddled more than (> times and only one piece of H.E. was picked up. The enemy Ships appeared not to fire aftei- a certain bearing, but the fresh Ship starting seemed to straddle with almost the first salvo, though not again. The deflection was often too much, and simple use of helm avoided the follomng salvo which would have hit. 2. Passing astern of the 5th B.S. I rejoined " Champion " at 6.30 p.m. Her orders were then carried out. 3. About 2.35 a.m. four " Deutschland " Class Ships were seen bearing West, 4,000 yards. I considered action imperative, hoisted Compass West, hauled out to Port, firing a H.S. Torpedo at 2.37 G.M.T. No more could be fired as the left tube was empty and the fore director was pointed skyward w^hen the sights boreofthattube. Thisincidentandopportunitywasoververy quickly as the enemy were steaming 18 knots S.E. A concussion shook the Ship about 2 minutes later, it was well marked aft and was felt in the " Obdurate." Mist and smoke prevented the enemy being seen again, but I feel certain the enemy were " Deutschland " and that the Torpedo hit something. 4. At 2.47 a.m. the " Champion " was rejoined and her orders obeyed. 5. At 1.30 p.m., 1st June, orders were received to return to base, due to lack of oil. " Nonsuch " was heard, and a zigzag search was carried out until the uncertainty of my position and lack of fuel caused me to proceed. 6. Four Light Cruisers were met at 3.30 p.m., course N.W. At 4.40 p.m. 5 " Shannons " and one Destroyer steering N. 50 W. Base was reached at 7.30 a.m. 7. Torpedoes were observed at 7.48 p.m., 1st May, 2 in No., one ahead and the second astern. About 3.35 a.m., 1st June, two more were seen set shallow, one of these was just avoided, it appeared to keep very good depth, but was not a Heater.
- * * * * * [5]

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
ROGER ALISON,
Lieutenant-Commander.


Captain (D) 13,
H.M.S. Champion.


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H.M.S. NICATOR,

4th June 1918.
War Base.

Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report in accordance with your order :-
That on signal from V.A. Battle Cruisers to take station ahead being received, NICATOR took up station as ordered. On finding it necessary to reduce speed to keep station on " Nomad," who appeared to be dropping astern, permission was requested and approved to pass ahead and take station astern of " Nestor." At 4.15 p.m. Second Division being ordered to attack, full speed, was ordered. At 4.20 p.m. enemy's destroyers appeared to be within gun range and effective fire was opened at 7,000 yards (rate rapidly closing). At this time " Nestor," with " Nicator " and " Nomad " astern, was steering a course closing enemy's B.C.F. at an inclination of about three points, to attain good position to attack. On " Nicator " opening fire, second division w^as subjected to moderately heavy fire from enemy's T.B.D.'s and one Light Cruiser. On attaining a position five points before beam of leading ship of enemy's B.C.F., " Nestor " turned twelve points (approxi- mately), to Port followed by " Nicator " and " Nomad,'" thereby steering a roughlv reciprocal course, closing enemy's fine at an inclination of about two points. At this time " Second Division " was subjected to a heavy fire from secondary armament of enemy's B.C.F. and one Light Cruiser. " Nomad " was badly hit and hauled out of fine to Port. Range of enemy's B.C.F. was now estimated at about 6,000 yards, and, position being favourable for attack, a Torpedo was fired. A second Torpedo was fired at 5,000 yards on the same side. This torpedo was fired as it was considered very unlikely that the ship would escape disablement before another opportunity occurred. During this attack, enemy's T.B.D.'s were continuall}?^ engaged with gunfire, and were observed to be retiring, leaving at least two in a disabled condition. When enemy's B.C.F. bore abeam, " Nestor " and " Nicator " altered course about twelve points in succession to Starboard. At the same time enemy's B.C.F. altered course 16 points together; this brought "Nestor" and "Nicator" still closing enemy about 2 points on a reciprocal course. The enemy's B.C.F. was now sui:)plemented by a very large number of Battleships in line ahead, astern of B.C.F. " Nestor " and " Nicator " were now subjected to a very heavy fire from secondary armament of enemy's Battle Fleet at a range of about


Page 241

3,000 yards, and position being favourable, a third Torpedo was fired at second sliip of enemy's Battle Fleet. " Nestor " and '" Nicator " continued to close until within about 2,500 yards, when " Nestor " was hit in region of No. 1 boiler room; she immediately altered course 8 points to Starboard and " Nicator " was obliged to alter inside her to avoitl collision, thereby failing to fire a fourth Torj)edo. " Signal for Destroyers recall being observed Nicator altered to West (approx.) and rejoined Champion " forming single Hne ahead on her. Whilst returning, " Nomad " was observed to be stopped between the lines. During Torpedo attack, enemy's T.B.D.'s were passed on a reciprocal course at a range of about 600 yards; their fire appeared to be very poor. Whilst the ship was subject to very heavy fire from enemy's Battle Fleet, course was altered to •either side of " Nestor's " wake at frequent intervals to avoid isalvoes. At 6.0 p.m. on signal " Pdts. lA " being made " Nicator " took station astern of " Termagant," informing " Obdurate " of her having joined First Division. Remained in company with "" Champion " for remainder of action. At about 9.30 p.m. (course S.S.E., 20 knots), in company with ^' Champion " and T.B.D.'s, heavy firing was heard and seen off Starboard bow. At 9.50 p.m. a/c South, heavy firing was heard at frequent intervals off the Starboard beam. This was assumed to be a division of enemy's Battleships or Cruisers being attacked by divisions of a T.B.D. Flotilla ; vessels attacked appeared at about 12.15 a.m. to be distant f mile. " Nicator " was occasionally in beam of searchlights and •several salvoes fell close. At 12.30 a.m. a/c to S.W., Speed 30 knots (following Termagant"). At 1.17 a.m. a/c to W.N.W., 25 knots. At daylight it was seen that " Termagant " and " Nerissa " were astern of Ninth Flotilla; "Champion," and remainder of First Div. of 13th Flotilla not in sight—(" Turbulent " not in company). At 5.50 a.m. a/c to N. 70 E., 20 knots. At 6.15 a.m., on account of shortage of oil, Avas ordered by " Lydiard " to return to Base in company with " Petard." At 3.30 p.m., in Lat. 55—50 N., Long. —55 W., a Torpedo fired by a hostile submarine was observed approaching from abaft the Starboard beam at an angle of thirty degrees, running on the surface ; helm was at once put hard a starboard and telegraphs to full speed. Torpedo passed ahead. On resuming course a submerged explosion was very distinctly felt all over the ship ; no damage could be found.


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Submarine was not sighted.
Arrived Queensferry 9.40 p.m., 1st June.
- * * * * * [6]
I have the honour to be
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
JACK E. A. MOCATTA,
Lieutenant in Command.


Captain (D),
H.M.S. Champion.


REPORTS OF CAPTAIN (D), 1st FLOTILLA.
Enclosure No. 20 to Battle Cruiser Fleet, Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
H.M.S. Fearless,
2nd June 1916.
No. 013.
Sir,
I HAVE the honour to forward the following report of my proceedings during the recent operations in the North Sea.
2. The first report of the enemy being sighted was received at 2.30 p.m., G.M.T., on 31st May. The First Flotilla consisting of FEARLESS and nine destroyers :-

ACHERON HYDRA DEFENDER
ARIEL BADGER LIZARD
ATTACK GOSHAWK LAPWING

was then screening the Fifth Battle Squadron. 3. The action gradually becoming general, FEARLESS and destroyers took station on the disengaged side of the Fifth Battle Squadron. About 4.1 p.m., G.M.T., '" Indefatigable was seen to blow up, and another big explosion was observed about 15 minutes later, presumably " Queen Mary.""
4. At4.45p.m.,G.M.T.,ourBattleCruiserswereseensteaming North, and at 4.55 p.m. " Fearless " and First Flotilla altered course 16 points and steamed North on the disengaged bow of the First Battle Cruiser Squadron. Although " Fearless " was steaming at full speed, having received a signal from " Lion " to close and form Submarine Screen, she Avas unable to get up, and gradually drojiped back. 5. SoonafterthistheGrandFleetwassighted,andat6.8p.m., G.M.T., finding that " Fearless " could not get up and was steaming across the front of the Battle Fleet making heavy smoke, the ship was turned about 32 points, and station taken up with other Light Cruisers and Destroyers on the disengaged quarter of the Battle Fleet. 6. This position was maintained until the " Acasta " was found disabled with, the signal •" In danger of sinking " flying.


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" Galatea " was taking her in tow. " Fearless " relieved " Galatea " and would have taken the destroyer in tow, but the latter reported she was not then in danger of sinking and I did not consider I ought to hamper myself with a disabled vessel in the middle of the action. I therefore proceeded and followed after the Battle Fleet, passing the wreck of a Light Cruiser, upside down and stem out of the water, apparently German, judging by the draught markings. 7. The Battle Fleet was not picked up until after dusk, when a column of ships was sighted ahead and station was taken astern of what was subsequently found to be the First Battle Squadron. Muchheavyfiringwasobservedduringthenight. 8. About midnight, G.M.T., a large vessel, which appeared to be a German Battleship was seen to pass down the starboard side, but as ships ahead did not open fire and it was considered that she must have been seen, it was thought advisable to take no action, as her course led directly to the destroyers following, and, judging from the action which occurred shortly afterwards, they apparently engaged her. 9. When daylight broke " Fearless " was found to be astern of " Agincourt " and was ordered alongside " Marlborough " by the Vice-Admiral, at 2.45 a.m. G.M.T., 1st June, to transfer him to " Revenge," and this was accomplished at 3.10 a.m. 10. Acting under orders received from the Vice-Admiral, " Fearless " then proceeded to join " Marlborough " and escort her. 11. At 4.10 a.m., G.M.T., fire was opened at a Zeppelin, Latitude 55° 20' N., Longitude 6° 27' East. "Marlborough" also opened fire, and it retired. 12. At 2.45 p.m., G.M.T., 1st June, 4 destroyers of Harwich forcejoined"Marlborough"' forescortduty,and4morelater; also 2 patrol destroyers at about 5.0 p.m. 13. " Marlborough " was left off the Bull Lightshij) in the Humber at 8.0 a.m., G.M.T., on 2nd June, and " Fearless " then returned to base, arriving at 8.0 p.m., G.M.T,
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
C. D. ROPER,
Captain (D.),
First Flotilla.


The Vice- Admiral Commanding,
Battle Cruiser Fleet.


Enclosure No. 21 to Battle Cruiser Fleet, Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
No. 013.
H.M.S. Fearless,
6th June 1916.
Sir,
I HAVE the honour to forward herewith the reports of proceedings during the action of 31st May of the Commanding


Page 244

Officers of H.M. Ships "Attack" and "Defender," together with extracts containing items of interest from the reports of the Commanding Officers of H.M. Ships ACHERON, [7] Ariel," and " Badger." 2. Owing to lack of speed " Fearless " was unable to keep up with 1st Flotilla, and at 6.0 p.m., G.M.T., 31st May parted company with the destroyers, who from that time onward were in company with 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron and were not seen again by " Fearless " until return into harbour. 3. The report of the Commanding Officer of " Attack " is forwarded complete.
- * * * * * [8]
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
C. D. ROPER,
Captain (D),
First Flotilla.


The Vice-Admiral Commanding,
Battle Cruiser Fleet.


H.M.S. ATTACK,

3rd June 1916.

Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report that on Wednesday, May 31st, at :-
P.M.
3.40. In Lat. 56.52 N., Long. 5.22 E., Course S. 81 E., Speed 25 Knots, the 5th B.S. signalled "Enemy in sight." ATTACK sighted enemy immediately on. receipt of signal. B.C.F. engaged, and shortly afterwards B.C.F. appeared to alter course to the S.E.

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 13.00.30.png


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The 1st Flotilla was formed in No. 3 Submarine Screen on 5th B.S. organisation as follows :-

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 13.05.22.png

P.M.
3.50. 1st Flotilla took station.in Division Line ahead on Starboard Quarter of 5th B.S.
3.51. BARHAM opened fire.
3.54. VALIANT opened fire.
3.56. WARSPITE opened fire. 5th B.S. was generally engaged and altering course to the S.E.
3.58. Large explosion to the S.E'ward was observed amongst B.C.F.
4.5. 1st Flotilla formed LT2.
4.6. Enemy returned 5th B.S. fire.
4.15.5th B.S. and destroyers steering SSE.

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 13.18.37.png

4.16. Enemy's salvoes falling short of 5th B.S.
4.18. Enemy's salvoes falling short over 5th B.S. 5th B.S. apparently altered formation to Sub-divisions in starboard quarter line.
4.23. Salvo appeared to hit last ship in enemy's line.
4.24. Altered course to SE'ward. Large explosion appeared to take place amongst B.C. Fleet.
4.25. 1st Flotilla forming astern of 5th B.S.
4.30. Enemy's salvoes improving and range decreasing.
4.31. 1st Flotilla ordered to take station ahead of 5th B.S.leaving 5th B.S. on starboard hand.


Page 246

P.M.
4.38. Small craft on port bow opened fire (this ship was so far off that she was almost undistinguishable).
4.38. Enemy's salvoes falling very close to 5th B.S.
4.42. Destroyers (1st Flotilla) in divisions line ahead astern of 5th B.S.
4.48. Passed British destroyer rescuing survivors, probably from QUEEN MARY.
4.50. Battle cruisers — LION, PRINCESS ROYAL, TIGER and NEW ZEALAND passed 5th B.S. to port on opposite courses. 1st Flotilla turned 16 points together and took station on port beam of B.C.F. heading N.
4.51. Enemy concentrated heavy fire on B.T.F., overs falling amongst 1st Flotilla - LION observed to be hit.
4.55. 1st Flotilla taking station astern of B.C.F.
4.59. TIGER on fire aft. — LION and TIGER being hit.
5.4. Wireless Office reported that enemy's ships repeatedly making by w/t RA RA RA - - - - - and jambing each other.
5.5. a/c NW 24 knots. Enemy's fire on B.Cs slackening, apparently enemy is concentrating their fire on B.S. astern.
5.6. Enemy's salvoes on 5th B.S. observed to be very good.
5.9. Light cruisers and Destroyers coming up from the Southward.
5.10.More ships observed coming up from the Southward.
5.10.Approx disposition of ships in sight.

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 13.50.16.png


Page 247

P.M.
5.13. 1st Flotilla formed submarine screen on B. C. Fleet B.C.F. no longer engaged with enemy.
5.15. a/c N.N.W., enemy no longer in sight.
5.25. a/c N.N.E., and received signal from LION "Prepare to renew action"
5.27. a/c N.E. by N.
5.35. Renewed action with the enemy to the S.W., who appeared to be steaming to the w'ard.
5.45. Fires observed in " Lion " and " Tiger." Enemy's salvoes appeared to be very good.
6.0. Battle Fleet. 3rd B.C.S., Armoured and Light Cruisers and T.B.D. Flotillas joined up from the N'ard. B.C. Fleet altered course to E'ard and S.E.
610. General engagement.
About this time a Battle Cruiser of the 3rd B.C.S. blew up. Course and speed of 1st B.CF. S.E,, 28 knots.
Nose of 11-in. projectile (A.P. I) struck "Attack," passed through after shelter, pierced upper deck, and then fell into the Ward Room.
The 1st Flotilla had difficulty in passing through the G.F. Flotillas just joining up ; it was not easy to keep " Acheron " in sight, and at the same time avoid the numerous cruisers and destroyers passing through. The enemy's projectiles were falling amongst this mass of T.B.D.'s, and it was remarkable that no one except " Defender " appeared to be seriously damaged.
6.15. Ship of " Defence " class—on starb. quarter—badly on fire and then appeared to blow up.
6.25. BADGER detached to stand by survivors of " Invincible."
6.30. Approx. disposition of ships in sight.

Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 14.07.55.png


Page 248

P.M.
6.32. Passed two halves of vessel (red bottom colour) with bow and stern sticking out of the water, and bearing SW.
6.39. Fire of B.C.F. and enemy eased up considerably.
6.43. Firing ceased—speed 18 knots—received signal to take station ahead of Admiral.
6.50. a/c East.
7. 2. a/c SSE and 1st Flotilla formed submarine screen No. 3 on B.C. Fleet, speed 22 knots.
7. 3. Battle fleet engaged to the N.W. B.C. F a/c to SSW and SW.
7.11. B.C. Fleet reengaged the enemy. 1st Flotilla in Division's Line ahead on prto beam of B.C. Fleet.
7.15. Course S.W. and S.. speed 24 knots.
7.21. Received signal from LION - "Enemy torpedo craft approaching." Followed ACHERON, who proceeded to take station ahead of B.C. Fleet. (No attack, however, was delivered by enemy's torpedo craft.)
7.30. B.C. Fleet ceased fire. Battle Fleet still engaged.
7.35. Course S.S.W., speed 28 knots, enemy away to the westward.
8.20. B.C. Fleet again engaged the enemy. Course S.W., enemy bearing N.W. Great number of enemy's overs falling amongst 1st Flotilla, small splinters striking ATTACK.
8.30. Light cruisers engaged to the W.S.W. of us. BADGER rejoined. First Flotilla formed submarine screen No. 3 on B.C.F.
8.40. Firing ceased. Course S.W. 10 knots.
8.50. Speed 17 knots.
9. 0. Large explosion N.
Action ceased as far as B.C. Fleet and 1st Flotilla were concerned. Two balls of flame were noticed to fall from the sky far away astern—time not actually noted, but about 10.0 to 10.30 p.m.
9.18. a/c South, and steamed S. 17 knots until 2.30 a.m. on 1st June, when at 2.35 a'c 16 points.
June 1st.
2.45. a/c N.N.E.
3.0. Increased to 20 knots
3.22. a/c N. by E. " Inflexible " and '•' Indomitable " opened fire on starboard side—nothing visible from " Attack."
4.0. "Lion's" position
55.26 N.
6.15 E.
4. 3. a/c N.N.W.
4.20. a/c N.½ E.
4.40. a/c East.
4.50. a/c South, 15 knots, and passed down between two lines of the Battle Fleet, bound to the N"ard.
4.55. a/c E.S.E.


Screenshot 2019-09-16 at 14.42.50.png

Page 249

P.M.
5.5. a/c N.N.E., speed 18 knots (appeared to be making N.½ E. course.)
5.25. Sighted the Battle Fleet, N.½ E., steering N.½ E.
5.30. Increased to 20 knots.
5.32. a/c S.E.
6.10. a/c South.
7.25 a/c N.N.E.
8.0. a/c N.
8.30. B.C.F. formed divisions in line ahead disposed abeam to port.
9.0. Formed submarine screen No. 5 on " New Zealand."
9.40. a/c W.S.W
9.45. a/c S.½ W.
9.50 a/c S.S.W.
9.57. 15 knots.
10.5. a/c N.N.by W.
11.0.Received orders from " Badger " to return to base and complete with oil. Course N. 74 W., 15 knots.
Position 56.03 N.
6.22 E.
0.45 p.m. "Lizard" took station astern.
At 0.30 a.m. on 2nd June. Reduced to 13 knots to economise oil, as was running very short. At 2.30 a.m. saw what appeared to be gun flashes bearing West.
7.50a.m. Passed May Island.
Note.— All times G.M.T. All courses and bearings Magnetic.
(2) Diagram of courses during the action is attached.
(3) On arrival in harbour completed with oil ; effected temporary repairs by ship's staff to hole in U.D., and then at 1.0 p.m. reported to LION "Ready for sea."
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
C. H. N. JAMES,
Lieut.-Comdr.


Captain (D),
1st Flotilla,



H.M.S. DEFENDER,

3rd June 1916.

Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report my proceedings during period noon 30th May to noon 3rd June. Ship was undocked at Leith at 1.00 p.m. 30th, and jjroceeded toRosyth,ammunitionandfueltakenonboard. At6.00p.m. I reported to Captain (D). First Flotilla that ship was ready for sea, and requested orders. Orders were given to raise steam and proceed with them. Sailed with them and under orders of " Fearless " screened the 5th B.S. At about 4.30 p.m. 31st May. the action commenced with theenemy,shipthenbeingwith5thB.S. Atabout5.30p.m.


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" Lion " ordered First Flotilla to screen ahead of Battle Cruisers; using our utmost sjieed endeavoured to do so, and by the time the 2nd action was in progress ship was 200 yards on the beam of " Lion " away from the enemy. At 0.30 a 12-in. shell struck the ship's side in the foremost boiler room, placing that boiler room out of action, killinf^a Stoker Petty Officer, and causing an oil fuel fire. The shell failed to explode, but wrecked a fan, and other damage to No. 1 boiler, finally lodging in the ashpit. Being unable to maintain my position in the line, turned 16 points, and passed between the battle fleets until reached an area of com- parative calm, when turned again and rej^aired damage. The fire having been dealt with, it was found a mat kept the stokehold dry, my only trouble now being lack of speed. I looked round for useful employnuMit. and saw a destroyer in great difficulties, so closed her. She proved to be H.M.S. " Onslow " (Lieut. -Commander C. J. Tovey) and unable to steam. Proceeded to take her in tow ; meanwhile the action had developed more in our direction, and stray shells were falling round us ; however, by 7.15 the " Onslow " was in tow, steaming for Rosyth at 12 knots. During the night No. 2 boiler was got into use. At 1.00 a.m. the weather became bad and the tow parted; *' Onslow " was able to steam slowly by herself then, so we went on slow together. At about 5.00 a.m. had to stop and adjust bottom lines, which had carried away. It then appeared that " Onslow " could not make headway, so by his orders took in tow again, using my wire ; managed this, but towing slip parted shortly afterwards. Using two shackles of cable round the after bollards and gun, got her in tow again. Proceeded at eight knots ; sea still rising continually ; had to reduce speed until very little headway on. Unfortunately had hazy idea of position, sounding failed owing to the sea. The wind, which had been blowing all day from the S.W., backed suddenly to the North, adding to our troubles, as it blew hard with a nasty sea. At 9.30 a.m., 2nd June, land was sighted, and as Aberdeen was the nearest course, was steered for it, " Onslow " being transferred to tugs about 1.00 p.m, " Defender " proceeded to Rosyth, where temporary repairs to side, shell extracted, were carried out by " Woolwich," orders were given to proceed to Harwich,
- * * * * * [9]
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
L. R. PALMER,
Lieutenant-Commander,


Captain C, D. Roper, R.N,
H.M.S. Fearless,


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H.M.S. LIZARD,

1st Flotilla,
2nd June 1916.

Sir,
I HAVE the honour to forward report of proceedings whilst at sea on 31st May, 1st and 2nd June.
30th May.
P.M.
10.30. Left harbour and formed JG 3 on 5th B.S. After leaving May Island proceeded on an easterly course.
31st May.
2.50. Received signal that enemy had been sighted. Shortly after
3.0. several enemy B.C. and light cruisers were sighted ahead on a Southerly course about 12 miles distant. At
3.40. speed of squadron was increased to 24| knots, the B.C.S. having already opened fire. At
MORE TO ADD


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EXTRACT FROM REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS OF H.M.S. BADGER, 31st MAY-1st JUNE 1916.

" At 6.0 p.m. the 3rd B.C.S. was observed ahead heavily engaged, and shortly afterwards 2 explosions occurred in the INVINCIBLE, and she disappeared in a cloud of smoke. When it cleared the bow and stern were seen sticking out of the water surrounded by a quantity of wreckage, and at 6.40 I was ordered by V.A., B.C.F., to return to the INVINCIBLE and pick up survivors. Commander Dannreuther, Lieutenant Sanford, C.P.O. Thompson, Yeo. Sigs. Pratt, A. B. Danbridge, Gunner R.M. Gasson, were picked up, the last-mentioned suffering from severe burns. BADGER then rejoined LION, passing through the Battle Fleet which was engaged."

EXTRACT FROM REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS OF H.M.S. ARIEL, 30th MAY TO 2nd JUNE.

" Witnessed the sinking of INVINCIBLE, also of an enemy capital ship near the commencement of the action at about the same time that the INDEFATIGABLE was sunk, but was unable to distinguish class or type.
"Continued with B.C.F. till 3.50p.m.,1st June. At2.15p.m., 1st June, when in approximate position 57° 00' N., 6° 02' E. passed 20 to 30 bodies of German bluejackets, all supported by black-covered life jackets bearing a name consisting of about six letters commencing with the letter L, the bodies had in all but one case the appearance of having been drowned or having died of exposure, only one appearing to be damaged. A red life belt bearing the lettering S.M.S. 'L ----' was also seen, also black jolly boat marked ' V ---- ' probably from a German Destroyer, it was empty."


Enclosure No. 22 to Battle Cruiser Fleet, Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
H.M.S. Fearless,
8th June 1916.
No. 013b.
Sir,
With reference to your Memorandum No. B.C.F. 01 of 8th June 1910, I have the honour to report as follows : 2. At about 5.10 p.m. on Wednesday, 31st May, when on a Northerly course, " Fearless " being on the i^ort side of 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, with the latter heavily engaged, one of the enemy's ships was seen to be heavily on fire aft, and shortly afterwards a huge cloud of smoke and steam, exactly similar " to that which accompanied the blowing up of Indefatigable and " Queen Mary," was seen to ascend and it was assumed that one of the enemy's ships had blown up.


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3. An enemy ship was seen to blow up about 6.30 p.m., though beyond the fact that it was a hirge ship the class could not be stated. 4. As stated in my report No. (ii:^ of I'lid .June, shortly after INIidniglit when " Fearless " was asteiii of " Agincourt," an enemy battlcsliip, either of the " Koenig " or " Kaiser " class, was seen to pass down the starboard side. As she was not engaged by the ships ahead no action was taken, it being too late to fire a torpedo when she could be identified as she was then well abaft the beam. Her course led directly towards the destroyers following astern, aiid, judging from the action which followed about 10 minutes afterwards, they apparently engaged her. Heavy firing broke out which lasted a few minutes, and then a star shell was fired, and shortly afterwards a very heavy explosion occurred—much too big for any destroyer or Flotilla leader and this was followed by complete silence, which was taken as eloquent testimony that the one ship had disappeared. It is considered probable that it was either the 4th or 12th Destroyer Flotilla which engaged this shij). The fact that this ship fired a star shell should be an easy means of identifying the incident. It cannot be stated as to whether any other ships observed this incident.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
C. D. ROPER,
Captain (D),
First Flotilla.


The Vice-Admiral Commanding,
Battle Cruiser Fleet.


REPORTS OF DESTROYERS FROM HARWICH FORCE ATTACHED TO BATTLE CRUISER FLEET.
Enclosure No. 23 to Battle Cruiser Fleet. Letter No. B.C.F. 01 of 12/6/16.
From.—The Commodore (T).
No.—00101.
Date.—10th June 1916.
To.—The Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Fleet.
Submitted.
In accordance with your telegram of 9th June, timed 11.11, herewith are forwarded reports from the following destroyers on the action of 31st May 1916 :—

LYDIARD LIBERTY
LAUREL MOORSOM
LANDRAIL MORRIS

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2, TERMAGANT is at present detached, but has been directed by telegraph to forward direct to you her report without delay.
3. Copies of these reports are being forwarded to the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet.
R. Y. TYRWHITT,
Commodore (T).



H.M.S. LYDIARD,[10]

3rd June 1916.
Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report that in the recent action I was in nominal command of the following destroyers detached from the Harwich force :-

LYDIARD MOORSOM TURBULENT
LIBERTY MORRIS TERMAGANT
LANDRAIL LAUREL

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  1. Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &c. in no wav bearing on the course of the action.
  2. Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &c. in no wav bearing; on the course of the action.
  3. Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &c. in no wav bearing; on the course of the action.
  4. Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &.c., in no way bearing on the coarse of the action
  5. Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations &c., in no way bearing on the course of the action.
  6. Part omitted here referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &c., in no way bearing on the course of the action.
  7. Extract from Acheron omitted as containing solely recommendations of personnel in no way bearing on the course of the action.
  8. Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &c., in no way bearing on the course of the action.
  9. (original footnote) Part omitted here, referring solely to personnel, recommendations, &c., in no way bearing on the course of the action.
  10. (original footnote) Plates 21 and 22.