Reports from Fourth Light Cruiser Squadron and Abdiel, Oak, and Active

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LETTER OF PROCEEDINGS—FROM COMMODORE, 4th LIGHT CRUISER SQUADRON.

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=== REPORT FROM COMMANDING OFFICER— H.M.S. ABDIEL. === Enclosure No. 16 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C, Home Fleets.
H.M.S. Abdiel
7th June 1916.


Sir,

I HAVE the honour to forward herewith report of ABDIEL's " proceedings during the action with the German Fleet on 31st May and until arrival at Queensferry, 8 p.m., on 1st June.
During the day and until coming in contact with the enemy at 5.40 p.m., ABDIEL was in company with the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron, who were acting as a screen from four to five miles ahead of the Battle Fleet and spread ¾ of a mile apart

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to starboard ABDIEL being of a mile on the port beam of the Commodore's ship CALLIOPE - the port wing ship.
P.M.
5.45. Steering S.E. by S. at 19½ knots, observed ships in action bearing South and steering East.
Closed CALLIOPE on her ordering the 4th L.CS. to close and form single line ahead.
Remained close the CALLIOPE, conforming as far as possible to the movements of the Squadron without geeting in their way until the Battle Fleet had deployed at about 6.15 p.m., when I proceeded to the centre of the disengaged side of the Fleet according to orders, and remained there during the action.
10.15. Having received orders by W/T from C.-in-C. to lay mines as directed in Operation Memo. "M" of 31st May, proceeded S.S.E. at 31 knots.
1st June.
A.M.
0.30. Sighted Horns Reef Light Ship ; bearing E. by S.
1.24. Arrived at a position 15 miles 215° from Vyl Lightship; reduced speed and ran a line of 80 mines, 10 to the mile, set for 15 ft. deep at low water, steering S. 9 E. (mag.) for the first 40 and S. 34 W. (mag.) for the remainder, zig-zagging on each course.
2.4. Finished laying mines and proceeded North at 30 knots.
2.20. A/c to N. 77 W.
2.55. A/c to S. 79 W.
3.50. Heard heavy firing S.W. about 10 miles off.
4.30. Reduced to 25 knots.
7.40. A/c to N. 46 W., having passed round the South of Area 1 Minefield according to orders.
4.40. Passed four of 8th Flotilla Patrol and arrived at Queensferry at 8 p.m., having met or seen nothing else. While laying the mines the lights of 3 Fishing Vessels were seen, but I am of opinion that they did not observe ABDIEL or what she was doing, as it was not daylight and visibility was very low owing to drizzling rain and overcast sky. No mines were seen to remain on the surface. The ship was not hit during the action.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
B. CURTIS,
Commander in Command.


The Commander-in-Chief,
Grand Fleet,
H.M.S. Iron Duke.


C17/1. II.
Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet.
Submitted.
C.E.C.M.,
Commodore, 4th Light Cruiser Squadron.


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CAPTAIN'S REPORTS, H.M.S. ACTIVE.

Enclosure No. 18 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C. Home Fleets.
H.M.S. Active,
9th June 1916.


Sir,
I HAVE the honour to report that at about 11.15 p.m. on May 31st H.M. Ship under my command was felt to strike something. No damage was apparent from the inside of the, ship, and no leak developed.
On June 8th divers were sent down, and it was found that some 15 feet of the Starboard Bilge Keel had been torn back, and was projecting about 4 feet from the ship's side.
A sketch is attached showing the extent of the damage. [1] It is submitted, that as a temporary measure, the Bilge Keel be cut, as shown by the dotted red line in the sketch, and any ragged edges removed from the fracture.
The ship's approximate position at 11.15 p.m. May 31st was Lat. 56° r N., Long. 5° 55' E., Course South, Speed 17 knots, following astern of the 2nd Battle Squadron.
I have the honour to be.
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
PERCY WITHERS,
Captain.


The Vice Admiral Commanding
1st Battle Squadron,
H.M.S. Royal Oak.


Commander in Chief,
Submitted. I requested Lieut. Catto to examine the Bilge Keel and he reports that he can cut off the pieces if he has the loan of the pneumatic tools and divers from IRON DUKE.
CECIL BURNEY,
Vice Admiral Commanding
First Battle Squadron.
9th June 1916.


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Enclosure No. 19 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/ IG from C.-in-C, Home Fleets.
H.M.S. Active,
10th June 1916.


Sir,

In accordance with your signal 0800 of to-day's date, I have the honour to report that :-
(1) H.M.S. ACTIVE during the advance was acting as linking ship in position "J."
(2) At about 6.0 p.m. an enemy Cruiser, apparently of the WIESBADEN class was sighted on the starboard bow, and engaged bv SHANNON and one other Cruiser, which were between ACTIVE and the enemy. As, owing to the misty weather, it was not possible to get an accurate range, two salvos were fired. These fell a long way short, and cease firing was sounded. The signal to deploy being then made, no opportunity of closing the vessel occurred.
(3) The Fifth Battle Squadron not being present, and not having the speed of the 4th L.C.S., I took station on the disengaged beam of the leading Battle Squadron, and repeated signals.
(4) When the Fleet formed up for the night, ACTIVE took station astern of 2nd Battle Squadron.
(5) At about 10.15 p.m. an action took place lasting for from 5 to 10 minutes, just abaft the starboard beam, about 3 miles distant.
(6) At about 11.0 p.m. a squadron of what appeared to be Light Cruisers opened fire from the starboard quarter at a ship about a mile astern of ACTIVE. The After Control Officer describes this vessel as having four funnels, and two masts, the mainmast having a large top, and having shown a red light over a green just before the action commenced. One funnel was apparently shot away during the action, which lasted about 10 minutes. The ship burst into flames and appeared to sink, the fires suddenly going out. Fire was not opened, as there were doubts as to which were hostile ships, in addition to which I did not feel justified in indicating the position of the Battle Fleet.
(7) At about 11.15 p.m. the ship was felt to bump something heavily, subsequent investigation reveahng the fact that some 15 ft. of the Starboard Bilge Keel has been torn back. This has formed the subject of a separate report.
(8) Several actions subsequently took place, but so far astern, that only the flashes in the sky could be seen.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
PERCY WITHERS,

The Vice Admiral Commanding Captain.
1st Battle Squadron,
H.M.S. Royal Oak.


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Notes

  1. (original footnote) Not reprinted.