Sir, I have the honour to report that on Thursday, 27th August, at 5
a.m., I proceeded with the First Battle Cruiser Squadron and First Light Cruiser Squadron in company, to rendezvous with the Rear-Admiral, "Invincible."
At 4 a.m., 28th August, the movements of the Flotillas commenced as previously arranged, the Battle Cruiser Squadron and Light Cruiser Squadron supporting. The Rear Admiral, "Invincible, "with "New Zealand" and four Destroyers having joined my flag, the Squadron passed through the pre-arranged rendezvous.
At 8. 10 a.m. I received a signal from the Commodore (T), informing me that the Flotilla was in action with the enemy. This was presumably in the vicinity of their pre-arranged rendezvous. From this time until 11
a.m. I remained about the vicinity ready to support as necessary, intercepting various signals, which contained no information on which I could act.
At 11 a.m. the Squadron was attacked by three Submarines. The attack was frustrated by rapid manoeuvring and the four Destroyers were ordered to attack them. Shortly after 11
a.m., various signals having been received indicating that the Commodore (T) and Commodore (S) were both in need of assistance, I ordered the Light Cruiser Squadron to support the Torpedo Flotillas.
Later I received a signal from the Commodore (T), stating that he was being attacked by a large Cruiser, and a further signal informing me that he was being hard pressed and asking for assistance. The Captain (D), First Flotilla, also signalled that he was in need of help.
From the foregoing the situation appeared to me critical. The Flotillas had advanced only ten miles since 8
a.m., and were only about twenty-five miles from two enemy bases on their flank and rear respectively. Commodore Goodenough had detached two of his Light Cruisers to assist some Destroyers earlier in the day, and these had not yet rejoined. (They rejoined at 2. 30
p.m.) As the reports indicated the presence of many enemy ships - one a large Cruiser - I considered that his force might not be strong enough to deal with the situation sufficiently rapidly, so at 11. 30
a.m. the Battle Cruisers turned to E. S. E., and worked up to full speed. It was evident that to be of any value the support must be overwhelming and carried out at the highest speed possible.
I had not lost sight of the risk of Submarines, and possible sortie in force from the enemy's base, especially in view of the mist to the South-East.
Our high speed, however, made submarine attack difficult, and the smoothness of the sea made their detection comparatively easy. I considered that we were powerful enough to deal with any sortie except by a Battle Squadron, which was unlikely to come out in time, provided our stroke was sufficiently rapid.
At 12. 15 p.m. "Fearless" and First Flotilla were sighted retiring West. At the same time the Light Cruiser Squadron was observed to be engaging an enemy ship ahead. They appeared to have her beat.
I then steered N. E. to sounds of firing ahead, and at 12. 30
p.m. sighted "Arethusa" and Third Flotilla retiring to the Westward engaging a Cruiser of the "Kolberg" class on our Port Bow. I steered to cut her off from Heligoland, and at 12. 37
p.m. opened fire. At 12. 42 the enemy turned to N. E., and we chased at 27 knots.
At 12. 56 p.m. sighted and engaged a two-funnelled Cruiser ahead. "Lion" fired two salvoes at her, which took effect, aud she disappeared into the mist, burning furiously and in a sinking condition. In view of the mist and that she was steering at high speed at right angles to "Lion, " who was herself steaming at 28 knots, the "Lion's" firing was very creditable.
Our Destroyers had reported the presence of floating mines to the Eastward and I considered it inadvisable to pursue her. It was also essential that the Squadrons should remain concentrated, and I accordingly ordered a withdrawal. The Battle Cruisers turned North and circled to port to complete the destruction of the vessel first engaged. She was sighted again at 1. 25
p.m. steaming S. E. with colours still flying. "Lion" opened fire with two turrets, and at 1. 35
p.m., after receiving two salvoes, she sank.
The four attached Destroyers were sent to pick up survivors, but I deeply regret that they subsequently reported that they searched the area but found none.
At 1. 40 p.m. the Battle Cruisers turned to. the Northward, and "Queen Mary" was again attacked by a Submarine. The attack was avoided by the use of the helm. "Lowestoft" was also unsuccessfully attacked. The Battle Cruisers covered the retirement until nightfall. By 6
p.m., the retirement having been well executed and all Destroyers accounted for, I altered course, spread the Light Cruisers, and swept northwards in accordance with the Commander-in-Chief's orders. At 7. 45
p.m. I detached "Liverpool" to Rosyth with German prisoners, 7 officers and 79 men, survivors from "Mainz. " No further incident occurred.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient Servant,
(Signed) DAVID BEATTY, Vice-Admiral.
To the Secretary of the Admiralty.
"Euryalus," 28th September, 1914.
Sir, I have the honour to report that in accordance with your orders a reconnaissance in force was carried out in the Heligoland Bight on the 28th August, with the object of attacking the enemy's Light Cruisers and Destroyers.
The forces under my orders (viz., the Cruiser Force, under Rear-Admiral H. H. Campbell, C. V. O., "Euryalus," "Amethyst," First and Third Destroyer Flotillas and the Submarines) took up the positions assigned to them on the evening of the 27th August, and, in accordance with directions given, proceeded during the night to approach the Heligoland Bight.
The Cruiser Force under Rear-Admiral Campbell, with "Euryalus "(my Flagship) and "Amethyst," was stationed to intercept any enemy vessels chased to the westward. At 4. 30
p.m. on the 28th August these Cruisers, having proceeded to the eastward, fell in with "Lurcher" and three other Destroyers, and the wounded and prisoners in these vessels were transferred in boats to "Bacchante" and "Cressy," which left for the Nore. "Amethyst" took "Laurel" in tow, and at 9. 30
p.m. "Hogue" was detached to take "Arethusa" in tow. This latter is referred to in Commodore R. Y. Tyrwhitt's report, and I quite concur in his remarks as to the skill and rapidity with which this was done in the dark with no lights permissible.
Commodore Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt was in command of the Destroyer Flotillas, and his report is enclosed herewith. His attack was delivered with great skill and gallantry, and he was most ably seconded by Captain William F. Blunt, in "Fearless," and the Officers in command of the Destroyers, who handled their vessels in a manner worthy of the best traditions of the British Navy.
Commodore Roger J. B. Keyes, in "Lurcher," had on the 27th August, escorted some Submarines into positions allotted to them in the immediate vicinity of the enemy's coast. On the morning of the 28th August, in company with "Firedrake, " he searched the area to the southward of the Battle Cruisers for the enemy's Submarines, and subsequently, having been detached, was present at the sinking of the German Cruiser "Mainz," when he gallantly proceeded alongside her and rescued 220 of her crew, many of whom were wounded. Subsequently he escorted "Laurel" and "Liberty " out of action, and kept them, company till
Rear-Admiral Campbell's Cruisers were sighted.
As regards the Submarine Officers, I would specially mention the names of:
(a) Lieutenant-Commander Ernest W. Leir. His coolness and resource in rescuing the crews of the "Goshawk's" and "Defender's" boats at a critical time of the action were admirable.
(b) Lieutenant-Commander Cecil P. Talbot. In my opinion, the bravery and resource of the Officers in command of Submarines since the war commenced are worthy of the highest commendation.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,
A. H. CHRISTIAN, Rear-Admiral.
H. M. S. "Lowestoft, ", 26th September, 1914.
Sir, I have the honour to report that at 5
a.m. on Thursday, 27th August, in accordance with orders received from Their Lordships, I sailed in "Arethusa," in company with the First and Third Flotillas, except "Hornet," "Tigress," "Hydra," and "Loyal," to carry out the prearranged operations, H. M. S. "Fearless" joined the Flotillas at sea that afternoon.
At 6. 53 a.m. on Friday, 28th August, an enemy's Destroyer was sighted, and was chased by the 4th Division of the Third Flotilla.
From 7. 20 to 7. 57 a.m. "Arethusa" and the Third Flotilla were engaged with numerous Destroyers and Torpedo Boats which were making for Heligoland; course was altered to port to cut them off.
Two Cruisers, with 4 and 2 funnels respectively, were sighted on the port bow at 7. 57
a.m., the nearest of which was engaged. "Arethusa" received a heavy fire from both Cruisers and several Destroyers until 8. 15
a.m., when the four-funnelled Cruiser transferred her fire to "Fearless."
Close action was continued with the two-funnelled Cruiser on converging courses until 8. 25
a.m., when a 6-inch projectile from "Arethusa" wrecked the fore bridge of the enemy, who at once turned away in the direction of Heligoland, which was sighted slightly on the starboard bow at about the same time.
All ships were at once ordered to turn to the westward, and shortly afterwards speed was reduced to 20 knots.
During this action "Arethusa" had been hit many times, and was considerably damaged; only one 6-inch gun remained in action, all other guns and torpedo tubes having been temporarily disabled.
Lieutenant Eric W. P. Westmacott (Signal Officer) was killed at my side during this action. I cannot refrain from adding that he carried out his duties calmly and collectedly, and was of the greatest assistance to me.
A fire occurred opposite No. 2 gun port side caused by a shell exploding some ammunition, resulting in a terrific blaze for a short period and leaving the deck burning. This was very promptly dealt with and extinguished by Chief Petty Officer Frederick W. Wrench, O.N. 158630.
The Flotillas were reformed in Divisions and proceeded at 20 knots. It was now noticed that "Arethusa's" speed had been reduced, "Fearless" reported that the 3rd and 5th Divisions of the First Flotilla had sunk the German Commodore's Destroyer and that two boats' crews belonging to "Defender" had been left behind, as our Destroyers had been fired upon, by a German Cruiser during their act of mercy in saving the survivors of the German Destroyer.
At 10 a.m., hearing that Commodore (S) in "Lurcher" and "Firedrake" were being chased by Light Cruisers, I proceeded to his assistance with "Fearless" and the First Flotilla until 10. 37
a.m., when, having received no news and being in the vicinity of Heligoland, I ordered the ships in company to turn to the westward.
All guns except two 4-inch were again in working order, and the upper deck supply of ammunition was replenished.
At 10. 55 a.m. a four-funnelled German Cruiser was sighted, and opened a very heavy fire at about 11 o'clock.
Our position being somewhat critical, I ordered "Fearless" to attack, and the First Flotilla to attack with torpedoes, which they proceeded to do with great spirit. The Cruiser at once turned away, disappeared in the haze and evaded the attack.
About 10 minutes later the same Cruiser appeared on our starboard quarter. Opened fire on her with both 6-inch guns; "Fearless" also engaged her, and one Division of Destroyers attacked her with torpedoes without success.
The state of affairs and our position was then reported to the Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron.
We received a very severe and almost accurate fire from this Cruiser; salvo after salvo was falling between 10 and 30 yards short, but not a single shell struck; two torpedoes were also fired at us, being well directed, but short.
The Cruiser was badly. damaged by "Arethusa's" 6-inch guns and a splendidly directed fire from "Fearless," and she shortly afterwards turned away in the direction of Heligoland.
Proceeded, and four minutes later sighted the three-funnelled Cruiser "Mainz." She endured a heavy fire from "Arethusa" and "Fearless" and many Destroyers. After an action of approximately 25 minutes she was seen to be sinking by the head, her engines stopped, besides being on fire.
At this moment the Light Cruiser Squadron appeared, and they very speedily reduced the "Mainz" to a condition which must have been indescribable.
I then recalled "Fearless" and the Destroyers, and ordered cease fire.
We then exchanged broadsides with a large, four-funnelled Cruiser on the starboard quarter at long range, without visible effect.
The Battle Cruiser Squadron now arrived, and I pointed out this Cruiser to the Admiral Commanding, and was shortly afterwards informed by him that the Cruiser in question had been sunk and another set on fire.
The weather during the day was fine, sea calm, but visibility poor, not more than 3 miles at any time when the various actions were taking place, and was such that ranging and spotting were rendered difficult.
I then proceeded with 14 Destroyers of the Third Flotilla and 9 of the First Flotilla.
"Arethusa's" speed was about 6 knots until 7
p.m., when it was impossible to proceed any further, and fires were drawn in all boilers except two, and assistance called for.
At 9. 30 p.m. Captain Wilmot S. Nicholson, of the "Hogue, " took my ship in tow in a most seamanlike manner, and, observing that the night was pitch dark and the only lights showing were two small hand lanterns, I consider his action was one which deserves special notice from Their Lordships.
I would also specially recommend Lieutenant-Commander Arthur P. N. T'horowgood, of ''Arethusa," for the able manner he prepared the ship for being towed in the dark.
H. M. Ship under my command was then towed. to the Nore, arriving at 5
p.m. on the 29th August. Steam was then available for slow speed, and the ship was able to proceed to Chatham under her own steam.
I beg again to call attention to the services rendered by Captain W. F. Blunt, of H. M. S. "Fearless," and the Commanding Officers of the Destroyers of the First and Third Flotillas, whose gallant attacks on the German Cruisers at critical moments undoubtedly saved "Arethusa" from more severe punishment and possible capture.
I cannot adequately express my satisfaction and pride at the spirit and ardour of my Officers and Ship's Company, who carried out their orders with the greatest alacrity under the most trying conditions, especially in view of the fact that the ship, newly built, had not been 48 hours out of the Dockyard before she was in action.
It is difficult to specially pick out individuals. but the following came under my special observation:
H. M. S. "Arethusa"
Lieutenant-Commander Arthur P. N. T'horowgood, First Lieutenant, and in charge of the After Control.
Lieutenant-Commander Ernest K. Arbuthnot (G.), in charge of the Fore Control.
Sub-Lieutenant Clive A. Robinson, who worked the range-finder throughout the entire action with extraordinary coolness.
Assistant Paymaster Kenneth E. Badcock, my Secretary, who attended me on the bridge throughout the entire action.
Mr. James D. Godfrey, Gunner (T.), who was in charge of the torpedo tubes.
The following men were specially noted:
Armourer Arthur F. Hayes, O.N. 34202G (Ch.).
Second Sick Berth Steward George Trolley, O.N. M. 296 (Ch.).
Chief Yeoman of Signals Albert Fox, O.N. 194656 (Po.), on fore bridge during entire action.
Chief Petty Officer Frederick W. Wrench, O.N. 158630 (Ch.) (for ready resource in extinguishing fire caused by explosion of cordite).
Private Thomas Millington, R.M.L.I., No. Ch. 17417.
Private William J. Beirne, R.M.L.I., No. Ch. 13540.
First Writer Albert W. Stone, O.N. 346080 (Po.).
I also beg to record the services rendered by the following Officers and Men of H. M. Ships under my orders:
H. M. S. "Fearless."
Mr. Robert M. Taylor, Gunner, for coolness in action under heavy fire.
The following Officers also displayed great resource and energy in effecting repairs to "Fearless" after her return to harbour, and they were ably seconded by the whole of their staffs:
Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Charles de F. Messervy.
Mr. William Morrissey, Carpenter.
H. M. S. "Goshawk"
Commander The Hon. Herbert Meade, who took his Division into action with great coolness and nerve, and was instrumental in sinking the German Destroyer "V. 187," and, with the boats of his Division, saved the survivors in a most chivalrous manner.
H. M. S. "Ferret."
Commander Geoffrey Mackworth, who, with his Division, most gallantly seconded Commander Meade, of "Goshawk. "
H. M. S. "Laertes."
Lieutenant-Commander Malcolm L. Goldsmith, whose ship was seriously damaged, taken in tow, and towed out of action by "Fearless. "
Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Alexander Hill, for repairing steering gear and engines under fire.
Sub-Lieutenant George H. Faulkner, who continued to fight his gun after being wounded.
Mr. Charles Powell, Acting Boatswain, O.N. 209388, who was gunlayer of the centre gun, which made many hits. He behaved very coolly, and set a good example when getting in tow and clearing away the wreckage after the action.
Edward Naylor, Petty Officer, Torpedo Gunner's Mate, O.N. 189136, who fired a torpedo which the Commanding Officer of "Laertes" reports undoubtedly hit the "Mainz, "and so helped materially to put her out of action.
Stephen Pritchard, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 285152, who very gallantly dived into the cabin flat immediately after a shell had exploded there, and worked a fire hose.
Frederick Pierce, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 307943, who was on watch in the engine room and behaved with conspicuous coolness and resource when a shell exploded in No. 2 boiler.
H. M. S. "Laurel."
Commander Frank F. Rose, who most ably commanded his vessel throughout the early part of the action, and after having been wounded in both legs, remained on the bridge until 6
p.m., displaying great devotion to duty.
Lieutenant. Charles R. Peploe, First Lieutenant, who took command after Commander Rose was wounded, and continued the action till its close, bringing his Destroyer out in an able and gallant manner under most trying conditions.
Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Edward H. T. Meeson, who behaved with great coolness during the action, and steamed the ship out of action, although she had been very severely damaged by explosion of her own lyddite, by which the after funnel was nearly demolished. He subsequently assisted to carry out repairs to the vessel.
Sam Palmer, Leading Seaman (G.L.2) O.N. 179529, who continued to fight his gun until the end of the action, although severely wounded in the leg.
Albert Edmund Sellens, Able Seaman (L.T.O.), O.N. 217245, who was stationed at the fore torpedo tubes; he remained at his post throughout the entire action, although wounded in the arm, and then rendered first aid in a very able manner before being attended to himself.
George H. Sturdy, Chief Stoker, O.N. 285547, and
Alfred Britton, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 289893, who both showed great coolness in putting out a fire near the centre gun after an explosion had occurred there; several lyddite shells were lying in the immediate vicinity.
William R. Boiston, Engine Room Artificer, 3rd class, O.N. M. 1369, who showed great ability and coolness in taking charge of the after boiler room during the action, when an explosion blew in the after funnel and a shell carried away pipes and seriously damaged the main steam pipe.
William H. Gorst, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 305616.
Edward Crane, Stoker Petty Officer, O.N. 307275.
Harry Wilfred Hawkes, Stoker 1st class, O.N. K. 12086.
John W. Bateman, Stoker 1st class, O.N. K. 12100.
These men were stationed in the after boiler room and conducted themselves with great coolness during the action, when an explosion blew in the after funnel, and shell carried away pipes and seriously damaged the main steam pipe.
H. M. S. "Liberty."
The late Lieutenant-Commander Nigel K. W. Barttelot commanded the "Liberty " with great skill and gallantry throughout the action. He was a most promising and able Officer, and I consider his death is a great loss to the Navy.
Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Frank A. Butler, who showed much resource in effecting repairs during the action.
Lieutenant Henry E. Horan, First Lieutenant, who took command after the death of Lieutenant-Commander Barttelot, and brought his ship out of action in an extremely able and gallant manner under most trying conditions.
Mr. Harry Morgan, Gunner (T), who carried out his duties with exceptional coolness under fire.
Chief Petty Officer James Samuel Beadle, O.N. 171735, who remained at his post at the wheel for over an hour after being wounded in the kidneys.
John Galvin, Stoker, Petty Officer, O.N. 279946, who took entire charge, under the Engineer Officer, of the party who stopped leaks, and accomplished his task although working up to his chest in water.
H. M. S. "Laforey."
Mr. Ernest Roper, Chief Gunner, who carried out his duties with exceptional coolness under fire.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,
R. Y. TYRWHITT, Commodore (T).
Services performed by Submarines since the Commencement of
H. M. S. "Maidstone,", 11th. October, 1914.
Sir, In compliance with Their
Lordships' directions, I have the honour to report as follows upon the
services performed by Submarines since the commencement of hostilities: