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The History of Caliph Vathek By William Beckford Characters: 51753

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03

We have seen Admiral Cradock, fighting against odds, sunk in the Southern Pacific; Admiral Sturdee victorious in the battle of the Falkland Islands; Admiral Beatty chasing the German raiders back to their minefields over the Dogger Bank; Admirals Carden and de Robeck battering the Turkish forts from the ?gean and the Dardanelles; British lieutenants harrying the enemy in the recesses of the Baltic and the Sea of Marmora; British yachtsmen patrolling the home coasts in search of German submarines; British fishermen in steam trawlers sweeping the fairways for enemy mines; and British liners, guarded by cruisers and destroyers, gathering up troops from the ends of the earth. If we have not seen, we have been conscious behind these of a host of craft of every description-bringing sheep from Australia, horses from Uruguay, and grain from the Argentine and American prairies; of Tyne-side colliers battling through the Bay with coal for France and Italy, so woefully short of it; of munition ships, laden to their utmost capacity, crossing daily to the French ports; of letters and parcels by the thousand million always afloat on every sea. We have seen that admiralty alone, and the sons of admiralty, were the guarantee of that stupendous traffic; and we have seen that the bedrock upon which the whole rested, and with it the dearest ideals of human freedom, was the Grand Fleet, based on its northern harbours, standing sentinel over Germany's navy. Upon its integrity all depended. Any disaster to it would have been irreparable. And when it is remembered that there were many days when its margin of effective superiority was small-when some ships were absent being refitted and others were suffering from mechanical defects-it becomes clear that no British admiral was ever in a parallel position to that of its commander.

At the Battle of Trafalgar, for instance, Nelson was in command of but one section of the British Fleet, and the forces vanquished by him were far from representing the whole sea-power of the enemy. Had Nelson been defeated or even annihilated, the command of the sea would not necessarily have passed from us. Other squadrons would have been speedily collected and the enemy again challenged. But now, for the first time, practically all our battle units of real fighting value had been placed and were assembled under the command of a single leader-and with them our empire, the world's liberty, and the fate of every army then fighting for it.

That must have been, then, the root fact in the mind of its Commander-in-Chief-the "Hell-fire Jack" of earlier years-and in no operation could he allow himself to forget it. Ashore it was different. Here a key position, a province, even an army might be lost-might at any rate be gambled with justifiably-and the ultimate victory still not be compromised. But at sea it was not so. Nor was the German navy in any sense comparably placed. Its capital ships might be sunk or destroyed without the empire behind them falling to the ground. It could therefore afford to take chances denied to the British, and it was to find them doing so that the Grand Fleet yearned. For this its outposts probed the Ems and the Weser, and the Grand Fleet itself swept the seas. But it was a long vigil, though not so long as Nelson's, watching the Toulon Fleet for over two years; for the Jutland Battle, as decisive at sea, though not at once so demonstrably so, as that of Trafalgar, was fought within twenty-two months of the outbreak of the war. During that time, as we have seen, a continual marine struggle had been in progress; there had been a few collisions of capital ships; and the Grand Fleet had been constantly on patrol. But there had been no pitched battle on a grand scale; and it had even begun to seem that there never would be. Time after time, for its exercises, the Fleet would vanish silently from its berths. There was hardly a day when some fraction of it, large or small, would not be away at sea-sailing so unobtrusively, even to those most intimate with it, the wives and families of its men and officers, that they would not be aware of its departure till the empty berths told them the secret.

That was the position then, when, on May 30, 1916, the Grand Fleet left its harbours-a fleet that covered when cruising, and this must always be remembered in considering the events that followed, an area somewhat larger than the County of London. It was a lovely afternoon of almost summer warmth, with a clear sky ashore and a promise of settled weather; and, as usual, the Fleet put to sea in two main divisions. Of these the southernmost and faster, consisting of the First and Second Battle-Cruiser Squadrons, had left the Firth of Forth under Vice-Admiral Beatty-the former being composed of the four famous "Cats," as they had been christened, the Lion, the Tiger, the Princess Royal, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral O. de B. Brock, and the Queen Mary; and the latter containing the New Zealand, under Rear-Admiral W. C. Pakenham, and the Indefatigible. Besides these, Admiral Beatty had four of the latest battleships of the Queen Elizabeth class-the Barham, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Evan-Thomas, the Valiant, Warspite, and Malaya. With him were also the First, Second, and Third Light Cruiser Squadrons and the First, Ninth, Tenth, and Thirteenth Destroyer Flotillas. Under Admiral Jellicoe to the north there had issued out from Scapa Flow the main body of British sea strength-Admiral Jellicoe's flagship, the Iron Duke, sailing with the Fourth Battle Squadron, and the other divisions of the Fleet being under the command of Vice-Admirals Sir Cecil Burney, second-in-command, Sir Thomas Jerram, and Sir Doveton Sturdee, and Rear-Admirals Alexander Duff, Arthur Leveson, and Ernest Gaunt.

Now to appreciate the significance both of these two main divisions and the composition of Beatty's command-the swiftest and most heavily-gunned vessels that had ever flown the White Ensign-there are two further considerations that must always be borne in mind. Placed as it was, the German navy could scarcely be brought to action against its own will, and the deployment in line of battle of so great a fleet in the North Sea-notably in its restricted southern area-would have been a matter of the greatest difficulty even on a clear day. It was Beatty's task, therefore, to lure the enemy, should he be encountered, into the arms of the Battle Fleet; and, for that reason, he had to be strong enough to engage considerable hostile forces, and yet not so strong as to scare them home again. He had to be swift enough to chase, but also swift enough to run away; and, in order that his mission might be fulfilled, it was essential that Jellicoe with his battleships should at once be not too distant and yet far enough away to escape the wide vision of the German aircraft. In a word, Beatty's squadron, cruising in accordance with the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, had been made both strong enough and swift enough to deal with any probable development. Remembering all this then, and to perceive more clearly the general trend of the approaching conflict, let us forget for a moment about Jellicoe's giants, and follow the fortunes of his junior.

Throughout the afternoon and evening of May 30th nothing had been seen of the enemy, and, though he had put to sea in full force on the morning of May 31st, steaming northward parallel to the Jutland coast, Beatty had not come into touch with him by noon. About that time, therefore, he turned north again on his way to rejoin the Battle Fleet, with his light cruisers ahead of him, forming an extended screen, and the four super-dreadnoughts-the vessels of the Queen Elizabeth type-bringing up the rear. The weather was still fine, but the sea was hazy, and clouds had begun to overspread the sky. By this time, unseen by Beatty, the German Fleet, also in two divisions, was bearing to the northwest-Admiral von Hipper, with his five battle-cruisers, the Derfflinger, the Seydlitz, the Moltke, the von der Tann, and the Lutzow, being well in advance of the main force under the command of Admiral von Scheer-as far in advance indeed, at that moment, as Beatty was in advance of Jellicoe. Thus a bird's-eye view, taken just before two o'clock, would have shown the Jutland coast stretching north and south, a hundred-mile strip of more or less empty sea, lying almost unrippled to the east of it; then the thin line of the German Fleet steaming north and a little west, the dark smoke from its funnels lazily rolling in the same direction; then another strip of empty sea, from fifteen to twenty miles wide; and finally Beatty's squadron, with its light cruisers ahead, also steaming to the north-the two fleets drawing together on gently converging lines.

Twenty minutes later, from the light cruiser Galatea, flying the broad pennant of Commander E. S. Alexander-Sinclair, a message was received by Admiral Beatty in the Lion that enemy forces had been sighted to the eastward; and the order was at once given to alter course to the south-southeast to cut them off from their base. Five minutes afterward, the Galatea signalled that the enemy was present in considerable strength-a signal also received by Admiral Jellicoe on board his flagship the Iron Duke-and, within ten minutes, a drift of smoke, far to the east, became visible to the Lion. Admiral Beatty now ordered the Engadine, the seaplane carrier attached to his fleet, to send up a seaplane on reconnaissance, and this was most promptly and gallantly carried out. Unable to fly, owing to the clouds, more than 900 feet high, she came under a fierce fire from the enemy cruisers, but brought back very valuable information.

The presence of enemy battle-cruisers ahead was now accurately known, and the course had been changed again to the northeast, the First and Third Light Cruiser Squadrons having spread themselves to the eastward to form a screen for the battle-cruisers. At half-past three the report from the seaplane was received, and, a minute later, enemy ships were sighted by the Lion, Admiral Beatty then forming into line of battle, and again changing his course, this time to east-southeast. All three Light Cruiser Squadrons were now ahead of the "Cats," these being followed up by the New Zealand, and the Indefatigable, the Barham, Valiant, Warspite, and Malaya bringing up the rear a few miles behind. Von Hipper, with his five cruisers and accompanying mosquito-craft, had also turned to the southeast, and the two forces were again steaming parallel, and again slowly drawing together. For the moment, the Germans were considerably outnumbered, at any rate in capital ships, and Beatty had the advantage, both tactically, in that the sun was in his favour, not low enough to silhouette him, and illuminating the enemy, and strategically, in that he was upon a course cutting off von Hipper from his base. On the other hand, he was, at the moment, and in accordance with a correct appreciation of his duty, drawing further away from Admiral Jellicoe and the Battle Fleet to the north; while von Hipper was aware that the whole German High Seas Fleet was hurrying to meet him from the south. For the German rear-admiral it was a race against time, and it cannot be denied that for the fifty minutes in which he was thus outweighted, his gunnery was as excellent as it had always been assumed that, in the first stages of a fight, it would be. It was only under the ordeal of casualties, both in men and machinery, that his accuracy began to waver and that of the British to increase; and it was while he was at his strongest, as it chanced, that Beatty's losses were most severe.

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Joining battle about ten minutes to four, at a range of ten and a half miles, both sides pressed the attack with the utmost vigour, and it was within a few minutes of the opening of the engagement that the Indefatigible, struck on a turret over a well-filled magazine, was sunk, thus equalizing the numbers of the opposing battle-cruisers. Meanwhile the 15-inch guns of the great Queen Elizabeth had begun to speak at a range of fourteen miles, and, at the same time, submarines were reported on both sides of the line of battle. These were driven off by the destroyers Lydiard and Landrail and the Light Cruiser Nottingham, and, a few minutes later, a concerted destroyer-attack was launched upon the enemy cruisers. This was conducted by the Nestor, Nomad, Nicator, Narborough, and Nerissa, the Pelican, Petard, Obdurate, Moorsom, and Morris, and the Turbulent and Termagant; and, almost simultaneously, a like attack was observed to be in formation on the part of the enemy, fifteen of his destroyers and a light cruiser being thus intercepted and engaged at close quarters.

By half-past four, therefore, the Battle of Jutland had already developed into the biggest of the war. Racing southward at thirty miles an hour were fourteen of the most powerful vessels in the world, belching half-ton shells in giant parabolas covering eight to a dozen miles of sea; while, in between them, and under the arch of their fire, were some thirty of the latest destroyers fighting a separate battle, as it were, at close quarters and with the greatest ferocity. On our own side, an 18,000-ton battle-cruiser had already been lost with most of her crew, while the enemy's third of the line was seen to be on fire in the mists now beginning to gather in the northeast. Two enemy destroyers were also sunk in the mêlée of the mosquito-craft; but, while they were driven back in disorder, our own torpedo-attack had been compromised, the destroyers, owing to this fight, having fallen some way behind the big battle-cruisers that were their objectives. They were thus at a distinct disadvantage, but nevertheless, having disposed of the enemy counter-attack, the three destroyers, Nestor, Nomad, and Nicator, proceeded on their original errand-where, for the moment, we may leave them chasing the enemy battle-cruisers and being themselves heavily bombarded.

It was now twenty minutes to five, and a message from the Southampton, scouting ahead to the south, had suddenly transformed not only the immediate situation, but the entire future outlook of the action. Just below the horizon, but soon to be above it, was the whole of the German Battle Fleet-such were the tidings rapped out to his chief by Commodore Goodenough of the Southampton. So far Admiral Beatty's problem had been a comparatively simple one, and the forces at his disposal ample for its solution. But now he was to be thrown, for an indefinite period, into a position of almost crushing inferiority, yet with the possibility in front of him, if the enemy could be tempted to the point of rashness, of leading up to a victory of the first magnitude.

For another four minutes he held his course, and then, having sighted the German Battle Fleet to the southeast, he recalled his destroyers, and headed for the northwest, determining to take full advantage of his superior speed. Before doing so, however, he had sustained, at about half-past four, yet another and most serious loss in the sinking of the Queen Mary, after a violent explosion, caused by an enemy salvo. With the Queen Mary we are already familiar, owing to her presence at the Battle of the Bight; and, to her three fellow-members of the First Battle-Cruiser Squadron, her loss was irreparable. Between these splendid cruisers, the Lion, the Tiger, the Princess Royal, and the Queen Mary, there had grown to be a bond of deep and justifiable pride-a sort of consciousness of each other's aristocracy, nonchalantly concealed, but not lightly to be challenged; while, apart from this, the Queen Mary was one of the finest gunnery ships in the Fleet. Something of the ordeal that she went through may best be gathered, perhaps, from the account afterward given by one of her rescued midshipmen.

"A salvo of German shells," he said, "hit the quarterdeck, setting the whole of that part on fire. A few minutes afterward a terrific explosion occurred in the second magazine. Both our guns were then right back on their slides and out of action. The general opinion was that the whole turret had been unseated by the German salvo. The officer of the turret told me that the ship was sinking rapidly and that I was to get the turret crew out as quickly as possible, which I did. The officer then told me to carry out the usual routine: 'Every man for himself.' I left the turret through the hatch on the top and found the ship was lying on her side. She was broken amidship, with the stern and bows both sticking out of the water at an acute angle. I sat on the turret for a few moments, and while there I thought I saw several men fall into the water. The stern was on fire and red hot. Then an explosion blew the whole bow right out of the water, causing the after part of the ship to give a tremendous lurch, and throwing me off the turret into the water. Just before I struck the water, I heard another terrific explosion above my head, as apparently the after magazine exploded. When I came to the surface of the water, nothing of the Queen Mary was to be seen, except a lot of wreckage, spars, and that sort of thing. The Tiger was steaming behind us during the action, and probably passed right over the spot where the Queen Mary had gone down. The Queen Mary took only about a minute to sink. I remained in the water a long time, clinging to a spar, and saw a destroyer come up, and saw her turn round and make off again. A few minutes afterward, the Fifth Battle Squadron (comprising the Queen Elizabeth type of ship) steamed past at about 23 knots, firing continually. The enemy shots were mostly falling short. One enemy shell exploded in the water close to where I was, and the concussion knocked me off my spar, causing me to lose consciousness. The next thing I remember was finding myself, about four hours later, in the forecastle of a destroyer. I was told that I had been picked up by their whaler about thirty-five minutes after the Queen Mary had been blown up. I was found on a large hatch which was floating in the water."

With the battle-cruisers swinging round to the north, the destroyers having been recalled, let us return for a moment to the Nomad, Nestor, and Nicator. Proceeding with their attack, the destroyer Nomad had soon been put out of action, but the Nestor, most spiritedly led by Commander the Hon. E. B. B. Bingham, had fired her third torpedo at the second of the enemy cruisers from a distance of less than two miles. Before being able to fire her fourth, she too had become crippled; while the Nicator, having to turn inside her in order to avoid a collision, had been unable to fire her last torpedo, but had succeeded in escaping and rejoining her flotilla.

The position was now as follows-the Light Cruiser Southampton, obeying orders to reconnoitre, was still steaming south; the British battle-cruisers, led by the Lion, were steaming north, parallel to von Hipper; and the four 24-knot battleships, led by Admiral Evan-Thomas, were still on their original course, not having yet made the turn. This brought them, for a few minutes, into closer range of von Hipper's battle-cruisers, and it was at this stage that the German Lutzow was severely damaged, subsequently to be lost. This was von Hipper's flagship, and, leaving her in a destroyer, under the heaviest British fire, the German admiral, later in the action, transferred his flag to the Battle-Cruiser Derfflinger. A quarter of an hour afterward, the four Queen Elizabeths swung round astern of Beatty; and it was now upon these vessels that the fire of von Scheer's approaching battleships began to be concentrated.

There had thus begun the second stage of this great battle, in which Beatty, confronted by odds that he could not face, was now heading to the north, and drawing the whole hungry German Fleet toward Admiral Jellicoe, some fifty miles away. Ahead of the Lion was the Light Cruiser Fearless, another memorable figure in the Battle of the Bight, and the destroyers of the First Flotilla; also ahead and to starboard were the First and Third Light Cruiser Squadrons; while, behind and to port, was the Second Light Cruiser Squadron-the Light Cruiser Champion, with the rest of the destroyers, remaining in touch with Admiral Evan-Thomas.

It was now past five o'clock and the weather conditions were becoming rapidly more unfavourable. Against the clearer sky to the west, the British vessels were far more clearly defined than the German, the latter passing in and out of the patches of mist, thus making the task of the British gunners one of the extremest difficulty. Nevertheless it was now that the British fire was definitely beginning to assert its superiority, while the shooting of the Germans, under their heavy punishment, was becoming increasingly more wild-the main brunt of their fire, during this northward race, being borne, as we have said, by the Queen Elizabeths. For some time, indeed, it would scarcely have been an exaggeration to say that the four of them were engaged with the whole High Seas Fleet; while some of them at least had the narrowest of escapes from being torpedoed by submarines. Thanks to their admirable handling, however, they came through unscathed, one of the enemy's submarines being certainly sunk.

By his rapid appreciation of the new position, his instant decision, and the course that he had taken, Admiral Beatty was now ahead of the long parallel German line and slowly bending it toward the north-east, keeping within an eight-mile range of the leading cruisers. To von Hipper and von Scheer-the latter newly in command of the German High Seas Fleet-he must have seemed, for a few minutes, but a retreating and easy prey; but, a little to the north-west, the British Battle Fleet was hurrying at full speed to his assistance-the space between them diminishing at the rate of forty-five miles an hour.

The most crucial moments of the whole engagement were now irrevocably approaching-moments that were to test, as they had scarcely been tested before, perhaps, the initiative and tactical skill of the commanding admirals. Already there was in progress a naval action extending over many miles of sea, and being fought under conditions of mist and fog of the most complex and baffling nature. It was an action that even then, involving every device of modern offensive warfare, had assumed proportions more titanic than that of any sea-fight ever fought; and there was now to be committed to it-and so committed to it that not a moment was to be lost-the mightiest battle fleet in the world and the one vital safeguard of the Allies. When it is further remembered that the situation, however accurately signalled by the engaged squadrons, was changing with lightning-like rapidity from moment to moment; and that the deployment-the dove-tailing, as it were-of the six parallel columns of twenty-four dreadnoughts into the line of battle-cruisers already formed would, under any circumstances, have been an operation of the most delicate nature, something may be conceived of the sort of task that Admiral Jellicoe had to undertake. By no other hand could this stupendous manoeuvre have been more ably carried out, and, as a commander at sea, by the sternest of all tests, he proved himself among the finest that Britain has produced. Nor were his admirals unworthy of him either in their divination of the movements demanded by their relative positions, or in the seamanship and machine-like precision with which such movements were carried out. Let us follow these, as far as possible, in the order in which they occurred.

Steaming in advance of the main fleet under Admiral Jellicoe, was the Third Battle-Cruiser Squadron, under Rear-Admiral the Hon. Horace A. L. Hood; and this had received orders from the Commander-in-Chief to find and support Beatty at the earliest possible moment. Led by the flagship Invincible, formerly Sturdee's flagship at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the first sign of fighting was seen by them in the southwest about half-past five. Necessarily uncertain as to the exact position of affairs, Admiral Hood sent one of his light cruisers to reconnoitre-the Chester, which soon found herself fiercely engaged with three or four of the enemy's light cruisers. For nearly twenty minutes she fought single-handed, suffering a large number of casualties; but, thanks to the skill of her commander, Captain R. N. Lawson, and the devotion of all on board, she escaped comparatively unscathed, though with some honourable scars. It was during this action that John Travers Cornwell, a first-class boy, just over sixteen, though mortally wounded and with every member of his gun's crew lying disabled about him, remained alone, in a most exposed position, till the end of the action, awaiting orders-exemplifying a devotion to duty for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

It was now clear to Admiral Hood that he was too far to the east, and, at the same time, Beatty had sighted the first of the reinforcing cruisers. Six minutes later, and five miles to the north, he caught a glimpse of the leading British battleships; and it was then that he judged the moment to have come to try and work between the enemy and his bases. To decide was to act, and, just before six, therefore, working up his engines to their highest capacity, Beatty altered the course of his ships to the direct east, closing the range. Some time before this, the destroyer Moresby had torpedoed the enemy sixth of the line, and, ten minutes after changing course, her fellow-destroyer Onslow torpedoed an enemy light cruiser.

While this was i

n progress, Admiral Hood with his battle-cruisers had come into sight, and, acting on Beatty's orders, had taken the head of the line in a manner, as Beatty said, worthy of his great ancestors. For a quarter of an hour, so fiercely did he attack, with the strenuous support of Admiral Napier and the Third Light Cruiser Squadron, that the enemy's leading ships were forced to the south and west, and the British line was already beginning, as Beatty had designed, to insert itself between the Germans and their coast-line. Unhappily at the close range at which Admiral Hood was now fighting-something less than four miles-an enemy shell found one of the Invincible's turrets, firing the magazine, and sinking her in less than two minutes.

The imminent approach of the British Battle Fleet had, of course, by this time become known to the German commander, and, indeed, it seems probable that he mistook Admiral Hood's battle-cruisers for its leading ships. With the head of his line definitely menaced by Admiral Beatty's dash, he was on an easterly, becoming southeasterly, course; Admiral Beatty and his battle-cruisers were already threatening to intervene between him and his bases; and he now turned to starboard again, through south to southwest, in the endeavour to escape disaster, if that were possible. Moreover, the weather conditions that, for the last hour or so, had been almost wholly in his favour, were now beginning to tell against him almost as much as they were handicapping the British. One after another, his cruisers and battleships, emerging for a few minutes from the fog, would be instantly picked up and remorselessly hammered by the heavy guns of the British Battle-Cruiser Squadrons; while the leading battleships of the Grand Fleet were already beginning to fall into line behind these.

Meanwhile the four Queen Elizabeths, under Admiral Evan-Thomas, now considerably in the rear of Admiral Beatty, were still heavily engaged with von Scheer's battleships lower down his line and not yet turned. It had been the original idea of Admiral Evan-Thomas to follow up the battle-cruisers ahead of the Grand Fleet; but these were so far in front of him that it was clearly preferable-and indeed it was apparent that this would be Admiral Jellicoe's own view-that the Grand Fleet should deploy in the gap, Admiral Evan-Thomas himself thus bringing up the rear. At the same time, after the loss of the Invincible, Beatty had again placed himself at the head of the line, the Third Battle-Cruiser Squadron taking station behind him, between the New Zealand and the on-coming Battle Fleet.

That all this should have taken place in the deepening twilight at great speed, and in spite of repeated torpedo-attacks, was the highest tribute, not only to the Commander-in-Chief, but to the seamanship and intuition of his supporting admirals-and here it must be remembered that, to a certain extent, Admiral Jellicoe himself had been taken by surprise. Between the position of the German Fleet, as it had been signalled to him, and the position in which he eventually came into contact with it, there was a difference of twelve miles-quite understandable in view of the conditions in which courses had been plotted, but none the less adding to the difficulties of the on-coming Commander. Thus, at five minutes to six, he was still uncertain of the exact whereabouts of the enemy-the utmost care was necessary in order to distinguish between our own and hostile vessels-and he was steering on a course, southwest by south, at a speed of 20 knots. It was scarcely avoidable also, under such circumstances, that there should have been a certain number of casualties; and it was while manoeuvring in what we have called this gap that some of the cruisers ahead of the Battle Fleet found themselves not only too close to the enemy battleships, but, a few minutes later, between the enemy line and the advancing Queen Elizabeths. It was there that the Defence, under Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot, was blown up and sunk, and the Warrior so severely damaged that she was subsequently lost, though not before they had disabled, between them, one of the enemy's light cruisers.

"At 5.40," said one of the Warrior's survivors, "we went to Action Stations, and, ten minutes later, we heard the first gun fired by the armoured cruiser Defence. A few minutes afterward, the Warrior fired her starboard battery's big guns, and then we slewed round and fired the port guns. We had not sent off more than a couple of salvos, when, looking out, I saw the Defence blown clean out of the water. We were then closely engaged with three German ships-a battle-cruiser and two light cruisers. Our first round went home. We had not been firing many minutes before we noticed that one of the enemy light cruisers was on fire, and big clouds of smoke were coming from her. Gradually we got to closer range (ten thousand yards), firing all the time; and we ourselves had been hit many times by heavy projectiles, and almost the whole of the afterpart of the ship was on fire. Finally, we got within 5,400 yards of the battle-cruiser, but we had only fired one salvo with all our guns when the Warspite came to our assistance. By that time our ship was almost helpless; our engine-rooms and stokeholds were flooded, owing to a projectile having penetrated below the water-line, so that we could not obtain steam for the engines. Shells or heavy armour-piercing shot had penetrated almost everything. The ship was also making water badly, and there was a fire in the after part of the vessel. Part of the ship's company was all this time engaged with the hose in trying to put out the fire, and the men not required for that were set to work to construct rafts, for the ship was gradually settling down. At 6.30 the order was given to cease fire, for we had, by that time, lost all trace of the German Fleet, and the Warrior was regarded as being out of action. As soon as the fire was got under control, we commenced to identify the dead, who were that night buried (the funeral service being held the next day), and to get up the wounded. That being done, all hands were set to work at the pumps so as to keep the ship afloat, and we had to keep them going all night. Early in the evening-at 7.50-a seaplane depot-ship came alongside and took us in tow for ten hours. The Warrior settled down more and more all through the night. On the following morning, the sea was very rough. Early in the forenoon, the order was reluctantly given to abandon ship. The depot-ship again came alongside, and our wounded were all safely transferred to her. Then the ship's company and officers left the ship, and the last we saw of the Warrior was between nine and ten in the forenoon when she was rapidly settling down aft. We were naturally all very sorry to see the last of the grand old ship, but after all she came to a gallant end."

It will have been noticed that the Warspite is mentioned by this observer as coming to the Warrior's rescue; and this refers to an incident, occurring at this period, that was one of the most remarkable of the whole battle. While emptying salvos into von Scheer's leading battleships, the steering-gear of the Warspite became jammed; and, to the horror of her consorts in Admiral Evan-Thomas's squadron, she suddenly began to describe a great circle toward the enemy. This immediately exposed her to the extremest, and what seemed an inevitably fatal, disadvantage, and she disappeared from sight behind a veritable Niagara of shell-spouts, smoke, and explosions. Presently, to everybody's amazement, she emerged again, stricken but not disabled, and replying vigorously, and then once more, still at full speed, proceeded upon the same astounding course. It was just before the Defence was sunk that her steering-gear became jammed; and it was while describing her two great circles that she drew the enemy's fire from the Warrior. To the latter, as we have seen, it seemed as if she had been deliberately doing this, and afterward her commander boarded the Warspite to tender his thanks-where Captain Phillpotts, whose skilful handling had brought his vessel safe home to harbour, while very pleased to have been of service, had regretfully to deny the imputed gallantry.

Another most brilliant action was fought at this time by the Third Light Cruiser Squadron, under Rear-Admiral Napier, the Falmouth and Yarmouth-the latter a distinguished member of the China Squadron before the war-both firing torpedoes and scoring a hit on the German battle-cruiser leading the line, the whole squadron then closing in and engaging these much more powerful vessels with their guns. Nor were the destroyers any less busy, though considerably outnumbered by the Germans, and the action of the Shark may be taken as typical both of their enterprise and devotion. Unhappily she was lost with her brave leader (also awarded the Victoria Cross) Commander Loftus Jones, but, for ten minutes, she fought a fight according to the greatest traditions of her class.

"Right ahead of us," said one of her survivors, "and close at hand, we saw two columns of German destroyers. We were racing along at the time, and our skipper took us at full speed right toward the enemy lines. There was a column of their small craft on either side of us, and, as soon as we got abreast of them, we attacked at close range, and managed to torpedo a couple of enemy destroyers, one on each beam. All the time we were getting it hot. Guns were popping at us from all quarters, and we were firing back as hard as we could go, as well as using our torpedo-tubes. Of course a fight under these conditions could not last long for us. We had been engaged about ten minutes when two torpedoes hit fairly, one on each side of our ship, and ripped three holes in her, so that she sank almost at once. I and some others sprang on to a raft, where we stayed for five hours watching the battle-and there was something to look at. Zeppelins, torpedo-craft, submarines, and big ships were all there. Shells fell like hailstones into the water, and we could see the small craft getting it badly. The enemy losses in destroyers must have been very great, for whenever one got a big shell in her she was done. Some of them I saw hit went down like stones. Apparently there were a lot of German submarines, and they seemed to be very busy, but my impression is that a good many of them were done for by our ships running over them. The fire of the big ships was enough to stun anybody with the noise it made. I saw five German battleships and battle-cruisers; they looked as though they were all firing at one time at one of our cruisers. The Germans seemed to be concentrating their fire upon one ship at a time as much as they could-a lot of these big ships would all turn the whole of their guns upon one of our cruisers, and then do the same thing to another. This meant a tremendous battering for the ships they fired at. You can imagine what it was to face these salvos from four or five of their vessels pouring upon one ship at the same time. I saw one or two ships go, but I could not give you any particulars about them, as there was so much going on that one could not grasp details very well. When I was picked up from the raft, I was about done, for it was very cold, and I had not much clothing on. Toward the latter part of the time, we had as much as we could to do keep life in ourselves. We kept our blood circulating by jumping overboard and swimming round the raft. All of us did this in turn, those on the raft hauling in the men who had finished their swim, and then going for a swim round the raft themselves. As it was, one of our men died from exposure before he could be landed."

Meanwhile, in such circumstances and under such conditions, the deployment of the Battle Fleet had been carried through. It was not until fourteen minutes past six that Admiral Jellicoe received definite confirmation from Admiral Beatty as to the position of the High Seas Fleet; and, two minutes later, still on a course southeast by east, he ordered the Fleet to deploy into line of battle on the port wing column, at the same time reducing speed to 14 knots in order to allow the battle-cruisers to pass ahead. For this manoeuvre, since a starboard deployment would have brought him more rapidly into contact with the enemy, Admiral Jellicoe had several cogent reasons. In the first place, the High Seas Fleet was so near that, assuming its destroyers to be probably ahead of it, there would have been a very great danger, under the prevailing weather conditions, of a successful enemy destroyer-attack during deployment-and the consequent grave risk of the whole Battle Fleet being thrown into confusion. There would also have been the risk of the ships of the First Battle Squadron-inferior in many respects to the German, and our own weakest battleships-being very severely handled before our remaining divisions could get into line. Yet a third reason for the port deployment, in the estimated position of the German High Seas Fleet, was that the alternative would have meant a very large turn for every deploying division, in order to avoid the risk of being outflanked.

For these reasons, Admiral Jellicoe decided therefore-and it had to be an instant decision-to deploy in the manner described. The port wing division, therefore, stood on in a direction across the bows of the German Battle Fleet. The other squadrons followed, thus compelling the Germans to turn yet further to starboard to avoid being placed in a position of disastrous tactical disadvantage. By 6.33 P. M., the battle-cruisers were clear, and the speed of the Battle Fleet was increased to 17 knots; and, by 6.38, deployment was complete, many of our battleships being already in action. Of these the first to be engaged were those of the First Battle Squadron, under Vice-Admiral Burney, his flag-ship, the Marlborough, especially distinguishing herself by the rapidity and effectiveness of her fire. Between a quarter past six and a quarter past seven, she had engaged two battleships and a cruiser; been herself torpedoed; and then, in spite of this, had put out of action yet another enemy battleship. Admiral Jellicoe's own battleship, the Iron Duke, had begun to hit at her third salvo; and, throughout the action, the Grand Fleet's gunnery maintained the highest standard. As a German officer afterward admitted, "We were utterly crushed from the moment your Battle Fleet came into action."

With the third phase of the battle, however, that would have seen, on a clear summer evening, the annihilation of the German Fleet, the weather had so changed, that only with the greatest difficulty was the enemy kept in sight at all. For a few minutes, about half-past seven, Beatty was able to engage, setting a ship on fire; but soon the fog was thicker than ever, and he had to send his light cruisers to locate the enemy. Three-quarters of an hour later, the line was found again, the Lion setting the leading ship on fire, and the Princess Royal, New Zealand, and Indomitable crippling and setting fire to two others.

That, as it turned out, was the last action fought by any of our capital ships; and it would be well, perhaps, to pause here for a brief survey of the general position of the two fleets. Admiral Beatty, still at the head of the line, was by now far to the south and shaping a southwesterly course, the Battle Fleet streaming behind him, to the north, and then to the west, somewhat in the shape of a vast hook with its shaft tilted toward the northwest. Within this hook, the enemy's line, broken in many places, was struggling homeward-the shaft of the hook already lying well between him and his bases. It was such a predicament as, but for mist and darkness, must undoubtedly have proved fatal; and it must be confessed that von Scheer showed considerable skill in making all possible use of his respite.

Superior in destroyers, he did his utmost, by putting up smoke-screens and ordering torpedo-attacks, to add to the difficulties of our capital ships in bringing his own to close quarters; and, during the night, after sustaining heavy casualties-more particularly in personnel-he succeeded in rounding the shaft of the hook and bringing his shattered forces home to port. Of that wild night, therefore, the picture resolves itself into one of destroyers and light cruisers searching the darkness; of flying glimpses of enemy units; of fierce but momentary bursts of fire. Thus, at twenty minutes past ten, the Second Light Cruiser Squadron fought a quarter of an hour's engagement with five enemy cruisers; at half-past eleven, the Birmingham sighted two capital ships making their way southward to be lost in the night again; an hour later, the Petard and Turbulent, two destroyers, were suddenly transfixed by the searchlights of a retreating battleship, the Turbulent being sunk by the enemy's secondary armament as she raced past, seeking safety. The destroyer Tipperary, with her commander, Captain Wintour, the leader of the Fourth Flotilla, was also lost, but not before the flotilla had inflicted severe casualties upon the enemy. Another organized destroyers-attack was that of the Twelfth Flotilla, under Captain A. J. B. Stirling, in which a large detachment of the enemy was taken by surprise, one of his vessels being blown up and another hit.

So the night passed, never to be forgotten by any who lived through it, and, for only too many, slipping benumbed off rafts and wreckage into the water, or going down in the roar of explosions, the last night of all. "When a battleship is hit and seriously damaged," afterward wrote the famous American, Admiral Dewey, "there is no way of knowing whether or not she is about to sink. It may be possible that she will remain afloat for hours, or that she may not sink at all. Her purpose is to continue to damage the enemy to the greatest possible extent. A single final shot fired from a sinking ship may be the blow that will turn the tide of battle and the destiny of empires. The damaged battleship, therefore, continues to fight. The men remain in the fire room, in the turrets, at their guns. Every man continues that particular job which is his in fighting the ship as long as she may strike a blow. It therefore happens that, when a battleship goes down, there is practically nobody on deck, and there is no man who may leave his post in time to put on a lifebelt or launch a raft. Quite naturally, every man dies with the ship."

In this way Admirals Hood and Arbuthnot and many a gallant sailor, long to be remembered, went down with their ships, though, despite all risks, when the run of the battle permitted, rescues were attempted and often with success. A typical example of this was the action of the destroyer Defender, under Lieutenant-Commander Laurence R. Palmer, who, herself having been severely damaged by a 12-inch shell in her foremost boiler, struggled to the assistance of the Onslow, under Lieutenant-Commander J. C. Tovey, who had been rendered helpless by an enemy shell.

This latter destroyer, having sighted a light cruiser about to attack the Lion with torpedoes, had at once assailed her with the utmost spirit, closing to within a range of a little over a mile, and firing no less than fifty-eight rounds at her. She had then proceeded to attack some enemy battle-cruisers, and had already fired one of her torpedoes, when she was struck by a shell; and her commander, thinking his torpedoes all gone, had then ordered her retirement. Learning, however, that he still had three torpedoes left, he again attacked and torpedoed the light cruiser, with which he had been previously engaged, sighted some more battleships and loosed the rest of his torpedoes, before his vessel gave out and came to a standstill. It was while thus drifting helplessly, and with shells plunging all about her, that the Defender, whose own speed had been reduced to about ten knots, came alongside and took her in tow. Twice during the night, owing to the rising sea, the tow between these two heroic cripples became parted, and twice it was made good, the two journeying together till the afternoon of the following day. Lastly must be mentioned the Abdiel, which, under the command of Captain Berwick Curtis, had been ordered by Admiral Jellicoe to lay mines behind the retreating Germans. This her great speed-40 knots an hour-and the gallantry of all on board enabled her to do, the flying enemy sustaining several casualties as the result of her enterprise and skill.

So ended the Battle of Jutland, as regarded the sea, the most gigantic that the world had known-for, when the next day dawned, June 1st, a day already glorious in British annals, it was to find the enemy gone and Admiral Jellicoe in unchallenged possession of the field. Breaking through mists, well-nigh as dense as those in which it had set, the sun rose and with it the hopes of the British admirals that the work of the night might be completed. Those hopes, alas, remained unfulfilled, for, when the fog cleared and the sea lay revealed, it became apparent that the enemy had fled, broken and dispirited, under the cover of darkness, and was in no mood to rejoin the battle that he was already proclaiming as a German victory.

Four hundred miles from its bases-in enemy waters, close to his very harbours-the Grand Fleet waited till eleven in the morning before reluctantly sailing for home. And it was this fact, in itself a proof of triumph, that was partly accountable for the immediate sequel. For there now followed, thanks to the precipitate German flight, and the enemy's neighbourhood to his bases; to the world's unfamiliarity, after nearly a century, with the cost and criterion of naval success; and to the prompt and wholly unscrupulous use by the German Government of its wireless press agencies-an almost world-wide belief that the British Fleet had met with disaster.

With the Grand Fleet still at sea off its own coast, Germany flooded the world with the following statement: "During an enterprise directed toward the North, our High Seas Fleet, on Wednesday last, met a considerably superior main portion of the British Battle Fleet. In the course of the afternoon, between the Skager Rack and the Horn Reef, a number of severe and, for us, successful engagements developed and continued all night. In these engagements, as far as is at present ascertained, we destroyed the great battleship Warspite, the battle-cruisers Queen Mary and Indefatigable, two armoured cruisers of the Achilles class, one small cruiser, and the new destroyer leaders Turbulent, Nestor, and Alcester. According to trustworthy evidence, a great number of British battleships suffered heavy damage from the artillery of our vessels and the attacks of our torpedo-boat flotillas, during the day battle and during the night. Among others, the great battleship Marlborough was hit by a torpedo, as is confirmed by the statements of prisoners. A portion of the crews of the British vessels that were sunk were picked up by our vessels. On our side the small cruiser Wiesbaden was sunk by the enemy's artillery in the course of the day battle, and, during the night, the Pommern by a torpedo. Regarding the fate of the Frauenlob, which is missing, and some torpedo-boats, which have not returned up to the present, nothing is known. The High Seas Fleet returned to its harbour in the course of to-day."

This was the German version, by twenty-four hours the first in the field; and a certain kind of triumph undoubtedly followed it. In every neutral country, including America, heavily captioned newspaper articles proclaimed a British defeat-an impression hardly dissipated by the candour and caution of the first British official report. That our losses were heavy could not, of course, be denied, and they were instantly and frankly confessed. Six cruisers, including three battle-cruisers, and eight destroyers had paid the price of admiralty; while, on the other hand, the German losses were only grudgingly announced as it became impossible to conceal them. How heavy they were and how profound was the loss of moral that followed the Jutland defeat was only later to become manifest, though a good deal might have been guessed from the foregoing message. Further evidence, too, might have been deduced from the hurried visit of the Kaiser to Wilhelmshaven, and the almost hysterical exaggeration of his address to his broken fleet. There he assured them that "the gigantic fleet of Albion, ruler of the seas, which, since Trafalgar, for a hundred years, had imposed on the whole world a bond of sea tyranny," had "come out into the field," and had been beaten; that "a great hammer blow" had been struck; and that the "nimbus of British world supremacy had disappeared."

Such were the Kaiser's words, breathed into the ear of the world to conceal the result of Jutland, if this might be done; and hardly was the armistice signed before they were openly given the lie by one of Germany's leading authorities. After the Battle of Jutland, said Captain Persius, so shattering had been its results for the German navy, it had at once become clear to all thinking men that no second engagement must be risked; and, even at the time, it soon began to be suspected by the rest of the world that this was the truth. As for the Grand Fleet itself it was content to wait. It knew that it had won, and it had long learned patience. Let the Kaiser harangue. To-morrow would come, and, with to-morrow, the truth would out. Meanwhile it rode the seas on its accustomed ways, while, behind its shield, and beneath its pressure, the armies of freedom poured into Europe, and the strength of Germany continued to crumble.

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