First L.C.S. (Royal Navy) at the Battle of Jutland
On 7 June, 1916, Vice-Admiral Beatty asked the light cruiser squadrons that had operated with him to submit a report of the recent Battle of Jutland. Commodore Sinclair of the First L.C.S. replied on 21 June, forwarding reports of his own Galatea, as well as Cordelia and Inconstant. It appears that Phaeton had separately forwarded its own reply direct to Beatty.
The First L.C.S. was one of three screening the battlecruisers, and consisted of four vessels:
- Galatea, Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair (Commodore, Second Class)
- Phaeton, Captain John E. Cameron
- Inconstant, Captain Bertram S. Thesiger
- Cordelia, Captain Tufton P. H. Beamish
Commodore Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair replied on June 21st that at 2.28 pm, Galatea fired at a destroyer at 13,000 yards with "a large opening rate." At 2.32, she shifted fire to a light cruiser at 13,500 yards. Four minutes later, she suffered a hit from a light cruiser from an estimated 15,000 yards. In the Jutland Official Despatches, the hit on Galatea is further detailed as a 5.9-in shell fired by a three-funnelled cruiser which did not explode. At 2.38, she fired at a destroyer, again at 13,500 yards.
Her port side induced draught fan broke down at 6.7 p.m. as she wove her way into the deploying Battle Fleet, requiring her to reduce speed. She instructed the other three cruisers to move along without her under Inconstant. She was able to rejoin the squadron at 2.35 a.m., then being capable of 24 knots.
|2.15||Altered course N by E. Galatea hoisted signal "Enemy in sight".|
|2.37||Altered course N 70 E. Shots from Light Cruisers falling round Galatea and Phaeton.|
|2.46||Altered course N 10 W. Enemy Light Cruisers firing at Phaeton on our starboard bow (4 cables).|
|2.52||Course N 10 W. Opened fire with after 6" guns (4 rounds) at Pillau. Green 70. Range 14000. Fell short.|
|3.30||Altered course N 35 W. Enemy altered to Southward.|
|3.44||Altered course S 60 E. (3rd.L.C.S. on starboard beam) Enemy retiring to Southward.|
|3.55||Altered course S 75 E. 27 knots. (5th.B.S. in action on our starboard bow bearing S 10 E.). Engadine stopped bearing S.|
|4.10||Altered course E. Heavy yellow smoke bearing S 65 E.|
|4.14||Altered course S.E. Some shots pitched ahead.|
|4.30||Our Battle Cruisers and 5th.Battle Squadron in action bearing S 25 W.. Several enemy Light Cruisers bearing S 50 E. to S 70 E. (10 miles away) astern of their Battle Cruisers.|
|4.40||Observed some dead fish and brass cylinders floating.|
|4.57||Altered course S.W. Our Battle Cruisers bearing S.W. engaging enemy bearing S 30 E.|
|5.18||Altered course NW by N. 1st.L.C.S. ahead of Battle Cruisers on engaged bow. Observed 5 German Battle Cruisers (certain).|
|5.40||Sighted on British Cruiser bearing N 20 W.|
|5.50||Sighted our Battle Squadrons bearing North. Altered course N 70 E.|
|6.0||Lion and Battle Cruisers turned to East and opened fire. Fired 6 rounds of 6" at Light Cruiser. Green 50. Range 13000. fell short and left; then fire was masked by our armoured cruisers.|
|6.20||Altered course W and stopped. Shell falling all round. Defence blew up. One Battleship (Warspite ? Marlborough ?) with heavy list to starboard. Galatea parted company.|
|6.30||Course N 60 E. Full speed. Took stations astern of Inconstant and Phaeton on disengaged side of Battle Fleet. Observed fires on board two ships in enemy's line. Enemy only just visible.|
|6.58||Altered course South. Saw bow and stern of large ship submerged S 80 W on far side of Battle Fleet.|
|7.15||Arrived at leading Battleship, which commenced firing. No enemy's shots falling near.|
|7.25||Altered course W.SW..Battle Cruiser Fleet in sight S.W.|
|7.40||Altered course S 30 W. Took station on starboard quarter of Battle Cruisers.|
|7.57||16 knots. Enemy NW by W. 13 miles.|
|8.12||Passed large patch of oil fuel and wreckage, whaler, etc.|
|8.22||Altered course S. 25 knots. Battle Cruisers engaging enemy to starboard. Shells falling near. Turned to disengaged quarter of Battle Cruisers line. Getting dark. Firing heard ahead of Battle Cruisers.|
|8.33||Phaeton hoisted red flag and turned to Port. Turned to South and then reformed astern of Phaeton and Inconstant.|
|8.37||Felt something heavy jar throughout ship, it seemed as though we had struck something. Astern of us four funnelled cruisers (Shannon ? ).|
|8.50||Passed close ahead of Lion.|
At 5.59, she fired 3 rounds of 6-in at a "large cruiser" at 13,750 yards and rate 100 (opening?) and deflection 10 right. The target quickly went out of range.
At 6.07 pm, she fired four rounds of 6-in guns at a light cruiser (identified as Pillau, but seemingly Wiesbaden from the context) at Green 45, 13,000 yards, 200 opening, and 40 right. She checked fire as Black Prince and Defence rushed in and fouled the range. The range on the sights was 13,200 when checked at 6.08, deflection 50 right.
She reported striking what was presumed to be some submerged wreckage at about 8.0 p.m., and that she knew Cordelia had seemingly hit the same object. She also reported that all three cruisers sighted a submarine breaking surface to port at 8.29 and sending a warning by W/T.
Phaeton's report is alluded to in the Beatty papers, but no excerpt from it appears in the Official Despatches.
- Beatty Papers at National Maritime Museum's Caird Library (BTY 6/6), item 5.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 33, 46.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 172.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 172.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 173.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 173. Galatea reported that these appeared to be smoke making devices tossed over by the Germans.
- Flotilla Signal Book, 1913 states on page 15 that the red pendant (number 8) hoisted singly meant "Divisions Act Independently of the Admiral.", and on page 37 that the red flag (Q) meant "The Commander-in-Chief, or Senior Officer, is incapacitated and unable to retain Command.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 174-5.