H.M.S. Barham at the Battle of Jutland
Report of Proceedings
6th June 1916.
I HAVE the honour to forward herewith a report on the action of 31st May 1916, in which H.M. Ship under my command flying your flag took part.
2. The recording of details is not so full or accurate as I should have wished. This is partly due to the fact that Lieutenant Reginald Edward Blyth, R.N., Assistant Navigator, who was in the lower conning tower for the purpose, was mortally wounded about 1 hour after the engagement opened. Mr. Alec Edward Dodington, Midshipman, R.N., who worked with him, was afterwards entirely occupied in keeping the reckoning, which he did in a highly creditable manner under difficult circumstances.
3. Whilst the general trend of the action remains clearly fixed in the memory, it is impossible to reconstruct it strategically or tactically, owing to the difficulty of seeing the enemy, and to the lack of knowledge of the movements or positions of our own squadrons.
It is considered of great importance that in a squadron flagship, an Assistant Navigating Lieutenant should be permanently borne who will be able not only to keep an accurate reckoning continuously, but also to note tactical data. The importance of a rehable position after action cannot be overestimated, and during action a continuous plot of our own and the enemy's tracks may be invaluable in avoiding mines or in deciding in a tactical or strategical movement.
4. Although the "Barham" received considerable structural damage from the enemy's shells, and the casualties were fairly heavy, the ship was in a thoroughly efficient fighting condition, and had all guns in action and fire control practically intact at the end of three hours' engagement. This reflects great credit on the Officers responsible for the upkeep of the propelling machinery and of the guns' mountings and electrical equipment.
5. During the engagement, the behaviour of the Officers and men was entirely praiseworthy, and their duties were carried out in a cool and intelligent manner, under, in some cases, very trying situations.
as reproduced in the Official Despatches.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
Rear Admiral Commanding Captain.
Fifth Battle Squadron.
Report of Action
REPORT OF ACTION OF 31ST MAY 1916.
Disposition and courses prior to Action.
Noon position 56° 49' 5 N., Long. 3° 28' E.
Course S. 81 E. advancing 18 knots.
2.15 p.m. course N. by E. 5th B.C.S. 5 miles ahead of "Lion," ordered to look out for advanced Cruisers of Grand Fleet.
2.38 p.m. S.S.E. 22 knots in consequence of 1st L.C.S. reporting enemy cruiser S.S.E. at 2.35 p.m.
The Battle Cruiser Squadron turned rather before the 5th Battle Squadron and were out of sight for some time.
Hauled round gradually to N.E. following motions of Battle Cruiser Fleet, and then back to eastward, the enemy Light Cruisers being sighted at 3.50 on this course, and shortly after, two Battle Cruisers all steering to S.E. Speed now 24 knots.
2. Our Destroyer escort on the enemy side attempting to pass ahead of "Barham" prevented fire being opened until 3.58, when the two enemy Light Cruisers (Kolberg type) were engaged, range 17,000. These turned away 8 points after the third salvo and it is not thought that they were hit.
3. At 4.11, fire was opened with director salvoes on the rear (left hand) Battle Cruiser, which had smoke issuing from her, and seemed damaged, bearing 35°, Red, Range 19,000. This ship was straddled, but hits could not be seen with certainty.
4. Fifth Battle Squadron were now following the 1st and 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadrons, about 5 miles astern of them and gradually hauled round to the southward, bringing enemy Battle Cruisers nearly abeam. About 4.16 "Barham" shifted to second ship from the left ("Moltke") and the squadron were ordered to concentrate in pairs on the two left-hand ships. The enemy presented a fair target at range of 18,000-17,000 yards, and was frequently straddled. Three certain hits only were seen, but after we started using A.P. Lyddite, hits could not be seen. This would naturally be the case, however, and it was noted that the enemy hits on " Barham," though doing great internal damage, did not show outside the ship.
- Admiralty (1920). Battle of Jutland 30th May to 1st June 1916: Official Despatches with Appendices. Cmd. 1068. London: His Majesty's Stationary Office.