H.M.S. Tiger at the Battle of Jutland

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Primary Personnel

Narrative of the Gunnery Officer of H.M.S. Tiger[1]

On the afternoon of the 31st May, 1916, the 1st and 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadrons were out on one of the usual weekly cruises towards the Fisher Banks. The 3rd B.C.S. had gone up to Scapa Flow for target practice, and the 5th Battle Squadron had come down to join us in the Forth in their place. It was the first time the 5th B.S. had come out with the battle cruisers from the Forth.

At about 3.30 p.m. we received the signal to prepare for immediate action, and soon afterwards the Lion reported enemy battle cruisers in sight to the N.E.

At 3.45 we sighted enemy ships, apparently battle cruisers, five in number, which I estimated to be Hindenburg, Lützow, Derfflinger, Seydlitz, and Moltke. (I was wrong; the Von der Tann, not the Hindenburg, was there). Their bearing was approximately north, on our port bow; the weather was misty in patches, the visibility varying from 12 to 6 miles; wind west, force 3; sea calm. I gave the target as 4th ship from the right. At 3.46 the range-finders gave a first range of 21,300 yards.

At 3.49 the enemy opened fire. The first salvo I saw drop was quite 2,000 yards short of us, and did not seem to have a very small spread. 3.50 Lion opened fire, and we opened fire. Target 4th ship from right, range 18,500. Our first salvo missed for deflection, second salvo was over. The submarine screen of destroyers on our engaged bow were causing great interference with their funnel smoke, and the enemy line was covered in cordite smoke from their guns firing. The smoke and flashes of the enemy salvoes when coinciding with our fall of shot made spotting very difficult. The enemy were firing very rapidly. The Top reported that the funnel smoke of our battle cruisers ahead made their view very bad, so I did not shift my position to the top. I think that at this time all the battle cruisers except "P.R." had under-estimated the rate; we had.

3.52 the Germans were firing rapidly and getting our range; I saw splinters fly from our fo'csle past the gun control tower.

3.53 "Q" and "X" turrets did not come to the "ready." I had felt the concussion from hits on our armour, though I did not know for some minutes that both these turrets had been penetrated. "X" turret came in again after missing two or three salvoes, though with only one gun except at long intervals. Spotting was very difficult, but I increased the rate of fire as much as possible, firing double salvoes. We received several more hits; but the transmitting station reported some good range-finder ranges received, so I came to range-finder range and fired as rapidly as possible using double salvoes separated by small corrections. The enemy ceased to hit and her fire slackened. I do not think we were ever seriously hit by the enemy battle cruisers after 4.0 p.m.

4.5 Indefatigable blew up; I did not know it at the time. We continued rapid fire. About 4.10 I had the greatest difficulty in making sure of my target, as the enemy had a ship ahead of their line, probably a large light cruiser, which was sometimes there and sometimes not, and was making volumes of smoke. For some minutes about now, we counted her as a battle cruiser, and so engaged № 3 instead of № 4 of the enemy line. I thought we were doing well. The enemy fire had slackened as far as we were concerned, but the smoke and gun-flashes of the enemy still made spotting difficult, and the decreased visibility had made the range-finder readings few and far between. I knew "Q" turret was badly hit and had flooded a magazine, but the enemy fire was not effective, and although conditions were difficult I thought we had got the better of the Germans.

At 4.24 I felt a concussion ahead, and looking forward saw an enormous sheet of flame and a cloud of black smoke the Queen Mary had blown up. We steamed on into the cloud. It was pitch black, we could not fire, so I used the opportunity to "line up director." Before this was finished we were clear of the smoke cloud, and I got the order to shift target to 3rd battle cruiser from the right, as we were now 3rd ship in the line. We fired a couple of salvoes in gun-layer firing before getting back into director. The enemy fire was still feeble, and as the visibility had become good for a few minutes, we made real "battle practice" for some time. 200 yards' corrections were taking the salvoes from short to over, and this was one of the few occasions when I was able to see the splashes of overs between the enemy funnels. One of the enemy battle cruisers lost her place in the line, and came dropping back. It was either the leading or second ship I thought, and when she became № 3 we had a nice shoot at her, but the visibility was not keeping good.

4.25, enemy destroyers attacked and our 6-inch battery had five minutes at them, but at long range.

4.30, the enemy battle cruisers were out of sight in the mist or smoke screen, and we checked fire, but about ten minutes later a squadron of enemy battleships came into view on our port bow, and just then Lion turned 16 points to starboard, and we followed her round. I think they hit us with a few 12-inch in the forecastle and funnels we gauged the size from bits of shell afterwards. Then the 5th B.S., which came past us on our port side directly after we turned, engaged them, and we lost sight of them.

4.40, we were now going back on our tracks, and there was a lull with no enemy in sight. I got permission to go and see the condition of "Q" and "X" turrets and see if I could assist them. The following was their condition, although I did not find it all out until later:—

"X" Turret. An 11-inch shell had hit the barbette, level with the upper deck. It had penetrated the 9-inch plate, killed the centre sight-setter, and was found intact, except for its nose and fuse, in the gun-house exactly in the geometrical centre of the turret, between the two guns and between the upper and lower floors of the gun-house. No other damage was done except the cutting of the main director firing circuits and the temporary jamming of the gun-loading doors by fragments of shell and of armour,and the smashing of one firing dynamo.

"Q" Turret had been hit on the roof in the centre sighting hood, the shell appearing to have burst there, blowing a large hole in the roof plate. Two men in the gun-house were killed and several wounded, including the midshipman of the turret, who died of his wounds next day. All sights were destroyed, and the director firing circuits were cut. The right gun-loading cage was jammed, but luckily in the "down" position so that it did not interfere with the hand loading. The left gun-loading cage was temporarily jammed, the range-finder and lookout periscope smashed, but the officer of the turret was unhurt. He got up his spare crew from below, cleared away the dead and wounded, got his left gun into action with director training and laying, and fired with the sound of the other turrets' firing. Also, after a lapse of a few minutes, he got the right gun going with hand loading with his spare crew.

4.50 p.m., I had just got on to the roof of "X" turret and was talking to the officer of the turret, when the turret began to train and I saw the other turrets doing the same, and then an enemy salvo arrived near the ship. I did record time back to the gun control tower, and found my assistant had everything ready and guns trained on the enemy flashes, but there were no enemy visible. They appeared soon, and I was surprised and annoyed to see that they were apparently our old friends the battle cruisers, and that there were still five of them. I thought the one dropping astern had been done for. We opened on the third from the left, which I could distinguish as having a large red centre funnel. The enemy were in irregular order and soon turned away and were out of sight, but as by now I knew of the loss of the Indefatigable, and the Queen Mary, I realised that we had lost two ships and the enemy none, and although I felt that the enemy were badly knocked about their fire was nothing compared to what it had been during the first ten minutes this state of affairs made one very angry. I knew the 5th B.S. were engaging the enemy battle fleet astern of us, but I knew nothing of the position of our battle fleet except that it was out in the North Sea.

At 4.58 we sighted the enemy and re-engaged the same ship as before, the 3rd from the left, distinguished by a red centre funnel. The light was much better, and we had a good run at her, almost as good as our shoot just after the Queen Mary sank, and she appeared to drop out of line. As she dropped astern we engaged the new ship, which had now become № 3 from the left. At 5.10 we lost sight of the enemy in the mist. Our speed was now 24 knots. Checked the ammunition used, and found that "B" turret, which as far as I know never missed a salvo throughout the action, had fired five or or six common shells, as the shell-room parties had not been able to get the armour-piercing shell into the cages quickly enough. This accounted for the spread for direction which I had noticed earlier in the action, and for which I had lined up the director and found it correct. We lined up again; all correct. "A" turret reported right gun temporarily out of action with a fractured run-out valve box, to which a most skilful repair was made later on.

5.42, sighted the enemy battle cruisers again, and our ships opened fire. We again had a good light and a good run, but later on spotting became harder. The enemy reply was extremely feeble as far as we were concerned. There were very large splashes, presumably 15-inch salvoes from our 5th B.S., falling near the rear enemy battle cruisers.

At 6 o'clock the visibility became poor and the firing very intermittent.

At 6.5 we sighted the mass of our battle fleet on our port bow, and I was very glad to see them. … I then realised that our Admiral had led the enemy to our fleet; but I did not know that we were circling round the enemy and that we were getting between him and his ports.

At 6.7 a disabled German light cruiser appeared on our port bow, and one of our torpedo boat destroyers appeared to "loaf" up to her and torpedo her—our destroyer appeared to be half-disabled herself too (this was the Onslow). The light cruiser was down by the stern and burning. I did not think she was worth 13.5 ammunition, of which we had used a good deal, but we put the 6-inch guns on to her to prevent her firing torpedoes or guns at us as we passed, and they had a very nice run at her. From reports afterwards, I gathered she must have been the Wiesbaden, which later received fire from the battle fleet.

6.19, visibility was poor; and there was a lot of smoke about. We sighted a line of battleships, Königs, I thought, and opened fire on the third from the left. In about four minutes we were having a good run at her.

6.29, enemy out of sight. Smoke and mist.

6.32, fired a couple of salvoes through a hole in the enemy smoke screen at an enemy stern on.

6.35, Defence class cruisers crossed our bows, steaming towards enemy and firing on both sides. The enemy battle cruisers were just visible on our starboard bow, and apparently not firing, but there was a squadron on our starboard beam, from which gun-flashes only were visible, concentrating a terrific fire on the advancing Defence, now on our starboard bow. The leading cruiser, the Defence herself, blew up with an explosion very similar to that of Queen Mary.

There was the sound of heavy fire astern, and I thought our battle fleet must be in action all along the line.

6.36, German torpedo boat destroyers emerged from the smoke on our starboard beam, presumably to attack ships astern of us, and we engaged them with our 6-inch guns, and appeared to sink at least one of the leading boats.

A sudden alteration of course to avoid a torpedo, which I did not see, was made at 6.39. The 13.5's reported the amount of ammunition expended, totalling about 250 rounds.

7.17, enemy squadron of four ships re-appeared—our old friends the battle cruisers, I thought, but their fire now was feeble or non-existent. We opened fire on 3rd ship. Their line was confused, and one ship was lagging astern.

7.20, enemy made dense smoke screen from destroyers and turned away. We checked fire, and I could hear no firing astern.

7.53, tested director on one of our light cruisers on port bow. All correct. Checked ammunition expended.

8.20, sighted a group of ships on starboard bow and opened fire on 3rd from left, a three funnelled battleship of Heligoland class. Conditions for control easy, except for deflection which was upset by the enemy apparently slowing down, and we appeared to be doing well. The enemy scarcely replied, and was burning fiercely, which we could see plainly in the gathering dusk.

8.40, lost sight of enemy in smoke and dusk. I was surprised to see it getting dark and asked the time, thinking it about 5.30 p.m., and was amazed to hear that it was nearly nine o'clock.

8.45, I felt a heavy shock, and thought we had been torpedoed, but nothing happened.

Night. We had eased speed, and, as it became dark, prepared for the night and the chance of meeting the enemy. We served out food for the men, and I sent my messenger to bag the remains of the ward-room tea from the ward-room, on which we feasted in the gun control tower. I dared not leave the control to see the damage, and anyhow I knew the turret officers, armourers, hydraulic E.R.A.'s, and electricians would do everything that could be done, and so well did they do it that by daylight every gun in the ship was in full working order except the right gun and the sights of "Q" turret. These two jobs were dockyard work, and we could do nothing at sea.

As a matter of fact nothing happened to us during the night, and I had great difficulty in keeping awake.

Morning. When daylight came the visibility was low a thick mist on the sea. Our squadron altered course 16 points, and I felt a feeling of mean pride in that apparently the Tiger was the only one of the 1st or 2nd B.C.S. whose turrets were all training. A Zeppelin appeared, and some ships wisely unloaded their guns at her. After that I had little hope of seeing any more enemy. Not that I felt at all keen to meet fresh enemy battleships if there were such things I knew now the extent of the damage to our ship and our squadron, but I was sure that the enemy battle cruisers were badly hammered, and we should have liked a full revenge for Queen Mary and Indefatigable. I was not yet sure of the loss of Invincible, though I could see she was not with the 3rd B.C.S., which had joined us. As a matter of fact, when we had passed her wreck the previous evening, I had thought she was a German, and had passed word below that we were passing a sunken German ship.

Now came the time of clearing up and repairs. As it was still thick I could not leave the control position, and I did not see the worst of this, but I attended the burial service on the upper deck in the drizzle and spray. The wind had got up a little by the afternoon. It was most impressive. At this time, I had no idea that the fleet had engaged in one of the great actions of the war. I thought that it had been just a cruiser action like the Dogger Bank. Gradually reports came in from the battle fleet, and we were elated by news of German losses. We were surprised on arrival in harbour to find that the public were prepared for news of a defeat, and asked our people why we had not sunk the Germans at last. But we were well received by the local inhabitants.

Arrival in Harbour. When we got into harbour we tackled the repairs again, and were ready for sea very soon. But a worse job was the writing of the reports. Evidence was hopelessly conflicting as regards the enemy, and the fire control table records were the only really reliable data. But reports had to be made, and in a hurry, as well as the repairs executed, and I fear that the reports were far from complete. It was very hard to know which officers and men in the gunnery department to recommend for special recognition when all had done so well. I have said little about the personnel in this narrative, for in my duty I saw little of them during the action, except just my gun control tower crew. They were perfect. But from the way orders were carried out I knew it must be same throughout the ship. The reports from the officers of turrets, transmitting station, the 6-inch control and 6-inch guns confirmed this. No praise can be too high for the officers and men.

Control Notes. Most of my experiences I have described in these notes, but there are a few other non-technical points which may be of interest. The enemy shorts frequently wetted the top control position: I commenced by using 12 power glasses, but soon changed to 6: I did not experience any eye strain. Blast from our own guns was not as severe as I had expected; blast from enemy shell was non-existent in the G.C.T., and for all I could tell the enemy might have been using practice projectiles. The enemy shell could clearly be seen after they ricochetted short, but I saw none before they ricochetted. Until dusk, I could not see our 13.5-inch, shells burst we were using armour-piercing shell but I did see the 6-inch high explosive bursting. Few of our overs could be seen. It was very hard to judge the inclination of the enemy, except of the leader of the enemy line, who was generally far clearer of smoke than any of the others. The total number of rounds we fired was: 13.5-inch, 304; and 6-inch, 140. We were hit 21 times viz., 2, 12-inch; 11, 11-inch; and 5, 5.9-inch hits. At the time I knew nothing about the hits which were not on armour, except for seeing some splinters fly from the forecastle, but the hits on the armour jolted the whole ship.

Damage Report

This ship sustained considerable damage, chiefly from gun-fire, the majority of hits received being on the Port side, while fire breaking out in several compartments forward was responsible for the destruction of all fittings, etc. in the vicinity of the Sick Bay.

A shell pierced the Forecastle Deck abreast the Deck pipe on the Port side at 38 Station, making a hole 2ft. × 2ft., and fracturing and distorting three beams and two longitudinal girders beneath. The deck planking was torn up and the chafing plate for the plating distorted and holed by splinters of shell. The Upper Deck was also pierced at 31 Station the whole being 2ft. 6in × 1ft. 4in. in extent. The deck in the vicinity was riddled by splinters and generally indented, while the bulkheads to Carpenters' and Inflammable Stores at 31 and 39 Stations were badly holed. The watertight doors on these bulkheads were wrecked. The perforation extended downwards through the Main Deck which was pierced in two places, whilst on this deck the bulkheads to the Paint and Lamp Rooms were pierced, a Main Deck beam at 31 Station fractured, and a 7½in. fan, vertical ventilation pipes and trunks, air escapes, etc., practically demolished.

Official Main Battery Report

A report submitted by Lieutenant (G) Patrick Macnamara on June 4th is found within the letters of Admiral Beatty at the National Maritime Museum's Caird Library[2] and provides the following details.

Chief Petty Officer Ewart acted as Director Layer and Boy Wise assisted in the GCT by keeping track of Time of Flight.

"A" Turret Details

"A"'s Officer of Turret was Lieutenant-Commander Longmore. Its right gun was put out of action after 27 rounds by the fracturing of a casting in the running out valve. The left gun fired 60 rounds in all. There were two missfires, one per gun, which were attributed to "greasy tubes".

A short enemy salvo early splashed water on the rangefinder and periscopes. Water squirts sufficed to clear the periscopes. A shell hitting the forecastle bent the left shutter of the left periscope, requiring men to clear it while under fire from outside. A shell hit on the barbette caused fumes in the shell and powder rooms, requiring respirators until fans could clear the air. Lastly, a fire in sick bay caused smoke to enter the sighting ports before action was taken to extinguish it.

The layers and trainer expressed thanks for the services of the director, as they had great difficulty seeing the targets in the given light.

"B" Turret Details

"B"'s Officer of Turret was Lieutenant Blagrove, assisted by Captain of Turret Petty Officer Parry. Able Seaman Down operated the rangefinder and Able Seaman Long acted as trainer in the centre hood. Petty Officer Dyson S. Hore commanded the shell room.

The right gun fired 48 rounds while twice having slight delays due to foully loading the right cordite hopper, and the left gun fire 61 rounds without fault. The majority of issues here seemed to affect the right gun.

A lever on the right gun loading cage for operating a flash door bent, causing a delay and a misalignment of the cage. The remedy was to remove the lever and jam the flash door open, an alteration effected with help by a Mr. Peck of Vickers. Issues arose with the right working chamber and right waiting tray, the latter also prompting an anti-flash to be removed.[3]

Low visibility rendered rangetaking difficult despite fairly clear glass on RF and periscopes.

While in Individual, the trainer often had difficulty finding the target, but the layers were usually able to fire around five seconds after the command.

Fuze failures caused the lights to go out three times in gunhouse and working chamber. A dip in air supply caused some back-blast (back-flash?) before it was rectified.

There was one missfire due to a failed tube.

"Q" Turret Details

"Q"'s Officer of Turret was Lieutenant Michael E. East.

Upon opening fire, the turret was under director control with powder being taken from starboard magazine. The normal rate clock operator was on leave and replaced by an inexperienced substitute. East felt the first German salvo fell about 300 yards short two or three minutes before Tiger opened fire, and that the spread was 100-150 yards in range only and with no spread at all in deflection.

Petty Officer Fitzpatrick served as Turret Captain and left gunlayer, and P.O. Medway laid the right gun.

The shell which struck the centre sighting hood of the turret killed the trainer and Number 4 of the left gun outright and mortally wounded the Midshipman of the turret, James A. C. Forbes. The Numbers 1 and 3 of the right gun and the right and centre sightsetters and the rangefinder operator all sustained minor wounds. The centre hood was entirely destroyed and pieces of the sights jammed the left gun loading cage and necessitated the removal of its door while the left sight was displaced 2 inches and became wooded at extreme ranges and the right sight jammed entirely. All electrical service was lost, requiring the guns to be moved to percussion firing.

The rangefinder and O.O.Q. periscope[4] were shattered by splinters.

A shell hit abreast the turret prompted the flooding of a 6-in magazine. The jamming of a CO2 ventilation valve between magazines was apparently the means by which this intentional flooding action caused the port-side 13.5-in magazine to be unintentionally flooded as well. The port magazine when fully flooded commenced to leak through blow-out plates before being shored up.

Communication between gunhouse and cabinet became difficult owing to the sightsetters' voice pipe being "nipped". Lieutenant East suggested that it would be sound practice to avoid moving any part of a turret that had been damaged until a quick inspection could verify that nothing was going to go amiss owing to parts that had flown about.

Action was resumed using secondary loading arrangements and employing director laying and training with gunlayers percussion firing their guns upon hearing the other guns fire.

"X" Turret Details

"X"'s Officer of Turret was Captain Alan G. B. Bourne, R.M.A..

At 3.56 pm, the barbette was hit by an 11-in shell directly between the guns. Colour Sergeant Magson, the centre trainer, found a piece of burning material in his lap and doused it with his water bottle. The centre sightsetter was presumed killed, but the Turret Director Trainer was also trained as a centre sightsetter, and so no replacement was needed. The centre training gear was demolished, and so training from the left was resorted to. Most lights went out and others were reduced to a glow, and respirators and opened hatches used to clear the fumes.

The next two salvos failed to fire under director firing, and so the turret went into "Individual". Firing on the main circuit failed, and percussion firing was taken up. The turret was again firing at 4.03 — seven minutes after being hit.

Number 2 of the left gun had been nursing an injured hand, and the Midshipman of the turret called for a replacement for the man.

A little thinking revealed that the director training was functional and so the turret went into director training and individual laying, sparing the left gunlayer from having to train the turret while laying his gun and also having to attend to depressing it for loading which took his scope off the target.

Water leaking in wet some of the powder, but no missfires resulted.

After the sixteen point turn to the north, the layers could not see their targets and so were ordered to lay on the horizon. At 5.10 pm, fire was checked and the centre sightsetter's death confirmed. A leak in the hydraulic system prompted a stop-cock to be shut whenever possible, locking the left gun in elevation.

At 6.11 pm, it was discovered that the turret was fully 18 degrees off in training — perhaps a consequence of her slewing receiver being three steps out[5] — prompting a reversion to "left training". At a convenient lull, the ship "lined up director" and trained her guns on a friendly light cruiser to test them, revealing that the gross difference was fixed and only a small error remaining and so director training was reinstated.

By 12.50 am, crew-fashioned repairs had failed to make good broken director elevating and firing connections, and so Mr. Sweeney (Warrant Electrician) was brought in. By 6.50 pm on June first, Sweeney was able to restore function by replacing no fewer than 36 bad connections.

A Private Lambert filling in as Number 5 on the left gun was mentioned in laudatory terms for, despite never having seen the gun fired even once before the battle, making astute suggestions as to how to avoid issues he observed with projectiles tipping backward from the receiving tray.

Official 6-in Battery Report

Lieutenant Alexander S. MacKay, R.N.R., supplied the following details on the conduct of 6-in fire during the battle.

140 rounds were fired without any failures.

Midshipmen Henry C. Holmes and John G. D. Ouvry manned the port and starboard hoods, respectively, repeating orders and maintaining a submarine look out despite exposure to blast from "B" and "Q".

Communications worked well with the exception of the S6's (starboard gun number six's) F.T.P. sight's range receiver, which failed its first test and refused to work. Some telaupads were indistinct, and group navyphones were used in their place. S5 gun lost its Evershed function after the first round, but bearings were made clear by other means.

The crew of P6 gun under Gun Captain L. S. Pearce was driven from their gun by an enemy shell that had penetrated to burst in an ammunition passage and caused a fire down a hatch on the deck below. Local water sources were knocked out and hoses deployed and lyddite shells moved away to combat the fire. Although the fire was put out, it was discovered that the men in the area had been killed by blast or smoke.

At 6.15 pm, the starboard battery engaged an enemy light cruiser and the gunlayers and trainers found it difficult to see while "shooting toward the sun path",[6] but neutral-tinted shades were added to their scopes which resolved the issue.

It was noted that the lights at S2 went out when "B" turret fired, and eventually they could not be coaxed to turn on again.

Official Transmitting Station Report

Lieutenant Arthur J. L. Darby, (I am unable to determine his middle names) R.N.V.R. was T.S. officer.

He reported smooth operation with the exception of the bearing transmitter and "Q phones".[7] Chief Electrician Allan and his assistant Olivine fixed the former and attended to batteries and generator "in B space."

Midshipman Donald A. Willey was acting as the Spare Range Plotter, and volunteered to go replace the fallen Midshipman Forbes in "Q" turret, which was done. R.M.A. Gunner Gumm was noted as providing excellent work at the Dreyer Table, as was C.P.O. Gates at the Control voice pipe. Two Vickers personnel were able and willing to help within and near the T.S. despite one having his first ever day at sea.

Official Report from 13.5-in Control Top

I will quote this in full, presumably from the Lieutenant (G)..

Condition of Spotting Spotting the fall of shot from Top was rendered very difficult owing to the bad light and the thick banks of mist and smoke through which the enemy ships were continually passing. At times an entire ship was momentarily obscured making it very hard to get spotting glasses on the correct target. Considerable interference was also experienced from the splash of enemy 'shorts' during the early part of the action which frequently wetted everyone in the top and from smoke from out [sic] leading ships particularly after the 16 point turn.
Notes on Enemy The five enemy Battle Cruisers appear to me to consist of 3 "Derfflinger" class leading, "Seylitz" and "Moltke" being in rear. The accuracy of their fire continued to deteriorate throughout the action. Spread of salvoes from enemy was very small at start and they very quickly obtained correct direction. An occasional short from enemy was seen to break up on impact with water. "Ricos" passing over "Tiger" were easily seen. After the 16 point turn only 4 enemy ships could be counted.
Behaviour of Top Crew Was exemplary in every way. Particularly A.Bs. Clarke and Stewart, rangetakers, showed great coolness in carrying out their duties.

Pelly's Report

Captain Henry Bertram Pelly issued a report on 6 June.[8]

IN accordance with your signal 0945 of 2nd June 1916
I have the honour to submit herewith report of proceedings of
31st May 1916.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

The Vice-Admiral Command

Battle Cruiser Fleet,
(Through R.A.C., 1st B.CS.)

P. M .
3.44. Enemy reported in sight from "Lion."
3.45. Observed enemy Battle Cruisers, 5 in number, which
appeared to be " Hindenburg," " Lützow," " Derf-
flinger," " Seydlitz," and " Moltke," in the order
named from right to left, bearing North and on the
Port Beam.
Weather was misty in patches with varying visibility.
3.46. Target given, 4th ship from the left, probably" Seydlitz."
3.49. Enemy opened fire ; first salvo about 2,000 yards short.
3.50. "Lion "opened fire.
3.51. " Tiger " opened fire. Smoke from our own T.B.D.s on
engaged side which were proceeding to take station
ahead caused considerable interference.
Range, 18,500 yards.
1st salvo missed for direction. 2nd over.
3.52. " Tiger " hit on Forecastle.
" Tiger's " salvoes apparently short and hitting.
Increased rate of fire.
3.55. " Q " turret hit and " X " turret hit.
3.56. Hit under P. 6 6-in. gun.
It is of interest to note here that after 3.56 p.m.
" Tiger " was apparently not hit again by heavy shell.
Several minor hits were registered but no appreciable
damage was done.
1. 4. Observed " Indefatigable " sinking.
4.10. T.B.D.s ordered to attack enemy. A desultory action
was continued, but the enemy's fire appeared to be
wild and uncertain.
4.24. I observed a salvo pitch abreast " Q " turret of " Queen
Mary" (this was the first time I had seen " Queen
Mary" hit) and almost instantaneously there was a
terrific upheaval and a dense cloud of smoke. This
could not altogether be avoided as " Tiger " was
close up (about 2 cables) from " Queen Mary."
As " Tiger " passed through the cloud there was a heavy
fall of material on her decks, but no sign whatever
could be seen of the " Queen Mary." She must have
sunk instantaneously.
4.25. Shifted target to 3rd ship from the left, apparently
the " Derfflinger."
4.26. Established hitting.
4.34. Enemy Torpedo Boats were observed to turn and attack,
Opened fire on them with 6-in. battery and appeared
to find their range after three salvoes. Range 11,00q
4.39. Checked fire.
4.42. Altered Course in succession 16 points to Starboard
on observing 8 enemy Battleships of the " König "
4.45. 5th Battle Squadron opened fire.
4.50. Recommenced firing at opposite number (" Derfflinger ").
Long range, 18,000 yards, and enemy very indistinct.
Only two salvoes fired.
4.58. Altered Course to Port. Recommenced fire at same
ship (" Derfflinger "). Light conditions improved and
hitting seemed to be established and maintained.
" Derfflinger " appeared to be down by the stem and
to leave the line.
5.10. Enemy obscured. Speed 24 knots.
5.42. Enemy Battle Cruisers reappeared (only 4).
5.44. Engaged 3rd ship from the left, apparently " Seydlitz."
5th Battle Squadron were also engaging the Battle
5.56. Checked fire as unable to spot and 5th Battle Squadron
appeared to be engaging the Enemy Battle Cruisers.
6. 5. Sighted Battleships of Grand Fleet.
6. 7. 6-in. battery opened fire On Light Cruiser of " Kolberg "
class on Starboard bow and hit her. This Cruiser
eventually drifted between the lines and 6-in, battery
fired several salvoes at her and she was last seen
sinking by the stern at 6.19.
6.19 to 6.29. Firing a few salvoes at opposite number, but
spotting was not possible and fall of shot lost.
6.25. The " Defence " class made a fine entry across the
" Lion's " bow into the battle, but they were met
by a very heavy fire and suffered disaster. I did
not actually observe their loss.
6.36. Enemy developed a very heavy smoke screen and under
cover launched a T.B.D. attack on the Battle Fleet.
Opened fire with 6-in. guns. The shooting appeared
to be good and so the attack was not pressed home.
The heavy smoke clouded fall of shot, but apparently
several hits were made. Under cover of smoke the
enemy turned away.
6.37. Cease Fire.
6.37 to 6.39. About this time three torpedoes passed close
to the stern of the ship. Course was altered for one
of them, but the others were passing clear.
6.40 to 7.17. Nothing in sight.
7.17. Enemy squadron of four ships appeared, of which two
were Battle Cruisers, but I am not sure of the other
7.19. Opened fire on opposite number. She appeared to
drop astern past Number 4 ship.
7.23. Ceased fire.
7.27. Much smoke observed on Starboard bow, and apparently
T.B.D. attack developing. Opened fire with 6-in.
7.31. Ceased Fire.
8.21. Enemy sighted, apparently Battle Ship with 3 funnels.
Opened fire and hitting established.
8.29. Enemy altered away.
8.37. Felt a very heavy shock and had no doubt that .ship
had been torpedoed. Enquiries gave no result, so
I concluded that the ship must have struck something
under water.
8.40. Cease Fire.
Reports are attached which were written by various
Officers in accordance with my directions, also a
report in detail of the damage done.
These consist of—
Enclosure No. I.—Report by Commander A. G. Craufurd, R.N.
Enclosure No. II—Report by Lieutenant-Commander W. N. Lapage, R.N., Torpedo Officer.
Enclosure No. III.—Report by Lieutenant-Commander P. Macnamara, R.N., Gunnery Officer.
Enclosure No. IV.—Report by Engineer Commander C. H. A. Bermingham, R.N.
Enclosure No. V.—Report in detail of damage sustained during action.[9]

A separate report of recommendations is also forwarded.

See Also


  1. Fawcett & Hooper. The Fighting at Jutland, pp. 50-57.
  2. Beatty Papers at National Maritime Museum (BTY 6/6), item 2.
  3. One must wonder how many such expedients were not reported or whose reports are lost to time.
  4. It's unclear whether this means a single periscope operated by the rangetaker and O.O.Q. or whether it is a periscope and a coincidence rangefinder
  5. This is my guess, but a corker.
  6. I am unsure why Lion would be firing toward the setting sun at this hour, while steaming north.
  7. I am not sure if this means a phone to "Q" turret.
  8. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 154-7.
  9. A footnote in the Official Despatches indicates that this enclosure was not forwarded by Beatty.