Harwich Force at the Battle of Jutland

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At the Battle of Jutland, six destroyers of the Harwich Force were attached to the Battle Cruiser Fleet to screen the Second Battle Cruiser Squadron, under the nominal command of Lydiard.[1]

It was organised as follows

Additionally, Turbulent and Termagant were detached to operate with the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla, and their reports can be found here.


File:JOD Plate21.png
Lydiard's Track Chart for Day Time.[2]
File:JOD Plate22.png
Lydiard's Track Chart for Night Time.[3]

Lydiard submitted her report with track charts on 3 June.[4]

I HAVE the honour to report that in the recent action
I was in nominal command of the following destroyers detached
from the Harwich force :—
" Lydiard." " Moorsom." " Turbulent."
" Liberty." " Morris." " Termagant."
" Landrail." " Laurel."
The first six boats were detailed as submarine screen for
" New Zealand " and " Indefatigable " (2nd B.C.S.).
" Turbulent " and " Termagant " worked with 13th Flotilla
and 1st B.C.S. (" Lion," &c.).
At 10.40 p.m. May 30th. Fleet proceeded.
Noon 31st. 56.44; 3.45.
3.28 "Enemy in sight, E. by N."
3.33 5 Flag. Destroyers ordered ahead
5 miles.
Owing to lack of speed my division
was not able to get ahead, and
I therefore had to remain on the
engaged side of the B,C.S. or drop
astern. I chose to remain where I
was rather than, lose all chance of
making a torpedo attack,
3.45. The action commenced.
3.58. " Indefatigable " blew up.
4.30. " Queen Mary " blew up.
A torpedo from a submarine went under " Landrail "
and passed between " Tiger " and " New Zealand."
" Lion " ordered us to go away, I turned 16 points
in succession and formed astern of line.
Ordered " Laurel " (who had also failed to keep up)
to pick up survivors of " Queen Mary " (she found
17 in all).
Owing to taking up this position the " L " destroyers
missed making a torpedo attack with the " M's, '
By 5 p.m. B.C.S. had turned N.W. " Champion " and T.B.D.'s
were on their port quarter 3-4 miles, and my division
was endeavouring unsuccessfully to keep up with
The Sth B.S. on our S. beam was engaging to star'd
to their great disadvantage (vile background, though
standing out clearly against the Western sky them-
7.30. " Champion " turned south, and I took station on
her port beam for the night.
8.30. Position 57.7 N., 6.13 E.
9.57. Ordered " Moorsom " to return to base—holed aft and
short of oil.
A great deal of firing was observed to westward about
2 or 3 miles away and at about-
11.30. Fire was opened on us by a line of large ships
which we took to be our own.
" Turbulent " (I learnt next morning) was sunk—and
" Champion " suddenly increased to high speed and
disappeared to starboard. I continued S. and
eventually turned S.W. and W. to get on other side
of the big ships—who still spasmodically opened
fire towards us.
4.15. " Laurel " reported sufficient oil to reach base, and
survivors of " Queen Mary " in need of medical
aid. Despatched her to Firth of Forth.
6 a.m. I discovered what the haze had hitherto hidden
from me—that I had a long line of stragglers astern
of my division—" Narborough," " Pelican," " Nica-
tor," " Nerissa," " Petard," " Termagant," and
" Morris."
Intercepted 4 a.m. position of " Lion." Set course
N. 77 E. to meet " Lion," but found " L.'s " had
not sufficient oil to reach her and get back to base.
Put " Narborough " in charge of all the " M.'s "
and ordered him to rejoin " Lion."
7.30 a.m. Proceeded to Firth of Forth with "Liberty" and
" Landrail."
7.10 p.m. Arrived oiler.
1.30 a.m. Proceeded with five boats to escort " Lion " and
B.C.S. into Firth of Forth.
In utmost haste to catch " Landrail."

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

Com. T., H.M.S. " Carysfort."


Laurel submitted her report on 9 June.[5]

IN accordance with your signal 1545 of the 9th June
I have the honour to submit the following report :—
When the enemy were sighted " Laurel " was in position
E. of Submarine Screen, Figure 4.
Battle Cruisers formed single line ahead and destroyers were
ordered to take station ahead of B.C. Squadron.
" Laurel " was on the engaged beam of " New Zealand,"
after the B.C. Squadron had formed single line ahead, and was
going full speed to get ahead into station. Owing to dense
smoke from the funnels which would have obscured the range
of the Battle Cruisers, and as it is impossible for " Laurel " to
proceed at full speed without this dense smoke, it was decided
to pass under the stern of the " Indefatigable " ; a parallel
course was then steered on the disengaged side. A position
before the beam of the 4th ship of the line had been reached
when 9th Flotilla were ordered astern.
At that time " Laurel " was proceeding towards the wreckage
of the" Queen Mary " to pick up survivors and signal was received
from " Lydiard " to carry out this operation. Difficulty was
experienced owing to the heavy wash caused by the Battle
Cruiser and 5th Battle Squadrons passing and re-passing at
close range.
While attempting to hoist the whaler after this operation
one of the blocks carried away, and as the signal to proceed at
utmost speed had been received and the enemy were closing,
whaler was cleared and abandoned. Course was steered to
re-join 9th Flotilla.
En route it was observed that a light cruiser of the " Birming-
ham " class was being fired at apparently by enemy battle
cruisers ; endeavour was made to make a smoke screen between
her and the enemy.
" Laurel " rejoined 9th Flotilla, at 7 p.m under the orders
of " Champion."
During the night of the 31st May " Laurel " followed astern
of " Morris," 9th Flotilla being in single line ahead. The 13th
Flotilla was on the starboard and the 11th Flotilla on the port
beam columns 1 cable apart.
Course was shaped for " Queensferry " at 4 a.m. 1st June.
" Laurel " being sent on ahead with survivors from " Queen Mary."

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
Lieutenant in Command.

The Commodore (T.),

H.M.S. " Carysfort."


Landrail submitted her report on 9 June.[6]

IN accordance with your orders I forward the following
report :—
On the 30.5.16 at 9.35 p.m. Destroyers slipped and proceeded
joining the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron outside the outer boom
Firth of Forth. Having been in company in Night Cruising
Order, Submarine Screen No. 4 was formed at 4.37 a.m., on the
At 2.38 p.m. 31.5.16. Steam was raised for full speed by Battle
At 3.28 p.m. Signal was made, Flag, General, "Enemy in sight,
Bearing E. by N."
The Second Battle Cruiser Squadron were in the
van and " " boats were carrying out the
Submarine Screen for them.
At 3.30 p.m. Second B.C.S. took station astern of First B.C.S.,
and " L " boats were in Division line ahead on
the engaged side of B.C.S. distance about
5 cables.
3.32 p.m. Course was altered to East, and fire was opened.
3.35 p.m. Destroyers were ordered to take station 5 miles
ahead of B.C.S. and full speed was put on the
At that time the " L " boats were on the beam of
" Indefatigable " and " New Zealand "
Every endeavour was made to take up the station
ordered and to keep smoke from funnels under.
At 3.45 p.m. Signal was received from " Lion " to clear the
range and as slow progress was being made
in getting ahead the " Lydiard " altered course
16 points to starboard to get astern of B.C.S.
Previous to this signal a torpedo passed under
" Landrail " directed at the B.S.C.(sic) and passing
about 60 yards ahead of " Queen Mary." A
periscope, was observed on the Port Quarter,
and the signal was hoisted to this effect.
On getting clear of B.C.S. to the rear, H.M.S.
" Laurel " was detailed to pick up survivors
from " Queen Mary."
At 5.5 p.m. Destroyers were ordered to attack, but before
the attack could be delivered by the " L "
boats the recall was hoisted.
Recall was hoisted at 5.10 p.m. and " L " boats
took station on the disengaged side of the
" Barham,' " Malaya," " Valiant," and "War-
spite" " about 2 miles.
At 6.40 p.m. Speed was reduced to 20 knots and destroyers
joined H.M.S. "Champion."
At 7.5 p.m. Course was altered to South, and " L " boats
proceeded in company with H.M.S. " Lydiard,"
leader of the Division.
At 11.30 p.m. Steering south fire was opened to starboard of
us; this we took to be our own ships and
continued on our course. This fire was con-
tinued spasmodically, and during it H.M.S.
" Champion " went on to high speed and disap-
peared without signal.
7.30 a.m., 1st June. Owing to shortage of oil fuel Division
returned to Firth of Forth, where it arrived
at 7 p.m., and completed with oil.
At 1.30 a.m. 2nd June. Proceeded to sea to escort B.C.S. into

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,


Liberty submitted her report on 9 June.[7]

I HAVE the honour to report that in the recent action
fought on May 31st, I was in command of H.M.S. "Liberty,"
her position was Fleet No. 2, in the 1st Div. of 9th Flotilla,
astern of H.M.S. " Lydiard."
At 10.40 p.m. May 30th proceeded out of harbour, and formed
submarine screen as ordered, the Port side of 2nd B.CS.
At Noon, May 1st, position approx. 56.44 N., 3. 45 E.
At 3.28 approx. "New Zealand" hoisted "Enemy in sight,
E. by N."
At 3.33 approx. " Lion " hoisted " 5 flag" destroyers take
station 5 miles ahead of B.C. Fleet. 1st Div. was then on the
quarter of the rear Battle Cruiser.
Telegraphs were put to full speed, and Division endeavoured
to reach their appointed station, passing up the engaged side
of our Battle Cruiser line mile inside, a very heavy fire was
experienced from the " shorts " of the enemy's Battle Cruisers,
but " Liberty " was only hit by splinters and no damage was
At 3.45 approx. Fire was opened by the B.C.S.
At 3.50 " Indefatigable " blew up.
At 4.10 approx. " Queen Mary " blew up.
At 4.30, when division was abeam 2nd Battle Cruiser in our
line, " Lion " hoisted destroyers clear the range. The Division
turned 18 points passed down the engaged side and formed
astern of B.C. Line.
At 4.45 approx. the destroyers from the van delivered an
The 1st Div. closed the enemy line, but owing to the position
they had come from and the van destroyers attaching from
ahead, it was impossible for the attack to get home.
" Lion " hoisted "destroyers recall," and all destroyers
returned ahead of B.C.S.
At 5 p.m. B.C.S. turned to N.W. and destroyers passed
under their stern, and took station on the disengaged side of the
5th B.S., who were engaging the enemy to starboard.
Division again came under a heavy fire, but no damage was
At 0.30 p.m. Division joined up with " Champion " and
13th Flotilla.
At 7.30 approx. " Champion " turned to South and division
took station on her port beam. Speed, 15 knots.
At 11.30. Fire was opened on the Flotilla by about 4 heavy
ships, who appeared to be 4,000 yards on our port beam.
Searchlights were trained on the flotilla, and heavy firing
continued. H.M.S. " Turbulent " being sunk.
Speed was increased to 20 knots and course altered away
from heavy ships, gradually being altered to round ahead of
them to the S.W.
Speed was increased to 25 knots and course S.W. and W. till
H.M.S. " Liberty " kept close station on " Lydiard " so as
not to lose her.
At daylight. 1st Division not having enough oil left to
continue, returned to base to oil arriving alongside oiler at
7.30 p.m.
At 1.30 a.m. division proceeded to sea to meet B.C.S. and
escort them in.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

The Vice-Admiral,

Battle Cruiser Fleet
(through Com. T.).


Moorsom submitted her report on 9 June.[8]

I HAVE the honour to report that " Moorsom " under
orders of " Lydiard " left Queensferry at 9.35 p.m., 30th May,.
in company with 2nd B.C.S.
At 3.25 p.m., 31st May, Enemy was sighted bearing E. by N.
2nd B.C.S. took station astern of 1st B.C.S. and 9th Flotilla
(which included 10th) were ordered to take station ahead of
" Lion."
" Moorsom " took station with 13th Flotilla ahead of " Lion."
At 4.10 p.m destroyers were ordered to attack enemy with
" Moorsom " attacked with the leading division of 13th
Flotilla; but torpedoes were not then fired, ,as enemy destroyers
attacked simultaneously, and to engage them made position for
torpedo attack bad.
When enemy destroyers had been driven off, Battle Cruisers
had turned 16 points and enemy's Battle Fleet was coming up
astern of their Battle Cruisers. Torpedo attack was made on
van of Battle Fleet, two torpedoes being fired.
Ship was shortly afterwards hit aft, but no immediate damage
to fighting efficiency was done.
A second torpedo attack on Battle Fleet was then carried
out, two torpedoes being fired.
" Moorsom " then rejoined " Lydiard," who was with
Capt. " D," 13th Flotilla, on disengaged side of 5th B.S.
No further active part was taken in the action, ship returned
to base at 10.15 p.m. in accordance with orders from " Lydiard,"
as oil fuel was short owing to damage to oil tanks aft.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

The Commodore " T,"

H.M.S. " Carysfort."


Morris submitted her report on 1st June.[9]

I HAVE the honour to report that on 31st May 1916 when
attached to the 2nd Division of the 9th Flotilla (" Moorsom,"
" Morris," and " Laurel "), screening the Battle Cruisers, I
sighted the German Battle Cruisers (five ships) bearing East by
North at 3.35 p.m., G.M.T. As soon as the 1st and 2nd Battle
Cruiser Squadrons formed line ahead, I increased to full speed
to join the " Moorsom."
At 3.50 p.m., G.M.T., action was joined between the British
and German Battle Cruisers. I was then, owing to the position
I had been in when acting as submarine screen, one mile astern
of the " Moorsom," on the engaged side of the 1st Battle Cruiser
Squadron, and steering S. 64° E.
By the time I had drawn ahead to the beam of H.M.S. " Lion,"
I observed German Destroyers making an attack on our Battle
Cruisers. I turned to Port and engaged those nearest me, one
of which was sunk and two disabled. The Enemy Destroyers
were driven off and did not get within torpedo range of our
Battle Cruisers.
Shortly before the end of this Destroyer action, I came
within torpedo range of the Enemy Battle Cruisers, but could
not fire my torpedoes owing to my range being fouled by our
own destroyers. I did not again get within torpedo range of the
On rejoining H.M.S. " Moorsom " after the destroyer action,
we were on the disengaged quarter of our Battle Cruisers with
H.M.S. " Champion " and about 20 to 30 Destroyers of other
Flotillas. We took no further active part in the engagement.
H.M.S. " Moorsom," having been hit, returned to the Base
at 10.15 p.m., after which I remained with the 9th Flotilla led
by H.M.S. " Lydiard " for the remainder of the night.

Details on recommendation, personnel &c. omitted from the Report
as reproduced in the
Official Despatches.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
Lieutenant Commander.

Captain (D.),

10th Flotilla.


  1. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 253-4.
  2. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. Plate 21.
  3. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. Plate 22.
  4. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 254-5, Plates 21 and 22. I have taken small liberties in formatting the report.
  5. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 256.
  6. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 257-8.
  7. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 258-9.
  8. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 259-60.
  9. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 260-1.