Diary of Alec S. Tempest

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The Diary of Alec S. Tempest (1899-1978), signal boy aboard H.M.S. Lion from 20 May 1915 through 26 April, 1919 can be found at the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum as MSS/84/187.3

It was purchased by the Museum in 1984 and contains some photographs and copies of speeches, signal traffic between the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet from 15 November to 2 December 1918, and a concert programme for 4 June 1915. A cap ribbon that was also purchased was sent to the Museum's relics department. At the end of the diary, a few orders of battle were written down with pages torn out near them. As a result, only one labelled as being for the Battle Cruiser Force in January 1917 has enough context to be useful. Its data is reflected in the pages for the formations described.

The diary's entries run daily from 20 May to 23 August, 1915, and then becomes more sparse in their flow. They carry through to 26 April, 1919.

Inside Cover

If found please return to A.S. Tempest Siglm. 47 Mess H.M.S. Lion or 37 Hunslett Road Leeds. If not able to do so please destroy with great thoroughness. AST


Alec S. Tempest
Sig Boy.
45 Mess
H.M.S Lion
Battle Cruiser
c/o G.P.O.
May 20th 1915

Home Address
37 Hunslett Rd

May 1915

May 20th 15.
Scapa Flow
Calibrating in Hoxa Sound 13.5". 34 charge & sub-calibre firing

May 21st 15
10-55 AM
Weighed & proceeded out of the Flow, picked up the escort of 3 destroyers near the outer gate, very thick fog outside. parted company with destroyers speed 23 knots course SE.

May 22nd.
Held up by fog outside Bridge nearly took a lump out of Inch Kieth, [sic] waited below bridge till 9.30 proceeded up the harbour, went into action with collier Agnes Duncan[1] 720 tons finished 1.30

May 23rd.
In Rosyth Harbour nothing doing. Sunday's Routine.

May 24th & 25th
In Rosyth, wearing of Jerseys discontinued. nothing else doing.

May 26th
2.30 AM Iron Duke arrived Rosyth flying flag of C in C Grand Fleet.

May 27th
Rosyth. nothing doing.

May 28th
12.10, Iron Duke shoved off to rejoin G.F.

May 29th 15
Rosyth, 11.30 PM weighed & proceeded out to sea in company with 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S. & Fearless & 20 destroyers.

May 30th 15
At Sea, very rough sea, heavy swells,

May 31st
1.30 AM Arrived in harbour moored by 3.15 AM, 5.0AM commenced coaling 800 tons; finished 9.30 AM.

June 1915

June 1st.
Rosyth. Ordinary Routine.

June 2nd
Liverpool & Yarmouth arrived. reported Submarine sighted off Fair Is[2]

June 3rd
Court Martial of Chief Gunner Mitchel, Capt of Galatea president.[3]

June 4th 15
Rosyth. Ordinary Routine.

June 5th 15
Trawler Hawke reported sinking a German submarine off Peterhead[.] Destroyer Unity coming into harbour with crew consisting in all of 25 prisoners.

June 6th 15
German Submarine sank 3 trawlers by gunfire.

June 7th
Rosyth. Ordinary Routine.

June 8th

June 9th

June 10th

June 11th
10.30 PM, proceeded to Sea

June 12th
At Sea steering North[.] Did 4" night firing at midnight.

June 13th
Carried out Battle practice No 1, Blue fleet consisting of B.C.F. 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S. 2nd & 7th C.S. versus Red fleet :– 1st 2nd 3rd & 4th Battle Squadrons[4] including Iron Duke, Benbow, Queen E. & Warspite, Calibrated 13.5" guns each ship firing 8 rounds

June 14th
Carried out Battle practice No 2, Blue F :– B.C.F. 2nd C.S. 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S. Fearless Broke & 1st flotilla destroyers versus Red F. :– 1st 2nd & 4th B.S. 7th C.S. & flotillas of Destroyers, 1 seaplane with each Fleet. 10 AM negative P.Z. 2[.] steerd South 20 Knots.

June 15th
6.30 AM, Sighted May Isle also sighted submarine which fired torpedo. torpedo passing under stern, Southampton also reported sighting a submarine off Starb Bow.
10.30 AM commenced coaling 1820 tons. Finished 7.30 PM

June 16th
Rosyth. Ordinary Routine. Duck cap covers & caps worn

June 17th
Rosyth. Harbour Routine.

Jun 18th

Jun 19th

June 20th
Harbour Routine.

June 21st
Roxburgh struck by torpedo off May Isle escorted in by Botha Fearless & 1st flotilla of destroyers with slight list to starboard.

June 22nd
Usual Routine

June 23rd

June 24th

June 25th
Princess Royal left for Cromarty

June 26th
Roxburgh escorted by Inconstant & 2 destroyers sailed.

June 27th
Inflexible joined B.C.F.
Indomitable rejoined " " "
Collier Agnes Duncan came alongside 5 AM commenced 5.30 finishes 7.45 amount 390 tons

June 28th
Rosyth. Harbour Routine.

June 29th
Dominion sailed. Caroline arrived

June 30th
Harbour Routine.

July 1915

July 1st
1.AM Princess Royal arrived, coaled 850 tons
7.45 PM Indefatigable sailed to refit & give leave. Pay down 1 £ book nipped[5]

July 2nd
Harbour Routine.

July 3rd
Sunday Routine.

July 4th
7.40 Submarine reported inside outer gate trying to force through inner gate, mann[sic] & arm picket boats & chase, boats away all night returned next morning nothing to report. got nets out 10.30 PM.

July 5th
8.30 AM Boats returned
1.40 PM Got nets in

July 6th
Harbour Routine.

July 7th
Archbishop of York came on board. book apprehended.[6]

July 8th
Archbishop of York gave an open air Service in Rosyth Dockyard[.] thousands of sailors assembled to hear him speak. Lost 2/-

July 9th
Hibernia & Hindustan sailed. Exercise Action Stations

July 10th 15
5.45 AM commenced coaling. 400 tons. 7.5 AM finished. Agnes Duncan.

July 11th
10.PM Weighed & proceeded to Sea in company with 1st 2nd & 3rd B.C.S. 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S. Neg Galatea.

July 12th 15
At Sea. very calm water[.] fine weather.

July 13th
Arrived Rosyth 4 AM moored[.] Australia proceeded to Cromarty
6AM commenced coaling 805 tons finished 9 AM.

July 14th 15
Harbour Routine.

July 15th
Hibernia & Zealandia arrived.

July 16th
Harbour Routine.

July 17th
Indefatigable arrived.

July 18th
Q. Mary sailed

July 19th 15
Harbour Routine.

July 20th 15
Harbour Routine.

July 21st 15
Harbour Routine.
Britannia, I, [illegible][7]

July 22nd 15
Dominion arrived.

July 23rd 15
Harbour Routine.

July 24th 15
Went sailing in cutters[.] left high & dry outside Bridge[.] waited for turn of tide. aboard 10.15.

July 25th
Sundays Routine.

26th & 27th July
Harbour Routine.

28th July
3.30AM Australia arrived
8.30PM 2nd B.C.S. sailed

29th July
Harbour Routine

30th July
6.0AM[8] coaled, 325 tons[.] Agnes Duncan

31st July
3.30 AM, 2nd BCS arrived

August 1915

1st Aug 15
Dominion sailed.

2nd Aug 15
Queen Mary arrived

3rd Aug 15
Harbour Routine

4th Aug 15

5th Aug 15
Albemarle & Russel[sic] sailed

6th Aug
Harbour Routine
8. Indomitable sailed

7th Aug
Harbour Routine

8th Aug
1st & 2nd L.C.S. sailed

9th Aug
Botha & 1st Div Destroyers sailed

10th Aug
1st & 2nd L.C.S. Botha & Destroyers arrived

11th Aug.
Harbour Routine.

12th Aug
Hostile Submarine reported in Forth, mann[sic] & arm picket boars, search for Submarine, nothing reported

13th Aug
Harbour Routine.

14th Aug

15th Aug

16th Aug
3.30 AM KE[9] & 3rd BS sailed.
1.30 PM 1st LCS negative Inconstant, sailed
5.0[10] Albemarle & Russel[sic] arrived.

17th Aug
Harbour Routine.

18th Aug
9.30 PM, Weighed & proceeded to sea incompany with 1st BCS & 3rd L.C.S. & destroyer[s?].
1.AM Forester & Archer reported in collision[.] Forester taken in tow seriosly[sic] damaged.

19th Aug
At Sea, Heavy seas.
9 PM night firing 4" guns

20th Aug
Sub-calibre firing & 34 charge firing. sighted Whale

21st Aug
Arrived Scapa Flow 5 AM commenced coaling 1280 tons, ran two torpedoes lost one, also sub-calibre firing. 5.PM Empress of India sailed

11.45 AM sailed from Scapa Flow.

23rd Aug 15
4.15 AM arrived Rosyth[.] coaled 600 tons, A. Duncan. 23rd to 10th Harbour Routine

September 1915

Sep 9th 15
Cable parted 11.15 AM sent for tugs, let go sheet anchor & sent to PR for a sheet anchor

Sep 10th
5.45 Weighed & proceeded to Sea in company with 1st & 3rd BCS 1st & 3rd L.C.S. Fearless Botha & 1st flotilla.

Sep 11th
4.30 AM, Action stations enemy reported. report unfounded, supposed enemy ships 5th L.C.S.

Sep 12th 15
4. AM, Anchored Rosyth report from Fearless of having rammed H.M. destroyer Hydra both badly damaged.
6.AM coaled, received 1320 tons from Askside[.][11] finished 10.30 AM.

Sep 19th
Coaled 430 tons 1 hr 15 mins.

October 1915

Oct 1st 15
Coaled 370 tons. discontinued wearing duck caps

Oct 15th
Coaled 420 tons, Agnes.D.

Oct 19th
8.PM Proceeded to sea in company with 1st BCS. & 2 divisions of destroyers

Oct 21st[12]
Arrived Scapa Flow. Coaled 950 tons.

Oct 22.
Proceeded to sea at 6.AM[.] did firing (13.5") in Moray Firth.

Oct 14th[13]
8 ?M[14] arrived Rosyth[.] coaled 850 tons.

November 1915

Nov 6th 15
11.45 AM Proceeded to Sea in company with 1st BCS Fearless & 12 destroyers.
3.30 PM sub-calibre firing

Nov 7th
At Sea.

Nov 8th
9.AM Arrived Rosyth coaled 1350 tons finished 3 PM

Nov 24th
Sailed 9 AM arrived at Newcastle 3.30 PM proceeded into dock & on leave for 6 days.

December 1915

Dec 1st
Arrived Rosyth coaled 600 tons

January 1916

Jan 5th 16
Sailed in company with 1st 2nd & 3rd BCS & 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S.

Jan 6th
did 4 inch firing very rough weather,

Jan 7th
PZ with 3rd BCS as Blue Fleet.

Jan 8th
More PZ & range keeping exercise arrived Rosyth 10.30 PM

Jan 9th
Coaled 1610 tons Agnes Duncan[.] average 355[15]

Jan 29th 16
Sailed in company with 1st BCS Falmouth Yarmouth Southampton Nottingham & Birkenhead & 16 destroyers, did sub-calibre firing 50 rounds per gun.

Jan 30th 16
Arrived Cromarty 11.30 AM coaled 540 tons from collier Vittoria.[16]

Jan 31st
9 AM 13.5" firing in Firth saw remains of Natal.

February 1916

Feb 1st
Left Cromarty in company with Beaver & Jackal arrived Scapa Flow 6.10 PM

Feb 2nd 16
Left Scapa 3.30 PM very rough Sea[.] steered South

Feb 3rd 16
At Sea, arrived Rosyth 5.10 coaled 605 tons

Feb 11th 16
11.30 Proceeded to Sea in company with 1st 2nd & 3rd BCS 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S. Botha & 18 destroyers & 3rd B.S. steam for full speed at midnight.

Feb 12th
Heard of sinking of Arabis Minesweeper by enemy Torpedo craft. Steamed south as far as Heligoland & then Zig Zagged across North Sea on a North Westerly course.

Feb 13th
8 AM arrived Rosyth coaled 900 tons Agnes Duncan.

Sat Feb 26th
12.20 PM Proceeded to sea in company with 1st 2nd & 3rd BCS & 1st 6th L.C.S. & 3rd LCS.

Sun Feb 27th
Rendezvoused with Battle Fleet & went through PZ exercise[.] sea rough.

Feb 28th
9.30 AM arrived Rosyth coaled 990 tons Agnes Duncan.

March 1916

March 19th
Heard news of H joining RN[17]

March 28th[18]
Heard news of H's rejection.[19]

March 24th
Proceeded to sea in company with BCF

March 25th
Hands at action stations sighted Reef horns light vessel off coast of Heligoland. Medusa in collision with Laverock & badly damaged[.] Lightfoot reported engaging enemy's aircraft steamed off Mouth of Heligoland Bight[.] no signs of enemy. Steered North at night[,] received news of enemy forces out so turned south again & one of our LCs rammed an enemy torpedo boat.

March 26th[20]
Enemy's forces returned to bases & we returned to harbour.

March 27th
Arrived Rosyth[.] coaled 1760 tons.

April 1916

April 15th
left Rosyth in company with 1st BCS & 4 desrs.

April 16th
Arrived Scap Flow 5.AM coaled 770 tons collier Moyle

April 17th
aiming rifle & sub-calibre

April 18th

April 19th
Ran torpedoes & Battle practice firing 34 charges & night firing.

April 20th
Coaled 620 tons. night firing

April 21st
ran torpedoes.
8 PM Proceeded to Sea in company with 1st BCS & 1st LCS

April 22nd
joined up with 2nd & 3rd BCS & 2nd & 3rd LCS with destroyers[.] steered South.
4 PM enveloped in dense fog decreased to 10 knots[.] Australia & New Zealand reported in collision[,] ordered to return to base escorted by Acheron Ariel Archer Attack.

April 23rd
3.AM fog lifting, Admiralty message received Abandon operations & return to base.
4.AM altered course to N 75 W
9.AM reports coming in of destroyers in collision[.] Ardent taken in tow to Tyne River & Christopher, Fortune, badly damaged. our speed 2112
7 PM arrived Rosyth coaled 1020

April 24th
10 PM sailed in company with BCF steam for full speed.

April 25th
Lightfoot reported sighting enemy & giving chase but were forced to retire owing to superior enemy forces, we increased to 24 knot but were unable to overtake enemy.

April 26
9.AM return to base[.] coaled 850 tons. Invincible rammed by patrol yacht.

May 1916 & Battle of Jutland

3rd May
2.30 AM Proceeded to sea with BCF. 10.30 AM ordered 2 LCS to proceed to a certain position & search for Zeppelin reported in difficulties. searched area[.] report blank.

4th May
10AM Zeppelin reported by Falmouth steering South.
1020 ordered 1st LCS to chase her, Galatea reported Zeppelin brought down by gunfire from Galatea & Phaeton. Submarine E 29 took 7 of her crew placed a bomb on board her & blew her up.

5th May
Returned to Rosyth & coaled 1250 tons

30th May 1916
Proceeded to sea in company with 1st & 2nd BCS negative Australia[.] 1st 2nd & 3rd LCS 5th BS neg Q.E. Engadine & 1st 9th & 13th flotillas Champion & Fearless

3.30 PM Engadine report sighting strange Battle Cruisers sent Seaplane up to investigate[.]
3.40 Galatea reported engaging enemy.
3.45 New Zealand reports enemy bearing SW
Altered course to S.W. 25 knots[.] enemy sighted, 6 Battle cruisers[21]
3.50 PM opened fire
5.10. Q. Mary blew up[.] magazine exploding[,] 14 hands saved by destroyer, enemy suffering very severely from our fire. 4 leadmost ships firing at Lion who was leading ship. 1 of enemies[sic] Battle cruisers sinking[.]
6.30 ordered destroyers to attack with torpedoeswhich was done successfully, Lion fired 7 torpedoes resulting in two hits on different ships.
Indefatigable blew up sank in five minutes[.] 5th Battle Squadron appeared & opened fire with there[sic] 15 inch guns inflicting very heavy damage on enemy's Battle Fleet, just joined at this time the remaining Battle Cruisers were engaging the whole German High Sea Fleet & began to suffer from their fire about this time Lion got an unlucky shot in one of her turrets which blew off the roof of the turret & killed 71 marines, the whole of the turrets crew including the Major, Chaplain, Gunner & Mids.
6.20 PM enemy made a destroyer attack with torpedoes[.] about 9 destroyers, the attack was repulsed by Galatea & 1st LCS resulting in the sinking of 6 enemy torpedo boats.
6.30 one of enemies large cruisers (Helgoland class) dropped astern & destroyer Onslow attacked & sunk her with torpedo[.]
6.50 Invincible blew up & broke completely in half[,] both ends showing above water[.] 5 survivors picked up by destroyer Badger.
7.PM 1st C.S. Defence class. appeared & opened terrific fire on enemy, later the Grand Fleet appeared & the 2nd BS Flagship Orion detached themselves from remainder & attacked enemy,[22] we altered course to NE & chased, reported two Battle cruisers in sinking condition 1 of which, Lutzow 15" guns was torpedoed by Dublin? remainder probably gone down, just before dark sighted enemy battle ship & fired salvo at her which completely smashed her in half. seen by several persons in Lion.[23] during night our destroyers made night attack on enemy resulting in loss of one of enemies largest cruisers & one of our destroyers[,] Turbulent.
next day engaged in digging out bodies from wreckd turrets, buried them at 5.30 PM that night[,] 105 bodies.
2nd June arrived at Rosyth. Tiger & P. Royal && Southampton went into dock[.] we coaled, Engadine arrived reported having left Warrior with the most part of her upper deck awash had to abandon her after taking off her crew. During night of 31st a submarine was rammed & sunk by Lion.[24]

June 1916

June 3rd
Following general signal made by VABCF, following telegram received from C in C GF. ["]Please accept my sincere congratulations on the action of the forces under your command under the difficult & disadvantageous conditions of light which existed for you. Your ships inflicted very severe damage to the enemy. Words cannot express my deep sympathy with relatives & friends of the gallant officers & friendsMEN who have done under." VA Beatty adds. "I wish to add my own congratulations to those of our Commander-in-chief & my great sympathy with relatives & friends of those who died so gloriously. I am even prouder than ever of my command[.] No Admiral could wish to be better served. I thank you.

August 1916

August 5th
Proceeded to sea in company with 1st & 2nd BCS neg Indom 3rd L.C.S Gabriel & 9 destroyers

Aug 6th
1.PM arrived Scapa Flow & were given a rousing reception by all ships in harbour, cheering & bands playing, coaled 450

Aug 7th 16
10AM 1" aiming rifle
2PM sub Calibre

Aug 8th
3.PM Torpedo running
11.PM Tested new device in searchlight(s?)

Aug 9th
Witnessed Hercules experimenting with kite balloons & Abdiel at minelaying experiments

August 10th 16
Weather too bad for anything

Aug 11th
A few rounds of sub calibre.

August 12th
Weather too foggy for firing

August 13th
1.0AM, 4inch & sub calibre night firing,
6.AM 4in practice, 8 rounds per gun.

August 14th
Weather unfavourable for firing

Aug 15th
Weather too bad for firing

Aug 16th
11:45AM proceeded to Cantick Head & carried out full calibre firing[,] 4 round per gun
5.45.PM proceeded to sea in company with 1st & 2nd BCS negative Indomitable, 3rd LCS Gabriel & 10 destroyers.

Aug 17th
10.40AM arrived Rosyth.

August 18th
2.40PM. proceeded to sea in company with 1st & 2nd BCS negative Indomitable, 1st 2nd & 3rd L.C.S. Champion Gabriel 1st & 13th flotilla & Engadine.

August 19th
6.40AM. Chatham reports Nottingham torpedoed sinking condition, Dublin reports submarine fired five torpedoes three hitting Nottingham one just missed Dublin. Survivors:- Capt[,] 20 officers & 375 men picked up by Penn & Oracle total complement about 400, survivors taken xxxxxxx to Newcastle.
2..45PM. Joined up with 5 B.S. grand fleet 12 miles astern,
3.0 PM Zeppelins sighted off our port beam, following us about 30 miles astern xxxxxxx.
5.40 PM Falmouth reports struck by torpedo, steering gear out of action & fore compartments flooded proceeding under her own steam, another explosion blew her stern off & she sank within half a mile of harbour[.] one man killed by explosion.

Aug 21st 16.
Armed yaght[sic] 'Ermans'[25] reports engaged Zeppelin numerous hits observed, Zepp disappeared in a shower very badly damaged.

Aug 22nd 16
Submarine E 23 reports having torpedoed German battleship of Nassau class

Aug 29th 16
Airship C 16 came down on water of(sic) St Abbs Head towed into harbour by |TB 26.
Collingwood arrived at Rosyth for docking.

Aug 29th Submarine G 4 came alongside Lion with a view to familiarising officers & men with a modern submarine.

30th 16
9.AM Oracle reports having lost man overboard who was drowned

September 1916

Sept. 3rd
Commodore T reports, engaged 3 Zeppelins with my destroyers & damaged two.

Sept 6th 16
1.45AM Lion Pelican Goshawk & Pheonix[sic] sailed, passed 2nd B.C.S. 2 L.C.S. & 12 destroyers on way to Rosyth
7.45AM, Lion Pelican & Goshawk arrived off Tyne, Pheonix returned to Rosyth,

Sept 7th
Proceeded on Leave.

Friday Sept 15, 1916
Heard I was awarded D.S.M. for services rendered on May 31st.

Sept 23rd 16
12.AM Sailed from Tyne in company with Marlborough Pelican & Nicator
4.30. Altered course 16 points just in time to prevent us from striking enemy mines. 8 were exploded in area whilst we were there. 3 within 300 yrds of ship.
9.PM arrived Rosyth.

Sept 24th
4.AM ammunitioned ship
4PM Coaled ship 1000 tons[.] Cinematograph films were taken during progress of work

Sept 30th 16
10.40AM sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st & 2nd B.C.S. 2nd L.C.S & 13 destroyers Heavy swell on, airship C 22 maneovring[sic] with fleet until 3.30PM when she returned to base.
10.45PM, saw Aurora Borealis or Northern lights.

October 1916

Oct 1st 16
Srrived Scapa-Flow, new Battle Cruiser 'Repulse' doing gun trials.

Oct 2nd
AM 1" aiming rifle practice
PM sub calibre firing, range keeping

Oct 3rd
anchored in calibration berth but wind too high for calibrating, target broke adrift & went on rocks, lost kedge anchor.
4PM lost bower anchor with 8 shackles of cable.

Oct 4th 16
9.45AM, calibrating full charge 6 rounds per gun

Oct 5th 16
Recovered Bower anchor, diver belonging to mooring lighter lost his life through coming to the service[sic] in too big a hurry & contracted caisson disease[26] which is slow death.
4.15P.M Sub calibre firing went away in towing drifter
6.40PM. 4inch night firing.

Oct 6th 16 coaled ship 580 tons. 3.0PM ran torpedoes(sic) with Indomitable.
4.30, exercised destroyer attack with Gabriel & 4 destroyers, two torpedoes hit Lion. 4 day action firing

Oct 7th 16
Carried out full calibre 13.5 target practice, obtained rather good results.
6.45PM, Proceeded to sea with remainder of BCF.

Oct 8th
At sea. Rough weather[.] Onslow lost two men overboard[.] Moresby developed engine troubles

Oct 9th
Arrived Rosyth, coaled 1000 tons

Oct 29th

Oct 31st 16
4.45PM Proceeded to sea in company with remainder of Battle Cruiser Fleet, 5.30[.] Passed Patrician & Petard[,] the latter taking the former in tow as she has been in collision with trawler & was badly damaged.

November 1916

November 1st.
Did P.Z.s with B.C.F 2nd BCS & 2nd LCS representing enemy, very rough sea

November 2nd 16
P.Z. exercises with B.C.F. Battle Cruisers sent up paper balloons to practice with high angle guns. Nicator returnes[sic] to harbour condenser leaking badly[.] Moresby reports bridge rails very badly bent[,] cannot steam more than 12 knots head to seas.
12.30AM altered course for Rosyth, sea rather smoother.

Nov 10th
Repulse joined up with B.C.F

Nov 14th
Courageous joined up.

Nov 28th
Admiral Beatty appointed Comdr(sic) in Chief Grand Fleet[.] Admiral Jellicoe First Lord of Admiralty

December 1916

Dec 9th
Sailed from Rosyth 1st B.C.S. 2nd B.C.S 1st LCS.

Dec 10th
8.AM arrived Scapa Flow coaled, 650 tons

Dec 11th
1" aiming rifle practice day & night.

Dec 12th
1 inch aiming rifle, Sub calibre firing

Dec 13th
Sub calibre, 4"inch night firing

Dec 14th
4" day firing, 6 rounds per gun

Dec 15th
Ran three torpedoes attained very good results. One hit Indom.

Dec 16th
Coaled 500 tons collier Nilton?Nillon?Lifton?

Dec 17th
Sailed from Scapa 10.30AM with 1st BCS, 2nd BCS & Renown. 3.15 arrived Cromarty.

Dec 18th
Carried out full calibre firing with remainder of Battle Cruisers & 1st L.C.S. Proceeded back to Scapa, arrived 3.30PM coaled 350 tons.

Dec 19th
3.15PM[28] sailed from Scapa with Grand Fleet & remainder of Battle Cruiser Fleet

Dec 21st
9.AM commenced PZ exercise ie (Battle Practice) very heavy seas. 4th Battle Squadron enemy fleet.
2.30PM negative P.Z.

Dec 21st[29]
Midnight. much material damage done to ship. Had to put about to batten down hatches on forecastle ordered remainder of ships to proceed ahead without us

Dec 21st
3.0PM arrived Rosyth coaled 1000[.] heard of sinking of Negro by Hoste, 38 survivors out of 80.

January 1917

Jan 13th 1917
7.30PM sailed from Rosyth in company with Battle Cruiser Fleet. Negative Tiger Repulse Courageous, 5th B.S & Iron Duke[.] P.R. lost her bearings & had to anchor again

Jan 14th
Rendezvoused with Grand Fleet & proceeded South East. Report that we had captured a German convoy consisting of 6 ships laden with wheat. Champion reported passed wreck of Danish steamer

Jan 15th
4.30AM arrived Rosyth[,] coaled 910 tons.

Jan 22nd
Carried out full speed trial[,] worked up to 28 knots, fired live torpedoes, carried out sub-calibre firing.

Jan 30th
Sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st & 2nd BCS neg P.R. & Renown.

Jan 31st
arrived Scapa Flow, coaled 825 tons from collier Constantine

February 1917

Feb 1st
2nd B.S. arrived.

Feb 2nd
Proceeded to Pentland Firth for range-keeping exercise with Tiger at full speed.

Feb 3rd.
Carried out exercise with submarines J 1 & J 2, 4 torpedoes fired by each submarine

Feb 5th
Proceeded to Pentland Firth & carried out range taking with Repulse.

Feb 6th
Coaled ship 480 tons.

Feb 7th
Carried out night firing full & sub-calibre in company with Battle Cruisers.

Feb 9th.
2.30 proceeded to sea in company Battle Cruisers[,] 2nd LCS[,] Champion & destroyers[,] Engadine & Manxman, Carried out High angle firing with balloons.

Feb 10th
Arrived Rosyth. Coaled 700 tons.

Feb 16th
Queen Elizabeth & Iron Duke sailed

Feb 22nd
Submarine minelayer sunk by H.M.S Trident off Blyth.

Feb 28th
Submarine sunk by T.B.D 2 miles S.W of May Island.

March 1917

March 13th Proceeded on leave.

March 21st
Returned from leave.

March 22nd
Coaled ship 300 tons

March 23rd
Sailed in company with BCF

March 24th
Arrived Scapa Flow after carrying out Battle tactical exercises with Grand Fleet.

March 25th
Coaled 1350 tons, collier Kyleskin.[30]

March 28th
Carried out 12 aiming rifle practice & sub-calibre firing
PM 4" full calibre night firing

April 1917

April 2nd 1917
Carried out sub-calibre & 4" full calibre in Flow.

April 4th 1917
Carried out 13.5" full calibre practice splendid results.

April 6th
Sailed from Scapa in company with 1st & 2nd BCS 3rd LCS, Q.E. & Glorious. Submarine sunk by Trawler "Sprightly" off Pentlands.

April 7th
Arrived Rosyth. Coaled 500tons.

April 28th 1917
Sailed in company with 1st & 2nd BCS Champion Gabriel & destroyers to support 1st LCS & Manxman.

April 29th
Hands stationed at action stations all day Manxman making air-raid with 1st L.C.S Manxman responds Flight Comdr[sic] Rutland missing.

April 30th
8.0 arrived Rosyth. Coaled 1300 tons Agnes Duncan

May 1917

May 17th 1917
Sailed from Rosyth with 1st B.C.S. & Glorious, 1st L.C.S. Champion & 9 destroyers.

May 18th
Arrived Scapa Flow. Coaled ship. 650 tons.

May 19th
Sailed from Scapa in company with 1st BCS & 4th L.C.S.

May 20th
Rendezvoused with C in C GF & carried out Battle tactical exercises. Experimented with destroyers & Light Cruisers smoke-screen, also experiments with smoke-shells fired by Revenge class.

May 21st
arrived Scapa coaled 1330 tons.

May 22nd
Under-way in flow, sub-calibre & 4" full calibre day firing sub calibre night firing

July 1917

July 16th
Proceeded to sea in company with BCF, submarines & 3 airships. Rendezvoused with Grand Fleet & carried out battle tactical exercises.

July 17th.
Returned to Rosyth with Grand Fleet, 1st 2nd & 4th BS & QE anchored inside bridge[,] BCF & 13th Flotilla outside Bridge also Campania Fearless Engadine Manxman & 8 K boats. Coaled ship 690 tons

August 1917

August 20th
sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st BCS Champion & 6 destroyers.

August 21st
At sea. Zeppelin brought down by naval airplane carried by HMS Yarmouth. No survivors. Arrived Scapa Flow 8.10P.M. coaled ship 935 tons.

August 23rd
Carried out 4" & sub-calibre firing night attack by destroyers.

August 24th
Full calibre firing 13.5" good results. Coaled ship.

August 25th
Torpedo running with new practice heads.

August 27
4" full charge firing.

August 28th
Sailed in company with 1st B.C.S. Champion & 7 destroyers.

August 29th
Arrived Rosyth coaled 930 tons.

September 1917

Sept 4th
Sailed in company with 1st BCS Champion 1st LCS Pegasus & destroyers, steamed off the enemy coast for several hours nothing sighted returned to base, coaled 1320 tons.

Sept 9th
Sailed in company with same ships carried out same operations

Sept 16th
Sailed with BCF & whole of G.F.

Sept 17th
Carried out Battle tactical exercises with G.F.

Sept 18th
Arrived Rosyth negative GF coaled 1000 tons.

November 1917

Nov. 1st
Sailed in company with 1st B.C.S. Champion & 6 destroyers & 6th L.C.S.

Nov. 2nd
Off the entrance to the Cattegat supporting 6th L.C.S. & destroyers who attacked a German auxiliary Cruiser & &[sic] 10 armed patrol boats[,] sinking the lot.

Nov. 3rd
Arrived Scapa Flow coaled 1340 tons.
8P.M. sailed with 3rd LCS Champion & destroyers.

Nov 4th
Off the coast of Norway & the Northern entrance to the Baltic keeping the roads clear for large convoys.

Nov. 5th
Patrolling same area, very rough sea, sent the destroyers back to base.

Nov 6th
Arrived Rosyth coaled 1490 tons

Nov 6th
One day in harbour. Repulse undocked, Renown docked.

Nov 7th
Embarked aeroplanes & proceeded to sea with 1st B.C.S. Furious 2nd LCS Champion & 9 destroyers Ithuriel & 4 submarines.

Nov 8th.
At sea, very quiet, sea moderate. Escorted large convoy of about 30 or 40 large ships.

Nov 9th
Arrived Rosyth 1960 tons coal.

Nov 10th
Proceeded to sea with BCF & 5th B.S. at action stations from May Island.

Nov 11th
Chasing enemy Battle Cruisers in the mist who had been reported as attempting a raid on Scarboro[sic] which turned out to be false alarm. Returned to Rosyth coaled 600 tons.

Nov 15th
Sailed in company with BCF & 1st B.S. steering for Dogger Bank

Nov 16th
Light Cruisers on Starboard Bow opened fire on three enemy Light Cruisers which were running away at full speed, result of action 1 enemy light cruiser on fire fore & aft & another one dropping astern of remainder very badly damaged, enemy retreated into their minefield in the fog, also they lost one minesweeper of 18 knots & one armed patrol vessel armed with 3 guns from which 22 survivors were picked up. casualties on our side 29 killed & 30 wounded. 4 enemy battle Cruisers came out to assist their light cruisers but when they saw our Battle Cruisers they turned & entered harbour again.

Nov. 18th
Rendezvoused with Grand Fleet & swept South in hopes of finding some enemy ships but nothing doing. Repulse reported that one of her 15" shells caused a terrific explosion onboard the third enemy Light Cruiser.

Nov 19th
Arrived Rosyth coaled 2100 tons.

December 1917

2nd Dec.
On leave. shot myself in hand[,] accident with revolver. 10 days sick ashore.

24th Dec
Returned to ship.

Dec 24th.[31]
Discharged to Queensberry Hospital

Dec 29th
Discharged to Dungavel VAD Hospital.

January 1918

Jan 14th
Rejoined ship.

Jan 15th
Proceeded to sea in company with 1st B.C.S. 5th BS Champion & destroyers.

Jan 16th
Returned to base coaled 700

Jan 17th
Sailed in company with 1st BCS

Jan 19th
Arrived Scapa Flow coaled 1000.

Jan 21st to 25th
Carried out practices as weather permitted, very little done on account of bad weather.

Jan 29th
Carried out full calibre firing (13.5) in Pentland Firth. Tiger hit King Orry with 6" practice shell.

Jan 31st 18
Sailed from Scapa in company with 1st B.C.S. Champion & destroyers 6th L.C.S Campania & Pegasus, we form leading division of Grand Fleet.

February 1918

Feb 1st 1918
Rendezvoused with Grand Fleet[.] Carried out P.Z. exercises AM & PM with Grand Fleet Ithuriel & Submarines, also 2nd BCS. previously joined from South.

Feb, 15 1918
Sailed in company with BCF & 2nd B.S encountered very bad weather as soon as we reached open sea(s?)

Feb 16th
At sea very rough weather, it had been reported that enemy Battleships & B.C. would attempt to raid our country, our presence prevented that & they never turned up.

Feb 17th 1918
Arrived Rosyth coaled 650 tons

March 1918

March 16th.
Sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st B.C.S. Courageous & 1st & 6th L.C.S. Champion & 23 destroyers.

March 17th.
At sea, lovely weather, mine-laying stunt

March 18th.
Arrived Scapa Flow, coaled 1560 tons.

March 20th
Sub-calibre in Flow, night firing 4" in Pentland Firth

March 21st
13.5" full calibre firing in Pentland Firth, accident in after 4" battery resulting in one being killed, 2 seriously & one slightly injured. Coaled 470 tons.

April 1918

April 8th.
Sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st B.C.S Courageous, & 1st & 6th L.C.S. Champion, destroyers Princess Margaret & Angora.

April 9th
At sea, Thick fog, variable

April 10th
Operations abandoned, return to base.

April 11th 1918.
Arrived Rosyth coaled 1530.

April 11th
6.PM Sailed in company with whole of B.C.F.

April 12th
Rendezvoused with Grand Fleet proceeded to Rosyth. Arrived Rosyth 7PM coaled 550 tons

5PM 13th
sailed in company with 1st B.C.S 1st & 6th L.C.S. Courageous & minelayers

14th April.
At sea, proceeding up Skaggerrack(sic) heavy sea

15th April.
Well inside Skaggerrack[sic], 6th L.C.S. 30 miles ahead, mopped up a large number of enemy patrol vessels, taking 111 prisoners, very rough seas, 3.30 altered course for base, Danish coast in sight

16th April 16th.(sic)
Arrived Rosyth 9AM, coaled

April 22nd
Sailed with 1st B.C.S 6th L.C.S. Champion & destroyers.

April 23rd
Rendezvoused with Courageous & 1st B.C.S returned to base, arrived 10PM, coaled 837 tons

April 24th.
Sailed with B.C.F. as preceeding[sic] force to Battleships Force, gunfire heard.

April 25th
Whole forces rendezvoused at 0500 proceeding East. Reported that 5 enemy BCs & 4 L.C.s were out. gave chase nothing more seen.
4PM. Shaped course for base.

April 26th,
Arrived Rosyth coaled 974 tons.

May 1918

May 31st
Sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st B.C.S 2nd LCS & 1st C.S. Champion & destroyers.

June 1918

June 1st.
At sea, enemy seaplane overhead[,] attempted to drop bombs on Lion & Glorious, 6 bombs dropped, plane made off in Westerly direction.
8PM. Shaped course for Rosyth.

June 16th.
Sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st BCS, 6th L.C.S. Champion & destroyers. Minelaying squadron.

June 17th
At sea, nothing to report

Received report from Dutch steamer being chased by German Destroyers altered course accordingly in chase[.?] Proceeded 25 knots, sent up airplane, latter reported 3 cruisers bearing E steering S.
9P.M. Received information ships being chased were Furious & 1st L.C.S Resumed original course.

June 19th
Arrived Scapa Flow coaled 2000

June 21st
carried out full-calibre firing very good results.

June 26th.
Proceed into Pentland Firth to carry out squadron torpedo firing with 1st B.C.S
Wessex & Vancouver in collision resulting in complete smash up of two destroyers & 6 lives lost[.] Torpedo practice abandoned.

June 28th
Carried out squadron torpedo practice.
P.M. Proceeded in support of projected air-raid which was abandoned on account of weather. Shaped course for Rosyth.

June 29th.
Arrived Rosyth, coaled 1100 tons.

August 1918

August 13th
3.30P.M. Sailed in company with 1st BCS. Neg Repulse. Furious, Caroline Comus Constance Champion & destroyers.

Off Danish coast scouting for enemy aircraft, none seen.

Weather too rough for proposed air-raid, returned to base arrived 7.PM coaled 1300 tons

Sunday 20th 1918.
Sailed in company with 1st B.C.S. 13th Flo[32] & Furious, projected air-raid

Monday 21st.
At sea, weather very good.

Tuesday 22nd
Furious sent up reconnaiasance(sic) Planes[,] nothing to report.

Wednesday 23rd
11.30A.M. arrived Rosyth coaled 1450 tons.

Thursday 24th.
Sailed in company with 1st B.C.S. 5th BS 6th & 1st L.C.S & 13th Flot, steamed full speed all day, enemy scouting squadron reported.
4PM, Rendezvoused with 2nd BCS & 3rd L.C.S. Nothing seen that day.

Friday 25th
Steamed in triangle all day in hopes of sighting enemy, ordered by C in C GF to proceed in support of 2nd minelaying squadron (Yanks) Very rough weather.

Saturday 26th
Off Norwegian coast, minelayers sighted, remained in support of them all day, several mines blown up, weather much better.
7P.M. altered course for Rosyth.

Sunday 27th
Arrived Rosyth coaled 1540 tons

November 1918

Monday 11 Nov.
Armistice signed, great rejoicings in harbour.

Saturday 16th
German cruiser Königsberg arrived Rosyth conveying Plenipotentionaries, Admiral Meurer & staff received by Admiral Beatty, all C in Cs demands agreed to by German Admiral, who sends information to Germany to that effect.

Nov 21st 1918
9.30AM rendezvoused with German Fleet, escorted them to Firth of Forth, hauled out of line & let the whole crowd pass, we then steamed in after them, passing each ship individually.
12.30P.M. Anchored surrendered ships east of Inchkeith, proceeded up to our own buoy.

Sunday 24th
sailed from Rosyth in company with 1st B.C.S. Picked up German Battle Cruisers East of Inchkeith proceeded out in following order. Lion, Seydlitz, Moltke, Von der Tann, Hindenburg, Derfflinger, Repulse, Renown, Tiger & P.R. Shaped course for Scapa Flow.

Monday 25th.
Hindenburg hauled out of line & stopped engines, but was hustled on again by Tiger, arrived Scapa 9.30AM

Tuesday 26th.
2nd division Battleships arrived Scapa with German battleships, 2nd L.C.S. with 5 German L.Cs & Verdun & 9 british destroyers escorted 10 German destroyers. Repulse left for Portsmouth

Wednesday 27th
1st Division battleships arrived with Bayern & 3 more German battleships & 4 German Light Cruisers & remainder of German destroyers.

January 1919

Jan 26th 1919.
2nd B.C.S. & 2nd B.C.S.[sic][33] sailed for home ports.

Jan 27th.
2nd Division of 2nd B.S. sailed. Furious, Vindictive & Pegasus sailed.

Jan 28th.
4th BS sailed for home ports.

Jan 31st
Lion & 1st B.C.S sailed.

February 1919

February 1st.
2.30A.M. off Spurn Point.
5.30A.M. " Cromer.
8.0 " " Lowestoft.
10 " " Harwich Feb 2nd
1.15. 1st B.C.S. hauled out of line, Passed Lion & gave us a cheer, we replied, P.R. & Renown parted company & shaped course for Portsmouth. Tiger resumed station astern of Lion.
1.30. off Dover.
10.30. off Spithead.

Feb 3rd.
7.15A.M.Sighted Eddystone Light.
9.20. Passed breakwater fort, secured to number two buoy in sound

Feb 6th
Proceeded on 25 days leave.

March 1919

March 6th
Returned from same.

March 8th
Sailed from Plymouth in company with Tiger, rendezvoused with Renown & P.R. at 2100.

March 10th.
Arrived Scapa Flow, relieved 5th B.S. of guard duty.

March 19th
Capt Davies left Lion.
Capt Tomkinson joined Lion.

April 1919

April 25th.
Mr (Secretary) Daniels, U.S. Navy Department & staff, came onboard Lion on his visit to this portion of the British Fleet & view the interned ships.

April 26th.
Princess Royal sailed for Rosyth for refit.


  1. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 324 of 27 June 1913 shows that S.S. Agnes Duncan, A.K.A. Collier Transport 1, was re-engaged for two years service on 5th July 1913.
  2. Not certain of reading of the last two words.
  3. The date of this makes it likely that the presiding officer was Commodore, Second Class Edwyn S. Alexander-Sinclair
  4. Note that the "3rd" here might be crossed out. It appears likely that the 3rd was not involved, given its absence in the coming day's practice.
  5. The two struck-through words are not certain.
  6. I am not sure I understand this entry, but it seems like it might be loss of a personal item, possibly related to July 1st's entry.
  7. This entry is wedged in, and is not clear.
  8. Time may not be correctly read.
  9. "KE" surely refers to the battleship H.M.S. King Edward VII, flagship of the Third Battle Squadron
  10. Time may be 4.0
  11. Not entirely sure of this supposed collier's name
  12. This is overwritten "22nd" (or vice-versa). Apparently "21st" is correct, given next entry is clearly for the 22nd.
  13. This must mean "24th", but seems to clearly read "14th".
  14. AM and PM are written atop each other.
  15. likely, this means 355 tons/hour
  16. Maybe "Victoria"?
  17. I am unsure what "H" refers to. A relative?
  18. Perhaps this should be "20th", but seems clearly written as "28th"
  19. Oh well.
  20. Date is illegible, but I infer from the two neighbors
  21. In actuality, the enemy had five battlecruisers
  22. While there are many odd mistakes in this account, this false impression is somehow unusual in its detail.
  23. These bold and definite statements are more unusual in that I am not sure they were echoed into any official reports.
  24. This is surely inspired by Lion encountering submerged wreckage as reported by so many British ships that night.
  25. This is hard to make out. We transcribed it as "Ermans", but it might be "Eun Mara", which is the closest yacht we know of to this spelling. See Dittmar & Colledge, p. 149.
  26. In other words, the diver was afflicted by "the bends"
  27. as previously mentioned on September 15th
  28. may be 4.15PM or other - numbers are overwritten.
  29. This does indeed appear to be dated Dec 21st, just as the previous two entries. Any of them may be in error.
  30. Name of collier may be wrong. Kylechin? Kyleshia?
  31. There are indeed two entries dated Dec 24th
  32. presumably, this means the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla
  33. presumably, this should read "2nd B.C.S. & 2nd L.C.S."

See Also