Despatch of Rear-Admiral Christian

World War 1 Naval Combat

World War 1 Naval Combat

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Euryalus, September 28, 1914.

Sir, I have the honour to report that in accordance with your orders a reconnaissance in force was carried out in the Heligoland Bight, on the 28th August, with the object of attacking the enemy's Light Cruisers and destroyers.

The force under my orders (viz., the Cruiser Force, under Rear-Admiral H H Campbell, CVO, Euryalus, Amethyst, first and third Destroyer Flotillas, and the Submarines) took up the positions assigned to them on the evening of the 27th August, and, in accordance with directions given, proceeded during the night to approach the Heligoland bight.

The Cruiser force under Admiral Campbell, with Euryalus (my flagship) and Amethyst, was stationed to intercept any enemy vessels chased to the westward. At 4.30 p.m. on the 28th august these Cruisers, having proceeded to the eastward, fell in with Lurcher and three other Destroyers, and the wounded prisoners in these vessels were transferred in boats to Bacchante and Cressy, which left for the Nore. Amethyst took Laurel in tow, and at 9.30 p.m. Hogue was detached to take Arethusa in tow. This latter is referred to in Commodore R Y Tyrwhitt's report, and I quite concur in his remarks as to the skill and rapidity with which this was done in the dark, with no lights permissible.

Commodore Reginald Y Tyrwhitt was in command of the Destroyer flotillas, and his report is enclosed herewith. his attack was delivered with great skill and gallantry, and he was most ably seconded by Captain William F Blunt in Fearless, and the officers in command of the Destroyers, who handled their vessels in a manner worthy of the best traditions of the British Navy.

Commodore Roger J B Keyes, in Lurcher, had, on the 27th August, escorted some Submarines into positions allotted to them in the immediate vicinity of the enemy's coast. On the morning of the 28th August, in company with Firedrake, he searched the area to the southward of the Battle Cruisers for the enemy's submarines, and subsequently, having been detached, was present at the sinking of the German Cruiser Mainz, when he gallantly proceeded alongside her and rescued 220 of her crew, many of whom were wounded. Subsequently he escorted Laurel and Liberty out of action, and kept them company till Rear-Admiral Campbell's Cruisers were sighted.

As regards the Submarine officers, I would specially mention the names of

(a) Lieutenant-Commander Ernest W Leir. His coolness and resource in rescuing the crews of the Goshawk's and Defender's boats at a critical time of the action were admirable.
(b) Lieutenant-Commander P Talbot. In my opinion, the bravery and resource of the officers in command of Submarines since the war commenced are worthy of the highest commendation.

I have the honour to be, Sir

Your obedient Servant,

A H Christian, Rear-Admiral.

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