Churchill's Minute Regarding The Cressys

World War 1 Naval Combat

World War 1 Naval Combat

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The following minute was published in the volume one of the Official History of the War by Sir Julian Corbett "In view of the criticism passed upon the then First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr Churchill) in connection with the loss of the three "Cressy or "Baccante" cruisers":-

The force available for operations in the narrow seas should be capable of minor action without the need of bringing down the Grand Fleet.  To this end it should have effective support either by two or three battle cruisers or battleships of the Second Fleet working from Sheerness.  This is the most efficiently air and destroyer patrolled anchorage we possess.  They can lie behind the boom, and can be at sea when we intend a raid.  Battle cruisers are much to be preferred.

The 'Bacchantes' should ought not to continue on this beat.  The risk to such ships is not justified by any services they can render.  The narrow seas, being the nearest point to the enemy, should be kept by a small number of good modern ships.

The 'Bacchantes' should go to the western entrance of the Channel and set Bethell's battleships - and later Wemyss' cruisers - free for convoy and other duties.

The first four 'Arethusas' should join the flotillas of the narrow seas.

I see no sufficient reason to exchange these flotillas now that they know their work with the northern ones.

As the 'M' boats are delivered they should be formed into a separate half-flotilla and go north to work with the Grand Fleet.

The King Alfred should pay off and be thoroughly repaired.

(Initialled) W.S.C
September 18, 1914

The First Lord of the Admiralty was the minister responsible for the navy and this position was held by Winston Churchill at the start of World War 1.

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