Tag Archives: Naval warfare

Diary entries which mention naval engagements during the war.

23 August 1915; Monday

Had drill after dinner. Had to wash out rooms first thing and only paraded at 7 and 10. Inspected by General of Northern Command in the morning. Out with Dunn, Moil and another chap at night. Visited the reading room at the Wesleyan chapel. Miss Inwood walked in and spoke for a minute. Received postcard from Charlie saying he would try to get across to see me.

[Written at foot of previous day’s page -­ ] Monday. Received news of the battle in the Baltic1. The Molke [sic] sunk by a British submarine and 2 or 3 cruisers and 8 German destroyers destroyed or damaged by the Russians, who lost one ship.

  1. The Battle of the Gulf of Riga was a major engagement between the German High Seas Fleet and the Russian Baltic Fleet, but British vessels were involved. The Moltke was indeed torpedoed on 19 August by the British submarine E1, but did not sink, was repaired in Hamburg, and survived Jutland and other engagements, to be scuttled at Scapa Flow at the end of the War. Moltke had previously been involved in several other incidents noted in the diaries, including the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the Raid on Yarmouth, the Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby and the Battle of Dogger Bank

2 July 1915; Friday

Resting so didn’t get a bathe. Up about 9 o’clock. British torpedo destroyer “Lightning”1 damaged by mine or submarine. Walked round by Mount Melville 2 in the afternoon. Had walk with Ernie at night.

  1. HMS Lightning was a Janus class destroyer of the British Royal Navy, later designated an A-class destroyer, built by Palmers (itself the principal target of the Zeppelin raid recorded on 15 June) and launched in 1895. She was sunk by a mine laid by submarine UC-1 on 30 June. 

  2. Mount Melville Estate, now Craigtoun Country Park. See also St Andrews map

11 June 1915; Friday

At work all day and working again at night. Two Torpedo Boats sunk by German Submarine in North Sea, No 10 & 121.

  1. Two torpedo boats, ex-Cricket-class coastal destroyers, sailed from Harwich at midnight on the 9th June, on patrol off Thames estuary, searching for reported submarines with three other TBs and five destroyers. Both were mined on 10 June; mines laid by UC.11 two days earlier. TB12 (ex-Moth) was mined first (thought to have been torpedoed at the time) . TB10 (ex-Greenfly) suffered the same fate while trying to take TB12 in tow. See Naval-History.net

9 June 1915; Wednesday

At work as usual. Busy all day. Finished about 6 o’clock. Grand day. Had walk at night with Charlie. Played a bit. Mr Balfour1 announced the loss of a German submarine.

  1. “Mr Balfour”: Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, a Conservative politician who had  served as Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905, succeeded Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty following the formation of Asquith’s coalition government in May 1915.  

28 May 1915; Friday

At work as usual. Very busy all day. Stayed back until 8 o’clock.

“H.M.S. Majestic”1 sunk by German submarine in the Dardanelles & “Princess Irene”2 blown up at Sheerness with heavy loss of life. The 7th Durhams had rough time early in week.

  1. H M S Majestic”: old (1895) battleship; torpedoed 27 May 1915 off Cape Helles, with the loss of 49 men. 

  2. Princess Irene”: a 5,400 ton passenger vessel, built 1914 for Canadian Pacific for the Vancouver – Seattle route; requisitioned by RN on completion as auxiliary minelayer; exploded on 27 May 1915 while loading mines upstream from Sheerness, near Chatham; 352 killed: 273 crew, 76 dock workers, 3 others by debris including a girl of 9 on the Isle of Grain; large debris (including human body parts, near Hartlip, east of Gillingham) fell in 9 –10 mile radius. 

27 May 1915; Thursday

At work as usual. Busy all day. Received word that Sands1 & Jack Pallin2 are both wounded. H.M.S. Triumph3 sunk in Dardanelles by German submarine. Went to work at night, Came up with Blaikie and Willie Whittaker and was late in getting in.

  1. Most probably the same Sands as mentioned in earlier entries alongside Bob Brotherston who had subsequently died on 6th May. Nothing more is yet known about Sands. 

  2. This is the first and only occasion on which Jack Pallin is mentioned in the diary but it seems probable that this was also a work colleague from the paper mill. The 1901 census lists a John Y. Pallin living in Ryhope, quite near the Hendon Paper Mill, and gives his occupation as “Paper Finisher Paper Mill”; Jack was and remains a common alternative name for John. This John Y. Pallin was born in 1880 and was thus ten years older than Arthur Linfoot. The death of a John Y. Pallin at the age of 39 is recorded in 1919 and his name was listed on the war memorial at St Aidan’s Church, Ryhope Road, Grangetown, Sunderland. See also John Y. Pallin at Lives of the First World War – that life story appears somewhat ambiguous in its present form (as at 27 May 2015), but the Medal Index Card connected to it suggests that John Y. Pallin served with the Durham Light Infantry (service number 2650), as did Bob Brotherston (and probably Sands). 

  3. H M S Triumph”: pre-dreadnought battleship, built Barrow-in-Furness for Chile but bought for RN before completion (1903); torpedoed by U-­21 off Gaba Tepe, 25 May 1915; 78 crew lost. 

21 May 1915; Friday

At work as usual. Very busy all day. Frank1 back to work. Played the piano a bit. Submarine AE.2 2 lost about this time in the Dardanelles. Daily Mail attack on Kitchener3.

  1. Frank had been sent home on 17 May

  2. The AE2 was an Australian Navy vessel; she sailed to Australia from Vickers Armstrong on delivery in 1914, then the longest voyage by a submarine, but was then towed back to the Mediterranean. She operated for five days in the Dardanelles before surfacing due to mechanical trouble, was damaged by a Turkish torpedo boat and was scuttled, all her crew being captured; the only Australian Navy vessel lost due to enemy action in WW1. 

  3. The Daily Mail famously attacked Kitchener, blaming him for a shortage of shells during the shell crisis of 1915

13 May 1915; Thursday

At work as usual. A lot of Roots† now to Lusitania1. Finished in decent time. Got work pulled up a bit. Received news of the loss of the “Goliath”2 in the Dardanelles, sunk by Turkish torpedo boats. Heavy loss of life, probably 800 men.

  1. Lusitania: See notes on 7 May

  2. Goliath”: pre-dreadnought battleship, 13,150 tons, built in Chatham 1898, torpedoed as stated above in Morto Bay, near Cape Helles, 13 May 1915, with loss of 570 out of crew of 700.