Thursday, 30 June 2016

Toy Soldiers on Pathe

A couple of British Pathe movies, the first from 1949 and the second from 1965, showing the manufacturing process at William Britain's factory at Hornsley.  It's interesting to see the transfer from lead to plastic between the two dates.

Enjoy!




Saturday, 25 June 2016

Just A Reminder...

...that there's still time to enter the 200K Giveaway and get a chance to win some splendid prizes (not least from Diplomatist Books)!

I'll make the draw on 1 July.

There won't be cake

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

An Interesting Project - ACW

In the past I have taken part in a couple of Zooniverse projects (one was transcribing naval logs from the First World War, the other was identifying features in photos of the surface of Mars).  Because of that I'm on the mailing list and am advised of various projects.  



This message came through this afternoon, and it immediately struck me that it would be of interest to the readership of this blog

Volunteers wanted!  
Come be a witness to the United States Civil War by transcribing and deciphering messages and codes from the United States Military Telegraph on Decoding the Civil War. 
We seek to engage experts and amateurs alike - our DCW Volunteer Corps - in a unique collaboration to transcribe and decipher a collection of almost 16,000 telegrams and 32 code books from The Thomas T. Eckert Papers, an archive thought lost at the end of the war. You will be transcribing the daily telegram communications among Union officers, Cabinet members, telegraph operators, and others. The transcriptions, and ultimately the decoding, will contribute to national research, creating materials that will give insight into telegraphy, cryptography, civilian-military relations, and many other aspects of the war and American history more generally.  
Perhaps the most meaningful outcome is the public access to previously unavailable historical records and the building of inquiry-based educational modules to bring history alive to classroom students. Help build a deeper understanding of the United States Civil War—Join our DCW Volunteer Corps now at www.decodingthecivilwar.org 

Zooniverse started out as 'citizen science' but it now has a variety of projects - from space exploration (do you fancy discovering a comet?), natural history to the humanities.  There's plenty to see on their blog.

Edit

Just done my first two pages.

  1. telegrams from Maj Gen John Adams Dix during the Siege of Suffolk
  2. a page from a code book

Monday, 20 June 2016

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

200K Giveaway

Eagerly awaiting the next blog entry...

Some time on Monday the Blogger clock that counts completely spurious hits went past the 200,000 mark.  Given that a proportion of those hits represent real people, I'm choosing to mark it with a giveaway.

To enter you have to be a follower of this blog and post a comment on this post.  If you are also a follower of the Diplomatist Books blog you will get an extra entry.  You may put you down for any number of the prizes, but any one person will only get one prize - for that reason, please state you preference if you want to be entered into more than one draw.
Edit

I forgot to put a closing date on this!  I'm make the draw on 1 Jul 2016.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

More on That Sticky Situation at the Imjin River

Since writing my post on the British officer reporting a 'sticky' situation to his American superior it has become quite clear that this is not apocryphal, but does in fact refer to the report by Brigadier Thomas Brodie to Major-General Robert H "Shorty" Soule on the position The Glosters were in during the Battle of the Imjin River.

This goes to reinforce my point that this is not just a 'clash of cultures' anecdote but should be classed in the 'military blunder' category along the lines of "advance rapidly to the front... and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns".  

It's interesting that the sources for this story seem to British - Farrar-Hockley, who was the adjutant of the battalion, and an interview of Brodie much later by Max Hastings.  General Soule died in 1952 and left no account of what he thought the actual situation was.  But if Brodie's report contributed to his decision first to delay and then to withdraw the relief column, then some serious blame should attach to it.

After all, the Glosters had over 500 men killed or taken prisoner during their stand at Hill 235.

The Glosters Memorial at Hill 235

Let's end with another book review.  I don't have Farrar-Hockley's Official History of the British operations in Korea, however my copy of his Edge of the Sword has few cuttings in it.  One is a review by Max Hastings of the first volume.  He praises Farrar-Hockley's comprehensive account but criticises the lack of judgments on the performance of units and individuals.
In years to come, when the eye-witnesses are all dead, lay readers of General Farrar-Hockley's books could sometimes be very uncertain - to put it crudely - whether a given action was a heroic and necessary sacrificial stand, or a culpable blunder by those responsible
For his services during the Korean War Major-General Thomas Brodie received the a CB, a DSO, the US Silver Star (twice) and the US Legion of Merit.  He died in 1993.  "Farrar the Para" was awarded the DSO for his actions on Hill 235 and a mention-in-despatches for his conduct while a prisoner of war.  He died in 2006 - General Sir Anthony Heritage Farrar-Hockley GBE, KCB, DSO*, MC.

The Portable Naval Wargame

Last night my butterfly approach to wargaming took another turn.

Inspired by a series of posts Bob Cordery has made - particularly this one - on his "simple pre-Dreadnought wargaming rules" I popped over to his free downloads page and helped myself.

Naval wargaming is notorious for the paperwork involved - what with ship's records cards, chits and Stuff.  But when Mr Cordery says these rules are simple, he means SIMPLE.  The entirety printed out on a sheet of A4 (double-sided if you want the diagrams explaining arc-of-fire) and only took a read-through to understand them.  For those who want to fight the ACW or the Battle of Lissa there's also a variant for the 1860s,

Within a five minutes, I'd broken out a hex board and some tokens and was playing one of the scenarios he'd tested for COW.

After running through it twice, I decided that using round counters was unhelpful when playing with ships (apparently it matters which way you put the pointy end).

There was a reason the Novgorod wasn't a success
So I was forced to undertake the audacious chore of making little ships...

Cordery version
Diplomtist version
I defeated the object of  having A4 rules by printing out the arc-of-fire templates and drafting ship's record sheets - but then my board wasn't large enough to add damage markers.

So what do I think?  These are lovely rules and gave me a good night's entertainment (which is what it's all about).  I am sure that the simplicity is deceptive, and some quite sophisticated actions could be played out with them,  Nevertheless, they would serve as a great intro to naval wargaming for someone who is averse to record keeping.  As that aversion wore off, you could complicate matters by adding house-rules, simultaneous movement, damage tables - the whole kaboodle!

I'm certainly going to carry on playing them.  I'm never going to go as far as painting teeny-tiny ships, but I'll upgrade my snapped-up coffee stirrers (I've already downloaded some ACW and WWI counters from the Wargames Vault).

This has also served to reminded me that I intended to try some sole games of Blood, Bilges and Iron Balls.  See what I mean about butterflying!


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Naval Signal Humour

That old salt GaryA responded to my Korean War story with a dit of his own.  It was an excellent example of the dry humour the RN uses in communicating between ships.  This was once such a feature of naval life that the late Capt Jack Broome compiled a few anthologies of examples - Make a Signal and Make Another Signal.

OK, pour yourself a pink gin and enjoy these.  And I promise, no lighthouses!

-----------------------

Submarine to Convoy Escort Commander... "In the event of enemy surface action, intend remaining on the surface"  Response from escort commander "So do I".

-----------------------

HMS Cyclamen to Vice Admiral, Malta. (after sinking Allied Italian Submarine mistaken for a U-boat during World War I):
HAVE RAMMED AND SUNK ENEMY SUBMARINE. SURVIVORS APPEAR TO SPEAK ITALIAN

-------------------

From Flag Officer Gibraltar: "Small round object sighted 180 degrees 5 miles from Europa Point. Probably mine".
From Flag Officer Force H: "Certainly not mine".

 ------------------

Between two Atlantic convoy escorts 1941:
-1st ship: "COMMENCE HOSTILITIES WITH JAPAN"
-2nd ship; "PERMISSION TO FINISH BREAKFAST FIRST"

-------------------

From submarine (returning from patrol) to base:
"EXPECT TO ARRIVE 1800 IF FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT WILL STOP BOMBING ME"

-------------------------

A convoy was being shadowed day and night by German flying boats. The aircraft flew round and round the convoy, keeping low on the horizon and well out of range of the escort's guns.

"YOU ARE MAKING ME DIZZY...FOR GOD'S SAKE GO ROUND THE OTHER WAY."

The signal was acknowledged. The flying boat changed direction immediately.

--------------------------

Destroyer Diamond has just collided with cruiser Swiftsure.
Swiftsure - WHAT DO YOU INTEND TO DO NOW?
Diamond - BUY A FARM

-------------------------

Corvette to passing MTB: "Good luck".
Reply: "Thanks. Actually we rely on skill".

------------------------

A Soviet 'trawler' had been shadowing a NATO exercise for several days taking notes and gathering SIGINT.  As the ships queued up to refuel a British frigate signalled her: "Do you require refuelling?"
  Reply: "Not if your exercise finishes on time".

-----------------------

Historically biblical quotations were popular:-

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ: the same yesterday, today and forever..

2 Kings 4:19 - And he said to his Father "My head, my head".

Exodus 2:14 - Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?

Signal about HMS Phoebe as she left to change commands: "Romans 16:1-2".  (I commend unto you Phebe our sister... that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh Saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you; for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.)

Whenever  a ship collided with the jetty while docking: Proverbs 22:28 "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set"

A couple for when ships aren't keeping station:-
Psalm 77:19 "Thy way is in the sea and thy path in the great waters and thy footsteps are not known"
Proverbs 4:26 "Ponder the path of thy feet and let all thy ways be established"

------------------------

HMS Sheffield approx 1990, on meeting the USS John F Kennedy while conducting flying operations (with both Lynx helicopters airborne at the same time). "I have launched my air group, request you launch yours."  Signal was acknowledged but no reply was received.

------------------------

Some USN examples -

The destroyer USS William D. Porter accidentally fired a torpedo at the USS Iowa... who had the President Roosevelt on board. Henceforth whenever the Porter was sighted her humorous colleagues would signal  "DON'T SHOOT! WE'RE REPUBLICANS!"

----------------------
Of course, not all great signals were humorous

"Have rejoined the fleet south of Woosung ...
No damage... No casualties....God save the King!"


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Terminological Inactitude

Like most blog writers I enjoy getting feedback from my readers.  In yesterday's book review I said that the lack of notes and proper sources was a 'major quibble'.   A correspondent writes "I find the lack of referenced sources more than a major quibble in my book. On something like that it gets elevated up to near deal breaker."  Fair enough.

Things get a bit sticky for Major Quibble and the Lads

This reminds me of the story from the Korean War*.  A British unit has been surrounded by the enemy and cut off.  After some difficulty, radio contact is made and the American general in command asks the British officer in charge of the unit for a situation report.  "Well, Sir"  he replies "Things are beginning to get a bit sticky here".   British users of the English language would immediately translate the report as "The shit has hit the fan and there's blood running down the walls.  There are 10,000 Chinese coming up the hill towards us and we've run out of beer cans to throw at them.  Please evacuate us as soon as possible."  However, the American general feels reassured by the calm response and tells his subordinate to hold on.

*Please someone tell me the source of this - it's bugging me!  It's normally told in connection of the destruction of the Glosters at the crossings of the Imjin River 

The sand of the desert is sodden red, -- 
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -- 
The Gatling's jammed* and the colonel dead, 
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke. 
The river of death has brimmed his banks, 
And England's far, and Honour a name, 
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks, 
"Play up! play up! and play the game!" 

*As readers of this blog will know, it was a Gardner.

The Korea story is normally told as a clash of cultures:  "two nations divided by a single language" or the stiff-upper lip, public school and Sandhurst educated Brit verses the no-nonsense cigar-chomping Yank.  Yet to my mind, by using heroic understatement, the British officer has clearly failed in his duty.  His superior has asked a simple question - all he requires is that the realities of the situation are explained to him.  The British officer lets him down and, by doing so, lets down his men.

"Please send either Brigade of Guards or platoon of Gurkhas"
The same can be said for book reviews.  The question is simple - 'What do you think of the book?'  the answer should be unambiguous.  So I apologize for any terminological inactitude.  But I will probably continue to use heroic understatement (mainly as an affectation alongside the strategic deployment of whiskers ).

Monday, 6 June 2016

Book Review: Who Really Won the Space Race?

Thom Burnett, Who Really Won the
Space Race?
  Conspiracy Books (2005)

The first thing to say about this book is that it's not some loony conspiracy theory.

I don't normally have to start reviews saying that, but at first glance the signs aren't favourable: there's the publisher (an imprint of Collins and Brown); the racy title (my edition also has the cover strap-line 'uncovering the conspiracy that kept America second to the Russians') and the fact that Thom Burnett 'Is a pseudonym for one of Britain's leading experts on security and military matters.  Having served with UK Special Forces* in the 1990s, he is now a researcher and writer."  So I stated reading this half in the expectation of giving up in disgust after the first chapter. but because it's a subject that interests me.

*Why is it always the Special Forces?  Why not 'having served in the Logistics Corps, he knows his stuff'?

The second thing that needs pointing out is that the 'Space Race' of the title is the early space race - the book is only interested in the period up to the launch  of America's first satellite Explorer 1 on 31 Jan 1958 - three months after Sputnik 1 and two after Sputnik 2.

Burnett takes as his starting point Bob Hope's gag that Sputnik was nothing to be worried about because it "simply means that the Russian's Germans are better than our Germans" and, more seriously, President Eisenhower's statement that since the Russians had captured all the Peenemünde rocket scientists in 1945 they had been in a better position to concentrate on rocketry.  As Hope's joke shows, even American popular culture knew this to be untrue.  Burnett's story therefore an account of 'our Germans' and why they didn't make it to space before the Russians.

The first third of the book is taken up with an account of  British, American and Soviet attempts first to find information, and later to capture material, on the V-2 ballistic missile programme, based in Peenemünde on the German Baltic coast.  The accounts of various (and competing) attempts by the allies in the immediate post-war period to reconstruct and test V-2's makes interesting reading, as does the story of how the Americans spirited away train-loads of materiel and hundreds of personnel from under their allies' noses* in contravention of previous agreements.

*Not just the Soviets, but the British and French too.

No Nazis here.
von Braun with Walt Disney, 1954
The purpose of all of this wasn't space exploration of course, but to perfect ballistic (and later, inter-continental) missiles.  Burnett runs through the well-known story of Operation Paperclip, which sought to bring German scientific expertise to the United States.  Alongside this he also tells us of the Soviet equivalent, though perhaps unsurprisingly, the Soviets were less willing to overlook the war-crimes committed by their experts.  As a result of this - and because it was always the Soviet intention that 'their' Germans be repatriated at the end of the contracts laid out in the reparation agreements* - German scientists and technicians in the East were not allowed to do original research or even to see how their work was being used.

*An information-gathering exercise - Operation Returning Dragon - existed to pump the returnees for information on Soviet missile programmes.  The Western intellegence agencies were astounded by how little the scientists knew about life outside their enclave.

In contrast, the von Braun group (who had gone to great lengths to ensure that they ended up in the American camp) were purged of their Nazi past, fast-tracked into American citizenship and given key positions in the American missile programmes.  From his position in the US Army's rocket programme, von Braun now sought to press for, and publicise, the peaceful uses of rocketry*.  Which brings us to the next part of the tale...

*As we all know, von Braun "aimed for the stars" but sometimes missed and hit London instead.

In 1950, several scientists proposed that in order to encourage scientific endeavour, it would be a good idea to have an International Geophysical Year (IGY) along the lines of previous International Polar Years.  The IGY, which ran for 18 months* from July 1957 to December 1958 was soon a battlefield in the Cold War.  The reason for holding the IGY at that time was that it was a period of increased solar activity: one of the aims of the proposers of the IGY was to encourage the launch of artificial satellites.  The Superpowers saw a chance to further their own interests - the Soviets were interested in developing rockets that could deliver ICBMs and the Americans in the development of spy satellites** - while at the same time gaining a large amount of kudos.  A race had begun.

*I know.  those crazy scientists, eh?
** The British preferred to pootlle around Antarctica, and discovered Plate Tectonics instead.

Eisenhower at Cape Canaveral
And it is here that the conspiracy, if any, begins.  

The Eisenhower Administration never really gave wholehearted support to the Space Race.  Eisenhower was ambivalent to the idea of the exploration of space and down-right distrusting of those pushing for bigger and better rockets - his parting jibe at the military-industrial complex was aimed at those who sought to profit from the supposed 'missile gap' between the US and USSR*.   Yet it was publicly committed to launching a satellite during the IGY.   

*Burnett points out how the Space Race was to become a partisan tool in the hands of Lyndon B Johnson and that the 'missile gap' probably won the 1960 election for JF Kennedy.

Von Braun and his team at the US Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, thought that their time had come, but in a move that remains controversial, their project - Project Orbiter - was rejected in favour of the US Navy's Project Vanguard.   Much wrangling - and some downright dishonesty - kept the Redstone project alive and when Vanguard failed to deliver in time to beat the Russians and then, through sheer bad luck proved a 'flopnik', it was von Braun's team that put America's first satellite into orbit.

Pickering, Van Allen and von Braun celebrate the launch of Explorer 1

Burnett explores the reasoning and goes into the politics behind the choice of Vanguard over Orbiter Inter-service rivalries certainly played a part.  Was it due  the Navy's system being deemed more 'civilian' than the Army's?  The CIA was a great advocate for the development of satellites, but pointed out the IGY's commitment to sharing technology - was that a factor?  Was it because the Defense Department wanted the Army to concentrate fully on their military missiles?  Von Braun believed that it was because his team weren't considered sufficiently 'American'.  Others that it would be unwise to back a programme with such close ties to the V-2 and the Nazis.

All these factors probably played their part to a greater or lesser extent.  But one thing Burnett makes clear was that von Braun was not liked.  He was arrogant, a self-publicist, not a team player, not 'one of us' - and yes, his membership of the Nazi Party and the SS did score against him. Such things make a difference in smoke-filled committee rooms.

Had Vanguard been successful, von Braun would have been a footnote in the US Space Programme rather than it's Grand Old Man.  It is clear that in the 1950s some would have preferred that to be the case.

Overall this gets a solid Four Stars.  There's one major quibble though.  Throughout the book Burnett quotes from first-hand accounts and official documents: other than a brief bibliography there is no indication of where these sources can be found.  

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A Jutland Sailor


As I'm sure most of my readers will know, this week has seen the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.  Much has been written and will be quite easy to find on the net.  Here I'm going to make my own little tribute based on items from my collection.



These are two of the First World War medals and id disc of SS.107636 Leading Stoker John Jones, of HMS Broke.  Jones served on Broke at Jutland and was severely wounded during the battle.

Early Life 

Jones' service record shows that he was born on 31 January 1890 in Middlesborough, Yorkshire. On his enlistment he is described as 5 foot 3.8 inches tall with a chest measurement of 36 inches. He had a dark complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. At some stage during his naval career he picked up a scar over his left eye. 

The 1891 Census shows John living with his father Samuel and mother Eva at 74 Derwent Street, Linthorpe, Middlesborough. His father was a 'riveter (boilers)' a profession that John began to follow, as his occupation on enlisting is given as 'rivet heater' - but other ancestral voices may have called as his grandfather, also named John Jones, is listed on the 1871 census as a seaman. In the 1901 census, John's father is described as a 'riveter (bridge builder)', but I can find no trace of John himself. 

Joining the Navy 

Jones enlisted at the age of 18 as a short service man (five years in the RN to be followed by seven in the Royal Fleet Reserve).   Non-continuous service was established under the Naval Forces Act, 1903, because there was a recognised lack of stokers in the navy due to changes in technology - in 1890 there were 8,900 stokers required, but by 1901 this had become 21,400.   The Act established Class C reservists, who served seven years with the fleet and then five years in the reserve. In Jones' case, as was the case with all stokers, these figures were reversed, presumably to make that branch more attractive. 

HMS Nelson
On enlistment in August 1908 Jones was rated as a Stoker 2nd Class and immediately posted to HMS Nelson, where he remained until January 1909.   Nelson was an armoured cruiser, built in 1876; by 1908 she had become obsolete due to the rapid increase in naval technology in the intervening years and was stationed in Portsmouth as a training ship. She was finally sold off in July 1910. 

Image from the collections of the National Maritime Museum: A
water-colour  'HMS Seagull gunboat 1903-1905' by WC Barnaby.

Jones next served a Stoker 2nd Class on HMS Seagull, from 14 Jan 1909 to 31 Mar 1909.   Seagull was a torpedo gunboat launched in May 1889 and converted to a minesweeper in 1908. She was lost in a collision in 1918.

HMS Cochrane

From Apr 1909 to Sep 1910 Jones served on HMS Cochrane - being promoted to Stoker 1st Class on 12 Sep 1909.  Cochrane was a large Armoured Cruiser (1st Class) built as part of the 1903-04 naval building programme.  She was launched on 20 May 1905, named in honour of  Admiral Lord Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, and completed in Feb 1907.   During Jones' time in her, she was part of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron. Later she escorted the Royal Yacht Medina on her world tour and during the war served at Jutland, in the West Atlantic and Russian waters. She was wrecked in the Mersey on 14 November 1918.

HMS Hermione

After serving in Cochrane, Jones joined HMS Hermione, serving in her from Sep 1910 to Aug 1912.  Hermoine was a cruiser of the Astraea Class launched in 1893 and had taken part in the 3rd China War.  When Jones joined her she had just become the depot ship for naval airships, based in Barrow-in-Furness, and he would have witnessed the experiments with HMA No 1 (His Majesty's Airship No 1, AKA 'Mayfly').  HMA.1 was an experiment built as a result of Germany's Zeppelin programme, intended to act as an aerial scout.  Sadly she never flew.  Following static trials, Mayfly was wrecked while being removed from her hanger for her maiden flight.  The experience with this craft and her sisters led the Admiralty to decide in favour of heavier-than-air aircraft.

The wreck of HMA No1, Sep 1911


When the Navy's lighter-than-air project was shelved, Hermione re-joined the Home Fleet (Jones leaving at about the same time).   During the First World War she was the HQ Ship for motor launches and coastal motor boats. She was sold to the Marine Society in 1922 and became TS Warspite. She was scrapped in 1940.

HMS Ariadne

During 1912 Jones spent some months in HMS Ariadne.  Ariadne was a Diadem Class Cruiser, launched on 22 April 1898.  In 1912 she was in reserve as a stokers' training ship (which would explain the short periods Jones served in her). She was brought back into the operational fleet in 1914 and converted into a minelayer in 1917. She was torpedoed and sunk on 26 July 1917 by UC65 off Beachy Head.

HMS Princess Royal

From Nov 1912 to Aug 1913 Jones served in HMS Princess Royal, finishing his enlistment in the Royal Navy.  Princess Royal was a Lion Class Battlecruiser - one of 'the Splendid Cats' - launched in May 1911 and completed in Oct 1912. For the first time in this time of constant change, Jones was serving in a state-of-the-art ship.  During the First World War she served with distinction, taking part in the battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland. She was sold for scrapping in 1922.

Jones spent his last week in the RN at HMS Victory II, before being discharged to shore and transferred to the RFR on 10 Aut 1913.  Less than a year later he was called up, reporting to Victory II again on 2 Aug 1914 as the Reserve was mobilised in anticipation of the outbreak of hostilities.

World War I

In Dec 1915 Jones was appointed to HMS Broke, a small ship that was soon to make a big name for herself.

HMS Broke
Broke was a Faulknor Class flotilla leader.   She had been launched in May, built for the Chilean Navy as the Almirante Lynch-class destroyer Almirante Goñi.  But as war broke out she was bought by the Royal Navy and named for Admiral Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke - 'Broke of the Shannon' - who had commanded HMS Shannon during her engagement with, and capture of, USS Chesapeake in the War of 1812.

The Battle of Jutland

At the battle of Broke was hit by at least nine shells and seriously damaged in a collision with HMS Sparrowhawk. Forty-seven of Broke's men were killed, twenty-eight of whom were stokers.   Jones was severely wounded.

At about 23,15 on 31 May 1916 the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, of which Broke (captained by Cdr Walter Lingen Allen RN) was the Half Leader (ie, second in command), sighted three approaching ships.  Uncertain of who these ships were, a recognition signal was given, only to be answered by them opening fire at a range of 600 yards. It was  the van of the German High Seas Fleet, the light cruisers, SMS Stuttgart, SMS Hamburg, SMS Rostock and SMS Elbing.  The battleships SMS Westfalen and SMS Nassau also opened fire with their secondary armament.

Despite the opening of fire, confusion remained.  Allen ordered no torpedoes be fired until the ships were positively identified as German. This being done, the leading British ships - Tipperary, SpitfireSparrowhawkGarlandContest and Broke all fired torpedoes at the German ships before turning away from the incoming fire.   None of the destroyers further behind felt sufficiently confident to attack.

One of the torpedoes hit Elbing, which was also rammed by the battleship Posen as they turned to avoid the attack - Elbing was abandoned and sank around 03.40.  Spitfire collided with Nassau, both being very badly damaged.  The flotilla leader HMS Tipperary was ablaze and sank about 02.00 with the loss of 185 hands from her crew of 197.

The official history of naval operations during the war records that
Broke had taken the Tipperary's place. Commander Allen found that half a dozen boats had got into line astern of him, and ... he was leading them southward, where he judged he should find the enemy again. He was not far wrong. In a few minutes—it was about 11.40—he could see a large ship on his starboard bow heading to cross his course. He challenged. The answer was again a blaze of searchlights and a burst of rapid fire. Commander Allen swung to port to bring his tubes to bear. Lieutenant-Commander S. Hopkins in the Sparrowhawk did the same, and then to his horror he saw that the Broke, instead of steadying her helm, was continuing to swing and coming straight for him. As the Broke turned she had been hit by a salvo which put her out of control. There was no time to avoid a collision, and she crashed into the Sparrowhawk just before the bridge. 
The salvo which has hit broke was fired by the battleship Westfalen at a range of 150 yards.  Confusion reigned.  One officer from Sparrowhawk was thrown onto Broke during the collision.  He reported to Allen, who told him to return to Sparrowhawk and prepare to take the crew of Broke on board.  When he did so, he found that his own captain had ordered the evacuation of Sparrowhawk's crew to Broke!  Approximately 20 men from Sparrowhawk transferred to Broke, while fifteen of Broke's crew crossed to Sparrowhawk.  Any question of which vessel was to be abandoned was settled when Contest back-ended Sparrowhawk, removing six feet of her stern.  After the destroyers were disentangled, and following another brief exchange of fire, they limped back to England.

The recommendation for Allen's promotion states that "Broke was very badly damaged and casualties very great, but the morale seems to have been unshaken and the ship was successfully steamed back to port."  Whether it was due to the shelling of Broke or the collisions, Jones' records show that he was dangerously wounded during the battle.

Broke arrived in the Tyne on 3 June, Jones was transferred to Victory II on 9 June, where he remained until April 1917.

The 4th Destroyer Flotilla, having suffered great losses during the battle, was removed from the Grand Fleet and stationed at Devonport.  Broke went on to nation-wide fame as part of the Dover Patrol, taking part in the Second  Battle of Dover Strait in Apr 1917.

Jones was also to join the Dover Patrol, being posted to HMS Attentive, an Adventure Class light cruiser, commissioned in 1905. She was leader of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla.   In August 1917, Jones was posted to his final ship, HMS Amphitrite 

HMS Amphitrite
Amphitrite (nicknamed 'am and tripe) was a Diadem Class cruiser, converted to a minelayer in 1917 and attached to the Nore Command. She collided with and sank the destroyer HMS Nessus in foggy weather in the North Sea on September 8th 1918 and was sold for scrap in 1920.

Jones was discharge from service on 5 June 1921.  I have no information on his later life.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Dr Who Wednesday #11


Gor, it's been a long time since the last Dr Who Wednesday!  To look at DrWWeds #10 you have to go back to March!

I'd love, if as a result of that, this was a long post full of lots of things I've been doing in the last two months, but it isn't.  Who do I blame for this?  THE BLOODY DERLICKS!!!  More on that later.

He's none too keen on Daleks himself...

Spotted on the Web

I haven't even posted about Warlord's new Dr Who figures that were put on display at Salute*.  The consensus is that they're rather good - though the  naysayers have been mumbling about the scale - a rather 'heroic' 28mm apparently.  As I say, I haven't seen them in the flesh, and in any case will reserve judgement until pricing info comes around.

* I'd hoped to see them in the flesh on the Warlord stall at Dicini - but they hadn't brought them along due to space constraints.




On the Paint-Table



My painting queue has been dominated by Dr Who for a long time.  Who do I blame for this?  THE BLOODY DERLICKS!!! 
That'll Learn Them!

About the last time I posted a DrWWeds, I thought I had finally cracked the secret of Dalek Balls*.  "Just carry on like this, Edwin,.  Do an hour or so each evening, and you'll soon crack it".  And so in my hubris, I got carried away.  Now there are about two dozen of the buggers in various states of non-completion TAUNTING ME!

* I know people say the secret is to use a straw, but I just haven't tried that method.

Of course, they aren't the only culprits.  I hate to say how long those Ood and Silence have been a whisper from being finished.  Let's just say it's been a while.*  Over on FaceBook the Official Doctor Who people have a Monster of the Month, posting all sorts of clips, snips photos and fan art.  Lots of good reference material.  May was Ood Month**.  Did you know that Oods had spotty necks?  No, neither did I.  I'm not painting bloody spots on bloody Ood I assure you!

* I put them aside to concentrate on the AHPC Five.
** No news as yet on who will be June monster - betting is that it won't b e giant moth creatures.

Dear Donna - I miss her attitude

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