Posted 14 July 2003 - 10:37 pm
Martin an interesting story about the Cadet.
The Aboukir was the first of the trio to be struck just before 06:30 hours and her Skipper, Captain Drummond, convinced he had struck a mine ordered the other cruisers to close up and prepare to take onboard his crew. They had been steaming at about 2 mile intervals.
The Aboukir took in water fast and quickly began to list before her stern sank below the surface of the water. There had only been time to release a single cutter and most of her crew had taken to the water.
The Hogue then closed to pick up the survivors but Weddigen had positioned U-9 to attack her and shot off two torpedoes but from almost point-blank range and a combination of the sudden loss of weight from the two torpedoes and the explosion, forced U-9 to surface on the Hogue’s port quarter. The Hogue opened fire with her guns but with no effect and within minutes water was awash over the quarterdeck and the order to abandon ship had to be called.
Weddigen managed to resubmerge and manouevered again to make an attack on the Cressy. For some reason the Skipper of the Crecy had not taken evasive action and was hit by two torpedoes, slowly turning turtle and in fact according to reports, those of her crew that could, climbed up the hull in someway.
The Crecy had already dispatched her boats (as I think had the Hogue) by the time she was hit. I would expect the Cadet may have succeeded in swimming to the Hogue that had closed to pick up survivors, and then when she was hit, swam to one of the Crecy's boats, rather than the ship herself. It just seems to much although unfortunately when I was looking into this incident about 18 months ago I didnt record at what time the other ships were hit/sank or how far distant they all were.
To conclude, the sea was full of crew from men of all three ships and with complete disregard for their own safety, two Dutch trawlers, the Flora and Titan, who had observed the sinkings, closed in and saved the lives of about 800 men (I have no idea how large these trawlers were, or whether there were others trawlers that also came to the rescue).
Sadly nearly 1500 men were lost. Admittedly I didnt look too closely at the crew details and the losses, but I am sure from what I did look at, I didnt come across any 15 y.o., but that isnt to say there wasnt any.