Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

HMS HAWKE


16 replies to this topic

#1 battlecruiser

battlecruiser

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 147 posts
  • Location:West Yorkshire
  • Interests:WW1 Royal Navy

Posted 01 January 2007 - 03:15 PM

Hi,

Happy New Year to you all!

I am currently researching the story of HMS Hawke which was torpedoed in the North Sea on the 15 October 1914. I believe that their were about 70 survivors.

Does any one know whether any first hand reports from the crew exist describing the sinking of their ship and their rescue?

Many thanks,

Keith

#2 Jarvis

Jarvis

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 699 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Barnard Castle, County Durham

Posted 01 January 2007 - 03:22 PM

try this link.

http://www.pigstroug...uk/ww1/jull.htm

#3 battlecruiser

battlecruiser

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 147 posts
  • Location:West Yorkshire
  • Interests:WW1 Royal Navy

Posted 01 January 2007 - 05:04 PM

Many thanks. Very intersting link.

Does any one know of any reports from the crew of HMS Hawke themselves?

Keith

#4 Jarvis

Jarvis

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 699 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Barnard Castle, County Durham

Posted 01 January 2007 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE (battlecruiser @ Jan 1 2007, 05:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Many thanks. Very intersting link.
Does any one know of any reports from the crew of HMS Hawke themselves?
Keith


I haven't found any active links from the crew, although there is a 'dead' link which proves that there is at least (or was) one such report. The dead link http://www.warships....wke-sinking.htm
but thats not a lot of use to you I'm afraid.

I have found another U9 account of the sinking that makes for interesting reading though.

http://www.coastguar...e/people12.html

#5 Tony Lund

Tony Lund

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,920 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Huddersfield

Posted 01 January 2007 - 05:45 PM

Newspaper report of how two of the survivors described the Hawke’s destruction:

“We were struck right amidships between the two funnels quite close to one of the magazines. All hands were on deck, and it was a terrible explosion. The vessel immediately took a heavy list to starboard. I have never been on a ship so well equipped with life saving apparatus, but the way the vessel heeled over made it almost impossible to get the boats out. The boat in which I was saved had a narrow escape from being taken down with the suction.

“We were struck about 11o’clock in the forenoon, and just as we got away from the Hawke, we distinctly saw the periscope of the enemy’s submarine come to the surface. We thought he was going to ram us, but apparently he was on the lockout for any other rescuing vessels. Prior to the accident the Hawke was cruising about zigzag fashion, and we never saw the submarine until we felt her. It was beginning to get hazy when we were almost run down by the Norwegian steamer which picked us up. This boat, after affecting the rescue, cruised about in search of the rafts, but nothing was seen.”

The second survivor reported:

“Those on deck for an instant, immediately after the explosion, saw the periscope of a submarine, which showed above the water like a broomstick. When the explosion occurred, I, along with the others in the engine-room, was sent flying into space as it were, and must have been stunned for a little. When I came to, I found myself in the midst of an absolute inferno. One of the cylinders of the engine had been completely wrecked, and steam was hissing out in dense, scalding clouds, penetrating to every nook and cranny of the engine-room and stokehold. The horror of the situation was added to when a tank of fuel oil caught fire, and the flames advanced with fatal rapidity.

“I scrambled up the iron ladder to the main deck. Already the captain, commander, and a midshipman were on the bridge, and calmly, as though on fleet manoeuvres in the Solent, orders were given out, and as calmly obeyed. The bugler sounded the ‘Still’ call, which called upon every man to remain at the post at which the call reached him. Soon there came the order, ‘Abandon ship, out boats’.

“Many of the crew had scrambled on to the side of the sinking cruiser as she slowly turned turtle, and from this temporary place of safety were sliding and diving into the sea. The captain and the midshipman stuck bravely to their posts on the bridge to the last, and were seen to disappear as the ship finally plunged bow first amid a maelstrom of cruel, swirling waters. As the Hawke went down a small pinnace and a raft which had been prepared for such an emergency floated free, but such was the onrush of the men who had been precipitated into the water that both were overcrowded.

“On the raft was seen about seventy men standing knee-deep in the water, and the pinnace also appeared to be overfilled. The cutter rowed around the outskirts of the wreck, picking up as many survivors as the boat could with safety contain. All aboard who had donned life jackets divested themselves of these and threw them to their comrades struggling in the water, and oars and all movable woodwork about the boat was also pitched overboard to help those clinging to the wreckage, many of whom were seen to sink.

“A westerly course was set with the idea of striking the Scottish coast. About 4 p.m. a Norwegian sailing ship hove in sight, and the exhausted men were taken aboard and treated in the most kindly fashion, being served with stimulants and furnished with clothing. The rescuing ship headed towards Peterhead, but on the way encountered the Aberdeen trawler Ben Rinnes, to which the men were transferred.”

On March 18th 1915, Kapitanleutnant Otto Weddigen, now commanding the U-29, was manoeuvring for a shot at the modern British warship HMS Dreadnought when the ship’s lookouts spotted the periscope, and just seven minutes later the 17,900 ton Dreadnought, travelling at eighteen knots, rammed into the U-boat raising the bows out of the water. The identifying number was clearly visibly as the Dreadnought sliced through the submarine, there were no survivors.

Tony.

#6 battlecruiser

battlecruiser

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 147 posts
  • Location:West Yorkshire
  • Interests:WW1 Royal Navy

Posted 01 January 2007 - 08:16 PM

Tony,

Fantastic! Just want I was looking for! Too many questions....... How did you manage to find these reports? Which news paper carried the report and when? Do you know the names of the survivors who gave these accounts?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,

Keith

#7 Tony Lund

Tony Lund

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,920 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Huddersfield

Posted 02 January 2007 - 12:12 PM

A report including the letters appeared in the Holmfirth Express not long after the sinking. Boy Seaman Clifford Pollard was killed and he was from Holmfirth. No names were given and I assumed they had come off the Press Association wire, in which case they will have been published elsewhere.

Tony.

#8 battlecruiser

battlecruiser

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 147 posts
  • Location:West Yorkshire
  • Interests:WW1 Royal Navy

Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:42 PM

Tony,

Do you know how I could access The Holmfirth Express for this period? Is it still in publication?

Regards,

Keith

#9 Tony Lund

Tony Lund

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,920 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Huddersfield

Posted 03 January 2007 - 08:40 PM

The Holmfirth Express is held on microfilm at Huddersfield Local History Reference Library and on paper at the British Newspaper Library, Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 5HE. These days it is the Holme Valley Express and owned by the Huddersfield Examiner.

The article in the Express contains only the personal details of Clifford Pollard and the two letters I posted. The only extra information given is that the survivors were interviewed at Aberdeen. It appeared on October 24 1914 and I have a copy in front of me now. Other related bits and pieces appeared afterwards but they also relate only to Clifford Pollard; although the Huddersfield Examiner also reports the deaths of his mate Boy Seaman Roland Harvey Booth from Newsome, Huddersfield. Also Midshipman Jurram, the son of a former local vicar who had moved south before the war.

So far as the incident in general is concerned I am curious about the figures of dead and survivors. I think a second boat was landed that is not always counted in the total of survivors. I am also wondering just where the report of the Theseus being fired at first came from.

Tony.

#10 Michael

Michael

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,980 posts

Posted 03 January 2007 - 08:59 PM

Keith

Here a couple of quotes but I can't remember the sources

Comment from a gunner of HMS Hawke

“ At 10:30 am yesterday Oct 15th in latitude 57 degree 49 minutes north and latitude nought degrees 10 minutes west position approximate “Endymion” closed “Hawke” to deliver mail; having delivered mail she parted company to take up her cruising station. At about 10:50 am we struck a little abaft the starboard beam by a torpedo. The ship at once listed to starboard and the hands went to collision stations but it was impossible to get the mats out. All boats were then ordered out it was impossible to do this. Ship listed rapidly to starboard and sunk in about 5 minutes after being struck only boat got off port cutter and picket boat which floated clear. A number of men swam to her and she sank. Three or four rafts floated clear and number of men climbed onto them. When we had picked up as many men as the boat would holdwe pulled away in a north westerly direction at 3:30 pm we sighted a Norwegian steamer the MODASTA she took us on board and cutter in tow we steamed back towards the placewhere the “Hawke” sank with a lookout man aloft submarines were sighted and the Norwegian captain headed for Peterhead. We met the trawler BENRINNES and we came to Aberdeen in her ends.


An Account of the torpedoing of HMS Hawke by U9 on 14th October 1914.
"I gazed at the little picture of the upper ocean. The distant three cruisers were some wide space apart, but were converging, and were steering for a point and that point was apparently in the vicinity where we lay. No wonder the Commander thought they must want a torpedo."

"We imagined they were bent on joining forces and steaming together, but it presently became apparent that they intended to exchange signals, drop a cutter in the water, and deliver mail or orders, and then go their respective ways. We steered at full speed for the point toward which they were heading, our periscope showing only for a few moments at a time. The Cruisers, big armoured fellows, came zig-zagging. We picked one, which afterward turned out to be HMS Hawke, and manoevered for a shot. It was tricky work. She nearly ran us down. We had to dive deeper and let her pass over us, else we would have been rammed. Now we were in a position for a stern shot at an angle, but she turned. It was a fatal turning, for it gave us an opportunity to swing around for a clear bow shot at 400 metres."

" 'Second bow tube fire!'. Weddingen snapped out the order, and soon there sounded the tell-tale detonation."

"We dived beyond periscope depth, ran underwater for a short distance, and then came up for a look through our tall, mast-like eye. The Hawke had already disappeared. She sank in eight minutes. Only one boat was in the water. It was the mail dory that had been lowered before the torpedo explosion. At the rudder the boat officer hoisted a distress signal on the boat's staff. That little dory with half a dozen men aboard was all that was left of the proud warship."


Mick

#11 Michael

Michael

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,980 posts

Posted 03 January 2007 - 09:07 PM

I found the reference for the first one; it is in ADM1/8398/377 at Kew

Mick

#12 swift1914

swift1914

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 38 posts

Posted 03 January 2007 - 09:56 PM

Keith

According to my grandfather's diaries, (he was a telegraphist on HMS Swift) destroyers from the 4th division were despatched on 15th October from Scapa to look for survivors.

HMS Swift was the first naval ship to arrive at the wreckage, 06.30 on the 16th. Swift picked up seven survivors off two rafts by 09.30.
The survivors were: First Lt, Chief Stoker, Ldg seaman, two marines, a stoker and a boy.
One of the marines picked up by the Swift died later aboard, and was buried at sea.
After the rescue a fierce exchange took place between the Swift and two U-boats that had been lying in wait, fortunately without damage to the destroyer.

On the return to Scapa Flow, the Swift's Captain, Charles Wintour, addressed the ship's company on the methods used by german submarines, concluding with......"and remember, when we go into action with the fleet, that five hundred good hands have gone to the bottom. Harden your hearts gentlemen, harden your hearts."

At 09.00 on the 17th October, HMS Swift arrived back at Scapa through Holm Sound, transferring the survivors to the hospital ship at noon.

#13 MAW

MAW

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 141 posts
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 03 January 2007 - 10:57 PM

The Guardian, 17 October 1914

Torpedoed in the North Sea
HMS Hawke sunk by German submarine
Lamentable loss of life

Archibald Hurd

Saturday October 17, 1914

The Secretary of the Admiralty made the following announcement through the Press Bureau yesterday at noon:- H.M.S. Theseus (Captain Hugh Edwards, R.N.) was attacked by submarine in the northern waters of the North Sea yesterday afternoon, but was missed.
H.M.S. Hawke (Captain Hugh P. E. Williams, R.N.) was attacked at about the same time, and was sunk.
The following officers, together with 49 men of the crew, have been landed at Aberdeen from a trawler:-
Mr. Sidney Austin, boatswain.
Mr. James Dennis, gunner.
Mr. Harry C. T. Evitt, acting gunner
The remaining officers and men are missing. Further particulars will be published as soon as they are available. H.M.S. Hawke was a cruiser built in 1889.
At 8.25 last night the Secretary of the Admiralty issued through the Press Bureau the following further announcement:- Lieutenant Command (G.) Robert R. Rosoman and 20 men have been saved from a raft. [A list of the petty officers and men of the Hawke who are saved appears on the next page.] The Hawke and Theseus were sister ships, protected cruisers, and together with the Edgar, Endymion, Crescent, Gibraltar, Grafton, and Royal Arthur they formed the Tenth Cruiser Squadron attached to the Third Fleet.
These are the oldest ships on the effective list, and their chief use recently has been for instructional duties. They are of similar size, equipment, and speed. The Hawke displaced 7,350 tons, steamed 20 knots when new, and carried two 9.2in. and ten 6in. guns for principal armament. Launched in 1891 at Chatham, she was completed two years later at a cost of Ł400,702.
She was commissioned the same year and spent some time in the Mediterranean. She was last recommissioned in February last year with a nucleus crew, and most of her present officers joined her in August last. Her full complement was 544 officers and men, but there is no official information as to the number actually on board on Thursday.
The Hawke, it will be remembered, collided with the White Star liner Olympic in the Solent on September 20, 1911, when undergoing steam trials after refitting. both vessels were damaged, the cruiser requiring a new stern. The incident led to litigation which is not ended yet, an appeal against the decision of the Admiralty Court in reference to liability for the damage being yesterday set down for hearing in the House of Lords on Tuesday next.

Sank in five minutes
The Aberdeen correspondent of the "Evening Standard" reported yesterday that the steam trawler Ben Rinnes landed at Aberdeen yesterday morning 58 survivors of the crew of the Hawke. The cruiser (he added) was torpedoed on Thursday, and sank in about five minutes. Captain John Cormack (presumably of the trawler) stated that he took the survivors off a Norwegian steamer on Thursday night.
The survivors had escaped in an over-crowded beat, but nothing could be done to save those floating in the water with cork jackets or on rafts. The periscope of the submarine disappeared directly after the explosion. A Peterhead report in the London "Evening News" states that a Swedish vessel made an attempt to assist in saving the cruiser's crew, but had to "clear out."

The deadly torpedo
"Manchester Guardian" and "Daily Telegraph" war service.
We have to deplore another success by a German submarine. The official particulars at present available are very scanty. It appears that the cruisers Theseus and Hawke, sister vessels, were on patrol duty "in the northern waters of the North Sea" when they were attacked by under-water vessels.
The torpedo - or torpedoes - aimed at the former ship did not hit her. About the same time the Hawke became the target of the enemy, and she was struck - sinking, it is stated, in four or five minutes. We could spare the ship, for she was old, but we could not spare the officers and men of the ship, for they were in the very prime of life.

The loss of life - apparently between 450 and 500 have been drowned - is a cause of sorrow which we cannot conceal. Once more, as when the Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy went down, the questions will be asked, "Should these cadets, even though rated as midshipmen, be afloat? Is their presence necessary?" Would it not be better if they completed their training, so that when the war is over we may have young officers to take up the duties which others have had to relinquish - to fill, in fact, the gaps in the fleet at sea?"
It is a matter on which there is room for difference of opinion. It is, however, the custom of the navy for budding officers to be on board ship in war time. This is one of those matters which are "service." The navy has its own customs and standards. There are nearly 1,000 Midshipmen and cadets in his Majesty's ships.

The Hawke's rapid sinking
The Hawke and her sister ship were well-designed cruisers, as good ships as any for which the late Sir William White was responsible, with a speed originally of about 20 knots, which had since fallen off. They were given protective decks varying in thickness from three to five inches, and they were well subdivided. The hulls of the Hawke consisted of no fewer than 192 compartments, and there were 98 watertight doors. Apparently she was struck near a magazine.
If this were the case it helps to explain the rapidity with which she sank, for to the damage done by the enemy's torpedo would be added the injury due to the simultaneous explosion of the ship's own charges. If this were not a fact it would be difficult to understand how a vessel so well designed and built, though old, could, with her watertight doors closed, go to the bottom so quickly. It has already been suggested that the German torpedoes are far more deadly than any in other navies owing to the use of an explosive known as "T.N.T."

It must now be concluded either that the Germans have been exceedingly fortunate in hitting the most vulnerable parts of the ships we have lost, or that they possess in their explosive an agent far more deadly than was known. Certainly the experience of war has not confirmed the comfortable conclusions of peace.
It was assumed that under the attack of a single torpedo no ship such as the Hawke, except she was struck near a magazine, could be sunk. She would, it was conjectured, get a list to port or starboard or go down somewhat ahead or astern. Happily, in designing our latest ships, far more complete precautions were taken against the peril of the torpedo. The main bulkheads are solid, without a single door which may or may not be closed in case of a sudden emergency and which may or may not resist the pressure of an immense volume of water.

................................................................................
......................................................................
Mark
(London)

#14 Tony Lund

Tony Lund

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,920 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Huddersfield

Posted 04 January 2007 - 08:49 PM

To answer my own question about numbers of killed and survivors:

From the Times - October 24th 1914.

“The list contains the names of two killed and 496 missing. Previous lists gave the names of 26 officers missing and four saved, and 66 men saved. These figures give a total of 524 killed or missing and 70 saved out of 594 on board.”

Tony.

#15 Desmond7

Desmond7

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,515 posts
  • Location:The town
  • Interests:12th Royal irish Rifles; Central Antrim; Irish Regts in general.

Posted 04 January 2007 - 11:04 PM

Some will have seen this before ... but may be of help to newer members.

http://www.freewebs....eklywar1914.htm

scroll down to 'Stoker Joyce Power'

I 'think' I may have a source for the first person account. Was a sailor from Derry/Londonderry a survivor? Saw an article about this in the Londonderry Sentinel recently. Will try to hunt it up.
Des

#16 Michael

Michael

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,980 posts

Posted 15 January 2007 - 10:40 AM

Bumping this up to give the person who asked the question the opportunity of acknowledging everyone's help

#17 battlecruiser

battlecruiser

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 147 posts
  • Location:West Yorkshire
  • Interests:WW1 Royal Navy

Posted 16 January 2007 - 08:30 PM

Thanks for the prompt!

Many thanks to all of you who have contributed. The information provided has been a great help.

Kind regards,

Keith