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IN THE NORTH SEA, Issue 15631, 23 October 1914
IN THE NORTH SEA
THE BATTLE OF HELIGOLAND. VIVID ACCOUNT. The subjoined account, which appears in the Belfast ' Daily Telegraph,' is contributed by Mr Rutherford Waddell Moore,-who, wo understand, is a nephew of the respected pastor of St. Andrew's Church : H.M.S. , At X—, September 1, 1914. Dear Father, —Now for something worth while in the way o( writing a letter. Thanks be to tho good God, we have got a few days' respite on account of some delects lately developed in our engine room. We are at ,a* you will sen from the heading of this letter, and 1 am going to take the opportunity to write you a good long letter dealing with our late actions and projects since the war began. It will simply be e. string of short sentences, but nobody cares for style in these times. Well, to begin—you know when the war bioke out I was detained on the , and there I have remained ever since. We ot the Cruiser Squadron, with Admiial —— in command, were sent out to scout in the North Sea. We passed through field after field of mines, and by the grace and goodness of God we escaped them, though when I came to think of it afterwards it was the most miraculous thing that could possibly lava happened, as we passed ever exactly the same area as the ill-fated Amphion. Well, at length when it was seen what a dangerous game we had been called upon to play, we were withdrawn to patrol the channel. This was uneventfrl and mexciting, but veiy necessary. Then the day came when we re ceived orders to quit our squadron and lepair to S . 'Wo went, coa'td, etc., and the next thing we learned was that Admiral was to hoist his flag on our ship. This took place in due couise and wo were again sent to the North Sea, which by this time had been fairly well swept by trawlers, and was comparatively safe. _ We went there, and there we hav.: remained ever since.
We have on board some of tho cleverest officers in tho Navy, all of whom are experts, so that we are by no moans " out of it." We now command any ships of the fleet th-ifc may come our way. You will have seen Admiral 's name in the papers, and where you sec his name mentioned you will know I am here or thereabouts. We have lately been patrolling the North Sea and searching vesselsfor contraband of war. We have stopped dozens of them, but have found nothing. Of course, you have read about the landing of marines at Ostend. Well, wo did that. We set out from with on boaid, and the next afternoon they were all safely entrenched at Ostend. It was a marvellous bit of work, for they had a complete field outfit with them. The general crossed on ou - ship with his staff, and it was our ship that went in to scout and see if the coast was clear. So yon will see what exciting times we aro having. That landing was a magnificent piece of work and brilliantly earned out. Now to come to the great naval acMon. If we vrere not actually in the thick ni it, we were tanging on the outskirts -m fact, steaming .-1; hard as we couW go for the scene of action. We heard the roar of the guns in the distance, and expected eva-y moment to engage the enemy. 'Action" bad been sounded,, and wt were, all at " general quarters," ready for the decisive word 1 had the ledger acK'ss my knees, this being one of the most important documents ou board, and my special charge. In action it has to be brought behind the armor belt. Well, .cs 1 sat in my stuffy, ill-smelling little corner, awa'ting the wcrd and listening for the first shell to burst aboaid, 1 thought of the wee manse, and wondered, if you could have seen me, what you would have thought. I may say witho-d boasting that, I did not feel in the least afraid —only greatly excited. Everyone vas the same— nil "keen, all eager to "do their little bit for the Old Country." Afterwards, when the action was over, and the wounded destroyers with their gha;t'\ cargces came up to us the sight pre sented was one 1 shall never to the end ot my days forget. 1 can see them today as plain as the, day they came. Firjt came the gallant Laurel, her after funnel bent, twisted, and ulacker.ed, her wire less hanging loose, ner midship 4in gun a smoking heap of ruin, her ghastly cargo of wound .id lying about the deck in pools of blood and water. Her killed were on the forecastle, and our doctors were at once sent to tend the wounded. I saw the wounds—great rents and torn flesh, stomachs ripped—but I won't describe them further. One .■nan had his leg shot off. and I saw the bloody stump. Such is the price of war. On board the Laurel on-; German shell took away the whole crew ot the midship gun—ll men in all >,\v-3pt at. one blow into eternity The Liberty came next with her masts shot away and hje l commander and six men killed Then came a more cheerful sight—the Lurcher, unharmed, and wi'h 180 tier nan prisoners aboard. I can never forget that sight. They were sitting all over the forecastle, blackened and grimy, many of them grievously wounded, some without any clothes save a. shirt. and all sopping wet and very frightenedlooking. They seemed specially so when they caught sight of us. The prisoner.-: in the destroyer were double the number of the crew, and with a little spirit an; 1 , a "man" to lead then, might have taken her as a prize, instead of the boot being on the other foot. The results of the action are as follows, and you may take them as correct: —Two German cruisers, the Torek and the Mainz, sunk : also two destroyers sunk and many others hadly injurnd : one other cruiser left in a sinking condition, she having been torpedoed. Just fancy the little Laurel chasing tic:German cruiser right, under the jrmis of the Heligoland batteries, then liiine. on and setting abla/e another German cruiser of 9.800 ton.;, finally torpedoing and sinking hei ! Thus, being engaged with two cruisers, she sank one and set both on fire, and sho is a little vessel of about 800 tons. Isn't that fit to rank with many of Nelson's exploits? And there will be more such stories to tell before this bloody conflict comes (o an end, for such" is the spirit that dominates the country from top to bottom. Well done the Navy! Don't worry about me. I can go where others go. and try at least to do what others do.—Your loving- son, RrrrncßKOß]* Wabdki.t, Mooni:.
IN THE NORTH SEA, Issue 15631, 23 October 1914
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