THE BATTLE OFF THE DUTCH COAST
OFFICER'S GRAPHIC ACCOUNT. An officer serving in the Undaunted rands a. stirring account of the naval battl* and the sinking' of four German destroyers off the Dutch coast. He TrrifeT: We steamed out of Harwich with all ships' companies jubilant and ta-".-, •. < into the danger-zone, as it was reported that a. certain, amount of " liveliness " pre. vailed in the North. Sea. All was qt'iet up til 2 o'clock, when headinp up no 'hwards and skirting the Ihitch coaet-lino we sighted the smoke of four V'.:. r s> :-,. Our captain immediately cloared for ac*i"> and signalled the order to chase. We steamed at top speed with two destroy, rdisposed on either side of va. It vj never-to-bo-forgotten sight—nerves stfra to their utmost tension, and everybody kven as mustard at our luck. Wo etc ;■ at top speed. The seua and «pray flew over us and covered us for© and aft. '• German destroy era turned about and <• but wo had the advantage in speed, soon got within rarn>e vrith our 6in !> gun, and opened fire. Orar captain formed up our flotilla rn either bow, and once within effective r our 4in semi-automatic gtuin blazed av the destroyera acting independently. T German destroyers, seems then'- ' cornered, altered their course with the intention of obtaining a better strategic p..- ition. They opened fire on us. r'r the shooting being: ainw?d n.t the •"'■■• ' Lusty cheers rang from our chips aa the first German destroyer m - 6in lyddite shell struck her just bdov. th-s bridge. She toppled over on her beamends like a wounded bird, then rrh hoo-self level with the surface, and fiivij l ;.' plunged bow first, all in the epaoe af « ■ '. two minutes. We had by this time d«:;-d I to yards range, ana the enemy o mmer.ced tiring (heir torpedoes, and as best as we could judge they must have 'lis j charged at least eight," one missing u\nstern by only a few yards. Fort" t ' for us v,e caught eight of the bubbles on the surface, denoting its track, and v e just missed the Aboukir, Creasy, Hogi:c. at.d Hawke's fate by a hairVbxeadth. At 2.65 p.m. the second of the en••■rr-v' v©s*ris was seen to be out of action, bein? ablaze fore aijd aft, showing the fearful havoc oiir Ivddite shells were makji: . As each shell hit its -nark, funnels, torpedo tubes, and all deck fittings disapi floated like magic, dense fumes from the I explosive, the deadliest of ite kind, covering the ships fore and aft. We actually j pnssed over the spot where the first vew-! had sunk, and just for a space of a couple of seconds ns we were tearing through the i u-atcr at over 50 knots we caught sight i of (scores of poor wretches floating about J nnd clinging to chaired and blmckm-.d j iebris and wreckage. Thi* was truly a I pitiable sight, but as we hiri two more i' combatants to put oat of artion, to etop at siich close range, even to save life, would have been courting; disaster. Wo should micrely have been exposing cuis'lt'S to torpodoe*.. We had to tear along ar.d try t/.- forget the gruesome result of our .vork. The ec-oond ship, now a mass, of wwtHng :!;urse*, sunk quite ?evel with th*> t-'<m\ 1 r,d we socn had the lemaining two literlly holed and maimed, 'ihesir w*s very poor ai'id inaccurate, altho'.uh •:»•.■«- r;.;l shells flew around, throwing f,hrs.:wl bullets about. It was a marvel that uone -i.iuik v*. The destroyers Loyal and nox got in nroximity to one of the . ' krman shipe, aii<f both Gorman diips v;,-re i holed before giving up the ghost. 'l:a surviving German fired her last torpedo, ! :,ifl:, hovv.ver, went wide of the mark. ! Oaring Uiom activities we had closed ;ic i with the !aat of the Kaisar's de*tryytrs, and placed her hors de combat. *Ths> Legion had two men wounded By 3 50 tho actioii woa over, and the i.'onnan fleet had been reduced by four Mi.its. Then came the order to gel O'.'t ixiats ar>d save life. Altogether we saved tvo ofneers and 29 men, Ono of the offlttr.=, tlie "japtain of the destroyer S 119, ! '.va? so badly mainied that be died <hort]y jifterwards. The total complement ~f *' e fo-.:r must have been about 240, v> over 200 perished in the engage:)), nt. which last<-d abr.nt one hotrr—a. crowded hour of glorious lifa.
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THE BATTLE OFF THE DUTCH COAST, Evening Star, Issue 15678, 17 December 1914