of HMS Drake 1905 - 1907
HMS Drake paid off on January 30th 1905,after having
been employed with the Cruiser Squadron, with the “Good Hope” as
flagship, and re-commissioned at Portsmouth the following day at 9 a.m.
with a complement of 917 officers and men, as flagship of Rear-Admiral
H.S.H. Prince Louis of Battenberg, G.C.B., G.C.V.O. commanding the second
Cruiser Squadron which consisted of the “Drake,” “Cornwall,”
“Berwick,” Essex,” “Cumberland” (and five months afterwards by
the “Bedford”), making a fast and serviceable squadron of six first
class armoured cruisers, five being county class cruisers, affiliated to
the Atlantic Fleet under the new naval redistribution scheme.
It was a hardy frosty morning when the various ratings which make
up the a ships complement joined the “Drake” from the cruiser
“Powerful,” Whale Island, and Royal Naval Barracks; while the Royal
Marine Artillery and the Royal Marine Light Infantry embarked from Eastney
and Forton Barracks respectively. The
ship was moored in No 5 basin, close to the Unicorn Gates.
Already some 200 officers and men were onboard, mostly volunteers
from last commission.
The flag of H.S.H. Prince Louis was hoisted on board H.M.S.
“Colossus” at 9 a.m. for saluting purposes (as ships in the dockyard
are not permitted to fire salutes), and saluted the Commander in Chief,
Vice Admiral Sir A Douglas, K.C.B. with 15 guns.
Later at 9.30 a.m. we struck our commissioning pendant and hoisted
the Admiral’s flag, which was struck at sunset.
(This flag was a special one, being a present from Prince Henry of
Prussia.) The men were
quietly and quickly detailed for their messes, duties, etc, each man being
given a card containing all details. As each man’s name was called out that individual quickly
doubled up the gangway and saluted Commander Buller, the Executive
Officer, and repaired to his allotted station, and by noon every man was
onboard, and acquainted with his various duties, stations, etc.
The first day of commissioning is obviously a busy one, but
experience and discipline blended together enabled the necessary work and
customary evolutions to be satisfactorily completed by 4 p.m. at which
hour liberty men were permitted to land; those remaining onboard being
exercised at fire stations.
Next morning our captain, Flag Captain Mark Kerr, assembled all
officers and men on the quarter deck, and gave us a little speech,
informing us what he expected from his command, and enjoined everyone to
promptly obey all orders and commands of superiors of every rank, by which
method efficiency, discipline, and general comfort would be assured, and
finally suggested that the ship should establish the reputation of best
shot in the Navy. Our ship
was named after the famous admiral, Sir Francis Drake, the hero of the
Elizabethan period, who defeated the Spanish Armada, and the “Drake”
was the flagship of one of the finest admirals in the world, who had
already earned a pre-eminent naval reputation.
Every privilege consistent with the service custom and regulations
was promised to all those who were entitled to such, and also swift and
severe justice would be meted to that hapless minority who are found in
every sphere of life, but whose existence are within the narrowest limits
in the British Navy of this period. On February 6th we coaled
ship and took in 1,400 tons, averaging 250 tons an hour, which smart
performance elicited from our Commander a speech of appreciation to the
assembled crew. Next day a
new Truck Semaphore was fitted in the ship to facilitate cruiser
signalling. On the 8th
we were shifted to the South Railway jetty, commonly known as “farewell
Jetty,2 where we shipped ammunition provisions, stores etc.
On the following day Prince Louis came onboard and had a thorough
inspection of his flagship, when all the officers were assembled on the
quarterdeck, and each introduced to the admiral by the flag captain.
Six days leave by watches was then given to all the men who had
re-commissioned the ship.
As is usual, all manner of rumours, newspaper reports, etc, were in
circulation as regards our first cruise, one of which stated we were going
to act as escort for his Majesty the King during a trip in the
Mediterranean. While lying
here, Admiral Lord Walter Kerr was shown over the ship by Prince Louis,
and lunched onboard after his informal inspection.
For several days all hands were kept busy cleaning and painting the
ship to give her a smart man of war appearance, as it was now officially
given out that his Majesty the King would honour us with a visit on the 27th.
Prince Louis finally hoisted his flag onboard on the 23rd,
when the Princess Henry of Battenberg, accompanied by Princess Ena,
visited the “Drake” and lunched onboard with Prince Louis, and next
day Lord Goschen paid the ship a visit and dined with Prince Louis,
remaining to sleep onboard. The
day previous to the arrival of his Majesty every officer and man rehearsed
before our Admiral the ceremonial for the Royal visit.
At 6p.m. on the 27th H.M. King Edward VII arrived,
dressed in the uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet, the Royal Standard
being instantly broken at the main as he stepped onboard, but no salute
was fired as it was then past sunset.
The officers, in full dress, were already drawn up on the
quarterdeck in the order of their rank, while his Majesty took up a
position on the top of the Admiral’s companion, and Flag Captain Mark
Kerr called out each officer’s name as he passed before his Majesty and
saluted. The quarterdeck was
gaily decorated with flags and electric lamps, so arranged that the lamps,
red and white, formed a device of a Japanese ensign.
The Royal Standard, which was flying high above on the wireless
pole, uniquely illuminated, formed the centre of attraction during the
night. Portsmouth Hard was
crowded till early hours of the morning.
His Majesty conferred a great honour on the ship, and indeed the
Navy, in sleeping onboard that night.
He occupied Prince Louis ordinary sleeping cabin, and rose next
morning at 8.50 a.m. Accompanied
by Prince Louis and Admiral Sir John Fisher (the latter having slept
onboard the “Enchantress,” which was also moored at the South Railway
jetty), at 9 a.m. His Majesty witnessed from our after shelter deck the
dressing of all ships in the harbour and the booming forth of a general
Royal salute, all ships taking their time from the historical old
“Victory.” Afterwards the
whole ship’s company field past his Majesty, who then minutely inspected
the ship, visiting the officer’s messes and cabin’s, and the mess
deck. He expressed attention
to the new foremost signal bridge galley.
During the forenoon, and accompanied by Admiral Sir J. Fisher,
Prince Louis and Flag Captain Mark Kerr, his Majesty steamed round the
harbour. Royal weather
prevailed throughout the day.
In the afternoon his Majesty was photographed with all the officers
grouped on the jetty. Outside
the ship numerous photographers with their paraphernalia had remained
hovering about from the early hours of the morning.
When all was ready his Majesty very humorously shouted out on two
three Fire! Directly this
inevitable function was over, his Majesty commanded Stevens, chief torpedo
instructor, to be presented to him, as he had noticed he was wearing the
“Royal Victorian Order,” and Able Seaman Hollinghurst, from whale
Island, the man who made such a record shooting with a 6in gun, was also
similarly honoured, the presentation being made by Captain Percy Scott.
At 3.30 p.m. his Majesty took his departure in the Royal
train from the South Railway jetty, the usual Royal Guard being drawn up
and a Royal Salute fired as the train steamed off.
Then for a few hours all was bustle preparing the ship for sea, and
everyone anxious to have a last farewell with their wives, sweethearts,
and friends onshore. Leave
was liberally granted to all who could be spared till 6 a.m. next morning.
March 1st at 7.30 a.m. we slipped from the jetty and
proceeded to Spithead to adjust compasses and run a steam trial, which was
satisfactory. The cruisers
“Berwick” and “Cumberland,” having arrived previously, were
waiting our departure.
At 1 p.m. having obtained permission, we formed up in line and
proceeded down Channel at 13 knots en route for Arosa Bay. Before leaving Spithead his Majesty the King wired the
following message to Prince Louis: -
“The King sends his best wishes, and hopes you will have a good
At 5.30 a.m. on the 2nd, we rounded Ushant, and at 8
a.m. the admiral carried out some turning movements, the officers of the
watches taking charge of their respective ships.
A strong N.E. wind was encountered, with heavy sea, and being on
our quarter we rolled somewhat heavily during turning movements.
The gun room officers happened to be at breakfast, and when the
helm was put hard over their mess was flooded, washing everything off the
table, doing much damage, clothes being spoilt, sextants damaged, but the
middies took it all as a good joke, especially as the ward room officers
were even worse off, a huge sea finding its way down the hatch over the
table. Moral keep hatches and
scuttles closed during turning movements with a rough sea on.
The majority of the boys ad young sailors were sea sick, walking
about the decks pale and dejected looking, not having acquired their
“sea legs” yet. Although
a big cruiser, she was very lively in a sea way.
At noon next day we passed H.M.S. “Caesar,” homeward bound,
flying the flag of Lord Charles Beresford and shortly afterwards we passed
the German corvette, “Moltke,” going north, which ship saluted our
admiral with thirteen guns, a like number being returned, as is customary.
At 4.38 p.m. we dropped anchor in Arosa Bay.
The squadron was ordered to carry out exercises independently till
The bay is an ideal anchorage for exercises, and a favourite spot
of the Channel Fleet to shake down the new crews before arriving at
After tea the ships carried out several minor evolutions, boat
The following morning broke rather chilly, but by 9 a.m. we had
glorious sunshine, which cheered everyone after the cold, dull weather
experienced in England. In
the afternoon officers and men were granted special leave until 7 p.m.
After luncheon on the 4th about 30 officers landed for a
“paper chase.” The hares
and field started from the café at Villa Garcia and led off after many
false trials up towards Serpent Hill (this bill is called after the ill
fated H.M.S. “Serpent,” and an obelisk is erected there to record that
sad disaster). Here the field
were somewhat confused, some went left, others went right; the latter,
however, ran into the hares about 1 ½ miles fro home.
The whole run was a good one of about eight miles, and afforded
good humoured sport.
Next day the flag captain and a party of officers went away early
for a day’s fishing. They
had a very wet day, caught nine sprats, and saved “Saltash”, but over
the dinner table the catch of sprats had developed into whales.
At 9.40 a.m. Rear Admiral inspected the “Berwick,” mustered the
ship’s company by the open list, and remained to Divine service.
On Monday 6th
the sun rose beautifully and poured forth his warm rays on the green, low
lying hills, which seemed to invite the crews to forsake their ships and
revel in their charms, but the forenoon was spent at general exercises. First, the bower anchor, then the sheet anchor was got into
the launch, and then the remainder of the day was devoted to “station
reading,” etc, while the “bunting tossers” (no, we won’t offend
them with that name), the signalmen, I mean were exercising flag wagging
and talking to her ships with their Truck Semaphore erected on the top of
the mainmast, at an altitude of 160 feet.
During the forenoon Prince Louis inspected the “Cuberland.” In the evening the forecastle men and foretop men rowed a
race in fourteen oared barges, and the latter won, and the next day the
quarterdeck men tried their strength against the winners of the previous
day, defeating them easily.
Some forty-five officers from the squadron, accompanied by Prince
Louis, had a special train to Santiago where they lunched together, and
generally roamed the town. Three
of our officers went for a day’s shooting.
Unfortunately the boat ran high and dry up the creek, where they
remained till one o’ clock in the morning.
As no tidings were forthcoming things looked rather awkward, as we
were due to sail at 6 a.m. The
party, however, turned up at 4 am. Little or none the worse for their
At 6 a.m., 8th, left for Gibraltar.
H.M.S. “Tarangu” was passed at 8 p.m. homeward bound from
Australia. Next day our three
cruisers were spread out, and distant signalling exercised. On the 10th we passed the German gunboat “Gier,”
and the usual salutes were exchanged.
At 2 p.m. the squadron at Gibraltar saluted Vice Admiral May
(Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet) then all three moored alongside
the detached “Mole.” Here
we found the “King Edward VII” (Flag) in No 3 dock, “Victorious,”
“Mars,” “Illustrious,” “Majestic,” “Magnificent,”
“Doris,” “Assistance,” “Thistle,” and “Dwarf.”
During our here we coaled from the collier alongside commencing
early in the morning, when we took in 660 tons of coal, and also 200 tons
of patent fuel from lighters.
On the 14th Vice Admiral May took his fleet to sea to
adjust helm angles, etc. We
were busily engaged cleaning ship after coaling; 48 hours is always
allowed for this purpose, the ship being out of routine for drills.
In the evening the first accident happened, when an armoured hatch
fell down on able Seaman Jackman’s foot.
Smashing it severely. He
was conveyed ashore to the Naval Hospital, where he was surgically
attended, and was sufficiently convalescent in a month to be invalided out
of the service with the loss of his foot.
Besides regulations pension awarded, a subscription was raised in
the ship, and £91 was placed to his credit.
The Governor of Gibraltar, General Sir George White, paid an
official visit onboard, being saluted with 19 guns once leaving the ship.
In the evening our cutter, manned by ordinary seamen, rowed a
two-mile race against the Berwick’s boat, the latter winning by 22
seconds, which was a rather unfortunate beginning for our first race.
The Atlantic Battle Fleet returned, except the flagship, which
remained over at Tetuan, carrying our practices until the following day.
As usual, leave was being granted to the ship’s company nightly.
The accommodation ashore, when such a large fleet here is
insufficient; but the soldiers are always very kind, allowing the men to
use their mess, canteens, billiard rooms, etc, otherwise there is little
or no place for the sailor, and now that Gibraltar forms the base of the
Atlantic Fleet, a Sailors Home, similar to those at the home ports, would
be a most desirable institution.
At 2 p.m. the 18th the “Essex” arrived with their
Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught onboard.
The ship was met off Europa Point by the torpedo flotilla, which
formed an imposing escort for their Royal Highnesses.
Directly the “Essex” was secured to the buoy inside the Mole,
the Governor and all the flag officers repaired onboard to offer their
official respects to them. On
the 20th they’re Royal Highnesses and the Princesses Margaret
and Patricia, accompanied by Sir John Maxwell.
Miss Pelly, Prince Alexander of Battenberg, and the captains of the
“Essex,” “Berwick,” and “Cumberland,” dined onboard the
“Drake” with Prince Louis.
At 2 p.m. on the 22nd their Royal Highnesses departed in
the “Essex,” and the following message was signalled to them from the
“King Edward VII”: -
Commander in chief, and Officers of Atlantic Fleet wish your royal
Highness a good passage, to which the Duke replied: -
Best thanks; hope we may son meet again.
In the evening the first of our impromptu concerts was held,
arranged by our chaplain (Rev W. Todd,) who had organised boxing,
wrestling, singing, etc, which varied entertainment was much appreciated
by all present. Another boat race between fore and maintop men took place
next day; the former won by 31 seconds, and were entertained to supper by
the defeated crew.
It was while lying here that Chief E.R.A. Lightfoot received his
promotion to artificer engineer, and was warmly congratulated by his
messmates and the engineer officers.
Vice-Admiral Sir W. May and officers of “King Edward VII” were
“At Home” to the admirals and captains of the fleet and garrison,
which function was numerously attended.
The visit of her Majesty the Queen to Gibraltar, announced for the
28th, gave all ships a busy period preparing and rigging
illuminating circuit for a grand display, while the destroyer flotilla
rehearsed the escort duties for her Majesty.
Petty officers messes numbers 36 and 55, created a little diversion
one evening in rowing a race of two miles in gigs, when No 55 mess won by
ten lengths, which victory was signalised with a good supper at the
expense of the losing crew, who concluded the repast a dead heat with
After the usual next Sunday’s inspection all hands assembled on
the quarterdeck, when they were informed by the flag captain that he had
provided a silver cup for the stokers, to be kept on their mess deck so
long as they maintained 30,000 horse power, but if they failed to do so
the trophy would be taken away, and as the fleet surgeon suggested, placed
in the sick bay.
The 27th was General Exercise day.
Drills were carried out independently; the ship was cleared for
action and afterwards all boats pulled round the fleet.
After supper racing boats crews went away for exercise, while small
groups assembled here and there on the upper deck, being taught the art of
self-defence, while on the after shelter deck some of the midshipman were
going strong on boxing, having the gymnastic instructor for an opponent.
At 2.45 p.m. next day her Majesty Queen Alexandra arrived from
Cadiz in his Majesty’s yacht “Victoria and Albert,” flying the Royal
Standard at the main and escorted by the first class cruiser “Essex”
(Captain Farquhar) and a flotilla of destroyers and torpedo boats, under
the command of Commander A. F. Everett, in the “Exe,” which were sent
out some hours previously by Admiral Sir W May, the Commander-in-chief.
All ships were resplendently dressed, and when the yacht got within
one mile of the “Mole” a Royal Salute was fired by all ships present,
consisting of “King Edward VII,”
“Victorious,” “Magnificent,” “Mars,” “Majestic,”
“Illustrious,” “Prince George,” “Drake,” “Berwick,” “Cumbernauld,”
“Assistance,” “Tyne,” and “Diadem,” which latter ship was en
route to China. The yacht
entered by the southern entrance passing directly under our bows; all the
ships were manned and the National anthem played.
Her Majesty, who appeared in the pink of health, could be observed
snapshooting, her first shot being the “Drake,” where Admiral Prince
Louis was standing on the fore bridge, in full view of the Queen.
Shortly after the yacht made fast to the buoy, all flag officers
repaired onboard. At 4 p.m.
her Majesty landed in the state barge for a drive through the town,
receiving a great ovation from the cosmopolitan crowds, which thronged the
gaily-decorated streets, a royal salute being fired from the ships.
From the yacht to the dockyard an avenue was formed of fourteen
oared barges, twenty-four in number, for the royal barge to pass through,
Flag Captain Troubridge, of the “Victorious,” was in charge of them,
and a very pretty sight they presented.
At 6.30 p.m. her Majesty returned to the yacht, and his Excellency
the Governor, Sir G. white, and al the flag officers, received the royal
invitation to dine with her Majesty.
The fleet was illuminated from 8.30 p.m. till 11.30 p.m. the
phantom like ships now laying quietly at their moorings, with not a ripple
on the water, looking grim monsters of the deep.
Next morning broke with beautiful sunshine, rather warm at first,
but after midday a slight breeze made it somewhat more comfortable. At 11 a.m. her Majesty landed quietly and unofficially for a
ride, and afterwards lunched at the Convent.
In the afternoon her Majesty visited the “King Edward VII” and
remained on board till 5 p.m. looking over the powerful flagship of the
Atlantic Fleet. The wireless
telegraphy room was visited, and the following message was sent to the
Naval Signal Station on the Rock, and then transmitted by cablegram to his
Majesty the King: -“Here I am on board the King Edward VII, she is a
beautiful ship. Send my love from here-Alexandra. Time, 4.30 p.m.” Our
wireless operator, ever on the alert, intercepted the above message.
Her Majesty then honoured the “Drake” with a visit, and as we
were berthed alongside the detached “Mole” a temporary landing stage
was erected. Her Majesty was
received by Prince Louis and the flag Captain, the Royal Standard was
hoisted, and a guard of honour of one hundred Royal marines under Major
Evans, royal Marine Light Infantry, presented arms, while massed bands of
our cruiser squadron struck up the National Anthem.
All the officers were drawn up on the quarterdeck, and Flag Captain
Mark Kerr presented watch officer to her Majesty.
This ceremonial over the Queen, with Princess Victoria, Princess
Maud, and Prince Charles of Denmark, retired to Prince Louis cabin, and
there partook of tea, after which the royal party left for a trip to
Algeciras. Within seven weeks
left we commissioned many exalted personages had visited the ship, among
them being the King, Duke and Duchess pf Connaught, and her Majesty the
Queen and her daughters, the Princesses.
During the visits of royalty our chaplain never relaxed his efforts
for the promotion of sport as he took the football party on shore, and in
a match played between ordinary seamen and boys the former won, both teams
afterwards sitting down to a substantial tea.
At noon on the 31st, her Majesty left Gibraltar, the
battleships being moored at the buoys and the cruisers at the Moles. The yacht steamed slowly between the lines, each pair of
ships cheering lustily as it passed.
On clearing the northern entrance the fleet fired another royal
At 5 p.m. his Imperial Majesty the German Emperor in the
“Hamburg,” arrived, escorted by the cruiser “Frederick Karl.”
All ships were dressed with the German ensign at the main, and a
royal salute was fired. The
“Hamburg” made fast to the buoy, which the Royal yacht had vacated a
few hours previously. His
Excellency the Governor and all flag officers went onboard to pay their
respects. When proceeding alongside the New Mole, the “Frederick
Karl” collided with the “Prince George,” necessitating that ship
being docked next morning, a large hole having made on her starboard bow
below the water line. Immediately
the flag officers left the “Hamburg,” his Imperial Majesty visited the
King Edward VII, and after inspecting the guard of honour, he inspected
the ship and the guns crews at exercise.
On leaving at 7.30 p.m. our flagship saluted him with 21 guns, and
all ships immediately switched on illuminating lights, the circuits having
been rigged for her Majesty’s visit.
Today had been a real royal day.
During the afternoon our midshipmen and the Victorious rowed a
one-mile race in six oared galleys, the latter winning by several lengths.
April 1st, his Imperial Majesty paid an official visit to the
“Drake,” as honorary admiral of the British Fleet, his Imperial
standard flying side by side with the Union Jack at our main, while Prince
Louis flag was temporarily transferred to the “Berwick.”
All the officers were drawn up on quarterdeck and marched past the
Emperor in single file, each officer being personally presented, after
which he then had a quick look round the upper deck, and retired to Prince
Louis cabin. On leaving he
received a salute of nineteen guns as honorary admiral of the British
At 6 p.m. the “Hamburg” sailed with his Imperial Majesty,
escorted by the “Frederick Karl,” another royal salute being fired on
his departure. Next day the
battle fleet and our cruiser squadron prepared for sea.
At 6 a.m. on the 3rd the “Drake,” “Berwick,”
“Cumberland,” with the destroyers “Exe,” “Dee,” “Ettrick,”
and “Arun,” under the command of Prince Louis, left Gibraltar, the
battle fleet following two hours afterwards.
We shaped our course to the southward and eastward with the
following object in view, viz, the cruisers “Essex” and Doris” were
up the Mediterranean and they had to endeavour to break through without
being caught and join the battle fleet.
The plan devised by our admiral, of course, cannot be disclosed
(even were the author acquainted), although commanding officers were
requested to explain to the men what was being carried out, except the
confidential part, but it was his desire that nothing should be
communicated to the Press. At
6.20 p.m. that evening our enemy were sighted right ahead of us and were
within our cordon. The game was up! They
were then ordered by signal to join us at a certain rendezvous.
About 10 p.m. we all met and joined up in line at 11.30 p.m. when a
thick fog came on, and continued so till 10 a.m. next morning. All night
long the signalmen kept that terrible disturber of the watch below’s
dreams, the syren, every two minutes.
The “Essex” our captured enemy, was sent on to Gibraltar as
being very short of coal. When
the fog cleared off the destroyer flotilla, under Commander A.F. Everett,
were sent on to Gibraltar to carry out tactical exercises.
At 2 p.m. we sighted the battle fleet carrying out exercises, which
we also did likewise, and anchoring for the night to the eastward of
Europa Point. Next morning,
the 5th, we had decided to weigh at 6.30 a.m. but owing to a
fog, waited till 9.20 a.m. when we weighed and carried out torpedo
exercises, the divisions steaming past each other at unknown speeds.
The torpedoes were fitted with collapsible heads, and were fired at
the opposite ships, very good practice being made.
After anchoring aiming rifle practice was carried out at a target
towed by the picket boat, and torpedo running was also done.
Again at 4 p.m. we weighed, and took up berth alongside the
Commercial Mole, the “Berwick” and “Cumberland” going to the new
mole. The battle fleet arrived later, and took up their respective
berths at the buoys. At 8.30
p.m. the usual evening concert was all a going, our flag captain adding to
the harmony with a song which was encored.
By kind permission of the captain, a party of some fifty chief
first class petty officers had a very nice day’s outing in Spain,
visiting the waterfalls in the cork woods, crossing to Algeciras, and then
walking to the woods, through delightful county, where an al fresco feed
was provided, after roaming about and having the items of interest
explained to them by our chaplain, who was instrumental in getting the
party together. They returned
onboard after a very pleasant day, looking, perhaps, somewhat footstore,
but refreshed with the country air and smell of the wild flowers.
A good game of football was played on the north front by teams
representing the bluejackets and stokers; I order to decide which is
really to be the “Drake’s” representative team.
A.B. Taylor captained the former, and Stoker Batten the latter, the
bluejackets winning by seven goals to one.
On the 7th, and under a broiling sun, a cricket match
was played on the north front, between teams representing the cruiser
squadron and Gibraltar Cricket Club.
A Boxing and Wrestling Gymnasium, Army and Navy, under the auspices
of his Excellency Sir George White and Rear-Admiral-Superintendent of the
Naval Establishment on shore. Three
entered from the “Drake” (Private Cokayne, Royal Marine Light
Infantry, middle weight, beat Stoker Sullivan, of the “Victorious,” in
the final championship; A.B. Campbell, light weight, fought the best fight
of the evening, with Dillon, of the “Majestic,” but unfortunately he
put his thumb out). Our first
Lieutenant Cameron, the gymnastic officer, attended in the interest of the
competitors. Boxing and
wrestling are being taken up with great interest in the ship, every
encouragement being given, so that it has now become our general
On April 10th at 7.30 a.m. the cruiser squadron,
consisting of the “Drake” (flag), “Essex,” “Cumberland,”
“Cornwall,” “Berwick,” and “Doris” slipped from the Moles-the
“Cornwall” was waiting outside, having rejoined during the previous
evening from escort duty. We
proceeded eastward of the Rock for twenty miles, it having been previously
arranged that we were to attack the battle fleet, under Vice Admiral Sir
W. May, at the now famous PZ battle exercises.
It was anything but an ideal day for manoeuvring, as it was raining
hard, accompanied by strong winds. At
10 a.m. the appointed hour, the two fleets approached each other and
manoeuvred for position of advantage till 1 p.m. when our Commander in
Chief brought the action to a close; the remainder of the day was devoted
to tactics, the cruisers forming up with the battle fleet and making a
second division. At 6.30 p.m.
we all dropped anchor in Tetuan Bay, with orders to weight at 6 a.m. next
morning and carry out gunnery and torpedo practices independently.
We weighed at the time given, and carried out the practices,
afterwards anchoring in Catalan Bay, just the other side of Europa Point,
and ran Whiteheads. It was a
beautiful day, not a ripple on the water.
We weighed anchor at 4 p.m. and took up usual position alongside
the Mole, and prepared for coaling from the collier “Rothesay,” but by
the time we got alongside and had got ready, it was late in the evening.
The battle fleet returned at 6 p.m. and took up their buoys; the
flagship remaining outside, ready for gun practice.
Next morning 12th all hands were called at 4.30 a.m. had
cocoa, and commenced coaling an hour later, the collier port side,
lighters with patent fuel starboard side, and by noon had finished with
502 tons of coal and 145 tons of patent fuel stowed away-an average of
111.5 tons per hour.
The French cruiser “Lenois,” “king Edward
VII,” “Cumberland,” with the destroyers.
“Myrmidon,” “Kangaroo,” and “Crane,” arrived during the
afternoon. The rest of the
day all hands were busily employed cleaning ship.
Next day the cleaning process was continued.
All the marines of the battle fleet and our squadron landed on the
north front for drill, Major Parsons, of the “King Edward VII,” being
in chief command.
Prince Louis now promulgated our programme of movements up to June
7th, leaving here on the 27th with the Atlantic
fleet for combined operations in the Mediterranean, under Admiral Sir
Prince Louis considerately invited the officers’ ad men of the
French cruiser, “Lenois,” to attend, and made up a 200 yards race for
the men. Twelve competed, and
Prince Louis gave substantial money prizes to the first three.
Glorious weather prevailed all day, and all seemed to have
thoroughly enjoyed them. Mrs
D’Aeth and the flag captain presented the prizes at the conclusion,
three cheers being given for Mrs D’Aeth.
The ships band played selections during the afternoon.
It being a glorious day, the Rev W. Todd took a party of
twenty-five boys ashore on the 18th, and visited the famous
galleries on the Rock. Before
returning onboard they sat down to a good high tea; the boys thoroughly
enjoying and appreciating their holiday.
Prince Louis has news today that he was a grandfather, his
daughter, Princess Alice, having presented her husband, Prince Andrew of
Greece, with a daughter; the occasion was celebrated with a large dinner
party onboard, the massed bands of the squadron playing on the
quarterdeck. The forepart
also had their music; the piano was kept going till 10 p.m. for dancing,
singing etc. The next evening
a wrestling contest took place for a wager, between Stoker Penny, 9st
2lbs, and A.B. Needham, 11st 4lbs, of the “Thistle”. First fall to Penny in fifteen minutes, and the second to him
in six minutes. Without a
doubt Penny is a marvellously strong wrestler for his weight.
Lieutenant Cameron and the engineer officer from the “thistle”
acted as referees, and nearly every officer and man belonging to the
“Drake’s” and “Thistle’s” crews were present, evidently
enjoying the scientific sport. In
the evening preparation for sea was made, the cruisers being ordered to
have steam ready for fifteen knots by 9.30 a.m. and the battleships for
twelve knots by 10.30 a.m. The “Doris,” however, developed a defect, and was unable
to accompany us. The
“Amethyst,” turbine engines, formed up with our squadron, making us a
total of six ships.
The cruisers left as directed at 9.30 and the battle fleet at 10.30
a.m. next morning for a seven day’s sea trip, and to join up with
Admiral Compton Domvile at Marmarice for combined exercises as previously
stated. On clearing the bay,
we spread E ½ S from the “King Edward VII,” the battle fleet of seven
ships following us up in rear. The
new trial “Cruiser Code” was extensively tried.
At 3 p.m. we closed in for the execution of some turning movements
and before dark re opened out two miles apart, remaining so during the
Good Friday 21st April, Vice Admiral Sir W May informed
the fleet that Sunday routine would be observed.
At 5 a.m. we opened out to five miles apart, and exercised truck
semaphoring, signalling being continued till 5 p.m.
(The “Bunting’s” Sunday routine!)
We then joined up with the battle fleet as a temporary second
division. The “Berwick”
was despatched on wireless telegraphy experiments with the fleet until 11
p.m. next day. Rather a quiet
day followed, steaming leisurely along until 6 p.m. when we took up
“Look out positions” ahead. By
this time the wind had freshened from the westward, making a heavy sea on
our port quarter, and rolling somewhat heavily, smashing up several
officers cabin furniture, causing a general rush to cabins to find out the
effect-the cause being known. Easter
Sunday morning broke beautifully fine, with a fresh westerly breeze, the
ships now steaming along quietly.
Cruisers spread out ahead on the 24th, and communicated
by wireless with Admiral Domvile at Malta, receiving latest press
telegrams, etc. During the
night we gradually closed in, and by 8 a.m. on the 25th had
formed astern of battle fleet. A
long day at tactics and manoeuvres commenced and lasted till 6 p.m. only
ceasing for one hour for luncheon. At
6 p.m. the cruisers again took up “look out duties.”
Our 6-inch loading competition commenced this evening, the crews
having been hard at it every evening for some six weeks.
Prince Louis was present to witness the contest, taking up his
position with the flag captain. Commander
Buller and Gunnery Lieutenant Walwyn were the selected umpire and
timekeeper respectively. Keen
interest was manifested during the competition, which took seven evenings
to decide the winning crew. The
weather this evening was indeed delightful.
Up till 10 p.m. the piano was up, and merry parties indulged in
dancing and singing, when a sudden collapse of this impromptu concert took
place as the bugle sounded Exercise General Quarters; with the bustle of
lashing up hammocks, etc, everyone rapidly repaired to his appointed
station amid the rattling of chains as the guns were cast loose for
action, the officers of the groups of guns being eager to be first cleared
away. Such is the method of
testing the war efficiency of a ship.
At 11.30 p.m. the guns were again secured, and the middle watchmen
had the satisfaction of knowing they had yet half an hour to sleep before
again being roused up. Manoeuvres
were exercised next day, commanders and first lieutenants having an hour
at being in charge as captain. After
evening quarters the fleet exercised stations for taking a ship in tow. The cruisers then took up station ahead looking out for the
Mediterranean fleet, and sighted them ahead at 12.30 p.m. six ships, with
admiral Domvile in command, flying his flag in the “Bulwark,”
accompanied by the “Venerable,” “formidable,” “Implacable,”
“Queen,” and “Prince of Wales.”
We really expected a fight, or some other form of excitement on
meeting, but Admiral Domville proceeded to Marmarice, and ordered the
Atlantic Fleet to go there. At
5 p.m. we dropped anchor, each division coming up to the anchorage
separately. Half an hour
later the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, consisting of the
“Leviathan” (flag of Rear Admiral Hon Hedworth Lambton)
“Lancaster,” “Minerva,” “Juno,” and the destroyers,
“Albatross,” “Stag,” and “foam,” arrived and took up their
berths. The magnificent fleet
presented a formidable war looking appearance, as they lay moored in four
lines, the battleships in shore, cruisers occupying the outer berths.
The harbour of Marmarice may be considered one of the finest
harbours in the Mediterranean for a large fleet, and is much frequented by
the British fleet as being an ideal place for the execution of exercises
etc. It is almost landlocked,
and affords a secure anchorage. The mountains on the western side of the entrance are high
and very picturesque. The
town at the head of the harbour is built on a rocky eminence, and mainly
consists of miserable dirty houses, scattered about without any method or
regularity. The country
around is very fertile, and the principal productions are honey and
turpentine. The mountains are covered with pine trees.
On the 28th the combined fleet held a sailing handicap
regatta (service rigs), 110 boats competed, the course being almost a
triangular one of 12 miles. The
first race started at 1.15 p.m. as the wind invariably fresher from noon.
The usual precautions were taken in case of capsizing, picket boats
patrolling the course. The
“Amethyst’s” whaler was the only boat, which did capsize.
At 4.40 p.m. the winning boat crossed the line, and the result of
the race was as follows: -
1st “Nenerable’s” 28ft. gig, sailed by Comdr.
Chatfield; 2nd “Venerable’s” launch Lieut, Evans; 3rd
“Majestic’s” launch, Lieut. Elwell; 4th “Cornwall’s
pinnace, Lieut Hall.
In the evenings we had our usual 6in loading completion. Next day the private rig sailing handicap regatta took place,
the course same as on the previous day, but reversed. Not more than forty boats took part, with this result: -
1st “Implacable 24ft cutter; 2nd
“Venerable’s” launch; 3rd, “King Edward VII,” 34ft
It will be seen the Mediterranean Fleet took most of the prizes.
After luncheon our gunroom officers formed a picnic party and went
away in the sailing pinnace, they all took rifles and heaps of ammunition,
so we expected to0 see big game brought back but one lowly sparrow was the
extent of the game bag!
Our torpedo lieutenant’s yacht, “The Flapper,” had a race of
seven miles with the “Berwick’s” yacht, which is much smaller and
was allowed twenty-one minutes on time allowance.
A good race ensued, but “The Flapper” was defeated by 17
seconds only-she was ably manned by our captain, the flag lieutenant, and
her owner, Lieutenant Goldie. After
tea and excitement grew intense as the final loading competition was to
take place, every space being crowded by officers and men alike; Prince
Louis, the flag captain, and all the officers being present.
B3 gun’s crew became the victors in this contest.
Admiral Domvile’s flagship
(“Bulwark”) held a conversazione onboard during the evening, and all
the admirals, captains, and officers of the combined fleet were invited,
her quarterdeck being handsomely decorated and illuminated.
On Sunday 30th when mustering by divisions, Prince Louis
had all hands assembled aft, and then presented the handsome silver cup
and cash prize to B3 and B4 guns crew respectively.
The rear admiral is a good orator and commands everyone’s
attention while speaking, and he clearly defined that it gave him very
great pleasure in presenting the prizes, so kindly given by Captain Mark
Kerr, and stated he was ever ready to further and take the greatest
interest in anything appertaining to gunnery and the general efficiency of
the ship. The captain of B3
was then handed the cup, the admiral congratulating him on the smartness
of his gun’s crew.
Their names are here given: -G. Burnham, P.O.2 (G.L.), H Brindley,
L.S. W. Travis, A.B. W. Davis, A.B., F. Lascombe, A.B., C Upperton, L.S.,
A. E. Fishel, A.B, C Homer A.B.
After luncheon the wardroom officers entertained the gunroom to a
picnic, all going away in the sailing launch, and landed on the western
shore and had a sportive time. The
captains of the combined fleet also went picnicking.
The chief and first petty officers were granted leave till 7 p.m.
and ship visiting was also permitted.
With such a large fleet lying together visiting is much appreciated
by the men, who take the opportunity of looking up old chums.
During the evening the ships prepared for sea, having to leave
early next morning. On May 1st
commenced our four days tactical exercises, for which this large fleet had
combined to carry out. The
cruisers usually weigh first, as in this case, commencing to unmoor at 5
a.m. leaving an hour later. The
3rd Cruiser Squadron proceeded out first, our squadron
following, and on clearing the harbour’s mouth, we “combined,” under
the command of Rear-Admiral Lambton, in the “Leviathan.”
The battle fleet came out at 8 a.m. and could just be seen
manoeuvring in the offing. The
cruisers also manoeuvred at intervals till noon.
In the afternoon sea drill was carried out, the “Leviathan”
having signalled “Take ship in tow.”
The “Berwick” had to tow the “Drake,” and we were the first
pair ready, in the very creditable time of thirteen minutes.
“Casting off tow,” we again were first, taking only nine
minutes. The squadrons then
separated for the night, the cruisers joining up with their respective
battle fleets. During the
following afternoon what is universally known as PZ exercises were carried
out, Mediterranean Fleet versus Atlantic Fleet, under Admiral Sir C.
Domvile and Vice Admiral Sir W May respectively, the Cruiser Squadrons
forming up in the line with their own fleets.
At noon the “Cease Fire” was sounded and at 2 p.m. the
battleships combined and manoeuvred until 4 p.m.
The cruiser squadrons also combined and Prince Louis was given
command for the afternoon. At
4 p.m., ships were drilled at letting go and picking up life buoys.
The fleets then separated for the night.
The weather was delightful.
PZ manoeuvres were again carried out on the 3rd, between
Vice-Admiral Grendfell and Rear Admiral Bridgeman, each admiral having
four battleships and four cruisers under his command, some very exciting
movements taking place at the finish.
Rear-Admiral Bridgeman signalled “Well done, 2nd
At 2 p.m. it was our turn. Rear-Admiral
Prince Louis versus Rear-Admiral Hon. H Lambton, having four each of
battleships and cruisers; the manoeuvring for position of advantage ceased
at 4 p.m. and thus ended the combined fleet exercises so far as we were
At 7 p.m. our squadron rejoined the Atlantic Battle Fleet and
cruised in company during the night.
At 8.30 a.m. next morning Captain Callaghan, “Prince of Wales,”
versus Captain Marx, of the “Mars,” each with four battleships and two
cruisers, manoeuvred as opponents till 11 a.m. when the fleets formed up
and proceeded into Marmarice again, taking up our allotted positions, each
squadron acting independently.
The results of the PZ exercises are obviously only made known to a
limited few, obtaining a deal of anxious labour of those who are in
responsible positions. We
prepared for coaling at once completing our stock from the collier “New
Orleans” after the “Magnificent” had finished.
In the evening our admiral had a dinner party onboard, all the
captains of the Second and Third Cruiser Squadrons attending.
Our coaling was delayed until next day at 1.30 p.m. and having to
take in 1,175 tons, it meant for certain nearly an all night job. At 2.30 p.m. the work commenced, and was continuously kept
up, except for meals, until 3.30 a.m. in the middle watch-averaging 106.8
tons per hour. At 4 a.m. all
hands tired and dirty, were piped down, and slept soundly till 8
o’clock, when breakfast was served.
During yesterday afternoon while we were coaling a fleet sailing
regatta was held (private rigs), the day being an ideal one to test the
sailing capabilities, it being very squally, and several boats, as usual,
capsized, though no mishaps to crews occurred.
The “King Edward VII” held on “At Home£” onboard during
the regatta, and issued invitations to all the officers of the combined
From early morning on the 6th ships were leaving,
dispersing to their allotted places to give general leave to the men. Except that the “Illustrious,” “Mars” and
“Cumberland” remained behind coaling, we were the last ship to depart
at 4.30 p.m.
The usual farewell greetings were exchanged between the different
fleets. Admiral Sir Compton
Domvile signalled that he hoped that the next meeting of the fleets would
be equally agreeable to both. The
“Drake” informed the 2nd Cruiser Squadron that in furture
all information interesting to the ships companies would be promulgates
from time to time at the different places visited.
At 6 a.m. on the 8th we were steaming
through Santorin Straits, the crater of a volcano, Santorin (Thera), the
modern name derived from the Greeks.
This island in early days was inhabited by the Phoenicians and
known by the name of Calliste, or Beuatiful Isle.
It was a glorious morning with the warm sun rising over the island
and showing to advantage the white but very ancient dwelling houses, with
its numerous windmills, while the church bells were distinctly heard.
The forecastle was crowded with sightseers, while the after
sheltered deck was commandeered by the officers (some in their pyjamas),
who are rarely seen on deck so early in the morning.
The “Berwick” rejoined us during the forenoon, she having been
spread for wireless practices.
At 5 p.m. we anchored in Phalerum
Bay,but before doing so saluted the country with 21 guns. The Royal yacht “Victoria and Albert,2 with the cruiser “Aboukir,”
was lying at the Piraeus. Her
Majesty Queen Alexandta was onshore staying at the King’s Palace in
Athens. Among the first board
us on arrival were the Princess Louis and Prince Andrew of Greece.
Next day the ships companies were granted 24 hours General Leave in
watches from noon till noon. Parties
were formed, engaging a guide, and the various historical places were
visited, especially so the Acropolis and Museum.
The British Minister to Greece paid us an official visit, and was
saluted on leaving with 17 guns. The
massed bands of the squadron played on shore at Phalerum from 8 p.m. till
10 p.m. The “Cumberland”
joined at 4 p.m. on the 10th.
Our Chaplain took an organised party of 57 with him onshore for the
day, and visited the principal sights at Athens.
Several of the officers attended by special invitation the
christening of our admiral’s granddaughter at the king’s palace, which
function took place on the 11th.
The “Cornwall,” “Berwick” and “Essex” left us this
morning; the first named for Argostolia and the other two fro Corfu,
according to programme, after having finished their general leave.
The behaviour of the men onshore was very creditable, and leave
breaking was a rarity. Another
party of 34 boys landed with the chaplain early this morning and visited
the sights, partaking of a good lunch in the Hotel Prince George, the boys
thoroughly enjoying their outing.
Early on the 12th we went a few miles out for half a day’s heavy
gun firing, Prince Andrew of Greece being onboard to witness the firing,
returning to the anchorage at 3p.m.
The “Drake” and “Cumberland” dressed ship over all, with
the Greek Ensign at the main, preparatory to the King and Queen of Greece
paying a visit onboard. Their
Majesties came shortly after noon, the British Minister arriving a few
minutes before them. On the state barge leaving the shore a royal salute was
fired. Admiral Prince Louis,
the flag captain and officers, received them at the gangway a Guard of
Honour being drawn up on the quarterdeck.
After inspecting the guard, all the officers were then presented,
His Majesty shaking hands with each.
Luncheon was served on the quarterdeck, it being very sultry
weather. After luncheon His
Majesty had a walk round the ship, and witnessed B3 gun’s crew at the
loader getting off their 30 rounds in two minutes.
Their Majesties departed at 4.30 p.m. when another royal salute was
fired and the Greek National Anthem played.
This following personages accompanied His Majesty and partook of
luncheon; The Queen Princess Sophie, Princess Louise, Crown Prince, Prince
Nicholas, Prince Andrew, Prince George, and the British Minister.
Preparing to leave on the 15th for Malta, all leave
expired at 7 a.m. and at 10.30 a.m. we proceeded at 15 knots, leaving the
Temple of Acropole with the sun shining brightly on its summit far behind.
It is safe to affirm that we all enjoyed our short stay and became
quite familiar with the money currency-the drachma.
Beautiful weather prevailed, not a ripple on the water, so the
piano was got up in the starboard gangway and the men passed several hours
off enjoyment, dancing etc, which is a favourite pastime at sea.
Private Ward very genially presided at the piano.
The forenoon of the next day was devoted to aiming fine practice,
and the afternoon was given up to “Make and mend clothes,” the slops
(naval term for a raw material) being issued, as we were to arrive at
Malta next morning. When the
general issue of slops takes place the upper deck has all the appearance
of a Jew’s shop or jumble sale. As
many as eleven sewing machines were counted hard at work, turning raw
goods into uniformed articles of apparel; the less industrious enjoying a
siesta in the cool sea breeze.
In the evening the gunroom officers entertained Prince Louis and
his flag captain at dinner in the gunroom.
At 3 a.m. the 17th we got in touch with Gargar wireless
station, ad received orders to enter Malta harbour at 7 a.m. and go direct
into NO 3 dock. As we had
only three days to remain we had all our work cut out to complete with
General leave was granted from evening till the morning, and the
officers were made honorary members of the various clubs.
The whole of the Mediterranean fleet and 3rd Cruiser
Squadron were here in Malta, except the “Aboukir”; the “King
Alfred” having arrived the previous evening from England.
At noon, there was the usual rush of trade’s people to get
onboard to dispose of their wares, making all kinds of pretences to get a
footing onboard, but only a few selected ones with credentials were
At 1.30 p.m. the 20th, we were floated out of dock and
proceeded to Naples. As we
left the harbour the flag of the Commander in Chief (Admiral Sir Compton
Domvile) was saluted and before finally proceeding we fired a few 6-in
lyddite shells at Ta Rock.
In the evening the captain gave a very instructive and interesting
lecture, with sketches of Pompeii and its surroundings, mentioning the
principal places worth visiting there.
The weather was ideal, and we were all glad to leave Malta, which
place is not too inviting for one when their ship is in dock.
Mount Stromboli was passed at 6p.m. next day, its smouldering
summit being plainly visible. We
anchored in Naples Bay closer inshore than is usual with our ship-about
six cables from the landing pier. On
arrival we saluted the country and afterwards the Italian Vice Admiral.
No other warship was present, with the exception of a few Italian
small craft inside the Breakwater. Nampes
rises from the shore, resembling the form of an amphitheatre, divided into
two unequal crescents by the hill of Martino.
To the eastward is the larger portion of the city; the north is
bounded by the Capodiment Hills, on which are a royal palace and
observatory. The conspicuous
Castle of St.Elmo is in the centre of the city itself, which possesses
some very long paved streets. There
are many beautiful public edifices besides the Cathedral, Palace,
Exchange, Museum, Naval and Military Colleges, the new gallery Umberto I,
Theatre of San Carlo (the second largest in Europe), all of which will
repay a visit. Mount Vesuvius,
on the east side, has been the most active volcano in Europe for the last
three centuries and during our stay it was more active than it has been
for the last 40 years, and quite lit up the place for many miles round.
The last great eruption took place in 1861, when the streets of
Naples were covered with dust in inch thick and a dark cloud hung over the
A party of officers left early one morning for a four-day visit to
Rome. On the 22nd
general drill was carried out during the whole forehand, and afterwards
all boats pulled round the fleet. Another
similar general drill forenoon took place next day.
The following Italian personages paid official visits to the ship,
and each saluted according to his rank; Italian Vice Admiral (Commander in
Chief), General Commanding Division, Mayor of Naples, Prefect of Police.
The ships companies were granted special leave as usual to land
The “Essex” and “Cumberland” arrived on the 26th
and anchored at Naples; the “Berwick” and “Cornwall” anchored at
Castellamare, a few miles distant across the bay.
A party of 34 petty officers landed early this morning to visit
Pompeii. This city had lain
buried beneath ashes until 1748, when by accident a countryman in sinking
a well discovered a painted chamber containing statues and other objects
of antiquity; since then, excavations have been made, until one half of
the city has been cleared. The
valuable and interesting relics discovered are deposited in the museum at
Naples was also visited, and the party had a thorough good day’s
enjoyment, returning onboard at 10 p.m.
A Temperance Association was today formed in the ship, under the
presidency of our Chaplain (Rev. W. M. Todd), called the Naval Temperance
Association, and which is to include members of the R.N.T.S. and the other
existing temperance societies.
In the afternoon the officers of the squadron were invited to Mrs
Harrison’s garden party at La Floridiana, the officers attending in
On the glorious First of June the Officers Cricket Team from the
“Drake” played an invitation game of cricket against the Naples
Cricket Club, which was won with 33 runs by our team.
General leave of 24 hours was today given by watches to celebrate
this historical day in British naval annals, a good number of men taking
advantage of the privilege.
Vesuvius was very active today, and in consequence of the unusually
violent explosion three large streams of lava could be plainly seen
forcing their way down the side of the volcano to the northwest, and in an
hour it had flowed to the bottom of the great cone.
Next day the service of the funicular railway had to be suspended
for reasons of safety. The
flow of lava continued, so we were fortunate during our stay to witness
what had not happened for the last 40 years.
Another party of between 30 and 40 petty officers landed early on
the 2nd and visited Pompeii and sights of Naples.
The officers held an “At Home” onboard this afternoon, and in
the evening dancing took place, where the fair sex were well in the
majority. The Italian Rear
Admiral and the principal naval and military officers attended this social
Next day the authorities very kindly invited the men of the fleet
to visit Pompeii of cost (the usual price being 2s 8d).
At 3 p.m. very heavy squall, accompanied by hail, swept over the
bay, lasting an hour. Our
yacht, the “Flapper,” came to grief, for she capsized and sank at her
moorings. A sweeping party soon located her, and next day she was
hoisted onboard again.
In the evening three officers from each ship went to the Theatre
Belloni (Opera Patriarc) by special invitation.
The 4th of June being the anniversary of the formation
of the Italian constitution, all ships were dressed at 8 a.m. and fired a
royal salute at noon, displaying the Italian colours at the “main.”
The Admiral, captains, and officers landed early in the morning and
witnessed the Grand Military Review. An
escort of mounted troops received Rear-Admiral Prince Louis on landing.
At 8 a.m. on the 5th the “Implacable” passed, flying
the flag of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, then on his way from Genoa to
Malta to take over command of the Mediterranean Fleet.
Preparations for sea were made during the forenoon, and at 1.30
p.m. we left Naples behind for Aranci Bay.
After Evening Quarters the squadron were exercised at letting go
and picking up life buoys. We
then proceeded alone to Maddallena, leaving the “Essex” to take the
remainder of the squadron on, and arrived there at 8 a.m. next morning and
saluted the country and the Italian Rear Admiral.
Maddallena is a strong fortified base, and the Italians keep a
number of destroyers and torpedo boats here.
After the official calls were made and returned we departed, and
arrived at Aranci at 1.30 in the afternoon, and prepared for coaling in
The “Essex” was the first to commence coaling from the collier,
the other ships running torpedoes and counter mining.
This is an ideal anchorage for fleet exercises, and is frequently
made use of by our ships. Our
Admiral informed us that the cruiser “Bedford” would join the
squadron, making our number up to six ships, before leaving for the
The authorities kindly placed a torpedo boat and at tug at the
disposal of the fleet, to take officers and men to Terra Nova, making two
trips a day. This evening,
the 7th we held our boxing and wrestling competitions.
All the captains were dining with Prince Louis onboard, and after
dinner came on deck and witnessed the sport.
A number of Italian pretty officers were also entertained at
supper, and afterwards attended the contests, and appeared much interested
and to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
The ship was coaled on the 8th taking in 314 tons in
three hours, but making everything just as dirty as if 3,000 tons had been
The Admiral and Captain had a good morning’s shooting on the 10th,
bringing down several wild goats, which were distributed to the ward room,
gun room, and warrant officers, and also among the pretty officers messes.
A non-swimmers class was commenced here, a party landing each
evening on the beach for tuition. One
day while here the chaplain took all the boys away in the sailing pinnace
on a picnic, landing at the back of the island, where they camped, and a
good tea was provided, and afterwards played games etc.
The squadron for under way at 9 o’clock on the 13th,
buoying their cables (using their copper punts), and carried out torpedo
practice in the bay, the divisions steaming past each other in opposite
directions, the torpedoes bei9ng fitted with collapsible heads.
On completing the practice the ships returned and picked up
moorings at 11.30 a.m. and then prepared for proceeding to Leghorn.
Early next day at 6.30 a.m. they left Aranci Bay, passing through
the Maddallena Channel in one line, steaming 15 knots, and saluted the
Italian Admiral, who signalled us, “Wishing you a pleasant passage.”
We reached Leghorn at 7 p.m. and saluted the country on arrival.
Owing to the bad anchorage here, especially when the wind is
blowing from the southwest, orders were signalled to have steam ready at
Leghorn (or Levorna) contains a Naval Dockyard, also a Naval
Academy. It is an important
seaport, the capital of the province, and is surrounded by very strongly
built walls about four miles in circuit, and defended by fortifications;
there is also an inner line of defence formed by broad canals.
The ancient city of Pisa, with its world famed Campanile, or
leaning tower, is 11 ½ miles distant by rail.
The place is well supplied with a good system of electric trams.
Leave was granted to special leave men daily till the following
morning. The authorities very
kindly made large reductions in the prices by rail to Florence, where
parties of officers and men had to visit, and also to Pisa and Lucia, if
they so desired. Several
parties of petty officers and men availed themselves of this privilege.
The Reverend Gardener, Chaplain at Leghorn gave 120 boys from the
squadron an invitation to a picnic on shore.
They landed at 1 p.m., a special tram conveying them to Antiguano,
about half an hour’s run along the coast.
The youngsters first had a bathe, then roamed about in the olive
woods, and at 4 p.m. sat down to a substantial tea, after which wholesome
repast they played football, rounders etc, and returned onboard at 8 p.m.
having had a good day’s outing, and appreciating the considerate action
of their host.
A football match was played one evening between the officers of the
squadron vs the Athletic Club, on the private grounds of Count Fabbricotti
at Villa Fabbricotti Piazza, Roma, only a short run by tram out of
Leghorn. Officers and men in
uniform were admitted free.
The massed bands of the squadron played on the grounds alternately
with the local band. It was
really good fun, for the natives did not quite understand the game as do
Englishmen. Nevertheless they
worked hard, but could not prevent the result of 8 goals to 1.
Prince Louis was present, and received a great ovation; the band
playing “God Save the King” several times.
A big luncheon party was given onboard on the 22nd, the
ship looking very smart, and in the evening a party of thirty coral
factory girls paid us a visit. Then
at 9 p.m. all the ships displayed their searchlights on our main mast,
where the Italian colours were flying high up on the wireless pole, and in
addition a fireowrk display took place.
A gala performance at the theatre was given in honour of Prince
Louis and the Officers of the Squadron.
Since our arrival the
engine room staffs have been busy, preparing for the full speed trial,
which was to be run on our passage to Gibraltar-the “Drake” having a
good steaming record to maintain.
Early on the 23rd at 5.45a.m. we weighed anchor and
proceeded to Gibraltar. It
was a beautiful morning and everything was favourable for our steam
trials. The ships were formed in one line abeam trials.
The ships were formed in one line abeam, with the “Drake” in
the centre and gradually worked up steam.
At 7 a.m. the eight hours full power trial commenced.
After an hour’s steaming the “Cumberland” fell out owing to
hot bearings, and at the conclusion of the trial we were leading, but only
by about 300 yards, the “Cornwall” having pushed us close.
Next came the “Berwick” and “Essex,” between six and eight
miles behind respectively. Our
average speed was 23.16 knots. We
then commenced 16 hours three fifth trial.
At 7 a.m. the 24th the trials concluded, and the
squadron formed up and carried out quarterly target practice and aiming
rifle practice till noon, when we again formed in line and proceeded at 15
knots. In the evening the “Essex” fell out owing to heated
We arrived at Gibraltar at 5 p.m. next day, and found all the
Atlantic fleet there under Vice Admiral Sir W. May, Commander in Chief. All three, the “Drake,” “Cornwall” and “Berwick,”
went alongside the New Mole, ready for coaling early next morning; all our
bunkers being almost empty. We
also received orders that we would proceed to sea in company with Atlantic
fleet on July 6th, when they left for Brest.
Coaling commenced at 6 a.m., the natives bringing the coal from the
mole to the ship’s side in baskets.
It was a very sultry day, no wind, and the dust hanging about in
clouds. Supplying coal in baskets is very heavy work, as much
stooping is necessary.
The “Essex” arrived in the afternoon and made fast ahead of us,
and as she steamed past, our band struck up the air,” where have you
been all the day?” Later in
the evening, the “Cumberland” also arrived, so we were all together
At 8 p.m. the commander decided to finish coaling for the night,
having taken in 1,400 tons-not a bad days work.
Coaling was continued early next day, when at 1
p.m. 2m090 tons (25 percent being patent fuel) had been taken in.
In the evening the cruiser “Carnarvon” arrived, having been in
collision with German steamer off Ferrol, but her stern was only very
slightly damaged. The whole
day of the 28th was devoted to cleaning ship, and in the
evening the 2nd Cruiser Squadron prepared for landing small arm
companies etc, first thing in the morning.
At 4 a.m. all hands were turned out, served with cocoa, and rigged
for marching off at 5 o’clock.
All small arm men and Marine detachments were drawn up on the mole,
with the massed bands of the squadron at the head of the column, bugles,
drums, and fifes being at the head of the Marines, the whole being under
the command of the flag captain. The
field battery was under the command of the commander of the “Berwick.”
The battery turned off at the Alameda, and there drilled, while the
small arm companies marched on the north front and drilled.
Our admiral was present, mounted, and inspected the battalion and
field gun battery. They all
returned onboard at 8 a.m. and had breakfast on arrival.
In view of our approaching American cruise the dockyard people were
busily engaged working on the “ball room deck,” fixing the iron beams
in position etc.
The announcement of the list of birthday honours created much
satisfaction, our admiral receiving the K.C.M.G.
Vice Admiral May, Rear Admiral Bridge man, and captains of the
ships present signalled “Hearty congratulations.”
The “Drake’s” ship’s company also were privileged to tender
their hearty congratulations to their admiral, to which congratulatory
message Prince Louis expressed his thanks.
In the early mornings and evenings the boats crews from all ships
present were busily practising, as several races had been arranged for
before our departure.
At 5 p.m. on the 3rd the subordinate officers race for
the “Battenberg” Challenge Cup took place, over a straight course of
one mile, from the commercial Mole of the Dockyard, passing between the
battleships lying at the buoys and the cruisers alongside the Mole.
Nine boats competed, and the race from start to finish was very
exciting, our midshipman doing extremely well.
The “Illustrious” was first (winner of the Cup), “Prince
George” second and “Drake” third.
As will be noticed the cruisers had no luck in the racing contests.
Later in the evening all ships were preparing for sea.
We left Gibraltar on the 6th for Arosa Bay, and the
Atlantic Fleet for Brest. Our
Squadron, with the cruisers “Doris” and “Amethyst” (temporarily
attached) left at 6.30 a.m. half an hour before the Battle Fleet, and took
up lookout station ahead, with orders to stop the “Hermione,” outward
bound for Gibraltar, and take all supernumeraries for the fleet from her.
She was sighted at 10 p.m. and the “Doris” and “Berwick”
closed on her, the former taking the supernumeraries for the Atlantic
fleet and the “Berwick” rose for the 2nd Cruiser Squadron.
The “Hermione” then proceeded again.
During the middle watch it came on a little foggy.
We parted company on the 7th with the battle fleet, and
next morning at 6 a.m. anchored in Arosa Bay, a wet misty, unpleasant
morning, and cold, but by noon it cleared off and the sun came out quite
All ships were now busily engaged fitting illuminating circuits for
use at Lisbon. In the evening
our flag captain gave a very interesting lecture, with limelight
illustrations, of the “Life of Nelson,” the battles he had won, etc.
The Admiral, who was present all the time, personally thanked and
congratulated him on his successful and entertaining lecture.
After Sunday morning Divine service, which terminated at 11.30 a.m.
the 9th we weighed anchor and sailed for Lisbon, the
“Bedford” joining up outside, thus bringing our number up to six ships
as previously arranged.
The mouth of the Tagus was entered at 7 a.m. next morning, and on
passing the Royal palace a royal salute was fired, and then the Portuguese
Vice Admiral, who was flying his flag in the cruiser “Don Carlos I,”
was also saluted.
The squadron anchored in two lines, at the same moment dressing
ship over all with the Portuguese Ensign at the main (being Fete Day). Prince Louis and the captains of the squadron travelled by
train to Cintra to pay their respects to their Majesties. In the evening the ships were illuminated, and we had
suspended between our masts a Portuguese royal crown with letter A
(Amelia) hanging just below. The
crown was formed of red, white and blue lamps, and looked exquisite from a
distance. At 5 p.m. two
Russian destroyers, homeward bound, put in here for coal, and on passing
the squadron the entire crews saluted.
Leave was granted to ships companies every afternoon till 11 p.m.
Nearly the whole of the next forenoon was occupied saluting the
various officials, etc.
In the evening the admiral and all captains dined with the British
Minister, Sir M. De Bunsen, at the Legation.
The shore authorities were indeed very considerate; they reduced
the railway fares by 50 percent, and the tram conductors were ordered to
accept English money at current rates.
While here a meeting was held onboard the “Drake,” each ship
being represented, with a view of holding a squadron regatta at Quebec.
The officers of the squadron were made hon members of the Royal
British Club, and the National Fencing Club placed their premises and
foils at their disposal.
The 13th was indeed a royal day, as their Majesties the
King and Queen of Portugal visited the “Drake” at midday.
All the squadron dressed ship,, and each fired a Royal Salute in
their honour. On His Majesty
arriving onboard his standard was hoisted at the main side by side with
his full admiral’s flag (H.M. being an hon admiral of the British
fleet.); Prince Louis flag remained flying at the fore, so we were
honoured with two admirals flying their flags onboard at the same time,
which may be described as a rare occurrence.
Luncheon was served on the quarterdeck, covers being laid for 24.
Their Majesties returned to the shore at 3 p.m. when another royal
salute was fired.
In the evening the British Minister and Lady Bunsen gave a grand
ball at the legation, all the officers being invited.
H.M. the King was present. Searchlights
from the squadron lit up the landing place and the Embassy till midnight.
A party of thirty of our boys had a day’s outing by invitation of
the chaplain and visited Cintra and the various sights, spending a very
A party of petty officers also left the ship early and visited
Cintra to view the palace grounds etc, and returned to Lisbon in the
afternoon, where a sumptuous tea was provided at the Presbyterian
Minister’s residence, at his invitation; the remainder of the evening
being spent in harmony, the British Cosul’s wife, who was present,
rendering several songs.
His Majesty the King gave a dinner onboard his yacht, the senior
officers of the squadron attending.
On the 15th, H.M. the King, the British Minister, and
Lady Bunsen, several other ladies, and the principal naval and military
officers of the port, dined with Rear-Admiral Prince Louis onboard, tables
being laid on the quarterdeck, which was covered in and brilliantly
illuminated. After dinner,
dancing was indulged in till 1.30 a.m. all the gun room officers taking
In the evening of the 16th the officers of the squadron
attended a bullfight given in their honour; special seats being reserved
for them, at which function the King was present.
Special leave men landed from the squadron, and some hundreds also
attended. The bullfight
differs much from the Spanish form of fight, as the bulls are not killed;
a show of clever horsemanship being the main feature.
The officers cricket team returned from Oporto at 6 a.m. this
morning, having travelled all night.
They won one match, lost another, attended two dances, and were
entertained by the Oporto Cricket Club most hospitality.
Owing to the strong tide running in the Tagus, we waited for slack
water, and at noon next day, 17th, unmoored and preceded to
Gibraltar, steaming out in two lines.
All ship were displaying the Portuguese Ensign at the main, and as
we passed His Portuguese Ensign at the main, and as we passed His
Portuguese Ensign at the main, and was onboard his yacht then laying
opposite the palace, a royal salute was fired H.M. the King was on deck
and photographed us as we steamed past. Complimentary signals were exchanged between the “Don
Carlos” and us. On clearing
the Tagus we stood to the westward, and fleet tactics were carried out for
a couple of hours, and at 8 p.m. the squadron separated to carry out
various firing exercises, night firing, etc, with orders to meet at a
rendezvous east of Europa Point at 6 a.m. on the 19th.
At 9 p.m. we dropped a target.
The sea was rather rough, and even with the aid of searchlights it
was difficult to keep the target in sight.
Firing ceased at 11 p.m.
The whole next day was spent at aiming rifle practice, and 12-pdr
and 3-pdr practice during which we had a little excitement, as two large
whales appeared and kept hovering round our target, offering some good
sport, for the fire was concentrated on them, and we also endeavoured to
run them down. They evidently
knew they were in danger, as they appeared very excited and gave excellent
practice for the gunners to repel submarines, which they very much
resembled at times.
At 8 p.m. the “Venerable” passed homeward bound to pay off and
This evening Lieutenant Walwyn gave a very interesting lecture,
with lantern views, to officers and men on the war in the Far East. Prince Louis was present, and when finished Lieutenant Walwyn
received a hearty vote of thanks from all hands, and was specially
congratulated by the admiral.
The squadron met at the rendezvous as previously arranged, and
torpedo practice was then carried out, the divisions steaming past each
other as on former occasions. The
squadron then carried out target practice, and afterwards proceeded into
Gibraltar. The harbour was
now nearly clear, so we made fast to the flagship’s buoy, the remainder
of the ships going alongside the New Mole, except the “Cornwall,”
which secured alongside the Commercial Mole.
All ships prepared for coaling t commence at daylight next morning.
The ships present were the “Implacable” and “Canopus,” and
also the “surprise,” with Lady Charles Beresford onboard.
Admiral Lord Charles with the Mediterranean Fleet, being then in
Tetuan Bay carrying out practices.
Coaling commenced from lighters at 5 a.m. the 20th.
The “Implacable” sailed during the morning and shortly after
leaving port Stoker Grenfell died in hospital from injuries received in
that ship from the bursting of a steam pipe, bringing up the casualties to
six. Our Admiral detailed the funeral party from the 2nd
Cruiser Squadron, all under the command of Captain Pierse.
M.V.O., “Bedford,” the massed bands attending, the victim of
duty being buried in the North Front Cemetery with full naval honours.
Coaling was finished by 3 p.m. with
an average of 97.7 tons per hour; the other ships times were as follows:
-“Berwick,” 137.7; “Essex,” 105.0’ “Cornwall,” 104.6;
“Cumberland,” 80.1; “Bedford,” 76.9.
The remainder of the day was occupied sweeping and washing down the
All the field guns of the squadron were landed next day, and
arrangements made to land every morning and evening for drill while here
prepatory to a competitive display at Montreal.
In the evening General Leave was granted by watches.
The racing crews of the squadron were now beginning to show good
form, boats innumerable being away at all times practicing for the
forthcoming fleet regatta, arranged t be held at Quebec.
The officer’s crew were also going strong, with a good spurt in
the morning and physical exercises in the evenings.
The gunnery lieutenant is endeavouring to get up a ship’s rifle
team, and all the gunnery lieutenants held a meeting onboard here with a
view of selecting a squadron eight, which is a difficult limited, the time
practically being wholly devoted to heavy gun firing.
Parties of volunteers land daily for practice at the military
ranges on the North Front.
The squadron was preparing generally for the American cruise,
taking in stores, supplies of provisions, etc.
Heats for the final boxing and wrestling competition took place on
the 24th on the Commercial Mole, abreast of where the
“Cornwall” is laying, their officers kindly inviting the officers of
the ships present to make use of their ship to witness the sport.
Another evening for the heats took place prior to the final
contests, which were eagerly awaited.
The battleships “Albion” (flagship of Rear Admiral Hon. Curzon
“Vengeance,” and “Ocean,” arrived here from China at 8 p.m. and
made fast to buoys inside the moles.
They were too late to receive invites to witness our boxing
tournament, as it had already commenced.
The shed on the mole had been temporarily converted into a boxing
ring, and seats built up around, with a grand stand for officers.
The place was crowded to excess in all parts; every officer and man
that could possibly attend did so. Our admiral was present at the opening,
which commenced at 8 p.m. and terminating shortly after midnight, when
three hearty cheers given for our admiral and the promoters of the sport
who worked hard to achieve such splendid results.
At 8.30 a.m. 29th, H.M.S. “Prince of Wales”
(temporarily flying the flag of Vice Admiral Grenfell), on rounding Europa
Point, ran suddenly into a thick fog bank, and collided with the English
as “Edinwin,” bound for Barcelona.
Both ships were badly damaged above the waterline.
The dockyard tugs brought the “Edinwin” into harbour and
secured her to the dockside, where repairs were quickly taken in hand.
The “Prince of Wales” steamed in and made fast to a buoy, and a
blacksmith from each ship of the squadron was lent to her to execute the
necessary repairs. During the
afternoon the China battleships sailed for England, the admiral and
captains having dined with Rear Admiral Prince Louis the previous evening.
Our whaler and the “Cumberland’s” rowed a race of three
miles, the Cumberland’s” winning by about 12 boats lengths.
Certain evenings after dark rehearsals of the Tatoo Party took
place, the searchlights from the squadron being thrown on them; they were
very successful entertainments, and numbers of people were onlookers.
The 31st was indeed a busy day for all, being our last
day at Gibraltar for some months to come.
Leave was granted till 11 p.m. and almost everyone on returning had
his parcel under his arm containing some fancied memento of the Rock.
During the dinner hour postal orders considerately issued to enable
those who so desired to send money home by the last mail, which issue
usually takes place on the first day of every month.
Great difficulty was experienced getting our washing onboard,
timely notice having been given for it to be onboard by this evening, but
many a growl was afterwards heard from those unluckily left in the lurch.
The “Cumberland’s” racing whaler’s crew, which so easily
defeated our whaler yesterday evening, was herself badly defeated this
evening by the “Essex” by about twelve boats length.
Sad faces were seen onboard the “Cumberland,” as lots of money
had changed hands, the losers expecting an easily, victory for their own
The mail due at 6 p.m. did not arrive owing to the French train
being late, causing great disappointment and inconvenience in the fleet. The postal authorities said it might arrive at midnight, but
no such luck; it didn’t!
The squadron was to have sailed at 6 a.m. August 1st,
but remained till 7.30 in case the mail turned up. But by that time the
Admiral Superintendent informed us that it would not now arrive till
evening. The Admiral,
therefore, decided to proceed. Nothing
is more annoying to the sailor than to miss his letters-the mail being
always eagerly looked for.
On clearing the “Gut” our course was shaped to N 50 degs west,
speed 14 knots, and the ships spread out a beam one mile apart.
“Drake” in the centre. It
was a beautiful day, with sea smooth.
The ships were ordered to exercise aiming rifle practice each day
during the trip across. During
the first watch a flotilla of destroyers passed us going south, with the
new scout “Pathfinder” escorting them.
It blew heavily on the 3rd, with nasty head sea, the
ships washing down fore and aft, the speed being reduced to 12 knots.
In the evening we re-commenced the 6-inch loading competition,
while our racing crews, field guns competition crew, were exercising
physical drill etc, in order to retain they’re standard of training.
The weather having moderated next day the speed of the squadron was
increased to 13 knots. A
regrettable incident occurred today.
A young stoker, named Frederick Pilkington, of the “Berwick,”
was reported missing, and though a diligent search was instituted it
proved futile,. The poor
fellow must have fallen overboard unobserved.
A delightful Sunday was ushered in on the 6th weather
fine and sea smooth, which permitted Divine service to be held as usual on
the quarterdeck. The change
of climate was hailed with satisfaction after the Mediterranean summer.
A white Star steamer from Quebec, the first vessel we have seen
since clearing Gibraltar, was sighted ad signalled the weather report as
The 6-inch loading competition was arousing a keen spirit as a
nightly form of exercise with the competing crews, and B3 gun’s crew
will have to excel their record to retain the cup.
A very thick fog off the Banks of Newfoundland was entered in the 7th,
though only what may be expected at this time of the year.
Next day the fog lfted from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. when it came over
even thicker than before, and owing to the presence of fishing boats and
the Green Bank, our speed was reduced to nine knots.
The second edition of the “2nd Cruiser Squadron
Gazette” (Nulli Secundus), published monthly, has been a great success.
It is very humorous, containing some amusing sketches.
Over 100 editions have been disposed of.
The first edition was only one copy, which was printed as an
experimental issue and handed round the squadron; that particular copy was
sold by auction in the ward room and knocked down at 10s 6d.
The fog became very annoying, as we were anxious to arrive at our
appointed time. After the
watch was called at eight bells (8 p.m.) a very successful impromptu
concert took place on the 9in in the lee gangway.
Several good songs were rendered, and or captain and naval
instructor very kindly added a song and a recitation each to the programme.
Next day, 10th we received a wireless message from Frame
Head, “Welcome to Quebec,” and the latest news was also transmitted. Up to the 6th we had received the Poldhu telegram
each day, which was signalled as “general” to the squadron.
Owing to the very thick fog in the river the squadron anchored at
midnight, proceeding again at 6 a.m. next morning.
The fog remained very dense all the way up the river, only lifting
twice for about half an hour. It
was very disappointing for we were unable to view the grand scenery which
the banks of the St. Lawrence affords, and must hope, that we shall have
it fine on our return down stream.
Just before rounding Indian Cove the fog lifted, and although still
misty, thousands of people thronged the terraces, Grand Battery, wharves
in fact, every point of vantage had its full quota of spectators, waving
and cheering enthusiastically.
The Governor General of Canada (Ealr Gray) was saluted with 19 guns
and the Citadel returned a little number.
Quebec was gaily decorated with flags in honour of the squadron,
and at night was brilliantly illuminated.
The city gave us a right royal welcome.
It may be asserted that we were the most formidable squadron that
has ever visited Quebec.
Our admiral landed to pay the official call on His Excellency, the
landing place being crowded with Canadians eager to get a glimpse of the
He was received on shore with a guard of honour, 100 strong of the
Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery under Major Ogilvie the battery firing a
salute of 13 guns. That
evening Prince Louis was the guest f honour at a dinner give by His
The “Drake” prepared for coaling at daybreak next morning, our
collier, the “Dunmore Head,” having arrived.
The other ships were granted special leave till the morning.
The ancient City of Quebec is termed the Gibraltar of America.
With its giddy heights, its citadel suspended, as it were, in the
air, it is a mighty rock and populated cliff.
The city consists of two parts, the upper town, built on the ridge,
which forms the north side of the river, and the lower town, which stands
on the plateau between the base of that ridge and the River St Charles,
and embraces the parishes of St Roch and St Sauveur.
The highest point is the citadel, 2340 feet elevation.
It possesses a small dry dock, wet dock, tidal basin, and several
Coaling commenced at 5.30
a.m. on the 12th, and finished at 5 p.m. having taken in 1,020
tons, averaging 100.1 tons per hour.
This work over and decks washed down, the liberty men were landed. An elaborate programme was drawn up for almost every day of
our stay, to include a regatta.
The Admiral and officers of the squadron received cordial
invitations as members of the Quebec Yacht Club, Garrison and Golf Clubs,
besides many others, while the sergeants mess at the citadel extended the
privileges of their mess room to the warrant officers and chief and 1st
class petty officers.
Prince Louis and our flag captain took up their quarters at the
citadel as guests of the Governor-General.
Signalmen were also landed there and communication with the fleet
On Sunday the 13th we had “Saturday’s Routine”
(cleaning ship etc, after the coaling, up to 10 a.m., then Divine service
and the remainder of the day was quietly ad leisurely spent.
A few visitors came onboard, it having been given out in the Press
that al ships would be open to visitors during our stay, from 1 p.m. till
Prince Louis received a delegation from the Y.M.C.A. concerning the
naval services and concerts, and he specially thanked them for their
genuine interest in the 2nd Cruiser Squadron.
The deputation represented the Protestant Ministerial Association,
Y.M.C.A. and Sailors Institute. The
first naval concert was announced to take place on the 24th,
and refreshments were provided for those attending.
The association appeared most assiduous in their exertions to
entertain the crews of the squadron, and vied with each other in their
In the evening of the 14th the grand Provincial Ball was
given at the Parliament House in honour of the admiral and officers of the
squadron. Over 3,000 were
present, the function being a brilliant success.
They’re Excellencies Earl and Countess Grey attended, and all the
elite of the Province of Quebec. Dancing
was kept up all night with great vigour, and it was early in the morning
before the pleasant entertainment terminated.
The picket boats of the squadron ran every hour to and from the
ships and shore from midnight to bring the officers onboard.
The bluejacket battalion and marine detachment, in all 300 men,
under the command of Flag Captain Mark Kerr, landed at noon on the 15th
and took part in the impressive ceremony of the unveiling of the soldiers
monument erected by the citizens of Quebec in memory of the brave Quebec
heroes who fought and fell in the South African War 1899-1902.
Prince Louis, and the captains and officers, were present
officially. After the
ceremony they all attended the Garrison Club garden party, held in their
honour. During the forenoon
the French Consul General visited the ship, and received a salute of 11
guns. In the evening about
300 men accepted the kind invitation given by the rank and file and on
commissioned officers of R.C.G.A. to a smoker in the Drill Hall.
The band of the corps was present.
The civilian military, and naval contributions to the programme
were all greatly appreciated, some exceptional talent being present. The committee personally thanked the Rev Todd and Mr Rea
“Drake,” and Mr Wallace, “Cornwall,” for their assistance in
arranging the programme. All
spent a very pleasant social evening.
The same evening a very brilliant for work display was given in
honour of the squadron.
The entire field were landed again next morning and exercised for
the competition and naval display. In
the forenoon the admiral received onboard a visit from the Consular corps
of the city, representing Portugal, United States, Argentine Republic,
Chilli, Spain, Belgium, Guatemala, Denmark, and Brazil.
A salute of seven guns was fired while displaying the Portuguese
ensign, as Mr Felix Carbray was doyen of the corps.
A cricket match was played in the afternoon between representatives
of the famous Maryleboe Cricket Club and the Quebec Cricket Club, to which
officers and men were invited. Large
numbers of liberty men from the ships made their way to the grounds to
witness the match. His
Excellency the Governor General and Prince Louis honoured the teams with
The Governor-General and Countess Grey in honour of Prince Louis
and the captains and officers of the squadron gave that evening a grand
ball in the ancient Citadel. It
was a very brilliant affair and a great success, considered by many as the
grandest function of that description ever seen in Quebec.
An invitation from the Lacrosse Club, Montcalm, to the officers,
petty officers and men to witness their play was largely accepted, the
grand stand being reserved for the officers.
At 9 a.m. n the 17th all the field guns of the squadron
(12 in number), the seamen and marine battalions, and the massed bands,
landed and marched round the town. The
R.C.G.A. and Royal Canadian regiments also formed up.
The whole presented a fine sight.
The citizens in thousands lined the streets, which were gaily
decorated. Never before had
Quebec witnessed such a naval display.
Prince Louis rode in front, and received cheer after cheer from the
In the evening, 200 seamen and marines from each ship were
entertained by the citizens to a concert ad smoker in the Drill Hall,
which was tastefully decorated, while at one end of the hall a well
stocked counter was to be found laden with sandwiches and light
refreshments of a liquid nature, which were liberally served and consumed
by thirsty and hungry Tars. The programme was a lengthy one, contributed to by civil,
military and naval talent, all of which were highly popular.
Chief E.R.A.’s Douse and Jerome (“Drake”) played a duet on
the mandolin and guitar, while the performing donkeys were the persons of
Messrs Bridge, Forder and Ross (“Drake”), who simply brought the hall
down. Mr Rea, chief Artificer
Engineer (“Drake”) acted as accompanist.
It was past midnight when the party dispersed, all having spent a
real jolly time.
During these days the admiral, captain, and officers of the
squadron were being royally feted and hospitality entertained to
luncheons, garden parties, dinners etc, both official and private, so
numerous and varied that it is little use to try and give a detailed list.
Next day, the 18th at 11 a.m. the Minister of Marine and
Fisheries (the Hon Raymond Prefontaine) paid the Admiral an official
visit, and was saluted with 11 guns.
At noon the squadron dressed ship overall, and H.E. the
Governor General, Earl Grey, visited the ship and lunched with Prince
Louis. Tables were laid on
the quarterdeck, which was very elaborately decorated and housed in.
The following were also guests on this occasion: -The Countess
Grey, the Minister of Marine, Lady Mary Parker, Lady Evelyn Grey, Lady
Susan Townley, several other distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and all
the captains of the squadron.
After luncheon the party visited H.M.S. “Cumberland, where a most
pleasing function took place in the presentation of a costly beaten silver
loving cup and bell, from Lord Munchester, Lord Lieutenant, and the people
of the county of Cumberland, England.
His Excellency made the presentation the Governor General, Earl
Grey, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Louis of Battenberg, Lady Grey, and
a large number of the prominent citizens of Quebec.
All officers and men of the (Cumberland” were drawn up on her
quarterdeck, and on the conclusion of the function, Captain King Hall
called for three cheers for His Excellency and three for Lady Grey, which
were heartily and lustily given.
Prince Louis then paid a visit to the French steam yacht
“Bacchante,” lying astern of the “Drake,” and dressed with flags
similar to the style of the squadron.
On our admiral leaving the vessel they surprisingly fired a salute
of 13 guns, which we promptly returned, while displaying the Tricolor at
the foremast head.
The torchlight tattoo and naval display from the squadron,
consisted of one field gun and crew from each ship, Commander Ellerton, of
the “Berwick,” in command, and Gunnery Lieutenants Walwyn,
“Drake,” and Armitage, “Bedford,” in charge of the 1st
and 2nd divisions respectively; also 150 marines, under Major
Evans, “Drake”; the gymnastic instructors of the squadron, and six men
from each ship, under Lieutenant Cameron, “Drake”.
It took place in the drill hall, under the direct control of
Commander Bax, “Berwick,” and was under the patronage of His
Excellency the Governor, Rear-Admiral Prince Louis, and the officers of
the squadron. It was indeed a
great success, such as they had seldom before witnessed in Quebec, the
large drill hall being crowded, many prominent citizens attending the
The entertainment opened with a parade of the whole force, and then
the field gun battery saluted the Governor General with 19 guns, and
afterwards did their part-dismounting, mounting, retiring, etc, which
evolutionary drills were greatly applauded.
The tattoo by the Royal Marines was a very picturesque display; the
multi coloured lanterns carried during the figure marching gave the
various movements a grand effect. The
gymnastic exhibitions were pronounced excellent, and as the men assumed
the recumbent positions, they formed the letters of the word “Canada,”
which act brought forth cheer after cheer, and roused the loyal Canadians
spirit with feelings of pride in their country and love of Empire.
The officers of the squadron played their first cricket match on
the 19th, against the Quebec Cricket Club at Montmorency Falls,
which resulted in a draw-Q.C.C., 146 runs for eight wickets, and the
squadron, when stumps were drawn, had nine wickets fallen for 88 runs.
In the afternoon the local regatta took place, and the citizens
very kindly reserved four races for the squadron.
All ships were thrown open to visitors to witness the races, which
were rowed between the lines, finishing abreast of the “Drake.”
There was a total of nine boated races, besides other aquatic
games, the most amusing contest being the log rolling.
From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. the squadron was illuminated, and people
came in thousands from all parts to witness the festivals.
Then, after the lights were switched off, the searchlights were
turned on, sweeping round to find the picket boats which had gone outside
earlier to make a torpedo attack on the squadron.
They were soon located creeping up inshore, while one division of
them darted full speed through the lines, being met with a tremendous fire
from the 12 pdrs and 3 pdrs and Maxim guns, which drew from the boats a
vindictive reply from their 3 pdrs. The
“Drake” and “Bedford” were considered to have been set on fire,
the red flare on their decks making the attack most realistic.
The local Press described it as one of the best naval displays ever
witnessed, and although both the flagship and “Bedford” were
imaginarily blown up, next morning they could be seen carrying out their
ordinary routine at their moorings, under the walls of the citadel.
The “display party” were now busily preparing for their tour to
Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. During
the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. the ss “Queen,” by permission of the
admiral of 4,000 people came onboard.
Prince Louis, the captain, and officers gave an “At Home”
onboard on the afternoon of the 21st, inviting the captains,
ward room and gun room officers of the squadron and about 300 others,
including the military and civil authorities.
The ship was nicely decorated, and dancing commenced at 3 p.m. and
terminated at 7 p.m. everyone apparently having thoroughly enjoyed
In the evening the Tournament party, the same as recently performed
at the Drill Hall, left by the C.P.R. for Montreal, in all 300 men,
exclusive of the “Drake’s” band, and the massed bugle bands of the
squadron, all under the command of Commander W. R. Ellerton,
“Berwick,” besides some 46 men and 100 officers, who all proceeded
there as guests of the citizens of Montreal.
Several exhibition performances were arranged for, the proceeds of
which were to be given to the local hospitals.
The admiral also left for Montreal.
The Naval and Military Tournament, held on the night of the 22nd
at the Skating Rink, was described as a big success, and well attended
from the fleet. The committee
of the 8th Royal Rifles have much to be proud of.
The event was specially organised in honour of the squadron, and
men from the ships entered largely into the various competitions.
The tug of war teams created great excitement; twelve teams having
entered the lists. The team
from the “Bedford” stood up very well, defeating the “Cornwallis,”
“Bearer Company,” and “Cumberland’s” teams.
In the second round the Royal Canadian Regiment defeated the
“Bedford’s” team, and the final was pulled off between the 8th
and the R.C. Regiment teams, the latter winning after a pull of 15
Next day the officers and men received a special
invitation from Senator Choquitte and Captain Watson, to witness the
Lacrosse match of two first class teams on the Q.A.A. grounds.
Hundreds of men accepted the invitation, as the game was new to
most of them, and was very interesting.
Lacrosse is of course, the national game of the Dominion.
An unfortunate occurrence happened during the afternoon, when O.S.
Herbert Kitching, “Berwick,” fell overboard whilst manning his boat.
The poor fellow was quickly taken down by the strong tide, and
never rose again. Boats were
smartly manned and everything possible done, but his doom was sealed, and
no trace whatever over the ship; he was only 19 years old, and was a great
favourite with his shipmates.
Today the 24th, the teams shot for the very handsome
silver cup, presented by the citizens of Quebec, taking place at the
Engineer Camp, St Joseph de Levis. Ten
teams competed, one from each ship, and four local teams.
The ranges were 200, 500, and 600 yards, and out of a possible 105,
Colour Sergeant Beddow, “Drake,” made the top score of 95 points. After the 200 yards range the “Berwick” was the leading
team, the Drake” being third. On
going back to 600 yards the “Drake’s” were leading by 9 points, but
on completing the 600 yards R.C.G.A. came out on top with a score of 686,
the 8th R.R. second with 666, and the “Drake” third with a
score of 654. The
artillerymen put on a splendid score at the long range, and thus became
the possessors of the cup.
This evening 300 petty officers and men, 50 from each ship, were
entertained at a concert, under the auspices of the Y.M.C.A.
The large hall was filled to its utmost capacity.
The first item on the programme was a piano solo by Mr Rea, and the
enthusiasm of the audience showed that everyone had come to thoroughly
enjoy themselves-and they did. Our shipmates, Chief E.R.A.’s Douse and Jeram, rendered an
effective duet on the mandoline and guitar, which received much applause.
During the concert several ladies, to their evident delight, were
busily engaged serving out refreshments.
On the 25th a whaler and crew from each ship, about 60
men, with the flag captain in charge, assisted by Lieutenant Pennell and
Mr Moon, gunner, left for Lake St Joseph to take part in the regatta to be
held the following afternoon. Both
officers and men were the guests of the citizens.
All officers and men of the squadron were permitted to travel free
to the lake on the production of a pass, issued onboard.
In the afternoon our football team defeated a team selected from
the District Association Football League, on the Q.A.A. Grounds, by the
score of two goals to nil. The
match was very interesting and exciting, a very fast game being played.
Sunday the 27th was a delightful day, and visitors from
all parts of the Province flocked onboard the ships, the ss “Queen,”
specially chartered to run to us, brought upwards of 2,000 persons, and
men were specially detailed to show them over the ship.
At noon, the men selected to shoot at Ottawa left, under the
command of Lieutenant Bax, “Berwick.”
During the afternoon a special naval service was held in the
Auditorium, and a great number of men attended the musical service, the
men being afterwards entertained as tea by the Y.M.C.A.
The massed bands of “Cumberland,” “Essex,” and
“Berwick” played a choice selection of music in the evening in the
Place of the Hotel de Ville at Lavis, which was much appreciated.
The whaler’s crew and party from Lake St Joseph returned in the
evening, all of who spoke in the highest terms of the hospitality extended
to them by the citizens. A
general signal was made to the squadron expressing the flag captain’s
pleasure at the exemplary manner in which the men had conducted
On the 28th the captain and officers of the “Essex”
gave an “At Home” onboard, and invited all the officers of the
squadron, and numerous shore friends.
It was a great success, all the steamboats being busily engaged
taking the guests onboard.
Amongst the most successful and enjoyable Masonic functions held in
the ancient capital was the “At Home” given this evening at the
Masonic Hall, under the auspices of the members of the craft of the
district of Quebec and Three Rivers, in honour of the Masonic brethren of
the squadron, over 100 of the craft being present.
A new foretop gallant mast, made onboard by the carpenter’s
staff, was put up today, giving us an extra height of 23 feet, which has
certainly smartened our appearance.
The “Cumberland’s” “At Home,” given for children this
afternoon, the 29th, was a most enjoyable event, and very
largely attended. As the
juveniles stepped onboard they were agreeably surprised at being received
by a diver rigged in his diving dress, who shook hands with each.
The attractive programme consisted of merry go-rounds, sliding,
swinging, dancing etc, and refreshments were served all the afternoon, the
guests retiring shortly after 6 p.m.
As the steam launch departed from the ship the frail shrill voices
gave hearty cheers for Captain King Hall and Commander Church.
Lady Jettes gave an “At Home” at Spencer’s Wood, which
function was in honour of the squadron, and was numerously attended by the
On the 31st the “Bedford’s” football team defeated
our team in the afternoon on the Q.A.A. grounds.
The play was very fast, and the first goal was scored after 20
minutes hard work; then the “Bedford’s” team settled down to
increase their score, but the sterling defence of our backs could not be
penetrated and half time was called with the “Bedford’s” leading by
one goal. The second half was
evenly contested, but a splendid shot made the game secure for the
“Bedford’s.” Result, 2
goals to nil.
Our chaplain took all the boys (24) for a half days outing, going
first by steamer to the island of “Orleans,” some little way down the
river, where they indulged in football, rounders, etc, had a sumptuous tea
in the hotel, and after tea rambled through the private grounds of Mr
Porteous, and in the fruit gardens were given permission to pick and eat
what they chose. They
returned by the 7 p.m. steamer, all being highly delighted with their
Our time for sailing was officially signalled for 6.45 a.m. the 2nd
September, the citizens feeling a bit disappointed, as they were in hopes
our stay would be prolonged. In
the evening another very successful concert was given in the Auditorium by
the embers of the Y.M.C.A., 300 men from the fleet attending by special
invitational light refreshments, ices, etc, were liberally supplied.
On September 1st the “display party” returned with
their guns, etc, having been away from their ships just 13 days (and as
they jocularly remarked, not a day too long!)
They visited Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, where performances were
given to the public daily, and occasionally twice a day, the proceeds
going to te local hospitals. They
lived under canvas, except at Montreal, where they slept in the C.P.R.
cars and dined in tents. Everywhere
they were feted and feasted in true Colonial style.
The exceedingly difficult gun drill competition, sometimes carried
out upon a stage, was performed without a hitch and greatly applauded as
they illustrated what trained gunners could do with a gun.
The spectacular lantern exercise was particularly pleasing, while
the club swinging was excellently performed and much admired.
leaving Ottawa for Toronto the fair sex manned the drag ropes ad pulled
the guns, while the limbers were almost covered with flowers.
Prince Louis himself had been exceptionally busy, receiving and
paying official visits, attending banquets, delivering addresses, etc, but
never once relaxed his personal interest in the men’s collective
Commander Ellerton, of the “Berwick,” who was in command. His authority as Commanding Officer was tactfully exercised,
which was appreciated by his subordinates, so that when he left them to
take up an appointment in H.M.S. “Powerful” the whole camp turned out
and gave him a right good send off with three ringing cheers, first
Lieutenant Cameron, “Drake,” succeeding him in the command of the
From Toronto the whole party were taken to Niagara Falls, and after
partaking of lunch, crossed over the Falls and caught the cars travelling
down the American side and thence by steamer back to Toronto, having had a
most enjoyable time in viewing one of the noted sights of the world.
The hearty welcome which Canada has accorded to the admiral,
officers and men of the 2ndCruiser Squadron may be taken as a great
compliment to the British Navy, which the squadron represented with
credit, to all naval tradition and custom.
Such mutual intercourse as has been recorded cannot fail to further
cement the bonds of Empire.
On the last evening we remained in Quebec Admiral Prince Louis was
given a farewell banquet at the Garrison Club by the Mayor (His Worship
Mayor Parent) and citizens of Quebec; the captains and senior officers
also attended. The banquet
was on the most elaborate scale, quite in keeping with the excellent civic
functions, which are famous in the ancient city.
The guests were each supplied with buttonhole banquets of red and
white roses. One of the chief
features of the banquet was the Imperial Crown, which was placed directly
in front of the admiral. It
was richly illuminated and electricity vied with floral beauty in the
display, which the picture portrayed.
Mayor Parent proposed the health of the king, which was loyally and
enthusiastically received. Immediately
afterwards His Worship read the following address: -
On rising to propose the toast of the evening, I
would on behalf of all beg His Serne Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg
to kindly allow us to depart somewhat from the usual custom and to accept
the toast in the shape of an address.
An agreeable duty devolves n me, and I shall endeavour to acquit of
it by proposing in a few words the health of the illustrious guest who has
done us the honour of accepting our hospitality this evening.
This room is unfortunately too small to contain all the admirers
and friends His Highness has won amongst us, but nevertheless we are here
as the representatives and spokesmen of the people of Quebec.
It is the first time, Your Highness, since your arrival in our
midst that you meet, as a guest specially invited to a banquet, official
representatives of all ranks and classes of the citizens of Quebec
gathered for the express purpose of doing you honour.
Your Highness will, I trust, pardon us if we seize the opportunity
to tell you what we have been unable to say to you personally before this
I must in the first place give expression once more to the
sentiments of admiration and respectful sympathy, which your presence has
excited, in our minds.
We do homage to your high lineage, to your illustrious alliance
with the Royal Family, and to the military virtues that have made your a
distinguished one, while we are charmed with the very cordial relations
you had with us since your ships cast anchor in our port.
During your stay in Quebec you have captured-not the fortress above
which the flag under which you serve has long floated0-but the hearts f
the inhabitants of our city.
Early in your career you had a glimpse of Quebec and, like most
travellers and tourists who visit it once, you have returned in a
sympathetic and kindly spirit. You
are good enough to say that you are delighted to see it again amidst the
splendid adornment of its matchless scenery, wrapped in the mystery of its
legends, in the glory of the great events it has witnessed, and
embellished by the new garb with which modern progress has clothed it.
A sailor and a soldier, you could not fail to be impressed by the
great dramas unfolded beneath its walls, by the giant struggles wherein
the valour of the sons of France, of England, and of America displayed
You could not without emotion tread the soil of the Plains of
Abraham and St Foye, or see again the obelisk erected to the inseparable
memory of Wolfe and Montcalm, the monument to the heroes of 1760, on which
are engraved the names of Levis and Murray.
You have expressed the pleasure you felt at being present at the
unveiling of the monument to the South African soldiers, which will
perpetuate the memory of the devoted children of two races-long hostile to
one another, but now allied in the Old as in the New World-who died side
by side in defence of the same flag.
May Your Serene Highness carry away a pleasant recollection of
Quebec. Such is our hope as,
gathered around you, we wish you happiness and ever increasing success in
your career. In this we know
we are the interception of the entire population of Quebec.
Moreover, you cannot but the aware of their feelings, expressed as
they were by the hearty cheers that greeted your passage through our
streets the other day.
Permit us to add to those whose wishes equally hearty ones for the
officers and men of your squadron as well as for the loved ones who
impatiently await your return to your home.
When you send the report of your cruise to His Majesty, we beg you
to assure him of our loyalty, of our entire satisfaction with the
constitutional liberties we enjoy, faithful to its allegiance and
confident in its destinies.
Gentlemen fill your glasses and drink to the health of our
illustrious guests. We wish
Your Serene Highness a long, successful ad brilliant career.
Ay you come back again not later than 1908 to celebrate with us the
three hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Quebec.
His Serene Highness, on rising to respond, was accorded an
enthusiastic ovation. Speaking
in English, he said he would follow the precedent inaugurated by His
Excellency the Governor General by replying to the eloquent address made
by his Worship the Mayor in Quebec, and then spoke as follows: -
Gentlemen-I am, believe me, profoundly touched and moved by the
very kind words which you, Mr Mayor, have addressed to me, and I feel
great difficulty in finding in my tone the phrases I would desire to
express all that I feel at this moment.
As you have said, all who have ever seen Quebec return to it with
pleasure; I may venture even to say that they ardently desire to see it
Of all the anchorages in the world that I have visited, which are
accessible to war vessels of the largest dimensions-the true battleships-I
know none that compare in beauty with the seductive panorama which I used
to see from my windows during my stay at the Citadel recently as the guest
of your sympathetic Governor General.
Having left your shores a young midshipman some thirty years ago,
you may imagine how proud I was of the mission to ascend your noble river
at the head f six first class cruisers, the most powerful naval force that
has ever cast anchor under the picturesque ramparts of this ancient
citadel, and in sight of those moments of a glorious past of which you
have so eloquently spoken.
From the moment I landed I have experienced throughout the
city, and from all citizens, a perfectly gratifying reception, as also
have the officers and men under my orders; and I rejoice, gentlemen, that
your hospitality gives men the opportunity on the eve of our departure, of
publicly expressing the thanks of all our hearts for all your kindness and
friendship, and I beg you, Mr Mayor to kindly convey these our sentiments
to your fellow citizens.
As for myself personally, I am aware that I owe this reception
principally to the fact that I have had the honour to marry the niece of
the King our August and well behaved master, who has no more loyal
subjects in the whole of his vast Empire than the citizens of Quebec, of
the two friendly races whom I see so worthily represented this evening.
At the same time you have kindly wished to honour the
representative of that British Navy which has the noble task of watching
in the future, as in the past, that this city, as well as the distant
parts between the two oceans that grid this vast and happy country, ay be
able to continue their marvellous development in peace and security.
For us of the Navy, this bond with Canada is very dear.
I need not tell you, Mr Mayor, how much we regret our departure,
and what a pleasant souvenirs of our stay, which has so quickly passed, we
shall carry with us.
I may perhaps be permitted to say how touched we are that you
should have presided in person in spite of the loss, which you have
recently experienced in your family.
On the first occasion, still very far off, that I shall have the
honour of being received by His Majesty, I shall not fail to repeat to him
the beautiful words with which you, Mr Mayor, have terminated your speech,
and which I feel comes from your heart.
His Serene Highness then proposed, amid great applause, the health
of the city of Quebec and to that sentiment Mr Parent made a graceful
reply. Apart from the
instrumental musical programme there were several vocal selections, which
were charmingly rendered by Lieutenant Barrow, Messrs Moise Raymond,
Dagneau, and Kinrose. Mr
The party of 15 men returned just after midnight from the shoot at
Ottawa. Lieutenant Colonel
Rogers, 43rd D.C.O.R. presented Lieutenant Bax, “Berwick,”
who was in command of the naval team, with a silver cup for the members of
the team making the highest aggregate at the Rockliffe Rifle Range.
Our shipmate Colour Sergeant D. Beddow, became the winner of this
much coveted cup with an aggregate score of 205 points, and he also won
cash prizes of 50 dollars. Naturally
the “Drake’s” felt proud f their colour sergeant, who was heartily
congratulated on his success.
At 5 a.m. the 2nd September the squadron unmoored. The morning was somewhat grey, a slight fog was hanging over
the anchorage when we weighed and proceeded, the shore being only just
visible, and as we formed single line the waving of handkerchiefs could be
dimly seen. Although it was
early, quite a number of people had come down to bid us bon voyage.
Good-bye Quebec. Farewell
The “Drake” left behind 14 deserters; the total number fro the
squadron totalled 84. Though
their action cannot be condemned or justified from the loyal or
disciplinary standpoint, yet it did seem in this instance extenuating
circumstances could be found for their conduct.
Our trip down the St Lawrence was much pleasanter than our upward
journey, groping the course in the fog.
The scenery was delightfully picturesque.
Our speed was 13 knots, except that we went 15 through the Travers,
and passed close to the ss “Virginia,” which had run ashore the day
previous in a dense fog. Lighters
were then alongside her, and men busily employed shifting cargo.
In the evening of the 3rd, after carrying out a few
turning movements, the 2nd and 3rd Divisions left us
and proceeded to Charlottetown and Sydney respectively the “Bedford”
and “Drake” together, the Essex” and “Cumberland” rejoining the
flag on the 14th at Sydney, and the “Cornwall” and
“Berwick” on the 290th at Halifax, where they were ordered
to arrive on the 16th and fill up with coal.
All next day we steamed along comfortably at 13 knots, but before
entering St John’s on the 5th we carried out aiming rifle
practice for a couple of hours, and then entered the harbour at 11 a.m.
and moored. The signal
station at the Cabot Tower was flying the signal-“Welcome to His Serene
Highness.” The town and
shipping were gaily dressed with flags, and the church bells rang out
merrily their notes of welcome. H.M.
ships “Scylla,” “Sappho,” “Lantona,” and “Ringdove” were
present, the former flying the broad pennant of Commodore Paget, who
saluted the admiral with 13 guns.
At 2.15 Prince Louis landed and paid an official visit to the
Governor, and at 4 p.m. His Excellency paid his return visit and received
a salute of 17 guns.
Newfoundland, of which St John’s is the capital, is the oldest
and wealthiest colony of the North American group.
Her rivers and lakes teem with salmon; her natural deer parks
contain thousands of lordly looking caribou, while willow, grouse, snipe,
and other game birds are very numerous.
The cod fishery round her shores is noted as the most extensive and
prolific in the world. The
usual leave was granted till the morning.
At 7.30 p.m. a State banquet was given at Government House in
honour of Prince Louis; all the captains and senior officers of the ships
present attending, besides most of the high officials of the city.
They afterwards attended the “At Home” given at the Colonial
Buildings by the Executive Council, where dancing was kept up till early
morning. Over 500 were
present, and a very enjoyable night was spent.
Prince Louis gave an official dinner onboard on the evening of the
6th, among the guests being His Excellency the Governor, the
chief Justice, the embers of the Executive council, Commodore Paget, and
captains of all ships. At 8
p.m. the “Drake” and “Bedford” illuminated, and remained so until
11 p.m. the other ships working their searchlights on the shore, which
entertaining act pleased the townspeople immensely.
Our band played in the Park for a few hours, under Mr Riseam,
bandmaster, and received great applause during the selected programme.
Fro today ships were opened to the public daily from 2 p.m. till 6
Disappointment was everywhere shewn, for early this morning, the 7th
a strong cold wind was blowing from the S.E. and the rain was coming down
in torrents. The programme
arranged was a Naval Review, sports, public holiday, etc, which would have
meant pleasure and happiness for thousands of people, but instead there
never was a more miserable or wretched day than fate gave us today.
The torrential downpour lasted all-day and part of the next almost
in spite of the unkind elements, the citizen’s ball, held in the British
Hall in the evening, was well attended, over 2,000 being present, and was
proclaimed the most brilliant affair that had ever been taken place in St
John’s as far back as could be remembered.
His excellency the Governor, Prince Louis, Commodore Paget, and
captains of the ships present attended; most of the ward room and gun room
officers were also present, the midshipman being greatly sought after by
the ladies for partners. Our
band supplied the music, much to the delight of the dancers.
At midnight, His Excellency the Governor, Prince Louis, Captain
Mark Kerr, Flag Lieutenant Sowerby, and suite, left by train for the
interior on a hunting expedition.
For some reason or other the English mail failed to bring the
“Drake’s” and “Bedford’s” mailbags, which probably had gone on
to Sydney. Nothing so irritates those who “go down to the sea in
ships” than the missing of the down to the sea in ships “than the
missing of the mail, and the letters so eagerly excited from other, wife,
sister or sweetheart. The old
adage falsely asserts “A sweetheart in every port,” for the modern
sailor is invariably true to those nearest and dearest in dear old
A smoking concert given by the citizens to the petty officers, non
commissioned officers, and men, came off this evening, the 8th
in the T.A. Hall, and was highly successful.
Deputy Mayor Bennett, Professor Huton presiding at the piano,
occupied the chair. The
programme was a lengthy one, all the best local talent taking part.
The men from the ships added to its success, several of them
rendering good songs, and received the thanks of the chairman for their
Several parties of officers and men went away in the boats to try
their luck fishing, being supplied with the service fishing tackle allowed
to ships. The warrant
officers in the whaler secured the best haul, obtaining some 90 lbs of
fish; including two nice cod 15 lbs each.
At 11 a.m. the 9th, the “Ringdove” sailed for
England, taking the crew of the “Calypso,” the latter ship remaining
here as a drill for the Newfoundland Naval Reserve.
The tennis match played against the Newfoundland Tennis Club was in
favour of the officers; the naval team having 15 sets out, and the local
team 10. Afterwards the
ladies served tea, and an enjoyable time was spent.
Rugby football, Officers vs Newfoundland Club was played one
evening on St George’s Field. The
game was witnessed by a great number of enthusiasts.
The squadron were victorious, winning by one goal and two tries to
one try-11 points to 3.
The 10th was Sunday, which day is quietly spent in St
John’s and kept very religiously. The
day was beautifully fine; the warmest in fact for some time, and during
the afternoon several hundreds of visitors came onboard.
Parties of officers and en, with the pinnace and barge, went out
fishing, but no extraordinary catch was made-perhaps the fish also rest on
Sabbath days here!
The French cruiser “Lovoisier” arrived early next morning, and
exchanged the usual salutes.
At 9 a.m. the “Drake,” “Bedford,” “Scylla” and
“Sappho” landed small arm companies, field guns, and marine
detachments, the whole under the command of Captain Pierse, M.V.O.
Buller took the field guns, Major Evans the Marines, and marched them
through the town to the parade ground, where Commodore A.W. Paget, C.M.G.,
A.D.C., of the “Scylla, inspected the whole battalion Lady MacGregor and
the Misses MacGregor were present. After
carrying out various evolutions the battalion marched back through the
town by a different route, the citizens lining the streets during the
In the evening a dinner was given onboard in honour of Lady and the
misses MacGregor, several other ladies being present.
After dinner dancing took place on the quarterdeck, which was gaily
illuminated. The Commander
acted as host in the unavoidable absence of our admiral and captain.
On shore, in the Prince’s rink a boxing exhibition was taking
place, hundreds of liberty men being attracted there to witness their
shipmates sparring with the champion of England, Mr Mike Shallow, the rink
being crowded to excess.
Dan Kirkby, “Bedford,” the middleweight champion of the Navy,
now faced the champion in a six round scrap.
Kirby stood up exceedingly well for the six months, giving his
opponent some hard blows. It
was decided I favour of Mr shallow, who congratulated his plucky opponent
on his stand. The audience
also loudly cheered Kirby for his excellent performance.
Thompson, gymnastic instructor, acted as referee.
Today the 12th H.E. the governor, the admiral, flag
captain, and party returned from their shooting expedition in the
The naval sports, given by the citizens of St John’s took place
this afternoon in St George’s field.
Leave was granted to everyone, and the whole town was en fete.
Prince Louis and Commander Paget were among these present, and also
Lady MacGregor, who kindly presented the prizes.
Fortunately, those who remained onboard had the pleasure of hearing
the ladies string band, numbering about 40, who played on the quarterdeck,
and were afterwards entertained to tea and Prince Louis.
Our last night in St John’s was signalised with a brilliant ball,
given by His Excellency the Governor and Lady MacGregor, at Government
house. Prince Louis, captains
and officers, attended, also the officers of the French cruiser. Each guest, to the number of 120, on entering was presented
to Prince Louis, and received by His Excellency and Lady MacGregor.
His Excellency was somewhat indisposed after his shooting
expedition, and retired early, but the guests received special attention
fro the hostess. Dancing was
kept up till 3 a.m. when the pleasant function ended.
On the 13th the “Drake” and “Bedford” sailed at
7 a.m. and separated outside to carry out aiming rifle practice till noon.
We then neared the harbour’s mouth and embarked the admiral, who
had remained onshore over night at Government House.
On finally preceding Carbot Tower signalled “Farewell
Greetings,” and our admiral sent the following wireless message to Cape
To His Excellency the Governor St John’s, N.F. before losing
sight of Newfoundland I desire to express once more to your Excellency how
grateful we are for the charming hospitality shown to us by all.
How gladly we would have prolonged our stay, and how regretfully we
leave the snug harbour of St John’s which we all hope to see again.”
I thank your Highness on behalf of the colony for your kind and
appreciative telegram. Your
presence here with your splendid ships has been a source of pride and
pleasure to Newfoundland, and I assure your Highness that the warm heart
of this community will welcome with delight your return here at some
As usual, off Newfoundland, we ran into several fog banks, and had
thick and wet weather all the way, which only cleared off a couple of
hours before reaching Sydney. We anchored off Cape Breton at 4 p.m. on the
14th, and there found the “Essex” and “Cumberland.”
We were obliged to anchor some distance off, owing to a steamer
being in the way.
On anchoring, Mayor Fullerton and the corporation boarded us, and
welcomed Prince Louis and his squadron on behalf of the citizens of
Sydney, and regretted our stay was only of 48 hours duration.
At 7 p.m. Prince Louis and staff landed and proceeded to the
Rosslyn Rink, where the Mayor Rean an address of welcome.
Afterwards Prince Louis, captains, and four officers from each
ship, by special invitation attended the opera (Faust).
Cape Breton is a very prosperous place, destined to be a great
iron-producing region. The
start has already been made, under fair auspices.
The great plant of the Dominion iron and Steel company at Sydney
stretches along the banks of the Nuggah’s Creek for over three miles,
and employ over 3,000 men.
Prince Louis captain and four officers from each ship accompanied
by the Mayor and each ship, accompanied by the Myor and Aldermen, and
visited Marconi’s wireless telegraph station at Glace Bay.
The squadron meanwhile exercised general drills, getting out kedge
and stream anchors, etc. Leave
was granted, and numbers paid a visit to the Dominion Company steel and
At Glace Bay the Rifle Association team fired against a team from
the “Essex” at ranges of 200, 500 and 600 yards, the scores being 500
and 437 points respectively.
In the evening of the 15th the citizens of Sydney gave a
ball at the Rosslyn Rink in honour of the squadron, the joint bands of the
“Essex” and “Cumberland” supplying the dance music.
Our amended programme was promulgated today setting forth a stay of
five weeks, or more, at Halifax, where a regatta would be held, also that
gun layers competitions and battle practice would be carried out.
The prolonged stay at Halifax was hailed with great satisfaction,
and the leaving out f Bermuda from ports of call little regretted.
The “Essex” gave a ball onboard on the 11th, which
was attended by the mayor and Civic Authorities, over 250 being present. Next day the “Cumberland” also gave a ball, with equal
success. The petty officers
and men were given permission to visit the coal pits ad the steel works at
Glace Bay. These two ships
also landed a naval brigade, and arched through the town similar to what
was done at St john’s the populace giving him them a great ovation.
The admiral entertained the Mayor and civic authorities at luncheon
onboard on the 16th, and at3 p.m. a dance was held about 70
attending. The quarterdeck
was nicely decorated and a very enjoyable afternoon was spent. The guests
left at 6 p.m., just before dark. At 9 p.m. the squadron weighed and
proceeded, arriving at Charlottetown at 5 p.m. next day, the 17th.
Leave was granted as usual.
Charlottetown is a very abstemious place. There exist no public houses of any kind where intoxicating
liquors are sold, but if whiskey or any kind of spirits is required it is
necessary to obtain a doctor’s certificate first. Many of the squadron did feel somewhat ill (at ease), but
were unable to obtain the necessary medical certificate! The next forenoon was devoted to general competitive drills.
In the afternoon leave was granted t all those who cared to witness
the athletic sports of the 4th Regiment C.A.
Several events were open to the fleet, and despite the threatening
day and subsequent rain, the attendance was recorded as the largest ever
seen at the meet.
The tug of war between teams from the squadron and the 4th
Regiment was contested in preliminaries, semi finals, and finals. They were the most interesting events of the afternoon.
Prince Louis and several captains were resent during the sports.
Several officers attended the golf links; the members were very
hospitable, and provided carriages to drive those to the links who cared
In the evening the admiral, captains, and officers attended the
ball given at Government House. There
was a large attendance, and Lieutenant Governor and Mrs MacKinnon were a
charming host and hostess. Dancing
was kept up till 2 a.m. the “Cumberland’s” band playing for the
The squadron unmoored at 8.30a.m on the 19th, but owing
to the “Cumberland” having parted her port bower cable, we did not
sail till 11 o’clock. She
stayed behind to pick it up, a difficult job, owing to the thick, muddy
bottom. The people crowded
the wharves early in the morning to witness our departure.
Before dark we had passed through the Cut of Canso, which gave us
an opportunity of seeing the very beautiful and picturesque scenery as we
steamed through at 15 knots speed.
We ran into bad, foggy weather again next day, being very thick
indeed after midnight. At 6
a.m. the 21st in a thick fog, with a heavy downpour of rain, we
anchored, or at least, we moored, head and stern seven cables N.N.E. of
Never fail gas buoy, Halifax, and laid out two targets in orders to
calibrate our guns. We were unable to fire owing to the thick weather, but
torpedo runnig practice was carried out.
The “Bedford” also remained out, the “Essex” and
“Cumberland” proceeding in to coal, the latter ship having recovered
her anchor and cable. The
“Cornwall” and “Berwick” were then up harbour, having arrived four
days previously. Prince Louis
should have landed this forenoon to pay his official visit to the
Governor, but the weather was too rough to do so.
Wireless telegraphy proves its usefulness at all times, but never
to such an extent as in foggy weather.
The “Cornwall,” laying off Halifax Dockyard, gave us all news,
etc, and the “Cumberland” received all information as to our position
etc, and when some 80 miles off reported that she was steaming easy in a
very thick fog. On our arrival the president and members of the Garrison
Games Committee invited the officers to make use of the Cambridge Library
and tennis courts during the stay at Halifax.
The citizens were delighted with the alteration of our programme,
prolonging our stay here to five weeks.
Still a bit foggy this morning, which delayed our firing for a few
hours, the forenoon being well advanced before the first gun opened fire. The “Bedford” finished her firing, and proceeded in to
prepare for coaling.
The Admiral landed this forenoon to pay an official visit to the
Governor and was received at the landing place by Major Stairs, and driven
to Government house, where a Guard of Honour of the Royal Canadian
Garrison House was drawn up. From
Government house he proceeded to Bellevue, and thence to the City Hall,
accompanied by major General Sir Charles Parsons, being received there by
a guard of honour of the 5th R.G.R.
Here Prince Louis was presented with a civic address by Mayor
MacIlreith and the members of the city council, afterwards attending the
Exhibition, where he lunched as the guests of the Commission with a small
company, consisting of members f the local Government, Aldermen of the
city Council, and others. After
luncheon the Prince took a walk round the Fair Grounds and visited the
women’s department in the Art Building.
In the afternoon the annual athletic sports of the 5th
R.G.R. took place on the Wanderers Ground, in the presence of over 5,000
spectators. Several of the
events were open to the squadron, who captured a fair share of the prizes. Unfortunately the “Drake’s” could not take part, it
being a case of “duty before pleasure.”
The “Cornwall’s” won the tug of war contest (open to Army and
Navy), and a team of five from the “Berwick” took second place in the
80 yards ladder race.
Having finished calibrating the guns on the 22nd, we
then proceeded seawards and carried out target practice, expending half a
quarter’s allowance for 9.2 and 6-inch guns at a pair of targets some
6,000 yards distant, a kind of preliminary battle firing exercise.
The practice was very satisfactory, especially our foremost 9.2
gun, which to the smashing up of both targets, it was dark and past 8 p.m.
before anchor was dropped in Herring Cove.
That night the Subscription Ball for the reception of Prince Louis
at the Provincial Buildings took place, and was a great success.
As is not often the case with a flagship, on this occasion our
officers were not present, we having anchored six miles out. Only three officers had the courage to land it, being a very
Next forenoon we got under weigh at 9 a.m. and completed gunnery
practice from 12-pdrs then anchored at 11 a.m. and weighed again at 3.30
p.m. to proceed up harbour alongside the Dockyard coal wharf, which the
“Bedford” had just vacated, having completed coaling.
After securing ship leave was granted.
The admiral, Major General Sir E. Parsons, the captains of all
ships, and about forty officers from the squadron, spent a pleasant
evening as the guests of the Studley Quoit Club.
In the evening Prince Louis and Staff, the captains, and a number
of military officers and civic officials, dined at Government House as the
guests of the Lieutenant Governor.
An interesting yacht race came off this afternoon, kindly arranged
by the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, between the dories of the club
and the “Thisbe II” belonging to Lieutenant Rotch of the
“Berwick.” The “Thisbe” is a handsome little craft, built in
England, and is conspicuous by her scarlet coloured sails.
Eight dories entered, but the “Thisbe” showed them a clean
keel, and won the handsome silver cup presented by the Club.
We commenced coaling at 5.30 a.m. on the 25th, and
continued until 6.45 p.m. and then ceased for the night, having taken in
750 tons, out of the total 1,300 tons required to complete, the adverse
conditions for coaling here making the work a slow process.
The “Cumberland” went outside at daylight to calibrate her
guns, but had to abandon it owing to the very rough weather prevailing.
At 9.30 a.m. Prince Louis officially inspected the “Cornwall.”
The forenoon was devoted to inspection of the ship and ship’s
company, and the afternoon to drill and evolutions.
In the evening the massed bands of the squadron played ay the
concert given in the Public Gardens in honour of Prince Louis and the
squadron. The admiral was
present, accompanied by Mayor MacIlreith the function being well attended. The dancing lawn was well patronised by the Bluejackets and
their fair partners. Prince
Louis had a look at the festive scene and smiled his evident satisfaction.
The annual meeting of the Rifle Club of the 5th R.G.R.
commenced today at the Bedford rifle range, a number of men from the
squadron attending for the various fixtures.
Coaling was re-commenced early next morning and completed by noon.
At 6.30 a.m. the “Cornwall” proceeded outside to calibrate her
guns, and at 5 p.m. the “Cumberland” returned and took up her former
Prince Louis dined at Government House in the evening, and
afterwards attended a ball given by the officers of the Royal Artillery
and Royal Engineers at the Artillery Park.
It was a brilliant function, over 400 being present, including the
captains and five ward room officers f each ship, and five gun room
officers from the “Drake” and “Berwick,” the only two ships in the
squadron which carry Midshipmen.
On the 27th all hands were employed cleaning ship after
coaling, and preparing for the Admiral’s official inspection.
The men of the squadron were taking full advantage of the football
ground inside what was once Halifax Dockyard, as the weather was ideal fro
kicking the ball. The
admiral, drills and evolutions being executed to his satisfaction
inspected the “Berwick” today.
The town of Halifax very kindly presented a handsome cup for the
all comers race in the squadron regatta, which was held the following
week, and the royal Nova Scotia Yacht Club also presented a cup to be
sailed for by service boats.
The Admiralty having decided to raise te Admiralty moorings here,
the “Cornwall” and “Bedford” crews made a start to weigh them, the
task not being an easy matter, especially so as the weather was very cold.
A working party of twelve hands from each ship, under Mr Lyne,
boatswain, were busily employed making the targets for the squadron’s
battle practice and gym layers competition, and ten carpenter ratings from
each ship, under Mr Crook, carpenter, built the targets, all the material
having been purchased locally (some of the baulks are 90 feet long).
The Wanderers Amateur Athletic Club kindly granted free admission
to officers and men to all football games on their ground during our stay,
which considerate act was appreciated.
The junior non-commissioned officers of the Royal Garrison
Artillery gave their annual ball this evening, 28th and
specially invited the 2nd class petty officers and leading
seamen ratings of the squadron, and more than ninety accepted and attended
what proved to be a most enjoyable function, the dancing being kept up
till 2 a.m.
The Rear Admiral inspected the “Drake” on the 29th,
which was the first occasion since we commissioned.
All hands were keen on obtaining a good report for cleanliness as
well as for efficiency, but as we only finished coaling late on the 26th,
the coal dust and inevitable wear and tear marks, still visible, would
detract from our usual normal conditions, which would be taken into
At 9.30 a.m. all hands were inspected at divisions, and then
mustered by the open list, the officers first.
Then a general inspection of the ship followed.
A few bags and hammocks of different ratings were mustered and at
12.30 dinner was piped. In
the afternoon evolutions were exercised, viz, boat pulling, placing
collision mats, general quarters, etc, the inspection concluding at 3 p.m.
The captain then had all hand aft, and informed us that the admiral
had found his flagship exactly as she should be and as he expected to find
her. The engine room staff
was particularly congratulated, and the captain expressed the hope that
the gun layers contests and battle practice would be creditably executed,
and the steam trial to Annapolis prove successful.
The remainder of the day was given up to leisure, and the next
afternoon was a “Make and mend.”
The Main top men vs Forecastle men played a football match; the
latter won admist great excitement, and met the quarterdeck men the next
evening to decide which top became the champion team.
The admiral inspected the “Cumberland” next day.
The first football game of the season of the Secior Football League
took place this afternoon on the Wanderers ground, Wanderers vs Officers
of the squadron. Prince Louis
was present and over 4,000 spectators.
The officer’s won by two goals and one try to nil (Messrs Causton,
Marsden and Ede made the score).
During the day Mr John Noel, Chief of the Mimacs, a tribe 7,000
strong, accompanied by his wife and daughter and granddaughter, went
onboard the “Drake” dressed in their official Indian garb of red, blue
and yellow decorations to pay their official respects to Prince Louis, but
unfortunately the admiral was still inspecting the “Cumberland,” and
the flag captain performed the duties of host to this distinguished native
The first regatta of the 2nd Cruisers Squadron was held
on October 2nd. The
weather and the water could not have been more perfect for boat racing.
Crowds of people lined the docks to witness the races.
The “Drake,” lying alongside the dockyard, was naturally the
guest ship. Mayor MacIlreith
and any prominent citizens availed themselves of the invitation extended
to them by the admiral and officers, and from the admiral down to the
lowest rating everything possible was done to make the visitors
comfortable and the day enjoyable for them.
Numerous parties were escorted over the ship, and the principal and
interesting parts explained. The
ship was gaily decorated with flags etc, and refreshments were served.
The “Cornwall” carried off the honours of the day, making 12
wins, including six firsts, and the West Country cheering demonstrated the
fact that they were happy in their successes.
Prince Louis gave a large dinner party onboard the “Drake” in
the evening, and afterwards attended the dance onboard the “Essex,”
given by the captain and officers. All
officers of the squadron were invited and dancing was kept up till the
early hours of the morning.
Next day P.O. 1st Class G. Drew, of the
“Bedford’s” galley (winner of the “all comers race”), was
signalled to come on board the “Drake,” when Prince Louis personally
presented him with the handsome silver cup, so kindly given by the Mayor
and Corporation of Halifax.
The Squadron Sailing Regatta (for Service rigs) took place on the 3rd,
but the wind was rather light for service rigs. The first race was timed to start at 9 a.m. but had to be
postponed till 12.30. The
races started in classes-six classes of boats.
The course, commencing from a line astern of the “Drake,” was
almost a triangular one of about 4 ½ miles, twice round, except for
whalers, which boats only went once round.
As usual, several boats were disqualified at the start for not
complying with the rules lay down to govern the races.
The Dockyard Football Ground continued to be well patronised with
playing of friendly matches from various sips.
The maintop men spent a capital day’s outing one day; all were
granted a day’s leave. They
left the Queen’s Hotel at noon in a couple of two horse brakes, and
after having several stoppages on the way to refresh the horses (and
themselves!), they finally reached the Indian village, and returned to
Halifax at midnight. A party
of 17 naval cyclists accompanied by our chaplain, also had a very pleasant
day on wheels, stopping at the Bellevue hotel, Bedford, for tea, and
returning to the city about 8 p.m.
The officers of the squadron played an excellent football match
against Dalhousie on the Wanderers ground this afternoon, in splendid
weather, in the presence of thousands of spectators, including many
ladies. It was a stubbornly contested game, replete with excitement
every minute from the kick off to the final whistle.
Dalhousie won 10-5. Victory
was well earned. The officers
however, kept the result in doubt to the finish.
The same afternoon the Dalhousie Juniors badly defeated the
Officers of the Second fleet team the scoring being 18-0.
Evidently the natives luck was well in, and very jubilant they were
at their successes.
The service rig sailing handicap for the handsome cup presented by
the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron took place on the afternoon of the 5th
October. The admiral and
officers f the squadron temporarily took possession of the premises and
were “At Home” to the club members and their lady friends, and to the
Studley Quoit Club and others. Our
men very tastefully decorated the Squadron Club’s premises, and the
massed bands of the Cruiser Squadron played choice selections on the lawn,
where refreshments were also served.
The weather was beautifully fine, but not favourable for boat
sailing. The wind was not
sufficiently strong to make a very keen contest, or test the sailing
qualities of the boats or the ability of the sailor.
The race started at 2 p.m., 45 boats competing, their white sails
set presenting a very fine appearance.
Lieutenant Hall, R.N.R. “Cornwall,” who sailed her pinnace, won
the cup, the “Berwick’s” whaler being second, and the
“Cumberland’s” pinnace third.
In the evening “Captain Reece of the Mantlepiece”-the popular
Naval Extravaganza-was played at the Academy of Music, and for the three
following nights. The piece
drew crowded houses, and was much applauded.
Prince Louis promised to attend on the last night.
H.M.S. “Berwick” supplied most of the talent, together with
military officers and their ladies. The
proceeds were to be handed over to the local hospitals in Halifax.
The ladies of the company were fairly showered with banquets. “Captain Reece” has been presented seventeen times on the
Academy stage at Halifax, but never with such success.
The “Cumberland’s” warrant officers and chief and 1st
class petty officers (by kind permission of Captain King Hall, D.S.O.)
gave a very delightful children’s party onboard their ship on the 6th,
and invited the warrant officers, staff sergeants and sergeants of the
garrison, with their children. Some
400 guests were present. The
quarterdeck was presently decorated with flags, and an elaborate programme
of games and sports, including shooting the shutes, merry go rounds, Aunt
Sally, tobogganing, electric baths, races etc.
Singing and dancing were conducted on the quarterdeck, the music
being supplied by the ships band. After
the amusements a sumptuous tea was served.
Commander church, affable and jovial as ever, gave over the whole
ship to the merry party.
Keen interest was displayed today onboard the “Drake,” the
results of the 6-inch and 12-pdr loading competitions being announced.
The prize of £3 for the greatest average of rounds by any one crew
for the previous week was won by the noted B3 crew, holders of the cup,
and for another prize of £1, given for the greatest number of rounds put
through in any one minute, B3 and A3 tied with 19 rounds each. Further prizes of 5s each were given to any gun’s crew for
every round above 18 which they could put through within the minute, and
several crews secured the 5s prizes.
The 12-pdr prize of £4 was divided between Leading Seamen.
Davie’s crew and Lance Corporal Johnson’s crew, the crews
Altogether about £10 was thus given away for prizes, as an
incentive to the men, so that when actual gun firing takes place there
will be no time wasted in loading the gun.
Several officers of the squadron enjoyed a good afternoon’s sport
at the Riding Club’s ground. The
obstacle race, needle race, ad other events were very interesting.
The obstacle race was the most amusing item. Six officers took part in this, and entered into the spirit
of the contest in a way, which thoroughly delighted the onlookers.
Sub Lieutenant Bevan took first prize Midshipman Phillips second,
and Midshipman Bowley third.
Lieutenant Walwyn took first in the hurdle race, the Lieutenant
Wynter, “Cornwall,” the second place.
Many persons also attended the football match, Wanderers vs
Sherbrooks, which was equally exciting.
The latter team won, but it would have been more satisfactory had
the Wanderers been successful for now the fleet team will have to beat the
Sherbrooks in two matches for the League cup.
In the evening Prince Louis attended the performance of “The
Mantlepiece” at the Academy, having hurried back from his hunting
excursion in New Brunswick to honour the company with his presence.
The 8th was a very fine day, and the ships were much
crowded with visitors from noon till 6 p.m.
In the evening the “Cornwall” proceeded outside to be ready for
the gun layers firing in the morning, she being the first ship to start
the competition, the “Berwick” also going out to act as marking ship.
The admiral has extended to the military officers the privilege of
going out in any ship to witness the firing.
On the 9th our officers gave a grand dance onboard with
great vigour, the weather being ideal for dancing.
The ship was nicely decorated, as usual, and the dance was voted a
great success. Lying
alongside the dockyard offers good facilities for social functions etc, as
the guests can come close to the ship’s side in their carriages.
About 400 persons were present civil, naval, and military-and many
No time has been wasted since leaving Gibraltar in drilling up our
gun’s crews. Morning, noon
and late in the evenings, the gunnery staff have been busy with the
dotter, and every other invention to produce good shooting has been used.
The Lieutenant-governor General paid our admiral an official visit
onboard on the 10th, and on leaving received a salute of 13
A very exciting game of football was played this afternoon on the
Collegiate School Ground between our gunroom officers and the Collegiate
School, Windsor. The officers
played a capital game, but the good work of the collegiate backs prevented
the officers from scoring in the first half.
In the second half Jones scored a fine shot for the school, and
Buckle, fro a pass from De Wolfe, scored again.
The officers then played with renewed vigour , and May, by a good
shot, secured a goal. After
another 15 minutes sharp play Ayre shot a goal.
Both sides had now two goals each.
No more scoring was done Mr E. W. E. Fellows refereed.
The Hon R. Coke and A. Starr were linesmen.
The officers at the close of the game gave three cheers for the
school, and the School responded heartily with three cheers for the
“Drake,” and both sides cheered the referee.
October 11th-All ships of the squadron were now outside
carrying out the various firing, and a busy week or ten days was ahead of
us. Social functions for the
time being are suspended, or put aside, and the practical side of our
naval existence takes place of pleasurable pursuits.
The “Drake” also wet outside on the 12th, and did
duties as umpire ship for the “Berwick’s” battle firing, while the
“Bedford” was the marking ship. Several
military officers were onboard to witness the firing, and before anchoring
off the Yacht Club in the evening exercise with aiming rifle practice was
Again at 7 a.m. next morning we proceeded outside for light Q.F.
competition; the remainder of the squadron had left earlier, but owing to
the strong southerly wind and heavy sea the targets would not stand, so
all ships returned to the anchorage.
A number of warrant officers and petty officers of the squadron
received an invite from the warrant officers, staff sergeants, and
sergeants of the Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery to their ball, which
was held in the Garrison Gymnasium. Special
arrangements were made, and boats were sent in at 5 o’clock in the
morning to bring the dancers onboard their ships before they proceeded to
sea for their firing. The ball was a great success, and the petty officers were
loud in their praise for the very hospitable manner they were received by
the sister service.
The captain and officers of the “Berwick” gave a dance onboard,
and all the picket boats of the squadron assisted in taking the guests to
the ship. Over 300 attended,
and the dancing was kept up till after 1 a.m.
The night was beautiful and starlight.
October 14th-The squadron weighed early and proceeded
outside independently to endeavour to carry out the competitions, though
the wind was eve higher than yesterday, and a nasty sea was running.
The targets, after numerous tries, failed to stand, and the ships
were ordered in again, the “Drake” remaining out till dark.
Those men who were qualifying for Q.G. had excellent practice
firing at a small bare pole.
The match between the Senior Officers team vs Wanderers was played
before crowds of spectators, a very strong wind was blowing in the
Wanderers favour for the first half, and the officers faced the cutting,
cold wind. After the very
spirited play of both sides, at half time the Officers score was
6-Wanderers 3. The play resumed with much vigour, but the Wanderers never
added to their score.
The Halifax riding club arranged a mounted paper chase, and invited
the officers, several of whom attended; tea was afterwards served in the
marquee on their grounds.
Sunday 15th was spent quietly laying at single anchor,
after having a busy week for everyone at the targets, but with almost
futile results. Visitors as
usual, flocked onboard the squadron then laying off the Yacht Club, the
centre of attraction.
On Monday morning we again left early, the day being fairly fine.
Light Q. F. gunlayers competition was carried out, and we anchored
in Herring Cove at the conclusion, so as to be ready early next morning to
go on with the 6incompetition.
Our captain gave an instructive lecture in the evening on gun
firing, his remarks being rather more practical than technical, which
appeared to impress those for whom most intended.
October 17th-Left harbour at 5.30 a.m. got targets into
position, and then commenced the competition.
The wind and sea gradually increased, and by noon it was with the
utmost difficulty that the boats could be kept down to repair the targets
and after firing nine guns we gave it up and anchored again in Herring
The “Cornwall” and “Cumberland,” having finished all their
firing, proceeding into harbour, and prepared to coal from two colliers,
which had arrived during the night. We
were lying too far out to grant leave, so the piano was got up on deck,
and an impromptu concert was held. Our
captain, the naval instructor, and several other officers added their
talent to the programme.
We weighed again at daylight, the 18th and re-commenced
the gun layers competition,and had finished all guns by noon, and then
prepared fr our long range battle firing.
At 3.30 p.m. the “Berwick” took up position as umpire ship, and
we took station astern of her, two cables distant, and she led us into
action at a speed of 15 knots. We
were properly cleared as for real action, and conned from the conning
tower. The “Essex” was
laying off in line with the target as marking ship.
The usual service regulations were strictly observed, the range
being 8,000 to 6,000 yards, and the target measuring 90 feet by 30 feet.
Unfortunately, in several respects, the centre of the canvas was
completely blown away with our accurate firing, which made it difficult
for making, as only actual holes in the canvas count for results.
At the finish of the ten minutes firing our chief umpire (Captain
Dare, H.M.S. “Berwick”), instantly signalled his congratulations on
our splendid shooting. The
umpires and marking officers, after carefully examining the canvas,
allowed us 33 hits. The wooden frame of the target was completely shattered, and
it was with the greatest difficulty that we managed to tow it into harbour.
It was 11 p.m. when we anchored, and past midnight before the hands
were piped to hammocks.
Early next morning we got the collier “Branswell” alongside and
commenced coaling. It was not
a very pleasant task, for up to 2 p.m. in the afternoon it rained in
The North Star Rowing Club at Dartmouth, held their athletic sports
one evening, and very kindly included in their programme several events
for the squadron. The latter
in the three minutes won the first tug of war between the stokers of the
“Cumberland” and the marines of the “Drake”.
The “Drakes2 stokers then beat the “Bedford’s” team in
three minutes. The
“Berwick” won her trial against the “Cornwall,” and the
“Drake’s” stokers also beat them in just over two minutes. The former, who won the prize of £1 for each man of the
winning team, won the final tug between the “Drake’s” Marines and
the “Cornwall’s” team.
Coaling ceased at midnight, and then piped down till the early
morning when another start was made, finishing at 10.30 a.m. taking in
1,300 tons. It rained hard
all the day with a cold northerly wind.
The remainder of the day was devoted to washing off coal dust and
Senator and Mrs MacKeen’s dance at Maplewood was a brilliant
affair and a huge success and although bad weather still prevailed, the
effective ballroom together, with the pretty and gay dresses of the
dancers, shut out all thoughts of weather, good or bad.
Prince Louis the captains and officers attended.
It was intended to give a naval display while at Halifax, similar
to that given at Montreal, and devote the proceeds to local charities, but
the admiral informed the public, through the medium of the Press, that
owing to the continued bad weather, which had delayed the squadron’s
firing and the work of raising moorings, coaling, etc, it was with great
regret he was compelled to abandon the idea.
The citizens were very much disappointed, but realised the
The 2nd Cruiser Squadron most patriotically observed October
21st-The centenary of the death of Nelson of immortal memory, and the
Battle of Trafalgar, today. At
8 a.m. all ships were dressed with masthead flags, and Lord nelson’s
flag also hoisted at the “Drake’s” main, with the famous signal,
“England expects that every man will do his duty.”
The Royal Naval signal flags employed in 1805 were used, having
been expressly made for the occasion, and at 4.20 p.m. we hoisted the
signal no 16 for “Close Action.” At 4.15 p.m. the officers and men, in full dress, were
mustered on the quarterdeck, and the marines paraded under arms, with the
band and buglers. At 4.30
p.m. the hour when, 100 years ago, Nelson departed this life, we commenced
firing 15 minute guns, at the same time the admiral’s flag, all ensigns
and Jacks, and the mast head flag’s of all ships were lowered to half
mast position, and remained so till sunset.
When the last round had been fired from the minute guns, the
Marines fired three volleys in the air, the buglers sounding the
admiral’s salute after the first two volleys and the “Last Post”
after the third volley, after which the band played a funeral march.
The captain of each ship then read a short address, which had been
prepared by our admiral for the occasion, including Lord Nelson’s last
prayer. The officers and men
were uncovered throughout the impressive ceremony.
The bands of the squadron did not play till after sunset as a mark
of respect to England’s greatest naval hero.
Captain Mark Kerr very kindly presented each mess with a photograph
of Lord Nelson, and each officer and man with a pamphlet of the life of
Nelson, and also sent 200 pamphlets to each ship of the squadron.
The following lines are culled from “Nulli Secundus,” with
apologies to the poet: -
years have passed away,
great hero died.
years his name has been
watchword and our pride.
Who gave his
life for Britains cause,
Who died to
set her free,
that glorious heritage.
of the sea.
years have passed and gone,
of oak no more.
swelling sail, keep watch and ward,
Britain’s rock girt shore.
hulls in armour clad,
swiftly to and fro,
guns, in turrets roar, Defiance to the foe.
are changed, but not the men,
The same old
behind the turret gun
And when a
thousand years have gone,
still shall last.
of the past,
The name of
NELSON shall endure,
Britons still are true
remembering Nelson’s name
their duty, too.
All officers and en remained onboard until they ceremony had
finished, except the officers football team, who played Dalhousie on the
Wanderers ground in the afternoon as arranged, in the presence of
thousands of spectators. The
Collegians won by four tries to one try.
The Collegians risked no chances, and turned out the strongest team
available, determined to retain the trophy, which they have won eight
October 22nd –At 11 o’clock this morning a
Thanksgiving Service in connection with the celebration of Trafalgar Day
was held in the historic church of St Paul’s by the Rev Dr W. J.
Armitage. Prince Louis, the
captains, officers and men, to the number of about 700, attended, headed
by the massed bands of the squadron.
The British veterans, headed by the piper band of the 63rd
Regiment, lined up on St Paul’s Hill and awaited the arrival of the
admiral. Prince Louis
inspected them and spoke a few words to each, took much interest in their
medals, and saluted the Royal Standard, which the veterans carried.
The Nelson celebration in Halifax was marked with dignity and
solemnity, as befits the memory of such an illustrious hero.
There was no exhibition of exultation and no sign of emotion, but a
feeling seemed to hover over the town that the British empire owed a duty
to the man who had, at Trafalgar, made England mistress of the seas, a
position held undisputed ever since-a trust vested in the British Fleet.
After the usual Sunday divisions this morning all the officers and
men were assembled on the quarterdeck, when Prince Louis presented the
silver cups and prize money to the various guns crews.
The renowned B3 guns crew, captained by Leading Seaman Burnham, won
a handsome silver challenge cup, presented by Captain Mark Kerr for the
best 6-inch gun at the gun layers competition.
Commander Buller also presented a silver cup for the best 12-pdr
The Admiral then made a short address, saying he would be proud to
take the squadron into action against any enemy afloat, with his flagship
“Drake” leading. He
tersely summed up his remarks, “The shooting was good-the battle
practice was excellent-I feel confident of the future.”
A very exciting race was rowed one afternoon between 12 oared
cutters crews of the “Cornwall” and Royal engineers, over a straight
course of three miles. Both
boats belonged to the engineers, and they were drawn for.
The stakes were heavy (130 dollars), the betting was also strongly
favourably to the Engineers, who felt confident, but the West Country men
rowed for all they were worth, and won by nine seconds.
Time 28 min 56 secs.
In the evening of the 23rd, Lady Parsons gave an
official dinner at Bellevue, followed by an evening reception.
Prince Louis was present at the latter, accompanied by the officers
of the squadron.
A farewell-smoking concert was given at the Wellington Barracks by
the sergeants of the Royal Garrison Regiment to the petty officers of the
squadron. Sergeant Major
Blake presided, and besides the naval guests there were a number of
civilians present, and a very jolly time was spent.
By the 24th October all ships had completed with coal
from the collier “Bausto,” which ship still had over 1,000 tons of
coal onboard, so men from each ship, in all 300, under the command of
Commander miller, “Cornwall,” had a hard time unloading and stacking
the coal in the Dockyard sheds, working all night in bitter cold and rainy
weather till it was finished. Such
are the vicissitudes of naval life!
The ladies of Halifax entertained the officers of the squadron to a
ball given in the military gymnasium.
The “Drake’s” signal staff beautifully decorated the
gymnasium. Prince Louis and staff and every officer who was off duty
were there, and the ball may be characterised as a social record breaker.
The charming dance programmes were of exquisite design, bearing on
the cover a maple leaf in its bright October colours, while across the
stem was engraved a canoe. The dancers discovered to their delight that the signalmen
had not limited their artistic work to the ballroom only, but in the
gallery, more so than in any part of the whole building, the arrangements
were delightful, nice sitting out places and cosy lovers corners having
been erected with much thoughtfulness of the nautical decorators.
During the afternoon some consternation was caused by the guns from
Fort Spion Kop nearly battering to pieces the “Bedford’s” steam
pinnace, which was then employed weighing target moorings.
The Canadian Artillery was at practice using 6-inch guns, and they
could not observe the pinnace in the line of fire.
One shot actually hit her on the bow before the firing ceased.
It was very fortunate that the affair did not become a tragedy
rather than a mere comedy of errors.
At 6 a.m., 25th the “Essex,” “Bedford,” and
“Cumberland” proceeded outside, the two former for battle practice.
Owing to the heavy sea running in the bay it had been postponed.
They are all three anchored off the Yacht Club.
At 8 a.m. the “Cornwall” and “Berwick” left for St
John’s, New Brunswick, where the “Cornwall” will break Prince Louis
flag on anchoring, the Prince leaving this evening by train on a shooting
In the afternoon some forty pupils of Mount St Vincent were
entertained onboard by the admiral. The
midshipmen, showed them all over the ship where everything of interest was
explained to them, and a sumptuous lunch was served in Prince Louis cabin. On leaving the ship they all sang, “God save our noble
King,” and “God save our gracious Prince.”
A large number of liberty men attended the Veteran Fireman’s
Association tournament at the empire Rink this evening.
Besides the usual events, two interesting exhibition-boxing bouts
by our men took place, also a relay race open to the squadron.
The officers of the “Drake” gave a ball on board this evening,
and as usual the quarterdeck was handsomely decorated and illuminated. Dancing commenced at 9 p.m. and continued till past 1 a.m.
About 300 were present. The
weather was delightfully calm, which made it very comfortable for the
guests being conveyed to and from the ship.
All the dancing officers of the squadron were invited.
The ladies wore charming dresses, and their dancing (so it was
freely remarked) could not be beaten.
Today the 26th being Harvest Thanksgiving Day, a public
holiday was proclaimed onshore, and all manner of out doors sports took
place till darkness set in, when numerous little socials were given
indoors. General leave was granted to the squadron from noon, and
although some 1,300 men actually landed, a bluejacket was rarely visible
in the streets an hour after landing-nearly everyone had made friends to
whom they were attached during the stay in Halifax.
A very successful paper chase by the Halifax Riding Club took
place, in which 27 riders participated, including four of our officers
(Sub Lieutenant Bevan, Midshipmen Coppinger, Neville, and Fellowes).
Miss Muriel and Walter Black very successfully laid the course.
These two riders started from the town, and threw the paper trail
over the fields and galloped on to Maplewood.
At St Patrick’s Home the first glimpse of the hares were caught,
and after several water jumps and ditches and fences had been successfully
negotiated, the human hares were caught and brought home alive.
Afterwards Mrs W. A. Black (wife of the popular president of the
club) entertained the riders to tea.
A Rugby football match on the Wanderers ground was played today in
ideal weather, between the pick of Halifax League, Wanderers, Dalhousie,
and four from the squadron, viz, Messrs, Marsden, the Rev Jones, Coles and
Baillie v St John’s N.B. Over
2,000 people witnessed the match. The
Halifax team had an easy victory, scoring 4 tries, one of which was
converted to a goal, while they blanked their opponents, and thus won by
Another boxing tournament was held on the Curling Rink, over 800
people being present. The
feature of the evening was to have been the bout between Seaman Kirby,
“Bedford,” and Tom Foley, civilian, who were to fight ten rounds.
It was brought to a quick termination by Kirby succumbing to a
right on the jaw.
In the evening the captain and officers of the “Essex” gave a
grand ball onboard, over 300 being present.
The evening was delightful, not a ripple on the water.
The vessel was gaily decorated, and it was just two o’clock in
the morning when “God save the King” was played and sung to signalise
the termination of another successful function.
Before the ball commenced, at about 7.30 p.m. a fire was observed
on St George’s Island, and all ships were ordered to land fire engines
and to assist the military. This
was done very quickly, and valuable aid rendered.
It was a big blaze, and all the general stores and buildings, with
their valuable contents, were completely destroyed.
Fear of an explosion-taking place caused some excitement onshore,
as St George Island is practically a magazine.
The farewell smoker in the gymnasium given by the warrant officers,
staff sergeants, and sergeants of the R.G.A. to the warrant officer, staff
sergeants, and sergeants of the 5th R.G.R., and the warrant
officers, chief, and 1st class petty officers of the squadron,
was an important function, being numerously attended by those who were
fortunate to get invitations, though many were absent on dusty at the
During the evening the popular president, Sergeant Major Crook,
proposed the toast of the evening, and feelingly referred to the departure
of the squadron, with whom the military had been on terms of real
Mr Dunster, “Cumberland,” responded in felicitous terms on
behalf of the squadron. The
programme was varied and highly entertaining throughout, this evening
being generally acknowledged as the best harmonious gathering of our stay
Prince Louis, Prince Alexander, and staff, were right royally
received in Fredericton this afternoon.
Prince Louis was presented with a civic address in the City Hall. A reception was then held, and over 1,000 persons were
presented to Prince Louis and his nephew.
In the evening a ball was held in the Assembly Rooms of the Local
Legislature, and about 800 attended.
Lieutenant Herbert R. Stokes, “Bedford,” was warmly
vongrtulated today on winning the squadron billiard handicap cup, which
the members of the City Club generously presented as a memento of this
Fortunately the men were favoured with ideal weather for their ball
tonight. Unique in itself as
being the first of the kind ever given by the lower deck ratings of a
British man of war, and was an unqualified success, surpassing all
expectation. The ball had the
personal approval and support of the admiral and captains of the squadron. To be precise, the ball was given by the petty officers and
men, about 200 subscribers of the “Drake,” “Essex,” “Bedford”
and “Cumberland” (the “Cornwall” and “Berwick” unfortunately
being away at St John’s, N.B.). Invitations
to the number of about 100 were issued to the Halifax garrison, but over
750 ladies and gentlemen were present.
The arrangements and organisation were perfect, thanks to the able
lower deck committee and their president (the flag captain).
The entire length of the ship from No 2 funnel to the taffrail was
completely housed in with canvas, and artistically covered with flags and
bunting. The comfort of the
guests was in every way considered. The
upper deck and sitting out places were comfortably warmed with red-hot
shot placed in iron buckets filled with sand.
Electric lamps, red and white were a feature of the decorations,
which were charmingly displayed. The
port side, less the quarterdeck, was set apart as the supper room, where
tables to the length of 296 feet were rigged and covers laid for 350
persons. The upper deck casemates were utilised as refreshments bars
where choice viands and wines, etc, were liberally supplied to the guests.
The ship virtually belonged to the dancers during the function,
perfect freedom being given to ensure its success.
The guests commenced arriving onboard at 6.30 p.m. and dancing
commenced at 7 p.m. and terminated at midnight.
Captains Peirse and Mark Kerr were present, the admiral being then
away at St John’s. At 11.30
p.m. everyone stood round the quarterdeck.
Hand in hand, and sang the “Maple Leaf,” “auld Lang Syne”
and “God Save the King.” The
singing of over 700 mixed voices rang out over the peaceful waters of the
harbour with grand effect. Hot
soup was supplied before the guests took their departure.
Everyone appeared delighted, and the fair sex of Halifax who
attended will ever remember the ball on the “Drake.”
Mr Healey and Mr Hardinge, the admiral’s and captain’s
stewards, very ably did the catering, and received the thanks of the
Our band, under the conductorship of Mr C Riseam, ably rendered
bandmaster the dance programme of 18 pieces.
On our admiral passing through Fredericton Junction, en route to St
John’s from St Andrews this evening, he was met by surveyor government
presented him with a big moose head with 57-inch antlers, handsomely
The admiral and staff arrived onboard this morning, the 29th
and his flag was rehoisted at 9 a.m.
During the visit of the “Cornwall” and “Berwick” at St
John’s, N.B., an “At Home” was given onboard the “Cornwall.”
The guests numbered several hundred, and were received onboard by
Captain Robertson. The vessel
was lavishly decorated, and their affair was a great success.
This was our last whole day in Halifax, and, being a Sunday, the
ships were crowded with visitors and friends.
Leave to the squadron was granted from noon until 11 p.m. and it is
gratifying to record that not one man of the “Drake” remained onshore
after that hour.
A letter was received from the non commissioned officers and men of
the Royal Garrison Artillery to the Dance committee of the 2nd
Cruiser Squadron, as follows: -
“The members of the above corps desire to convey to all
concentrated in getting up the dance on the 28th their
heartfelt thanks and appreciation of the kind and courteous manner in
which they were treated by everyone.
The Royal Navy have made a name for themselves as hosts in every
corner of the globe, and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron’s visit to
Halifax, in October 1905, will ever be remembered by the Halifax Garrison
with feelings of happiness and regret.
Wishing you bon voyage and a speedy return.”
Greets The Fleet
harbour looked dreary and grey,
last of the fleet sailed down the Bay,
were dull, while from many sad lips,
Came the cry
“We are lonely without our ships.”
answered prayer there arose one day
spec on the horizon grey,
Halifax bright hopes gleamed,
As in the
harbour a squadron steamed.
they looked from the stern to bow,
tossed the surf with an eager prow
and “Essex,” with four in their wake,
“Cumberland,” “Cornwall,” “Bedford,” and “Drake.”
Keen was the
rapture that all did evince,
flagship “Drake” bore a noble Prince;
this Admiral brave and good,
Victoria’s grandson, stood.
welcome accorded to these,
sailed to great us beyond the seas,
still closer the ties that band
heart to the dear Motherland.
away where your orders may lead,
wishes sincerest God speed,
each cruiser may ride all at ease,
of peace over calm, peaceful seas.
All ships had full steam ready early on the 30th for
steam trials. The
“Cornwall” and “Berwick” were leaving St John’s, N.B. all ships
rendezvousing on the evening of the 31st, three miles south of
Cape Charles light vessel. The “Essex” and “Cumberland” proceeded at 6 a.m. the
“Bedford” at 8 a.m. and we left at 8.45 a.m.
The wharves were crowded with people waving farewells as ewe
steamed out, while the Citadel, the merchant ships, and the Royal Nova
Scotia Yacht club kept up a continual dipping of Flags as a farewell.
At 10 a.m. when twenty miles, out, the following wireless telegraph
messages were exchanged: -
From R.A. Prince Louis of Battenberg to H.E. the Governor General
Before the shores of Canada disappear from view, I desire, on
behalf of the captains, officers, and men of the 2nd Cruiser
Squadron to thank our Canadian subjects of all classes, through your
Excellency, for their hearty and hospitable welcome during the last three
months and a half, and which makes us leave these shores with genuine
regret and a hope that it may be our good fortune to be sent once more
across the Atlantic.
Another message to Mayor MacIlreith, City Hall, Halifax, read as
From the 2nd Cruiser Squadron to the Citizen of Halifax.
The Mayor replied: -
Pleasant voyage, speedy return.
We could not if we would.
At 11 a.m. we commenced the eight hours full power trial. All the stokers and engine room department were bent on
making a record, and they did, averaging 24.28 knots per hour, the last
hour’s steaming being 25.6. Needless
to say, this grand result gave extreme satisfaction.
The stokers felt proud to retain the silver cup on their mess deck.
The fifteen hours three fifth speed was equally successful.
This fine steaming record was made known to the squadron by
wireless, and they all signalled their congratulations.
The Admiral now exercised the squadron, manoeuvring at 16 knots
speed, until dark, when divisions were formed abeam and speed increased to
18 knots. Earl on November 1st
we had entered Chesapeake Bay, increasing our speed to 19 knots, and
forming one line, when a squadron of warshiops were sighted ahead, which
proved to be the United States Cruiser Squadron at anchor off sharp
Island, comprising the “West Virginia” (flagship of Rear Admiral
Brownson, U.S. Navy). “Pennsylvania,”
“Maryland,” and “Colorado.” The
American admiral was saluted with 13 guns, which salute was returned with
a like number. When about
three miles from the anchorage the American national flag was hoisted on
the “Drake,” and the country saluted with 21 guns, which the
battleship “Maine” instantly returned; we then fired another salute
for Rear Admiral Evans. We
steam past the battle column to a position about 600 yards inshore, and
when abreast of the “Maine” anchors was dropped in American waters
about 10 a.m. Both squadrons
played the national and American Anthems, and the ships were manned. We were welcomed to the historic port of Annapolis by the
greatest gathering of war ships ever seen in those waters.
The United States fleet comprised the following battleships: -
“Maine” (flying the flag of Rear Admiral Evans, Commander in Chief),
“Missouri,” “Kentucky,” “Kearsage,” “Alabama” (flying the
flag of Rear Admiral Davis), “Illinois,” “Iowa,” and
miles further towards the shore were anchored the destroyers
“Hopkins,” “MacDonough,” “Lawrence,” Worden,” and
“Stewart.” The United
States Cruiser Squadron afterwards came up and anchored the other side of
the battleships, making three lines of ships, battleships in the centre.
Prince Louis spent the remainder of the day paying official calls,
first calling on Rear-Admiral Evans (the senior naval officer), while the
captains, commissioned and warrant officers, also exchanged official
The following message was received from the Governor General of
Canada at Ottawa in reply to that sent by wireless message on the 30th:
From the Governor General of
Canada at Ottawa. I have much
pleasure in conveying direct to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and to the people of
Canada, through the Press, your message, which they will much appreciate,
in common with all our Canadian fellow subjects who have been so fortunate
as to meet you, your officers, and men.
I cordially reciprocate your hope that duty may cause soon to
return to Canadian waters.
The forenoon of the next day was devoted to informal exchanges of
visits between officers of both fleets.
After luncheon our admiral and staff landed and reviewed the
midshipmen (900 strong) at the Naval Academy, followed by a dress parade
and reception at Admiral Sands for the British and American officers.
It was a very brilliant function.
Prince Louis afterwards returned the Mayor of Annapolis call.
Onboard the ships the men were cleaning and painting, so as to be
spick and span for New York, the full speed trial having made them very
dirty. The American officers
have arranged dinner parties for each evening of our stay for wardroom,
gunroom, and warrant officers proportionately.
Leave is granted daily but few landed, probably owing to the great
distance we are laying off the shore-or probably had spent all their money
in happy Halifax!
Two hundred petty officers and men from the “Cumberland” were
entertained onboard the U.S.S. “Iowa” to a concert, and a very
pleasant time they all had. The
exchange of visits of both fleets for officers and men were arranged, and
ships were paired off as follows: -
“Alabama” and “Drake,” “Missouri” and “Cornwall,”
“Kentucky” and “Berwick,” “Kearsage” and “Essex,”
“Illinois” and “Bedford,” “Iowa” and “Cumberland.”
The American naval officers invited six commissioned officers from
each ship, as guests, to visit Washington, one American officer
accompanying each party.
Rear Admiral Evans onboard the “Mayflower” entertained Prince
Louis and captains of the squadron at dinner.
Thirty-two guests gathered round the oval table in her spacious
cabin. Our admiral sat at
Rear Admiral Evans right. The
decorations in the cabin were very beautiful, the great American beauty
roses and American and British flags blending harmoniously in the soft
candlelight. (Prince Louis onboard the “Mayflower” in the exact spot
whereon President Roosevelt, on August 5th 1905, off Oyster
Bay, presented Count Witte to Baron Komura, and proposed the historic
toast which found its answer in the Treaty of Portsmouth, U.S.A.).
Glasses clinked with a ring of good fellowship as the health’s of
King Edward VII and President Roosevelt were drunk by all the officers
standing. Prince Louis
proposed the health of the American President, and Rear Admiral Evans the
health of the British King.
On November 3rd at 9 a.m., Prince Louis and staff
embarked onboard the “Mayflower,” and were received by Rear Admiral
Evans, whose flag was flying at her main.
Immediately Prince Louis stepped onboard his flag was also hoisted
at her fore, and the distinguished party proceeded up harbour.
Prince Louis and his staff and captains, and the American admirals
and their subordinate officers, proceeded by special train over Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad for Washington, arriving there at 11.30 a.m. There were four set events on the programme, beginning with
luncheon at the British Embassy. Then
followed a formal reception given by President Roosevelt at the White
House. Secretary Bonaparte
and the departmental chiefs of the Navy gave another reception, the day
ending with an official dinner at the British Embassy, and a reception and
dance two hours later.
Washington’s welcome to our admiral, Prince Louis, was strenuous
from the moment of his arrival. At
Annapolis things were going strong with all the senior officers away.
Entertainments, football matches, sports, in fact every form of
gaiety and sports in galore.
About 250 of our bluejackets and marines were entertained at a
minister show onboard the battleship “Alabama,” whose crew furnished
the talent, and there were also several boxing bouts.
Light refreshments were liberally passed round.
The chief petty officers of the “Drake” were the guests of the
chief petty officers of the battleship “Maine” one evening from 5 p.m.
till midnight, being entertained to dinner in a most hospitable manner,
the menu being described as a la Carlton style, being both luxurious and
A coon hunting party, made up of fifty officers from the squadron,
100 American officers from the ships, and a goodly number of midshipmen
from the Academy, left one evening at 7 p.m. in steam launches and
proceeded up the river Severn. They
were under the guidance of John Weaver and his dogs (the famous coon
hunter of Anne Arundel county). The
place selected was Hopkins Creek, where the woods are like a jungle.
The experienced hunter knows from the note sounded by his dog just
what had happened, whether the coon has been started, or is on the run, or
if it has taken the tree.
The hunt is fascinating and exciting, and often the coon dog comes
home with a split nose as the result of a fight with his quarry, when run
After the hunt ceased the festivities commenced.
The roast on the beach was indeed characteristic of a real old time
Maryland oyster roast.
The officers returned onboard next morning just before daylight.
Our midshipmen brought back a fine fat coon, which was stuffed, and
afterwards decorated the gunroom table.
A large number of liberty men landed from both fleets; the
fraternal sociability between them was very pronounced.
During the Washington visit Prince Louis was the guest of the
American Army, being invited by lieutenant General Chaffee, chief of Staff
to an official luncheon at the New Willard, after which he took a trip to
Fort Myer to witness cavalry Hatfield, Commandant.
In the evening he was the principal guest at a state dinner given
in his honour by President Roosevelt at the white House, where a
distinguished company was invited to meet him, the British Ambassador and
most of the American Ministers being present.
During the dinner the health’s proposed included those of the
President, King Edward VII, and Rear Admiral Prince Louis.
A large number of members and guests of the St George’s Society
of Baltimore paid a visit to the squadron, coming down to Annapolis in a
specially chartered steamer, which was flying from every conceivable pole
the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes.
They boarded the “Drake” but before doing we were presented by
the President of the St George’s Society (Mr W. T. Howard) with souvenir
white satin badges embossed in gold lettering, and bearing the crossed
flags of the United States and Great Britain.
The guests were escorted in small parties over the ship, and
entertained at tea in our wardroom.
As they departed fro home their band played “Rule Britannia, and
hearty cheers for the British Navy and the officers and men of the
“Drake” were given, which was returned with equal lustiness, the men
manning the ship’s side and our band playing the air, “Should auld
acquaintance be forgot.”
Every night each American ship entertained at dinner a number of
commissioned and warrants officers of the squadron.
Colonel Thompson gave a dinner party onboard his magnificent
houseboat to all the commanders of the ships, at which function a
brilliant party assembled.
The midshipmen’s dance at 9 p.m. in the Armoury, where
practically every officer of both fleets attended, was a big social event.
Mrs Sands (wife of Admiral Sands) and Midshipman Cabiness received
the dancers as they came on the floor.
Over 700 were present.
November 5th (Sunday)-hundreds of
visitors came onboard anxious to view the monster cruiser, as they term
The American warrant officers entertained five warrant officers
from each British ship to an oyster on the beach.
Originality, even in their amusements, is a leading feature of the
American. They landed at 1.30
p.m. about 150 strong, and proceeded to a small bay away from the town,
where a wagon load of Maryland oysters and other refreshments were
awaiting, which were served in tents.
Afterwards sports of all kinds were indulged in, and a very
pleasant afternoon was spent.
The C.P.O. of the “Alabama” entertained the “Drake’s”
C.P.O.’s at luncheon and to an evening’s entertainment onboard.
During the luncheon Rear Admiral and Mrs Davis paid them a visit,
and drank to the health of King Edward, the Queen and President Roosevelt.
Admiral Davis expressed his pleasure at the manner in which they
were all enjoying their visit to the United States.
Minor functions, dinners, luncheons, picnics, and excursions,
followed each other, every section having their turn.
A dance took place on the afternoon of the 6th onboard
the U.S. battleship “Missouri,” her quarterdeck being profusely
decorated. Around the turret
the British and American ensigns were entwined.
An interesting boat race was rowed between our marines and the
“Cornwall’s” in 14 oared barges.
The course was between the two lines.
The American cheered the crews as they passed.
Our crew won, leading about eighty yards.
The “Drake” football team played an Association match on the
Navy ground against the “Cornwall’s.”
The game was witnessed by a large number of American officers and
men, the “Drake’s” team winning by three goals to nil.
The United States Naval Club entertained the commissioned officers
of both squadrons at a smoker in the officers mess.
The same evening Prince Louis returned from Washington, and was
entertained to dinner at the house of Admiral Sands.
At 1.30 a.m. November 7th the whole of the United States
fleet of eight battleships and four cruisers left for New York, according
to previous arrangements.
Prince Louis returned onboard at noon today.
The British Ambassador and Lady Durand, the embassy Staff, and Rear
Admiral Sands were the guests of our admiral at luncheon onboard.
On their departure a salute of 19 guns was given for the ambassador
and 13 guns for Rear Admiral Sands.
November 8th-At 6a.m. we left for New York.
The weather had now set in very cold.
Sandy Hook was passed at 7 a.m. next morning, and we then eased
from 18 to 12 knots speed for about an hour, owing to the shallowness of
the channel. The New York
pilot steamer, met us with pilots onboard, evidently with the intention of
taking us up the river, but we did not stop.
The world famed statue of Liberty was much admired and commented
upon as we proceeded up the river at 18 knots in single column, and when
abreast of Government islands we broke the stars and stripes a tour main
and saluted the nation with 21 guns, which was promptly returned by the
battery. A strong ebb tide
was running, but we forged up the very congested Hudson in perfect
alignment, which was much commented on by the sea captains in the port.
At times we were almost rubbing sides with the huge ferry steamers,
barges, etc. Great crowds ion
the shore cheered enthusiastically, and whistles all over the river tooted
forth greetings while the vessels and shore buildings dipped their colours
continuously as a salute, which formality was returned by the squadron
dipping their ensigns, which were flying high at the main peak end.
It was truly magnificent sight-bands playing patriotic airs, guns
booming, flags flying, whistles hooting, and multitudes cheering. The action of the Pennsylvania ferryboat.
“Washington,” caused some consternation, as, loaded with some
600 or 700 passengers; she broke through the line between the “Essex”
and “Cornwall,” and only by the splendid handling of the latter ship
was an appalling disaster averted. The
New York newspapers were loud in their praise at the splendid seamanship
displayed by the captain of the “Cornwall,” and condemned the ferry
boat’s captain for his deliberate act of endangering the passengers
About 9 a.m. and when 500 yards south of the U.S flagship
“Maine,” and abreast of 79 Streets, anchors were dropped.
All ships including the American fleet of 12 ships, dressed ship
with flags over all, stretched from mast to mast, the American and English
colours flying side by side at the main truck, while the “Drake” also
displayed the British royal Standard and the American flag at the fore
side by side with the Rear Admiral flag of Prince Louis.
It being the anniversary of King Edward VII’s birthday, the
“Maine” saluted the Royal Standard with 21 guns.
An officer was instantly despatched to the “Maine” to convey
Prince Louis thanks to Admiral Evans for his courtesy in thus saluting the
British Royal Standard. Prince
Louis, who called on all the pricipal naval, military, government, and
civic officials, then made the customary official visits.
Directly we dropped anchor swarms of newspaper reporters and camera
fiends boarded us in dozens. Anywhere
and everywhere our admiral went he was snapped his picture appearing in
almost every paper published in New York.
Diplomatically and to make as it were a general evolution of it,
our admiral interviewed all the pressmen in his cabin, and gave them all
necessary information. Delegates
of the U.S. Navy League visited us shortly after arrival, and were much
interested in our ship.
To the American eye, our dark drab war colour did not make as
pretty a marine picture as their smart white painted ships, but they
guessed” there was a very business like look about the British, and
praised the seaman like manner in which the ships came up the river and
took up their anchoring berths. The
sincerity of the welcome to New York was everywhere apparent.
The squadron felt at home-blood was thicker than water.
The Army and Navy Club of the city of New York, and other clubs,
over thirty in number, kindly extended the privileges of their club to the
officers of the squadron during their stay in port.
The St George’s Society and the Canadian Society, united, in
honour of our admiral, captains, gave a banquet and officers, which took
place in that magnificent hotel, the Waldorf Astoria.
It was a most brilliant function, where seventy-six tables were
laid with covers for 637 persons-naval military and diplomatic.
From the two rows of boxes there looked down on the assemblage
numerous beautiful and splendidly gowned ladies, the cream of American
society. Prince Louis held a
reception in the Myrtle Room of the hotel.
Four of our burglars blew the officers mess call promptly at 8
p.m., when Prince Louis headed the procession to the dining room, escorted
by Sir Percy Sanderson (the British Consul General) and Rear Admiral
Coghlan, who was the chief representative of the American Navy in
At the main table Sir Percy Sanderson presided, with Prince Louis
on his right hand and Admiral Coghlan on his left.
Others at this table were Mr Joseph H Choate, Rear Admirals Sigsbee,
Davis, and Dickens, U.S.N. Major General F. D. Grant, U.S.A., the Rev Dr
Morgan Dix, and Sir Casper Purdon Clarke.
There was one characteristically British touch to the dinner
itself, consisting of “stout barons” of beef, borne aloft on huge
platters into the hall by waiters in procession, while the band played
“the Roast Beef of Old England.”
The ices were huge effigies of President Roosevelt and King Edward,
and also moulded to resemble the British Crown, and the Seal of the United
The speeches commenced about 11 p.m.
Sir Percy Sanderson first read a cablegram sent by the societies of
King Edward VII, congratulating him upon his birthday, and then a reply
was read from His Majesty, felicitating those present on the occasion of
the meeting of representatives of the two navies.
The toasts were drunk standing, first to President Roosevelt, and
then to the King. Prince
Louis then rose and the guests sang, “For he’s a jolly good fellow.”
When I look upon this meeting (began our Admiral), at the banquet
board of the representatives of our two Navies, I feel an almost
inexpressible pride at the good fellowship displayed on behalf of myself
our gratitude for the hearty manner in which we have been welcomed to your
shores. I am confident that not even in England I may ay not in
London itself-has a toast to the King been received with more hearty
cordiality that it has been here tonight.
My brother officers of the American Navy, words fail me to describe
our feelings at the cordiality of your reception to us.
Admiral Coghlan responded to the second toast of the U.S. Navy, and
spoke of the pleasure it gave him to see the British and Americans
together, adding: -
We need no written treaty alliance.
Our feeling of good fellowship is enough to perpetuate the good
feeling between England and the United States.
We Choate spoke to the toast “Perpetual Peace Between England and
America,” adding, the King is a steadfast and true friends to America.
At 7 p.m. both fleets were illuminated till 11 p.m.
We displayed the design “E.R.,” surmounted with the Royal
crown, between our masts, which was much admired.
The long line of ships, some five miles long, laying phantom like
on the river, presented a very striking appearance.
The shore was everywhere crowded with sightseers.
On November 10th the Cunard Company kindly placed their
wharf, No 52 Gansevoort Street, at our disposal, and Captain Watson came
onboard and piloted us alongside. The
wharf was gaily decorated, and the British ensign was displayed at each
end of the shed.
All ships were thrown open to visitors during our stay.
While alongside the authorities joined us up by telephone to the
exchange, which put us in communication with any part of the States, also
with the “Cornwall,” which ship lay in the river completely hidden
from our view.
Again a score or more pressmen called on our admiral, who accorded
them another interview, in which he said how he was professionally
impressed with the American fleet, its appearance, the smartness of its
officers, and the discipline of the men, evidence sufficient that the
vessels are in the highest state of efficiency.
Prince Louis, accompanied by his staff, lunched with General Grant
at Governor’s Island. The
battery saluted him with 13 guns on landing.
Among the guests were General Horace Porter, Mr and Mrs Paul
Morton, Perry Belmont, Senator John Kean and Mr and Mrs J Pierpont Morgan,
Mrs Alfred Vanderbilt, Mr and Mrs Andrew Carnegie, and other notabilities. After luncheon a reception was held attended by all the
officers stationed on the island, besides a host of others who had
The admiral and staff also visited the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where
Admiral and Mrs Coghlan gave another reception.
A visit afterwards paid to the Naval Young Men’s Christian
Association building, where Miss Helen Gould, Mr and Mrs James Stokes, and
Colonel Robert Thompson were among the visitors.
The W.O.’s of the U.S. Navy entertained the British W.O.’s to
the maintee performance at the Hippodrome, and afterwards to a banquet at
the Hotel Waldorf Astoria, where covers were laid for 170.
The usual loyal toasts were proposed by Messrs Pate, Clancy and
Coleman, and responded to by Messrs Hannock, Minter and Brister.
“Hands across the sea” was the spirit infused at the banquet at
Delmonico’s by the U.S. Naval Alumni Association.
Almost all the officers of both fleets were present in honour of
Prince Louis Colonel Robert M. Thompson, toastmaster, occupied the centre
seat at the guests table, having Prince Louis on his right and Captain
Charles H Robertson, R.N. on his left.
General Horace Porter occupied the place of honour next the Prince.
The principal toasts were rendered to the President and King Edward
VII. At the close of the
banquet, with hands clasped across their tables, the American and British
officers sang “auld Lang Syne.”
During the evening a telegram was received from Lord Charles
Beresford at Malta: -
The British Mediterranean Fleet send greetings to the Naval Academy
Alumni, and view with intense interest and sympathy the enthusiastic
welcome accorded by the people of the United States and their Navy to
Prince Louis of Battenberg and his comrades.
A brilliant Company accompanied our admiral up the beautiful Hudson
River to West Point on the 11th.
U.S. Army and Naval officers, their wives, captains and officers of
our squadron, witnessed a football match between the Army and Carlisle
Indians. Prince Louis
pronounced the American game as (The nearest approach to war in time of
peace.” He then inspected the cadets, and was greatly impressed by
Prince Louis and staff and the captains were the guests at dinner
of Mr and Mrs Robert M Thompson at their New York residence.
The “Drake’s” Marines were hospitably entertained at dinner
at the Café Boulevard by the Marines of the “Maine.”
Toasts were drunk to President Roosevelt and King Edward.
Selected parties of petty officers, seamen and marines from the
other ships were also similarly entertained elsewhere by the enlisted men
of the U.S. Navy.
It would be quite impossible to record in one volume the number of
functions etc, which took place during the visit.
It was one continuous round of festivities-official, social and
The announcement in the Press that the “Drake” was open to the
general public brought 20,000 forces to police having hard work to
maintain proper order. To our
American friends the “Drake” was the “crack cruiser of the British
Navy.” Our improvised ball
deck attracted more attention than anything else.
We found out here the real meaning of “souvenir,” for every
screw, nut or small moveable was gone.
Even the buttons were cut from the officer’s coats.
Hundreds gave cap ribbons away.
Our ship’s steward had been to America before, so he knew, and
had stored a good supply to meet the demand.
Considerable interest was manifested in the Association football
match, played at the American League Park between, represented by the
Columbia University team, and England represented by an eleven from H.M.S.
“Bedford,” which match was witnessed by over 30,000 people. Columbia held their own in the first half, which ended in a
tie at 1 to 1, but the Collegians seemed to tire in the second period, and
the “Bedfords” scored three goals, winning the game by the score of 4
goals to 1.
The officers of the squadron had presented to the St James Club,
Montreal, a handsome picture of Trafalgar, to commemorate the squadron’s
visit, and the club secretary wired here acknowledging its receipt, and
expressing the appreciation of the members for the handsome and
appropriate memento of the visit of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron,
under Prince Louis.
A number of engineer officers and others from the squadron received
a special invitation to visit Messrs Jacobs and Davies (consulting
engineers, of New York City), building tunnels under the North and East
Rivers, and were very courteously received, and escorted over the works in
While the “Bedford” was thronged with visitors, a boy named
George Quinlan fell overboard while getting alongside.
A strong ebbtide running at the time, when O.S. Elias Henry Dymock
instantly jumped overboard and rescued the lad just in the nick of time.
The visitors gave hearty cheers for the plucky act of Dymock, who
was regarded as quite a hero.
Sunday was a record day. Never
since warships have anchored in the Hudson was there such a crowd anxious
to go on board the war vessels. Every
landing stage was crowded. The
policemen had a rough time to keep the eager sightseers from pushing one
another into the river (an assertion made by the “New York Herald”).
The visitors were counted coming onboard the “Drake” this
particular afternoon, and totalled 13,406.
One daring curio hunter anxious for a souvenir, actually climbed
our masthead and cut a small piece out of Prince Louis flag.
(He deserved his prize!)
Miss Helen Gould (the Miss Weston of the American Navy) entertained
100 men from the squadron at the naval branch of the Y.M.C.A. at Sunda
Street, Brooklyn. Automobiles
met them on landing, and whirled them to Brooklyn.
Miss Gould delivered an address of welcome.
She said, “she had always felt a deep interest in the men of the
British Navy, and she was glad to greet them.”
Miss Gould, who won the reverent respect of her visitors, held a
social programme and reception.
Mr John R Drexel, his first unofficial function here, entertained
Prince Louis and staff at luncheon. A
select company to meet his distinguished guests had been invited and
covers were laid for 24. A
Hungarian band rendered selections during the lunch.
Midshipman Prince Alexander, “Berwick,” was present as
houseguest, staying with Mrs Drexel since our arrival.
The admiral and staff dined with the Mayor of New York the same
evening. Liberty men from the
squadron, to the number of 1,700 landed taking advantage of the beautiful
Sunday afternoon. They
visited the many places of interest.
The newspapers gave just praise for the manner in which our men
behaved when on shore. Their
conduct may be described as highly creditable to the British Navy, which
most felt they were now representing.
Our chaplain, the Rev W. Todd, had the unique pleasure this
afternoon of performing the christening ceremony on the infant baby girl
of Mr and Mrs John Chadwick. P.O.
1st class Albert Manns acted as godfather of the child, who was
christened Lydia Louise Beatrice Chadwick. The rites took place in X1 casemate at the rear of the 6-in
gun, which was draped with the Union Jack.
The large silver challenge cup, belonging to B3 gun’s crew was
utilised for the font. At the
conclusion of the ceremony little Lydia was presented with a
“Drake’s” cap ribbon, which its proud mother tied round its arm.
Tea was afterwards served, and Lieutenant Wakefield presented the
baby with a huge christening cake. The
sailors were much elated over this very rare ceremonial.
The Chamber of Commerce entertained at luncheon and to a reception
Prince Louis and staff, and captains and the American admirals and
officers. The rostrum was
decorated with the American and British colours.
Various speeches were made. Mr
Jessop said in part:
To you, Prince Louis, our welcome is especially directed. We are glad to recognise in you the special representative of
our friend, his Majesty King Edward VII.
We feel grateful to your King because of the kindly and gracious
courtesy received at his hands by the representatives of this Chamber, who
went to London in 1901 at the invitation of the London Chamber of
Commerce. We reciprocate on this occasion such greetings, believing
that it tends to strengthen the ties that bind our people together.
Prince Louis, greeted with a storm of applause, bowed and delivered
in his hesitating but magnetic manner the following address: -
Mr President and Gentlemen-When your distinguished representative
in London, who succeeded our kind friend Mr Choate, made his first public
speech in London, he summed up the condition of the relations between our
two countries in a very happy phrase, which has lingered in my memory.
He said to this effect: That the relations between England and the
United states had now reached a stage at which it was perfectly
unnecessary to talk about them, simply because the friendship was there;
it was an undisputed fact; it had grown and it had come to stay.
I have had ample opportunities of satisfying myself that the
feeling on this side of the Atlantic in that respect is the same as it is
on our side.
When I return after my cruise I shall have great pleasure in giving
His Majesty an account of today’s proceedings, and especially of the
beauty of this building, in which he takes a great interest.
I think I may perhaps be permitted to mention the fact that only
three days ago I received a letter from the King in which he said; “You
have now arrived in the United States, and I shall watch your proceedings
with the utmost interest, and I am confident that there it will be a great
The Coney Island dinner and entertainment, given by the enlisted
men of the U.S. North Atlantic fleet to the petty officers, non
commissioned officers and men of the British Second Cruiser Squadron was
now held. Prince Louis, the
American admirals, and captains of both squadrons, were also invited.
The entire expenses of this gigantic function were defrayed
entirely by the enlisted men, themselves, and organised by a committee
selected from each ship, with Mr B Schumacher, signal quartermaster of the
“Maine,” as president.
Two large steamer gathered the men from both squadrons, which had
already assembled onboard the “Maine” and “Alabama,” calling
alongside the Cunard pier on the way down for our men, the total number
being 1,200 British and 1,400 Americans.
About 6 p.m. the steamers were berthed alongside the Iron Pier. The
men disembarked and marched up Surf Avenue in three battalions eight
abreast, Britons and Americans side by side.
Policemen formed the escort up to the big, brilliantly lighted
banquet hall. The Avenue was
all ablaze with red fire, and the entire winter population of Coney island
thronged the sidewalks and cheered.
At 7 p.m. twenty boatswains mates piped with their shrill whistle
“Hands to Dinner.”
A great ovation was accorded to Prince Louis and Admiral Evans,
U.S.N. as they entered; every man jumped up and let forth a yell of
welcome. No sound-producing machine could produce such a clamour as
came from those 2,600 sailors throats.
The walls of the huge building thrilled and vibrated. The roar of welcome swept the admirals forward on a tide of
delight, and they smiled their appreciation as they passed among the
enthusiastic sailors there being no cessation in the outburst until all
those at the Admirals table had filed in to their seats.
Prince Louis sat at Admiral right hand, and Sir Percy Sanderson at
his left. All the captains
and principal officers of each fleet were present a total of 116. On Prince Louis plate was placed a small British flag, made
of metal, inscribed: -
“Hope we will meet again. Coney
Island November 13th 1905.”
The Prince gave Admiral Evans his souvenir, and Admiral Evans gave
him a little American flag similarly marked in exchange.
The dinner had barely begun when Miss Gladys Scott, eight years
old, carrying a garland of red and white blossoms, and followed by two
smart pages, each carrying a big bunch of white and pink chrysanthemums,
approached the chief table and presented her garland to Prince Louis,
saying: - “We are glad to welcome you to Coney Island.”
The Prince smiled at this charming little lady and said: - “I
thank you, my dear, for the pretty flowers and your kind welcome,” and
then he stooped down and kissed her, at which pretty incident the sailors
cheered-a rousing cheer. Gladys
then gave the other bunch to admiral Evans, and welcomed him too; he also
thanked her and kissed her on the deck.
Meanwhile, the solid business of dining proceeded briskly.
The jingling of 3,000 knives and forks implied that the menu was
being gone through with appetising zest.
A band in balcony played “Rule, Britannia” and the overture
Both admirals took
beer with their dinner in democratic fashion, and entered fully into the
spirit of the occasion. When
they went up in the gallery, so that all the men could see them, the
cheering seemed to rock the building like a ship in a gale.
Prince Louis rose in his place, raised his glass aloft, and drank
the health of the seamen of both Navies; Admiral Evans and all the
officers rose and joined in the toast, and the cheering again broke fourth
as a response. As the band
played “Auld Lang Syne” the words of that song came from thousands of
throats. Then the band played the tune very softly, lights were
lowered, and red fire was burned, and in the full glare stood two
sailors-American and British facing each other and gripping hands.
Then all the bluejackets followed suit, shook hands, drank each
other’s health, and swore eternal friendship.
The proceedings at this juncture were most impressive.
As Prince Louis, Admiral Evans, and the officers rose to depart the
band played “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Rule Britannia.”
With their departure all formality ceased, and the entertainment as
programmed then commenced.
The banquet was a complete success, thanks to its organisers; not
one incident happened to mar the good fellowship, which prevailed
Accompanied by the American Admirals and a numerous company of
naval and military officers, Prince Louis visited the Horse Show at
Maddison Square Gardens, arriving there at 9.30 p.m.
A brilliant assembly of the elite of New York had gathered there,
among them being the President’s daughter, Miss Alice Roosevelt, who was
with Colonel Thompson’s party. The
place was handsomely festooned with British and American flags. From there the Admiral went onboard the “Drake” to honour
the warrant officers who were giving a ball in his flagship to their
confreres in the U.S.N.
The improvised ball deck was housed in with a huge canvas marquee
suspended from the hydraulic boat derrick, and lined inside with red and
white striped bunting, its apex being a blue field backed by white
electric lamps to resemble stars, forming together the “Stars and
Stripes of America.” Everything
was prepared for the admiral’s grand state ball to be held the following
evening. Thus the warrant officers had the honour of being the first
to dance on the much talked of ball floor of the “Drake.”
Dancing was continued from 8 p.m. till past midnight.
The admiral honoured them with his presence for an hour or so, and
danced with several American ladies, and wrote his name on each lady’s
programme, over 300 in number. The
dance was voted a great success.
The Admiral then proceeded to the Lambs Clubhouse and heartily
enjoyed the gambol arranged in his honour by the Lambs, with whom he
partook of supper.
November 14th-This morning the admiral made the
following signal to Admiral Evans: -
May I ask you to convey to the enlisted men of the Fleet under your
command, who were my hosts last night, how much I appreciate the unique
compliment paid me in inviting me to an entertainment which was delightful
in every way, and should better than anything else, show how deep the
friendship is between the men before the mast in the two navies.
Our Admiral and staff were the guests of Mr
and Mrs Charles B Alexander, at Tuxedo Park, travelling by way of Jersey
City. He was met by a squad
of police on landing and escorted to the special train in waiting at the
A party of 60 officers from the squadron by special invitation
visited the Babcock and Wilcox works, where every courtesy was shown them,
and luncheon provided. The
admiral returned from Tuxedo Park in time to make final preparations for
The first dance commenced at 10.30 p.m. and quite 1,200 guests were
received by Prince Louis. It
was brilliant and picturesque function, there being present the flower of
beauty, fashion, talent, and wealth of New York.
On the 15th November the colliers commenced to arrive.
All ships were given orders to take onboard sufficient coal to make
a passage trip across the Atlantic to Gibraltar in the shortest time with
the coal onboard. By noon,
when the citizens flocked onboard, those who had seen the ball deck with
its acme of decorative art were astonished, as nothing was now visible,
the ship having assumed her appearance as a fighting ship, and preparing
for coaling was in evidence. What
A number of petty officers from the squadron were entertained
onboard the “Maine” by the petty officers, and light refreshments
Sixty officers attended Mrs Whitbridge’s dance at her house in
East 11th Street, given in honour of our visit, and which was
thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
In the evening the junior officers of the U.S.N. entertained the
junior officers of the squadron at a theatre and supper.
Several private dinner parties and entertainments were also given
to the officers and men. The
W.O.’s of the “Maine” entertained our W.O.’s at an “American
Beef Steak Roast” in real good style.
The following letter was forwarded to the “Maine” for
conveyance to the United States fleet: -
From the petty officers, non commissioned officers and men of the 2nd
Cruiser Squadron to their cousins, the enlisted men of the United States
fleet,-We desire to convey to you our most hearty thanks and appreciation
of the charming, magnificent, and hospitable manner in which we were
entertained by you on Monday evening, 13th November. It is with feelings of regret that we realise that our stay
amongst you is so soon to terminate, and that the chances of returning are
somewhat remote. To think of
our visit to the American capital will always bring pleasure to us, our
one fear being that when the time comes for the British Navy to have the
pleasure of again your hosts, the majority of those who were your guests
may not be there to show you the same good feeling and cordiality that has
been extended to us, but though we may not be present in person, our good
will and wishes for success will always accompany any endeavour to
entertain you whilst in English waters.
Coaling ship commenced at 8 a.m., the 16th, but only
some 60 men were employed to keep the coal shoots clear; the shore
labourers who usually coal the Cunarders shovelled the coal onboard.
In spite of the coal dust the citizens were not deterred from
visiting, but flocked onboard by the thousand, and climbed up the rigging
The midshipmen of the American Fleet took all the midshipmen and
other junior officers of our squadron to the theatre, and a right high
time they all had. Of Course!
Two men from the “Essex,” which was fully commented on in the
press, performed another heroic deed today.
It appears that a boat was putting off to one of the ships under
sail when the main boom knocked several overboard.
Quickly the “Essex” steam pinnace steamed to the rescue, and on
arriving on the scene two of the crew jumped overboard, only in the nick
of time to save some from a watery grave.
Rear-Admiral Evans had the following published in the “New York
City Journal” today:
Complimenting the enlisted men, both in the fleet under my command
and the British visitors, for their good behaviour during the stay of the
ships of the two nations in this port.
It is my belief that never before in the history of any country had
so large a body of sailor men been entertained in so thoroughly
satisfactory manner. As far
as the work of the Navy for the entertainment of the visitors is
concerned, I think that we have shown to the people on shore that the
orderly behaviour of 10,000 to 12,000 sailors on liberty each day of both
fleets proves conclusively that the men of the sea are as well behaved
under all circumstances as those on shore, and in many cases much better.
The above compliment from Admiral Evans is to the point, and was
confirmed by all the senior officers from our squadron.
For two days the admiral sought rest from the ceremonials recently
undergone, and was the guest of Colonel and Mrs John Astor, at their
summer residence, Ferncliffe. We
finished coaling early on the 17th, and everyone set to work to
get the ship clean again. The
visitors streamed onboard again at ten o’clock, caring nothing for coal
dust and water. They wanted
to see the sailors at work as well as at play, and the large force of
police had much difficulty to limit the number coming onboard.
Prince Louis and several officers again visited the horse show.
He also attended the dinner given in his honour by Mrs Astor.
Covers were laid for seventy-nine, and among the guests was Miss
Alice Roosevelt. The dinner
was served on the famous Astor gold dinner service, and a reception was
afterwards held in the magnificently appointed ballroom.
On leaving Mrs Astor’s, Prince Louis, accompanied by Mr Cornelius
Vanderbilt, proceeded to the New York Yacht club, where a reception was
given in honour of the British Squadron.
There was a prolonged supper for about 200 in the billiard room. About 1 a.m. headed by the band, a general exodus was made to
the famous “model Room,” and after several short speeches the
“American Cup” was duly toasted and carried round the room by the
President of the club.
The day of sailing as arranged was postponed from the 18th
until the 20th, which news was welcomed by the squadron, as we
were all anxious to have another Sunday in New York.
Very secretly, and contrary to the wishes of our officers a boxing
match took place between Private Cockayne, R.M.L.I., “Drake,” and Jack
Reine, U.S.S. “Iowa,” at Tom Sharkey’s Club, which was packed to
excess. None however were allowed to enter unless possessed with a
member’s ticket. Men from
both fleets were present in great numbers, so evidently they had winded
news of the fight. Millionaires
were among those present; also all sorts and conditions of men known in
New York sporting circles. At
the first round it was seen that the Yankee was no match for his opponent,
and in the third round the Marine completely knocked him out, and was then
presented with a handsome silver cup.
Naturally our men were pleased at the result, but were anxious that
the fight should cause no ill feeling between the two fleets, so
discreetly refrained from any form of jubilation.
The admiral and staff remained ashore all day on the 18th,
and lunched with Mr and Mrs Edward J. Berwind, and afterwards visited the
Hippodrome. He dined in the
evening with Mr Auguste Belmont, and after dinner attended the performance
of “Her Great Match” at the Criterion theatre.
At the public places visited Prince Louis received great ovations;
as he entered the orchestra usually played “God Save the King,” and
entire audiences, some over 5,000 persons would rise and cheer; then the
“starspangled Banner” would be played, Prince Louis standing while
these compliments were taking place.
The American “journal” published the following lines, which
were written by Prince Louis at the Netherland Hotel: -
You ask me what I think of American hospitality?
Well, in the first instance, the entertainments provided for us
were like many other things in this country-on an unprecedented scale.
Secondly, the methods employed were such as to make even the most
formal affair thoroughly enjoyable.
The chaplain took some 30 of our boys over the city in a huge
automobile, and then to the matinee at the Hippodrome, where a delightful
time was spent. The
youngsters never ceased talking about their outing, which had much
On the 19th Sunday all ships received their sailing
orders, and steam was ordered to be ready by 10 a.m. tomorrow.
All day long every ship was crowded with visitors.
Thousands thronged the riverside drive and the pier heads, waiting
their chance to get onboard one or other of the ships of the two fleets.
Fully 20,000 people passed through our ship today.
Captain Halpin and 100 policemen were employed regulating the
throng, which reached away for over 200 yards out in the street.
The visitors had no compunction about handling our guns, for they
opened the breeches and snapped the triggers in quite familiar style.
Prince Louis attended an evening performance at New York theatre,
and as he entered the performance was suspended, the vast audience
bursting forth into cheers, while the orchestra struck up “God Save the
King.” It was indeed such an ovation as is seldom witnessed in a New
York theatre. The admiral,
accompanied by a select party, then paid a visit to the notorious
Chinatown and the Bowery the slumdom of New York.
He was quickly recognised by the crowd as he entered “Big
Jerry’s” and “Salter’s Dance Hall.”
On leaving there the banjos, cornets, wheezy pianos, and a score of
hoarse voices made fearful and wonderful discord of “God Save the
King.” Everywhere the
Prince was most enthusiastically received.
He had seen the extremes of life of New York City.
If anybody of men were overworked during our stay here it was the
messmen and stewards and their staffs, for all day long they were busy
providing luncheons, teas, dinners, etc, their time for sightseeing being
very limited,. Nevertheless,
they carried out their work satisfactorily and cheerily, for mainly to
them were due the press statement that courtesy and hospitality were
special features of a visit to a British man of war.
November 20th. Everyone
was astir early this morning busily preparing to leave the American
shores. The admiral was the
last person who stepped onboard. He
had been paying Rear Admiral Evans an official farewell visit onboard his
flagship “Maine” the Prince being lustily cheered as he left the
The ships lying in the river had early unmoored, and at 10.30 a.m.
we moved out from the Cunard wharf, assisted by two steam tugs.
The privileged persons who were permitted on the wharf gave cheer
after cheer as we departed. The
squadron formed up astern of us in single line, two cables interval, and
in this order we proceeded down river at fifteen knots, flying the Stars
and Stripes at the top of our main wireless pole, while a salute of 21
guns was fired, which the “Maine” and the battery on Governor’s
Island returned. The river
was crowded with ferry boats, yachts, steamboats, and motor boats of all
descriptions, hooting and tooting parting salutations with their sirens
and whistles making defending noises as if inferno was let loose, while
the flags of vessels and shore establishments dipped their farewell
The crowds of people, which lined the waterfront enthusiastically,
cheered and waved handkerchiefs as the squadron proceeded.
From the windows of the sky scraping buildings cheers issued forth
and emblems floated until the distance placed the hospitable shores of
America far astern-the best recollections of the strenuous life being
another bright page in one’s life history.
England and America-two nations, but with one grand world
ideal-Peace and Goodwill. The
following farewell greeting was culled from the “New York Herald” of
the 20th November 1905: -
As we welcomed the coming, so ought we to speed the parting guests,
though it will need new words to assure Rear Admiral Prince Louis of
Battenberghow much it has gratified the citizens of this municipality to
offer a friendly anchorage to the British 2nd Cruiser Squadron.
The demands of entertainments have perhaps been a little too severe
upon him and upon his officers and men, but they will, let us hope,
forgive the strenuousness because of the sincerity that inspired it.
Ship and crews have made a most favourable impression upon all
sorts and conditions of men, and it is undoubted that such visits rend
more to international harmony and to the maintenance of peace and goodwill
than all the protocols and paper bullets of the brain that have ever been
issued. The visit had, of
course, no political significance, and happily in nearly all the speeches
of welcome no incident occurred to put our guests or us in an embarrassing
position. The “Herald”
hopes that this appearance of a friendly squadron in our waters will be
the precursor of similar visits, not only from Great Britain, but also
from the other sea powers of the world.
We sent the following wireless messages while steaming down the
river to U.S.S. “Maine”: -
To U.S.S. “Maine”-The officers and men of the British squadron
send their best greetings to that fine fleet so ably manned by their
cousins, and look forward with intense pleasure to welcoming them in
England next year.
Reply from U.S.S. “Maine”: -
Thanks for your kind message of appreciation.
Wish you a pleasant voyage, and our only regrets are that your stay
was so short, as we could only give you a taste of what there would have
been could you have remained with us longer.
From Prince Louis of Batternberg to President, White House,
May I be permitted to express to you, Sir upon leaving these shores
our most heartfelt thanks for the manner in which we have been received by
you and the people over whom you rule, the memories of which none of us
will ever forget.
It has been a particular pleasure to receive you and your squadron,
accepting hearty good wishes for you personally and for the Sovereign of
the people you represented.
To the Editors of the “New York Times,” “New York Sun,” and
“New Pork Press”: -
The Rear Admiral commanding, captains, officers, and men of the
British squadron, now regretfully on its way back to Europe, desire to
express, through the columns of your paper, their best cordial thanks to
all those who by their hospitality have contributed towards making the
stay of the squadron in American waters truly delightful.
The admiral then expressed to the squadron his satisfaction of
their strict behaviour, which produced a very pleasing effect. Much comment in the American press, which had also been
erroneously wired home, to the effect that nearly 2,000 men had deserted
from the squadron, naturally caused alarm among the men’s parents.
Arrived off Sandy Hook at 1.30 p.m. when all ships were ordered to
proceed to Gibraltar independently, making every endeavour to get there as
soon as possible with the coal onboard.
Thus started the memorable ocean race.
Fine weather was predicted for our trip across.
The stokers had stiff work before them, but were ably assisted by
over 100 seamen from deck who were doing duty below (stoking is now part
of a seaman’s training). Up
to the evening of the 23rd all ships had kept well together,
but the “Cornwall” and “Essex” gradually dropped behind, and by
nightfall were both hull down.
On the 25th the “Drake” was leading by about five
miles, next came the “Berwick,” “Cumberland,” and “Bedford,”
in order mentioned, well astern. Nearly
all deck hands were now at work in the bunkers.
The excitement of being first was so great that 20 signal ratings
volunteered for stoking, and down they went on Sunday morning, the 26th. Only the “Berwick” was now in sight, the “Drake”
leading by a mile or so. So
close was the race between these two ships that all midshipmen donned
their coaling suits and worked hard below, shovelling coal for six hours
without coming up. Sinister
rumours went round that something had gone wrong with our port H.P. piston
rod, as steam was now escaping and the revolutions of that engine were
reduced. Our position with
the “Berwick” remained the same next day.
This being our last day’s run more volunteers were required to
work in the bunkers to convey the coal from the after bunkers to the
foremost stokeholds, about 300 feet distant, and every man volunteered,
leaving scarcely a boat’s crew remaining on deck.
About 6 p.m. our wireless operators got in touch with the “New
Zealand” at a distance of 96 miles, she being calm and starry, but no
moon. For the supreme effort every officer from the Commander to
the junior midshipman went below to assist, leaving only the Captain,
navigating officer, and officer of the watch alone on the bridge.
All were down in the bunkers doing the work of the ordinary stoker.
No man in the shi could apparently rest until the “Drake”
reached her destination as first ship.
If such enthusiasm was aroused to win a peaceful victory of
steaming, what could be expected from such a crew in wartime?
“Berwick” nobly held on, with flame emitting from all her funnels she
was creeping up upon the “Drake” straining every nerve to wrest the
laurels from us. It was next to real warfare, this ocean race, for highly
important factors had to be considered-coal, endurance and execution of
orders. Tarifa Point was
abeam just after midnight on the 27th, our rival ship being now
only eight cables astern. Only
19 more miles to run! Everyone,
other than those working in the bowels of the ship, had their eyes on the
“Berwick.” If only the
port engine could do its work like the starboard the “Berwick” would
not be within the limits of the horizon.
At 1.15 a.m. we signalled “Ease speed and anchord as
convenient,” and ten minutes later we let go three cables off the New
Mole-the Ocean Race ended-3,327 miles in seven days, seven hours, ten
minutes, averaging 18,504 knots per hour, beating all former records for
men of war by an average speed of over half a knot per hour.
The admiral signalled “Well done, “Berwick.”
The “Cumberland” was not far behind (she arrived two hours
later). The “Cornwall”
arrived at 5.50 p.m. “Bedford” 9.40 p.m. “Essex” 11.30 p.m.
Next morning we went alongside the New Mole.
Several of the Atlantic fleet were here; they were surprised at our
early arrival, as we were not expected for another two days.
General leave was granted to the squadron for their excellent work
steaming across the Atlantic.
We commenced coaling at daylight, 29th taking in 920
tons, then waited for the collier then due from England, to complete our
1st December-All ships dressed with flags and fired a
royal salute in honour of the anniversary of the birthday of Her Majesty
Re-commenced coaling early on the 3rd from the belated
collier, just finishing before dark, taking onboard 1,200 tons at an
average of 116 tons per hour.
Vice Admiral Mary’s sailing race for a handsome silver cup
(presented by the admiral) was singularly enough, won by himself in his
own galley. Eighteen boats
competed. We only entered a
cutter. Next day Rear Admiral
Sir Berkley Milne presented a cup to be sailed for by midshipmen with
service rig. Midshipman
Willis, “Hindustan,” won this cup.
A football match was played, Atlantic Fleet and Attached Cruisers
vs 2nd Cruiser Squadron. This
was the strongest team we had yet mustered, and we beat the Atlantic team
easily. Result: 1 goal 3
tries (14 points) against 1 try (3 points).
Today we received official news that the 2nd Cruiser
Squadron was not proceeding to England with the Atlantic fleet to give
Christmas with the Atlantic fleet to give Christmas leave.
Some were disappointed, while others were not.
The service rig handicap sailing race for the “Rawson Cup” came
off on the 6th; over 60 boats competed.
A fresh breeze was blowing, and an excellent race gave the
“Commonwealth’s” cutter (sailed by Lieutenant Johnson) the cup.
H.E. the Governor paid Prince Louis an official visit during the
forenoon, and received a salute of 17 guns.
Today our marines played in association match against the Royal
Garrison Artillery, and defeated them by 3 goals to 1.
The “Berwick” was docked in the new Queen Alexander Dock next
day, being the first ship to enter it.
The whole squadron was now placed out of routine for seven days, to
make good all necessary defects etc, and draw stores, all ships having
completed with coal.
Our Marines shooting team was defeated at North Front in a match
against the Yorkshire Light Infantry, firing under Bisley conditions.
The scores were 629 points, averaging 78.62; and 605, average
75.62. Colour Sergeant Beddow,
“Drake,” made 93 points out of a possible 105, the highest score of
Today, 8th our Marine football team played an
association match against the “King Edward VII.”
Result: - Draw, 1-1, the latter team scoring their goal a minute
before time. The officers of
the Atlantic fleet and 2nd Cruiser Squadron also played a Rugby
match against the Garrison. An exciting game, in the presence of a vast crowd, was
played, though the strong wind then blowing made good football very
difficult. Result: -Navy, 1
goal, 2 tries; Army, 1 goal.
The wardroom officers of the “Essex” entertained Prince Louis
and staff at dinner in the evening.
Today 9th the race took place for the Battenberg Cup,
over a course one-mile straight. The
race was rowed between the line of battleships moored at the buoys and our
squadron lying at the Moles. Eleven
boats completed, nine from the battle squadron and one boat each from the
“Drake” and “Berwick”. From
the start our midshipmen leaped ahead, and rowed excellently, gradually
increasing their lead. On
passing the “Drake” the boat was cheered enthusiastically.
Thus encouraged the mi9dshipmen spurted forward, and came in a good
first, the New Zealand” second, and “Majestic” third.
All the crews (composed of subordinate officers) assembled on our
quarterdeck, when the Princess Louis presented her husband’s cup to the
“Drake’s” midshipmen. The
cup now adorns the gun room table, and is much prized trophy.
At daylight, the 12th, the Atlantic fleet sailed for
England to give Christmas leave; as they left the harbour the bands played
“Home sweet Home,” and Vice Admiral May signalled: -
The admiral wishes you all goodness for Christmas Day and the New
Year. From the 2nd
Cruiser Squadron to admiral, captain, officers, and men.
We thank admiral for kind message and wish all a merry Christmas
and good time at home.
Shortly afterwards we made fast to the buoy vacated by the “King
Edward VII.” Wireless
telegraph experiments were successfully carried out between the
“Drake” and “Hindustan” on her passage home.
Messages were received to upwards for 260 miles.
Coaling and defects of the squadron were being preceded with the
ships being docked as arranged.
The admiral Superintendent (Rear Admiral Sir E. Chichester)
congratulated the “Berwick” on her splendid coaling performance, this
ship having taken in 1,400 tons at the rate of 155 tons an hour.
The W.O.’s of the squadron presented Mr Neal, W.R. mess man of
the “Drake” with a handsome silver cigarette case as an appreciation
of the able manner in which he catered for their dance at New York, and to
Mr Riseam, bandmaster, a silver card case was given for the splendid dance
programme he arranged.
Now that the battle fleet has departed it is more pleasant here for
the men on shore, not so congested. Special
leave men land daily. A
number of officers of the squadron have their wives here, also a number of
petty officers, thus making their Christmas time as pleasant as possible.
The weather is now beautiful.
During breakfast on the 16th the fire bell suddenly rang
out. The “still” was
quickly sounded, and the fire was located down below aft.
Smoke and smell was profuse, but it was some time before the actual
cause was discovered, which turned out to be the electric ventilating
motor in the after 9.2 space. Owing
to the proximity of the magazines and shell rooms the location of the fire
caused some anxiety; the danger, however, was soon dispelled.
This afternoon a football match between the officers of
the 2nd Cruiser Squadron versus Garrison on the North Front was
played. The Garrison had
already beaten the Atlantic Fleet, and fully expected to win this match,
but the cruisers put forth best efforts and won by 11 points to 5.
During our stay here the squadron was constantly exercised at
general drills, in accordance with the routine.
It must not be assumed that because sporting and pleasure events
are chronicled that the practical or professional part of our naval duties
were allowed to lapse, or only perfunctorily carried out, for such ideas
would be quickly dispelled of our daily life onboard was only generally
described. Gunnery, of course, was predominant, but general efficiency
was aimed at, and the “Drake” was never a bad second at most
evolutions, and was often found taking first place.
The engine room ratings of the squadron are being trained for on
week in steaming the reserve torpedo boats to be familiarised with the
intricate machinery of those small crafts.
The midshipmen also went out in them for instructional purposes.
Prince George, naval cadet, son of the admiral, arrived here to
spend the Christmas vacation with his parents.
The officers of the “Drake” and “Berwick,” combined, played
Rugby match against the Eastern Telegraph Company’s team, which strong
team won by one try to nil.
The royal Marines rifle Association fleets and squadrons
competition for the R.M.R.A.’s silver badge and one guinea prize was
fired for by the 2nd Cruiser Squadron at ranges of 200, 500,
and 600 yards; Bisley targets and marking.
It was unfavourable weather for good rifle shooting, and the
averages were rather low. Eighty
competed and colour Sergeant Beddow, R.M.A. “Drake,” won the jewel and
money prize with a score of 90 out of a possible 105.
Lieutenant Gillespie, R.M., “Berwick,” was second best with a
score of 79, and won the bronze jewel.
Lieutenant Gillespie, Lieutenant Rutledge, and Private lott tied
with 79 points each, but Lieutenant Gillespie won on the fewest outers
21st December-Leave was granted to caterers of messes,
with their assistants, to go on shore to purchase the Christmas fare.
It was indeed an amusing sight in the streets of Gibraltar to see
bluejackets and Amrines struggling down to the boat laden with poultry,
bags of fruit, new potatoes and almost every known kind of edible.
Other, in a less working frame of mind, hired donkeys an loaded
them up, then mounted themselves on the after part of the donkeys (the
quarterdeck!) and took command, while the donkey boy kept tickling up the
animal from behind to obtain the desired speed.
The Spaniards from Lenea did a brisk trade with turkeys, flocks of
them being driven in daily. Bartering takes place in the open streets, and the birds were
purchased alive at very reasonable prices.
A combined team of officers and men from the ships present played
an association match against the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. A strong Levanter was blowing across the ground, which rather
spoilt the play. Result-a
draw. The Navy forwards
played a very quick game, and they nearly scored on several occasions.
In the evening Rear Admiral Sir Berkley Milne, and the captain and
officers of the “Victorious” gave a very successful dance onboard, and
invited the officers from each ship in port.
The ship was gaily decorated and well illuminated.
The training cruiser “Hawke” arrived on the 23rd,
and on anchoring the bum boatmen were quickly alongside her, selling
fruit, etc, to the boys, who were eager purchasers and evidently pleased,
like all boys, with their first foreign trip.
The new Governor of Algeciras, H.E. General Don Juan Hermandez Y.
Ferrer, came across from Algeciras at noon today and paid official calls
on the Governor, and visited Rear Admiral Sir E Chichester, in the
“Berwick”; Rear admiral Sir Berkley Milne.
“Victorious”; and Rear admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg,
“Drake” H.E. received a salute of 17 guns on leaving each ship.
The usual guards of honour were paraded, and the bands played the
Spanish national anthem.
The ships company were busy all day on the 24th
preparing their Christmas fare and rigging up their decorations.
Boatloads of evergreens were brought off to the ship to add the
necessary Yuletide appearance. All
the flags n the ship was at the disposal of the men. On Christmas Eve the ship’s cook and his staff, with plenty
of able assistants, were kept busy all night boiling puddings and baking
Christmas Day-Today was our first Christmas together in the
“Drake,” and was a very happy one, such as is kept green in one’s
memory. Every mess had an
abundance of all the good things. Besides
what had been purchased by the mess caterers the bumboatman had given
12,000 pieces of fruit to the men for a Christmas box, and the canteen
(the Junior Army and Navy Stores) supplied the ingredients of a good
Christmas pudding, also a pint of beer and a bottle of lemonade per man.
Roast beef was entirely omitted from the Christmas bill of fare, as
the sailors have this very much British diet all the year round. As daylight broke we displayed the following signal, which
was kept flying all day: -
“A very happy Christmas to you and all your friends-From H.M.S.
All ships replied, thanking the admiral for his kind wishes. During the night large bunches of evergreens had been placed
at the mastheads and yard arms of all ship.
This Christmas Day at Gibraltar was a mild day-not the
old-fashioned English Christmas, with its hard frosty or snowy day as
depicted in Christmas stories. As
the colours were hoisted and the National Anthem played, which re-echoed
over the peaceful bay, our admiral again wished the captains, officers,
and ships companies of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron a very Happy
Divine Service was, as usual, held on the quarterdeck. The admiral, with the Princess and family, with several other
visitors were present at the service.
At noon a procession was formed, headed by the Princess, and a tour
round the mess deck was made, while the band kept playing the tune.
“The Roast Beef of Old England,” etc.
The deck was splendidly decorated with flags, evergreens and
coloured art papers, while the usually straight mess tables were now
bending with the weight of Turkeys, hams, puddings, etc, with which were
intermingled souvenirs, photos, etc. The silver challenge loading cup, shooting cups, boxing cups,
and other trophies were conspicuously placed, and all admiral Lord
Nelson’s pictures, which our captain had presented to every mess on
centenary day, were hung together, forming round, as a sort of escort, the
photographs of the British King and Queen who were reigning 100 years
after the death of the hero of Trafalgar.
Views of Halifax, New York, and other ports visited during the year
helped to recall pleasant memories, besides adorning the mess decks.
The caterer of the mess took up his position at the end of the
table, holding out a huge plate of neatly cut pieces of pudding and cake,
requesting each officer and visitor to partake, and at the same time
tendering the seamen’s greetings. Princess
Louis very good naturedly took apiece from each plate, and graciously
wished each individual a very merry Christmas.
(If the old adage proves true-“For every pudding tasted a happy
month in store”-then everyone who joined in that procession will have a
happy life.) Cheers loud and long were given for our admiral and his
charming wife, the Princess. The
Signalmen’s Mess and No 36 Mess both fired a salute of 13 guns as the
admiral passed, which little incident was an agreeable surprise.
Invidious comparisons are sometimes odious, but the writer may be
excused of partially in expressing the opinion that the stokers foremost
mess deck was the best decorated. They
proudly exhibited their massive silver cup (presented to them for
maintaining 30,000 horse power at the last full power trial). The sick went not forgotten, for on reaching the sick bay the
Prince and Princess spoke a few cheering and seasonable words to each
patient. The Princess, with
her noted thoughtfulness, had already visited the Royal Naval hospital,
and gave each patient a handsome Christmas box and wished him or her all a
speedy recovery. Only those
with hospital experience can appreciate such kindly action.
Dinner was piped at noon by all the boatswains’ mates, led by the
boatswain of the ship, when all sat down and did justice to the viands
before rising again. The
remainder of the day was spent very merrily.
Up to pipe down, 10 p.m. dancing and singing were continued with
much gusto to the music of the ship’s piano and a cornet.
General leave was granted to those who wished to go on shore, but
very few, preferred to remain onboard and share in the sport.
Christmas Day of 1905 was a memorable day in the ship’s history.
Next day we were preparing for a trip with the Princess and suite,
and left at 9 a.m. on the 27th bound for Cadiz.
The weather was squally and wet, and after we had rounded Cape
Tarifa the admiral decided to turn back, as landing at Cadiz would be very
difficult, so we dropped anchor in Algeciras Bay and saluted the Spanish
flag with 21 guns.
That evening the warrant officers were invited to dinner in the
wardroom and afterwards to a small dance on the quarterdeck.
Weighed anchor next morning at 7 a.m. and proceeded to Malaga,
arriving there at noon. The
admiral and Princess and suite went for a trip to a Granada and Seville. Leave was given, and a good many went ashore to view the
sights of the ancient Spanish town. The
weather was now splendid, with a warm sun shining. For two days we lay peacefully at anchor.
On Sunday 31st, numbers of visitors came onboard and
looked round the ship, some evidently delighted and others much impressed
with all they saw. The ladies
were bewitchingly dressed in their picturesque of brilliant colours, with
the orthodox over the head. The
Admiral and Princess returned in the evening and dined in the wardroom as
the guests of the wardroom officers.
The ship’s company had the piano upon the deck till midnight, and
special permission for dancing and singing till 2 a.m. was given to
merrily usher the New Year in. The
New Year’s promotions were received onboard, and our first Lieutenant
(John E. Cameron) was heartily congratulated upon receiving his promotion
to the rank of commander.
1st January 1906-We left at 8 a.m. and arrived at
Gibraltar two hours later,. Special
leave was granted, and numbers of men made their way to the racecourse at
north Front to witness the races.
Before landing the Princess presented colour Sergeant Beddow, R.M.A.,
with the 2nnd Cruiser Squadron jewel and prize which he won last week.
At 8 a.m. on the 3rd the admiral signalled the joyful
news that the squadron would leave for England on the 11th
inst, to give 10 days leave to each watch, the “Berwick” remaining
behind to finish her refit and paying off after the manoeuvres in
February. As soon as the
above information was circulated, the ship’s company being at breakfast,
a general cheer went up, and bright faces were in evidence everywhere.
England, Home and Beauty! The
officers and men who had their wives at Gibraltar were making haste to
book them passages home in the first homeward bound steamer.
The “Euraylis” (late flagship of the Australian station)
arrived, homeward bound, flying the flag of Admiral Sir A. D. Fanshawe,
K.C.B. The “encounter” arrived a little later, outward bound, to
The ship’s company had their so-called ball this evening the 4th.
The ball deck decorations and illuminating gear were practically
finished for the official ball on the 5th, and the crew were
permitted to use the place for their function.
Dancing took place from 8 to 10.30 p.m. the band playing
alternately with the piano. Private
Doughty, R.M.L.I., was pianist. In
order to protect the floor from possible damage, they either had to dance
with socks over their ordinary boots or use dancing shoes.
Some really good fun was witnessed, for of course this impromptu
dance was to get the deck into good form for tomorrow night.
Next evening, 5th from 9 p.m. onwards the squadron’s
picket boats brought off a continual stream of guests, who were received
by the Princess Louis of Battenberg and Captain Mark Kerr (the admiral was
unfortunately unable to be present through indisposition).
With but little difference the ball floor deck, tent,
illuminations, etc, was similarly rigged as at New York.
The various trophies made of sword bayonets were brilliantly
illuminated with red and white lamps, which had a pleasing effect, and the
numerous shooting and rowing trophies were also effectively displayed. Invitations were issued to the admirals, captains, ward room
and gun room officers of all ships present, the military officers of the
garrison with their ladies, and the principal civil residents-to the
number of about 500. those
who had not seen the “Drake” ballroom before expressed their
astonishment that it was possible to create such a marvel of workmanship.
The casemates were now well appointed refreshment bars, and the
wardroom and admiral’s cabin were used as supper rooms.
The dance programme of 22 pieces was ably rendered by the
“Drake’s” band, under Bandmaster Riseam.
It was 2.30 a.m. when the last dance was finished.
Early next morning a quick evolution was made of unrigging and
replacing all the ball gear, and by 8 a.m. the ship was in trim again,
with no traces visible of a ball having taken place, and man of war
routine had displaced revelry.
On Monday 8th, the handicap Sailing Race for a handsome
silver cup (presented by Prince Louis) took place.
This race should have been sailed at Halifax, but owing to the
gunlayers competition and the bad weather it was then indefinitely
postponed. Eighteen boats competed for the trophy.
A strong, fresh breeze was blowing; too much sea on for rigs and
whalers. The course was
almost a triangular one. A
small entrance fee was charged to make up three money prizes for the
crews. The fortunate winner
of the cup was Commander charles R.N. Burne, “Berwick,” in the second
barge; Lieutenant Sidney F. S. Rotch, “Berwick,” came in a close
second in a cutter; and commander John E. Cameron, “Drake” (recently
promoted), came in third, also in a cutter.
Prince and Princess Louis and family were onboard the “Drake”
and witnessed the race, the Princess afterwards presenting Commander Burne
with the cup, and congratulated him on his success.
Our stay at Gibraltar was nearing its conclusion.
Numbers of men went ashore in the afternoon to make purchases of
scent, cigars, curios, etc, to take home.
Merry making to the strains of the piano was kept going after tea
till all hands were piped to turn in at 10 p.m.
Quite a number of men have joined the dancing classes, and nightly
take part in this healthy and amusing exercise.
The embarkation of sick men, invalids, etc, from the Royal Naval
Hospital for conveyance to England took place.
Two ponies were also embarked and placed in snug stalls between the
funnel casings. The
bluejackets soon made them feel happy in their conditions, giving them a
kindly stroke down and a pat on the head, which the animals seemed to
Early on the 11th, almost before it was properly
daylight, the squadron (except the “Berwick”) slipped from their
moorings, formed up outside, and proceeded at 15 knots.
The “eesex” was told off to escort home the destroyers “Cherwell,”
“Foyle,” “Fawn,” “Cyntha,” “Cygnet,” and “Coquette.”
She had a very onerous task imposed on her, and had to call in at
Ferrol for the little crafts to fill up with coal.
During the forenoon we passed the Third Division of the Second
Squadron of the American North Atlantic Fleet, consisting of the flagship
“Brooklyn” (Rear Admiral Sigsbee) and the cruisers “Chattanooga,”
“Tacoma,” and “Galveston,” on a cruise up the Mediterranean, then
bound for Gibraltar. Salutes
of 13 guns were exchanged.
Early in the morning we were aware they were somewhere about, as
our wireless operators had intercepted some of their signals.
On clearing the Straits we encountered a nasty head sea, and as we
rounded Cape St Vincent it was worse, and we shipped several nasty seas.
Speed was reduced to 12 knots until 7 a.m. on the 12th,
when the admiral exercised the squadron at manoeuvres up to noon, and on
ceasing increased the speed to 18 knots to make up for lost time.
That night we passed the battleships “Swiftsure” and
“glory” going south to join the Channel fleet.
We entered the Bay at 11 p.m.
weather exceptionally fine, but did not last long, for a strong S.W. wind
sprang up and heavy rollers dashed against our port quarter, causing us to
roll 20 degrees. “Rolling
Home to merry England,” says the song, and most aptly did it describe
the action of the ships of the squadron.
We got abeam of Ushant at 9.10 p.m. on the 13th, when
our course was altered up Channel, the ships dispersing to their home
ports, the “Cornwall” for Plymouth, “Cumberland” and “Bedford”
Our trip up Channel was equally as bad as in the Bay.
The rollers chased us, and naturally the weather was much colder.
We anchored at Spithead at 10 a.m. on the 14th (Sunday),
and received orders to come up harbour at 2.30 p.m. next day.
Liberty landed till usual time next morning, all pleased with the
prospect of seeing their friends after an absence of over ten months.
Next day we went up harbour and swecured to the south slip jetty.
Officers and men then went on their leave, and at 9 p.m. we struck
the Admiral’s flag, Prince Louis having gone on brief leave of absence.
During the period of leave giving there was little to record.
On the 21st the Atlantic Battle Fleet assembled at
Portland preparatory for the manoeuvres.
Dymock, ordinary seaman, “Bedford,” was presented on arrival
home with the Royal Humane Society’s bronze medal for saving life in the
Hudson river, New York, which incident has been chronicled.
The 22nd being the fifth anniversary of the death of
Queen Victoria and of the accession of King Edward, all ships in port
dressed overall with flags, and at noon a royal salute of 21 guns was
Stoker Norkett, who accidentally lost three of his toes in the
picket boat last July, just before we sailed for Canada, and was
afterwards invalided from the Service, was presented with the handsome
subscription, raised in the ship, of £50 3s 10d.
The unfortunate man sent a letter today thanking his shipmates for
their kindly help.
Another shipmate, Private E. Lunnon, R.M.L.I. died at Haslar
hospital yesterday after a brief illness, and was buried on the 22nd
with full naval honours. Several
beautiful wreaths from the ship’s company were placed on his coffin, the
one from his late messmates being very conspicuous.
That evening the First Watch returned from their leave, and next
morning the other watch departed for their ten days.
The general renovating of below decks, etc, was continued.
January 30th-Today all Europe mourns the death of the
aged King Christian IX of Denmark, who died yesterday, but except amongst
his own people nowhere is the loss more deeply felt than in Great Britain. He was the farther of our beloved Queen Alexander, and her
sorrow is the nations sorrow. The
Danish Ensign was hoisted at half-mast at the main of every ship, the
national colours were flown half-mast at the staffs, and officers wore the
crape mourning on their arm while the bands received orders to cease
playing for seven days.
The general election occurred during our stay home-the only
noteworthy incident during our stay.
In Portsmouth enthusiasms was mingled with excitement.
Politics usually do not mean much to Servicemen, although many are
Parliamentary voters, but on this occasion apathy was turned into
activity. Me Fred Jane failed
to capture a seat in Portsmouth as a naval representative in the interests
of his Majesty’s Navy; perhaps better luck awaits him at the next
On the 5th February the tugs took us alongside the C7
new coaling depot, and coaling began with one watch onboard only, and 900
tons were shipped by 7 p.m. The
second watch returned off leave early next day and joined in the tray,
when with their assistance it was all onboard by 4 p.m.-1,750 tons.
Official orders were now received that we were to take part in the
general manoeuvres off Lagos, having four days more to say “Au revoir”
to our friends, clean the ship, and get ready for sea.
After coaling we again berthed alongside the dockyard.
About 40 naval cadets, including Prince George of Battenberg, were
brought over from Osbourne College in our picket boat and shown over the
ship; before returnbing they had tea in the admiral’s cabin.
At noon next day the admiral returned onboard to duty, and his flag
was rehoisted. The ships
companies of the squadron purchased a very handsome silver gilt cup by
subscription, for presentation to the North Atlantic fleet (United States
Navy) in recognition of the reception accorded by them to the squadron
during the recent visit to the States.
On the reverse side the American and British Ensigns are crossed.
The Cup was sent to each ship of the squadron for the men to
inspect before being forwarded to America.
The cup is intended as a trophy for competitive boat racing, or for
The “Cornwall,” “Cumberland,” and “Bedford” arrived at
Spithead on the 7th to join the “Drake.”
The “Essex’s” orders to pay off and commission the “Duke of
Edinburgh” were cancelled, and she will now take part in the manoeuvres,
going home directly afterwards.
The petty officers have not forgotten the hospitality they received
while the ship was at Lisbon, for today large water coloured picture of
H.M.S. “Drake,” mounted in a very handsome gilt frame, was on view on
the upper deck.
The Lords of the admiralty arrived from London in order to be
present at the launch of the “Dreadnought.”
H.M. the King also arrived and took up his quarters onboard the
Royal yacht “Victoria and Albert,” lying close to the “Drake” at
the South Railway jetty.
Prince Louis dined with His Majesty on the evening he arrived, and
the men’s presentation cup to the American North Atlantic Squadron was
taken onboard for his inspection.
At 8 a.m., 10th we proceeded out of harbour and adjusted
compasses in stokes Bay, then anchored at Spithead, much disappointed at
not viewing the launching of the largest battleship in the world. The morning was miserably wet and cold, the wind blowing half
a gale. All ships dressed
with masthead flags, and at 11.30 a.m. H.M.S. “Dreadnought” was
successfully launched by the King in the presence of a distinguished
assembly and thousands of spectators.
Portsmouth Dockyard and the nation have good reason for
gratification, as the “Dreadnought” is a triumph of engineering skill,
and embodies in her construction all the important lessons derived from
the Russo Japanese war. His
Majesty afterwards visited our little squadron, which was a great honour,
for the ships were then lying at Spithead.
He passed through the squadron in the royal yacht in very
boisterous weather, the south gale cone flying at the semaphore station in
We proceeded down Channel after His Majesty’s departure to take
part in the tactical manoeuvres with the combined Channel, Mediterranean,
and Atlantic fleets, using Lagos as the base of operations, the exercises
to terminate on the 1st of March.
The passage down was very stormy, with a strong head wind, all
ships pitching heavily the sort of movement to foster mal-de-mer,
especially after a spell in harbour.
Next morning (Sunday) our wireless telegraphy pole, some 50 feet
long, erected on the main topmast, snapped off in two places, and came
rattling down with all the paraphernalia attached thereto.
It was tedious work clearing away the wreckage.
The carpenter’s staff cheerily set to work and made a new one.
All day long we shipped huge seas over the waist, one finding its
way down the engine room (strange for the engine room staff to get wet
through with green seas when on duty below!).
There was not a dry spot on either the upper or main decks.
Abreast of Ushant we passed a Russian Volunteer cruiser making for
home; she promptly saluted our Admiral with 13 guns, and we returned the
salute. Various evolutions of
the crews, and tactics by the squadron, were performed during the passage
in readiness for joining up with the combined fleet.
Experiments were also carried out at taking range from the same
positions as if the ship was in action, the 2nd division of
ships and closing for this purpose.
At noon of the 13th we separated to carry out wireless
telegraphy experiments, in accordance with admiral Sir A. K. Wilson’s
The “Cornwall” picked up the “Berwick,” then on her way
from Gibraltar to join the squadron, and signalled her the instructions to
follow. The ships were spread
out at varying distances from 40 to 50 miles apart, cruisers in the centre,
with a division of battleships each end, carrying out confidential
experiments-the first thorough practical test to which wireless telegraphy
has been put in the naval service.
On the 16th all ships close to within eight or ten miles
apart, and both visual signalling and wireless were rigidly tested.
At 8 p.m. ships were ordered to form up in line during the night,
and it was 2 a.m. next morning when our squadron got into station off the
starboard beam of the Atlantic Battle Fleet, steering for Lagos Bay.
Next morning, 17th all ships had rejoined and were in
their correct stations, making seven lines of warships, viz, four of
battleships and three of first class cruisers.
Commanding squadrons in these manoeuvres were two admirals two vice
admirals, and four rear admirals, whilst the personnel (officers and men)
exceeded 40,000. Such a
combination of war strength presented a striking spectacle of England’s
sea power, as 31 first class battleships, 16 first class cruisers, and
five scouts steamed into the open bay of Lagos under the supreme command
of Admiral Sir A. K. Wilson, V.C., whose flag was flying in the “Exmouth.”
The “Pathfinder,” then anchored in Lagos, reported by wireless
that His Majesty the King of Portugal was present in his yacht “Amelia,
flying the Royal Standard of Portugal, accompanied by the cruiser “Don
Carlos.” The ships were then dressed with the Portuguese flag flying
at the main, and on anchoring the whole fleet thundered out a Royal Salute
of 21 guns, while the ships band played the Portuguese National Anthem;
the King viewing with interest the approach of Britain’s magnificent
The flag officers subsequently paid their respects to His Majesty.
Mooring ship was a keen competition, the “Drake” being fifth in
order of merit.
The “Essex” rejoined some two hours before we anchored, making
our squadron of six complete.
Midshipman Prince Alexander of Battenberg, late of the
“Berwick,” took up his appointment in the “Drake,” and joined our
gunroom mess this afternoon.
Our barge unfortunately came to grief this evening after dark (or
at least two days fresh provisions did!), for a while returning from the
provision steamer two picket boats ran into her and almost sank her; a few
quarters of beef were lost and all the fresh bread spoilt.
The next day was Sunday, which was quietly spent in the customary
Monday forenoon, 19th was devoted to general competitive
drills. The British sailor
revels in competition for there is something to work in trying to be first
ship. Who cannot recall the
eagerness with which he was awaited, often, anxiously, for the signal from
the flagship? The
boatswain’s mate’s shrill whistles and their hoarse shouts of “Out
bower anchor” set a mass of humanity in motion hurrying off to their
station or boat, all bent on seeing their own ship break the finishing
pendant first. The 10 ton
anchor and some two or three tons of chain cable has been placed into the
launch and towed to the flagship or let go some 50 or 60 yards clear of
the ship. Time-a few minutes
and seconds only will decide which ship is first.
The “Drake” was, on this general drill day, fifth ship, taking
13 min 50 secs to get out and let go sheet anchor.
“Clear ship for action” followed and was quickly performed.
Anchors were replaced and quarterdeck awnings spread when the
finishing pendant hoisted in the flagship indicated drills had ceased.
In the afternoon a sailing regatta took place (service rig). Boats started in classes, and 194 boats completed.
The course was almost a triangular one of 4 ½ miles, twice round.
It was an unique sight to see the whole bay dotted with little
sailing crafts. The wind was
fresh at first, but gradually lulled, and most of the boats gave up the
race and returned to their ships, the crews wet to the skin.
The “Venerable’s” whaler came in first; “Canopus” galley
second; “New Zealand” galley third.
During the race all the flag officers had assembled onboard the
“King Edward VII.” And
discussed the coming strategically exercises.
That evening our wardroom officers dined the wardroom officers of
the “Leviathan” (flagship, 3rd Cruiser Squadron).
The 6-inch loading tray practice has again come into favour.
All guns crews are voluntarily putting in drills during the
admirals and captains met onboard the flagship on the 20th, no
doubt to discuss the several problems they will have to face within the
next few days.
The Mediterranean Battle Fleet, Atlantic Battle Fleet, the 2nd
and 3rd Cruiser Squadrons, and the “Arrogant,”
“Amethyst” and “Pathfinder” unmoored at 4 p.m. and proceeded to
sea under the command of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford in the
“Bulwark.” It was truly a
grand sight as the four lines preceded, two of battleships and two of
cruisers, inverting the column to allow the flagship to lead. On clearing the bay we separated, steaming in certain
directions in accordance with the plan for carrying out these confidential
The “Arrogant,” “Amethyst” and “Pathfinder” were
temporarily attached to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, and the
“Cumberland” was lent to the 3rd Cruiser Squadron,
commanded by Rear Admiral Hon H Lambton.
In the evening our captain gave a lecture to the officers,
explaining the general idea of these strategically exercises.
The Channel Fleet and 1st Cruiser Squadron, commanded by
admiral Sir A.K. Wilson, which leaves Lagos at 2 p.m. tomorrow, are to
endeavour to prevent the Mediterranean and Atlantic fleets from uniting.
At 10 p.m. war was declared.
Our squadron and the 3rd Cruiser Squadron were employed
on patrol duty searching for the enemy.
All lights in the ship, which could in anyway reflect outboard were
extinguished, except the ordinary navigation lights.
A vigilant look out kept all night, and at daylight some of the
cruisers got in touch with the enemy.
We also sighted some of them during the afternoon, and the
“Cornwall” and “Berwick” gave chase, which resulted in the capture
of one of the enemy’s first-class armoured cruisers.
Later we sighted the whole of Admiral Wilson’s battle fleet, and
as we were getting dangerously close, we cleared off and joined up with
admiral Beresford, while the Channel Fleet (the enemy) was following
behind. At 7 p.m. this “exercise” was considered as finished, and
both fleets steamed along quietly during the night for Lagos Bay again.
The “Cornwall,” “Berwick,” “Essex,” and
“Cumberland” were sent to Gibraltar to fill up with coal.
Early on the 23rd all ships had rejoined and formed up
in anchoring formation, anchoring at 5 p.m.
The Atlantic Battle Fleet was already here to anchor. During the two days operations the “Good Hope”
unfortunately ran down and sank a Portuguese barque, but saved all the
crew except one.
A private rig sailing regatta was held this afternoon, 24th,
when about 90 boats completed, and almost every flag officer and captain
sailed a boat. A stiff
northerly breeze was blowing off the shore, but during the race it
lessened considerably. The “New Zealand’s” galley, sailed by her captain, came
in first; “Suffolk’s” cutter second, and the “King Edward VII’s”
As eight bells was struck on Sunday morning, 25th the
“Berwick” let fly her paying off pennant.
Most of her crew has assembled on the forecastle to witness this
long hoped for event.
In the evening Prince Louis had all the captains of the squadron to
dine with him.
Next day at daylight the “Cornwall,” “Essex” and
“Cumberland” rejoined from Gibraltar, their absence from the fleet
being under “war conditions,” i.e., to coal both day and night and
rejoin with all despatch.
“B” Fleet, consisting of the Mediterranean battleships (less
“Bulwark”) and the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, under the command
of Rear Admiral Hon H Lambton, proceeded to sea at 10 a.m. on the 26th.
“A” Fleet, consisting of the Atlantic battleships (less “King
Edward VII.”) the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, and the
“Arrogant,” “Amethyst” and “Pathfinder,” temporarily attached,
and “C” fleet, consisting of the Channel battleships (less “Exmouth”)
and 1st cruiser Squadron, all under the command of Vice Admiral
the Hon Sir A. G. Curzon Howe, in the “Caesar,” proceeded to sea at
2p.m. to take part in the various strategically exercises against “B”
Fleet; thus leaving the three Commanders in Chief in their flagships
behind in Lagos Bay, and giving the second senior officer the command.
Previous to leaving Admiral Prince Louis held a conference in his
cabin with all his captains. Outside
the bay the squadrons soon separated, and proceeded to carry out their
allotted duties. The weather
was now splendid and sea calm-a contrast to the English climate of this
month of the year.
The results of the annual gun practices for 1905 was now posted up
for general information; the “Drake’s” position being as here given.
For battle practice, 68 ships competing, the 14th place
in order in merit; heavy gun layers test 99 ships competing, 16th
in order to merit; for 12 pounders the 5th place; but we did
bad shooting with our 3 pounders, being fourth ship from the bottom.
Better results are expected for 1900, as the deflection teacher is
seldom still; gun layers, trainers, and sight setters are under constant
instruction; while all guns crews exercise at the loading tray each
evening, trying to establish a record.
War, according to the rules laid down, was declared at 7 a.m. in
the morning and to terminate at the same time next day. All our cruisers were spread out some ten miles apart,
watching for the enemy. The
engines were stopped, but full speed had to be ready at fifteen minutes
notice. The night set in very
misty, just the kind of war weather favourable to the enemy.
Extra men were placed on the look out and guns crews were ready at
the guns; the ships being cleared for action.
At 1.15 a.m., the 28th, the order was given for full
speed, and the “Drake” was soon ploughing the dark sea at 24 knots
speed off to our rendezvous, where we arrived at 7a.m.
Shortly after our arrival a wireless message was received from
Vice-Admiral Curzon-Howe saying the exercise had finished.
Our squadron then formed up and returned to Lagos, arriving there
at 5 p.m., the battleships arriving later in the evening.
March 1st was the last day of this concentration of
naval power. Orders were
given to raise steam for 12 knots at 1.30 p.m.
The Commander in Chief, admiral Sir A.K. Wilson gave a lecture
onboard his flagship on the lessons to be derived from the manoeuvres.
All flag officers, with their staffs, and the captains, and two
executive officers from each ship attended.
Rear admiral the Hon H Lambton (of Ladysmith fame) gave a luncheon
onboard his flagship to the petty officers, seamen and marines of the
combined fleets who had served in the “Powerful’s” Naval Brigade in
South Africa, and to those belonging to the relief forces, to commemorate
those historic events, and over sixty sat down on the “Leviathan’s”
quarterdeck. Ship’s Corporal smith and stoker Smith attended from the
“Drake,” both of whom served in the “Powerful’s” Brigade.
At 1.30 p.m. all the battleships weighed, and shortly afterwards
the cruiser squadrons followed them out.
The battleships carried out some manoeuvres, the cruisers keeping
three miles astern of the respective battle fleets.
At 3.45 p.m. the combined fleets parted company.
The Channel fleet proceeded to Berehaven, and the Mediterranean and
Atlantic fleets to Gibraltar, where also the 2nd cruiser
squadron, went except the “Essex” and “Berwick,” which whips
proceeded to England to pay off.
That evening the 6-inch loading teacher competition took place; the
captain, commander and gunnery lieutenant were the judges. Each gun’s crew had a one-minute run, and in the first
round B1, B3 and Y4 guns crews tied with 19 rounds each.
Having again tied with 20 rounds each.
B3 and Y4 were left to decide the issue. Stripped to the waist, both crews felt confident of success
as B3 led off with 21 rounds to their credit, which the marines, however,
failed to beat by one round, and thus B3 guns crew retained the Silver
Challenge Cup, having now won it three times in succession.
They also held the Gun layers Cup for firing ten rounds in one
minute with eight direct last years off Halifax.
Gibraltar was reached at 7 a.m. next morning, and the ship
proceeded direct into the Queen Alexander Dock, the other ships, except
the “Cumberland,” going alongside the Commercial Mole.
The Atlantic Battle fleet arrived at 9.30 a.m., and the
Mediterranean Fleet and 3rd Cruiser Squadron at 3 p.m.
docking entails much labour, both for the crew and workmen, and we
were busy all day scrubbing and cleaning the ships bottom, rigging, etc,
when at 5 p.m. liberty men went ashore, quite a number landing as this was
the first opportunity since we left Portsmouth about a month ago.
The admiral signalled to the squadron that we would leave at an
early date for a three months cruise in the Mediterranean, which news
created evident satisfaction.
A letter was received here from Rear Admiral R. D. Evans, U.S.
Navy, acknowledging the receipt of the letter referring to the
presentation of the cup. He
said that the gift would be highly appreciated, and thanked the men of the
British 2nd Cruiser Squadron for the kindly feeling and good
will towards the crews of his command.
The cup, he stated, would be certain to produce many interesting
races or shooting matches, and will be a highly prized trophy.
A very impressive funeral service was held at the North Front
Cemetery on the 3rd, at the interment of Lieutenant Olof
Severin-Udden, late of the Swedish frigate, which left here on the 13th
of last December. He had been
patient in the Royal Naval Hospital, suffering from blood poisoning.
Besides the customary firing party and body of mourners four naval
lieutenants from each ship attended, and eight lieutenants acted as pall
bearers. He was accorded full
naval honours, the funeral arrangements being under the command of Captain
F. J. Foley, R.N., A.D.C., “New Zealand.”
The first meeting of the Gibraltar Jockey club was held on the 5th,
but a cold east wind and a cloudy overcast sky prevented a good many from
attending the racing, though a fair number of officers and men from the
fleet were present on the north Front to try their luck at finding the
After much acrimonious and often irrelevant controversy in certain
service journals, much satisfaction has been given to the petty officers
and men in the Navy by the recent Admiralty decision to reduce the amount
of wearing apparel in the seaman’s kit, and circular letter has been
issued setting forth the amendments to the uniform regulations.
Early on the 8th the dock was flooded and the
opportunity was take of testing our submerged torpedo flat compartment by
flooding it, which test proved very satisfactory.
At 3 p.m. we undocked and went alongside the Commercial Mole.
That evening a wrestling match took place onboard between Stoker
Penny, “Drake,” (the champion wrestler of Atlantic fleet) and A.B.
James, “formidable” (champion of the Mediterranean Fleet.)
Numbers of men from both fleets assembled onboard to witness this
exciting contest. There were
three rounds of fifteen minutes, and after running out the limit, the
judges declared a draw.
Lord Charles Beresford gave an official dinner to all the Algeciras
delegates, and also invited all the flag officers of the three fleets
here. As the delegates left
the “Bulwark” at 11 p.m. a unique searchlight display took place with
grand effect, and as they landed on the Spanish coast some 90 searchlights
were concentrated at the landing place.
Coaling commenced on the 9th, with the assistance of
shore labourers, and finished at 5.15 p.m. taking in 1,800 tons, averaging
208 tons an hour, which performance evidently pleased the commander, who
provided refreshments at the conclusion of the task for those so employed.
Owing to leaving next day it was decided that the officers hockey
team should play off the final for the Atlantic fleet challenge Cup. Those officers belonging to the team soon removed their
coaling suits and donned their playing costumes.
Our team played in very good form and beat the “Majestic’s”
team by 5 goals to nil, and took possession of the trophy. The “Drake” has now both the officers challenge cups; one
adorns the wardroom table and the other (the Battenberg Cup) the gunroom
Early on the 10th March we were busily preparing for
sea. The “Bedford” left
at 8 a.m. for England to pay off, and at 3p.m. our small squadron now only
three, the “Drake,” “Cornwall” and “Cumberland,” left for
Palmas Bay. The U.S.S. “Tacoma” had arrived during the forenoon, and
as we steamed out through the northern entrance, passing close to her, she
gave us a rousing Yankee cheer.
While on this passage the squadron was exercised at aiming rifle
practice from all guns, firing at a target, afterwards the ships were
spread and distant signalling was practised.
On getting inside Toro Island, targets were again dropped and the
practice continued, when, after its completion, we formed up and anchored
in Palmas Bay, Sardinia. This
spacious bay affords safe anchorage for almost any number of large
vessels, and is much frequented by our squadrons.
Leave was granted to officers, and the men spent their long
evenings at various amusements and physical exercises, followed, after the
supper meal, by the usual dancing and singing.
During one four days stay here the ships were vigorously exercised
at the various fleet evolutions, including torpedo running.
The admiral and staff held official gunnery inspections, each ship
in turn, and one afternoon all boats of the squadron were exercised at
boat sailing, as a capital sailing breeze was then blowing, which required
skilful seamanship from those in charge of boats.
At the conclusion of the gunnery inspection of his flagship, all
officers and men were assembled on the quarterdeck, when the admiral
presented B3 gun’s crew with the Loading Challenge Cup and congratulated
them on their efficiency, which had given them first honours three times
in succession. He then presented the stokers with the Silver Cup for
maintaining at the last steam trial 30,000 indicated horsepower. After complimenting the prizewinners, he stated how
satisfactory was his gunnery inspection of the squadron, especially so of
the “Drake,” which ship occupied a good position in the order of
At 5 p.m., 16th, the squadron weighed and proceeded at
18 knots to Palermo, and arrived there early next morning (St Patrick’s
Day), anchoring opposite the city. At
21 gun salute was fired with the Italian ensign at the main.
It was glorious weather, with a bright sun shining.
The British consul came onboard in his official capacity, and
received a salute on leaving the ship.
The Palermo Football Club invited the officers and men to witness a
match this afternoon on their ground, and they also considerately placed
it at the disposal of the squadron teams during our stay. In the evening an impromptu concert was held on the upper
deck, and some real good Irish songs were sung to commemorate St
Patrick’s Day. They’re
being no shamrock obtainable; some of our Irish shipmates wore a piece of
green ribbon instead.
Palermo (ancient Panoramus) is the largest city in Sicily, and the
capital of a province. It
stands on a plain, which, from its luxuriance, and being surrounded by
mountains on three sides, has been termed Conca d’Oro, or the Golden
shell. The city contains some
splendid edifices, and with its numerous steeples, cupolas and towers,
presents a noble appearance from the sea.
Surrounded by an old wall, it is defended by a citadel and several
other forts. The Royal Palace
is a spacious building of mixed Arabic and Norman styles of architecture;
on its summit is the observatory, erected in 1748.
The city contains 302,000 inhabitants.
Palermo is becoming a favourite winter resort, and in the battle of
flowers held during our visit here the foreign nationalities were
numerously represented. Only
one species of flower (the blossoms of the orange tree) was used, which is
abundant everywhere in Sicily, scenting the whole island during the early
summer months. Several
hundred carriages, four in hands, and automobiles took part in the floral
affray, which lasted some four hours, the festive fighting taking place
between rows of seats filled with all the beauty and fashion of the
Several hundreds of people visited the ship between noon and 6 p.m.
and as they could not speak English, nor could we understand Italian, only
limited courtesy could be extended.
The Syndic’s box at the opera was placed at the disposal of the
officers of the squadron during our stay, a day being allotted to each
ship in turn. The Countess
Mazzareno gave an “At Home” to the officers.
During the forenoon of the 19th, while the squadron was
at general evolutions, principally anchor drill, the “Cornwall”
unfortunately had a mishap during this exercise, her anchor going to the
bottom without having anything attached to it.
The divers of the fleet successfully recovered it at a depth of 22
One evening an exciting race was rowed by our 1st class
petty officers against the 2nd class petty officers in 14 oared
barged. The course was two
miles, and after a neck and neck race for almost the entire length of the
course, the juniors won by only two strokes, but their victory was
signalised with an invite to dinner from their defeated seniors, who
appreciated their efforts.
Good sport was provided the same night on the upper deck. Almost every man in the ship was present to witness the
boxing competitions for which the officers and ship’s company liberally
subscribed for the cash prizes.
Lieutenant Rankin was the judge, and he announced that it was
proposed to have a similar boxing competition every month, which piece of
news was much appreciated, especially by the boxing element, which will
now assuredly multiply their ranks.
The general cooking arrangements for the men, preparing the food
etc, has long since been a vexed question difficult of solution. Several official committees have sat to consider what could
actually be done to improve matters in this direction.
Now that our staff of ship’s cooks has been augmented, orders
were given that the men’s dinners (one side of the deck at a time)
should be wholly prepared by the cooking staff, which was undoubtedly a
step in the right direction towards bettering the antiquated and often
injurious system which has probably existed in the Navy since the days of
General leave was granted on the 21st from noon till the
next morning. About 50 petty
officers had another organised days outing viewing the beauties of
Palermo. Carriages were in
waiting on landing, whence they drove to the Royal Palace, Cathedral,
Catacombs, etc, finishing the day with a sumptuous supper before returning
With sincere regret the death is recorded of Herbert Alexander
Brown, A.B., “Cumberland,” who died here onboard the “Cornwall,”
where he was being medically treated.
Brown was one of the divers employed recovering the sunken anchor.
He was accorded full naval honours at the impressive funeral, which
took place on shore; Prince Louis and numerous officers attended as
Thanks to our genial chaplain the boys and young seamen spent a
most enjoyable holiday on shore one afternoon.
They landed after dinner and drove to the football ground, where a
game was played. Then the
catacombs and King’s palace were visited, and they’re historical
nature explained, finishing the holiday with a substantial tea, arriving
onboard at 8 p.m. delighted with their outing and enthusiastic over their
The officers gave an “At Home” one afternoon to the members of
the sports and football clubs and their families.
Dancing took place on the quarterdeck up to 6 p.m., and the
steamboats were busily employed landing the guests before dark.
Next day the Prefect gave a musical party at the Royal Palace and
invited all the officers. The
same evening the Princess Trabia gave a ball and cotillion at Plaza Butera
Palace. Being Saturday
evening the ship’s band played the customary dance music onboard, the
men utilising nearly the whole upper deck.
A good number of visitors were onboard, who looked on with evident
astonishment at the easy manner the men went through the various figures,
and were highly amused at the affected courtesy shown to the “ladies,”
who were distinguished with a white handkerchief worn round the arm.
At 8 a.m. 26th, we weighed anchor and the city known as
the Pearl of the Mediterranean gradually faded from view.
We steamed at 21 knots speed, and anchored at Taormina, east coast
of Sicily, the same afternoon. On
entering the Straits of Messina at 2 p.m. we suddenly encountered a very
heavy squall, which lasted for an hour; the “Cumberland” again losing
her wireless pole.
The town of Taormina (ancient Tauromenium) is situated on broken
elevated ground, faced by steep cliffs, 570 feet above the sea level.
Partly enclosed by ancient walls, it contains several churches,
convents, and other public buildings, and is crowned by the magnificent
ruin of Saracenic Castle. Rising
above it again is the small town of Mola, on a steep and picturesque
elevation, 1,800 feet above sea level, with ruined walls and castles, and
around are numerous remains of its once important position.
Chief among the historic ruins is that of the Theatre, east of the
town, probably of Greek origin, and is the object of universal admiration
for its wonderfully well preserved condition, and its capacity of
accommodating about 40,00 spectators.
The town now contains about 5,000 inhabitants, and is very healthy.
Our stay here was only a short one, for at 10.30 p.m. we got under
weigh again and arrived off the Grand Harbour, Malta, at 7 a.m. next day.
Postmen and mess stewards were landed, and then we proceeded to the
back of the island, where each ship in succession fired a volley of
lyddite shell at Talfoli rock, steaming at 15 knots speed at a range of
8,000 yards. We then closed
on the harbour, picked up the postmen and mess stewards, and proceeded at
19 knots speed for Navarino.
During this trip the ship’s complement of stokers were given a
practical test to see of this speed could be maintained without the
assistance of deck hands for trimming coal, etc.
(The sailor is now taught stoking as part of his training, and
qualifies in stokehole work before being rated able seaman.)
We arrived off Navarino at daylight, the 28th and the
squadron exercised at target practice all the forenoon.
We anchored in Navarino Bay at noon.
That evening the keenest interest was manifested in a skiff race
between the “Cornwall’s” boat and ours over a mile course.
The “Cornwall’s” won by twenty strokes, which success much
elated their crew; two 14 oared barges and a 6 oared gig being humorously
despatched to tow the little victor back to the ship.
Pylos, on the west coast of Morea, called in the middle ages
Navarino, is situated on a cape projecting towards the south end of
Sphacteria. Between the rock of that name and the fortress is the
entrance of the bay of Navarino. The
town now contains 2,000 inhabitants; the streets are very irregularly laid
out, but very clean.
It was on the 20th of October 1827, the English squadron
of twelve ships, under Admiral Codrington, the Russian squadron of six
ships, completely annihilated the entire Turkish fleet of 100 ships in
this bay. Some desperate
fighting took place, and the Turks, rather than be captured, blew up their
ships. The British loss was 75 killed and 197 wounded the Russian
and French squadrons suffered less.
Only a few men landed here, there being nothing very interesting to
entice the bluejacket ashore. Officers
in small parties went fishing and shooting, but their catch and bas was
very limited in number.
The expected collier having arrived early on the 30th,
we commenced coaling at 9 a.m., having 1,000 tons to take in. the task was somewhat protracted, owing to the nasty sea
rolling in from seaward, making the collier lively; some heavy showers of
rain also making things rather uncomfortable furing the coaling.
It was nearly 5 p.m. when we finished, having made a record, for
this ship, of an average of 142.8 tons per hour coaling from a collier.
We sailed at 10 a.m. next day for Volo, leaving the “Cornwall”
and “Cumberland” behind to coal, the latter to follow on when
finished. On our way to Volo
wireless experiments were carried out and communication established
between Navarino and Volo; the “Cumberland” acting as a link.
Next day, 1st april, was a nasty, cold stormy day; the
rain falling in torrents. We
anchored off the port at 4.50 p.m. The
climatic change was severely felt by everyone.
The hills here were thickly covered with snow.
Volo is situated off the east coast of Greece, near the centre of
the north side of the Gulf of Volo. It
has a population of 17,000 inhabitants, mostly Greeks.
The Turks occupy the old Turkish town and castle of Volo on the
other side of the railway. The
ruins of ancient Pagasae are situated on Cape Sesklo, while those of
Demetrius still exist on the southern slope of Goritza Hill opposite.
Its chief products are olives.
Up to 1902 our ships much frequented Volo, where torpedo running
was carried out; now Platea is the favourite place for this important
During the few days stay here all ships carried out torpedo
exercises daily, running mines, and sweeping and creeping for hostile
mines; while the gunnery training classes, gun layers and sight setters,
carried out firing at towing targets.
Prince Andrew of Greece visited the ship next day, and the
“Cumberland” arrived in the evening, having experienced a very heavy
gale on the passage.
A generous gift of £66 5s 3d, subscribed by the ship’s company (£10
being contributed by the canteen), was forwarded from here to Mrs Lunnen,
the mother of our late shipmate, Private e. Lunnen, who died at Haslar
hospital, Portsmouth, last January. This
present was a very tangible way of expressing the men’s sympathy, which
is one of the characteristics of the British sailor.
A party of officers went mountain climbing, as viewing the snow
covered hills from the ship appeared to somewhat tantalize them.
They left early, and after very heavy work succeeded in ascending
5,000 feet, leaving only 300 feet more to be climbed before reaching the
summit of mount Pelion. The
snowdrifts were waist deep, and a howling bitter cold wind was blowing. Refreshments were taken with them, but at dinner that
night-well, the messman could relate how mountaineering can create an
appetite, not artificial but real!
It is said to record that Thomas William Morris, A.B.
“Cumberland,” accidentally killed by falling down a hatchway onboard
his ship. He was buried in Volo cemetery with full Naval honours.
Almost every officer and man from the “Cumberland2 attended his
funeral, and also nine of our officers.
Beautiful wreaths were placed on his grave, the one from the
“Drake” was sent. “With sympathy.” The “Cumberland’s” chaplain performed the funeral
service. The inhabitants
showed the utmost respect as the funeral cortege passed through the
The “Cornwall” rejoined from Navarino late on the 4th.
By permission of the local authorities, a fishing party of some
forty volunteers went away seining; several casts of the net were made,
but the catch was very poor, probably owing to the explosion of guncotton
charges, which had daily taken place since we arrived here, and had
dispersed the fish.
Another party of officers went mountaineering, and out of six who
started two gave in (had an attack of mountain fever), but the other four
braved the elements and reached the summit.
Our marines rowed a three-mile race in the new 12-oared cutter
against the “Cornwall’s” racing stokers crew one favourable evening.
An unusual amount of interest was displayed numerous boats from
each ship followed the race probably owing to the amount of money at
stake! Our crew led almost
the entire length of the course, and handsomely won by 24 strokes.
We left for Phalerum at 11 p.m. on the 6th, taking with
us, as guests of the admiral, Prince and Princess Andrew of Greece and
their child. Our captain gave
us a very interesting lecture in the evening, relating the ancient history
of Athens and the various sights worth seeing there.
Up to noon next day the squadron was exercised at manoeuvres, the
officers of the watch being temporarily in charge of their ships, under
the immediate supervision of their captains.
We anchored at Phalerum Bay about 4 p.m. and saluted the country
with 21 guns. The admiral and
his royal guests landed, and were met by the King and Queen of Greece; a
special train conveying the party to Athens.
No leave was granted for a day or so after our arrival, as the
Greek General elections were taking place, and riots there (as in England)
is then not the exception to the rule.
A diversion from ordinary sport, in the form of a novel waltzing
competition, took place one evening.
To the strains of piano music, some 20 couples competed for the
prizes subscribed for by about 200 of the dancing fraternity.
Certain rules were drawn up, the most important one being that
competitors should have their heels thoroughly chalked.
The couples taking part danced vigorously for two hour, when the
committee examined their heels. Only
four couples stood the test, and were selected to dance in the final, when
style was the point to be considered.
The competition caused an immense amount of fun, the whole ship’s
company being spectators. At
the final, which took place a few nights later, the committee had much
difficulty to decide, as each of the four danced splendidly.
Finally the first prize was awarded to Signal Lewsey and Stoker
Sweeney, the second to A.B.’s Brown and Ross.
The officers of the squadron were made hon members of the Athens
Lawn Tennis Club. Mr Reginald
Walsh, British Consul, invited the officers to the tennis courts to
introduce them to the members.
One evening while here in port, a 6-inch loading competition took
place between three of our gun’s crew and three from the
“Cumberland,” which ship had issued the challenge.
Officers and men from both ships were eager spectators of this
practical contest, which was healthy rivalry.
Our loading tray is harder to work than the “Cumberland’s,”
it having about five degrees of elevation, while there is horizontal. Each gun’s crew had a one-minute run, and at the finish our
men were leading by 30 points. The
decision was given after our crews had worked the “Cumberland’s”
loader, when the “Drake’s” won with a lead of 11 points in the
total. Each crew was awarded a prize of £1.
General leave was granted on the 12th, and a large
number of men went ashore, some grouping in parties for sightseeing, while
others went cycling along the roads about Phalerum, which are very nice
for the wheel, most of which are of British manufacture.
Athletes from all countries were now daily arriving to take part in
the Olympic games, and Athens is already showing signs of welcoming King
Edward and Queen Alexander, for decorations are being erected at various
positions on the proposed line of route.
Next day was Good Friday, the forenoon being duly observed as a
Sunday, divine service being held onboard.
The hot cross bun was served early in the morning onboard, although
many miles from England, for our cooking staff were busy all through the
night, and had turned out upwards of 4,000 first class buns ready for
Easter Sunday was a delightfully warm day, and a number of men
visited Athens. Phalerum was
crowded with people who came down from the capital to visit the fleet.
The officers of the squadron played an Association match on Easter
Monday against Athens, at Phalerum, the squadron winning by 17 goals to
nil. A large crowd watched
the game, the grand stand being packed, and all available standing room
was occupied. The Crown
Prince and Princess, Prince Nicholas, Prince and Princess Andrew, and
suite, afterwards had tea onboard with the admiral; and then informally
inspected the ship.
On the 17th at 10.30 a.m., the squadron proceeded
outside to form an escort for H.M. King Edward VII.
It was past noon when we fired a royal salute and took station off
the starboard quarter of the yacht “Victoria and Albert,” whish ship
was leading the line, followed by the “Carnarvon,” “Berwick,”
“Renown,” and “Terrible,” while a Greek squadron of two
battleships and two destroyers formed the escort off the opposite quarter.
All ships were dressed with ensigns at the mastheads, Greek ensign
at the main, the Greek ships displaying the English flag at their main,
while the yacht flew the Royal standard and the “Renown” the standard
of the Prince of Wales. Including
the Greek ships, quite an imposing fleet had assembled.
On anchoring in Phalerum Bay, the admiral and all captains
officially visited His Majesty onboard the royal yacht.
The “Terrible” looked very conspicuous in her coat of white
paint, with yellow masts and funnels, a reminder of what British war ships
were like before the war paint of French grey colour was universally
adopted in the fleet.
One evening while here, and entertainment was given onboard the
“Cumberland,” and the officers and men of the squadron were invited
onboard, and needless to say, the ship was crowded.
The “Cumberland’s” know how to entertain, for she has the
actor talent of the squadron. The
programme was of a vivacious character, and met with much enthusiasm from
the vast audience, it being long past midnight before the last
“Goodnight” had been said.
On the 20th an Association team of officers of the 2nd
Cruiser Squadron played a match at Phalerum against a Smyrna team, which
had come to Athens to compete for the Olympian Gamed Football Cup, and
included nine English men, all of one family.
The squadron team had to put forth their whole effort, for at half
time Smyrna led by 1-0. Then
the squadron forwards got up full steam and scored twice before the end,
winning by 2 goals to 1.
In the evening the officers and men of the squadron were invited
onboard the “Terrible” to witness a boxing and wrestling tournament.
Her spacious quarterdeck made a splendid ring, with ample room for
all the spectators. Our
sporting fraternity was well represented.
Some capital exhibition boxing was also witnessed.
We had two good heavy weights, but no match could be arranged.
It was near midnight when the National Anthem was played and sung,
which ended a very interesting time on board the famous “Terrible”.
Again the next evening a wrestling match for £12 a side took place
between Stoker Penny, 9st 2lb “Drake,” and A.B. Carter, 12st 6lb
Carter then held the gold medal as the champion wrestler of the
Navy. After three rounds of
fifteen minutes each a draw was declared, there being no falls.
Penny was heartily cheered by the “Terribles” as he left their
On the 22nd, in glorious weather, the world famed
Olympic games were inaugurated. The
officers, in uniform, went to Athens by train to be present at the opening
function, which was attended with great éclat.
They’re Majesties and the Prince and Princess of Wales was
present, accompanied by the King and Queen of Greece and Royal Family.
The whole route from the Royal Palace was lined with troops, and
their Majesties received a splendid ovation from the vast multitude of
people, estimated at 15,000.
On the arrival of the Royal party in the Stadium, the massed bands
played the British and Greek National Anthems.
An inaugural address was then delivered by Prince George of Greece,
followed by a procession of competitors, some of them being in their
national costumes. The most
popular team was a company of Danish lady gymnasts, clad in neat white
bodies, blue skirts, and black stockings, who received great applause for
their graceful gymnastic evolutions.
The officers of the squadron returned onboard in the early
evening, and at 7.30 p.m. the “Drake” and “Cornwall” left for
Katakolu Bay, where we arrived and anchored next morning; the
“Cumberland” having gone to Corfu to coal.
Arrangements having previously been made for running a special
train to Olympia, about nine miles distant, the admiral, captain and about
50 officers availed themselves of this opportunity and visited the famous
Hermes of Paraxiteles (which was discovered in 1877).
They returned onboard again at 6.30 p.m. when we left for Corfu.
During the evening our monthly boxing contests took place and
several well-fought bouts took place, judged by Lieutenant Goldie.
Early next morning we anchored at Corfu, where they’re Majesties
the King and Queen and Prince and Princess of Wales had already arrived. We commenced coaling from a collier, and finished before tea,
taking in 800 tons, averaging 143 tons an hour. Prince Louis temporarily hoisted his flag in the
“Cornwall” while she saluted the country with 21 guns.
Corfu is the most important of the Ionian Islands, and has
experienced a chequered political existence.
It was finally, with all the other islands, incorporated with the
Kingdom of Greece in 1864. The
island is about 33 miles in length and between seven and eight miles in
breadth, is very mountainous, and covered throughout with olive
plantations. The town of
Corfu is surrounded by fortifications built by the Venetians.
It possesses a fine esplanade and parade ground, with laid out
walks and avenues of trees.
Next day our officers played a cricket match against a Corfu team.
The ground was composed of gravel square with a piece of coconut
matting placed thereon for a pitch. The
principal feature of the match was the presence in the Corfu team of a
couple of demon bowlers, who injured half of the Drake’s team and
terrified the remainder. The
result was an easy victory for the home team.
Next day at 6.30 p.m. we left by ourselves for Venice, leaving the
“Cornwall” and “Cumberland” behind to cruise independently amongst
the Ionian Islands for about 14 days according to programme.
A London paper received onboard announced the approaching marriage
of our captain, who was the recipient of the heartiest of congratulations
from officers and men, who wished him and his bride elect the felicitous
joys of their matrimonial future.
During the passage target practice from the 12-pounders took place.
We anchored off Port Lido, Venice, at 7 am on the 27th,
lying about seven miles from the landing place.
The weather was wet and cold, with a nasty choppy sea, making us
The 28th broke beautifully fine with a warm sun and calm
sea. It was announced that leave would be granted to the men daily
from 1.30 p.m. till 11 p.m., also that gun layers, sight setters, etc,
would be exercised each day during our stay, firing at towing targets, for
no better place could be found this practice, as there is always a clear
range. The Italian naval
authorities kindly placed a government tug at the disposal of the ship for
the landing and embarking of liberty men.
Our captain, with his usual thoughtfulness, complied a pamphlet
containing most interesting matter about Venice, and copies were issued to
officers and men like.
To contemplate Venice is to study a strange vision, which seems to
have arisen as by some mysterious charm from the depths of the sea in
order to wield the queenly grace the sceptre of beauty over the blue
waters of the Adriatic. Venice
is composed of 72 islets or shoals, and is built on foundations of piles
and stone. It stands near the centre of a lagoon extending from Brondolo
on the south to near Plava, a length of 30 miles by a breadth of five
miles. The city is divided
into two unequal portions by the Grand Canal, which glides snakelike for
4,153 yards between the groups of islands in the shape of a distorted S,
and is spanned by three bridges the fine old one of Rialto, and two modern
iron ones. It is further
intersected by 160 smaller canals, which are crossed by 306 bridges.
The small canals serve as streets, on which some 10,000 gondoliers
or boatmen gain their livelihood.
Venice is the second most populous city in the Adriatic and
contains about 160,000 inhabitants. The
Cathedral of St Mark is one of the finest in Europe.
St Mark’s square forms to this day where a large flock of pigeons
have from time immemorial brought animation to the square; they are very
tame, and are fed by the visitors.
One cannot write of Venice without alluding to the gondola, the
strange mode of transport which in these days of the Serenissima floated
silently through the dark canals, gaily decked with gold and silver
ornaments and adorned with costly stuff; a mute witness to plighted troths
and of hidden crime. In the
XVIth Century these boats had reached the acme of luxury, and a decree was
formulated ordering all gondolas to be covered with black cloth, which
gave them close resemblance to a floating coffin, as they appear to this
day. Instead of cabs and fly
as means of transit these gondolas have their appointed station and
tariff, under proper regulations and supervision.
There are no vehicles or horses-it is a noiseless city.
Next day, Sunday, divine service was held as usual, and we were
honoured with the presence onboard of Princess Louise and her two sons,
and the Grand Duke of Hesse.
By arrangement with the agent of Cook and Son, our chaplain
organised parties of thirty men to go and see Venice.
The first party landed early on the 2nd May, and visited
the Doge’s palace, which contains many magnificent apartments, and is
famous for the paintings on its walls and ceilings.
The Archaeological Museum, the world renowned Bridge of Sighs, and
across to the historical prisons, and then St Mark’s were visited in
turn, and then luncheon was partaken.
The party afterwards walked to the Grand Canal and took steamer to
Museo Civico, in which are the dresses of old time Venice, armour, and the
ordnance of those glorious historical days of the Doges.
A trip in a gondola! Seven
gondolas in line, five men in each, who glided along the canals, viewing
the palaces for an hour, then took steamer for Murano and visited the
noted glass works, returning to St Mark’s Square, when Cook’s agent
was dispensed with. Small parties then strolled round independently, returning
onboard in the steamer about 11 p.m. and probably saw more of Venice in
one day than do many tourists who stay here a week.
Arrangements for other parties were likewise made, comprising every
class of rating in the ship, each party accompanied by the chaplain, to
whom the crew are much indebted for this and numerous other considerate
acts in the interests of the lower deck.
One evening while here our quarterdeck was rigged up with a proper
stage etc, and our first variety entertainment was held.
Theatrical talent had apparently been dormant in the ship, for the
audience were kept intensely amused for some four hours.
The tableau “Britannia” was excellent and called forth loud
We left Venice at 9.30 a.m. on the 7th for Corfu and may
probably go on to Port Said, as rumours were current that a serious
frontier dispute with Turkey was impending.
Next morning we met the “Cumberland,” and we both steamed into
Corfu and anchored shortly after noon.
Except the orderly who landed on duty taking or fetching telegrams
no one was permitted to go onshore. Steam
for 18 knots speed, ready at one hour’s notice, was ordered.
At 4 p.m. we departed for Phalerum Bay to join the flag of admiral
Lord Charles Beresford, arriving there on the 9th, having
averaged a speed of 19 knots. On
anchoring we saluted the country and the flag of Lord Charles Beresford,
and then prepared to coal. There
were some eighteen vessels with the Commander in chief.
Previous to our arrival these ships had landed brigades of seamen
and marines, with field guns, etc, and had made preparations to meet every
emergency-even to war itself. Special
instructions were given to those who landed to return onboard directly the
Blue Peter was hoisted and a gun fired.
Prince Louis, captain and staff, dined with Lord Charles in the
evening onboard his flagship, the “Bulwark.”
Our rifle companies, field guns, etc were all detailed off, and
field service accoutrements were served out.
It was nearly three a.m. when the collier was secured alongside us.
Derricks whips, etc, were rigged, and start to coal ship was made
at daybreak, and was continued until 4 p.m. when we finished, having taken
in 1,246 tons, averaging 122 tons per hour under bad conditions, for the
colliers winches were only fit material for the scrap heap.
Rapid coaling is most essential for war efficiency, therefore fast
steaming colliers with large capacity, properly equipped with coaling
appliances, are highly important factors in the war game.
Lord Charles Beresford had rapidly changed the peace organisation
of his command to that of a war condition.
Before sunset the “Barham” and four destroyers went out and
patrolled the mouth of the bay during the night.
The “Cornwall” arrived from Aranci Bay early on the 11th
and prepared for coaling. At
noon the Commander in Chief signalled to our squadron to prepare for sea
and raise steam for 15 knots by 4 p.m.
War rumours were still floating about, and the fleet men appeared
delighted with the prospect of a diversion in the direction of realities
instead of the peaceful competitive drills.
At 4.30 p.m. we steamed out, towing the destroyers “Mallard”
and “Ariel,” while the “Cornwall” towed the “Foam,” which was
for the purpose of saving their coal.
The responsible officers only then knew our instructions.
When about 40 miles out it was signalled our destination was
Farmagusta, Cyprus, a strategically position to operate from in the event
of serious trouble with the Sultan. The
evening was devoted to equipping the seamen and marines complete for
landing, together with 12 pounder and Maxim guns; and every officer and
man was rigged for active service onshore.
Water bottles were thoroughly cleansed, which was a necessary
operation, for one officer actually found a dried up frog in his bottle!
The respective heads of departments prepared all stretcher-bearers,
carriers, ammunition, reserve provisions, and the Geneva Cross tent.
Early on the 12th, the wind having freshened, and the
sea somewhat boisterous, the towing hawsers of all the destroyers except
the “Bruizer” had parted. With
the “Cornwall” as escort and destroyers were left behind to proceed
under their own steam.
A medical inspection of landing parties was carried out, our
surgeon minutely examining each man, paying particular attention to the
condition of the feet. Hints
to prevent sore feet in marching were published for general information on
the notice board.
We arrived at Larnaka just after noon on the 13th.
Instantly on anchoring, a lieutenant and the admiral’s secretary
went ashore to interview the High Commissioner, and bring off any
telegrams. With the arrival
of numbers of telegrams, numerous yarns were spread in the ship; probably
the visit to New York was responsible for the gifted art of telling tall
yarns! The “Cumberland,”
with the four destroyers, arrived at 7 p.m. and next morning the
“Foam” and “Ariel” were despatched to Farmagusta.
The “Cornwall” had been ordered to Port Said to coal and return
with all despatch. Our
torpedo staff quickly erected a temporary wireless station onshore, and
communication was established; the signalmen operators taking up their
lodgings in the wireless room. To
test the organisation, the whole landing party, with field guns, were
landed early; supposed to be under the cover of the ships guns.
When some fifty yards from the beach, the marines boat grounded on
a reef, and out they all jumped, up to their waist in water.
As they neared the shore the water became rather deeper, and it was
amusing to see the Royal Marines swimming to land, holding their rifles
well up in the air-a practical lesson indeed!
The force returned onboard to dinner, and again landed to practise
Next morning at daylight the “Cornwall” rejoined, and the naval
field force landed again, when communication between the fleet and landing
party was maintained by heliograph.
The 16th was a memorable day here.
The whole force landed as a fully equipped naval brigade for active
service, commanded by the flag captain, who with other senior officers,
was mounted. Headed by massed
bands, the brigade marched through the town to a position beyond, where an
imaginary attack was made, covered by the field gun battery.
Prince Louis and his staff accompanied the forces, and took
luncheon on the field. After
an hour for dinner, more field operations took place until 4 p.m.
The field battery fired live shell at some mud banks close to the
water’s edge, greatly to the surprise of a number of spectators.
A grand march post took place before the admiral at the conclusion,
and then the brigade returned onboard, having covered a distance of some
twenty miles. The sun god had
left a heavy imprint of his power in every face.
Reuter’s telegrams kept frequently arriving and were signalled to
the squadron, and this evening it was announced that Turkey had complied
with all the British demands. Next
morning 17th, the signal was made to prepare for sea and
proceed to Aranci, to carry out the gun layers test.
The “Ariel” and “Foam,” then at Farmagusta, were ordered to
Larnaka, and all four destroyers, with “Mallard” in charge, left at
4.30 p.m. for Malta.
Our massed bands gave the natives a treat before leaving, playing
for a couple of hours in the square, which little courtesy was much
appreciated. On leaving the
port at 6 p.m. they displayed the signal, “Good bye, wish you a pleasant
voyage.” The “Cumberland” remained behind coaling, with orders to
proceed to Aranci; while the “Cornwall” proceeded there direct to get
the targets in position, etc. We
proceeded alone to Phalerum, arriving there early on the 19th,
and found the Mediterranean fleet still there.
We embarked about fifty tons of stores from the “London,” which
she brought from Malta for our squadron; then, at 3 p.m. went a few miles
out and exercised target practice, firing live rounds from each gun. When finished we returned to Phalerum, finally leaving for
Aranci at 7 p.m. On departing
Lord Charles Beresford signalled the sad loss of No 56 torpedo boat, which
foundered on her to Malta when being towed by the “Arrogant”; seven of
the crew reported as missing.
We arrived at Aranci early on the 22nd, and found both
the “Cornwall” and “Cumberland” at anchor.
As the weather was unfavourable for the gun layers competition, the
day was devoted to firing torpedoes instead.
The Italian battleship “Varese” passed close in and saluted the
admiral, which we returned.
Surgeon Thompson issued to his First Aid
class, who now muster about thirty in number, a concise little pamphlet,
“Notes on First Aid,” which he complied.
The booklet is both interesting and instructive, and well worth a
perusal. The “Cornwall”
commenced her gun layers competition early on the 23rd.
The admiral went out to witness the firing, as did all our gun
layers, to take notes etc. She
finished at 4 p.m. and returned to the anchorage.
At 7 a.m. next morning we got under weigh, having onboard Rear
admiral Sir Percy Scott (Director of Target Practice), he having arrived
from England that morning. Y3
(marines) gun opened fire first, and shot after shot went clean through
the target, registering eleven rounds eleven hits, which was indeed a good
start. As a friendly rivalry exists even in a ship between the
different guns crew, the competition is very keen, Not only does this
refer to the guns crews themselves, but every man is also interested,
which fact must obviously produce good shooting, as the gun’s crews are
aware they are the cynosure of their officers and shipmates, and have the
reputation of the ship to maintain. Firing
ceased at noon, and we then returned to the anchorage, elated with the
result of our first day’s shooting.
The mariners group of four guns made remarkable scores, totalling
44 rounds with 43 hits. B3
guns crew, evidently under a charm for winning trophies, went one better
with 12 rounds, 11 hits and retain the cup which they won at last years
test. Again early next
morning we recommenced the competitions and finished all guns at 1 p.m.
The result for our sixteen 6-inch guns was 149 rounds fired, with
129 hits. The 9.2 guns did
extremely well, firing nine rounds each with 17 hits.
Prince Louis and staff, with Rear Admiral Sir Percy Scott, dined
with the wardroom officers, and after dinner several “shoot speeches”
were made. The inspector congratulated the “Drake” on her splendid
shooting-could he do otherwise? At
10 p.m. some interesting experiments were carried out with the 12-pdrs,
which fired at a target, aided by searchlights.
The “Cumberland” then carried out her firing, also with Prince
Louis and Admiral Scott onboard. She
also did very creditably, and ran us very closely, her best gun record
being 11 rounds, 10 hits. That
night, at 11 p.m. the “Cornwall” sailed for Malta with admiral Scott
onboard, where he will inspect the shooting of the Mediterranean fleet.
We left, with the “Cumberland,” early on the 30th,
for Gibraltar, passing through the Straits of Boniface en route, being met
at the entrance by an Italian destroyer to pilot us through.
During the passage we saluted the Italian flag with 21 guns, and
the vice admiral with 15 guns, who had paid us an honour in thus coming
out in a destroyer, which steamed alongside for some distance while the
two admirals conversed. On
clearing the straits farewell signals were exchanged.
The ceremonial of presenting, the silver challenge shooting cup to
B3 gun’s crew was performed by Prince Louis on the quarterdeck, in the
presence of all officers and men. This
crew had again made the best shooting during the gun layers test, and the
admiral congratulated Leading Seamen Baker and his gun’s crew on their
repeated successes, they having held the Shooting and Loading Cups all
through the commission. We
got into wireless touch with the “Cornwall,” she being then between s
and Gibraltar, and arrangements were made with the dockyard authorities
there for coaling, drawing stores etc.
We arrived at the Rock early on the 31st when both the
“Cumberland” and our ship moored alongside the New Mole; the
“Cornwall” was already there, coaling ship.
At 8 a.m. all ships dressed with flags overall, displaying the
Spanish Ensign at the main in honour of the marriage of H.R.H. Princess
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg with H.M. King Alfonso of Spain, and a
royal salute of 21 guns was fired at noon, the bands playing the Spanish
Coaling commenced at noon and continued till 7 p.m. when we ceased
for the night, having taken in 1,030 tons in a broiling hot sun, with over
110 degrees in the shade. We
recommenced the grimy work early next morning, completing it at noon,
having taken in 1,930 tons averaging 165 tons an hour.
We left for Berehaven early on June 2nd, at 17 knots
speed, to join the Atlantic fleet for the grand manoeuvres, carrying out
long distance wireless experiments with the “Cornwall” and
“Cumberland,” which ships were directed to steam at 15 and 13 knots
respectively, thereby establishing communication between Berehaven and
Before leaving the Rock an acknowledgment was received for a
subscription of £8 9s contributed by the crew to Pearson’s Fresh Air
Fund, the letter stating how this sum would give 200 little children a
holiday in the country, which day would be called “Drake’s Day.”
The following letters were also received and placed on the notice
board for general information: -
Flagship Maine, North river,
May 19th 1906
enlisted Men of H.M. Second Cruiser
enlisted men of the United States Atlantic
gratefully acknowledge receipt of the Loving
presented by the enlisted men of H.M. Second
Squadron. This token of
goodwill and friendship
appreciated, and will always be remembered
By the men
of the united States Navy.
Quartermaster U.S. Navy,
Battenberg Squadron Cup committee.
enlisted Men of H.M. Second Cruiser
Rear Admiral H.S.H. Prince Louis of
flagship Maine, North River,
May 19th 1906
Battenberg Squadron Cup)
pleasure in forwarding this letter of acceptance.
The cup is a
beauty, and I forward herewith
distribution to the ship of H.M. Second Cruiser
copied of a Fleet General Order that I have
R.D. Evans, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy,
Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
It might be here mentioned that the Fleet General Order, referred
to by the American Admiral in his letter, contained an account of the
formal acceptance of the cup and the conditions of races for the trophy,
which is officially styled by the American commander in Chief “The
Battenberg Squadron Cup.”
“The Battenberg Squadron Cup.”
Midshipman E. C. Denison and H.H. Prince Alexander of Battenberg
were each awarded the Humane Society Medal by the Spanish Government for
assisting to save life last January while on the passage between Gibraltar
and Algerciras, in the small passenger steamer, which ran down a rowing
boat. While at sea Admiral
down a rowing boat. While at
sea Admiral Prince Louis made the presentation on the quarterdeck before
the assembled officers and men.
Arrived at Berehaven at 8 p.m., 4th June.
The Atlantic Battle Fleet was there; also our newly attached
cruiser, the “Duke of Edinburgh “ and “Black Prince.”
Several congratulatory signals were made from the fleet on the
splendid result of our gun layers shooting.
Commenced coaling next day from a collier, taking in 860 tons.
That evening our admiral and staff and the gunnery lieutenant dined
with Vice Admiral Sir W. May onboard his flagship, the “King Edward
Though the remainder of the week was apparently quietly spent, yet
the flag officers were busily preparing for the manoeuvres.
Councils of war were of daily occurrence, and the torpedo officers
also held many meetings onboard the “Victorious,” with Rear Admiral
Sir Berkley Milne as president, drawing up various wireless codes etc.
By the 9th all ships of our squadron had joined making
our number of six once more complete.
While here the officers of the fleet visited the famous lakes.
Ireland possessed splendid scenery, something magnificent; the
excursion was all convincing that travel abroad is waste of time when a
country owning such glorious natural views exist so near home.
Prince Louis paid the “Duke of Edinburgh” a visit
on the Sunday, and remained onboard to Divine Service, as is usual custom
when a new ship joins his squadron. A
limited form of leave was granted to the fleet while here, and a few
entertainments took place onboard certain ships, which issued invitations.
Routine drills were carried out, but general evolutions were
On the night previous to the commencement of operations the
captains of the battle fleet dined with admiral Sir W May and the cruiser
captains with Rear admiral Prince Louis. Our Squadron was strengthened by
the addition of the cruisers “vindictive,” “Furious,”
“Diamond,” and “Amethyst,” and our fleet designation was changed
from the 2nd Cruiser Squadron to “A” fleet, the attached
cruisers forming a third division.
June 12th at 6 a.m., the first part of the grand
manoeuvres commenced. A thick
fog delayed our departure, for we only got half way out of the bay when
the fog came over so dense that the ships anchored for safety.
It was noon by the time we cleared the Irish coast.
We arrived at Alderney on the 13th, having had foggy
weather all the passage. We
found the cruiser “Blenheim” and twenty destroyers here.
Real war was closely resembled, for the fortress was manned, search
vessels were cruising round the island, and every detail of actual war,
except that the guns were not shotted, was in evidence.
Obviously the conduct of the operations was confidential, and an
officer was appointed as Press Censor.
As the “enemy” of Great Britain we were here ready to deliver
an attack on receipt of instructions that war was declared.
All the captains assembled onboard next day to attend a council of
war. Six hostile cruisers of
the “Roxburgh” class were then cruising in the distance to watch our
movements. We weighed late on
the 14th, and steamed to the southward on battle formation.
Our squadron now consisted of nine cruisers; four torpedo gunboats,
and 22 destroyers.
All ships and destroyers had lights extinguished as
they silently proceeded up Channel to carry out the various plans of
attack. At about 10 p.m. when
off St Catherine’s light, the four divisions of destroyers were
despatched to carry out their deadly work; the cruisers meanwhile waited
the result with engines stopped. About
midnight the boom of guns was heard the guns of the Portsmouth defences
were offering defiance to the attacking force.
Firing ceased at 3 a.m. and we then formed into line again to
return back to Alderney. (What
success was achieved will be contained in the official report drawn up by
the umpires.) The calm and
hazy night was an ideal time for a torpedo attack.
It was while at breakfast we sighted smoke ahead and the signal was
made to “Chase the enemy.” We
gradually worked up to full speed, doing our 24.8 knots, closely followed
by the “Cumberland” and “Cornwall,” but the “Duke of
Edinburgh” and “Black Prince” was left several miles behind.
As we closed it was found we were chasing four of the “Red
Side” scouts, and claimed them according to the rules, as they came
within 8,000 yards range.
Without further incident we anchored at Alderney that forenoon, and
then we discovered that nearly all our destroyers (except five) had been
captured. The squadron left
at 4 p.m. for Berehaven, standing well to the westward to avoid possible
torpedo boat attacks. During
the night the speed was reduced from 17 to 15 knots, as the “Furious”
could not keep her station. Nothing
was seen on the enemy during the night, although several false alarms were
Anchors were dropped in Berehaven on the 16th about 6
p.m. Later the whole of the
captured flotilla arrived with the torpedo
gunboats. Thus the
first portion of the grand manoeuvres was completed.
At 10 a.m. Monday 17th we weighed and proceeded for
three days cruise, practicing wireless signalling in conjunction with the
Atlantic Battle Fleet. Fogs
prevailed nearly all the time, which delayed our return to Berehaven.
Late on the 20th we anchored at the mouth of the bay
until fog lifted, when at daybreak next morning, we proceeded up harbour
and anchored, the battle fleet and 5th Cruiser Squadron
Coaling from a collier commenced at 10.30 a.m. and finished at 7.50
that evening, having shipped 1,150 tons, averaging 143 tons an hour, which
was practically our best coaling record.
On the evening of the 22nd, all captains of destroyers,
31 in number, and the Japanese Naval Attache, dined with Prince Louis. The remainder of our squadron were coaling.
Next morning the Blue fleet unmoored and took up positions at the
mouth of the bay ready for the commencement of hostilities.
In the afternoon the Press representatives joined their allotted
ships. My Thursfield, “The
Times,” and Mr F. T. Jane, “Daily chronicle,” joined the
“Drake.” Admiral of the fleet Lord Walter Kerr joined the flagship
“King Edward VII.” As the guest of the Commander in chief, a salute of
19 guns being given as the union Jack was broken at the main.
The blue Fleet (the enemy) consisted of some 9 battleships; the
second, fifth, and sixth Cruiser Squadrons, 21 ships; 29 destroyers with
the “Blenheim” as depot ship, and “Hecla” as repair ship.
Just before noon the entire Blue Fleet had put to sea.
When well clear of land the Blue ensign was hoisted, and each
squadron proceeded in execution of previous orders.
Our squadron went off at 20 knots speed to the southwest in one
line abeam for 15 hours, gradually opening out till a thirty mile interval
between each ship was reached, and 130 miles to the northward of us were
the battleships, similarly spread, and 130miles to the northward of them
was the fifth Cruiser Squadron. Our
allotted cruising ground was in a line off Cape St Vincent.
In the evening our captain gave a lecture in the wardroom to all
the officers, and explained the whole operations and the part allocated to
For the next 24 hours nothing of
importance occurred except a most welcome change in the weather!
The following gun layers were presented by Prince Louis with a
silver goblet each, which he and the officers had subscribed for in
recognition of the splendid shooting during the gun layers test.
Each man’s name, with the number of rounds fired, hits made, and
the class of gun, was inscribed on the cup.
Gun-Sergt. E. G. Read, 11 rounds, 10
bombed. F. Nixon, 11 rounds, 11 hits; Corpl. H. A. Ward, 11 rounds, 11
hits; Gnr. W. sparrow, 11
hits; P.O. 2nd Class E. St. L. Baker, 12
hits; L.S. J. Hoddell, 11 rounds, 11 hits.
Gun-P.O. 2nd Class W. J. Drew, 9
hits; P.O. 2nd Class G. A. J. blundell, 9
We reached our station early on the morning of the 25th.
Each night we were to steam slowly northwards fro sunset till dawn
and then return to our station, with the object of keeping pace in the
darkness with any of the Red convoys, that might otherwise elude us.
The “vulcan2 and some destroyers lay at Lagos (one of our
fortified bases), to give us news.
About midday next day we sighted smoke ahead, 25 miles off, bearing
about S.W. Speed was at once increased and we overhauled the English ss.
“Karina” 4,222 tons, bound from Liverpool to south Africa.
We signalled, “Consider yourself captured by H.M.S. Drake,” and
then wished her a pleasant voyage. Her
decks were crowded with passengers and as we steamed across her bows they
cheered and also waved to us most spiritedly.
Earl next morning we attempted disguise by bracing up our yards
merchant ship fashion, and at 7 a.m. a large steam yacht was sighted,
steering S.S.W, which vessel proved to be an American.
Next we bore down on a small Portuguese schooner; our gigantic
appearance seemingly caused them some alarm for they continually dipped
their colours for some ten minutes in nervous fashion.
At 4.30 p.m., 27th, wireless instructions were received
from Vice Admiral May to concentrate the “Drake,” “Black Prince”
and “Duke of Edinburgh” at a certain rendezvous about 90 miles north,
as he was being chased by a superior force.
We darted off at 20 knots speed and reached the “King Edward
VII” at 9.40 p.m. We were
then ordered to proceed to Lagos, fill up with coal, and act independently
near Cape St Vincent. The
battle fleet were going to work with a broad front up the coast.
At dawn next morning we sighted a strange looking craft ahead,
which proved to be the destroyer “Blackwater,” simulating a tramp.
We soon overhauled her, and she surrendered just as the sun was
rising. It was the irony of
fate that the “Blackwater,” commanded by Commander Cameron, should
have been captured by the ship whose first lieutenant he had so lately
During the operations we had make a respectable haul of British
We reached Lagos early on the 28th, and coaled ship all
day in a torrid heat. We
finished coaling at 10 p.m. having taken in 1,150 tons; and it was well
past midnight when the coal dust was washed down.
At sawn next day, the “Black Prince” and “Cornwall,” with
three destroyers, went out and captured the “Minerva” and four
destroyers, which vessels had been hovering about outside Lagos.
At 10.30 a.m. 29th, our squadron (except the
“Diamond”) proceeded to sea with steam ready for full speed.
We had not proceeded far before smoke ahead was seen, and then we
made out the “Antrim” and “Devonshire” steaming full speed to the
southeast. We altered course
to cut them off and soon began to overhaul them when other cruisers
appeared the entire First Cruiser Squadron, and some other cruisers-ten
ships all told. They retreated to the southward so as to avoid close action.
Thus began the mimic battle of Cape St Vincent-that historical
promontory being now broad on our beam.
As the result of the fight-we lost the “Berwick” and
“Amethyst,” but were allowed the “Antrim” and “Devonshire” as
sunk and also two other cruisers of the Edgar class, which formed the rear
of their line. We were now
through the encircling cruisers running at full speed.
We soon observed the Mediterranean Batle Fleet stretched across our
front, and with the First Cruiser Squadron astern, steadily advancing, our
position was now an awkward one. Then
ill luck fell upon us. The
“cornwall” and “Black Prince” hauled out of the line, with engine
and boiler defects, and were both captured.
This reduced us to three ships viz, “Drake,” “Cumberland”
and “Duke of Edinburgh,” which were now steaming at 24 knots an hour.
The battleship “Formidable” was ahead, the end ship of the
battleships line, and we approached each other at a combined speed in land
miles of nearly fifty miles an hour.
We turned to port as much as we dared and tried to rush past the
new danger, for to turn round was to run into the hostile First Cruiser
Sqadron. Too late!
We passed within 7,000 yards of the “Formidable” and were thus
captured according to the rules. The
signal “Consider yourself captured” was made from the
“Formidable,” and we hoisted the fatal flag “Z,” which implied
“Out of Action,”. The
“Duke of Edinburgh” and “Cumberland” both dashed away to the
southward and we wished them good luck.
They remained at sea uncaptured till the close of the manoeuvres,
and made many prizes of British merchant vessels.
We very reluctantly shaped our course homeward, and picked up the
“Berwick” abreast of Finisterre and together crossed the Bay.
We communicated by
wireless with Portsmouth, stating we were out of action and giving time of
our arrival there.
We arrived and anchored at Spithead on the 2nd July,
proceeded up harbour at 1.30, and made fast alongside the North Slip
Jetty. Severn days leave was
granted to each watch in turn. The
admiral went on leave on the 4th, and his flag was struck at
On the 10th, as the colours were being hoisted at 8
a.m., a huge garland was hung high between our masts; its numerous silk
streamers of red, white and blue floated gaily in the breeze.
This was hoisted in honour of our flag captain’s wedding, which
took place at St George’s, Hanover Square, London, in the presences of a
number of distinguished guests. The
church was splendidly decorated, and the service was fully choral.
The service was conducted by the Rev Gordon Wickham (brother in law
of the bridegroom), the Rev W. Todd (chaplain of H.M.S. “Drake”), and
the Rev David Anderson. As
the happy pair came down the aisle they passed between a double lines of
the “Drake’s” bluejackets. Captain
the Hon Horace Hood; R.N. of H.M.S. “Berwick” was best man.
Numerous congratulator telegrams were sent; one from the officers
and ship’s company of H.M.S. “Drake” read: “Wish you every
happiness and offer you their heartiest congratulations.”
The presents to the bride and bridegroom were numerous and costly;
those sent from H.M.S. “Drake” consisted of two silver entrée dishes
and covers from Prince Louis; two silver candelabra from the ward room
officers; silver salver, inscribed with each officer’s name, from the
gun room officers; two large silver frames from the warrant officers; the
ship’s company presented a painting of H.M.S. “Drake” (by Wyllie);
and the captain’s boats crew, sentries, stewards, and staff gave three
silver whiskey decanters; the captains of the Second Cruiser Squadron gave
a silver claret jug, and numerous private present were sent from the
officers of the squadron.
On the 20th, all leave having expired; we took in 1,000
tons of coal, averaging 136 tons per hour.
The admiral returned next day, and his flag was hoisted.
The day before leaving we received an admiralty order to remove the
truck semaphore, as they were now condemned as obsolete for long distance
signalling in the Navy.
During our appreciated stay home several changes of officers and
men took place. Among them
was Engineering Commander John W Ham, who received a new appointment, and
though sorry to lose him in the “Drake,” the whole crew wished him
success in his home billet. The
ship’s company again gave some practical sympathy to a late shipmate, C.
Horne, stoker who was then in the royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, having had
his leg amputated. The handsome sum of £59 18s (including £10 from the
canteen) was given him, which he gratefully acknowledged.
At 9 a.m., 24th July after having adjusted compasses in
Stokes Bay, we proceeded to Portland.
We had onboard Princess Henry of Battenberg, her yacht, the “Schella,”
keeping us company. We
arrived in the afternoon; the eastern division of the battle squadron
arriving soon afterwards, and before dark the “Victorious” also
arrived with the western division.
The admiral will see but little of his squadron for some time, as
they are now scattered for various purposes.
The “Duke of Edinburgh” is away at experimental firing, and
joins us at Bangor; the “Black Prince” is having her fire control
re-adjusted; the “Berwick” is up at Berwick receiving a presentation
plate; the “Cornwall” at Berehaven surveying; and the “Cumberland”
at Gibraltar being fitted with fire control.
Several social functions occurred while at Portland, and some
dinner parties were given in the flagships, which included the presence of
the Princess Henry of Battenberg.
The men were granted special leave nightly, and weekend leave was
also given to enable those who so desired to join their domestic circle.
Several cricket matches were arranged and played by the teams of
On August 2nd the squadron prepared for sea, and sailed
at 4 p.m. for a cruise round Ireland in company with the Atlantic fleet. Three cruisers and three battleships, all acting with the
Cruiser Squadron, were temporarily under the command of Prince Louis, who
daily exercised them at scouting duties, acting as a screen for the main
fleet, which remained astern some twenty or thirty miles distant. While at sea Prince Louis presented Leading Seamen George
Burnham with the admiralty silver Medal, he being the best shot in the
ship with a heavy gun during the gun layers test for 1905; having fired 10
rounds, making eight hits. Burnham
also possesses a bronze medal awarded to him as one of a gun’s crew in
H.M.S. “Terrible,” which ship established the highest record for 1900
with a 6-inch gun, which fired nine rounds with weight hits.
On the afternoon of the 4th, the cruisers were recalled,
and the squadron formed into two divisions, the “Drake” leading the
second division. Anchors were
dropped at 5.30 p.m. The
Royal Ulster Yacht club displayed the signal, “Welcome to Belfast Lough.”
The officers of the fleet were made honorary members of the
principal social and sporting clubs.
August 6th, Bank Holiday was spent at Bangor, and every
advantage was given the Irish people to view the fleet.
Special excursion trains were run from all parts, and the town of
Bangor was literally crowded with visitors.
Though a public holiday, the forenoon was devoted to general drills
and evolutions. At noon
general leave was granted till 9 a.m. next morning, and almost everyone
who could land went ashore. The
squadron have a searchlight display after dark, working the lights
together forming some very pretty devices, which was much appreciated by
the shore folk.
Thirty-five officers from the fleet attended a garden party given
by Colonel James M’Calmont, M.P., and Mrs M’Calmont, at their
residence, Magheramorne. The
officers were conveyed to Whitehead in picket boats, where a special train
was in waiting. The men
thoroughly enjoy themselves while on leave; the people were most
hospitable, and made our stay as pleasant as possible.
A fleet sailing handicap race was arranged by the members of the
Royal Ulster Yacht Club. Each
boat had to be sailed by a midshipman or a warrant officer.
The members of the same club courteously lent five one raters to
the officers of the fleet, who also raced.
Unfortunately, the wind was very light, and after three hours
sailing both races were abandoned till the next day.
In the evening the officers were entertained to dinner by the
members of the club.
Two hundred men from the fleet attended a reception in the Central
Hall, Belfast, given by the Belfast and Suburban District Lodge of the
International Order of Good Templars.
District chief Templar Trimble occupied the chair. After pretaking
of tea, the rest of the evening was devoted to pleasant recreation and
The resailed race took place as arranged , under more favourable
conditions than the previous day. The
bay presented a very animated appearance with the 71 boats, which competed
in eight classes. The course
was almost a triangular one of six miles.
Four prizes were given, and the following were the results: -
Commonwealth’s (launch), sailed by Mid. W.
Macleod; 2nd Magnificent’s (pinnace), sailed
By Mid E. W.
Sinclair; 3rd, commonwealth’s
sailed by Mid. H. B. Wrey; 4th Victorious’s
sailed by Mid R. D. Graham.
The “Drake” was usually open to visitors from 1 p.m. till
sunset; and several steamers from Belfast landed their passengers onboard.
It was estimated that on one occasion over 2,000 visitors were
onboard at the same time.
The members of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, bent on making sport,
considerately gave a prize of £5 to the winning tug of war team, which
contest took place on their lawn at the club house, before a large aned
fashionable assemblage. The
team from the “Magnificent” won the prize, after a series of spirited
Mr J. Lepper presented the prize and complimented the victors on
their splendid exhibition of strength and skill.
The teams afterwards gave cheers for the club.
Next day, 11th was a great day of sport, first, in the
forenoon, the subordinate officers race for the Battenberg Cup was rowed
over a course one-mile straight. Each
ship of the Atlantic Fleet entered a boat, 10 starting, and rowing the
race between the lines of ships. The
race was hotly contested throughout, the competing boats struggling hard
to wrestle the cup from the “Drake.”
At the start our crew had the misfortune to break an oar, which put
them to disadvantage, but another was quickly got out, and they won by one
boat’s length. Time 10 min
29 4-5th seconds. The
victory was celebrated in the gunroom, the cup being put to practical use
several times that evening!
The Lord Mayor and members of the Belfast Corporation entertained
50 officers and 500 men at luncheon in the Exhibition Hall.
The party preceded under the command of Captain the Hon Horace L.
Hood D.S.O., M.V.O., “Berwick,” and travelled by special train from
Bangor to Belfast, where special electric trams were awaiting them. The hall was artistically decorated with flags, trophies, and
floral devices. The
high-class character of the menu was a great surprise to the party.
The Lord Mayor took the chair, Captain Hood being on his right.
After luncheon loyal toasts were proposed, when the Lord Mayor
proposed “The King,” and in doing so added, “Long may he rule over
this great empire.”
Alderman Sir James Henderson, D. L. Then gave the toast, “The
Navy and the Army.”
Captain Hood, in responding, returned thanks to the Lord Mayor and
Corporation for the very hospitable manner in which they had entertained
the fleet, not only that day in Belfast, but during the period of their
The company then adjourned to the Botanical Gardens Park, where a
most enjoyable hour was spent. The
return to the station was a most enthusiastic march, the men being cheered
all along the route.
At Bangor a rowing regatta was organised by a committee of the
R.U.Y.C., who kindly gave very substantial prizes to be competed for.
That evening the massed bands of the fleet played on shore on the
esplanade, the admission money being handled over to the funds of the
Bangor Nursing Society.
One evening, the Theatre Royal, Belfast, was set apart as a special
naval night in honour of our visit. The
performance of “Mollentrave on Women” was under the patronage of Vice
Admiral Sir W May, K.C.V.O., and the officers of the fleet, large numbers
of whom attended as well as petty officers and men.
At 4 p.m. the fleet sailed for Lough Swilly.
On departing the battery at the R.U.Y.C. gave the admiral a
farewell salute of fifteen guns. Our
pleasant stay in Belfast Lough will be long remembered by the Atlantic
During the passage the fleet was exercised at tactics, and on the
15th we entered the Lough and anchored off Rathmullen in the
evening. We remained here six
days and it rained almost all the time.
Leave was granted daily, and the railway company ran a special
train in the mornings to the historical city of Derry.
The Earl of Shaftesbury generously placed his moors at the disposal
of the officers, and undeterred by the rain several of the sportive
inclined spent a couple of days with the gun or at rod fishing.
On Sunday it actually ceased raining for an hour or so, and the sun
peeped through the clouds as if to welcome the numbers of visitors who
Early on Monday we unmoored and proceeded down the Lough. When clear of land the cruisers were spread out thirty miles
from the “King Edward BII.” The
battleships “Magnificent” and “Commonwealth,” which left the
previous evening, were acting as an enemy intent on getting through to the
main fleet without being molested by the cruisers.
In the afternoon a thick fog came on, and the exercise was
abandoned, and the fleet reformed. In
the morning it had lifted, but ir made our arrival in the Shannon late,
and owing to the strong tide the fleet moored off Tarbert shortly after
noon on the 22nd.
Next morning the battle fleet moved up off Foynes.
While here the massed bands of the fleet played on the Exhibition
Grounds. It rained in
torrents all day, so no one landed except the mess stewards.
All through the night a hurricane wind prevailed, accompanied by a
torrential downpour, and the engines were kept ready for use if necessary.
The weather moderated next day, the 24th, and our
admiral (Prince Louis) decided to leave for Gibraltar as arranged.
At 8 a.m. the 2nd Cruiser Squadron left the battle fleet
at Foynes, which proceeded to Kingstown and Queensland before following on
In clearing the river speed was gradually worked up an eight hours
full power trial, and 16 hours three-fifths trial.
Nasty heavy seas were breaking over our starboard bow and the
weather was hazy. Within two
hours the “duke of Edinburgh,” “Black Prince” and “Berwick”
were left far astern. The
“Cornwall” was gradually heading us, and when the trials finished she
was nearly twelve miles ahead. The
result of the full power trial was-“Cornwall” 23.8 knots, “Drake”
23.2, “Duke of Edinburgh” 22.4, “Black Prince,” 20.5.
The “Berwick” had a slight breakdown and had proceeded at easy
Version Of An Old Story
December 1905, “Second Cruiser Squadron
you go a little faster?” said the Cornwall to the Drake,
three more ships behind you and they’re waiting for your wake.
we can’t wait for you, but we’ve no time to spare
bound for far Gibraltar and we’re anxious to be there
May we, can
we, shall we, dare we, did we start to chase,
might we, should we, mais oui, have we won the race?
not met you,” said the Conrwall, “since that 25th June,
When we trod
upon your coat tails, though you reached the tape too soon.
If you will
kindly lead us, just to show the way it’s done,
We will make
our best endeavour to be with you in the fun.
“we do not
mind how fast you go, you need not be afraid
us and setting out upon a lone hand raid.
some sturdy ducklings and I think ere close of day,
You may find
that one or other may dispute the right of way.
made some grand old records of which you are justly proud,
the modern cruisers they’ll not find you in the crowd;
once you must be beaten, still some comfort it should be
Second Cruiser Squadron holds the record of the sea.”
The squadron arrived at Gibraltar on the forenoon of the 28th.
The “Cumberland” was here to greet us, her refit almost
To foster sport in the evenings during our probable stay of two
months at Gibraltar water polo matches were organised and 22 teams formed. A swimming class was also commenced here, and it was
surprising to note the number if men who cannot really swim, but who made
pretence of so doing.
The Chilian training corvette “General Baquedano” arrived here
and exchanged the customary official salutes.
It is now quite a novelty to see a man of war ship rigged.
The 2Cumberland” was detached and preceded to Marseilles to
represent the British Navy on the occasion of President Fallieres visit to
the Colonial Exhibition there. The
admiral took in her to Tetuan, where he hoisted his flag onboard the
“Duke of Edinburgh,” and afterwards transferred it to the “Black
Prince,” and personally witnessed their gun layers competitions.
The death of Rear Admiral Sir Edward Chichester, Bart, was
signalled to the fleet early on the 16th, he having succumbed
from pneumonia after a very brief illness at his official residence here.
Well known throughout the service he was probably the most popular
Admiral Superintendent who had commanded at Gibraltar, where his great
personality and affability had endured him to all classes.
Next day the United States Cruiser Squadron, commanded by Rear
Admiral Brownson, sent a wireless message extending to the admirals,
captains, and to the family of the deceased admiral the expression of
their regret at the news, which they received by wireless.
The squadron, comprising the “West Virginia,”
“Pennsylvania,” “Maryland,” and “Colorado,” arrived and
anchored two hours later.
Preparations were meanwhile made for conveying the body to England
by the battleship “Formidable,” then homeward bound from Malta to pay
off. The funeral cortege left
the Mount in the evening, the entire route being lined with troops, while
minute guns were fired and flags half masted.
A procession of over 1,000 mourners followed, including 100
officers and men from the American squadron.
The “Formidable” sailed at 7 p.m., and at sunset the deceased
admiral’s flag on the “Cormorant” was slowly lowered.
(Rear Admiral Goodrich, M.V.O., succeeded to the position of
The series of entertainments previously arranged in honour of the
American squadron commenced on the 20th with a large dinner
party onboard the “Victorious,” Rear Admiral Egerton; and the warrant
officers of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron entertained the American
warrant officers at dinner onboard the “Drake,” where covers were laid
for 85. The quarterdeck and
spacious ball deck were beautifully decorated and illuminated.
After dining the guests were entertained with vocal and musical
talent, recitations, etc. The
usual loyal toasts of King and President were given, and also those of
Rear Admirals Brownson and Prince Louis of Battenberg.
Rear Admiral Brownson and Flag Captain Kerr were both present, and
each made speeches in flattering terms of the warrant officers of both
navies. Similar grouping in
pairs of American and British ships took place as at the New York
Next day, a polo match was played between a naval team
and the Royal Munster Fusiliers before the large number of our American
guests; the naval team being defeated by 4 goals to 3.
The officers of the Atlantic Fleet were “At Home” to the
American officers on the ground.
In the evening the American officers were dined onboard their
respective “opposite number ships,” and later attended an evening
party onboard the “Drake,” given by the rear admiral, captains, and
officers of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron, the invitation being also
extended to the military officers in Gibraltar.
The “Drake’s” band rendered selections, and Surgeon Hunt
delighted the guests with his sketches of famous personages.
It was well into the early hours of next morning before the merry
assemblage broke up.
The American officers were taken over to a picnic at Tangier next
day in H.M.S. “Diamond.” On
landing after luncheon the visitors divided into small parties and were
shown round the town by native guides; to each section being attached a
British naval officer. The
party returned to Gibraltar at 9 p.m., when the American officers returned
to their ships highly pleased with the excursion.
During the afternoon a cricket match was played between the
squadron and the garrison, when the 2nd Cruiser Squadron
officers were “At Home” on the cricket ground to the American officers
who had not been able to go to Tangier.
That evening Vice Admiral Sir W May invited the American admiral
and principal officers to dinner onboard his flagship.
“King Edward VII.”
The ship’s companies of the “Drake,” “Berwick,” “Black
Prince” and “Cornwall” also entertained the ship’s companies of
the “West Virginia,” “Maryland,” “Colorado” and
“Pennsylvania” to a supper and a smoking concert. Each ship entertained about 500, dining tables being
specially erected on the upper decks.
A capital menu was provided, and after supper the “Drake’s”
gave a very successful theatrical entertainment on the quarterdeck.
The harbour resounded with cheer after cheer as the guests departed
who had apparently enjoyed the festivities, which had lasted till
The other ship had also entertained in a similar style; the
“Cornwall” having the fortunate co-operation of the dramatic company
of the Duke of Cornwall’s battalion laying here.
Every effort to promote the convivial intercourse between the two
navies, with the limited resources of the Rock, was put forward by
At 7.30 a.m., 23rd, the American squadron sailed for
Naples, en route for China, an enthusiastic send off being accorded them
on departing. Messages were
continued by wireless signal to our commander in chief thanking him for
the hospitalities extended to the squadron during their short visit to
The “Cumberland” returned and reported that the visit to
Marseilles was an exceptional reminiscence.
President Falliere’s visit to the exhibition there was made the
occasion of another demonstration of the Anglo French entente cordiale. Captain Story officially conveyed to the French President the
good wishes of King Edward and of the British fleet, and the President had
requested the captain to thank his Majesty for his greetings and the fleet
for their expression of good will. At
banquets and luncheon the visiting ships were feted, and the crews freely
fraternised with the French with that amity and spirit which tends to
strengthen our international friendships.
After many committee meetings for a 2nd Cruiser Squadron
Association Football League, certain approved rules were brought into
force, and Lieutenant Rankin accepted the duties of honorary secretary.
The 28th of September will long be remembered at the
Rock. Violent thunderstorms, accompanied by torrential rains,
lasted for some twelve hours. Four
inches of rain fell, and certain military quarters, also several houses,
and numbers of streets were flooded.
The storm so severely damaged the railway line in Spain that the
mail was delayed several days. The
fearful rush of water down the precipitous streets carried almost
everything before it into the sea, including trees, cattle and an immense
quantity of cork. The bay was
literally covered with debris. Next
day was beautifully fine-a calm after a storm.
The captain and officers of the “Cornwall” very kindly
presented a Tug of War Challenge Cup to the 2nd Cruiser
Squadron to be completed for by a team from each ship.
Rules were drawn up and programme of events decided.
At the first competition the “Berwick” lost to the “Black
Prince,” and the “Cornwall” beat the “Duke of Edinburgh.”
In the final the “Cornwall” beat the “Black Prince” with
two pulls, and thus were first custodians of the cup.
A swimming race was held in the Alexandra Dock, which is 185 yards
long, and seven of the “Drake’s” competed.
Lieutenant Rankin acted as judge.
The race caused plenty of enthusiasm, the dockside being lined with
spectators. Leading Seaman
Malone won the first prize, A. B. Jorden second, and Leading Seaman Lefour
An interesting war game was played in the garrison classrooms
between the marine officers of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron (Blue)
versus the Atlantic Fleet marine officers (Red).
Major Evans, and the Reds by Major Hire R.M.A commanded the Blues.
Brevet-Lieut-Colonel Chapman acted as chief umpire, and decided the
game in favour of the cruiser officers.
At a shooting contest held here our team defeated the Royal
Engineers by 39 points, Colour-Sergeant Beddow making the highest score
with 91 points.
During one afternoon, when playing off the final polo tie at
Campermento (Spain), between fleet officers and the Royal Engineers a
fatal accident occurred to Lieutenant St J. G. Spackman, R.E.
When hitting the ball down towards the goal he came into collision
with one of the opposing side. Both
ponies fell, and Lieutenant Spackman’s rolled over him.
He quickly received medical assistance, but unluckily succumbed to
his injuries. The sad event
naturally cast a gloom of sorrow over both naval and military circles.
His body was brought over and conveyed to the military hospital on
our field gun carriage drawn by bluejackets.
At the funeral almost all the naval and military officers attended.
When coaling here on the 11th October the “Duke of
Edinburgh” made a record in naval evolutions by shipping 1,420 tons,
averaging 316 tons an hour. The
commander in chief congratulated the ship on their splendid performance
At the final in the polo tournament for the new open Garrison Polo
Challenge Cup, played at the Campermento grounds between teams of the
Royal Navy and the Duke of Cornwall’s L.I. the latter team won by 5
goals to 1, some spirited play being witnessed.
Mrs Mark Kerr afterwards presented the handsome cup to the captain
of the winning team, which is the first to hold this fine trophy.
As the work of fitting our fire control was nearing completion we
shipped 1,650 tons of coal on the 18th October.
On the same day Prince Louis officially inspected the
“Cornwall” and witnessed several exercises and drills, and on the
conclusion of his inspection, congratulated them on the high state of
efficiency of the ship.
The recent conversion of the Empire Theatre into a naval canteen
has supplied a much needed want, which has been felt for many years; the
place being much congested when several ships are present giving leave.
The American visit was kept green in our memory by a letter
received from Rear Admiral Evans, U.S. flagship “Maine,” to Rear
Admiral Prince Louis, H.M.S. “Drake,” which read as follows: -
My dear Admiral-I take pleasure in informing you that the race for
the Battenberg Challenge Cup, which was presented by the men of your
squadron, took place on September 12th last at Bar Harbour,
In view of the beauty of the cup and the value attached to the
sentiment, which prompted the gift, much interest was manifested in this
race both by the ships concerned and the cottagers and others at Bar
Perfect weather conditions prevailed, and the race was a most
excellent one from every point of view.
There was no certainty that any ship would win it above the others,
and the race was not definitely decided until the finish line was very
closely approached, at which point the racing cutter from the
“Illinois,” won by a very few feet ahead of that from the
“Missouri”; the other boats were very close behind them, too.
It is to be hoped that we may have the pleasure of seeing this cup
pulled for by the crews of the United States and British vessels at the
The artisans and dockyard officials berthed onboard the
“Hercules” very kindly subscribed a sum of money which they
distributed in prizes to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron for a boxing
and wrestling contest onboard their ship.
The sport opened with a ball-punching exhibition, which lasted
fifteen minutes. Then
followed several boxing and wrestling bouts of spirited action, which
evoked much enthusiasm from the mixed audience.
The artisans were very pleased with their evening’s sport, and
cordially thanked all the competitors.
At the autumn meeting of the Gibraltar Jockey Club, which commenced
on the 19th, the races were very well patronised in spite of a
severe Levanter. General
leave was granted from noon, and numerous bluejackets steered for the
racecourse, bent on winning or losing a dollar, or two.
All the notables of Gibraltar were present, including H. E. the
Governor and the naval commander in chief, the junior admirals and
generals, and numerous naval and military officers and their ladies.
Flag Captain Mark Kerr won the mile and a distance race on Lutter,
coming in a head in front of the second horse, thus winning the Tesorillo
Plate. Our gunnery lieutenant
also won the sporting steep chase match of one and a half miles on Rufus.
On the 23rd, the Atlantic Battle Fleet left for Tetuan
to carry out their battle firing under the Director of Target Practice
(Sir Percy Scott) and several military officers from the garrison embarked
in each ship to witness the firing. The
“Cornwall” also went out with Prince Louis onboard to carry out her
battle practice, prior to having her fire control fitted, while the
squadron proceeded to Aranci Bay the following month for battle firing.
The second day of the races was held on the 26th.
There was a sparse attendance owing to the absence of the battle
fleet. Flag Captain Kerr was
successful in winning the polo championship on Mr C. Lario’s Cintra, and
he also rode home three seconds places and one third, viz, the Windmill
Hill Scurry, Andalusian Plate, Castellar Plate, and the Morocco Plate, and
Lieutenant Walwyn and midshipman Phillips rode second and third
respectively in the Polo Championship.
The Garrison Steeplechase was a splendid race, won by Lieutenant
Sherbrooke on his own pony Togo, while Sub-Lieutenant Bevan was second on
On the third and last day of the races the battle fleet had
returned, which made the course much livelier.
The Naval Plate, value 3,000 pesetas, was a handicap to be ridden
by officers of the Royal Navy, five furlongs distance.
Sub Lieutenant Bevan, “Drake,” riding Chronicle, and Lieutenant
Sherbrooke, of the “King Edward VII,” on Togo, rode a dead heat.
After the last race, and almost in the dark, the race was run off,
Captain Mark Kerr riding Chronicle in the place of Sub-Lieutenant Bevan,
while Lieutenant Sherbrooke again rode Togo.
Chronicle made nearly the whole of the running and won by two
lengths. Lieutenant Walwyn
won the final Plate, riding Game Fox, beating Mr North’s well-known
King’s Messenger by a length.
On the same day the “Drake’s” shooting team tried their skill
against the Royal Engineers, defeating them by 29 points.
The “Drake’s” averaged 79.62, and the Royal Engineers 76.
On the 29th and 30th the Atlantic fleet
rowing regatta was held here, which meant an informal holiday for two
days. The course was between
the lines of ships, and we had a capital view of each finish.
The “King Edward VII’s,” “Drake’s” and “Victorious”
officers were “At Home” to officers of the garrison and their families
during each afternoon. The
weather on the first day was ideal for rowing races, but Boreas was
unfavourable to the second day’s sport, for the long course races
encountered a loppy sea at the northern entrance.
Flag Captain Leveson, “King Edward VII,” was president of the
committee of officers, and Commander Buller, “Drake,” officiated as
Prizes were given for the two best rigged “copper punts.” In every ship a certain number of men with inventive brains
spend several days of labour rigging the punt (Which otherwise is used for
cleaning and painting the outer ship’s sides, etc) in some style of
resemblance, usually of a large ship, either ancient or modern, or of some
freaky object. The first
prize was awarded to the “Victorious” “motor car,” which contained
two vivacious tars dressed in fair sex attire, who certainly resembled a
pair of charming lady motorists. The
“New Zealands” “Prehistoric Peeps, after E. T. Reed,” took second
prize. Several other punts
competed, rigged either in emblematical or humorous style; amongst them
was a miniature “Cornwall” making bullseyes on a battle target, which
attracted much attention.
The blue ribbon of the regatta, the “Fellowes Cup,” an
officer’s race, was won by the “Drake’s” crew, as also was the
subordinate officers race. The
2nd Cruiser Squadron was fairly successful, and carried off
their full share of the prizes.
The “Drake’s” twenty-two water polo teams competed for the
two cash prizes, kindly given by the officers, and besides causing
considerable sport, converted many casual bathers into expert swimmers.
The final was decided between the maintop men and the 1st
Watch of Stokers, in the presence of numerous spectators, several officers
and men from the Chilean training ship “General Baquedano” being
invited to witness the sport. The
maintop men won the first prize scoring 4 goals to 1, captained by P.O. 1st
Class Allen. The stokers,
captained by Stoker 1st Class Gore, received the second prize. Three good teams were now selected to represent the ship, and
termed the “Drake’s” 1st, 2nd and 3rd
teams, and in the matches they played secured many victories and rarely
November 1st-All the 2nd Cruiser Squadron
(except the “Cornwall”) left at 10 a.m. for Malaga to be reviewed by
the King and Queen of Spain. The
French Cruiser “Jeannie d’Arc,” with the French Minister of Marine
onboard, was passed in the Straits, also bound to Malaga, and saluted with
The ships proceeded very slowly during the night, and anchored
outside the breakwater at Malaga early next morning.
Most of the forenoon was occupied with the usual ceremonial visits
and generally preparing for the coming of their Majesties on the morrow.
King Alfonso and Queen Victoria Eugenie arrived shortly afternoon
on the 3rd (Saturday) and embarked onboard the Spanish
battleship ”Pelayo,” receiving from all ships as they embarked a royal
salute of 21 guns. The ships were dressed, and guards and bands were paraded,
the Spanish National Anthem being played.
Prince Louis and captains then boarded the “Pelayo,” and were
received by their Majesties. Prince
Louis and Prince Alexander remained onboard to lunch with their Majesties,
who, in the afternoon, visited the “Drake,” when our squadron manned
ship and fired a royal salute. The
Spanish Royal Standard was hoisted at the main, and a guard of 100 marines
received the royal party, the band playing the Spanish National Anthem.
King Alfonso inspected the guard of honour, and took much interest
in those who were wearing war medals.
The ship was afterwards inspected from the upper deck even down to
the engine room, which place appeared to offer much interest to his
Majesty, who expressed himself as highly pleased with the “Drake.”
In the evening the King and Queen, together with a distinguished
party of Spanish nobles and officials, dined onboard the “Drake” with
As the royal barge left the “Pelayo” the squadron instantly
illuminated, the “Drake” displaying the Spanish Standard at the main
and our admiral’s flag at the fore, upon which the searchlights of two
ships were directed. Enormous
crowds assembled along the sea front to witness the illuminations.
The Spaniards appeared much delighted and impressed with the
foreign appreciation of their King and Queen, the latter having taken a
large share of their affection.
Next day (Sunday) King Alfonso visited the “Black Prince,” and
was received onboard by the rear admiral, who had temporarily hoisted his
flag onboard. The King
remained on board for two hours, and minutely inspected that modern
cruiser, and expressed great satisfaction with her apparent fighting
qualities. That night the
squadron again illuminated. Their Majesties took their final departure at 2 p.m. next
day, when royal salutes were again fired as they left the “Pelayo” and
reached the shore. Shortly
afterwards we weighed anchor and shaped course for Aranci Bay.
The French cruiser, “Jeannie d’Arc,” and the Spanish
flagship, “Pelayo,” both signalled “Good bye,” to which message we
replied, thanking them, and also added that the squadron felt honoured
with the Spanish Sovereigns visit.
King Alfonso with the Naval Honour of Merit presented the admiral
and each captain in the squadron.
We arrived at Aranci Bay the afternoon of the 7th, and
at once began arrangements for the battle practice.
Artisans and a working party from each ship landed and camped on
Figarello Island each day to build and repair the targets as necessary.
The first seven days of our stay here were entirely devoted to
gunnery exercises, each ship firing independently.
On the 9th November King Edward’s birthday was right
royally celebrated. At 8 a.m.
all ships were dressed, and at noon all the officers appeared dressed in
full uniform, and assembled on the quarter deck, and punctually at 12
o’clock the ships each fired a salute of 21 guns, the bands afterwards
playing the National Anthem, while all officers and men sang the first
verse. At the conclusion of
the ceremony three hearty British cheers rang out over the bay from 3,600
throats. The remainder of the
day was observed as a holiday. In
the evening Prince Louis gave a birthday dinner party onboard, attended by
all captains and six other officers from each ship. The admiral proposed his Majesty’s health, and the National
Anthem was sung with great fervour, and at the conclusion cheers were
given in true loyal style.
On the 13th the admiral began his inspections of the
squadron, commencing with the “Duke of Edinburgh.”
Two whole days were devoted to each ship, which invariably hoisted
his flag onboard during the inspection.
For the next fourteen days, according to programme, the ships went
outside daily for gunnery practices, and returned to the anchorage
independently each evening on completion.
On the 17th the “Drake” left for Maddallena, where
the admiral paid the Italian Commander in Chief an offical visit.
We returned to Aranci in the evening and anchored, it being only a
distance of 50 miles there and back.
Earl on the 20th we paid another visit to Maddallena for
the purpose of discharging two men to the naval hospital there for
treatment. When off the mouth
of the Straits a torpedo boat met us and conveyed the patients onshore.
We then returned to Aranci, and at 9 a.m. Prince Louis went onboard
the “Berwick” to complete his inspection, while we went outside for
The whole of the next day was occupied in calibrating, and at 6
p.m. we returned to harbour and anchored.
That evening our captain gave a lecture onboard the “Berwick”
on the “Life of Nelson,” and numbers of officers and men from other
ships attended. At its
conclusion Captain Hood thanked the lecturer, on behalf of the officers
and men, for a very interesting and instructive lecture.
The following letter, which was received and published for general
information, formed very pleasant reading: -
Sir I have received and laid before my Lords
Commissioners of the Admiralty the returns showing the results obtained by
the ships of the Second Cruiser Squadron in the Annual Test of Gunlayers
with heavy guns for the year 1906.
- My Lords note the highly satisfactory results
obtained by H.M. Ships “Drake,” “Cumberland,” and “Duke of
Edinburgh,” and desire that an expression of their appreciation may
be conveyed to the Commanding Officers accordingly.
- They also desire that the names of the officers who
specially contributed to these results may be reported.
- A duplicate copy of his letter has been sent to the
Rear Admiral Commanding Second Cruiser Squadron for information.
To “Drake,” “Duke of Edinburgh,” “Cumberland.”
For information and report as regards para 3. It affords me the greatest pleasure to promulgate this
expression of their Lordships appreciation of these ships firing.
I desire that this letter
be read to the ship’s company assembled on the quarter deck, and that a
company assembled on the quarter deck, and that a copy be placed on the
notice board on the lower deck.
Almost needless to write, the receipt of this letter, coming at is
did at such an opportune time, acted as a stimulant prior to the battle
practice then impending.
In the gun layers test for 1906 the “Drake” was No 1 with a
total of 124.49; the “Cumberland” No 2 with 121.28; and the “Duke of
Edinburgh” coming close with 110.77.
on the 23rd the practice was resumed, with excellent results,
and in the evening we returned to the anchorage for the weekend.
As a reminder, on the notice board was hung the photo of the
target, which we fired at last year, showing 33 hits-“Lest we forget.”
On November 27th, the preparations for the battle firing
were now executed, and the “Black Prince” left for Civitta Vecchia to
bring across Rear Admiral Sir Percy Scott (the Director of Target
At 11 a.m. next day the squadron weighed and took up positions for
battle firing. The “Black
Prince” returned at noon, having made a smart run across at 21 knots
At the conclusion of the battle practice, which had lasted some
three days, the respective scores recorded for each ship were as follows:
-“Drake” 105, “Cumberland” 64, “Duke of Edinburgh” 55,
“Berwick” 37, “Black Prince” 15.
Sir Percy Scott left in the mail steamer on his homeward journey,
but before leaving he had the following placed on the notice board: -
To the officers of the ship’s company of H.M.S. “Drake.”-I
congratulate you on doing the best shooting that I have ever witnessed.
You have made 105 hits, which places you at the head of the Navy in
That evening the gunnery lieutenant entertained the gun layers, and
thanked them for the able manner in which they had done their duty and so
ably assisted in breaking the world’s shooting record.
Every ship signalled their congratulations to the “Drake.”
As each ship had taken up her position for firing we signalled as
Captain, officers, and ship’s company of “Drake” wish
captain, officers, and ships company the very best of good luck, and hope
that the squadron will be in the same place at battle practice as in the
As we took station for firing the other ships wished us similar
good luck, which fate ordained to be good luck indeed as the reward of our
constant and special devotion to gunnery.
Our captain briefly addressed all officers and men assembled on the
quarterdeck, and expressed unqualified satisfaction with the firing. He said the ship had now achieved his desire as pronounced
early in the commission, viz, to be the finest steaming ship, and the best
shooting ship in the Navy. The
2nd Cruiser Squadron now stood first in the gun layers test,
and first in battle practice. Before
leaving Aranci a telegram was received from Vice Admiral Sir William May
congratulating the squadron on the firing results.
The squadron sailed early on the 4th December for
Gibraltar. As we entered the
straits of Bonifacio it was then blowing almost a gale, with a heavy beam
sea, which caused us to roll heavily.
The gale increased as darkness set in, and when near the Gulf of
Luons it blew with terrific force; the Duke of Edinburgh” losing both
her lifeboats, the “Black Prince” and “Cumberland” both hauled out
of the line and re-secured their boats, while the latter lost her wireless
pole. At 10 p.m. that night a
heavy sea struck us and carried away our starboard lifeboat.
Huge seas swept the deck, and not a dry spot could be found in the
ship. Seas even found their
way down the engine room hatches. The
smashing of crockery, glasses, etc, were sounds, which could be heard at
frequent intervals. Speed was
reduced, and the ships were ordered to proceed independently and to
rendezvous five miles west from Cape de Gata.
Next morning the wind and sea had considerably abated, and during
the forenoon we had steamed outside the storm zone into a calm sea, with a
bright sun shining. The ships
arrived at Gibraltar next afternoon, the 5th, except the
“Berwick,” which was 100 miles astern steaming slowly, having little
coal onboard. All the Atlantic Fleet were here except three ships which had
left for Tetuan to carry out long-range firing.
The squadron commenced coaling early next morning, and finished at
6.30 p.m. the “Drake” receiving 1,800 tons.
The following gratifying telegram was received from the Admiralty
today, and posted up for general information: -
The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty express high appreciation
result of battle practice Second Cruiser Squadron, “Drake” and
“Cumberland” in particular. Convey
to captains, officers, and ships companies of both ships expression
extreme satisfaction accordingly.
Another telegram from Commander in Chief, Mediterranean, read as
Mediterranean Squadron warmly congratulates you and “Drake” on
magnificent and brilliant performance battle firing. The whole service will be proud of the “Drake.”
The result of the squadron’s half yearly “night flashing test,
made at the rate of ten words per minute, which took place at Aranci, was
promulgated today throughout the fleet.
The “Drake” was first in order of merit, with an average of
96.2 per man, and the “Duke of Edinburgh” second with 94.02.
A special attraction on the last day of our stay at Gibraltar for
the bluejackets and marines was the final Association match for the
Atlantic fleet Shield, between the “King Edward VII” and the “Duke
of Edinburgh,” the champion teams of the Atlantic fleet and the 2nd
Cruiser Squadron respectively; the former ship winning easily by 3 goals
A letter was received here from the widow of our late shipmate,
Private Hornsby R.M.L.I, gratefully acknowledging the sum of £52 2s 6d
for herself and two children, which the officers ship company and the
canteen contractors jointly subscribed for.
The race for the Battenberg Cup took place prior to leaving. The event was the more interesting, especially for the
“Drake’s,” for our subordinate officers have won the trophy twice in
succession. Exactly at eleven
o’clock the race started, eleven boats competing, the course being from
the northern entrance and finishing off at the dockyard, distance one mile
straight. Two of the
“Drake’s” boats were contesting-the gig and gally.
Our galley led the race with the “New Zealand’s” second, and
“Hindustan” third, but at the half distance the gig spurted in
surprising fashion, passing the galley and the “New Zealand’s” boat
and rowed splendidly to the finish, beating the galley by three lengths,
the “New Zealand’s” boat being three lengths behind the galley.
Victory thrice in succession naturally elated the victors, who
received showers of congratulations on their splendid performance.
It was indeed a fine race.
To commemorate the event our captain, commander, and several
wardroom officers dined in the gunroom that evening, and again, as of
yore, the cup was made to fulfil another purpose besides posing as a
Winners of the Cup-Mid Freeman, Clerk Ayre Clerk Gaussen, Mid Bowly,
Mid, Lyttelton, Mid Priestley, and Mid Phillips (cox).
At 3.30 p.m. 12th December, the battle fleet slipped and proceeded
to England, and as they cleared the Moles our squadron followed, except
the “Berwick,” which ship will spend Christmas at the Rock.
The “Cornwall” was directed to follow on a couple of hours
later, she having just finished a contractor’s steam trial.
The “Cornwall” and “Cumberland” are now leaving the
squadron to pay off on the 31st inst, and then re-commission
the following day for duty with the Home fleet under the new fleet
distribution scheme. Before
finally parting the following farewell greetings were exchanged: -
“Drake” to “Cornwall” and “Cumberland”-All the
“Drake’s” wish you a very happy leave, and are very sorry to part
Reply from “Cornwall”: -
Thank you very much. Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year. Awfully
sorry to leave you, and hope we shall soon be together again.
Thank you. It is with
regret I leave your flag and the second Cruisers Squadron.
The captain, officers, and men of “Cumberland” hope that the
rear admiral, the captain, officers, and men of the remainder of the
squadron will enjoy a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
It was 5 p.m. by the time we formed up outside, and then the steam
had worked to high pressure ready for the trials.
Gradually our speed was increased, and at six o’clock the trial
commenced. The ships were
ordered to proceed independently, and at the expiration of the trial to go
direct to their homeports. We
soon overhauled the battle squadron, making good 23 knots an hour, with
the Gibraltar mail onboard for England.
H.E. the Governor, General Sir Forestier Walker, was also onboard
as the guest of our admiral. Next
afternoon we passed a Rusiian squadron going south.
That night we entered the Bay; the weather was fair, but a heavy
N.W. swell made us roll considerably, and some heavy seas were shipped.
At midnight we completed our trial, with an average of 22 ½ knots
an hour. Speed was then
reduced to 15 knots.
At daylight the following morning we passed the Channel fleet of
fourteen ships, under the command of Admiral Sir A. K. Wilson, V.C. bound
We anchored at Spithead on the morning of the 15th, and
later proceeded up harbour alongside the North Slip Jetty.
One half the ship’s company went on ten days leave from the 17th
until the 28th inst, they being the fortunate ones to spend
Christmas at their homes. Portsmouth
station during the afternoon was crowded with thousands of merry faces,
marines and bluejackets, with their various bundles of presents for those
at home. The Portsmouth
Division of the Atlantic Fleet, which had arrived some thirty hours after,
were all proceeding on leave at the same time.
Our admiral struck his flag at sunset on the 18th, he
having proceeded on leave of absence, hoisting the pennant in its stead.
With deep regret the sudden death of Richard Henry Carroll, E.R.A.
is here recorded. He was
taken ill on his way home on the 17th, and expired on the 19th.
The funeral was a semi-naval one, and took place from his home at
south sea. At the request of
his relatives about eighty men and several, officers in uniform followed
the cortege as a last honour of respect.
The coffin was covered with the Union Jack, and among the several
beautiful wreaths the most conspicuous was a huge of white flowers from
the stokers, H.M.S. “Drake.”
On the 20th inst, as the ensign was being hoisted at 9
a.m. a huge garland was also run up between our masts.
“Who is getting spliced?” was the question being generally
asked. In dear old Dublin the
secret was being un folded, as surgeon Arthur Thomposn, R.N., was that day
spliced in holy matrimony at St. Bartholomew’s church to Miss Alice
Telford, the only surviving daughter to John Gardiner Telford, Esq. Some
evidently onboard were among the confidantes for his messmates, the ward
room officers, sent a handsome present, as did also the gun room and the
warrant officers messes, besides several individual presents.
A future of matrimonial bliss was the vote of the entire
“Drake’s” to them both.
Christmas eve, as is usual in a man of war, was a busy period in
the preparations of the dietary for the festive day itself.
The mess deck was very artistically decorated with flags and
evergreens, the mistletoe bough not being forgotten, for many of the
feminine gender were expected as guests onboard.
The usual naval custom was observed on Christmas Day.
All the officers onboard, piloted by Lieutenant Wakerfield (acting
as captain) walked round the mess deck headed by an extemporised band, as
the bandsmen were all on leave, and the bluejackets and marines
commandeered their instruments and managed to eject sounds which were
intended to resemble “The Roast Beef of Old England.”
At the conclusion of the informal inspection, which was humorously
and seasonably performed in old time naval fashion, lieutenant Wakefield,
on behalf of the admiral, captain and officers, wished the men a very
merry Christmas. The
remainder of the day was entirely devoted to conviviality.
The first watch returned on the morning of the 28th, the
second watch being ready to relieve their comrades and likewise proceed to
spend their ten days with friends and families.
New Year’s Day of 1907 was ushered in onboard the “Drake” by
the ancient custom striking the ship’s bell sixteen times at midnight on
the 31st-eight timed for the old year and eight for the new.
Plenty of eager hands are always ready to perform this ceremony,
but the officer of the watch had forestalled would be operators and had
taken the tongue out, performing that office himself.
At the same time the engines in the locomotive sheds were set
whistling, and the merchant steamers lying in the harbour lent the doleful
wail of the siren to the general noise.
About 1 a.m. in the morning of the 3rd, a cold, bleak,
dark night, a general signal was flashed ordering all ships to send their
fire party to the Gun wharf, which was then ablaze.
Our brigade got away quickly, under the command of Lieutenant
Goldie, and returned valuable assistance.
Over a quarter of a million pounds worth of damage was done to
Government property and stores. The
party returned onboard at 4 a.m. more or less wet through, and clothes
damaged. The Commander in Chief issued a general memorandum stating
what valuable service the ships fire parties had rendered, and that the
men were to receive the usual extra pay and compensation for damage to
On the 10th the second watch returned from leave, and
quickly settled down to man of war routine again, and prepared for coaling
ship. Owing to the
non-arrival of the collier from Cardiff, dockyard lighters were got
alongside, and by 6 p.m. we had cleared them of 821 tons.
During the coaling our captain assembled all hands on the
quarterdeck, and read the following gratifying letter: -
I have great satisfaction in acquainting you that I have received
the King’s commands to convey to you, the officers and men under your
orders, His Majesty’s high appreciation of the admirable results
obtained by his ship under your command in the gun layers test and battle
practice for 1906, which places the “Drake” at the head of the entire
This is to be read out to the ship’s company on the quarterdeck
as soon as the second watch is back from leave.
At 7 a.m. next morning, the 12th we recommenced coaling
from the collier, and finished at 4 p.m., shipping 1,029 tons.
Early on the 14th, with the “Black Prince,” we
proceeded to Portland in company with the Portsmouth division of the
Atlantic fleet. The eastern
division and the “Duke of Edinburgh” joined off St Albans head, and
took up station in the line. At
3 p.m. we dropped anchors in Portland Roads.
The duration, then we go south to take part in the forthcoming
Vice Admiral Sir William May issued a long programme of drills and
exercises to be carried out while here.
Leave will be granted, as usual, till the morning, arrangements
being made for the Weymouth Company’s steamers to run to and fro at
Prince Louis returned onboard on the 17th and rehoisted
The Admiralty’s returns, showing the results of battle practice
in H.M. fleet, was issued yesterday, 16th inst, as follows : -
At the head of the list stands the Second Cruiser Squadron of six
ships, with an average of 264.7 points.
Next comes the China Squadron, with 250.6 points.
The Atlantic fleet third with 233.2 points, throughout the whole
Navy the first three places of merit are taken by the Atlantic fleet, viz;
“Drake,” 478.3; “Britannia,” 410.0; “Cumberland,” 374.8.
The following is the order of merit of our squadron: -
“Drake,” two 9.2 and sixteen 6-inchs, points 478.3.
“Cumberland,” fourteen 6in, points 374.8.
“Duke of Edinburgh,” six 9.2in and ten 6in, points 281.9.
“Berwick,” fourteen 6in, points 216.7.
“Cornwall,” fourteen 6in, points 123.0
“Black Prince,” six 9.2in and ten 6in points 76.9.
Early on the 19th January the cruisers, under the
command of Prince Louis, went to sea and exercised torpedo practice in
very tough and stormy weather, returning to the anchorage again at 5 p.m.
It being Accession Day, the fleet were dressed with flags, and a
royal salute fired at noon.
This evening the “King Edward VII” very reluctantly handed to
the “Drake” the Long Range Challenge Cup, accompanied by a very
flattering note from the Commander in chief.
After dinner our captain, with all the officers in the wardroom,
toasted the cup, and several after dinner speeches were made concerning
the luck, which had constantly, attended their efforts to win these
On the 23rd the funeral of our late shipmate, Albert
Hoar (who died suddenly from heart failure on the 20th, at
Weymouth, while on leave), took place at the Naval Cemetery, Portland,
with full naval honours. The coffin was draped with the Union Jack, and completely
covered with beautiful wreaths from the officers and ship’s company.
By sunset that evening the wind had considerably increased as a
precautionary measure, the Vice Admiral ordered all ships to raise steam. By the morning hr wind gad subsided, and fires were again
The 24th and 25th inst were devoted to
admiral’s inspection-Prince Louis inspecting his own flagship.
The first day he inspected all officers and men, and then minutely
inspected every nook and corner in the ship.
The same evening a memorandum was issued by the admiral’s
directions, stating how satisfactory was the result of the first day’s
inspection, and that the ship was exceptionally clean in every part.
The second day’s inspection commenced with. “Clear for action,” when the admiral again went round and
closely went into every detail of this important evolution. At noon all the officers and men were assembled on the
quarterdeck, when the admiral informed them he had completed his official
inspection, and that he considered his flagship all that would be expected
or desired. He then presented
to our captain the Long Range Challenge Cup, which Lord Charles Beresford
had presented to the Channel fleet in 1903 (now the Atlantic Fleet), to be
held by the ship making the best record at long range shooting, prior to
the introduction of the battle practice as now carried out.
In making the presentation, the admiral remarked upon the
significant fact the previous holders of the trophy were all flagships,
and asserted that it was the bounden duty of flagship to lead the way in
efficiency, as well as in other directions. He concluded his inspiriting speech by saying that he could
never forget the “Drake,” his first flagship, which held the proud
recorded of being the best shooting and fastest steaming ship in our
Navy-or in any other. Captain,
in thanking the admiral for making the presentation, testified to the
feeling of the officer’s and ship’s company that the high position
which the ship had attained was due to the capacity of the admiral in
infusing those under his command with a vigorous spirit, and the necessity
of doing their utmost, a capacity which in every ship he served in had
produced the happiest results.
The 29th and 30th were devoted to tactical
exercises, leaving the harbour at 9.30 a.m. and returning just before each
evening. Both days we experienced very cold weather, with stormy winds
blowing from the northwest, which made it less interesting to many, for
usually during these manoeuvres when the PZ exercise are carried out, both
officers and men watch the various moves and countermoves with keen
From the 4th to the 6th of February the whole
of the Atlantic Fleet completed with coal from colliers, preparatory to
leaving for the great manoeuvres.
On the 7th, the battle fleet, numbering eight ships, and
the cruisers, five in number, steamed away in a southwesterly direction
bound for Lagos. The same
forenoon, with all officers and men assembled on the quarterdeck, Prince
Louis presented Captain Mark Kerr with a bronze statuette of Lord Nelson,
mounted on an oak pedestal (the statuette was moulded by Princess Louise).
In making the presentation the admiral said that when he decided to
give a trophy to be held by the ship which he had the best record at
battle practice in a squadron commanded by himself, he was much exercised
in his mind as to what from the trophy should take, but after much
consideration, the fact that he had first hoisted his flag in the Nelson
centenary year, induced him to present a trophy which would ever recall
the memory of England’s greatest admiral, which he hoped would encourage
everyone to emulate Nelson’s leading characteristic-devotion to duty.
Having decided on the trophy he had next to find someone to execute
it, but was difficulty was overcome by the Princess Louise coming to his
assistance. He should ever
remember with pride that the name of his flagship, the “Drake,” would
be inscribed upon it as the winner for the two first years.
On clearing Portland and cruisers were ordered to proceed and carry
out wireless telegraphy exercises. Speed
was increased to 14 knots, the ships gradually extending their distance
from each other, with the
battle fleet astern.
At 4 p.m. next day the wireless experiments ceased, and we received
orders to rejoin the battle fleet. The
two following days tactical exercises took place of a most interesting
The “Berwick” rejoined us on Sunday, the 10th,
having completed her refit at Gibraltar.
Early next morning the cruisers parted company from the battle, and
steered almost due south to take up our allotted positions for certain
exercises about to be executed. With
the Atlantic Battle Fleet we were designated the Red Fleet, the red ensign
hoisted at the main. The
Channel Fleet, under Admiral Sir A. K. Wilson, V.C. was our supposed
enemy’s coded cipher messages were being received from our scouts and
from Vice Admiral sir William May, who was directing the operations which
messages controlled our movements. It
was 2 p.m. when the 2duke of Edinburgh,” “Berwick” and “Diamond”
came steaming chased by the enemy’s cruisers.
Quickly forming in line, action was bugled off, and before their
pursuers were aware of the altered situation we all four chased them,
getting well within the prescribed range with heavy guns bearing on them.
They were ruled out of action, but we were just in time, for
Admiral Wilson’s magnificent fleet of fourteen battleships and a dozen
or more cruisers and scouts then hove in sight.
Hostilities ceased with evenfall.
The weather had been very rough throughout the operations.
The same evening, by an intercepted wireless message, we first
heard of the collision between the “Albermarle” and
“Commonwealth,” reporting that both ships had proceeded to Gibraltar
to effect repairs.
The different squadrons re-formed during the night. At daylight on the 13th Admiral Wilson formed the
ships up in anchoring order, four lines of battleships and four lines of
cruisers, with the scouts ahead. This
combined British fleet now consisted of first class battleships, 16
first-class armoured cruisers, seven second class cruisers, three third
class cruisers, and three scout class every ship of modern construction,
the most powerful array of fighting ships that had ever assembled under
the direct command of one admiral.
The combined fleets shaped course for Lagos, where we arrived at
3.35 p.m., the “Exmouth” saluting the country with 21 guns.
The forenoon of next day was devoted to interchange of official
visits. In the afternoon a
service sailing race was held, 135 boats competing, our lunch and galley,
unfortunately, carried away their masts during the race.
On the 15th all was astir long before daylight.
At 7 a.m. all the cruisers and scouts, 23 in number, weighed and
proceeded to sea under the command of Prince Louis to carry out
strategically exercises of a confidential nature.
The battle fleet, under Admiral Wilson, put to sea in the forenoon,
and also exercised, returning to their anchorage in the evening.
At daylight next morning the cruisers were re-called and formed up
in three lines, with the “Drake” leading the centre line.
When entering the bay all ships displayed the Portuguese ensign at
the main, and fired a royal salute in honour of ~King Carlos, who was
flying his standard in his yacht, “Queen Amelia.”
Their Majesties the King and Queen of Portugal, and the Crown
Prince, received all the flag officers and captains onboard the royal
yacht during the forenoon. Another
sailing race with private rigs took place in the afternoon, which was
doubly interesting, for King Carlos gave a handsome cup to the winner,
Commander Vivian, of the “Irresistible,” who won in the first gig.
In the evening the admiral captain, and officers of the
“Caesar” were “At Home” to an flag officers, captains and officers
of the combined fleet. Their
Majesties the King and Queen of Portugal and the Crown Prince attended the
function, arriving at 10 p.m. Next
day, Sunday their Majesties lunched with admiral Wilson onboard the “Exmouth.”
The fleet dressed with masthead flags and fired a royal salute on
their Majesties going onboard, and again on leaving the flagship.
All flag officers and senior captains dined in the evening with
their Majesties onboard the royal yacht.
On Monday 18th the forenoon was spent at general
competitive drill. After
dinner the combined fleet prepared for sea, and proceeded at 4 o’clock
to carry out war exercises. The
Atlantic and Mediterranean battle fleets, with the 2nd and 3rd
Cruisers Squadrons, versus the Channel Fleet and 1st Cruiser
Squadron. On clearing the bay
the fleets separated, the former going to the northwest, and the other
fleet proceeding southwards. The
general idea was for the cruiser to locate the enemy’s battle fleet and
then inform their Commander in Chief without delay.
This war evolution commenced at daybreak next morning, all ships
having steam raised for full speed. At
10 p.m. the enemy’s cruisers were sighted on the horizon, and we steamed
parallel with them, until Admiral Wilson’s battle fleet were observed
being chased towards us by Admiral May’s fleet; the 3rd
Cruiser Squadron not being far behind off their starboard quarter.
The battle fleets fought an action, the 3rd Cruiser
Squadron joining us, for when we combined we were of much superior
strength to the enemy’s cruisers, which took the shelter of their battle
fleet. At 2 p.m. the war game
ceased, when all squadrons reformed and shaped course for Lagos, arriving
there in the darkness. It was
truly an instructive lesson to watch this huge fleet coming to the
anchorage in perfect formation, without a single error-taking place in the
Early on the 21st all ships unmoored, except the
flagship “Exmouth.” The
cruiser left at 7 a.m. and separated for strategically exercises.
Equally divided in strength, one half was commanded by Rear
Admirals Barry, and the other half by Rear Admiral Neville, while Prince
Louis lay off in the “Drake” as chief umpire.
The battleships left at 10 a.m. and separated for a similar
exercise, the Channel fleet versus Atlantic and Mediterranean fleets,
under the command of Vice Admiral Curzon Howe and acting Vice Admiral
Bridgman respectively m with Sir William May in the “king Edward VII”
as chief umpire. The results,
however, of these manoeuvres, are very properly treated as confidential.
The exercises finished in the afternoon, when the fleet again
returned to their anchorage. In
the evening, onboard the “Drake,” Prince Louis entertained the
captains, of his squadron at a farewell dinner, and afterwards attended
Admiral Wilson’s Darewell “At Home” onboard the “Exmouth.”
Next day Prince Louis visited the ships of his squadron, and wished
The combined fleet sailed from Lagos in the afternoon, the ships
proceeding to their different ports.
The 2nd Cruiser Squadron now comprising only four ships,
2Drake,” “Black Prince,” “Devonshire,” and “Antrim,” in
company with the newly formed Atlantic fleet and the Mediterranean fleet,
shaped course for Gibraltar, the remainder, under Admiral Sir A. K.
Wilson, V.C. taking a northerly course.
The gallant Admiral, while viewing from his bridge this magnificent
fleet dispersing, must have felt proud of his last command, for he was now
proceeding to England to strike his flag.
He signalled as we departed Success to the new Atlantic Fleet.”
We arrived at Gibraltar at 8 a.m. next morning, the 23rd.
That evening the wardroom officers entertained Prince Louis and
captain and staff at a farewell dinner.
Every officer in the ship was present, 59 all told.
The usual loyal toasts were proposed and duly honoured, and then
the captain submitted the toast of “Our Admiral,” which was
enthusiastically responded to, followed by three cheers.
Prince Louis made a touching speech in reply, which deeply
impressed everyone who had the honour to be present on that memorable
At 8 a.m. on the 24th we hoisted the flag of Prince
Louis as a vice admiral, and the “Devonshire” then hoisted the flag of
Rear Admiral Charles Henry Adair, as commanding the 2nd Cruiser
Squadron, who had succeeded Prince Louis in the command of the squadron.
Prince Louis addressed al officers and men assembled on the
quarterdeck, wishing them all “Good bye”.
He said it was unnecessary to remind them of what they had done,
but the highest compliment which could be paid him and his flag captain
was for the to serve their successors with equal loyalty to duty as had
been hitherto displayed. The
admiral then silently gave each officer a farewell shake of the hand, and
walked over the gangway to join his new flagship, the “Venerable.”
Then, soon tenuously, all the men rushed on the Mole, forming a
guard of honour of two lines facing each other, through which the admiral
walked the men standing to attention and saluting as he passed along.
A dead silence prevailed among those 700 or more British seamen,
stokers, and marines, whose demeanour expressed a genuine sadness at heart
at losing their admiral. Silence
on this occasion spoke volumes, which cheers would have failed to
As Prince Louis stepped on the quarterdeck of his new flagship his
flag was hoisted as commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Squadron,
pending the arrival of Vice Admiral Sir Charles Carter Drury, when he then
becomes second in command, and simultaneously the “Drake” lowered the
vice admiral’s flag and hoisted that of Rear Admiral Adair.
Next day Captain Mark Kerr lunched and dined in the officers
messes, and likewise bade final farewells to all officers and men, and
sailed for England on the 26th in the P and O steamer
“India,” he being succeeded by Captain Arthur Hayes Sadler.
Also on that day coaling commenced early, and continued until 2
a.m. on the following morning, when we finished, having shipped 1,286
The Mediterranean Squadron, under the command of Prince Louis,
sailed at 4 p.m. on the 28th for Malta.
As his flagship, the “Venerable,” steamed out through the
southern entrance the officers and men of the “drake” lined the Mole
and saluted, while our band played “Auld Lang Syne.”
The “Venerable” signalled to the Drake: - “Good bye, good
luck to all my shipmates.” We
replied, “Good bye, we shall greatly miss you.”
The ship was docked on the 7th March, and was undocked
on the 19th, and then sailed for Madeira, from which port she
is due back at Gibraltar on 4th April.
With the transference of the admiral to a more important command,
and the captain to a fresh appointment, the purpose of this chronicle of
events is practically fulfilled by the author.
The 2nd of May is the date officially announced for the
ship to arrive at Portsmouth, when she will pay off and re commission as
flagship of the Second Cruiser Squadron?
The officers and crew will be granted the leave to which they may
be entitled, and at the expiration thereof will return to there proper
depots to await their turn for service afloat in another ship.
Thus will end a commission, certainly among the happiest and not
least eventful, which is recorded in the history of our modern Navy-a
period of service for King and country of life long and affectionate
remembrance to those who served in this Cruise of H.M.S. Drake.