SUPERIOR FORCE : The Conspiracy Behind the Escape of Goeben and Breslau © Geoffrey Miller



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SUPERIOR FORCE : The Conspiracy Behind the Escape of Goeben and Breslau © Geoffrey Miller




Chapter 19




The Last Sortie




SMS Breslau, at anchor in the Golden Horn

SMS Breslau, at anchor in the Golden Horn

Goeben’s career as a wrecker of reputations was not ended in 1914. The scope and character of Turco-German naval operations in the Black Sea is outside the compass of this study;[1] however, in January 1918 one final chance presented itself to humiliate the token British forces standing guard at the Dardanelles. Following Admiral Souchon’s recall in 1917, the duty of performing this task fell to the new commander, Vice-Admiral Hubert von Rebeur-Paschwitz.

For the rationale one need look no further than the calamitous military position facing the Turco-German forces: on 9 December 1917 General Allenby had entered Jerusalem, a blow that was only marginally softened when, eight days later, Russia and Germany agreed to a cease-fire preparatory to negotiations to formulate a peace treaty.[2] The removal of the Russians from the picture enabled the Turks to shift their strategic horizon, to search for ways to counter Allenby’s relentless advance. Already, on 2 December, the Turks had learned that two Allied divisions were about to be transferred from Salonica to Palestine and requested that submarines be deployed against the troopships. Rebeur-Paschwitz, who had no boats available at the time, suggested instead that he mount an operation in the direction of Salonica, only 120 miles distant, with Goeben and Breslau, which he thought feasible without exposing his ships to undue risk. With delicate irony, Enver, no longer the assured figure of 1914, demurred: the ships were too valuable to lose.[3]

                As 1917 drew to a close the Royal Navy’s Aegean Squadron was commanded by Rear-Admiral Sydney Fremantle who had, coincidentally, been the prosecutor at Troubridge’s court martial. Perhaps fortunately for the Admiral, he was recalled on 12 January 1918 to take up a position at the Admiralty; before this, however, on the last day of 1917, Fremantle had written a memorandum on “Combined Action by Aegean Squadron” in which he set out to chart the various contingencies which would have to be provided against —

(a) exit of Austrian ships from the Adriatic into the Aegean (b) exit of Turko-German ships from the Dardanelles. Of these (a) is an improbable contingency, and it is one of which we may expect considerable warning…(b) may take the form of an attempt by Goeben and Breslau accompanied by destroyers and possibly by other vessels to leave the Dardanelles. Their objective might be:– (1) To effect a junction with the Austrians in the Adriatic (2) A raid on our transport routes, returning to the Dardanelles or to Smyrna (3) Attack on our bases at Mudros or Salonika, or possibly Port Said or Alexandria. Of these alternatives (1) is considered to be the least unlikely, and to have a fair prospect of success. (2) Is possible but the chances of success would seem to be insufficient to warrant the risk incurred. (3) Would be a desperate venture, which could only end in the eventual destruction of the enemy, and is conceivable only as a last resort, which might be decided upon in the event of Turkey determining upon a separate peace.

Fremantle was of the opinion that the exit of Goeben and Breslau was ‘possible but not probable, without our receiving some warning by observation of attempts to sweep a channel’ so that, therefore, the escape of destroyers alone was the ‘most probable contingency.’[4]

                If the German ships had emerged the next day they would have faced a motley assortment of destroyers, light cruisers and monitors – dispersed over a wide area – while the two most powerful British ships, the underrated ‘semi-dreadnoughts’ Lord Nelson and Agamemnon, were stationed at Mudros. In a repeat of 1914, these two battleships would have been too slow to have overhauled the German ships which, although suffering as a result of their Black Sea exertions, could still steam at 20 knots or better. The most pressing problem for Rebeur-Paschwitz remained not the likely opposition he might encounter, but the difficulty of negotiating the extensive minefield at the entrance to the Straits and of achieving surprise given that Allied aerial patrols from the Naval Air Station on Imbros were a constant feature. Notwithstanding Enver’s irresolution, and chafing at the enforced idleness of his ships, Rebeur-Paschwitz determined on a morale raising demonstration.[5] Apart from the fillip this would give to his own crews, the situation in Constantinople was then desperate: food was scarce and what was to be had was prohibitively expensive. When asked how the poor managed, a German officer provided the simple explanation — they just died. Anyone venturing through the streets of the capital in the early hours of the morning was bound to come across the emaciated body of an adult or child before the authorities had had time to clear the damning evidence.[6]

                Evidence that something was afoot was available to the British from the middle of January via a series on intercepted messages.[7] On 11 January – the day before the arrival of the new commander, Rear-Admiral Hayes-Sadler – an intercept revealed that an urgent request had been sent from German Headquarters in Constantinople to Chanak for ‘all the photographs of Lemnos and Imbros in your possession.’ Two days later it was known that Goeben had set off for Koslou, there to coal ‘exclusively with pit coal’ which had become obtainable on the Black Sea coast following the Russo-German armistice. On the 15th Goeben was heard asking for reports to be submitted to her daily while away from Stenia (her base in Constantinople). By 18 January it was known that the battle cruiser had taken on 2,275 tons yet, with no objective in the Black Sea, what was the requirement for this large intake? As a laconic hand noted on the transcripts of the intercepts,

It is understood that the sortie of Goeben and Breslau came as a surprise to the Allies, though it would seem that, had the messages made at the time been intimately studied, an indication that a movement was on foot would have been clear and that the urgency was considerable, obvious. Moreover the fact that the midday reports were to be sent to Goeben during the time that she was away from her base coaling, might have suggested that the outside situation was important to her.

Despite the signal intelligence, no extra British precautions were taken; in fact, just the reverse. The new British commander rashly split his main force when, as the yacht (Triad) provided for the purpose was away, Hayes-Sadler decided to proceed to Salonica in the battleship Lord Nelson. The Admiral maintained that there were ‘important matters for discussion’ with General Milne and the French Admiral at Salonica which made it imperative that he should arrive there before 21 January; he was also interested in the meeting between Venizelos and the new French C-in-C which had been arranged for the 19th.[8] Even so, neither of these imperatives would seem to have been urgent enough to warrant splitting his main force; why Hayes-Sadler did not wait for the return of Triad or requisition a smaller vessel is a question which will never be answered satisfactorily.

                Hayes-Sadler informed Captain Dumas of Agamemnon on 16 January that he would leave for Salonica that night at 10 p.m. The implication, which had not apparently occurred to the Admiral, was not lost on the Captain: ‘Personally I think it is mad’, Dumas recorded in his diary, ‘& if anything could make the Goeben come out this will & we with hopelessly divided forces.’[9] Although the subsequent sortie might have appeared to vindicate the judgement of Dumas there was no doubt that planning for the raid was already in progress as Dumas penned these thoughts.[10] After coaling, Goeben returned to Stenia at 9 o’clock on the morning of 19 January, when the ship was cleared for action. Rebeur-Paschwitz and his staff came on board soon after and, at 11 a.m., the battle cruiser steamed out into the Sea of Marmora. In addition to the regular crews, Goeben and Breslau had on board all the remaining German officers in Turkish waters with the exception of those who remained on the destroyers. At Heraclea Island the ships stopped and all the officers attended a conference which lasted about 90 minutes.[11] Rebeur-Paschwitz had already framed his orders:

1. Object:– destruction of the English forces watching the Dardanelles. 2. Intelligence of enemy:– the enemy forces lately observed at Imbros and Tenedos consist of one cruiser Juno class, two monitors type B & D, as many as 3 destroyers, various patrol vessels, trawlers and small transports…The latest air reconnaissance to Mudros on 8th January reported as in the Bay:– English; 2 battleships (King George and King Edward classes), one Suffolk, one Natal, one Juno, two destroyers, one monitor; French; one Gloire; also one hospital ship, 11 steamers and 30 small vessels. 3. UC23 is to lay mines off Mudros…4. Execution:- (a) Goeben and Breslau are to be off Nagara at 3.30 a.m. on 20th January…(b) the torpedo boats follow astern of Breslau to Morto Bay, and watch the entrance to the Dardanelles for enemy submarines…(c) airmen are to guard the ships from attack by enemy machines (d) the Dardanelles forts are ready for action. 5. The intention is that all forces should come in again by sunset at the latest. 6. Communication by wireless and signal is only to take place in case of emergency until fire has been opened…7. In case of fog inside the Dardanelles, the operation will be postponed.

For all their apparent comprehensiveness, the plans of Rebeur-Paschwitz were fatally compromised from the start — the result of one piece of intelligence of dubious value. On 20 December 1917 a British armed trawler had gone aground near Enos in the Gulf of Saros; on board was found a chart bearing vague pencil markings which, it was believed, might indicate the Allied minefields (the latest of which had been laid only the previous month). Liman von Sanders thoughtfully forwarded the chart to Rebeur-Paschwitz. Although comparison with their own charts of the probable enemy barrages revealed ‘remarkably little agreement’, Rebeur-Paschwitz made the fatal mistake of placing greater faith in the ‘fortuitous’ intelligence coup, which seemed to indicate that a gap existed, rather than the result of his own aerial reconnaissance. He altered his planned course accordingly.[12] The raid was on.


At 5.40 a.m. on 20 January 1918 Goeben and Breslau passed Cape Helles and entered the Aegean for the first time since August 1914. The initial part of the German plan was accomplished when, as the ships passed unseen by the Allied lookout on Mavro Island, surprise was achieved — sunrise that morning was not until 7.30 a.m. and, due to the thick mist which prevailed, nothing was visible for a further ten minutes after this;[13] by this time Goeben had already opened fire on the wireless and signal station at Kephalo Point on Imbros. The attainment of surprise was, however, offset for Rebeur-Paschwitz when, at 6.10 a.m., having cleared the Straits and being then in the supposed gap, his flagship struck a mine on her port side; protected by a coal bunker, damage was superficial. The episode might have caused another commander to stop and ponder, but, once Rebeur-Paschwitz had determined, by 6.22 a.m., that Goeben was still seaworthy, the mission was resumed. Breslau was ordered on ahead to prevent the escape of any enemy vessels from Kusu Bay, four miles north of Kephalo. Just over an hour later Goeben opened up on the shore installations at Kephalo; the hapless lookouts on Mavro – who should have provided the first warning – could hear the sound of gunfire from the north but could not guess what it portended.

                Patrolling off the Dardanelles on the morning of 20 January (to the north-east of Imbros) were the British destroyers Lizard and Tigress. At 7.20 a.m. Lieutenant Norman Albert Gustave Ohlenschlager, in command of Lizard, was in the charthouse when the officer of the watch sent a message that there was a cruiser in sight and he believed it was Breslau. Ohlenschlager later admitted that he had long given up hope of the German ships emerging and it was therefore with some little irritation that he went on to the bridge to see what it was the officer of the watch had mistaken for Breslau.[14] No sooner had Lizard made a challenge to Breslau than Goeben was sighted about a mile astern of her consort, both ships steering north. Ohlenschlager ordered that an urgent priority W/T signal be sent, but this was jammed by Breslau. Failing this, the two monitors in Kusu Bay – Raglan and M28 – were frantically warned by searchlight of the enemy’s presence. At 7.30 a.m., when in range, Breslau opened fire on Raglan. With the fourth salvo the German cruiser succeeded in destroying the fore top, killing the monitor’s gunnery lieutenant; shortly after, the director top was hit, killing the director layer. Although Raglan returned fire with her 6” and 14” guns she was now blind. Worse, when both turret guns had been loaded an enemy shell pierced the armour and ignited the charges; although the flash did not pass to the magazine this counted for little as, by now, Goeben had entered the fray. One of the battle cruiser’s 11” shells soon hit the 12 pounder shell room — the result-ing explosion causing the ship to sink by the head (which at least had the benefit of putting the fires out).

                Now it was the turn of M28. Her demise was quicker but no less horrible for this: she was hit almost immediately at which the cordite in the 9.2” magazine caught fire. Goeben and Breslau had also engaged Lizard at 11,000 yards, straddling without hitting; there was little Ohlenschlager could do in return as his boat’s guns were only sighted up to 7,000 yards. The Lieutenant took the sensible precaution of always steering towards the last fall of enemy shot; feeling also that his crew needed something to occupy their attention he gave the order to open fire, aware that it was no more than a gesture. Believing that the German ships were intent on escaping northwards and that his two precious torpedoes should be reserved for a night action Ohlenschlager could do little to assist the luckless monitors which were continuing to come under heavy and accurate fire. Tigress, who had now returned from her northern patrol, joined Lizard in attempting to lay down a smokescreen to protect the monitors. It was already too late. The action had lasted not much more than 30 minutes (it was now just after 8 a.m.); Ohlenschlager had been surprised at how quickly the monitors had succumbed.[15]

                Rebeur-Paschwitz broke off the action when it became obvious there were no further targets and turned his ships about, steaming southward and retracing his course of that morning in the belief it was clear of mines. His intention now was to proceed south around Imbros to attack the more important base at Mudros. At first Ohlenschlager intended to head into Kusu Bay to rescue survivors but, upon seeing that trawlers were proceeding to the assistance of the stricken vessels, Lizard and Tigress shaped course to follow Goeben and Breslau. No sooner had they done this when M28 blew up with a tremendous explosion: ‘wreckage – and bodies – fell all round us’, Ohlenschlager recounted, and ‘When the smoke cleared there was nothing left of her.’[16] The raid now entered a new phase. At 7.30 a.m. the sound of the gunfire – Goeben’s assault upon the signal station – had also been heard at Gliki Aerodrome; within ten minutes the warning signal had been received and scout planes sent aloft.[17] This development was crucial; Breslau, which had been astern of Goeben, was now (unnecessarily) ordered on ahead so that Goeben’s anti-aircraft guns could be brought to bear on the enemy machines without endangering the light cruiser. By this time there were eight to ten machines in the air continuously harrying the enemy ships. As Breslau hauled out to port to pass ahead she struck a mine on her starboard side. Unlike the earlier explosion on the better-protected battle cruiser, this time the damage was serious: the steering gear and starboard low pressure turbine were put out of action; the ship was now unmanageable.

                Goeben turned to render assistance and possibly effect a tow as, all the while, bombs from the aircraft exploded around the German ships. However, within a few minutes it was all over and, after six years’ service together, the Mittelmeerdivision was separated. In her endeavour to help her consort, shortly before 9 a.m., Goeben struck another mine; then, in attempting to manoeuvre out of the minefield Breslau blundered into a further two mines, then another, and, at 9.05 a.m., a fifth. Now considerably down by the stern, the light cruiser heeled over, momentarily fought against the inevitable as she righted herself fleetingly, then slipped below the surface. Rebeur-Paschwitz, rapidly in danger of meeting the same fate, had to consider his own circumstances without pausing to grieve: holed twice by mines, harried by aircraft, and still dogged by Tigress and Lizard, the commander gave the order to resume the southward course, but now with the intention of re-entering the Dardanelles. The Admiral also ordered the four Turkish destroyers, still safe in the Straits, to proceed to the site to rescue survivors from Breslau, however when the boats were seen to emerge from their haven at 9.20 a.m. Tigress and Lizard immediately turned to attack. The leading Turkish destroyer was hit repeatedly and the boats were driven back inside the Straits but the British boats were now exposed to danger on two fronts: they had knowingly entered a minefield to engage the Turkish boats and, once within range, they came under fire from the shore batteries on Cape Helles. Their job done, Tigress and Lizard returned to pick up Breslau’s survivors; until broken off by the sighting of what was alleged to be a periscope, 14 officers and 150 men were rescued.[18] As the prisoners outnumbered the captors, Ohlenschlager admitted that ‘we packed them all into the fo’c’sle mess-decks, with maxims – and rockets in case the maxims jammed – trained on the one open door.’[19]

                Meanwhile Goeben continued to retrace her course from earlier that morning. At 9.40 a.m. another group of aircraft attacked; as Rebeur-Paschwitz brought his ship round to eastwards for the final leg of the return journey the ship entered the same minefield she had run over hours earlier. At 9.48 a.m. the battle cruiser struck a third mine — although, again, damage was not severe the ship took on a 10° – 15° list and appeared to be settling by the stern. Within a few minutes more bombers appeared overhead: the aircraft (two Blackburn “Baby’s” escorted by a Sopwith “Camel”) had been dispatched from Mudros to supplement the attacks from Imbros. On Mudros the first news of the raid had been received aboard the battleship Agamemnon at 7.55 a.m. when Captain Dumas was roused from his sleep with the news that the signal ‘G–B’ was being made from Tenedos.[20] Dumas ‘shaved, bathed, dressed & had breakfast quite calmly while on deck the ship was prepared for battle’; however, as Imbros was forty miles distant, he had no hope of affecting events. Indeed, as Agamemnon weighed anchor Dumas was ‘astonished to hear first that Breslau was apparently sinking & then she had sunk which I piped & the cheers were general & heart felt.’ The Captain then received a belated signal from Hayes-Sadler, instructing him to join the Admiral; as Dumas was writing out his reply – that he intended instead to fight Goeben – a further report was received that the German battle cruiser had re-entered the Straits. All in all, it had been ‘a sort of nightmare of a day, the Admiralty & Malta wanting information & [Hayes-Sadler] heaven knows where but somewhere between Salonica & Lemnos.’[21]

                Goeben’s very existence was now in the balance as, in addition to the ever-present danger from mines, it was left to the Allied aircraft to try to inflict the coup de grāce; in this endeavour they were hampered as, just as the land batteries had driven off the British destroyers, now Turkish aircraft flew out to provide cover. The attackers from Mudros were set upon by ten hostile seaplanes and, although the Sopwith managed to drive off some of the enemy machines, one of the Blackburn seaplanes was seen to fall in flames. The other, piloted by Flight Sub-Lieutenant Peel, passed directly over Goeben but the bomb failed to release. Peel manoeuvred for another attack, being dogged all the while by enemy seaplanes, and eventually managed to drop a 65-pound bomb near the battle cruiser which was, at this time, half a mile inside the Straits. Peel’s aircraft was damaged in the attack and was forced to land about a quarter of a mile astern of Goeben, near Cape Helles and between a Turkish destroyer and the shore. With considerable presence of mind, and a small amount of luck, Peel found that his engine had picked up a little and, half-flying and half-taxiing, he was able to round the Cape and reach the coast of Imbros, where he spent two days awaiting parts.[22]

                Having temporarily seen off the aerial attacks, and now safely inside the Straits, salvation appeared at hand for Goeben. But the ship was to suffer one final ignominy: when just off Nagara the vessel manoeuvred to the side of a buoy not marked on their chart in the mistaken belief that it signalled the end of the net barrage. At 11.32 a.m. Goeben ran on to a sandbank at 15 knots and stuck fast.[23] The ship’s predicament was soon known on Imbros, following a reconnaissance flight which reported ‘Goeben is lying a ship’s length from Nagara Burnu and seems in difficulties. She looks as though aground, as she is slightly tilted up forward and a large amount of disturbed mud was seen around her.’ While every available machine was gathered at Imbros for a bombing raid, it appeared as if the weather might come to the stricken ship’s assistance for mist and low cloud had developed. Further flights that afternoon and evening achieved no results: typical of these was the effort made by Flight Lieutenant Gaskell who left Imbros that evening but owing to the heavy fog bank covering the whole of the Straits was unable to locate Goeben and so dropped his bombs ‘in the locality’. In total, 65 sorties were flown against the German ships that Sunday.[24]

                The raids recommenced at first light on Monday, still hampered by fog and low cloud. By the middle of the day the clouds had been swept away and visibility was now excellent. Fourteen machines took part in the largest raid so far, leaving Imbros at ten minute intervals; nevertheless, though ‘some good bomb dropping was made’, no direct hits were registered. One bomber, which could not reach the target due to engine trouble, at least succeeded in destroying a shed at the Turkish camp at Boghali. Later that afternoon Flight Lieutenant Woodward in a DH4 finally managed a direct hit with one of his 112-pound bombs which did little other than illustrate clearly the problem experienced by the airmen: the weight of bombs their flimsy machines could carry aloft was simply too small to cause any serious damage to a ship the size of Goeben. Once more in the evening cloud and mist descended; 51 flights had been made that day and 2 tons of bombs dropped. This set the pattern for the succeeding days. From the commencement of the operations until early on the morning of 26 January 270 flights had been made and 15 tons 3½ cwts of bombs dropped; only 16 direct hits had been claimed. Then, from 8 a.m. on the 26th, strong north-easterly winds made flying imposs-ible for 24 hours. The first attempt to fly a reconnaissance mission on the 27th almost ended in disaster as the machine was blown over and wrecked while trying to take off; a second Camel succeeded in getting airborne but could not spot Goeben due to low cloud. Finally, at midday, a third Camel erroneously reported that the battle cruiser was still in position — however, whatever it was the pilot saw, it was not Goeben.[25]


If the aeroplanes initially could make little headway, by 23 January Hayes-Sadler was confident that there was ‘a fair prospect of completely disabling [Goeben] by gunfire if a 15” Monitor could be sent.’[26] Why the Admiral did not act upon the suggestion of Captain Dumas to proceed to the Straits with Agamemnon and Lord Nelson for a long-range bombardment is unclear; perhaps, in explanation if not in justification, it should be pointed out that the Admiral was a sick man. In any event, the attempt to shell Goeben with the Monitor that was available – M17 – ended, like most of the other efforts, in farce. A DH4 had gone aloft on the evening of the 23rd to spot for the Monitor but, as Wing Commander Gordon reported:

The machine went to the position arranged and waited 1½ hours, constantly calling up the Monitor to open fire, but no reply was received. There was no indication that the W/T was jambed. It had been arranged that if W/T failed, the Monitor should fire one round to indicate her position and that spotting should be carried out by Aldis lamp. The Monitor was never seen to fire and was not located. This machine in returning was blown nearly to Thasos by the strong wind, and eventually landed at Mudros at 2200.

Another machine was sent up on the 27th to practice spotting for the Monitor, but this, too, was forced to return as the W/T was out of action.[27]

                A new tack had then been employed on the 24th as preparations were made to launch a torpedo attack using a Short machine from Ark Royal; but the tests with the 14” torpedo were not, initially, satisfactory and, on the following day, Manxman arrived carrying two seaplanes fitted with 18” torpedoes. Before the attempt could be made, the weather deteriorated as described above. Eventually, just after midnight on 27/28 January, as the winds had abated, a dangerous sortie was flown to try to torpedo Goeben and also act as a diversion for the British submarine E14 which had been sent out earlier in the day to attempt the hazardous passage.[28] A flight of three seaplanes from Ark Royal and one from Empress took off, but only one, a Short fitted with an 18” torpedo, managed to get over the Straits. The pilot, who could not spot Goeben, dropped his warhead on the estimated position of the battle cruiser. Although, following a ‘tremendous explosion’, all anti-aircraft fire suddenly ceased, the pilot was not prepared to state definitely that Goeben was not there. This was not the end of the ingenuity as experiments continued apace aboard Ark Royal to fit a machine with a 300-pound depth charge.

                The hapless E14, on whose behalf the aerial diversion had been made, was not the first submarine available:[29] E12 was stationed at Mudros when Rebeur-Paschwitz made his raid and the submarine’s Captain was taken aloft as observer on a special reconnaissance on the 22nd to see the position for himself and decide whether an attack would be possible that night if Hayes-Sadler, who had now returned from Salonica, agreed.[30] But there was a problem, as subsequently detailed by Hayes-Sadler: earlier that month the submarine had been sent to Lemnos for exercises where, on the 14th, she reported a bad fracture in the port main shaft, putting the port engine entirely out of action and rendering the port main motor available for emergency work only. Although this did not affect her underwater speed, it seriously reduced her surface speed. A new shaft was ordered from Malta and was shipped in HMS Louvain which departed on 18 January; unfortunately, two days later, Louvain was torpedoed and sunk by UC22.[31] Despite this setback, the Captain of E12 reported that his boat was ready for sea in an emergency with a surface speed of 7 knots (reduced from 12 knots) and submerged speed of 6 knots. The Admiralty, aware of the problem, wired Hayes-Sadler ‘giving him authority, because of the great value of success, to take unusual risks in sending the submarine to attempt to torpedo Goeben’.[32] However, the Admiral, concurring with the opinion of the Senior Naval Officer, Mudros, would not give his assent as it was felt that the risk entailed with only one engine available for recharging purposes was too great.[33] Hayes-Sadler later claimed that he was heavily influenced in this decision by the clear nights and smoothness of the sea, which appeared to him to lessen the chances of success.[34] Captain Dumas, who saw the Admiral directly upon his return from Salonica at 11 a.m. on the 21st, found to his disgust that Hayes-Sadler was ‘quite cheerful & actually looking for credit whereas in my opinion he is damned forever…they will do nothing — not even send our one submarine up…The whole idea seems to be to wait & see…’ Dumas’ equanimity was not improved the following day, when Hayes-Sadler was ‘frightfully happy & looking for great credit in the whole business which amazes me…meanwhile we are doing nothing but dropping futile bombs which don’t hit.’[35]

                Hayes-Sadler’s report, outlining the reasons behind his decision not to send E12, was mislaid at the Admiralty for three months; when it finally came to light in May 1918 the Deputy First Sea Lord concurred in the decision, ‘having regards to the strong currents at the Narrows.’ This was too much for the First Sea Lord, Admiral Wemyss, who had earlier vented his feelings to Beatty:

The Goeben getting away is perfectly damnable and has considerably upset me, since we at the Admiralty were under the happy delusion that there were sufficient brains and sufficient means out there to prevent it: of the latter there were; of the former, apparently not.[36]

In Wemyss’ opinion, E12 should have been sent to attack, and the risk accepted. Although the port engine was out of action the port main motor was efficient and therefore, he argued, her surface speed would have been 9, not 7, knots. A whole class of submarines, he further complained, was then being built with only one engine for recharging purposes.[37]

                At last, in the forenoon of the 25th, a conference was called aboard the yacht Triad of all the commanders at which the decision was taken to send E14 which had since arrived from Corfu.[38] It was to create a diversion to shield the hazardous attempt by this submarine to enter the Straits late on the 27th that the flights resumed that day after the gale force winds had abated. No further word was heard from the submarine until, during a sortie in the middle of the following day, Flight Commander Hicks in a Sopwith Camel noticed a submerged object resembling a submarine in the entrance to the Dardanelles which was being fired upon by shore batteries and a Turkish destroyer. Hicks attempted to harry the attackers as far as possible with his machine guns before returning to Imbros to report.[39] The intrepid E14 had, in fact, penetrated the Straits and was on her return journey when she was detected, forced to surface by depth-charges, and sunk by the shore batteries.[40] Unhappily, the journey had been in vain, a fact confirmed early on the morning of the 28th when a reconnaissance flight returned with the depressing news: ‘Goeben has disappeared.’ There was no sign of any wreckage where the ship had been.[41]


The first indication in Constantinople that something was amiss was received at midday on Sunday 20 January: ‘Goeben has run aground off Chanak. Please send all available tugs immediately.’ Following that afternoon’s bombing raids it was felt that no purpose was to be served in exposing the battle cruiser’s crew to this danger, and the men were disembarked at daybreak on the 21st, remaining on shore until the day’s bombardments were over.[42] Soon, however, the men overcame their fright and became accustomed to the bombs being dropped while at the same time enjoying the fresh fish which now littered the waters of the Narrows.[43] Meanwhile work went on to lighten the ship. Preliminary attempts to budge the vessel from the hold of the mud came to naught; no tug initially came to the rescue. Instead, on the evening of the 21st, the elderly Turkish battleship Torgut Reis arrived to render assistance. That afternoon an anti-aircraft battery had also arrived to attempt to beat off the enemy bombers; as useful as this was two Albatross monoplanes were urgently requested for the 22nd. The first effort to tow Goeben off the sandbank ended in failure — while Torgut Reis and the small vessels Danmark and Nusrat astern hauled to port, Kerasun was placed ahead and to starboard to churn up the sandbank and try to break the suction. Although the battle cruiser gratifyingly swung round 7½° to starboard, the net result was that she buried herself further in, both forward and aft; worse, Torgut Reis was forced to break off and return to Constantinople to coal, not reaching the capital until the 24th. Throughout, there remained the constant danger overhead — on the 22nd a bomb actually fell into Goeben’s after funnel yet, overall, the raids did remarkably little damage.

                Having completed with coal Torgut Reis returned on the evening of the 25th and, just after mid-night, was moored on Goeben’s starboard side in preparation for a further attempt at re-floating. The effect of Torgut Reis’s propellers was to wash the sand away, breaking the suction, as the battle cruiser went full speed astern. Tentatively at first and then encouragingly Goeben succeeded in turning another 13°; slowly, the depth of water under her increased until, at 5.55 on the evening of 26 January the joyous news was flashed to Constantinople: ‘Goeben is off.’[44] As the violent gales that had prevented any flying from early that morning continued unabated the ship returned to the Golden Horn, arriving on the 27th. Although finally safe in harbour, her war was over as this time the damage was too great to be repaired. The Allies, who were not aware of this, felt the humiliation of the ship’s second escape all the more: Captain Dumas, hearing the reports on the 28th that Goeben was no longer stuck fast, recorded that it was ‘an everlasting disgrace to our initiative.’[45] But where was Goeben? Not knowing of her safe arrival, the Allies could afford to take no chances — although it was just feasible that, with her apparently serious damage, she might have escaped the clutches of the sandbank only to founder in the Sea of Marmora, the possibility remained that her damage was not so severe as it appeared so that, as soon as she was repaired, the German raid against Imbros could be repeated.[46] It was decided therefore to mount a reconnaissance of Constantinople on the 29th. Using a DH4 with a powerful engine Flight Lieutenant Hervey and his Greek observer left Mudros at 12.20 p.m.; by 3.30 that afternoon they had passed closed to the German air base at San Stefano, altering course to the north-east so as to keep to the western outskirts of Constantinople. Soon after, Goeben was first identified, lying near the inner of the two bridges spanning the Golden Horn. Hervey located a number of other ships and flew over San Stefano to see what could be seen before finally setting down on Mudros at 5.35 p.m., having been in the air over five hours and flown 449 statute miles.[47]

                On 8 February a further reconnaissance of Constantinople was carried out again using a DH4, this time piloted by Flight Commander Sorley. Goeben was now observed alongside a jetty on the south side of Stenia Bay with her bow towards the land. Her trim appeared normal and no lighters or salvage vessels were seen; no smoke or steam was noticed and the ship’s anti-aircraft guns remained silent. Four days later Goeben was in the same position ‘but on this occasion smoke was issuing from both funnels; large quantities of stores were again seen on the wharf alongside.’[48] As far as the Allies were concerned, Goeben was still available for further operations. With this search concluded, another began at Mudros: for someone to blame. Already, by 29 January, Hayes-Sadler was ‘at last awakening to the fact that he ought not to have taken [Lord Nelson] away’.[49] On the last day of January the courts martial which had became mandatory following the loss of ships were held to investigate the sinkings of Raglan and M28.[50] As expected, in both cases, all were acquitted. Meanwhile, the day before, Hayes-Sadler had set to work on his apologia:

…it has been my opinion for some time past [he vigorously, if contentiously, maintained] that from a strategic point of view the temporary transfer of Lord Nelson or Agamemnon to Salonika is not open to serious objection. The possibility of the two battleships from Mudros being able to meet Goeben off the Dardanelles and there to contest her sortie is improbable in view of Goeben’s superior speed and the geographical conditions. I have therefore been of opinion that when sortie had been effected the role of the battleships Lord Nelson and Agamemnon from Mudros and of Patrie from Salonika would probably be to join forces at the nearest point and sweep south behind Goeben whose probable objective must be the Asia Minor Archipelago, the transport route and either an attack on the Suez Canal or an attempt to reach the Adriatic. A stern chase by the three battleships, keeping in touch with the aid of destroyers and aircraft would form a powerful menace to the successful conclusion of any operations undertaken and would, I think, have the greatest chance of defeating the raid’s objects…I did not think I was endangering my strategic position with regard to the Dardanelles by proceeding with Lord Nelson to Salonika on the night of the 16th and I intended to send her back to Mudros when Triad [the Admiral’s yacht] arrived at Salonika on 21 or 22 January. A further though unimportant factor which influenced me to a certain extent in thus deciding was the undoubted desirability of giving the officers and men of the Lord Nelson the tonic of a short period at sea and a little relaxation after several months of monotony at Mudros.

                Subsequent events, coupled with the fact that hostile aircraft visited Salonika and Mudros on the 18th and 19th respectively, now make me not disinclined to think that it was perhaps the departure of Lord Nelson that decided the German Admiral to attempt a sortie before the British minefields had been sufficiently weakened by his sweeping operations and the winter gales. In this case I feel that my decision to withdraw Lord Nelson temporarily was a fortunate one however open to discussion may be the basis on which it was made.[51]

It was left to Admiral Gough-Calthorpe, the Mediterranean C-in-C, to explain to the Admiralty as best he could and to put forward proposals to prevent a re-occurrence. The policy of keeping Monitors, and similar ships, close to the Dardanelles at anchorages such as Kusu was abandoned; they would still watch the entrance to the Straits and show themselves at irregular intervals during the day, but this would only be done after air reconnaissance had reported that Goeben was not in the Straits, and the ships would always be withdrawn at night. Gough-Calthorpe also was concerned that the lookouts had not been alert enough, though even if sufficient warning had been provided the outcome would, in all probability, have been the same. Although he believed that the temporary separation of Lord Nelson and Agamemnon did not, on this particular occasion, affect the action of Goeben and Breslau[52] nevertheless he could not concur in Hayes-Sadler’s sanguine analysis: ‘the temporary separation of the two battleships is, in my opinion, open to serious objection, and I have given orders that in the future they are to be kept together, unless there is some good reason to the contrary, either at Mudros, or, if an occasional change is required, at Skyros.’[53]

                With regard to the aerial operations, Wing Commander Gordon added his analysis, which was tinged with criticism: the great lesson of the operations, he declared, was that 65- and 112-pound bombs were clearly inadequate weapons for attacking such a ship as Goeben. A 230-pound bomb would have been of much greater value — these had been requested from Malta as long ago as 22 September 1917 but Malta, with no bombs of that type available, had forwarded the request to the Admiralty, who had replied a week later that 50 would be sent. Despite this, not one had been dispatched in time for the Goeben sorties although HMS Manxman did arrive at first light on the 25th with a handful of 200-pound bombs.[54] The experiments with depth charges had also been a dismal failure as, even when dropped from the least practicable height, they exploded on contact with the water.

                Gough-Calthorpe made clear to the Admiralty on 7 February that, due to their inadequate speed and gun range, Lord Nelson and Agamemnon could not be relied upon with any certainty to deal with Goeben. In doing so he acknowledged that, as it was held to be impossible to spare two British battle cruisers to watch the Dardanelles ‘on the small chance of Goeben breaking out’, the present policy of using pre-dreadnoughts ‘has been attended by a certain amount of risk, and we have depended considerably on the passivity of Goeben and Breslau, due to the knowledge that except under extraordinary circumstances Germany would not risk their loss.’ Instead, faith had been placed largely in the extensive minefields, which had operated so well on the morning of 20 January. Nevertheless, as Gough-Calthorpe evidently believed that Goeben would come out again sooner or later – possibly making for Egypt and the Canal before sweeping up the convoy routes and seeking refuge in a Spanish port – he urged the Admiralty to replace the pre-dreadnoughts with two of the older type of dreadnoughts which would be some four knots faster and have a longer range. This the Admiralty refused to do, and Gough-Calthorpe was duly informed on 15 February; if Goeben came out again he would have to make do. Yet, as the C-in-C admitted:

Although the Goeben has assumed a political importance possibly unprecedented as far as a single ship is con-cerned, and although as long as she lies at Constantinople, she is, in view of the types of ships which compose the Mediterranean Fleet, a weapon of great potential value, yet it cannot be said that she is the enemy’s principal weapon. She may possess as great a political importance in Germany’s eyes as do her submarines, but under ordinary circumstances she can seldom be used as an offensive weapon, and if we make the risk attendant on her breaking out even moderately great, she will probably not come out except under abnormal conditions. In this way she maintains her political importance but ceases to be an active weapon of offence.[55]

If Gough-Calthorpe thought this would be the end of the matter he was mistaken. The First Lord, Sir Eric Geddes (who was in the vicinity, having attended a naval conference in Rome earlier in the month), travelled to Malta for a consultation with the Admiral, which took place on 15 February and at which the ground was recovered – the failure of the lookouts, the decision not to send E12 into the Straits, the absence of Lord Nelson – while Gough-Calthorpe repeated his call for two of the older dreadnoughts.[56]

                Geddes was apparently mollified by his discussions with Gough-Calthorpe, informing the First Sea Lord of the ‘very satisfactory trip to Malta’ at which a perfectly clear view was arrived at ‘as to what happened, and such mistakes, if any, as were made.’ This rather surprising assessment was made possible by concentrating on the defects of Hayes-Sadler. ‘I think the most you can say’, Geddes continued,

is that possibly an error of judgment was committed in not sending the submarine at once and taking the risk as urged by the Admiralty, but Hayes-Sadler did not show any particular mental or physical activity to get back to the centre of action when he was at Salonika, and he acted wrongly in having Lord Nelson away at all without replacement. In any event it is quite clear that he ought not to remain in command, and I hope you will concur in this, and in Lambert from Birmingham going out there to relieve him. Then a S.N.O. at Mudros is necessary, and I understand that a Captain is to be sent, so that really settles the Hayes-Sadler point out of hand…[57]

Hayes-Sadler tried to hold out by complaining that his decision not to send E12 was justified and that he was unaware of any definite understanding that his two battleships should be kept together, but Goeben had added another scalp to her list of ruined reputations. Although Hayes-Sadler had been Rear-Admiral Commanding for a matter of days, this in no sense mitigated the circumstances on his behalf, as he had been, for the previous six months, Senior Naval Officer on Mudros.[58]


Following the rout of the Turkish forces in Palestine by General Allenby in the Battle of Megiddo, commencing on 19 September 1918, the military situation in the Ottoman Empire, which had deteriorated throughout the year, became untenable. Within days the Bulgarians, not wishing to wait until the last moment, concluded an armistice thus exposing the Turks’ northern flank to the victorious Allied forces in the Balkans. Following the Bulgarian capitulation, the position of Enver and Talaat was made hopeless and the Turkish Cabinet resigned on 8 October. By this time indications had already reached the Foreign Office of a desire by the Turks to engage in peace negotiations. The heart of the Committee of Union and Progress, which had directed the affairs of the Ottoman Empire since the Young Turk revolution of 1908 – the triumvirate of Enver, Djemal and Talaat – slipped out of Constantinople on a German freighter bound for Odessa on the night of 2 November 1918. Deeply implicated in the wartime Armenian outrages, they were on the run not only from the victorious allies who sought them to stand trial for their crimes but also from Armenians out for revenge. Making their way to Berlin they remained in hiding till approached by the Bolshevik Government with an offer to go to Moscow to continue the ‘Turkish national struggle’; Enver and Djemal accepted the invitation, Talaat preferred to remain in Berlin. There, in February 1921, he was visited by Aubrey Herbert at the behest of Sir Basil Thompson of the Special Branch. Herbert found that his robust, corpulent friend from pre-war days ‘had grown thinner, and his good looks were sinister; his black hair was turning grey; his eyes were very bright. The urbanity of his manners remained the same. He was neat and well dressed, but obviously poor.’ Despite the shadow of the Armenian atrocities the pair spent two amenable days together, Talaat fondly remembering old, and better, days. Three weeks later he was dead, assassinated by a Persian Armenian on 15 March 1921.

                The self-imposed Russian exile of Enver and Djemal afforded them protection of a sort, though at best it only guaranteed a stay of execution, not a remission. Djemal spent time training the Afghan army before, while returning to Moscow, he too fell at the hands of an Armenian near Tiflis on 21 July 1922. Enver outlived him by a matter of weeks. He had left Moscow in the summer of 1921 hoping to capitalize on a Greek victory over Mustafa Kemal in the Greco-Turkish War by taking Kemal’s place in Anatolia; instead it was Kemal who prevailed. Enver retreated to Central Asia, there to proclaim an Islamic Revolution. His enemies now included the Bolsheviks and, some time in early August 1922, a red brigade caught up with him in Bokhara. As in life, so in death, the truth about Enver is hard to ascertain: that he died heroically leading a charge against the reds; that he was shot through the heart simply and unglamorously; or, more gruesome, that his head was removed from his shoulders by one strike from a sword while he drank at a fountain.[59] The Ottoman Empire had come to an end; the Turkish Republic was about to take its place.





[1]A recent study is available: Nekrasov, North of Gallipoli, (Boulder, Colorado, 1992).

[2]The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was eventually signed on 3 March 1918.

[3]Der Krieg zur See, vol. I, part ii, chap. 28.

[4]“Combined Action by Aegean Squadron”, Memorandum by Sydney Fremantle, Rear-Admiral Commanding, Aegean Squadron, Lord Nelson, 31 December 1917, PRO Adm 137/630. See also, Marder, Dreadnought, vol. V, pp. 12-13; McLaughlin, The Escape of Goeben and Breslau, p. 164.

[5]Nonetheless, a certain amount of confusion regarding the intention of the raid was evident amongst the German participants. Subsequent interrogation produced the following various interpretations: – the raid had only local objectives; the naval demonstration was necessitated by the strained Turco-German relations as a result of Turkish dissatisfaction with the Palestine campaign; the intention was merely to sink the two British monitors known to be in Kusu Bay; the object was to furnish a magnificent gift to the Kaiser on the occasion of his forthcoming birthday; the object of the exit was for the hope of a good fight and not merely a demonstration; and, finally, one honest officer who admitted simply, ‘The object of the sortie was unknown.’ Interrogation of Breslau survivors, PRO Adm 137/3896.

[6]Record of Interview between Lieutenant E. G. C. Cavendish and Kapitan Leutnant von Heyderbeck, 29 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[7]All intercepts referred to subsequently are available in PRO Adm 137/3896.

[8]Hayes-Sadler to C-in-C, Medt., (Gough-Calthorpe), 30 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[9]Dumas, diary entry for 16 January 1918, IWM PP/MCR/96. Dumas had been the Secretary on Fisher’s Royal Commission on Oil in 1912-13 and had been at the Admiralty in August 1914 when Souchon made good his escape.

[10]Interrogation of Breslau survivors, 21 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/3896. Preparation had been in progress for about a week.

[11]Ibid. See also Record of Interview between Lieutenant E. G. C. Cavendish and Kapitan Leutnant von Heyderbeck, 29 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630. Cavendish and Heyderbeck had been in China together in 1913 (in Minotaur and Emden respectively); Cavendish believed that this peace-time fraternization made Heyderbeck more talkative than would otherwise have been the case.

[12]Der Krieg zur See, vol. I, ch. 28; Keble Chatterton, Seas of Adventure, (London, 1936), p. 287.

[13]Hayes-Sadler to C-in-C, Medt., no. 396, 17 February 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[14]Keble Chatterton, Seas of Adventure, p. 292.

[15]Rear-Admiral, Aegean to Admiralty, no. 799, 21 January 1918; Hayes-Sadler, Report of Proceedings, 30 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630; Der Krieg zur See, ch. 28.

[16]Quoted in, Keble Chatterton, Seas of Adventure, p. 294.

[17]Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. on Sunday 20 January 1918, No. S52, 26 January, PRO Adm 137/630.

[18]Report of Proceedings, 30 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630; Marder, Dreadnought, vol. V, pp. 15-16. Among those rescued was Leutnant zu See Souchon, the Admiral’s nephew.

[19]Quoted in, Keble Chatterton, Seas of Adventure, p. 295.

[20]According to Admiral Usborne, who was at the time in Salonica aboard Latona, the warning signal was to be “GOBLO”. Usborne, Smoke on the Horizon, (London, 1933), p. 248.

[21]Captain Dumas, diary entry, 20 January 1918, IWM PP/MCR/96.

[22]Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. on Sunday 20 January 1918, No. S52, 26 January, PRO Adm 137/630. Peel was awarded the DSC for his efforts; the pilot of the Sopwith, Commander A. Moraitinis of the Royal Hellenic Naval Air Service, received a Bar to his DSO.

[23]This is the account given in Der Krieg zur See, however, the Turkish Admiral, Arif Pasha, was quite sure where blame should be placed: the fact of the grounding, he told his allied interviewing officer in November 1918, was due to a difference of opinion between the German Captain and the Turkish pilot as to which side of the buoy they should pass. ‘The German overruled the Turk’, Arif declared satisfiedly, ‘with the result that the ship grounded.’ PRO Adm 137/3896.

[24]Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 20 January 1918, No. S52, Second report, 27 January, PRO Adm 137/630. These were not the first attempts to bomb the ship from the air: in May 1917 Squadron Commander Kenneth Savory had flown a Handley Page bomber from London to Salonika and on to Mudros where, from 8 June, he began to practice bombing a target the size of Goeben from various heights between 200 and 1,500 feet. Savory planned a night-time bombing operation against Goeben, which was moored in Stenia Bay; to accomplish this his raid would have to take place sometime around the full moon on 4 July. Finally, at 8.47 p.m. on 9 July, he departed arriving over Constantinople (210 miles away) at 11.55 p.m. The battle cruiser was soon located and the first salvo of four 112-pound bombs was dropped from 800 feet; these missed Goeben but fell amongst the torpedo-boat destroyers moored alongside. The second salvo seemed to hit their intended target but caused little damage. For good measure Savory also loosed a few bombs at General, the German headquarters ship before returning safely, if slightly shot up, to Mudros at 3.40 a.m. Operations Report of R.N.A.S., no. 38, PRO Adm 137/3896; Keble Chatterton, Seas of Adventure, p. 273.

[25]Wing Commander Robert Gordon, Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 27 January 1918, Concluding report, PRO Adm 137/630.

[26]Hayes-Sadler to Admiralty, no. 803, 23 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[27]Wing Commander Robert Gordon, Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 27 January 1918, Concluding report, PRO Adm 137/630.

[28]Ibid. Van der Vat, The Ship that Changed the World, p. 229 appears to claim that torpedoes were dropped against Goeben while the ship was stuck fast; this is incorrect. On the same page van der Vat also states that the largest bombs available to the attackers ‘weighed 230 pounds’ however, as will be made clear, no bombs of this size arrived in time to be used. Finally, still on the same page, he declares that on 25 January the Germans and Turks ‘were spared the nuisance of air attacks thanks to a powerful north wind’; again this was not the case — on the 25th, 23 sorties were flown, dropping one ton of bombs.

[29]E14 had sailed from Corfu as soon as news was received of the raid; E2 was at Malta, having just completed a refit; the remaining two submarines on the Mediterranean station were based at Gibraltar. C-in-C, Medt., to Admiralty, 1 February 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[30]Hayes-Sadler to Admiralty, no. 803, 23 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[31]Dumas recorded in his diary on 20 January how, after staying up till 11 p.m. to make out reports, he returned to Agamemnon to face ‘more worries on account of S.O.S. from the Louvain torpedoed down south with a heavy loss of life & 1950 bags of mail & parcel post.’ IWM PP/MCR/96.

[32]Sir Eric Geddes, Memorandum of Consultation with the Commander-in-Chief, Malta, 15 February 1918, given in, Halpern (ed.), The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, document 171, pp. 402-7.

[33]Hayes-Sadler to C-in-C, Medt., no. 396, 17 February 1918, PRO Adm 137/630; Marder, Dreadnought, vol. V, p. 17.

[34]Geddes to Gough-Calthorpe, private and personal, 21 February 1918, given in, Halpern (ed.), The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, document 175, pp. 413-7.

[35]Dumas, diary entries for 21 and 22 January 1918, IWM PP/MCR/96.

[36]Wemyss to Beatty, 7 February 1918, quoted in, Marder, Dreadnought, vol. V, p. 19.

[37]Minutes by Deputy First Sea Lord and First Sea Lord, 23 May 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[38]Dumas, diary entry, 25 January 1918, IWM PP/MCR/96.

[39]Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 20 January 1918, No. S52, Second report, 27 January, PRO Adm 137/630.

[40]According to an intercepted Turkish report of 31 January, seven of the submarine’s crew were saved.

[41]Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 20 January 1918, No. S52, Second report, 27 January, PRO Adm 137/630.

[42]Chanak to General, 20, 21 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/3896.

[43]Record of interview with Admiral Arif Pasha, 16 November 1918, PRO Adm 137/3896.

[44]Goeben to General, 23, 24, 26 January 1918, ibid.

[45]Dumas, diary entry, 28 January 1914, IWM PP/MCR/96.

[46]Ibid., 29 January 1914.

[47]Wing Commander Robert Gordon, Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 27 January 1918, Concluding report, PRO Adm 137/630.

[48]Hayes-Sadler to C-in-C, Medt., no. 396, 17 February 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[49]Dumas, diary entry, 29 January 1914, IWM PP/MCR/96.

[50]The procedure had become general after a speech given by the then First Lord, Balfour, on 10 November 1915; in all, 94 Courts Martial were held during the war: see, PRO Adm 1 8556/110. An extract from the two Courts Martial is given in Appendix v.

[51]Hayes-Sadler to C-in-C., Medt., 30 January 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[52]Gough-Calthorpe also speculated that the absence of Lord Nelson might have influenced the Germans in deciding to come out; as has been shown, however, the German plans were afoot before Hayes-Sadler made his unfortunate trip.

[53]C-in-C, Medt., to Admiralty, 1 February 1918, PRO Adm 137/630.

[54]In addition Manxman also carried a ‘useful reinforcement’ of 218 x 112-pound, 80 x 100-pound and 45 x 65-pound bombs. This at least was a better effort than HMS Empress which had arrived the previous day with only 49 x 65-pound and 44 x 16-pound bombs. Narrative of Operations and Observations of the R.N.A.S. from Sunday 20 January 1918, No. S52, Second report, 27 January, PRO Adm 137/630.

[55]Remarks on the Situation in the Aegean, Memorandum by Gough-Calthorpe, 7 February 1918, given in, Halpern (ed.), The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, document 167, pp. 391-6.

[56]As the C-in-C made clear, although the main armament of Agamemnon and Lord Nelson consisted of 12-inch guns as against Goeben’s 11-inch, the British were entirely out-ranged, while the two ships could now only steam at barely 16 knots.

[57]Geddes to Wemyss, 17 February 1918, given in, Halpern (ed.), The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, document 172, pp. 407-8. Lambert, who had at one time been the Fourth Sea Lord, was himself relieved in the summer — see, Marder, Dreadnought, vol. V, p. 19.

[58]Geddes to Gough-Calthorpe, private and personal, 21 February 1918, given in, Halpern (ed.), The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, document 175, pp. 413-7.

[59]Fitzherbert, Greenmantle, pp. 232-4; Shaw and Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire, vol. II, pp. 354-5; Winstone, Illicit Adventure, p. 333.



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