H.M.S. Cochrane at the Battle of Jutland
Report of Proceedings
Taken from the Official Despatches.
H.M.S. " Cochrane,"
2 June 1916.
IN accordance with your Signal 1150 of 2 June 1916, I have the honour to forward an account of the proceedings of H.M.S. " Cochrane " from noon, 31st May, to noon, 1st June.
2. At noon, 31st May, " Cochrane " was in Lat. 58° 20 N., Long. 3° 47 E., steering to the S.E., speed of advance 16 knots, being the left-hand ship of Cruisers spread in L.S.1—10 miles, Destroyer " Mischief " accompanied " Cochrane." 3rd B.C.S. was occasionally in sight hull down ahead. Battle Fleet (B.F.) on starboard quarter. Visibility to the Sd. not so good as to the E. and N.
3. At 2.23 p.m. we received, by intercepted W/T Signal, the first intimation of enemy being sighted by the Cruisers from Rosyth—some 70 miles to the Sd. of us. At 2.40 p.m. steam was raised for full speed. Speed of advance was increased to 18 knots at 3.5 p.m., and to 20 at 3.25 p.m. Heavy firing was heard to the Sd. about 4.0 p.m. At 6.0 p.m.. Cruisers were closed and formed single line ahead in the order—" Minotaur," " Cochrane," " Shannon," " Hampshire "—course South to close the B.F.
4. From this time " Cochrane " was astern of " Minotaur " until noon 1st June, so a detailed account of movements is not given, but a short narrative of what occurred.
5. While we were closing in, the B.F. steered to the S.Ed., then S., and then S.W., the enemy being away to the W. and N. of our battle line. Six of our Battle Cruisers (B.C.F.) were well ahead of our B.F., steering to the S.Wd., and all Battleships and Battle Cruisers were heavily engaged off and on, the heaviest firing coming as a rule from the van and rear. 5th B.S. was not seen on the 31st, and I presumed they were in the rear with the remaining Battle Cruisers. Our Squadron gradually drew ahead along the disengaged side of the B.F. and reached the van soon after 8.0 p.m., having been joined by the " Duke of Edinburgh " at 7.20 p.m.
6. At about 8.0 p.m. we crossed the bows of the leading Battleship (" King George V ") and made for the disengaged quarter of the B.C.F. At this time the B.C.F. was steering about S.W. and the B.F. had altered course more to the Sd., the gap between them about 4 miles and increasing rapidly. The leading ships of the B.F. were not then engaged. The weather was hazy, visibility about 8 to 10 miles, and owing to this and the smoke from " Minotaur," which entirely blocked our view to starboard most of the time, it was very seldom possible to see anything of the enemy beyond the flashes of their guns. At no time could I distinguish what their ships were. Later the B.F. altered to W., but-must have then been out of sight of our B.C.F.
7. The B.C.F., which were on our starboard bow, became heavily engaged about 8.45 p.m., and enemy salvoes could be seen falling amongst the light cruisers and destroyers on their disengaged bow, while one salvo appeared to straddle the rear ship of our line—" Hampshire " or " Duke of Edinburgh." Firing ceased before 10.0 p.m., when it was nearly dark, and by 10 p.m. our Fleet had all turned to Course 8., speed 17 knots, for the night.
8. At 2.45 a.m. on 1st June, Course was altered to the N., we being then in Lat. 55° 3 N., Long. 6° 10 E. The morning was very hazy and throughout the forenoon visibility was seldom more than 3 or 4 miles. At 3.40 a.m. a Zeppelin was sighted from the Main Top, South (right astern) a long way off. At 9.0 a.m. there was heavy firing in the direction of the B.F. for about half an hour. Position at noon 1st June was Lat. 56° 16 N., Long. 5° 35 E., Course N.W., speed 20 knots.
9. A short report from the Officer controlling in the Fore Top —Lieutenant-Commander G. C. Dillon, R.N.—is enclosed.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
The Rear Admiral Commanding Second Cruiser Squadron.
Enclosure to my (" Cochrane's ") Letter No. 143/B.W. of 2 June 1916.
About 4.0 p.m. heard firing on starboard bow.
View, during practically the whole of the action was obscured by funnel smoke of " Minotaur."
Visibility was very variable the whole time.
Battle Fleet opened fire and deployed into single line. No splashes of enemy shots were visible.
Sighted B.C.F. taking station ahead of B.F.
L.C.S. on our starboard beam engaged, supported by B.C.F. Saw occasional glimpses of enemy ships through the smoke, but could not make out details. Our salvoes appeared to be falling close to enemy unit, spread of about 500 yards.
B.C.F. and L.C.S. ceased firing, and L.C.S. took station in rear of B.C.F., Cruiser Squadron being on port quarter of B.C.F. throughout.
Later, B.C.F. engaged enemy at what appeared to be fairly close range. Flashes of enemy guns were visible from " Cochrane."
Enemy salvoes were consistently about 2,000 yards over B.C.F. and appeared very ragged. A number of shell were observed to burst on graze.
B.C.F., L.C.S. and Cruisers turned to port; enemy fired one or two salvoes at rear ship of cruiser line (" Chester ") which fell over. A few minutes later enemy fired a star shell which lit up an area of about 1,000 yards.
About 3.0 a.m. sighted B.C.F. and L.C.S.
About 4.0 a.m. Zeppelin was sighted astern. L.C.S. opened fire at her shortly afterwards.
- Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 276-278.
- Admiralty (1920). Battle of Jutland 30th May to 1st June 1916: Official Despatches with Appendices. Cmd. 1068. London: His Majesty's Stationary Office.