H.M.S. Marlborough at the Battle of Jutland

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Report of Proceedings

Sub-Enclosure to Enclosure No. 4 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C. Home Fleets.

H.M.S. Marlborough,

9th June 1916.


I HAVE the honour to report that at 6.54 p.m. on the 31st May, the ship was struck by a torpedo in the Diesel engine room. At the same time a periscope was observed by witnesses about 1,000 yards on the starboard beam. No track of this torpedo was observed, though looked for by several observers immediately after the explosion.

The explosion caused a list to starboard of seven degrees, and flooded the Diesel Engine Room, Hydraulic Engine Room, and water was reported to be entering "A" boiler room, the biggest leak being between the framing of the watertight door to the lower bunker 100-111, and the bulkhead to which it is secured, which had parted. I then telephoned orders to draw fires in "A" boiler room. Speed was now reduced to 17 knots.

Marlborough continued in the line, and at 7.0 p.m. three torpedoes were reported on the starboard beam and bow. Course was immediately altered to starboard and then to port; two torpedoes passed ahead and one astern of the ship.

The T.B.D. Acasta, lying disabled, was then passed one cable on the port beam. At 7.0 p.m. fire was reopened on a disabled enemy ship, range 9,800 yards, four salvoes were fired, and the third and fourth were observed to hit. Ceased fire at 7.07 p.m.

At 7.10 p.m. fired a torpedo at a disabled German ship with three funnels. This may have been the same ship. At 7.12 p.m. opened fire on battleship of Markgraf class, one point before the starboard beam, distant 10,200 yards, steering south. Fourteen salvoes in six minutes were fired at this ship, and the sixth, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth were observed to hit. The speed was now 15 knots. Ceased firing at 7.18 p.m.

At 7.19 a T.B.D. flotilla was sighted attacking on the starboard bow, opened fire at them with range 11,000 yards. Course was altered away two points to S.S.E., and at 7.22 the flotilla scattered in a dense cloud of funnel smoke, two boats being hit. At 7.24, altered course to S.E. by S., and fired a torpedo at a battleship of the Markgraf class. At 7.33 three torpedoes were observed on starboard beam and bow, course was immediately altered to starboard and then to port, one passed ahead, one astern, and the other very close astern or under the ship.

Ship was steadied on course S. by W., and at 7.52 to S.S.W. At 8.0 p.m. course was altered to West and speed to 17 knots, a report also was made to the Commander-in-Chief that Marlborough's maximum speed was reduced to 17 knots.

At 8.20, altered course to S.W., 9.0 to S. 4 E., and 9.15 to S. 7 W. At 10.5 p.m. there was gunfire on the starboard beam and again at 10.40, abaft the starboard beam, distant about 8 miles.

At 11.44 p.m. gunfire heavy on starboard quarter, and again at 00.10 a.m. about 7 points abaft starboard beam. A very heavy explosion was observed, evidently a ship blowing up.

At about 2 a.m. 1st June, Commander Currey reported to me that the water was gaining, and that he and Engineer Commander Toop considered that it was dangerous for the ship to steam any longer at a speed of 17 knots, so with great regret I immediately informed you that speed must be reduced.

Speed was then reduced to 15 knots, and Marlborough hauled out of line, the Revenge, Hercules, and Agincourt proceeding at 17 knots.

At 2.15 a.m. speed was reduced to 13 knots and Fearless ordered alongside port side. Engines were stopped at 2.30 a.m. Fearless came alongside, embarking you and your staff.

At 3.0 a.m. I proceeded N. 4 E., and later on the Fearless joined as escort. A Zeppelin was sighted at 4.0 a.m. passing astern and steering to the Eastward. Two common and two A.P. shells from 13.5-in. guns and twelve H.E. shell from H.A. gun were fired, and the Zeppelin was observed to dip suddenly, but proceeded on its course.

Orders were now received from the Commander-in-Chief to proceed to Tyne or Rosyth viâ M channel, so at 4.30 a.m. course was altered to S. 38 W., 14 knots. Owing to the deep draught of the ship I decided to proceed to Rosyth.

At 9.30 a.m. two submarines were observed, bearing west about 8 miles off and steering towards Marlborough with conning towers showing. Five minutes later they dived, so course was altered away from them, course being resumed at 10.50 a.m. to S. 56 W. At 10.52 a.m. an oily patch was observed about 2 miles astern, and the track of a torpedo overhauling the ship, the torpedo passed along the port side, two cables off. At 11.10 a.m. course was altered to westward, and at 1.45 p.m. Commodore (T) with Harwich Flotillas was sighted bearing S.E. T.B.D.'s Lark, Lance, Lysander, and Lassoo, and shortly afterwards Laforey, Lookout, Lawford, and Laverock joined as escort. At 4.0 p.m. T.B.D.s Ness and Albatross joined.

At 8.0 p.m. the wind was freshening from the S.W., force 5, and by 10.0 p.m. W.S.W., force 6, with a rising sea.

About 10.0 p.m. the water was rising in "A" boiler room through the suction of the ash expeller pump and submersible pump continually choking and the canvas hose of the ejector bursting. At midnight the water was still gaining, and was now about 4 feet below the grating around the top of the boilers. Commander Currey reported that matters were serious below, and asked that a salvage tug might be signalled for. I then altered course to S.W. by W. reduced, to 10 knots, and steered for the lee of Flamborough Head, which was distant about 50 miles, stationed the Fearless one and a half cables to windward of the, fore bridge as the sea was breaking over the starboard side of the upper deck. At the same time I informed the Commander-in-Chief of the state of affairs, and asked the S.N.O., Tyne, to send tugs to meet me off Flamborough Head. I also warned destroyers to be prepared to come alongside lee side.

The Laforey and Lookout then asked if they could be of use in laying an oil track ahead of Marlborough. At 2 a.m. Lance's division was ordered to lay oil track ahead, and to windward of Marlborough. This proved most successful, and I was very grateful to the destroyers for the suggestion. My wireless messages were intercepted by the Admiralty and a signal was received from the Admiralty to proceed to the Humber. In the meantime in "A" boiler room, Stoker Petty Officer Ackerman was sent down in a diving dress and cleared the suctions of the pumps, and at 1 a.m. the water was stopped from rising. Speed was increased to 12 knots at 3 a.m.

At about 4.30 a.m. the steam ejector was repaired and the boiler room was cleared of water well below the floor plates at about 5.15 a.m. As the land was closed the Meather improved, and at 5.30 a.m. the destroyers stopped making oil track.

Marlborough passed Spurn Light Vessel at 7.35 a.m., and secured to No. 3 buoy off Immingham at 10 a.m.

When the ship was torpedoed, Stoker William Rustage, Official Number K. 20,877, and Stoker Edgar G. Monk, Official Number K. 4,266, who were on duty in the Diesel room, were instantly killed.

Details on recommendation, personnel &c. omitted from the Report
as reproduced in the
Official Despatches.

I have the honour to be,


Your obedient Servant,



The Vice-Admiral Commanding,

First Battle Squadron.

Gunnery Report, H.M.S. Marlborough.

H.M.S. Marlborough, 4th June 1916.


Number of Rounds fired.

Gun. № of Rds. fired. A.P. Lyddite. Common.


Lyddite Comm.


Breakdowns, Accidents, &c.

(1) Right gun of "A" turret had inner "A" tube and jacket cracked, a large portion of jacket being broken off. This occurred about the 5th round fired by this gun, and it is considered that a premature must have occurred, although the damage to the rifling is comparatively small. A.P. lyddite was being fired.

(2) After the ship was struck by a mine or torpedo, it took up a list of about 7° to starboard. Due to this list, difficulty was experienced in all turrets due to shell slipping forward as it rolled out of main cage into waiting position and fouling driving band with shell brake. Four turrets had to unship brake.

(3) Due to heavy list, all firing generators in turrets flooded, and it was necessary to disconnect pipe and allow water to drain away.

Detailed record not kept.


Control and method of fire.

Controlled from fore top; firing by director. No difficulty was experienced in distinguishing own shots or in spotting overs or shorts, and hits could easily be distinguished by a deep red flame and clouds of grey and white smoke; occasionally when shell burst well inside ship no flame could be seen, but only a large amount of greyish smoke.

Without the director, it would have been almost impossible to keep gunlayers on correct object; there was so much confusion amongst enemy's ships, one ship was passing another; smoke from cruisers on fire often obliterated the object; own ship was continually altering course small amount; the above made it difficult to keep on the same object for any length of time.

Description of firing.

With objects fired at. All times are Greenwich mean times. Only hits that were actually seen and confirmed by two or more persons are given.

6.10 p.m. Sighted British battle cruisers engaging enemy's ships.
6.12 Red 7, cruiser, four funnels, one mast (disappeared in smoke and mist before fire could be opened).
6.15 After deploying to port. Battleship, two funnels widely separated, two masts (probably Kaiser class) estimated range 10,000 yards, rangefinders could not get a range.
6.17 Opened fire. Seven salvoes were fired in 4 minutes; 5th and 7th were clearly seen to hit. In the 5th salvo a deep red flame could be seen and salvo struck, in the 7th salvo a large volume of grey smoke appeared.
6.21. Ceased firing, as enemy was hidden by cruiser on fire (Roon class).
6.24. Green 98, a cruiser, 3 funnels (Roon, one funnel gone) ? range by rangefinder 10,500 yards.
6.25. Opened fire. 5 Salvoes were fired. Hits could not be distinguished for certain , as two or three ships were firing at same object.
6.27. 6-in. guns opened fire at same object. It was during this firing that right gun of "A" turret was severely damaged and put out of action, cause not known for certain, but probably due to premature. It was about the fifth round fired by the gun, A.P. Lyddite was used. Inner "A" tube is cracked all round about half way along gun. A large portion of jacket is broken off, and a crack extends 15 ft. along jacket.
6.29. Checked fire. There was a pause of ten minutes, during which the ship was altering course, and enemy was hidden by smoke.
6.39. Object a battleship of Kaiser class. Range 13,000 yards; one salvo was fired, and enemy turned away and disappeared.
6.42 to
Ship was altering course, and enemy's movements were very difficult to follow.
6.54. Marlborough was hit by a torpedo or mine in Diesel engine room. The shock was sufficient to shake off switches on lever power board, and some fuses in telephone circuits. These were very quickly replaced, and all control instruments were found to be in step.
7.0. Passed destroyer Acasta on port hand flying 6 flag and with collision mat over starboard quarter. Green 90 a cruiser of Roon class, stopped, range by rangefinder 9,800 yards.
7.3. Opened fire. Fired four salvoes in two minutes, the 3rd and 4th both hit and appeared to open up her side, as a deep red flame could be seen inside her hull.
7.5. Ceased fire, as she appeared completely disabled and sinking fast.
7.6. Object shifted, a battleship two funnels widely separated, left hand ship of three (Markgraf class). Range by R.F. 10,750.
7.12. Opened fire. Fired 14 salvoes in 6 mins., the 6th, 12th, 13th and 14th were all distinct hits. In the 6th salvo, a large cloud of grey and white smoke appeared near the foremast. In the 12th salvo two hits could be clearly seen under bridge and rather low.
7.18. Checked fire.
7.19. Enemy hauled out of line and turned away, lost in smoke; object shifted, one ship to the left that was not fired at.
7.20. Enemy destroyer attack took place between the lines.
7.22. 6-in. guns opened fire. Turrets fired one salvo into the brown. After this, no more was seen of the enemy. During the night a lot of firing could be heard astern.

At about 4.0 a.m. a lot of firing could be heard to the southward, and shortly after a Zeppelin was sighted crossing the astern and steering approxiamtely east. Three-in. H.A. gun open fire and fired 12 rounds. "X" and "Y" turrets opened fire with A.P. shell, which was already in the guns, and two rounds of common which was in G.L. cage. Four rounds were fired. The nose of the Zeppelin was observed to dip very suddenly at one period, but it could not be ascertained for certain whether she was hit. Range varied between 5,000 and 10,000 yards.

If ship had not been disabled, rendering it undesirable to "A" and "B" turrets, it would have been worth while turning so as to get full broadside bearing.




H.M.S. Marlborough suffered two men killed during the course of the battle.

  • Edgar George Monk, Stoker 1st Class
  • William Rustage, Stoker 1st Class

Damage Sustained

The principle damage, two views of which are given, was caused by the explosion of a torpedo which struck the ship on the Starboard side about 20 feet below the Water Line in the vicinity of 86 - 88 Stations.

The Outer Bottom Plating was holed irregularly from the lower edge of the armour belt to the outside edge of the Docking-Keel plate transversely, and from about 85 to 98 Stations longitudinally, an area of about 20 feet × 26 feet in extent. Beyond this the plating was distorted and indented generally to about 78 Station on the Forward side and 111 Station on the Aft side, and towards the Middle Line to between the 1st and 2nd Longitudinals.

The Inner Bottom Plating was holed to an extent similar to that of the Outer Bottom, and damaged over an area corresponding to that of the damaged Outer Bottom, which was also pierced in several other places adjacent by the lower ends of the stiffening angles on the transverse framing being forced through it.

The framing, both transverse and longitudinal, was torn and much distorted where the plating was holed, and very badly crushed over the remaining damaged area.

The Bilge-keel was completely carried away between 85 and 110 stations, a portion of the wood filling being found in a beam space under the Lower Deck against the Magazine Protective Bulkhead in the Dynamo Room. Between 78 and 85 Stations the Bilge-keel was distorted and torn away from the connecting angles which were forced inboard with the Outer Bottom Plating. At the After end of the damaged area, the upper part of the Bilge-keel was doubled back.

The outher edge of the slope of the Middle Deck between 80 and 111 stations was drawn downwards and inboard as was also the covering plate, the fastenings of the latter being carried away from the armour plate, but remaining intact in the outer bottom plating.

The bulkhead between the Wing Space and the Dynamo-room was penetrated and bulged in from the Inner Deck to the Inner Bottom. The inner Coal Bunker bulkhead was bulged in to a corresponding extent and also the bulkhead to the Forward Boiler Room, this limiting the extent of the damage in an inboard direction, although the watertight doors on the bulkhead were rendered non-watertight by distortion. The bulging of this bulkhead jammed the telegraph shafting running adjacent to it, and communication had to be made by other means.

The crown of the Dynamo Room which formed the floor of the Hydraulic Machinery Room and the floor of the Electric Lead Passage were bulged upwards, also the floor of the Dynamo Room, the Oil Drain Tank beneath it being badly damaged. The Hydraulic Tank was also damaged considerably.

The transverse bulkhead at 78 Station was damaged at its outer edge, where the fastenings were carried away over a small area. That at 90 Station was much distorted over an area extending from the Outer Bottom to the inner bulkhead of the Dynamo Room, a distance of about 20 feet. The bulkhead at 92 Station forming the after boundary of the Transverse Coal Bunker was also badly buckled from the Inner Coal Bunker Bulkhead to about 6 or 8 feet from the Middle Line. The Coal Bunker Bulkhead at 100 Station was buckled over practically the whole of its area, while the damage to 111 transverse bulkhead was limited to slight buckling at its outer edge where connected to the Inner Bottom.

The flats of the compartments between 66 and 78 Stations below the Middle Deck were strained causing leaks.

The torpedo-net shelf above the position of the damage was forced up by the explosion, three supporting brackets being torn away from the armour. The Upper Deck stringer-plate was also sel [?] up in the vicinity and fractured transversely for a short length.

Difficulty was experienced in opening the Conning Tower door after the explosion and it was found that the lower hinge pin was slightly bent.

The belt armour was neither damaged nor displaced by the explosion.



  • Admiralty (1920). Battle of Jutland 30th May to 1st June 1916: Official Despatches with Appendices. Cmd. 1068. London: His Majesty's Stationary Office.