Twelfth D.F. (Royal Navy) at the Battle of Jutland

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The Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla screened the Grand Fleet in the battle, working with the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla.

Its composition in the battle was 14 "M" class destroyers and two leaders, their commanders given as listed in the Official Despatches:[1][2]

The reports from the battle have been scanned from the Jutland Official Despatches, and may still contain a few O.C.R. errors.

Faulknor

On 3 June, Faulknor's captain reported on the Battle of Jutland.[3]

No. 0017/2.
H.M.S. " Faulknor,"
3rd June 1916.
SIR,
IN accordance with your signal Number 1800 of 2nd June,
I have the honour to report as follows :—
31st May.
On Fleet deploying, Twelfth Flotilla in L.T. took station on
beam of 5th Division of Battle Fleet, dropping back gradually
abeam of Fifth Battle Squadron who were prolonging the
line.
At' 7.35 p.m.—" Faulknor " opened fire on a single enemy
destroyer, about 5,000 yards on starboard
beam.
At 7.43 p.m.—Ordered first division to attack destroyer and
then rejoin. First Division (" Obedient,"
" Mindful," " Marvel," " Onslaught ") then
attacked and at 8.8 p.m. rejoined " Faulknor,"
" Obedient " reporting that enemy destroyer
had been sunk. " Obedient "reported that this
destroyer was flying a Commodore's pennant.
At 9.35 p.m.—Flotilla was in station astern of Fifth Division of
Battle Fleet, 2 cables astern of " Agincourt,"
course South, speed 17 knots.
At 9.45 p.m.—Reduced to 12 knots.
At 10.45 p.m.—Increased to 17 knots, flotilla then being 5 miles
astern of 5th division of Battle Fleet.
At 11.30 p.m. Being forced off course, to port, by one of our
own Flotillas led by a cruiser (believed to be
" Champion "), increased to 20 knots, course
S.S.E. Cruiser kept pressing us to port and
eventually our course was N.E. Reduced to
15 knots to let cruiser and destroyers astern
of her pass ahead.
1st June.
At 12.15 a.m.—Strange Flotilla having passed ahead, altered
course to South, speed 17 knots. These
alterations of course and speed were estimated
to have put us 5' to east of our original
position and to have dropped us to 10' astern
of Fleet.
1.45 a.m.—Sighted strange ships on starboard bow steering
S.E. On closing they were seen to be battle-
ships of the " Kaiser " class. Altered course
parallel to enemy and increased to 25 knots
Ordered first division (who were on my
starboard quarter) to attack.
25 knots.
1.50 a.m. " Obedient " reported that enemy were out of
sight. Ordered first division to take station
astern and led round to attack on a N.W.
course. Ordered flotilla to follow round and
attack enemy. Sighted enemy again, almost
immediately, still steering S.E.
About 2.0 a.m. Fired two torpedoes from port tubes, the first
one at second ship in line, and the second one
at third ship in line. When third ship was
about 2 points abaft our beam, there was a
very heavy explosion and she was seen to blow
up. The flames and debris appeared to go up
a great height. On firing, altered course to
N.N.W. and proceeded down enemy fine, six
battleships in all. The first four of which
were certainly " Kaiser " class, and I think
the last two were of the same class. I am,
however, not absolutely positive, about the
class of the last two. One destroyer was
stationed close under port quarter of third
enemy battleship. Controlled fire was opened
on the enemy's battleships and continued as
we passed down the line. As we neared end
of battle line, cruisers were observed (three,
apparently " Rostock " class) behind battle-
ships, and standing towards us, opening fire
heavily on us as they approached. Altered
away N. by E. and increased to full speed.
After a short time cruisers altered back
towards their own Fleet and continued to
attack the destroyers astern of us. Altered
course back to S.W. and gradually to South
at 2.20 a.m., with the intention of keeping in
touch.
2.25 a.m. Again sighted enemy, who appeared to be one
cruiser standing towards us. Altered course
to west. Lost sight of enemy and altered
course back to south. After this we did not
again sight enemy. When enemy line was
last seen at about 2.10 a.m, they appeared to
be steering S.S.W.
The following reports were made to Commander-in-Chief :—
0152. Enemy's battlefleet steering S.E., approximate bearing
S.W. My position 10' astern of first battle squadron.
0212. Enemy steering S.S.W.
Both above signals were made twice on power and were not
answered.
Flotilla was ordered to work round to South after making
their attack, but most of them appeared to have been cut off by
the cruisers, as only " Obedient " and " Marvel " were with
" Faulknor " when attack was completed.
Note.—There is no doubt that enemy battlefleet turned away,
probably 8 points directly after we first sighted them, but they
must have turned back to S.E. almost immediately. Their
speed was estimated to be 16-18 knots, and the range on
torpedoes being fired was about 3,000 yards.
3.30 a.m. Passed " Marlborough " steering North.
3.40 a.m. Joined 5th division of Battlefleet and took
station on quarter of " Agincourt."
3.55 a.m. Opened fire on a Zeppelin, but I do not think we
hit her.


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


I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
A. J. B. STIRLING,
Captain (D), Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla.

The Commodore (F.),

Grand Fleet Flotillas.

After receiving Maenad's report (see below), Stirling amplified his conclusions on 6 June:[4]

" Faulknor,"
6.6.16.
Forwarded :—
It appears more than probable that a second ship of the
" Kaiser " class was destroyed by " Maenad's " torpedo. In
connection with the attached report it is pointed out that this
report was made out when " Maenad " was at Rosyth, and I
did not see either " Maenad " or Comdr. Champion from time
of my attack until I met him in Commodore Halsey's cabin in
" Iron Duke." Commander Champion asserts that there were
only 5 ships in enemy line, whereas I distinctly saw and counted 6.
A. J. B. STIRLING,
Captain (D),
12th Flotilla.
Commander-in-Chief.
(Through Com. F.)

Narwhal

On 3 June, Narwhal's captain reported on the Battle of Jutland.[5]

H.M.S. " NARWHAL,"
12th Destroyer Flotilla,
3rd June 1916.
SIR,
I HAVE the honour to report that at 2.10 a.m. on 1st June
1916, when steaming South at 17 knots in company with
" Faulkner " and 12th Flotilla, I sighted enemy's Battle Fleet
about 1 mile on Starboard bow, steering approximately S.S.E.
Course was altered to port to conform to movements of
"Faulkner," and signal was received from Capt. (D). to attack.
I increased to full speed f.tild followed "Maenad," who after
getting ahead of enemy altered to starboard to come in to the
attack.
At 2.20 I sighted the first three ships of enemy's line, and
at 2.21 fired first torpedo at third ship, a Battleship of " Kaiser "
class, estimated range about 3,000 yards. A large explosion
was observed in her direction about three minutes later.
At about 2.25 a second torpedo was fired at what appeared
to be the last ship in the enemy's line, class of vessel not
distinguishable.
The Captain (D),

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
H. V. HUDSON,
Lieut.-Commander, R.N.

The Captain (D),

12th Destroyer Flotilla.

Maenad

On 5 June, Maenad's captain copied an earlier report on the Battle of Jutland.[6]

From—The Commanding Officer, His Majesty's Ship "Maenad,"
Dated—5 June 1916.
To — Captain D, H.M.S. "Faulknor."
Submitted :—
Attached is approximately the same report as one I was
ordered to send to Captain D, XIII. Flotilla, when at Queensferry,
marked " copy " of one to you.
At the time it was written it was not known if any other ships
had seen the explosion referred to or not.
I would point out that the time, viz. 2.28 G.M.T. by deck
watch, was noted by my orders and checked just afterwards
by my 1st Lieut., and that as nearly all other times appear to be
2.10 a.m., while my attack took place when nearly daylight
and after the remainder by at least 10 minutes, the point is
of importance, and would seem to indicate a distinct possibility
of two ships having been sunk.
J. P. CHAMPION,
Commander.

His report of 3 June read as follows:[7]

H.M.S. "MAENAD,"
3rd June 1918.
SIR,
I HAVE the honour to report that at 2.28 a.m. on 1st June
after attacking enemy's line of Dreadnought battleships of the
" Kaiser " class with torpedoes, one of them, the fourth in the
line, was hit amidships, which caused a terrific explosion
apparently of her magazines, the flames topping her mastheads.
Though the ships ahead and astern of her were seen after this,
the ship hit was not seen again, and I consider there is little
doubt that she was sunk.
No other British ships were visible to me at this time.
The details of my attack were as follows :—
After sighting the enemy's battleships about 2 a.m. and
getting your signal to attack, I trained both tubes to starboard
anticipating that you intended closing and firing starboard side.
When you turned to starboard therefore I was not ready
and held on my course, turning later to fire one torpedo from
the port side when the tube was trained.
I then trained both tubes to starboard and went ahead,
closing in again to between 4 and 5,000 yards, when I fired two
more torpedoes with different settings on the director.
The second torpedo struck the target with the above result.
The enemy turned away from 2 to 3 points after firing the
third torpedo tho' a two point turn had been allowed for.
During this third attack, Sub-Lt. Hon. A. Stuart opened
fire on the ship abeam with the after 4-in. gun and obtained
three hits on her upper works with 6,000 yards on his sights.[8]
This ship did not open fire on " Maenad," tho' she was straddled
several times by the ship astern until the latter blew up, when
the firing ceased. The ship was not struck in spite of many
close shots both short and over.
Shortly after this I met the " Marksman " and " Champion,"
who ordered me to join him, and I remained in her company
till arrival at Queensferry on 2nd June 4 p.m.
At 3 a.m. two passing German destroyers were engaged on
opposite courses in a few minutes, but were lost in the mist and
not followed by "Champion."
At 5 a.m. 10 survivors of " Fortune " were picked up, also
one body from " Ardent " for identification purposes.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
J. P. CHAMPION,
Comd.

Captain D.

H.M.S. " Faulknor ,"


XII. Flotilla.

Onslaught

On 3 June, Onslaught's Sub-Lieutenant reported on the Battle of Jutland, his captain having been killed in the battle. Stirling forwarded it to Diligence on the 8th.[9]

H.M.S. " ONSLAUGHT,"
3rd June, 1916.
SIR,
I HAVE the honour to submit the following report of the
action of June 1st.
At about 2.30 am. on June 1st we received the signal from
" Faulknor " to attack the enemy.
The telegraphs were put on to full ahead, all hands being
at action stations, except the foremost gtm's crew (gun out of
action), who were distributed as necessary for ammunition
supply, &c. The enemy appeared in single line ahead ; our
own course and the enemy's being convergent, with tubes bearing
to starboard.
Owing to mist no torpedoes were fired as the target was
not clear.
The ship was then turned 4 points to Port and then 2 minutes
later 18 points to port, when she was again heading for the
enemy on a convergent but opposite course.
The order was passed to tubes : "Fire when your sights are
on.
The two after torpedoes being set for short range, were fired
by the Gunner (T), and the two foremost ones by the T.G.M.,
set for long range; the first of these latter two hit the second
ship of the line (apparently one of the " Kaiser " class).
A big explosion ensued, the flames mounting to about 400 ft.
All torpedoes having been fired " Onslaught " turned 8 points
to starboard; meanwhile a 3-funnelled ship, next astern of the
one torpedoed opened fire and shell burst against the port side
of the chart house and fore bridge, igniting a box of cordite,
causing a fire in the chart house, completely wrecking the fore
bridge and destroying nearly all navigational instruments.
At the time there were on Fore Bridge :—the Captain, First
Lieutenant, Torpedo Coxswain, 2 Quartermasters, and both
Signalmen and the Gunner on his way up the Bridge ladder.
I had just been sent down to tell the Engine Room to make
black smoke, in order to screen our movements, and had only
got to the bottom of the ladder from the forecastle deck to the
upper deck. I went back to the bridge and finding everything
wrecked, Captain mortally wounded, and the First Lieutenant
killed, I assumed command and gave orders for the after steering
position to be connected, which was done very smartly. The
fire having been got under, I took station astern of the " Mindful."
In view of the fact that all torpedoes had been fired, one gun
out of action, and that amongst our casualties were all the
principal people, as regards the working of the ship, I considered
that the ship was not in a condition to again give action.
No other means of signalling being available a Wireless
was sent to " Castor " (" Faulknor " not answering) asking
permission to proceed back to harbour, which was approved
later. At 5.15 a.m. a position was obtained from " Mindful,"
and a course set N. 60 W., 30 knots. The glass top of the after
compass was broken, and it was checked by boats' compass.
The conditions were such on the bridge that the Doctor
considered it necessary to remove the Captain to shelter ; this
was done. At 10.0 a.m. speed was reduced to 15 knots owing
to the state of the sea. At 12.30 p.m. the Captain died.
At 2.0 p.m. increased speed to 25 knots.
About 4.0 p.m. a signal was made to Inchkeith that I expected
to arrive off May Island at 7.0 p.m., and that I had no means of
long-distance signalling and the private signals had been destroyed
by fire.
At 7.0 p.m. sighted Arbroath during a rain squall and altered
course to S. by W. increasing speed to 30 knots.
I signalled my 7.0 p.m. position to Inchkeith.
Off May Island, Torpedo Boat No. 34 signalled me to stop
and take stations astern. She escorted " Onslaught " as far as
the Forth Bridge, and when abreast of H.M.S. " Woolwich "
I anchored.
The dead and wounded were taken charge of by the Staff
Surgeon of "Woolwich," and sent ashore in Hospital Lighter.
I remained at anchor during the night and in the morning
acting under orders of Captain of " Woolwich," weighed and
secured to No. 39 buoy.
The behaviour of the Ship's Company during the whole
action and afterwards deserves the highest praise.


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


I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
H. KEMMIS,
Sub-Lieutenant.

The Captain (D),

12th Destroyer Flotilla.

Obedient, Marvel and Mindful

On 3 June, the captains of Obedient, Marvel and Mindful submitted a consolidated report on the Battle of Jutland.[10]

H.M.S. " Obedient,"
3rd June, 1916.
With reference to Commander (li), Signal 1800, of 2nd June
1916. The following is consolidated report of 1st Division,
after meeting held on board H.M.S. "Obedient." H.M.S.
" Onslaught " absent :—
P.M.
5.45. Enemy in sight to the South.
British Battle Cruisers steering N.E. heavily engaged.
Battle cruisers and Flotilla crossed bows of 12th Flotilla.
6. 0. 5th Battle Squadron passed this Flotilla and deployed,
flotilla under heavy fire from enemy Battle fleet.
" Marvel " struck by 12-in. shell.
Flotilla formed in L.T. and took up cruising station on
flank of Battle fleet.
6.15. " Defence " blew up astern of Flotilla.
6.30. Enemy Battle cruiser totally disabled bearing S.W.
7.38. 1st Division opened fire on enemy Destroyer bearing
West.
7.45. 1st Division parted company, attacked enemy T.B.D.
and sank her.
Division straddled by Salvoes from T.B.D.'s further to
the west.
7.59. Rejoined Captain (D) in accordance with signal.
Report to (D) 12, T.B.D. sunk was of the "V" class,
the letter seen but number shot away. She was
flying Commodore's pendant.
8.30. Course S.W., 17 knots.
9. O. Course South.
9.20, Course S.S.E., 20 knots.
10.30. Destroyers were attacked on Starboard beam, ship
observed on fire.
11 . 2 0 . Observed one of our flotillas attack enemy Battle fleet
on our starboard bow. Three torpedoes were seen
to explode, ship also observed to be on fire.
A.M.
12.10. Flotilla received heavy gunfire from the direction of the
Starboard beam.
12.18. Course E., 17 knots.
12.30. N.E., being chased. Then turned round to South.
1.43. " Obedient ," D 12. Enemy S.W.
1.45. 1st Division proceeded to attack.
1.50. Enemy turned away, 1st Division rejoined D 12.
2. O. Commenced second attack, enemy clearly visible to
Port. Dreadnought battleships leading, pre-Dread-
noughts astern of them steering E.S.E.
2. 5. " Obedient " fired torpedo at Kaiser class battleship.
2. 9. Approximately. Torpedo exploded between her funnels,
clearly lighting her up. Explosion was so great, that
magazine probably blew up, flames went up higher
than mast. It is considered that ship undoubtedly
blew up and sank.
2.10. " Obedient " fired 2nd torpedo at pre-Dreadnoughts.
Between 2.5 and 2.8 " Marvel " fired four torpedoes.
At this time division was being straddled by a heavy
fire, noise of guns and bursting shells was too great
to allow of certain observations as to results of latter
torpedoes, it is not considered that their explceion
could have been heard, unless their magazines had
gone up as in first case. " Mindful " only having
two boilers attempted to go straight for enemy,
Sighting them on Starboard bow, and turned to fire,
but was masked by " Onslaught," which was following
in wake of " Obedient," and again by another T.B.D.,
name unknown. " Mindful " was obliged to turn away
to avoid being rammed on both occasions.
" Onslaught " fired torpedoes, one of which was observed
to hit an enemy Dreadnought.
" Mindful " and " Onslaught " under heavy fire. "On-
slaught" hit within a few seconds of firing torpedoes.
2.20. Flotilla worked round to the South. " Mindful " and
" Onslaught " placed themselves under orders of
" Opal."
3.25. Observed " Marlborough " steering North. Slight list to
Starboard.
3.35. Joined "Revenge."
3.55. Zeppelin in sight. "Revenge " fired 15-in. salvoes at her.
8.45. Observed British destroyer with bows gone.
9.10. Observed men on rafts, informed D 12.
9.25. Parted company with D 12 and returned to pick up
men on rafts. They had already been picked up by
Dutch steamer. Men were German Bluejackets, and
it is believed belonged to German cruiser seen to sink
by " Sparrowhawk. "
" Obedient " G. McOWEN CAMPBELL,
Commander.
" Marvel " [[[11]|R. WATKINS GRUBB]],
Lieut.-Commander.
" Mindful " - J. C. RIDLEY,
Lieut.-Commander.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Naval Operations. Volume III. p. 432.
  2. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 45.
  3. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 331-334.
  4. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 336.
  5. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 334.
  6. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 334-5.
  7. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 335-6.
  8. If true, this is commendable night shooting with a 4-in gun.
  9. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 336-8.
  10. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 338-340.
  11. Sumner Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/48/137. f. 541.

Bibliography