HMS Euryalus (1901)


HMS Euryalus (1901)

HMS "Euryalus" was a "Cressy"-class armoured cruiser in the Royal Navy. Though the class was already obsolete by the outbreak of the First World War, the "Euryalus" and her sisters "Aboukir", "Bacchante", "Hogue" and "Cressy" were assigned to patrol the Broad Fourteens of the North Sea, in support of a force of destroyers and submarines based at Harwich which blocked the Eastern end of the English Channel from German warships attempting to attack supply route between England and France. During this period, "Euryalus" was the flagship of Seventh Cruiser Squadron, under Rear Admiral Arthur Christian.

The Live Bait Squadron

The "Cressy"-class vessels had rapidly become obsolete due to the great advances in naval architecture in the years leading up to the First World War. At the outbreak of the war, these ships were mostly staffed by reserve sailors. The "Euryalus" was one of four units that made up Rear Admiral Henry H Campbell's Seventh Cruiser Squadron. Owing to the obsolescence of these ships, the squadron was nicknamed the Live Bait Squadron. [ cite web|url=http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/F/firstworldwar/index_glossary.html | title=Channel4] [ cite web|url=http://www.divernet.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?id=4083&sc=1025&ac=d&an=4083:Q+&+A+Wrecks+July+2002... | title=www.divernet.com, July 2002]

At 6 am on 20 September, "Euryalus" had returned to port because of low coal stocks. Rear Admiral Christian had been unable to transfer to another ship because of the rough sea, and consequently command was passed to John Drummond, captain of "Aboukir", as the senior officer remaining with the squadron.

At around 6 am on 22 September the three cruisers "Aboukir", "Cressy" and "Hogue" were steaming at convert|10|kn|km/h in line ahead and they were spotted by the U-9, commanded by Lt. Otto Weddigen. Although they were not zigzagging, all of the ships had lookouts posted to search for periscopes and one gun on each side of each ship was manned.

Weddigen ordered his submarine to submerge and closed the range to the unsuspecting British ships. At close range, he fired a single torpedo at the "Aboukir". The torpedo broke the back of the "Aboukir" and she sank within 20 minutes with the loss of 527 men.

The captains of the "Cressy" and "Hogue" thought the "Aboukir" had struck a floating mine and came forward to assist her. They stood by and began to pick up survivors. At this point, Weddigen fired two torpedoes into the "Hogue", mortally wounding that ship. As the "Hogue" sank, the captain of the "Cressy" realised that the squadron was being attacked by a submarine, and tried to flee. However, Weddigen fired two more torpedoes into the "Cressy", and sank her as well.

Gallipoli

She later served in the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign, assisting the landings at Cape Helles. The 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers were embarked in "Euryalus" and the battleship HMS "Implacable" which took up positions off the beach. The troops transferred to 32 cutters at around 4 am. "Euryalus" closed in on the beach at around 5 am whilst "Implacable" moved off to land troops and provide covering fire at X beach, and opened fire on the defences. [cite web| url = http://www.1914-1918.net/derobecks_despatch.htm | title =The Despatch of Vice-Admiral John de Robeck, commanding the fleet operations at Gallipoli. Printed in the Second Supplement to the London Gazette of 13 August 1915. | work = The Long, Long Trail, The British Army in the Great War, 1914-1918| accessdate=2006-09-30] "Euryalus" served as the Headquarters for the landing.

"Euryalus" continued in service, and was used as a minelayer for part of 1918. She was eventually sold after the conclusion of the war on July 1 1920, and was broken up in Germany.

References


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