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HMS Idefatigable Jutland


Eddie171150
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Does anybody know where i can find out more info, crew info, Photo's etc on the Battle Cruiser HMS Indefatigable, my uncle Edward George Turfrey was amongst the crew that perished when she was sunk on the 31st May 1916

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Hi Eddie.

If you send me a Personal Message giving your email address I have a Word document I can send to you containing a scan of a page from "The Times" which gives a full crew list for those lost when Indefatigable sank.

The most thorough account I have been able to find on the loss of the Indefatigable:

Details of events in the Indefatigable and Queen Mary are meagre, but there is little doubt that flash reaching a magazine from cordite charges ignited in a gunhouse, working chamber or trunk, was responsible for their destruction.

Rear Admiral Pakenham in the New Zealand, reported that two or three shells falling together hit the Indefatigable about the outer edge of the upper deck in line with `X' turret. A small explosion followed and she swung out of the line sinking by the stern. She was hit again almost instantly near ‘A’ turret by another salvo, listed heavily to port, turned over and disappeared. Pakenham had seen the Borodino blow up at Tsushima, and was probably the only officer present at Jutland who had seen a large ship blown up by gunfire. He was on the New Zealand’s upper bridge during the battle, but it is not clear how much of the sinking of the Indefatigable was actually observed by him. The Navigating Officer of the New Zealand, Commander Creighton, who was stationed in the conning tower, stated that the Torpedo Officer’s attention was drawn to the Indefatigable by the Admiral’s Secretary, both of whom were also in the conning tower. The Torpedo Officer, Lieutenant-Commander Lovett-Cameron, crossed to the starboard side of the conning tower, and observed her through his glasses. She had been hit aft, apparently by the mainmast, and a good deal of smoke was coming from the superstructure aft, but there were no flames visible, and Lovett-Cameron thought that the smoke came from her boom boats. The New Zealand was turning to port at the time, and the Indefatigable’s steering gear seemed to be damaged, as she did not follow round, but held on until she was about 500yds on the New Zealand’s starboard quarter, and in full view from the conning tower. While Lovett-Cameron still had his glasses on her, the Indefatigable was hit by two shells, one on the forecastle, and the other on ‘A’ turret. Both shells appeared to explode on impact. There was then an appreciable interval, said to be about 30 seconds, during which there was no sign of fire, flame or smoke, except the little amount formed by the shell-bursts. At the end of this interval, the Indefatigable completely blew up, apparently beginning from forward. The main explosion started with sheets of flame, followed immediately by dense, dark smoke, hiding the ship from view, while many objects were blown high in the air.

The Von der Tann’s gunnery report states that four salvos straddled the Indefatigable, and she then began firing 5.9in in addition. After a further seven salvos, several heavy explosions occurred amidships and aft. The Indefatigable was enveloped in dense smoke for some time, and when this had dispersed, she had disappeared. It was observed from the Von der Tann that the great cloud of black smoke was twice the height of the Indefatigable's masts.

The B98, which was some distance on the Von der Tann’s port quarter, observed a hit at 1602, and immediately afterwards a second hit. There was a high column of flame, two heavy explosion clouds far above the masts and also jets of flame. The B97 reported three heavy explosions following one another, while the V30, ahead of the Lutzow, noted a serious fire at 1602, and 2 minutes later a high column of fire.

The two survivors, Able Seaman Elliott and Leading Signalman Falmer, picked up by the S16 at 1950, were both stationed in the top, and thought that the Indefatigable had been torpedoed and sunk within 4 minutes. They tried to support Captain Sowerby in the water, but he was too badly wounded to survive.

Creighton’s account, given in ‘The Fighting at Jutland’, is detailed, but it is not supported by a photograph taken by Captain W. P. Carne who was then a midshipman in the New Zealand's after torpedo control station. This was taken just before the final explosion in the Indefatigable, and shows her sinking by the stern to port with the whole after part of the ship to near the middle funnel already under water. Whatever the cause of the final explosion in her, the loss of the Indefatigable was due to an initial explosion in ‘X’ magazines, probably from a shell striking ‘X’ barbette below the upper deck, and this could not have been seen from the New Zealand’s conning tower as the view astern was very restricted.

It is impossible to determine the number of hits on the Indefatigable with certainty, but it seems most likely that the Von der Tann obtained one hit previously, and two from each of her last two salvos to give a total of 5-11 in.

Below is part of a recollection of one of the two survivors - the IWM have the full recording. Signaller C. Falmer was aloft in the foretop when the salvo of 11 inch sheels from Von der Tann hit the Indefatigable:

"There was a terrific explosion aboard the ship, the magazines went. I saw the guns go up in the air just like matchsticks - 12" guns they were - bodies and everything. She was beginning to settle down. Within half a minute the ship turned right over and she was gone. I was 180 foot up and I was thrown well clear of the ship otherwise I would have been sucked under. I was practically unconscious, turning over really. At last I came on top of the water. When I came up there was another fellow named Jimmy Green and we got a piece of wood, he was on one end and I was on the other end. A couple of minutes afterwards some shells came over and Jim was minus his head so I was left on my lonesome."

H.M.S. Indefatigable sinking - taken from (I think) H.M.S. Princess Royal.

Best wishes.

Andy.

post-24-1100804567.jpg

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And lastly.......reportedly a photograph of Indefatigable just after she had been hit at Jutland and just prior to the main explosion - presumably taken by the same individual on Princess Royal (?) who photographed her sinking shortly afterwards.

post-24-1100805108.jpg

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Thankyou for great information.

I have just discovered that My Grandfathers cousin James Flower died on HMS Indefatigable, and I never knew much about the ship etc. so it has been a big help to family research.

Sheila.

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  • 2 years later...
Guest knowsnothin
Does anybody know where i can find out more info, crew info, Photo's etc on the Battle Cruiser HMS Indefatigable, my uncle Edward George Turfrey was amongst the crew that perished when she was sunk on the 31st May 1916

I have just been clearing my shed out and found some (Trench Art)

Not sure if thats the right word, it consists of a anti-aircraft shell

Made into a sugar bowl,(Like a old fasioned coal scuttle) and a bullet made into the sugar scoop

It is inscribed on the top with the ships name date and a officers name

I just did a google on the ships name out of currosity and ended up here

Not quite sure what to do with it yet, as its of no centimental value to me.

Any suggestions ?

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Guest knowsnothin
Knowsnothing,

Welcome to the forum.

Could you post the details of the man it may interest someone on the forum.

Regards Charles

Hi Charles and thank you for the welcome

The inscription reads

Warrant officer G H Field RM

H.M.S. Indefatigable

D--------?

1914 - 1916

Ive just looked at the crew list and there is a

R M Gunner George H Field listed could

R M Gunner George H Field = Warrant officer G H Field RM ?

Hope this info helps

Mike

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FIELD, GEORGE HENRY

Initials: G H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Gunner

Regiment/Service: Royal Marine Light Infantry

Unit Text: H.M.S. "Indefatigable."

Age: 35

Date of Death: 31/05/1916

Additional information: Son of James Field, of Woodall, Sheffield; husband of Amy Field, of "The Traveller's Rest," Killamarsh, Sheffield.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: 18.

Memorial: CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL

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Guest knowsnothin
FIELD, GEORGE HENRY

Initials: G H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Gunner

Regiment/Service: Royal Marine Light Infantry

Unit Text: H.M.S. "Indefatigable."

Age: 35

Date of Death: 31/05/1916

Additional information: Son of James Field, of Woodall, Sheffield; husband of Amy Field, of "The Traveller's Rest," Killamarsh, Sheffield.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: 18.

Memorial: CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL

Thank you all very much for the infomation you provided

regards

mike

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  • 1 month later...
Eddie, from Admiralty record:

TURFREY, GEORGE, E, A.B., RNVR, LONDON Z 3059, INDEFATIGABLE, 31/05/2016, SHIP LOSS

Best wishes

David

Thanks for that David.

Eddie

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Eddie,

His service register is at Kew in ADM 337/38 Admiralty: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve: Records of Service, London Z2751-Z3500

Per Mare

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Sheila,

His service register is at Kew in ADM 188/881, or can be downloaded online for £3.50, link below

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...p;resultcount=1

Name Flower, James

Official Number: K7051

Place of Birth: Bedminster, Somerset

Date of Birth: 22 October 1891

Best wishes

Per Mare

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Mike,

His service record is possibly in ADM 196/67 Royal Marine Warrant Officers Service Records - date of entry: 1904-1912, these registers are indexed in ADM 313/110. Alternatively try ADM 196/102 - dates of entry: 1890-1920. Both are original documents at Kew.

He would also have a service register in ADM 159, his previous service number should be in his Warrant officer's record.

Best wishes

Per Mare

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  • 1 year later...

The two survivors, Able Seaman Elliott and Leading Signalman Falmer, picked up by the S16 at 1950, were both stationed in the top, and thought that the Indefatigable had been torpedoed and sunk within 4 minutes. They tried to support Captain Sowerby in the water, but he was too badly wounded to survive

I read this above and it seems to be repeated in many books

I am examining the record of service (ADM188/701) of J.27399, Sig. John Bowyer RN

He served aboard HMS Indefatigable from 27 July 1915, joining the ship as Signal Boy, he was promoted Ord Sig on 26 Aug 1915 and then Sig on 4 Feb 1916.

He was aboard the ship at JUTLAND and his service record clearly states "PRISONER OF WAR IN GERMANY after the action of 31st May-1st June 16"

Do we have a third survivor or is one of the names in the accepted record incorrect ?

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Pete, none of the 3 names mentioned appear in the Admiralty death records for INDEFATIGABLE.

Best wishes

David.

The first two are generally given as the only survivors, my point is that the service records of Bowyer show him as a survivor and Prisoner of War following the sinking of the Indefatigable.

I am interested to hear opinions.

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That's very interesting, Pete. Sounds to me like you may have found a third. Two survivors may have been the initial report and, though news later came through that Bowyer had also survived and had been taken prisoner, the initial report continued to be quoted.

A telegram from Berlin with the numbers of survivors picked up by German ships later appeared in The Times:

The Times, 08 Jun 1916

LESSENED DEATH-ROLL.

BERLIN LIST OF 177 OFFICERS AND MEN SAVED.

AMSTERDAM, June 7.- A Berlin official tele-

gram says:-

After the battle of the Skager Rack the German

naval forces rescued the following men:-

QUEEN MARY.- One ensign and one man.

INDEFATIGABLE.- Two men.

TIPPERARY.- Seven men, including two wounded.

NESTOR.- Two officers, two warrant officers and

75 men, including six men wounded.

NOMAD.- Four officers and 68 men, including one

officer and 10 men wounded.

TURBULENT.- Fourteen men, all wounded.

This makes a total of 177 Englishmen saved by our

small cruisers and torpedo-boats. - Reuter.

NB: Though the total is given as 177, the detailed

figures add up to only 176.

I wonder if their mistake in arithmetic, the missing survivor, was Signalman John Bowyer?

regards,

Martin

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Pete, the constant reference to 2 survivors is yet another example of plagerisation by authors, or another example of researchers not doing a thorough job.

I think the reason for the discrepency is adequately explained by Martin.

Best wishes

David

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