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seaJane

HMS ALBEMARLE damaged 7 November 1915

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seaJane

This is from the ship's Wikipedia entry:

ALBEMARLE, heavily loaded with spare ammunition, suffered severe damage early on 7 November 1915 when two large waves struck her in rapid succession, wrecking her forebridge and chart house, shifting the roof of her conning tower, and flooding her forward main gun turret, mess decks, and flats. An officer and rating were washed overboard and lost, another rating was killed, and three officers and 16 ratings suffered serious injuries; two of the injured ratings later died.

 

In an 8 November 1915 letter to First Sea Lord Admiral Henry B. Jackson, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet Admiral John Jellicoe described what had happened, saying that ALBEMARLE had been making 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) when water from the two waves had risen as high as the bottom of her lower foretop, filling the foretop with water, sweeping her forward deck clear and smashing the forebridge, most of which was found in pieces on her upper deck. [With assistance she proceeded for] repairs to Scapa Flow, where she arrived later on 7 November and transferred 24 injured ratings on stretchers and three officers to the hospital ship PLASSEY for further treatment.

 

The account is borne out by the Medical Officer's Journal, here summarised by a colleague:-

Very bad damage occurred at 0220 on Nov 7th. Heavy seas struck the forepart, demolishing forebridge and injuring all hands on duty, passing down hatchways into upper deck battery, pouring down main to middle decks. Also finding its way down foredeck ventilators. Mushroom cowls smashed. Sick Bay was flooded and evacuated. The Commander and one AB were washed overboard and drowned. 1 CPO killed when rangefinder hit his skull. Multiple injuries: 17; drowned: 3; local injuries: 100. 5 sent to hospital ship. All transferred to PLASSEY at daylight, when ship returned to base.

 

An A/B from ALBEMARLE killed on that date was David Naylor, buried at Osmondwalls cemetery on Hoy (I saw his gravestone in September). I don't know if it was he who was washed overboard or if he was one of the two injured ratings who later died; the latter seems more likely.

 

My question is, given the size of ALBEMARLE (Duncan-class pre-Dreadnought, no?) that I am puzzled and/or astounded by the damage done by those two waves, partly because I can't visualise what/where forebridge and chart house were, and how high the lower foretop was. How easy would it be for a rangefinder to be knocked loose with sufficient force to break someone's skull, and where was it? - in the upper deck battery?

 

The picture from Wikimedia commons is attached.

 

Thanks for any contributions.

 

sJ

 

 

 

 

 

ALBEMARLE.jpg

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michaeldr

The write-up for this class in Jane's describes them as

Very passable sea boats and handy

However, there is a further note that They are lower in the water than the Londons and the Formidables

 

edit: Jane, you may have this already but in case not

There is another account here http://dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/H.M.S._Albemarle_(1901)

(Jellicoe thought she was going too fast) where the ref is given as

Jackson Papers, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, MSS 255/4/31

 

Edited by michaeldr

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horatio2

The damage that can be caused to the most sturdy ships by freak waves is well-documented. Compared to some such waves that roam the oceans ALBERMARLE was a mere dinghy.

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michaeldr

The ship's log entries covering this can be seen here http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-01-HMS_Albemarle.htm

The same web-site gives the casualties as (http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1915-11Nov.htm)

 AIKEN, William J, Chief Petty Officer, 161866 (Po), died of injuries

 ARNOLD, Arthur E, Ordinary Seaman, J 22237 (Po)

 NAYLOR, David A, Able Seaman, J 18657 (Po)

 NIXON, George R, Commander, drowned

 STROUD, George E B, Able Seaman, 221919 (Po)

Edited by michaeldr

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michaeldr
9 hours ago, seaJane said:

I can't visualise what/where forebridge and chart house were, and how high the lower foretop was.

 

These from https://www.the-blueprints.com may be of help

 

HMS Duncan (Battleship) (1903) side view crop.png

HMS Duncan (Battleship) (1903) plan view crop.png

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seaJane

Thank you very much for this! I shall sit down to closer inspection when I can. At home in Somerset today.

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Loader

I think the term is "rogue wave" & to read about incidents with them is truly terrifying.

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michaeldr
5 hours ago, Loader said:

I think the term is "rogue wave" & to read about incidents with them is truly terrifying.

Agreed. The circumstances here remind one of the Derbyshire which was a very much bigger vessel (her cargo weighed about ten times this battleship)

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/visit/floor-plan/life-at-sea/derbyshire/stormy-seas.aspx

Edited by michaeldr

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