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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Three Before Breakfast


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Or "what I read in the holidays"

Just before the Christmas break I found this book in our local library. It looks brand new and I appear to be the first person to have withdrawn it, but on close examination it was published in 1979......

The book concerns the loss of three British Cruisers (HMS Hogue, Cressy and Aboukir) on 22nd September 1914 at the hands of the U9. The story is well and grippingly told with a good balance of human interest and policy/technical matters.

This incidence is mentioned in most general or naval histories of the war, but only in passing. Here it is dealt with in depth (181 pages). From the Admiralty to the sailors as well as the Germans receive due attention.The cruisers were old and of limited combat value, but were used to give weight to a destroyer force operating out of Harwich, the destroyers in turn formed a valuable screen to the Cruisers. Heavy weather meant the cruisers were out on their own and vulnerable to submarine attack. This was the first U-boat to torpedo a warship and live to tell the table.

The incident led to the navy abandoning the duty of vessels to go to the rescue of thir stricken comrades which went back to the 17th Century.

There is a great deal for students of the Great war in this book from naval strategy and tactics to a tale of shipwreck and from the founding of the U-boat fleet to conditions of internment in Holland.

Recommended - especially for the nautically inclined

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I have been looking for this book, so I am glad to have your opinion of it.

Submarine U-9 accounted for three men on my hometown memorial at Southborough. Chief Yeoman of Signals Alfred Assiter died when the Aboukir went down along with Hogue and Cressy. Barely three weeks later, on 15 October 1914, Chief Petty Officer George Henry Penfold and Marine Private George William Walton were lost when U-9 torpedoed the Edgar class cruiser Hawke. Some 1,100 men were lost in the two incidents.

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  • 1 year later...

since this thread 'sank' (pun intended) does that mean tintin and Clive are the only ones to read it since 1979?


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