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HMS Euryalus (1901)
HMS Euryalus (1901)
HMS Euryalus
Career Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: HMS Euryalus
Builder: Vickers, Sons & Maxim
Laid down: 18 July 1899
Launched: 20 May 1901
Christened: Mrs. Douglas Vickers
Commissioned: 5 January 1904
Out of service: 1919
Reclassified: Used as minelayer 1918
Fate: Sold for breaking up 1 July 1920
General characteristics
Displacement: 12,000 tons
Length: 472 ft (144 m)
Beam: 69.5 ft (21.2 m)
Draught: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engines
twin screws
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)
Armament:

2 × BL 9.2-inch (233.7 mm) Mk X guns
12 × BL 6-inch (152.4 mm) Mk VII guns

14 × 12pdr guns

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.

Early serviceEdit

HMS Euryalus was laid down 18 July 1899 at the naval construction works of Messrs. Vickers, Sons & Maxim at Barrow. She was launched 20 May 1901 in front of 30 000 spectators, and named by Mrs. Douglas Vickers, wife of one of the directors of the company.[1]

In June 1901, the south side of the Ramsden dock at Barrow caught fire, and was practically destroyed before the flames could be extinguished. The recently launched Euryalus was laying alongside this wharf, and the fire set ablaze the teak wood sheathing of the cruiser. Considerable damage was done to the ship before she was hauled from the pier into the middle of the dock, and her completion was severely delayed.[2]

She was commissioned for service in 1904.

The Live Bait SquadronEdit

Launching of the HMS Euryalus (1901)

Launching of HMS Euryalus

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.[3][4]

At 6 am on 20 September 1914, Euryalus had returned to port because of low coal stocks. Rear-Admiral Arthur 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 10 knots (19 km/h) in line ahead and they were spotted by the SM 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.

As a result of these losses, Euryalus and Bacchante were withdrawn from the North Sea and employed on the Western Channel patrol, commanded by Rear Admiral Wemyss, who transferred his flag to Euryalus.

GallipoliEdit

Early in 1915, Admiral Wemyss was sent to command Mudros, the Allied base for the Gallipoli operation. In April, Wemyss was put in charge of the main landings at Gallipoli and hoisted his flag in Euryalus, which had separately joined the force build-up for the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign.

Euryalus assisted 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.[5] From mid-December 1915 Wemyss organised and commanded from Euryalus the evacuation of Gallipoli.

East Indies StationEdit

On 16 January 1916 Euryalus became the flagship of the new Commander-in-Chief, East Indies, Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss. Wemyss used Euryalus extensively in his diplomatic and naval campaign in the Middle East in 1916-17, supporting the Arab Revolt against the Turks, and exploiting the fact that the Arabs were impressed by the ship's four funnels as a sign of great power. Besides showing flag and some bombardments the flagship even transported Arabian troops from the south to the north. Euryalus continued as flagship of the East Indies Fleet even after the conclusion of the war until 1919, when she returned to Britain to pay off. She was eventually sold on 1 July 1920, and was broken up in Germany.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 21 May 1901. 
  2. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 12 June 1901. 
  3. "Channel4". http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/F/firstworldwar/index_glossary.html. 
  4. "www.divernet.com, July 2002". http://www.divernet.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?id=4083&sc=1025&ac=d&an=4083:Q+&+A+Wrecks+July+2002.... 
  5. "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.". The Long, Long Trail, The British Army in the Great War, 1914-1918. Archived from the original on 2006-05-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20060506103307/http://www.1914-1918.net/derobecks_despatch.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-30. 

SourcesEdit

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