Chilian Coast Battle

Newspaper article - Chilian Coast Battle



The following has been issued from HMS Glasgow (Captain John Luce RN), concerning the recent action off the Chilian Coast:

Glasgow left Coronel 9am on November 1st to rejoin Good Hope (flagship), Monmouth and Otranto at rendezvous. At 2pm flagship signalled the apparently from wireless calls there was an enemy ship to northwards. Orders were given for squadron to spread N.E. by E. in the following order: Good Hope, Monmouth, Otranto and Glasgow, speed to be worked up to 15 knots. 4-20pm, saw smoke: proved to be enemy ships, one small cruiser and two armoured cruisers. Glasgow reported to Admiral, ships in sight were warned, and all concentrated on Good Hope. At 5-0pm Good Hope was sighted.

5-47pm, squadron formed in line-ahead in following order: Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow, Otranto. Enemy, who had turned south , were now in single line-ahead 12 miles off, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau leading. 6-18pm, speed ordered to 17 knots, and flagship signalled Canopus: “I am going to attack enemy now.” Enemy were now 15,000 yards away and maintained this range, at the same time jambing wireless signals.

By this time sun was setting immediately behind us from enemy position, and while it remained above horizon we had advantage in light, but range too great. 6-55pm, sun set, and visibility conditions altered, our warships being silhouetted against afterglow, and failing light made enemy difficult to see.

7-3pm, enemy opened fire 12,000 yards, followed in quick succession by Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow. Two squadrons were now converging, and each ship engaged opposite number in the line. Growing darkness and heavy spray of head sea made firing difficult, particularly for main deck guns of Good Hope and Monmouth. Enemy firing salvos got range quickly, and their third salvo caused fire to break out on fore part of both ships, which were constantly on fire till 7-45pm. 7-50pm, immense explosion occurred on Good Hope amidships, flames reaching 200ft high. Total destruction must have followed. It was now quite dark.

Both sides continued firing at flashes of opposing guns. Monmouth was badly down by the bow and turned away to get stern to sea, signalling to Glasgow to that effect. 8-30pm, Glasgow signalled to Monmouth “Enemy following us,” but received no reply. Under rising moon enemy’s ships were now seen approaching, and as Glasgow could render Monmouth no assistance, she proceeded at full speed to avoid destruction. 8-50pm, lost sight of enemy. 9-20pm, observed 75 flashes of fire, which was no doubt final attack on Monmouth.

Nothing could have been more admirable than conduct of officers and men throughout. Though it was to receive great volume of fire without chance of returning it adequately, all kept perfectly cool, there was no wild firing, and discipline was the same as at battle practice. When target ceased to be visible, gunlayers spontaneously ceased fire. The serious reverse sustained has entirely failed to impair the spirit of officers and ship’s company, and it is our unanimous wish to meet the enemy again as soon as possible.

Reproduced from a newspaper article dated 1914/15; the newspaper is unknown at present.
Supplied by J.D.Atkinson.


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