As promised here as some of the readings/research made in West Norfolk for the Scars of War project in the autumn of 2018: The research for this piece was undertaken by Lindsey Bavin, manager at the True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum. You will find a memorial to these three ships at the museum.
The Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue
The Live Bait Squadron
William Allen, John Rose and Hubert Penny
During a conference Churchill had been annoyed to overhear the expression ‘Live Bait Squadron’ and to learn it was the Fleet’s nickname for the Southern Force’s cruisers which were over fourteen years old.
The ships were manned by reservists, who were mainly married men, and young cadets from Osborne House Naval College and Britannia Royal Naval College. It was thought these ships would not be involved in great battles, so would be safe. Churchill pointed out the danger of exposing cruisers so close to enemy positions especially without any destroyer escort and where numerous fishing boats could report their movements. Churchill said:
“The risk to such ships is not justified by any service they can render. The narrow seas, being the nearest point to the enemy, should be kept by a small number of good modern ships.”
Although First Sea Lord Louis Battenburg agreed with Churchill two days later, on Saturday 19th September, Admiral Sturdee persuaded the First Sea Lord to approve an order for the cruisers to stay in their original patrol area and not move to the western approaches of the Channel as Churchill had ordered.
Thus the scene was set for the morning of 22nd September 1914 Continue reading