Newbury’s Roll of Honour: Part 1

So many men from Newbury had been killed that the list to date had to be split into several issues of the church magazine. Part 1 was published in March 1918.


Copied and supplied to the Parish magazine by Mr J W H Kemp

1. Pte J H Himmons, 1st Dorset Regt, died of wounds received at Mons, France, Sept. 3rd, 1914.
2. L-Corp. H R Ford, B9056, 1st Hampshire Regt, killed in action between Oct. 30th and Nov 2nd, 1914, in France, aged 28.
3. L-Corp. William George Gregory, 8th Duke of Wellington’s Regt, killed in action Aug.10th, 1915, aged 23.
4. Charles Thomas Kemp Newton, 2nd Lieut., 1st Yorkshire Regt, 1st Batt., killed in action June 3rd, 1914 [sic], at Ypres.
5. 2nd Lieut. Eric Barnes, 1st Lincolnshire Regt, killed in action at Wytcheak, All Saints’ Day, 1914, aged 20. RIP.
6. G H Herbert, 2nd Royal Berkshire Regt, killed at Neuve Chapelle, 10th March, 1915.
7. Pte J Seymour, 7233, 3rd Dragoon Guards, died in British Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, Dec. 8th, 1914, aged 24.
8. Pte H K Marshall, 2/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action in France July 13th, 1916.
9. Pte F Leslie Allen, 2nd East Surrey Regt, killed in action May 14th, 1915, aged 19.
10. Pte Harold Freeman, 6th Royal Berks, died of wounds, Sept. 6th, 1916.
11. Joseph Alfred Hopson, 2nd Wellington Mounted Rifles, killed in action at Gallipoli, August, 1915.
12. Sergt H Charlton, 33955, RFA, Somewhere in France. Previous service, including 5 years in India. Died from wounds Oct. 1916, aged 31.
13. Harry Brice Biddis, August 21st, 1915, Suvla Bay. RIP.
14. Algernon Wyndham Freeman, Royal Berks Yeomanry, killed in action at Suvla Bay, 21st August, 1915.
15. Pte James Gregg, 4th Royal Berks Regt, died at Burton-on-Sea, New Milton.
16. Eric Hobbs, aged 21, 2nd Lieut. Queen’s R W Surrey, killed in action at Mamety 12th July, 1916. RIP.
17. John T Owen, 1st class B, HMS Tipperary, killed in action off Jutland Coast May 31st, 1916, aged 23.
18. Ernest Buckell, who lost his life in the Battle of Jutland 31st May, 1916.
19. Lieut. E B Hulton-Sams, 6th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, killed in action in Sanctuary Wood July 31st, 1915.
20. Pte F W Clarke, Royal Berks Regt, died July 26th, 1916,of wounds received in action in France, aged 23.
21. S J Brooks, AB, aged 24, drowned Dec. 9th, 1915, off HMS Destroyer Racehorse.
22. Pte George Smart, 18100, 1st Trench Mortar Battery, 1st Infantry Brigade, killed 27th August, 1916, aged 27.
23. Color-Sergt-Major W Lawrence, 1/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action at Hebuterne, France, February 8th, 1916.
24. Pte H E Breach, 1st Royal Berks Regt, died 5th March, 1916.
25. Pte Robert G Taylor, 2nd Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds received in action in France November 11th, 1916.
26. Alexander Herbert Davis, Pte. Artists’ Rifles, January 21st, 1915.
27. Rfn C W Harvey, 2nd KRR, France, May 15th, 1916.
28. 11418, Rfn S W Jones, Rifle Brigade, France, died of wounds, May 27th, 1916.
29. Alfred Edwin Ellaway, sunk on the Good Hope November 1st, 1914.
30. Guy Leslie Harold Gilbert, 2nd Hampshire Regt, died in France August 10th, 1916, aged 20.
31. Pte John Gordon Hayes, RGA, died of wounds in France, October 4th, 1917.
32. Pte F Breach, 1st Royal Berks, 9573, died 27th July, 1916.
33. L-Corp C A Buck, 12924, B Co, 1st Norfolk Regt, BCF, died from wounds received in action at Etaples Aug. 3rd, 1916.
34. Pte Brice A Vockins, 1/4 Royal Berks, TF, killed in action October 13th, 1916.
35. Edward George Savage, 2nd Air Mechanic, RFC, died Feb. 3rd, 1917, in Thornhill Hospital, Aldershot.
36. Percy Arnold Kemp, Hon. Artillery Co, killed in action October 10th, 1917.
37. Pte G A Leather, New Zealand Forces, killed in action October 4th, 1917, aged 43.
38. Frederick George Harrison, L-Corp., B Co, 7th Bedford Regt, killed in action in France July 1st, 1916; born August 7th, 1896.
39. Sapper Richard Smith, RE, killed in action at Ploegsturt February 17th, 1917.
40. L-Corp. Albert Nailor, 6th Royal Berks, killed in action July 12th, 1917.
41. Frederick Lawrance, aged 20, killed in action November 13th, 1916.
42. Pte R C Vince, 1st Herts Regt, killed in action August 29th, 1916, aged 20.
43. Pte Albert Edward Thomas, King’s Liverpool’s, killed in action November 30th, 1916.
44. Pte A E Crosswell, 2nd Batt. Royal Berks Regt, killed February 12th, 1916.
(To be continued.)

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“There is a consolation in knowing that he did his duty fearlessly”

One man after another from Stratfield Mortimer was reported dead or missing. The toll was beginning to tell.

Garth Club

We have received with the greatest possible regret the news of the death of yet another member on the Field of Honour. When war broke out many members volunteered, and have been serving in most of the fighting zones, – in the Persian Gulf, in Egypt, at the Dardanelles, and Salonica, whilst a number have been in France in the thick of the fighting.

The first to give his life was Frank Goodchild, Pte., R.M.L.I. (enlisted 1913), who went down in the H.M.S. “Good Hope” when she was sunk in action off the Chilian Coast, November, 1914. He took a prominent part in all Club doings and entertainments, and was a general favourite – “one of the best,” and greatly missed.

Next came the sad news that Lance-Corp. Chas. Wickens, who joined on the 11th August, and was drafted to France in the 1st R. Berks the following November, was reported missing on the 15th-17th May, 1915. And it is since believed that he was amongst those killed at Festubert or Richebourg. In the long period of uncertainty the greatest sympathy has been felt with his family and his many friends. He earned his stripe very early in his training, and was a most promising young soldier.

Swiftly came the news of the death of Sidney Raggett, Pte. In the R. Montreal Regt., who also joined in August, 1914, and after three months in Canada came home to complete his training on Salisbury Plain. He went out in February, 1915, was wounded in April, but returned to his duty in May, and on the 21st was killed by a stray shot at Richebourg. His Sergeant wrote of him, “I was awfully sorry he was hit, as he was one of the best boys I had,” and Major-General Sir Sam Hughes, in a letter of condolence to his mother, says, “…there is a consolation in knowing that he did his duty fearlessly and well, and gave his life for the cause of liberty and the upbuilding of the Empire.”

Another period of anxiety has been the lot of Harry Steele’s family and of his wide circle of friends and chums. He, too, felt directly war broke out that it was his duty to join, and he and a friend enlisted in the 10th Hants, and had a long training in Ireland and England. He went in July to Gallipoli, and was in the great charge on the 20th-21st August. He was reported missing, and after many anxious months there seems a sad probability that he may have fallen in that heroic effort. But no details are as yet known. He was a regular and loyal member of the Choir and of St. Mary’s Bellringers, and will be long remembered in the village for his clever impersonation of Harry Lauder, and for his realistic acting at the Club entertainments.

Associated with him, and one of his close chums, was Pte. W. G. Neville, whose death we now mourn. He enlisted in the Hants Regt., and went out early in this year. After a long period of suspense, the War Office have now announced, with the usual message of condolence, and also one of sympathy from the King and Queen, that it is feared he was killed in the great advance on the 1st July last. He was a regular bellringer at St. Mary’s, and he also took a keen interest and a leading part in all Club affairs, and his topical songs and really clever acting were always enthusiastically received at our concerts. He, too, will be most affectionately remembered and greatly missed by his many friends.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P120/28A/14)

A year of horrors unimaginable, and the end not in sight

Across the county, the first anniversary of the declaration of war was solemnly commemorated with religious services.

At Mortimer West End, the services were dominated by the loss of two of its men who had given their lives.

Wednesday, August 4th, was the anniversary of the declaration of war by England, and we held a well-attended service in the evening of that day to pray about the past and the future. The service began with a Memorial for those who had fallen, remembering especially Captain Stephen Field, R.A.M.C., and Frank Goodchild, who went down on the “Good Hope.” Then we joined in intercession for our Rulers, our Army and Navy, and our Allies, the wounded and those tending them, and made an act of penitence for our national sins and shortcomings. The family of the late Captain Field has put up a memorial brass in the church bearing the following inscription:

“In loving memory of Captain Stephen Field, R.A.M.C., who died a prisoner in Germany, April 10th, 1915, aged 34. He was taken prisoner in the retreat from Mons while tending the wounded in a church. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The later news which has come shows that the text was true of Captain Field up to the very last, as he laid down his life attending to typhus patients in camp in the midst of appalling conditions.

If any parents should be summoned to France to see a son dangerously wounded (which God grant may not occur) will they communicate at once with the Vicar, who will put them in touch with an organization which will make things easier for them?

At Stratfield Mortimer:
August 4th
The anniversary of the outbreak of war was observed by large congregations at all the services, 7.45 a.m., 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. There was no preaching, only hymns and prayers, but there was impressive evidence of a deep reality and earnestness. And this we hope to see maintained at the two week-day war services throughout the autumn. We should like to see at these weekly services more of parents and friends of Mortimer men who are now at the Front.

All Saints’, Dedworth, reported:

August 4th, the anniversary of the Declaration of War, was kept as a day of solemn Intercession. There was, as far as possible, continual Intercession throughout the day, and Services at different hours. We were glad to see so many were able to take their part at sometime of the day. We hope these days help to make us realize the tremendous need there is for all to intercede humbly every day to God for our nation, our friends, and our foes.

Nonconformists took part as well as Anglicans. Maidenhead Congregational Church announced the town’s nonconformists’ contributions to the day:

It is a whole year since the world’s peace was broken up, and horrors unimaginable before have become our daily meat. And the end is not yet in sight. There are those who prophesy that the end will be as sudden and unexpected as the beginning, and that Christmas will see us settled down once more in ways of peace. Whatever happens, we are convinced that the Allies will not lay down their arms until their warfare is accomplished, and they have lost no jot of their conviction that their chivalrous and Christian struggle on behalf of a great cause will be crowned with a complete and satisfying victory. But it may be that vast sacrifices lie before us, and for those we shall need more and more the continual succours of grace of God. Fortitude must be fed and supported by faith.

We urge upon all our friends the duty of earnest and constant prayer. We ought to pray in private as well as in public services, that our soldiers and generals may be strong, and our rulers wise. We ought to pray for the Church, that it may be rich in counsel, and that it may guide the people to a more solemn faith in God. And we shall need to pray for ourselves, that our faith may not fail, however great the burdens may be that it may be called upon to carry.

A united meeting of the Free Churches of the town for Thanksgiving and Intercession has been arranged to be held in the Congregational Church on Wednesday, August 4th, the Anniversary of the outbreak of war, at 7.30 p.m. Rev. G. Ellis (the new Primitive Methodist Minister) will preside, and a brief address will be given by the Rev. G. D. Mason. We hope the faith and gratitude of Maidenhead Nonconformists will suffice to bring them together in large numbers, and that we shall renew and enlarge our trust in a ruling and guiding Will. Let us not dwell too much on the past, but let us think of our duty now, and let us set our hearts right before Him. When the nation is on its knees, the victory will arrive.

The minister of Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading, whose instincts were opposed to war in general, was less thrilled by the commemorations, although he allowed his congregation to take part in the town’s services.

Wednesday August 4th will see the first anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. War is not a thing that we rejoice in. Rather do we deplore the necessity for such a dire calamity. But we are in it – righteously, as we believe – and, God helping us, we are determined to see it through to a victorious conclusion. That is the thought that is animating the vast majority of our countrymen at this time, and a demonstration to give it expression on August 4th is now being organised by the Mayor…

Personally I cannot say that I am enamoured of processions and demonstrations at such a time as this; but that is neither here nor there. The thing I do rejoice in is that the religious element is to be prominent in the proceedings, and I hope my friends will help to make it and keep it so. In this connection I desire to draw attention to the United Service (arranged by the Executive Committee of the Free Church Council) which is to be held in our church that day at 5 p.m. Several of the Free Church ministers of the town will take part, and our organist and choir have promised their help. I trust we may see the church crowded for that service.

St John’s Church in Reading reported its own services and the interdenominational town ones:

Wednesday, August 4th, the anniversary of the Declaration of War, was observed among us principally as an occasion for earnest intercession. We began the day with a Celebration of Holy Communion at 5.30 a.m., at which there were 31 communicants, most of whom were on their way to work. At 10.30 a.m. we had a second Celebration, with an address by the Vicar. The hour of this service was fixed with a view to giving mothers an opportunity to come and pray for their sons at the Lord’s own service, and the number that came shewed how greatly they valued the opportunity. It was indeed a wonderful service, and will live long in the memories of those privileged to take part in it.

Later in the day, after Evensong in St Laurence’s Church, attended by the Mayor and Corporation, there was a great procession, in which all the public bodies in the town were represented, ending up with a demonstration in the Market Place, at which, after a short religious service, stirring addresses were delivered by Bishop Boyd-Carpenter and the Lord Chief Justice. St John’s Church was open from 8.30 onwards, and we ended the day with Family Prayers in Church, at which a large number of worshippers were present, thus ending the day as we had begun it – in prayer.

Churches in the Winkfield area also commemorated the anniversary of the war’s start.


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4th, the Anniversary of the Declaration of War, was observed in our Church, as in almost every Church throughout the land, as a day of Intercession before Almighty God in the spirit of deep penitence and true humility. We are thankful to be able to say that the chain of intercession was never allowed to be broken throughout the whole day. The great service of intercession, the Holy Eucharist, was offered at 8 a.m. and at 10.30 a.m.; and some of the grand old Offices of the Church were said: Sext, None, and Compline. The large attendance at all the services was something to be thankful for. It proved that our people have a sincere belief in the power of intercessory prayer and are willing to make an effort to do at least this much for our soldiers and sailors. But it also proved that mane more might, by a little sacrifice in the re-arrangement of their time, attend the Intercession Service which is held every Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. “Orare est laborare” – “to pray is to work,” and intercession for our men is a very important work in which we can all do our share, if we will.


We were very unfortunate as regards the weather in our open air services of Intercession, four of them had to be abandoned owing to the rain. The Intercessions Services on the Anniversary of the Declaration of War were very well attended.


The special Services on August 4th were well attended, especially in the evening when we had a full Church; and the congregations were also large on the Sunday following. The anthem, “Lord for thy tender mercies sake,” being well rendered on both morning and evening.

Our thanks are due to the members of the C.E.M.S., who distributed notices of these services, which work was especially valuable in view of the notices in the Magazine being somewhat belated owing to its late issue this month.

Second Lieutenant Wilfred Loyd has just gone to the Front and will we trust be remembered in our prayers.

We are glad to be able to add two more names, Jack Dear and James Winnen to the list of Winkfield men serving, which was printed last month.

We regret to learn that Private R. Nickless has been wounded after having been at the Front only a few days. He has undergone an operation as is now progressing favourably.

The Vicar has sent a copy of the August Magazine to every man whose name is on the list published in that number.


WAR ANNIVERSARY.- On August 4th there were two early celebrations of Holy Communion at 6.30 and 8, and though a week-day there were thirty communicants. The best attended service however was the open-air service held at Newell Green at 7 p.m. The Choir vested at the Brownlow Hall and preceded by the Processional Cross and followed by the Warfield Scouts made their way to the Cross Roads, where the service was begun by the singing of the National Anthem, followed by a short address by the Vicar on penitence and prayer, after which the hymn “Lord teach us how to pray aright,” was sung; prayers were offered for every Warfield belligerent by name.

The Vicar then asked all present to come up to the Church and to walk in couples and maintain strict silence while Church Litany was recited in procession. Just before reaching the Church the old Hundredth was sung; the service in Church was that sanctioned for use on the first Sunday in the year. The congregation which came in the procession numbered about three hundred. We thank God for His good hand upon us and for the great number whose hearts were touched and whose lips were opened on this solemn day.

The vicar of Warfield planned an open air service to commemorate the first anniversary of the war’s start.



Wednesday, August 4th, ought to be a very solemn day for all of us this year, being as you know the Anniversary of the Declaration of War. A great example is being set to us all on that day by our King and Queen Mary by their intention to be present at a solemn Service of Intercession in St. Paul’s Cathedral at noon. What are we going to do? Let the King be represented by all his subjects in Warfield, and St. Paul’s represented by our own Parish Church. The hour of noon be substituted by 7 p.m. Let us have a united open-air service at the Crossways at Newell Green. The National Anthem will be sung, a short address will be given. All our village soldiers will be prayed for by name. The Litany will be recited on our way to Church, where the service will conclude with the special service used on the first Sunday of this year. The Holy Communion will be celebrated that morning at 6.30 and 8.

Anyone who is absent on such an evening I should feel was ashamed of his country, and deserved no blessing from God. Let us all be united about it, and come not in tens but in hundreds and not be afraid to confess the mighty working of God in our midst. This can be done and I want you all to say that it must be done. Let us confess our God and cry mightily to Him. I ask every parishioner to do his or her utmost to bring their neighbours. London has set us all an example, let the country do her part, and may God lift up your hearts to seek His great and abundant blessings in the coming year.

Yours affectionately in Christ,

More privately, the Community of St John Baptist held its own services at the House of Mercy, Clewer.

4 August 1915
Anniversary of our declaration of war with Germany. The Penitents were present at the 7 a.m. Eucharist. War Litany was said by one of the priests at 12; & at Evensong there were special prayers, hymns, & the National Anthem.

Florence Vansittart Neale went with a friend to attend the big national service at St Paul’s.

4 August 1915
Up by early train with Mary Hine to London for the service at St Paul’s! 1st year of war over! Long wait. Nice service. Artillery band. Royalties there. Over by 1. We missed 2 o’clock train so had lunch, came down 3.45. Church after.

Bubs’ men had motor drive & tea at Henley.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P120/28A/14); Clewer parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P39/28A/9); Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, August 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5); Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, August 1915 (D/N11/12/1/14); Reading St John parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P172/28A/24); Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8); CSJB Annals (D/EX1675/1/14/5); Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“This frightful drain of carnage”

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image (a friend of the Spencers) fulminated against failings in the Navy, and in particular criticised Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty. Admiral John Fisher had just resigned as First Sea Lord in protest at Winston Churchill’s mismanagement of the Dardanelles campaign.

Tunbridge Wells
Wednesday 19 May 15

Whose empirical rashness cost us the 3 Cruisers, the Formidable, the Monmouth and Good Hope?

God bless Jacky Fisher, if he rids us of this intolerant, and intolerable, meddler.

But our friend the Censor will refuse to let you read these sentiments of the average, well-educated Englishman. Will he permit me to add that I should welcome Arthur Balfour as First Lord? – or in any other capacity, to strengthen a Government “odious” (Crewe’s pet word) to one half the electors.

“England must wake up” (so His Majesty once told me he originally expressed the famous phrase) – but she is bovine still – and this frightful drain of carnage means the drain of her best. The Spring is perished out of the year, and our next generation will be bred from inferior stock.

God bless you both.

Your very affect.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don (D/EX801/1)

An awful sight: a survivor reports the Battle of Coronel

This eyewitness account of the naval engagement off the coast of Coronel, Chile, with the loss of two British ships and over 1500 men, brings home the nature of naval warfare.

HMS Glasgow
Nov 9 1910

I will try to give you an account of the action off Coronel on Nov 1st. I wrote most of the events down at the time & have collected others from the yarns of some of the others who were in a position to see.

We left Coronel on the morning of Nov 1 & joined up with the “Good Hope”, “Monmouth” & “Otranto” to the westward of Coronel in the afternoon & then started to speed towards the land, the “Good Hope” being outside ships & the “Glasgow” inside ship. We had got about 15 miles from flagship when we saw smoke on the horizon on the beam towards the land. We altered course down towards it & soon made out 3 German ships “Scharnhorst”, “Gneisenau” & a small town-class cruiser. They saw us at the same time & altered course towards us at once & started to chase us back. We ran back at full speed towards “Good Hope”, & the “Monmouth” & “Otranto” came too. We rejoined “Good Hope” at 5.47 pm, formed single line ahead & proceeded SE to meet the enemy who were then about 12 miles away. “Good Hope” led this time, next to her “Monmouth”, then “Glasgow” & then “Otranto”. The sun was nearly setting& we were directly between the enemy & the sun, which was good for us, as the enemy could not see us properly. We turned 4 points to Port with a view to forcing an action while the light was in our favour, but the Germans would naturally have none of it, & also turned 4 pts. Keeping the distance between us at about 18,000 yds. The sun set about 6.45 & then the enemy chased us rapidly. The light conditions were entirely changed. We were then silhouetted against the afterglow of sunset & they were nearly invisible with a dark cloud behind them & getting more so every minute. By this time a 4th small cruiser had joined up in rear of enemy’s line. At 7.5 they had closed us to about 12,000 yds & they then opened fire, each ship taking her opposite number in the line, thus we had the 2 small cruisers firing at us, the “Otranto” having been ordered to clear out as she was quite useless & if she had stopped it would only have meant sacrificing her to no purpose. We opened fire, all of us, immediately afterwards. We could not see where our shots were falling & after the first 20 minutes were only firing at the flashes of the enemy guns. They, on the contrary, could not have had better conditions & could see where the shot fell. Their first salvo fell short – the 2nd over – about 100 yds & at the 3rd salvo “Good Hope” & “Monmouth” were both hit forward. I will tell you about “Good Hope” first. When she was first hit she took fire & had hardly got the fire under when another shot struck her, in practically the same place & started the fire up again. She was hit all over & after the first ten minutes had many guns out of action including, I think, the for 9”.2 which was one of the only 2 guns she could hope to do much with. She was on fire forward & all along the Port – i.e. the engaged-side. She began to close the enemy & to lose speed & at 7.45 was nearly between the “Monmouth” & the enemy’s flagship & had practically ceased firing. At 7.50 she blew up with a tremendous explosion between the mainmort & after funnel. The flames & wreckage went up quite 250 feet, miles above her mast-heads & after that she never fired another shot & the enemy stopped firing at her also. There could have been practically nobody left alive onboard. When I last saw her she was down by the stern a long way away & the fire was still burning forward. I should say she was rapidly sinking & certainly could never have moved again.

The “Monmouth” was frightfully knocked about early in the action too. Her foreturret took fire & she never got it out & she also was on fire all along her port side & some of the guns were pretty soon out of action. She only had 6 in guns & they were practically useless. There was a big head sea, & ½ a gale of wind, so she couldn’t fight the main deck guns properly, which also applied to the “Good Hope”. She was apparently rather unmanageable as she twice hauled out of the line & came back again. We had to reduce to 9 knots once to avoid masking her fire. She was also badly down by the bows & had a heavy list to starboard also. She ceased firing when the “Good Hope” blew up.

We had the 2 small ships firing at us. Their shooting was quite excellent, their shots falling all around us the whole time within literally 5 yds of the ship. We were hit 5 times in all by whole shell. Once aft above the armoured deck, where a hole was torn 6 ft square, once each in 2 bunkers on the waterline so we had 3 holes with water coming in. We had to shore up the deck aft to prevent it bursting & flooding the mess deck. Another shot hit the 2nd funnel, low down, broke up & cut a lot of steam pipes but didn’t do much real harm. The 5th went through the Captain’s pantry, which is next my cabin, crossed the passage & went on into the Captain’s cabin & wrecked it. I felt that one arrive as it is just below the conning tower where I was. “Monmouth” kept away after “Good Hope” blew up & we kept half way between her & the “Good Hope”. It was quite dark by then & we were firing at the ships we could see. They could not see the “Monmouth” then as she was not firing & every time we let a gun off we got the fire of the whole German squadron on us. Why we weren’t sunk twenty times over, I don’t know, as none of their shots fell very far away. They kept on firing at us & we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t good enough. “Monmouth” had by this time got away to Starboard & we followed her. I left the conning tower then & went on the bridge so that I could find out where we were off to & was up there quite quiet 5 minutes before I noticed the 8 in shells were dropping close to us. We asked the “Monmouth” who was steering it & if she could steer to the Westward but she said she had to keep stern to sea. We then asked if she could go it W & got no answer. The enemy was coming up fast by this time so we had to leave her. We could do [no] good by stopping & should only have been sunk ourselves. We went off to the westward at full speed, & soon lost sight of the enemy who pursued “Monmouth” & must have sunk her. (This was about 8.30 pm & at 9 enemy started firing again.) We counted 75 flashes of guns & they also used search lights looking for us. We worked round to the southward at 20 knots with a view to warning “Canopus” who was coming up 200 miles away from that direction & succeeded after some trouble as the enemy jammed our wireless signals. They chased us, judging by the strength of the wireless signals all that night & then chucked it. We mercifully had the legs of them. We went as fast as we could to the Straits & then to Stanley (Falklands) where we arrived yesterday morning & coaled & left again same evening. We are off to the Plate now to join up with some big ships “Defence” “Carnarvon” etc. We shall have to dock, I think, & certainly must get some oil as it knocks 3 knots off our speed without oil fuel. We had 4 men slightly wounded & they are all back to duty now. After the action for the next 2 or 3 days we kept on picking up shell splinters & very nasty wounds some of them would have made. The men were splendid, grumbling just as they do at battle practice. There was no panic & no expending of ammunition uselessly. I got a sea on me before I went into the conning tower, so started wet through but it didn’t make much difference as the spray was coming over the ship the whole time. All the gun telescopes were wet & so the gunlayers could hardly see to sight the guns. As to the damage we did to the enemy it is hard to form an estimate. I saw a small fire in both the enemy ships (armoured cruisers) but it was quickly put out. We got one 6 in shell on to the 2nd armoured cruiser & also one on to our opposite number. At one time that ship left the line & ceased firing, her place being taken by the 4th ship, so I have hopes we did her some damage. Under equal conditions we could sink them both. IT was a very trying experience for the men being under heavy fire & unable to return it, but, as I said before, they all behaved splendidly, even the young ones showing no signs of panic. We were steaming alongside one another for an hour first. When we started towards them we all knew it was hopeless & I was thinking how devilish cold the water would be & hoping a shell would get me first as being the pleasantest way out.

We had a trying time running away south. I could not get any sights owing to the spray coming over the ship & only discovered when we found C Pillar eventually, that my compass had altered 7 degrees on easterly courses, luckily it hadn’t altered on southerly ones. It was a lovely thing to find out just as we were going through the Straits in a blinding snowstorm. We anchored near the Cape of Virgins & waited for the “Canopus” & went on to the Falklands with her, arriving with very little coal indeed. Luckily we had enough to get there or else we must have been caught. We shall have to dock I expect for the hole in our stern, probably at Bermuda or the Cape. Anyway, I don’t suppose they will send us south again into the bad weather while we are damaged like this. We all want to be in at the death of those ships. I had a lot of friends in the “Monmouth” & I fear none are saved; most of them married men too. Thank goodness I am not. The blowing up of the “Good Hope” was an awful sight. I shall never forget it till I die. Something must have exploded their magazine, I think. We ought to arrive at the Plate the day after tomorrow & want will happen to us then I don’t know. I daresay we shall be turned on to hunt the “Karlsruhe”. I hope we may get her. We would stop her breath all right & it is high time somebody did.

Eyewitness account of the naval action off Coronel, Chile (D/EX1159/5/8)