To the Germans it was the Battle of Skagerrak and was celebrated as a victory until after World War Two, they even named their second “pocket battleship” Skagerrack in 1933. And perhaps it was, the British certainly lost more ships and men than the Germans did. To the British it was the Battle of Jutland and the result was that the German High Seas Fleet remained in the Baltic Sea for the remainder of the First World War. And German submarines moved into the Atlantic. It was the last great battleship battle.
Daily Mirror – 7 Jul 1916
Official chart of the battle showing positions of the fleets
Our part of the story involves the HMS Invincible, launched at Elswick on 14 Apr 1907. A battle-cruiser, and flagship of the 3rd Battle-cruiser Squadron during the Battle of Jutland. She was one of the British loses, destroyed when her magazine exploded after being hit by six salvos of German shells. Out of 1,032 officers and men, only six, including Captain Dannreuther survived. She sank in 90 seconds and is laying on a sandy bottom at a depth of 180 feet at 57°02′40″N 06°07′15″E. The battle-cruiser’s stern is right-side up and the bow upside-down.
Battle-cruiser HMS Invincible exploding at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916.
On 27 Jan 1917, the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser published a letter written to a widow of one of the sailors by Lady Hood, wife of Admiral Hood, who went down with his ship. Lady Hood’s information was obtained from Captain Dannreuther and says:
“He spoke of the glorious excitement and happiness of the rush from Scapa to the Horn Reef. They were so pleased that the moment had really come at last. On the way down they met an enemy light cruiser squadron and sank one ship with the first volley. When they reached the other battle-cruisers Sir David Beatty was hard pressed, as he had engaged the enemy for about two hours. The arrival of Invincible was a most splendid sight. She steamed at full speed into the battle and took her place at the head of the line. As she went by them I have heard that the other battle-crusiers burst into a loud cheer. Her turrets then opened with a terrific fire, and although she was only in action for about half an hour, no ship did more to win the battle than the Invincible. Admiral Hood telephoned to the guns “The firing is excellent; keep it up as fast as you can; every shell is telling.” Then the crash came. Commander Dannreuther was in a position hight up on one of the masts and was thrown into the water some way off. When he came up again to the surface there was on one to be seen but the other five men who were saved. He is quite sure that the blast of the explosion must have killed all instantaneously, and we know the ship went down in ten seconds. One can be thankful that these brave men did not suffer, and that there was no time for them to grieve or to think one sad thought. I hope that you will keep this letter and will sometimes read it over – and I only hope that this short account will help you as it has helped me.”
Two of the men who died were David Anderson, Stoker #2075T and Samuel Dresser Dicks, Stoker 1st Class, #K17690.
David, was married to Annie Maria Horan, our 3rd cousin 2x removed. He was born 15 Feb 1877 at Prestopans in Scotland, the son of James Anderson and was living at 13 Hope Terrace, Leith, Edinburgh in 1916.
The Scotsman 10 Jun 1916
Samuel, was married to Nellie Rosina Culmer, our 2nd cousin 2x removed. He was born 18 Aug 1892 at Richmond, Yorkshire. They had only been married in the spring of 1915. Samuel had enlistedin the navy on 15 Jan 1913 and had also served on the Victory II.
Samuel Dresser Dicks
In the Dover Express of 9 Jun 1916 it reads: DICKS – Killed in action, in the Naval Battle of 31st May 1916. Stoker Samuel Dresser Dicks of H.M.S. “Invincible.” dearly loved husband of Nellie Dicks, of 28, Mayfield Avenue, Dover.
Dover Express 1 Jun 1917
See David Anderson on Lives of the First World War
See Samuel Dress Dicks on Lives of the First World War
Hampshire Telegraph 04 June 1937