EVENTS IN PORTSMOUTH

 
 

THE BRAVE WOMEN OF PORTSMOUTH, 5TH JUNE 1916

At Jutland, off the coast of Denmark on the 31st May/1st June 1916 there took place the largest sea battle of the Great War. The losses incurred by the Royal Navy were considerable but were especially felt at Portsmouth where six of the vessels had been manned. On 5th June 1916 the Daily Sketch published an article describing the aftermath of the battle in the home port.
The article is contained in a Teaching Resource "1914 - 1919, As Reported At The Time" published by Historic Newspapers

MONDAY, JUNE 5, 1916.
THE BRAVE WOMEN
OF PORTSMOUTH.

Resigned To Fate, They Make No
Outward Show Of Sorrow.
THE OFFICIAL NOTICE.
Commander-In-Chief " Unable To
Hold Out Any Hopes."
 
From Our Special Correspondent.
 
PORTSMOUTH, Sunday. Six vessels of the British Fleet which were sunk the Queen Mary, Invincible, Black Prince, Ardent, Fortuna and Sparrowhawk were manned at Portsmouth, and grief and anxiety broods over thousands of homes in this naval centre to-day.
Yet Portsmouth is not a city of public sorrow. A visitor to the dockyard neighbourhood would find no trace of it.
Occasionally a woman elbows her way through the crowd assembled at the dock gates to scan the official news, her eyes blurred with tears and lines of despair on her brow; but there is no comfort in the cold typewritten notice, and with a sigh she turns away to seek the solitude of her home and the sympathy of her friends.
Rain has fallen pitilessly during this sorrowful Sabbath, but hundreds of sad-faced women have been out in quest of a ray of comfort. There was none for them, yet they bore themselves bravely, and in the districts largely tenanted by naval families there was no outward show of sorrow.
 
NO HOPE IN MOST CASES.
 
"It needs no stretch of the imagination to picture what is going on in the private sanctuary of the home behind these closed doors and drawn blinds," said a leading Minister to me to-day.
He had been offering consolation to the bereaved, but he could not buoy them with hope, because in most cases there is no hope. The women of Portsmouth are bearing themselves bravely. They have become accustomed to the toll that war has exacted upon the sister service, and now that their turn has come to share the common burden of grief they are resigned to fate.
They still go on hoping that by some providential means their loved ones have beets spared to them.
 
THE OFFICIAL
 
The official notice posted at the dockyard is in these terms:
"The following is the latest information the Commander-in-Chief has received in regard to the naval casualties in the North Sea:
DEFENCE: All lost, including Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot.
INVINCIBLE: Commander Dannreuther, Lieut. Sandford, and three men saved; remainder lost, including Rear-Admiral Hood.
QUEEN MARY: Four midshipmen and a few men saved; remainder lost.
INDEFATIGABLE: All lost. BLACK PRINCE: All lost, WARRIOR: Believed all saved. TIPPERARY: Surgeon probationer and a few men picked up by Dutch trawler.
OTHER DESTROYERS named in dispatch: All, lost. The Commander-in-Chief much regrets that he is unable to hold out any hopes as to there being further survivors.
"The names of the other three destroyers lost are Nomad, Nestor, and Shark, making a total of eight lost, not eleven.
"The following officers are not mentioned as missing, and are presumably saved: Lieutenant. Commander Marsden, H.M.S. Ardent, and the artificer engineer of the Fortune.
 
"NOT IN THEIR SHIPS."
 
"The undermentioned men were not in their ships at the time of the battle in the North Sea:
QUEEN MARY: R. Jackson, A.B., T. Morley, electrical engineer; S. Carter, boy; R. Stredwick, electrician, R.N.V.R.
INVINCIBLE: Lieut.-Commander Hubert H. Dannreuther; Lieutenant Cecil S. Sandford; G. Williams, stoker; J. Dorling, A.B.; and T. R. Thornton, stoker.
BLACK PRINCE:- William Hellyer, A.B.; G. Copping, leading stoker; A. Hiam, stoker; A. J. Murray, leading stoker.
INDEFATIGABLE: J. Lee, bombardier, R.M.A.
SHARK: Harold Dundas.
A later notice says:-
INVINCIBLE: Midshipmen Campbell and Clark Steele were not on board.
DEFENCE:- Major Hickson was not on board,
QUEEN MARY:- Midshipmen saved are: Durrant, severely wounded; Van der Byle, suffering from shock; Storey and Lloyd Owen.
 
Tim Backhouse