Admiral Maxmillian Von Spee, Battle of Coronel, Battle of the Falkland Islands, Bere Regis, Dorset, First World War, HMS Good Hope, memorial, Military History, Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock RN, Royal Navy, St John the Baptist's Church Bere Regis, William Cox, World War One
Every name on a memorial has a story behind behind it, but some names stand out more than others and different names stand out for different people. The name William Cox stands out for me in this Roll of Honour because he clearly served in the Royal Navy, were as those listed above him served in British Army units more familiar to me. I knew nothing about the H.M.S Good Hope; was William Cox lost at sea?
Ship’s Cook William Cox (347466), along side 919 officers and men, of the Drake Class armoured cruiser H.M.S Good Hope, including Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock, who was using the Good Hope as his flag ship, and four Midshipman of the newly formed Royal Canadian Navy, were killed in action at the Battle of Coronel.
Rear Admiral Cradock’s British Fouth Cruiser Squadron engaged the superior forces of Admiral Maximillian Von Spee’s German East Asiatic Squadron on the 1st November 1914, off the Chilean coast. By the end of the battle H.M.S Good Hope and H.M.S Monmouth had been sunk with the loss of all hands.
Although I could not find any further biographical information about Ship’s Cook William Cox, detailed biographies of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock are available and he strikes me as a very interesting character. In 1904 he received a testimonial from the Royal Humane Society for jumping over board into Palmas Bay, at night, to save the life of a drowning Midshipman. In 1911 he received The Board of Trade Medal for Saving Life at Sea for his part in the rescuing of passengers from the SS. Delhi, which ran aground off Cape Spartel.
Admiral Maximillian Von Spee’s Squadron attempted to raid the Falkland Island on the 8th December 1914 and was surprised by a superior force of British warships, reinforced following the Battle of Coronel. Six German warships were lost following the Battle of the Falkland Island, including Admiral Von Spee’s flagship, which capsized with the loss of all hands, including the Admiral himself.
It is amazing what you can learning from researching only one name on a memorial…
The Coronel Memorial http://www.coronel.org.uk/description.php
The Roll of Honour: A Biographical Record of all Member of His Majesty’s Naval and Military Forces who have fallen in the War, Volume I, page 96. Available on-line at https://archive.org/details/rollofhonourbiog01ruvi
accents, American Air Museum, Cambridgeshire, Captain Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Duxford, First World War, Hat in the Ring, Imperial War Museum Duxford, inflatable, inflatable Spitfire, planes, Second World War, Souvenirs, Spad XIII, Spitfire, Ted, US Army Air Service
I can’t recall the date (or find any other reminders) of my first visit to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, but it must have been later than 1997, when the American Air Museum, designed by Sir Norman Foster, was reopened on the site (I think it was the publicity surrounding this event that brought the museum to my Mother’s attention and necessitated the family outing).
My American readers might be interested to know that, despite taking home a very British souvenir, one of my most lasting memories of that first visit to Duxford was of seeing the French built Spad XIII First World War biplane, painted in the 94th “Hat in the Ring” Aero Squadron colours of Captain Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, the US Army Air Services’ most celebrated pilot.
Also, if memory serves me well, Duxford was the first place I heard an American accent in a public place, because the American Air Museum was a popular destination for American visitors to the United Kingdom at the time; it probably still is.
A quick look through the Imperial War Museum’s photographic archive informs me that this rather striking image, now displayed outside the Museum, was taken by Lieutenant Ernest Brooks during the Battle of The Somme in 1916. You can see the entire photograph here: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205194610.
I started to look at Lieutenant Brooks’ other photographs in the archive, but it appears that he took a tenth of all the official photographs of the Western Front commissioned by the the Ministry of Information during the First World War, which amounts to 4936 photographs, so I didn’t get very far, but I can recommend the 401 I did look at this morning.
Lieutenant Brooks, as well as being the only official British war photographer at the Battle of The Somme, found time to photograph a whole range of scenes from across the Western Front; including members of the Chinese Labour Corps working behind the lines, Baroness Elsiede T’Serclaes and Mairi Chisholm nursing on the front line in Belgium and a British Tommy being awarded a medal by King Nicholas I of Montenegro.
If you approach from the Kelvingrove Grove Art Gallery & Museum you will see the other side of this memorial first; the Lewis gunner laying down suppressing fire whilst his lantern jawed brother in arms strides confidently forward towards an unseen enemy.
But this is the other side.
Note the Poppy, very carefully placed, in the hand of the fallen figure (presumably on Remembrance Sunday).
On my first visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, a must for anyone on a coach holiday to the Hampshire coast, I took the time to take the photograph above and wonder, for a moment, what brought this little ship to a dry dock, overshadowed by the Royal Navy’s largest ships, past and present. Then it was off to queue up for a tour of Nelson’s famous and instantly recognisable flagship, H.M.S Victory. Then I forgot about the little ship (and this photograph; until last week).
Last year I made the journey from Southampton to Portsmouth, by train this time, to visit the Historic Dockyard again, to see the new museum built around the remains of the Mary Rose. On a strict timetable (I think I had to present myself at the Mary Rose Museum at 11 o’clock) I marched from the dockyard entrance to H.M.S Victory, looking for something to occupy my mind and the 15 minutes remaining on the clock before I had to join the queue. Then I noticed the little ship; resplendent in its new, dazzling, paint work! The notion of dazzle camouflage schemes were not new to me, but I had never see them applied so boldly and on an object in front of my very eyes. The idea is, in short, that when your German Imperial Navy U-boat Commander looks at the H.M.S M33 through his periscope he is dazzled by the bold, black and white pattern and subsequently doesn’t know where to aim his torpedoes, because he can’t tell one end of the ship from the other.
As you can see, this was a very quiet corner of the Historic Dockyard and I spent some time strolling around the M33 and admiring it’s obviously very new paint work. I learnt from a leaflet that I picked up later (that I have subsequently filed away somewhere so “safe” I cannot find it) that the warship is own by Hampshire County Council and that they have further restoration plays for it. I also learnt that this “little ship”, as I refereed to it initially, had seen action at Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War and had supported White Russian and Interventionist British forces during the Russian Civil War in 1919. Perhaps my next visit to Portsmouth will be especially to see the newly opened H.M.S M33 Monitor; next year perhaps, to coincide with the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. We’ll have to wait and see.
Hampshire County Council’s webpage for the M33: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/m33.htm
Here is a very link to a BBC article by Dr. Sam Willis about dazzle camouflage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zty8tfr