Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Eyewitness: The Battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary Goes Down at Jutland

Model of HMS Queen Mary

A few more rounds were fired when I took another look through my telescope and there was quite a fair distance between the second ship and what I believed was the fourth ship, due to the third ship going under. Flames were belching from what I took to be the fourth ship of the line. Then came the big explosion which shook us a bit, and on looking at the pressure gauge I saw the pressure had failed.

Immediately after that came what I term the big smash, and I was dangling in the air on a bowline, which saved me from being thrown down on the floor of the turret.

Queen Mary Fatally Wounded at Jutland

Everything in the ship went as quiet as a church, the floor of the turret was bulged up and the guns were absolutely useless. . .I put my head through the hole in the roof of the turret and nearly fell through again. The after 4-inch battery was smashed out of all recognition, and then I noticed that the ship had got an awful list to port. I dropped back again into the turret and told Lt. Ewert the state of affairs. He said, "Francis, we can do no more than give them a chance, clear the turret."

Petty Officer Ernest Francis, 
One of 18 Survivors of HMS Queen Mary


  1. Love that classic British understatement:
    "*the big explosion* which shook us *a bit*".

  2. My Great Grandfather was Petty Officer Walter John Edwards KIA on the Queen Mary . I have his medals