1916 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DETAILING THE SINKING OF THE HMS ARETHUSA BY A SURVIVOR913
On offer is superb original handwritten March 1916 letter, describing the sinking of a famous ship, written by a distinguished and decorated Royal Navy officer who would go on to become a Vice Admiral with active service in two wars. This officer had recently survived the sinking of the famous cruiser H.M.S. "Arethusa", flagship of Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt, commander of Harwich Force. This letter provides details of the sinking of "Arethusa". At the time of writing this officer had just completed a period of survivors leave, and is back on duty in Scotland, participating in the preparation of a new ship. He writes about the sinking, striking the mine and about the 12 stokers who were killed, all engine room crew below decks. "Arethusa" struck a mine and later rolled over and sank. The only fatalities were 12 killed below decks. The officer who wrote this letter was the future Vice Admiral Bertram C. Watson C.B., D.S.O. He spent the entire First World War with the famous Harwich Force, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He eventually reached the rank of Vice Admiral. In 1914 and 1915 he served aboard Arethusa in the Battles of Heliogoland Bight and the Dogger Bank, and he wrote an important published account of the Battle of the Dogger Bank. His DSO was gazetted in 1917. Later in his career he held various commands, including command of the battleship H.M.S. Valiant in the 1930's. He came out of retirement during the Second World War, served as a Commodore of Convoys, and was sunk again in S.S. "Jeypore", when she was torpedoed in Convoy SC-107 in November 1942. Admiral Watson was commodore of that convoy. VG.
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