C E LeMesurier - Letters Home
Well, Sweetheart: Where shall I begin? And how much will the good censor let pass? I think my first impression is one of thankfulness. We were in a tight place- Look up our beloved The Virginian. When the author is driven by the Virginian from the Railway Station to the Judge's ranch- and the horses in the buggy bolt going down hill. The Virginian says "I reckon you're half-way between "Well I'm------ " and "Thank God"-"T'was a misty evening: the Battle cruisers and the four Barhams - were coming across to meet us, of the main body, at a meeting place, when the light cruisers ahead of David Beatty crashed into them- the German battle cruisers ahead, with the whole High Sea Fleet behind. After a certain amount of preliminary scrapping, the action settled down into a fight between the 5 German Battle cruisers and our six - with the four Barhams(5th Battle Squadron), somewhat in rear engaging the High Sea Fleet- our main body coming up. Result - a good deal in favour of the Germans. When the High Sea Fleet realised they were running bang into Jellicoe, they naturally turned so that practically only their rear - original leading decisions, were bought to action. We were mixed up at the head of our battle fleet line in a first class scrimmage as the Battle cruiser action passed across our front: we then got sorted out a bit, and got our 5 little ships in correct station.Our first chance came at 7.30 o/c when the slipped some destroyers at our leading battle squadron: got two of the German torpedo boat destroyers on that occasion. And luckily all their torpedoes missed us. (Four close to Calliope) Our second little excursion came soon after 8 o/c : another German destroyer attack: This time I only took out three ships: we pushed the German destroyers back, when suddenly , out of the haze, loomed large the High Sea Fleet about 4 miles off: we held on a bit and fired torpedoes at 'em- CALLIOPE has good ground for thinking hers got home - and they ran like billy for shelter- with a least 3 big battle ships plunking at us.A most uncomfortable 5 or 10 minutes as their shooting was 100 A1- we were hit, in Calliope, three times and lost, I am sorry to say, close on a dozen killed with many wounded. Another little scrap, quite a mild one, about 9 o/c and then peace at our end of the line - tho' 'twas a key action night.Next morning we swept back for cripples: our destroyers bagged a big'um 'bout 2a, and so home. A somewhat unsatisfactory meeting: we have NOT put 'em off the board tho' the losses about work out equal- I am afraid Maurice Bethell has gone. Our friends, Cay (commanded HMS Invincible) and so on - you know already - for I am very glad that the Admiralty has the second sense to own up. And so, my dear, you must not lose heart. We have our main fleet intact while theirs is distinctly weakened. The main situation has not changed, tho' this meeting will naturally put heart into the Germans: and a deuced good fight they put up- tho' they got rattled. I have your letters of 26th, 30th and 31st.I only hope you were not too anxious until you got my postcard? 'Tis good to realise Atta is really betters. Hard work that nursing: I went over to the hospital ship yesterday evening, no No1 to look at the wounded and could get an idea of what hard work it is when a rush comes. They are cheery fellows the British blue - an incomprehensible! Their principal anxiety, as expressed to me, when I saw them, was whether they would get compensation for the clothes cut off them when they were bowled over!Heart up my dear. Hug the chicks.