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HMS BROKE

 

KILLED

WOUNDED

1 Officer

36 Men

3 Officers

33 Men

 

From an account based on narrative compiled from  more than one source in 1917:

 

"At 11.30 pm, the bulk of the enemy began to loom out of the darkness, and, in a moment, our destroyers were right in the midst of terrible fighting at close quarters.

HMS Tipperary, leading the Fourth Flotilla, was set on fire and dreadfully damaged by the hellish hail of shells. Captain Wintour and a great part of his crew were  lost, only a very few survivors being picked up next day. HMS Spitfire (Lieutenant Commander Trelawny), the second astern, coming on full speed, fired her torpedoes at the misty shadow of a four-funneled ship, and then dashed into a light cruiser, carrying away thirty feet of the skin-plating of the German before she scraped clear.

 

HMS Broke, leading her half-flotilla, came close to a German ship on her starboard bow. Simultaneously, the Germans opened fire. An 11 inch shell struck the lower bridge, killing those on duty, smashing the engine room telegraph and wheel. The  helm was over to starboard, the telegraph at full speed, while the port engine was only running at half speed. Consequently, Broke came round, striking the unfortunate destroyer Sparrowhawk just before the bridge, cutting off her bow and pressing her round. Another of the flotilla came ahead first at the noseless boat and chopped off her stern also. The remainder drifted helplessly until sighted in the morning by Marksman, which rescued the remaining crew and sank the wreck as being too far gone for salvage.

 

Half the crew of Broke were wounded or killed, the doctor amongst them, and the sick-bay steward did splendid work amongst the sufferers, being afterwards awarded the DSM. Broke was put on a course which it was hoped would take her clear of further trouble, but instead it brought her amongst three German destroyers, which at once opened fire. Broke replied with her only remaining gun. The enemy could not have known what an easy victory was within their grasp, for they drew off, leaving Broke so damaged that at first there was talk of trying to make for Norway,

 

The battered Broke, navigated from the wardroom table, as the charthouse was gone, afterwards had an adventurous journey as she tumbled home, being obliged to steam many devious courses, for, as the wind shifted, she must needs change direction to keep the seas from breaking into her broken fabric. On arrival in the Tyne (June 3rd) her crew heard that they had been given up for lost."

 

 
 
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