Study of the loss of HMS 'Hogue', 'Cressy' and 'Aboukir' in the Broad Fourteens, 22 September 1914

This heavily annotated drawing is a study of the loss of the armoured cruisers 'Aboukir', 'Hogue' and 'Cressy' to torpedoes from the German submarine 'U9' in the Broad Fourteens (an area of the southern North Sea so-named for its even 14-fathom depth contour) on 22 September 1914. The upturned hull of the 'Aboukir' is in the foreground. On the right the 'Hogue' is being struck by two torpedoes in quick succession. On the left is the 'Cressy' with the outline of a fountain of water to indicate the single torpedo hit which sank her, though she was not torpedoed until some time after the 'Hogue'. Another note indicates the position of the 'Periscope' of 'U9' at right centre. The annotations do not appear to be in Wyllie's usual hand and it may be that he did the sketch and showed it to a survivor of the action who added the various points, including the need to show the 'Hogue' listing more heavily. This may also indicate it is a preliminary study for an illustration of the action in a news periodical such as the 'Graphic' for which he did much work. While the three British ships involved were old vessels, their loss in only the second month of the First World War - with heavy casualties - was a humiliating one and a major wake-up call on the so far underrated dangers posed by enemy submarines. 'UB9' had been out on an otherwise profitless North Sea foray against British merchant shipping and was returning to base when she fortuitously ran across the three patrolling British warships, which she sank as practically helpless targets with ruthlessly rapid efficiency.

Object Details

ID: PAE3141
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Wyllie, William Lionel
Events: World War I: Sinking of Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy, 1914
Vessels: Aboukir (1900); Cressy (1899) Hogue (1900)
Date made: circa 1914-15
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: 271 mm x 442 mm

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