HMS 'Calypso' at the Second Battle of the Heligoland Bight, 17 November 1917

Signed by the artist, lower left, and by officers of 'Calypso' who were present, top right: 'H. S. Clarke / 17th November 1917', 'M Wilson' and 'P.J. Shrubsole'. Reports of this action vary considerably, especially with regard to the units actually involved. On 17 November 1917 a German force attempted to clear a British minefield to the north of the Heligoland Bight. The German minesweepers were covered by the four light cruisers ‘Königsberg’, ‘Frankfurt’, ‘Pillau’ and ‘Nürnberg’, with distant cover being proved by the battleships ‘Kaiserin’ and ‘Kaiser’. They were intercepted by a British force sent out for the purpose, the main protagonists being the light cruisers of the 1st and 6th Light Cruiser Squadrons and the battle-cruiser ‘Repulse’. This good depiction shows the light cruiser ‘Calypso’ being hit on the upper conning tower by a 12-inch shell from the ‘Kaiserin’. Everyone in the conning tower was killed, including the captain, Herbert L. Edwards. The majority of the bridge personnel were also either killed or wounded, including the navigating officer Lt-Cdr M. F. F. Wilson, who was knocked unconscious. The gunnery officer, Lt H.C. Clarke, therefore took command of the ship for the rest of the action and brought her back to port. No British ships were lost and the only vessel lost on the German side was the mark boat (danlayer) ‘Kehdingen’, a requisitioned trawler built in 1906. The signatures at top right are therefore self-explanatory, except that of Engineer Commander P. J. Shrubsole: he was 'Calypso's' senior engineer, who retired in 1929 as an engineer rear-admiral. By coincidence, Boy 1st Class John Alfred Shrubsole (who was no relation) was killed on board the ‘Calypso’ in this action and was buried at sea.

Object Details

ID: PAF1812
Collection: Fine art
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Wyllie, William Lionel
Date made: 1917; 1917-18 1917-1918
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Sheet: 319 mm x 466 mm

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