With the centenary of the Battle of Jutland on May 31 2016, Library Assistant Mark Benson looks to our archive to uncover the story of one lucky survivor from the HMS Invincible.
One of the many stories from the Battle of Jutland to be found within the Caird Library and Archive collections is that of Hubert Edward Dannreuther who survived the loss of HMS Invincible. Her loss along with fellow battlecruisers Indefatigable and Queen Mary accounted for over 3,000 of the British casualties.
Dannreuther described her loss in his report to the Admiralty:
The Ship had been hit several times by heavy shell but no appreciable damage had been done when at 6.34 p.m. a heavy shell struck “Q” turret and bursting inside blew the roof off. This was observed from the control top. Almost immediately following there was a tremendous explosion amidships indicating that “Q” magazine had blown up. The ship broke in half and sank in 10 or 15 seconds.
After 20 minutes in the freezing water, Dannreuther and five others were rescued by HMS Badger as the only survivors from a crew of 1,031.
The survivors on coming to the surface saw the bow and stern of the ship only, both of which were vertical and about 50 feet clear of the water.There was very little wreckage, the six survivors were supported by a target raft and floating timber till picked up by H.M.S. “BADGER” shortly after 7 p.m.Only one man besides those rescued was seen to come to the surface after the explosion and he sank before he could reach the target raft.
You can only imagine how relieved his family must have been when they received a telegram informing them he was safe and uninjured:
Find out how to register for a free reader’s ticket to visit the library
On 31 May 2016 you can track the Battle of Jutland 'live' on Twitter
You can also find out more about the First World War's largest sea battle in our free exhibition