Waterbodies & Maritime => Vessels => Topic started by: scintilla on May 13, 2015, 13:16:53

Title: HMS Goliath (1898 - 1915)
Post by: scintilla on May 13, 2015, 13:16:53
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Goliath. A Canopus class battleship built at Chatham Dockyard (Keel Laid January 4, 1897, Launched March 23, 1898, Commissioned March 27, 1900). She was sunk by the Turkish torpedo boat Muavenet-i Millye in the Dardenelles with the loss of at least 501 crewmen (165 survivors).

On a personal note one of those lost was my great uncle Thomas Wilfred King (1898 - 1915), a Boy 1st Class, aged 17 years. Although born in Portland, Dorset where his father was working as a prison warder, he was from Kentish stock and the family returned to Kent around 1906, first to Chatham, then Wainscott.

I've just discovered an account by a midshipman of the voyage of the Goliath from the start of WW1 until it's demise. It is called From Dartmouth to the Dardanelles,a midshipman's log, edited by his mother.
Title: Re: HMS Goliath (1898 - 1915)
Post by: alkhamhills on May 13, 2015, 21:46:11
Hi scintilla
I have access to your Great Uncle's Service Record
Have you seen it--can either show here or PM you if not
Title: Re: HMS Goliath (1898 - 1915)
Post by: mikeb on May 14, 2015, 10:36:52
A couple of images of HMS Goliath.
Title: Re: HMS Goliath (1898 - 1915)
Post by: scintilla on May 14, 2015, 12:37:28
Thanks for the offer alkhamhills, but I do already have his service record.

Some more links to web pages that discuss the Goliath;
The schoolboy sailors who died at Gallipoli http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31712158

I was going to link to another couple of websites, but they seem to have disappeared. I extracted some information from them, I'll sort through what I have in the next few days and post it here.
Title: Re: HMS Goliath (1898 - 1915)
Post by: scintilla on May 15, 2015, 12:20:19
Some more information.

HMS Goliath was a Canopus class battleship distinguishable from earlier British battleships by having two centre line funnels instead of the side by side arrangement of previous ships, this was achieved by using water tube boilers. To reduce weight and provide a shallower draught, the Canopus class ships were not given the usual copper sheathing. It was felt that the superior dock facilities in Hong Kong would ensure fouling would not be a major problem.

Goliath was built especially for use in the Suez Canal, the route to the Chinese Station, where she saw service until 1903. She joined the Mediterranean Fleet in 1905, before transferring to the Channel Fleet in December of the same year until March 1907 when she was sent to Sheerness as part of the Fourth Fleet. In 1913 Goliath was mothballed and joined the Third Fleet (Pembroke Reserve).

At the commencement of WW1 she joined the battle squadron operating out of Devonport before being sent to Loch Ewe to defend the Grand Fleet anchorage. On 20 September 1914 Goliath was sent to support cruisers on convoy duty in the Middle East, escorting an Indian convoy to the Persian Gulf and German East Africa (modern day Tanzania). In November 1914 she took part in the blockade operation against the German light cruiser SMS Konigsberg in the Rufiji River during which crew member Commander Henry Peel Ritchie won the Victoria Cross. Goliath bombarded Dar es Salaam on 28 and 30 November.

At the end of 1914 HMS Goliath had to go for a lengthy refit at the Simon's Town naval base near Cape Town in South Africa. Once completed she went back in to service as flagship for Vice Admiral King Hall and resumed operations against the Konigsberg at Rufiji River. In March 1915 they were ordered to head to the Aegean for the start of the Dardanelles campaign.

During the Dardenelles Campaign HMS Goliath took damage from bomb shells on 25th April and 2nd May 1915. On 13th May 1915, she was sunk along with 570 men out of a complement of 750, including Captain Shelford, the result of a torpedo attack fired from the Turkish Torpedo Boat Muavenet, while she was anchored in Morto Bay with HMS Cornwallis and five destroyers acting as a screen. At night and under heavy fog, the Muavenet travelled south down the Dardanelle straits and approached HMS Goliath with her engines stopped, initially remaining undetected by the patrolling ships (including HMS Beagle and HMS Bulldog). Just as she was detected she fired three torpedoes towards HMS Goliath turned and escaped.

The Torpedo Boat Muavenet-i Milliye, had been called to Canakkale on 10th May and the ship's captain Kd. Lt. Ahmet Saffet given a top secret mission. They had only a few days to get ready for the attack that could change the course of the war. For three months the British and French navies had kept the Turkish lines in Ariburnu and Seddulbahir under heavy bombardment. Two Royal Navy ships especially, HMS Goliath and Cornwallis, were turning the war zone into hell for the Turkish troops. The secret mission was to attack these two ships on the night of the 12th and 13th of May. HMS Goliath, which had been delivering death to the Turks from the beginning of the war, was now to become the target, the hope was to silence the sound of her shells with this attack. The Muavenet-i Milliye was a small torpedo boat that weighed 620 tons and was 72.1 metres long, with two torpedo tubes, built in 1909 in Germany. A plan had been hatched for this small boat to destroy the huge 13000 tons warship. The Captain planned the attack for midnight when both the sailors on shift and those just finished their shift needed to sleep. A German, Lt. Firley, as a torpedo expert, was given command of the attack under Captain Ahmet. Once ready, a little after midnight on the 12th May, they started moving out of the straits at about 8 knots. All of the boilers had been cowled in order to prevent sparks or steam leaving her stacks. At approximately 1 o'clock their scouts saw the two warships in front of them, with their sides turned to Eskihisarlik Bay. Just at this time they were spotted by one of the two ships patrolling the area. A light was shown and it was obvious that they have seen the ghost ship coming directly towards them. The Captain of the Muavenet ordered his light-man to signal in the same way as they had been signalled. This was something like answering a question with the same question - they had asked for a signal and the Muavenet asked them for a signal. The Captain was hoping that the confusion would buy them enough time. There was only 300-400 metres between them when Captain Ahmet gave the order to fire all three torpedoes, next "full ahead", as the Muavenet made her escape. Shortly, an incredible explosion cut the silence of the night, and another, later another. All the torpedoes found their target and along with 570 crew, HMS Goliath sunk to the 70 metres depth of Morto Bay. 

After this night, none of the allied ships could think that they were anchored safely, even if they were within their lines. Ships who had torpedo nets, deployed them every night.

Account drawn from a number of sources; the www.turkiye-wrecks.com website which doesn't seem to exist any more, with added information from the BBC article linked to earlier and also Wikipedia.