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WORLD WAR I NAVAL ENGAGEMENT: [EVANS, SIR E.R.G.R; 'Evans of the Broke'].

Retained carbon copy report, with autograph corrections, unsigned, from the Commander of H.M.S. Swift regarding the celebrated action of 21st April, 1917 when the Swift in company with H.M.S. Broke commanded by Evans mounted a remarkable attack, engaging five German destroyers in darkness off the Dutch coast. During the encounter Evans sunk one destroyer by ramming it and another following hand-to-hand fighting on the deck of H.M.S Broke, a third was also sunk.

The typescript report, dated H.M.S. 'Swift', 21st April 1917 reads, in part: "I have the honour to report that while on patrol in company with H.M.S. Broke this morning at 0.45 a.m. in a position 3 miles to the Eastward of South Goodwin Light Vessel, a division of 5 enemy destroyers were met with and engaged. We were steaming 12 knots, course S.83.W (Mag), when enemy were sighted by the Leading Signalman on Watch on port bow. Immediately afterwards, the enemy opened fire.  I at once ordered full speed ahead both, and observing them to be steaming in line ahead on a opposite course, ordered Hard-a-Starboard with the intention of ramming if possible … …  We opened fire immediately.  Owing to the blinding effect of the 6-inch gun we failed to ram, passing through their line I found myself engaging closely an enemy vessel on my port side … … … … … I … turned to find 'Broke' whom I had lost sight of since the commencement of the action, switching on my fighting lights to ensure recognition. Shortly she flashed her name and pendants to me on an electric torch informing me that her lights were out… … she was in the neighbourhood of an enemy destroyer badly on fire and in a sinking condition …… about this time I heard several voices in the water near the ship crying for help, but could do nothing owing to the pitch darkness …"

He then describes a further sinking and the recovery of survivors and also details casualties amongst his own crew and concludes in recommending four officers, with details, and stating that: "In forwarding the attached report [not present]  from Commander Edward R.G.R. Evans, C.B. Royal Navy of H.M.S. 'Broke' I wish to record my appreciation of the able and loyal support which he rendered to me throughout, culminating in the fine feat of seamanship by which he succeeded in successfully ramming an enemy boat".

4-pages folio, fold and crease marks, holed and rust-marked from paper-clip on margin. £200.00

Enquire Item No. 4924


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