Olympic/Hawke Collision

Mark Chirnside

Mark Chirnside


Goodness, that was a quick reply. You have touched upon one of the many particularly interesting issues surrounding the collision.

Aylen was acting as navigating lieutenant, as he was only onboard Hawke for her power trials earlier that day. As such, his notebook kept a record of ‘everything affecting navigation.’ It was knocked overboard — in fact, it fell out of his hand — when he was standing on the platform at the end of the forebridge.

Whether it was convenient for Aylen, and Hawke’s case, is another question, since we do not know what was in the book. I suppose the reporter may have been implying that. We know it was a navigational record, but nothing beyond that as regards specifics. Navigational data was written in the notebook, but not in the rough log, so it is not recorded at all. As far as I recall, Aylen was never confronted about the loss of the notebook, beyond being questioned as to its contents and how it had been lost.

However, there is an interesting exchange when he was cross-examined for the White Star Line. After conceding it was ‘a very important document,’ he was asked:

Q. Did it occur to you or Commander Blunt as far as you knew to say something of this sort, “This thing is unfortunately missing, it is fresh in my memory, I will do my best to reproduce the book.”
A. No.

Best wishes,


William Gallagher


Do you know where I might find more about the Hawke, please? I've been reading here and in my various Titanic books about the collision with Olympic but I want to know more about what the Hawke was doing, what it had been doing before all that.

Thanks for any help, it's much appreciated

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally a separate thread in a different topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread about R.M.S. Hawke. MAB]

William Gallagher

Folks, thank you so much for you all your help and my apologies for vanishing as soon as I'd asked the question!

I'm off to read all this in detail. So pleased to come back to such great responses.

Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Beware of the Geocities links since Geocities itself no longer exists. (It was bought out by Yahoo.) Some of the old websites may have found new homes but you'll have to Google them up.

Mark Baber

Staff member
MAB note: This trial court ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal in March

The Times, London, 2 April 1912



Judgment in this test case, referred to the Admiralty Court by the Justices
of Southampton, was given to-day. The claim arose out of the collision
between the White Star liner Olympic and his Majesty's ship Hawke on
September 20 last.

The facts and arguments were fully reported in The Times of March 6 and 7,
and appear sufficiently in the judgment.

Mr. Emanuel appeared for the plaintiffs; and Mr. Laing, K.C., and Mr. W.
Norman Raeburn for the defendants.


MR. JUSTICE BARGRAVE DEANE said that in this case two members of the crew of
the Olympic, one of the White Star liners, brought a claim before the
magistrates at Southampton claiming wages as fireman and seaman respectively
in the Olympic on an agreement in the ship's articles for a voyage "from
Southampton to New York (via Cherbourg and Queenstown) and/or, if required,
to any port or ports within the North Atlantic and South Atlantic oceans,
trading as may be required until the ship returns to a final port of
discharge in the United Kingdom for any period not exceeding 12 months."

The plaintiffs joined the Olympic on September 20 of last year, and the
vessel proceeded from Southampton, but, as was well known, she came into
collision with his Majesty's ship Hawke and received such heavy damage that
she had to go back to Southampton, where she discharged her cargo and
passengers, and after being patched up proceeded to Belfast, where alone she
could be dry-docked, for her repairs, and she did not sail again until
November 29.

The crew claimed wages under the provisions of section 162 of the Merchant
Shipping Act, 1894, which provided that:---"If a seaman, having signed an
agreement, is discharged otherwise than in accordance with the terms thereof
before the commencement of the voyage, or before one month's wages are
earned, without fault on his part justifying that discharge, and without his
consent, he shall be entitled to receive from the master or owner, in
addition to any wages he may have earned, due compensation for the damage
caused to him by the discharge, not exceeding one month's wages, and may
recover that compensation as if it were wages duly earned." These two men's
wages were £6 and £5, a month, and they claimed these sums for being
discharged without their fault.

The defendants' answer to the claim was contained in section 158 of the
Act:---"Where the service of a seaman terminates before the date
contemplated in the agreement by reason of the wreck or loss of the ship ...
he shall be entitled to wages up to the time of such termination, but not
for any longer period."


The whole question therefore turned on the meaning of the words in section
158 "wreck or loss of the vessel." There was no definition in any of the
Acts as to what a "wreck" was, and it was agreed that his Lordship had to
base his decision on the meaning of that word. Was the Olympic a wreck
within the meaning of that section? A good many cases had been cited to him
on one side and the other, but counsel for the claimants had been unable to
find any case in which it had been held that a vessel was or was not a
wreck, and he had cited cases with reference to goods---Legge v. Boyd (14
L.J., C.P., 183), The King v. The Forty-nine Casks of Brandy (3 Hagg [Ad.],
257), The King v. Two Casks of Tallow (3 Hagg [Ad.], 294). These were cases
as to whether goods were "wraccum," a very odd word, which his Lordship
believed came from the old Anglo-Saxon. They were disputes as to whether
goods washed ashore out of vessels belonged to the owner of the foreshore or
to some other person, and depended on whether they were wraccum maris or
not---they did not touch the meaning of wreck in section 158.

In his Lordship's opinion the Olympic was a wreck within the meaning of
section 158. The words were "wreck or loss," and wreck was something short
of loss. If the vessel foundered she would be a loss and not a wreck. He
thought that in The Elizabeth (2 Dodson, 403) Sir William Scott used the
word "semi-naufragium," and we now used the expressions "a partial wreck," a
"constructive wreck," a "constructive total loss," and we recognized
qualifications of losses and wrecks. The whole question was whether the
vessel was sufficiently injured and damaged that she ceased to be a ship of
a serviceable character to her owners.

His Lordship thought the nearest approach to the present ease was that of
The Elizabeth (supra). That vessel was damaged and burnt, but eventually she
was repaired and the master in the exercise of his discretion discharged the
crew in a foreign port, and they were sent home, and everything was done to
mitigate the damage. In a claim by the crew for wages---it was long before
the Merchant Shipping Act---Sir William Scott said the question was whether
the master had a right to dismiss the mariners, and that the circumstances
in which the vessel was placed did vest him with authority to do so:---"Here
was a ship that had encountered what the law might call a 'semi naufragium'
--- full of water so that they could not live on board. She is put in the
hands of foreign carpenters for a protracted course of necessary repairs.
... Is it clear law that the master, acting for his owners, could not, in
such circumstances dismiss the mariners on any terms whatever? If so, then
he was bound to keep this crew in an unemployed state, living on shore, and
keeping holiday all the winter at the expense of his owners. ... I know and
feel the partiality which the maritime law entertains for this class of men,
but it must not overrule all consideration of justice to other classes,
particularly to merchants, their employers; for what is oppressive to the
merchant cannot but be injurious to the mariner." That to his (Mr. Justice
Deane's) mind, properly stated what the principles were.


Now, the Olympic was so seriously damaged that she ceased to be a navigable
ship. She went back under her own steam to Southampton, and on the 22nd the
men were discharged. The crew were offered wages up to that time, but
they --- or so far as this action was concerned, these two plaintiffs ---
claimed wages for a month. Was the master of the Olympic justified in
discharging them? In his Lordship's opinion he was. Both the plaintiffs
agreed that it was impossible to have gone on serving in the ship---and what
stronger evidence could there be of her state, and that she was in their
opinion a wreck?

Beyond that, on September 22 there was a letter from the officials of the
Board of Trade handed to the manager of the White Star Line at Southampton,
requiring the return of the Olympic's passenger and freeboard certificate,
because she was not in a seaworthy condition, and the certificate was duly
returned. The vessel then could not proceed as a passenger ship, she was
under the embargo of the Board of Trade, and she was only patched up
sufficiently to get a certificate to enable her to proceed to Belfast and no
further. The voyage was thus brought to a summary end. His Lordship held
therefore that the plaintiffs were not entitled to wages beyond the date to
which they had been tendered, and he gave judgment for the defendants on the
claim with costs.

Stay of execution was granted.

Solicitors.-P. J. Nicholls for Emanuel and Emanuel; Thomas Cooper and Co.
for Hill, Dickinson and Co.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The World, Evening Edition (New York), 20 September 1911
Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

2.000 Passengers Crowded on Decks When English Warship Suddenly Swings and
Hits the Starboard Quarter
Naval Authorities Say Giant Vessel's Suction Caused Collision---Americans

SOUTHAMPTON, Sept. 20---The White Star liner Olympic, bound for New York,
was run down and badly damaged in the Solent off Cowes, Isle of Wight,
today, by the British protected cruiser Hawke. Water rushed into the hold of
the Olympic through such a big hole in her starboard quarter and Capt.Smith
headed her for Osborne Bay with the intention of beaching her on a mud bank.

The cellular bulkheads held the water in the compartments immediately
affected by the collision and Capt. Smith found the expedient of beaching
the largest steamship afloat unnecessary. He brought his vessel back to
Southampton and unloaded upon the already congested avenues of transatlantic
travel the biggest boatload of passengers that ever embarked on a steamship.

The Hawke was badly damaged in the collision, but stood by until it was seen
that the Olympic was safe. Then she proceeded to the naval station at
Portsmouth under her own steam.

It was reported on unofficial information from the British Admiralty Office
this afternoon that the Hawke, which recently was repaired in Portsmouth,
was on a speed trial at the time of the collision. She was running very fast
when she struck the Olympic, but in the same direction as the liner. The
amazing theory that the bulk suction of the Olympic drew the Hawke into
collision is advanced in naval circles.

There were 742 first cabin passengers booked on the Olympic, including some
thirty American millionaires. All her passengers were not aboard. Some
awaited the ship at Cherbourg, France.

Intense excitement attended the collision. Most of the passengers were on
deck. Officers and stewards sprang to their collision-drill positions and
aided in allaying the panic.


When the Olympic was headed for shore Capt. Smith was disposed to land his
passengers. An inspection of the vessel, however, showed that she was in no
immediate danger, and he decided to keep them on board and return to

The disablement of the Olympic has the effect of delaying the departure from
home of some 2,000 American tourists and shifting them to the already well
filled ships of other lines.

Aside from the inconvenience caused the passengers the collision is a
serious matter to the While Star Line. Some $350,000 has been paid for
passage. The line has on its hands more than 2,000 persons who must be fed
and cared for until they can be sent to New York on other vessels or until
the Olympic can be repaired.

Although the Olympic was cut below her water line her collision bulkheads
confined the water that entered to the compartments immediately affected by
the collision. So far as is known by the officers of the ship no one was

The accident was unique in the history of collisions. It is said that both
vessels were proceeding in the same direction, side by side, and seemingly a
safe distance apart. Suddenly, the White Star officials declare, and without
warning, the Hawke slewed violently around and her heavy armored stern
struck the Olympic on the starboard quarter, crushing in her plates as
though they were paper.

The shock of the collision threw the great Olympic off an even keel. After
the first excitement the passengers rushed to the starboard side of the boat
and jammed along the rails. Considerable difficulty was experienced by the
officers and stewards in getting some semblance of order out of the


The Olympic left the White Star line pier here at 11.25 o'clock this
morning. She had over 2,000 passengers booked, and with her crew this made
nearly 3,000 persons on the steamship. As the Olympic is the largest ship in
the world, and the novelty attending her departure for a trip across the
Atlantic has not yet worn off, a great crowd assembled to witness her
departure. The weather was hazy, but not thick enough to warrant
apprehension of danger.

Slowly and carefully the great bulk of the Olympic steamed down the channel
of Southampton water, past long lines of vessels lying at anchor. The
passengers, after settling their hand luggage in their rooms, were on deck
admiring the the scenery, which is beautiful along the course of vessels
bound in and out of this port. This is especially true of the Solent or
Sound between the Isle of Wight and the mainland of England.

From Southampton the Olympic held southward until the entrance to the Solent
was reached. There she headed westward to pass around the Isle of Wight and
cross the English Channel to Cherbourg.

Off Osborne House, the favorite castle of the the late Queen Victoria, now
used as a naval school, the Hawke bore alongside the liner. The weather
continued hazy, but both vessels were in clear sight of each other. There
was considerable traffic in the Solent, as is always the case, and it is
presumed that the Hawke was compelled to make a quick turn to avoid another
vessel in her path.


The collision occurred so suddenly that Capt. Smith and his officers on the
lofty bridge were totally unprepared. The instant they felt the shock the
lever controlling the bulkhead doors was turned and all the watertight
compartments were instantaneously sealed.

Soon the report reached Capt. Smith that the ship was making water.
Osbourne Bay was close at hand. He headed his vessel for shore and stopped
her in Cowes Roadstead, near a mudbank. Immediately the towering liner was
surrounded by a fleet of small boats. Tugs offered assistance in taking off
passengers, but the offers were declined.

In the excitement following the collision life boats and rafts were manned
and life preservers were yanked from their fastenings. Women and children
screamed and cried, but the men passengers, being generally men of affairs
and not easily exercised, were of great help to the officers and crew of the

The Olympic wireless operator and the wireless men on the Hawke flashed
separate wireless messages telling of the collision. Thse [sic] messages
were received here and at Portsmouth.

From the Portsmouth Naval Station tugs and tenders were rushed to Cowes,
which is but a short distance from where the Olympic was temporarily
beached. The White Star Line dispatched every available tug in Southampton
Harbor to the scene of the wreck.

In the meantime Capt. Smith had found that the Olympic's engines and boilers
were uninjured and that the water was confined to a portion of the hull cut
off by watertight doors. He decided to return to Southampton. The cruiser,
which had offered assistance, started for Portsmouth as soon as it was seen
that the Olympic was able to help herself.

Through swarms of small craft hastening out to greet her the Olympic steamed
slowly back to this port. She arrived three hours and a half after she had
started on what promised to be the most notable trip in point of number and
importance of passengers in the history of transatlantic navigation.

Apparently the injuries to the Olympic will necessitate putting her in
drydock. She has an immense cargo on board and this will have to be
lightered. It is probable that the ship will proceed to Belfast, where the
drydock is big enough to hold her.

Among the most prominent passengers were Robert A. Taft, a son of President
Taft; Waldorf Astor, M. P.; Mr. and Mrs. McDougall Hawkes of New York,
George F. Baker, chairman of the Board of the First National Bank, his son,
George Alfred Baker, and daughter, Florence; Mr. W. H. Truesdale, wife
of the President of the D. L. & W. Railroad; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Croker,
jr., Miss Ethel Croker, Mr. Charles Page Bryan, United States Ambassador to
Tokio and Mrs. Bryan; Mr C. C. Cuyler, Mr. J. J. Havemeyer, Loomis Havemeyer
and Miss J. L. Havemeyer, Mr. and Mrs. Gen. George E. Ide, Mr. and Mrs.
Columbus O'D. Iselin, Miss Adrienne Iselin and Miss G. Iselin; Clarence H.
Mackay, president of the Postal Telegraph Company; William H. McIntyre, Mr.
W. C. Brown, President of the New York Central and Mrs. Brown; Mr. and Mrs.
S. A. Makeover, Jesse Wasserman, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, Payne
Whitney, Mr. and Mrs. Felix Warburg and Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Thomas.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The World, Evening Edition (New York), 21 September 1911
Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Experts Say Warship Tried to Cross Bow and Then Changed Course

SOUTHAMPTON, Sept 21---The crippled White Star liner Olympic was towed
from the anchorage ground in Southampton Water where she spent the night to
the White Star dock here to-day. The passengers were sent ashore and put
aboard special trains for London, where they will remain until the ships on
which passage has been engaged for them depart.

The work of taking out the cargo of the Olympic was begun as soon as she was
alongside the dock. When she is light she will go into dry dock at Belfast
for repairs. It is believed she will be out of commission for a month.

Passengers of the Olympic are making the best of the discouraging situation.
They are guests of the White Star Line and will charge their expenses to
that company until they are on their way to New York. It is expected that
all will get away within ten days. The American Line steamer St. Louis will
take a few on Saturday, and others will go on the Holland-American steamer
Noordam, sailing Sunday, and on the White Star liners Arabic, sailing next
Tuesday; the Majestic, sailing Wednesday, and the Cedric, sailing Thursday,
and on the American liner New York, which is scheduled to leave on Sept. 30.
The third class passengers will proceed on the St. Louis and the Majestic.

Orders have been issued for a naval inquiry to be held at Portsmouth to
determine the blame for the collision between the Olympic and the cruiser
Hawke. The White Star Line officials refuse to take any responsibility,
alleging that the warship was wholly at fault. Heavy damages will be
demanded of the Government.

At the time of the collision the Olympic seemed to be going slower than
usual, while the cruiser was coming up rapidly in a sea fairly smooth.
Before any one was aware of danger the Hawke rammed the Olympic on the
starboard quarter, fifty feet from the stern. The impact was plainly heard
by hundreds of persons on the shores of the Isle of Wight.


Mark Baber

Staff member
New-York Tribune, 22 September 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

White Star Liner Must Go to Belfast for Drydocking
Stalled Passengers Offer Large Premiums for Accommodation on Other Boats

Southampton, Sept. 21---The divers engaged to-day in making an examination
of the White Star liner Olympic, which was rammed by the British cruiser
Hawke, reported extensive injuries below the water line. They found that the
hole below the Olympic's waterline is much bigger than that above. This was
due to the shape of the Hawke's ram, which is especially designed to sink

The damage done to the cruiser's hull also was found to be very serious. It
is estimated that twenty feet of the cruiser's bow will have to be replaced.

The Olympic left her anchorage in Southampton Water shortly after dawn
to-day and, assisted by six powerful tugs, made her way slowly back to the
dock here which she had left less than twenty-four hours before for New

Great crowds watched the passage of the steamer into the harbor, while the
passengers, who had spent a comfortable night aboard, lined the rails.
Special trains were waiting for the first and second class passengers, a
majority of whom were going to London to await the sailing of other vessels
on which the company had obtained accommodations for them.

It is expected that all of these will get away within ten days. The American
Line steamship St. Louis will take a few on Saturday, and others will go on
the Holland-America steamer Noordam, sailing on Sunday, and on the White
Star liners Arabic, sailing on Tuesday, the Majestic, on Wednesday, and the
Cedric, on Thursday; also on the American Line steamship New York, which
will sail on Saturday, September 30. The third class passengers will proceed
on the St. Louis and the Majestic.

Will Be Patched Up

As soon as her cargo has been put ashore the Olympic will be patched up
sufficiently to enable her to proceed under her own steam to the great
drydock at Belfast, the only one in the world large enough to accommodate

A naval inquiry into the circumstances will be held at Portsmouth soon. As
was the case when the steamer St. Paul and the cruiser Gladiator were in
collision, the decision of the naval court will be withheld until the civil
courts decide the question of damages as between the two vessels.

Waldorf Astor, Harry Payne Whitney and Frank Munsey were among the first to
start for London. There was competition for the few available berths on
steamships to sail in the next few days, and hints that any persons who were
booked on these vessels and were willing to surrender their accommodations
would be handsomely compensated.
As high as $150 above the cost of the ticket was offered.

Speculation in Options

After Thomas Magee, of California, who hired a wherry, got down the side of
the Olympic while she was at anchor last night and succeeded when he reached
the shore in securing passage on the Adriatic, returned in the damaged
liner, there was excitement among his fellow passengers. He told his fellow
passengers that he had secured four of the five berths available on the
Adriatic. Speculation immediately began in options on the fifth passage.
J. H. Wertz finally got it for $300.

E. W. Sheldon, president of the United States Trust Company, secured the
last available berth on the Adriatic. Mr. Sheldon landed from the Olympic
at noon and arranged for a special train to Liverpool at a cost of $390 plus
the first class fare. The distance from Southampton to Liverpool is 250
miles over three railway systems.
Cherbourg, Sept. 21---Some of those who had booked passage on the steamer
Olympic from this port found accommodations on the Kaiser Wilhelm II, which
sailed to-day for New York. These included Charles Page Bryan, who has been
recently appointed American Ambassador to Japan; Hamilton Fish, jr., of New
York, and Mrs. Stephen B. and Miss Elkins.


Mark Baber

Staff member
New-York Tribune, 5 October 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Southampton, England, Oct. 4---The White Star liner Olympic, which
discharged her cargo and made temporary repairs here after she was rammed by
the British cruiser Hawke off the Isle of Wight on September 20, sailed
to-day for Belfast, where she will enter the drydock for permanent mending.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Sun, New York, 23 November 1911
Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Big Ship Will Sail for New York Next Wednesday as Good as New
Special Cable Dispatch to THE SUN

SOUTHAMPTON, Nov. 22---The White Star liner Olympic, which since she was
rammed by the British cruiser Hawke has been in dry dock at Belfast, arrived
here to-day.

The giant ship is scheduled to sail for New York next Wednesday.


Edited to change the date of publication, originally given as "12 November."

Mark Baber

Staff member
New-York Tribune, 30 November 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Liner Held at Southampton with 1,200 Passengers Aboard

Southampton, Nov. 30---Owing to a heavy fog in the Channel, the White Star
liner Olympic, with 1,200 saloon passengers aboard, which was scheduled to
sail from Southampton at noon, was still detained at midnight.

This will be the first voyage of the Olympic since the accident on September
20, when she was rammed by the British cruiser Hawke.
Cherbourg, Nov. 30---Five hundred passengers for the steamships Olympic and
Kronprinz Wilhelm, which are fogbound, are stranded here, the hotel
accommodations being unequal to the tax upon them. Many of the passengers
were forced to sleep last night on benches or in the cars of the special
train which brought them from Paris.


Mark Baber

Staff member
MAB Note: With Olympic (or is it Titanic?) back in service after the Hawke collision, this series of articles comes to its end.

New-York Tribune, 1 December 1911
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Southampton, Nov. 30--- The fog lifted in the night and the White Star liner
Olympic, which had been detained, was able to sail at 7:15 o'clock this
morning for New York. She has 1,200 passengers on board, and is making her
first voyage since her collision with the British cruiser Hawke on September

Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Dug these out from my WW1 library:


Hawke 1

Olympic after the war

Mark Baber

Staff member
The Evening World, New York, 16 October 1914
Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Hawke Cruiser of 7,350 Tons Sunk and 348 of Her Crew, Including All High
Officers, Are Reported Lost---52 Saved

LONDON, Oct. 16---The British cruiser Hawke and 348 men of her crew of 400
have been sent to the bottom of the North Sea by a torpedo from a German
submarine. Three officers and 49 men were picked up and have been landed on
the east coast of Scotland.

As happened in the case of the U9, which sank three cruisers at about the
point where the Hawke was destroyed, the German submarine escaped without
injury so far as can be ascertained. Presumably the deadly craft is back in
a German port by this time.

The submarine was out on a cruise of destruction and only a slip in aiming a
torpedo kept her from sending another warship down with the Hawke. She first
attacked the protected second class cruiser Theseus, which is of the same
size and class as the Hawke.

The torpedo fired at the Theseus went under or astern of her. The Theseus
opened fire on the submarine, but the German Commander sunk [sic] his craft
and manoeuvred under water. Those on the Theseus lost her completely. The
German, moving beneath the surface, next attacked the Hawke, and one torpedo
was sufficient.

The official report of the Admiralty on the disaster is as follows:

"His Majesty's ship Theseus, Capt. Hugh Edwards, was attacked by a submarine
in the northern waters of the North Sea yesterday afternoon, but was missed.
His Majesty's ship Hawke, Capt. M. P. E. T. Williams, was attacked about the
same time and was sunk.

"The following officers with forty-nine men of the crew have been landed at
Aberdeen from a trawler:

"Boatswain Sydney Austin, Gunner James Dennis and Acting Gunner Hurry Evitt.
The remaining officers and men are missing.

"Further particulars will be published as soon as available."


It is believed that none of the high commissioned officers of the Hawke was
saved. The official bureau states that Capt. Hugh Williams, her commander,
is among the missing and presumably lost.

All of those who were rescued have been landed at Aberdeen. It is reported
that many of them are in a serious condition as the result of exposure.

From the fact that seven-eighths of the crew of the Hawke went down with the
ship it is assumed that the German torpedo was so well placed that it blew
up the cruiser's ammunition and tore her apart. The Admiralty has given out
no details.

The Hawke, Theseus and Gibraltar, sister cruisers, were engaged on the
patrol when the attack was made. It is not yet known whether the crew of the
Hawke saw the destroyer [sic] rise to the surface, but she must have been in

Because of the Admiralty orders that commanders of warships in cases of
submarine attacks must consider that their first duty is to their own ship,
no attempt was made by the other cruisers to go to the rescue of the crew of
the Hawke, and to this is attributed the great loss of life among the
complement of the sunken vessel.

The patrol cruisers increased their speed away, while their lookouts were
posted to watch for the German craft. It was not until it was absolutely
certain that there was no danger of further attack that the Theseus steamed
to where the wreckage from the Hawke was drifting on the surface.

Most of the crew of the Hawke had stripped when the crash came. All of the
movable fixtures---wardroom tables and the like---were thrown overboard to
furnish something to cling to while swimming. But because of the length of
time that of necessity elapsed between the sinking of the cruiser and the
arrival of help most of the crew sank. The water was intensely cold and it
was almost impossible for the swimmers to remain afloat any length of time.

News of the latest disaster to England's fleet in the north has had a
depressing effect in England, particularly in London. There is a growing
feeling of irritation at the damage the Germans are inflicting with their
submarines. England would not be surprised to learn that it was the U9 which
sunk [sic] the Hawke.
The disaster of the Hawke follows by about three weeks the sinking in the
North Sea of the British cruisers Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy. These vessels
succumbed to the attack of a German submarine, and with them some sixty
British officers and 1,400 men went to their death.

Other British warships lost since the outbreak of hostilities are the
cruiser Amphion, which was sunk in the North Sea by a mine Aug. 6, and the
cruiser Pathfinder, torpedoed in the North Sea Sept. 10. The loss of the
Hawke makes a total of six British cruisers destroyed by Germany in the
North Sea since the beginning of the war.

The British cruiser Hawke was of 7,350 tons displacement. She was
[illegible] feet long, of 60 feet beam and drew 23 feet of water. She was a
sister ship of the Edgar, Endymion, Grafton, Theseus and Gibraltar and was
launched In 1891. Her armament consisted of two 9.2-inch guns, ten 6-inch
guns, twelve 6-pounders, five 3-pounders, two machine guns and two torpedo
tubes. Her complement is given as 544 men, but she may well have had fewer
on board.

The Hawke was commanded, according to the British Admiralty list of
September, 1914, by Capt P. E. T. Williams, and among her officers were
Commander Bernard A. Pratt-Barlow and Lieut.-Commander Robert R. Roseman.

On Sept. 20, 1911, the Hawke ran into and almost sank the giant White Star
liner Olympic in Southampton Water. This was an amazing collision and
created a great deal of unfavorable comment.

The Olympic had left Southampton and was proceeding down Southampton Water
at three-quarter speed when the Hawke, which had been out on a speed trial
after undergoing repairs at Portsmouth, overtook the liner and proceeded
alongside. The vessels were about 200 yards apart.

Rounding a bank, the Olympic made a wide turn. The Hawke, instead of falling
astern, swung bow on toward the liner and struck her on the starboard side
about fifty feet forward of the propellors. [sic] Both the Olympic and the
Hawke hurried to Southampton.


Mr. Jordie Dean Byington

Olympic and Hawke Collustion

I was just wondering if someone could explain to me scientifically why the HMS Hawke was sucked into the Olympic’s side? I am interested in the fluid dynamics behind it and how moving water can create suction.