Sunday 24 January 1915 – We Lost 105
Buoyed by the success of the raid on 16th December 1914, Admiral Hipper resolves to repeat the success. He is however intercepted by the British at Dogger Bank, midway between Germany and Britain. Through intercepted German radio traffic the British learned of Hipper’s proposed sortie yesterday. Consequently Admiral Beatty sets sail with five battle cruisers to meet Hipper’s three, aided by a further six light cruisers. Joined by additional cruisers and destroyers at Harwich, Beatty proceeds south before encountering Hipper’s outlying vessels at 07:20. Realising he is over matched Hipper attempts to escape believing the British battle cruisers to be slower than his. Beatty’s cruisers, however, are notably faster than their German counterparts, and succeed in reaching extreme firing range by 09:00. The Battle of Dogger Bank starts half an hour later.
The British manage to first halt and then sink the armoured cruiser SMS Blucher, killing 782 men, at the same time they damage Hipper’s flagship, battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz, killing 192, although the Germans in turn succeed in effectively hammering Beatty’s own flagship, HMS Lion, to a standstill. The Lion takes no further part in the battle after 11:00. Nevertheless, a major British success appears likely until Beatty, overcome by fears of mines and a believed submarine sighting (there are none), decides to abandon the attack, allowing Hipper’s squadron to escape. Fifteen British sailors have been killed in the encounter. Although the battle is not greatly consequential in itself, it boosts British morale and concerns the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, enough to issue an order stating that all further risks to surface vessels are to be avoided. In addition to Lion, HMS Meteor suffers serious damage in the encounter.
The Battle of Jarrab is fought between pro British and Pro Turkish Arabs during which Captain William Henry Irvine Shakespear (Indian Cavalry attached Indian Politcal Department) is shot in the head and killed. He is a military adviser to Ibn Saud (future king of Saudi Arabia). He has made seven separate expeditions into the Arabian interior during which he became a close friend of Ibn Saud. After the battle he was beheaded by the enemy. It has been suggested his death was a disaster to the Arab cause as the void caused was be filled by T E Lawrence.
Lieutenant Colonels S G Maritz and J C G Kemp attack Bechuanaland with a force of 1,200 rebels and four guns. The attack is repulsed and the rebels leave twelve dead, twenty-three wounded and ninety-six prisoners on the field. The Union of South Africa forces suffer three men killed and twenty-two wounded.
Today’s highlighted casualty is
Engineer Captain Charles Gerald Taylor MVO (Royal Navy) is a Wales international rugby union player who played club rugby for Blackheath. He is the first Welsh international to be killed in action when HMS Tiger is struck by fire from the German cruiser SMS Blücher. Taylor is an all-round athlete, and at one time was the Welsh pole vault champion. Taylor made his debut for Wales against England in 1884 in the Home Nations Championship. Wales lost the game but Taylor would play in the remaining two games of the campaign against Scotland and Ireland. In 1884 Taylor was reselected for Wales. In the 1885 Championship Taylor made his first international score, though as no points were given to conversions at the time he is recorded with no career score. In 1885, Taylor was spending much of his time in London, and when a group of Welshmen came together to form a club for London ‘exiles’, Taylor was among them. The club formed in June 1885, and Taylor became a committee member at the first meeting and then on the 21st October became a member of the very first London Welsh team. London Welsh would become a prominent club providing many Welsh internationals. He earned 9 caps playing for Wales. He is the son of the Reverend Alfred Lee Taylor Vicar of Ruabon. He is killed at age 51.
- Captain Maurice Howard Helyar (Rifle Brigade) is killed at age 36. He is the son of Francis and ‘the Honorable’ Mrs. Helyer.