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Amethyst Dardanelles and Gallipoli

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Registered: August 2009
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon
Posts: 37
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Built Armstrong, Elswick, laid down January 1903, completed March 1905. Sold for breaking up at Milford Haven,1/10/1920.

Displacement: 3000 tons. Speed: 21.75 Knots. Crew 296. Armament: Twelve 4 -inch Guns, Eight 3 pdr guns and Four machine Guns Two 18-inch Torpedo Tubes.

At the start of August 1914 the Amethyst was the leader of the Harwich Force and Destroyer Command and the flagship of Commodore Tyrwhitt. In this role she led the first raid into the Heligoland Bight, on 5 August 1914, but she had been relieved by HMS Arethusa before the battle of Heligoland Bight (28 August 1914). In September she was the light cruiser attached to HMS Euryalus, the flagship of Admiral Christian, commander of the Southern Force. On 22 September, with the admiral onboard she was one of the ships that raced to the scene of the sinking of the three Cressy class cruisers.

A very brief spell with the Grand Fleet followed. This was followed by an equally short time with the 6th Battle Squadron on the south coast, before she was assigned to the fleet then being formed at the Dardanelles. On 19 February 1915 she acted as a support ship for HMS Albion during the first bombardment of the Turkish forts. Their role was to sweep the area west of the Gallipoli peninsula to clear the way for HMS Queen Elizabeth to get involved in the bombardment from a safe distance. This began a period in which the Amethyst was attached to the minesweepers. On the night of 1-2 March Amethyst and her minesweepers came under Turkish fire, but were able to make some progress. A second attempt of 7 March was less successful – a searchlight picked out the minesweepers and couldn’t be destroyed. After failures on 10 and 11 March it was decided to man the minesweepers with naval crews, but their first attempt at the task, on 14-15 March, ended in failure. The searchlight was still present, and the Amethyst was hit by one shell in the stoker’s bathroom and another in the mess-deck, taking 60 casualties.

During the main Gallipoli landings on 25 April HMS Amethyst and her sister HMS Sapphire were part of the Fourth Squadron, otherwise made up of minesweepers, and attached to the First Squadron. Early on the morning of 25 April they were used to land troops on Y-Beach. Although they helped to fight off a counterattack on the same day, on the second day of the campaign they had to help evacuate that beach.

On 28 April the Amethyst took part in an attack on Ibriji, further up the peninsula, as a feint. This was just about her last action at Gallipoli, for in May she was sent to join the Italian fleet under the terms of the agreement that brought Italy into the war. Unlike many of the ships sent to join the Italians, the Amethyst soon moved on again, and from 1916 until the end of the war she was serving off the east coast of South American. In early January 1917 she came very close to catching the German raider Moewe – so close that the Moewe actually captured one of the Amethyst’s support ships!

My Grandfather served on her between 1915 and 1918 as a Petty Officer Gunner, taking part in the Gallipoli landings.
· Date: Wed, 26 August 09 · Views: 190
· Tags: 1 · Filesize: 349.4kb · Dimensions: 980 x 630 ·
Additional Info
Keywords: Amethyst, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, World War 1
Source of Image, If not your own: Original photographic postcard from my personal collection. Published by S.Cribb.
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Steve Woodward

Registered: September 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1
Wed, 26 August 09 12:48

Superb picture and potted history, I can add only a few things, she is sometimes referred to (wrongly) as the lead ship of her class the others in build order were Topaze, Diamond and Saphire with Amethyst being built after the Topaze which is the correct class leader, the class were also referred to as the 'Gem' Class.
Althought the second of the class to be built she was the first ship larger than a destroyer to have steam turbine engines, the rest of the class were fitted with twin svrews driven by 4 cyl triple expansion steam engines of 9,800 ihp giving 21.5 knots or so on trials.
Amethyst however was of triple screws driven by Parsons direct drive steam turbines developing about 12,000 shp giving 22.5 knots, on trials she attained 13,000 and 23.5 knots.
Although turbines were the way of the future, direct drive turbines were inefficient at low speeds reducing the range of the Amethyst by about 20% at the classes 10 knot cruising speed, but at 20 knots were her turbines were more efficient she could steam nearly 20% further
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Senior Member

Registered: October 2006
Posts: 673
Wed, 26 August 09 16:27

Some good information there, you two. My grandfather was landed at Gallipoli; perhaps he was on, or saw, Ameythyst. Was the photograph taken as the ship approached Portsmouth Harbour? Would that be Southsea Common in the background?
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