4TH BATTLE SQUADRON
Royal Navy Grand Fleet
HMS Iron Duke - Fleet Flagship of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe; Captain Frederic Dreyer
HMS Royal Oak - Captain C. Maclachlan
HMS Superb - Flagship of Rear Admiral A. L. Duff; Captain E. Hyde-Parker
HMS Canada - Captain W. C. M. Nicholson
HMS Benbow - Flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee; Captain H. W. Parker
HMS Bellerophon - Captain E. F. Bruen
HMS Temeraire - Captain E. V. Underhill
HMS Vanguard - Captain J. D. Dick
K29223 E. T. Bowles ACT. L. S.
Ernest Thomas Bowles was born on 9th February 1886 in Driffield, Gloucestershire to William and Charlotte Bowles. He had two siblings, Emily (Born 1880) and Walter Emily (Born 1882). In the 1911 Census he is recorded as being a Boarder at 20 High St Pontlottyn, Gelligaer, Glamorganshire with an occupation of Furnace Stoker.
Enlisting on 18th May 1915 into the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), Bowles initially served with the Royal Naval Division (5th Nelson Battalion) before passing through Victory I and transferring to HMS Canada between 26th August 1915 and 7th November 1915. He held the rank of Ordinary Seaman, Able Seaman under the serial Z/1044 while in the RNVR.
At the end of his stint aboard HMS Canada in the RNVR, he was drafted to the Royal Navy as K29223 taking the rank as Sto II (Stoker, 2nd Class) aboard the same ship. He served on HMS Canada while at the Battle of Jutland.
HMS Canada was a super-dreadnought battleship, initially intended for sale to the Chilean Navy under the name of "Almirante Latorre" before being purchased by the Royal Navy for use in the Grand Fleet in 1915. Captained by William Nicholson she was a part of the 4th Battle Squadron and notably the only battleship armed with ten 14 inch guns.
During the battle, HMS Canada fired a total of 42 rounds from its 14 inch guns and 109 6-inch shells - scoring two salvoes on Wiesbaden, five more at unknown target before finally engaging with German destroyers. HMS Canada received no hits or casualties during her action. The action report is detailed below.
2nd June 1916.
In compliance with your signal 1835 of 1st instant, I have the honour to report as follows:—
2. On 31st May at 5.10 p.m., the Fleet steaming S.E. by S. in organization 5 disposed to Starboard, the signal was made for Light Cruisers to take up position for approach. At 6.6 p.m. the Fleet altered course to S.E., the Battle Cruisers being then before the Starboard beam engaging the enemy heavily. At 6.10 the signal was made to 3rd and 8th Flotillas: "Take up position for approach."
3. At 6.15 formed Line of Battle, S.E. by E., speed being then 18 knots.
At 6.22 three Armoured Cruisers, probably 2nd Cruiser Squadron, were abaft our starboard beam, steaming in a N.N.W. direction, when one of them blew up.
At 6.38 "Canada" fired two salvoes at German Ship, which had apparently suffered heavily, and was much obscured by smoke and the splash of other ships' fire. Object extremely indistinct. Neither of these salvoes were seen to fall for certain.
At 6.45 ceased firing.
About 7.15 engaged destroyers about a point before the beam. These turned away, using smoke screen.
4. At 7.20 fired four salvoes at battleship or battle-cruiser on starboard beam, very indistinct, probably "Kaiser" class. Range of first salvo was 13,000 yards, which was very short. Third and fourth salvoes appeared to straddle, but conditions were such as to make it impossible to be certain. This ship then disappeared in dense smoke, probably a smoke screen.
5. At 7.25 signal was made to turn 2 points away from enemy, followed 2 minutes later by a second 2 points.
At 7.25 engaged destroyers attacking abaft starboard beam with our 6-inch. Broadside was divided between left-hand or leading boat and the right-hand boat. At 7.30 fired three salvoes of 14-in. on leading attacking destroyer abaft starboard beam. Third salvo appeared to hit. This destroyer vanished in smoke and is believed to have sunk. The right-hand destroyer was also straddled by 6-in. and was lost sight of.
From 7.20 to 7.25 "Canada" appeared (from direction) to be fired at by a battleship of "Kaiser" class, or the "Derfflinger," on starboard quarter. Shots fell a long way short.
7.35, ceased firing.
7.40, signal was made: "Single Line ahead, course S.W."
6. H.M.S. "Canada" was not struck during the action, and there are, therefore, no casualties to report.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
Bowles continued to serve aboard HMS Canada until he was demobilized on 25th March 1919.
Bowles died in 1970 at the age of 84 in Glamorganshire.