The following programme had been arranged for June 24th : 10 a.m.—Visit to the Secretary of State of the Imperial Admiralty. 1.30 p.m.— Arrival of His Majesty in the royal yacht Hohen-zollern. The English flag officers and captains report on board the Hohenzollern (immediately after she anchors). 7.30 p.m.—Dinner with the English Consul.
Lieutenant-Commander Kehrhahn, Buxton and I accompanied Admiral Warrender and Commodore Goodenough to the Secretary of State of the Imperial Admiralty, who had hoisted his flag on S.M.S. Friedrich Karl. Admiral von Tirpitz received us at the gangway and took us to his cabin. He there sat at a small table with the two English flag officers, while we juniors sat at another table with his aides-de-camp. English alone was spoken, as the Admiral spoke it very well. Warrender and Goodenough brought him kind messages from his many friends and acquaintances in the English Navy. Tirpitz then spoke of the development of the German fleet. Champagne was handed round. We remained about half an hour, and then returned to the King George V., where the preparations for the reception of the Hohenzollern were at their height.
At the appointed minute the Hohenzollern passed through Holtenau Locks. This trip marked the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal to public traffic. The work of widening it had been completed. Of course some dredging was still required before battleships could pass through, but this work was carried on at full pressure. On July 30th, 1914, the Kaiserin was the first dreadnought to pass through the canal. It was thus ready at the very moment the war began.
When the Hohenzollern passed through the Holtenau Lock, on June 24th, all the ships fired the Imperial salute. Several aeroplanes and a Zeppelin circled over the Hohenzollern. Unhappily one aeroplane crashed, and the officer, Lieutenant Schroeter, was killed.
The Hohenzollern passed us very swiftly. The Kaiser waved from the bridge of the Hohenzollern to where he saw Admiral Warrender standing. The red-coated marines were drawn up on the quarter-deck of the English ships. The crews manned ship, and every ship gave three loud hurrahs, the men waving their caps at each hurrah. The bands of the Royal Marines struck up the salute. It was a magnificent sight, which I shall never forget.
The English officers were to be presented on the Hohenzollern immediately after she had been made fast. We therefore quickly shifted into full-dress uniform…The Admiral’s barge now quickly took us to the Hohenzollern… The Kaiser stood on the upper promenade deck to receive us. He was in high spirits and full of humour, as usual. Not one of the English officers failed to look anything but very pleased while the Kaiser was talking with him. As we were returning all the officers congratulated themselves on their good fortune.
Every spare moment I had was taken up with drawing up the list of invitations to a great banquet on board the King George V. In this task I was helped by the Flag-Lieutenant of the High Sea Fleet and the aide-de-camp of the Officer Commanding the base. In addition I had to keep in constant touch with the English officers of the watch, the Admiral’s secretary, the Commander of the King George V., and many others. I was frequently called to the telephone, which had been laid on the flagship, to give information to German officers and authorities. These were appallingly strenuous days for me, to the strain of which the excellent meals with the best of wine and much drinking of whisky and cocktails at all hours of the day and night contributed not a little.
In the evening of June 24th we assembled in the Hotel Seebadeanstalt, to which the English Consul Sartori and his wife had invited us. I had an opportunity of making the closer acquaintance of Commodore Goodenough and the captains…This evening he showed himself a great wit in company. I also found out what a great conversationalist Captain Dampier, commanding the Audacious, was. Inter alia he taught me an amusing toast, which runs :
“I drink to myself and another, And may that one other be she, Who drinks to herself and another, And may that one other be me !”
Commander Georg von Hase,
Kiel and Jutland
, London, 1920.