June 26, 1914

blueserge

For Friday, June 26, Admiral Warrender had been invited by the Kaiser to sail on the Meteor. The large yachts started for their race at 10.15. As I was not accompanying him I was able to devote myself to the preparations for the great fete which was to be held on the King George V. in the afternoon. For the afternoon also, the Imperial Yacht Club had arranged a regatta for the ships’ boats of the English squadron. In the evening we had been invited by the officers of the Baltic Station to a ball at the Marine Akademie.
wilhelm-on-meteor
Admiral Warrender did not get back until the afternoon. Meanwhile we had had a very pleasant lunch, at which Sir Edward Goschen presided and which was graced by the presence of several young ladies. The Admiral was delighted with the regatta, in which Rear-Admiral Begas had steered the Meteor to victory.

The ” At Home ” (on the King George V.), as the English call their ships’ fetes, was an affair of the first order. All Kiel was there and the invitations were issued through me. Of course some folk grumbled because they were not invited. Lady Warrender did the honours very skilfully and was supported by several German ladies, notably her friend, Frau von Meister, wife of the Regierungsprdsident of Wiesbaden. The huge decks of the King George V. were unanimously approved by the German ladies owing to the large amount of dancing space they afforded. Borchert of Berlin had supplied the excellent refreshments, the splendours of which met with well-earned praise.

I made the acquaintance of old Lord Brassey, who was in Kiel with his yacht the Sunbeam, to which he invited me. He has written a famous book on his cruise round the world in this yacht. I was also introduced to his daughters, Lady Helen and Lady Mary. The yacht is rather old, but very large and comfortable. A few days later Lord Brassey had a remarkable experience. In one of the yacht’s dingheys he went into the U-boat dock of the Imperial Yards, which was closed to all civilians. There were several of our latest U-boats there. He was arrested by a dock-guard and spent several hours in the guardroom. It was only after he had been identified by a German officer he knew that he was released on the orders of the director of the dockyard. There was general indignation in Kiel at Lord Brassey’s great want of tact, and even the Kaiser spoke rather sharply about it.

I realized the very day after the English ships arrived in Kiel that the English were extremely anxious to know all about the modern ships and craft of our fleet. Admiral Warrender sent me that day to our Commander-in-Chief, Admiral von Ingenohl, and I was commissioned to tell him that Admiral Warrender placed the English ships at the disposal of German naval officers who desired to see them. The Admiral particularly insisted that the German officers would be shown everything which they cared to see for professional purposes.

Admiral von Ingenohl was absolutely averse to this proposal and instructed me to present his compliments to Admiral Warrender and say that he regretted that he could make no use of this kind invitation, as he could not return the compliment, because, in accordance with regulations, we were not allowed to show many parts of our ships to anyone. I reported accordingly to Admiral Warrender, and the next day he sent me back to Admiral von Ingenohl with a commission to tell him that of course the English also had similar regulations, e.g., the conning-tower, the torpedo-room and the wireless could not be shown. Everything else could be seen, and of course he did not expect that his officers should be shown anything contrary to orders.

t was not until June 26th that I received from Admiial von Ingenohl a reply by letter in which he said that I was to tell Admiral Warrender that ” he thanked the Admiral for his willingness to show the German officers the English ships, and invited the English officers to visit the German ships.”

Simultaneously Admiral von Ingenohl issued orders that the visits of English officers to the German ships were permitted, but that the regulations for the visits of strangers were to be observed. As these regulations absolutely forbade the visits of foreigners to our most modern ships—those of the Third Squadron, the latest destroyers and all submarines—the only vessels the English could see were the old battleships of the ” Deutschland ” Class. They certainly could not find out much about us from them. The English themselves had prepared their ships—which were actually the very latest in the English navy—for the visit of the German officers, by either removing or covering with wood all important apparatus, particularly all fire-control apparatus and the sights. Personally I was frequently shown most of the gear on the King George V. y although I did not ask to see it. Commander Brownrigg took me into the most remote corners of his turrets and magazines. It was only the famous Percy Scott ” firing director” which all the officers shrouded in a veil of mystery. This was a device with the help of which it was possible to direct and fire all the guns from the conning-tower or fore-top, a device which was the invention of the English Admiral Sir Percy Scott. Of course the English officers who showed me round generally asked me about our corresponding arrangements, but they did not get much out of me.

The ball which the officers of the Baltic Station gave to our English guests on June 26 in the splendid rooms of the Marine Akademie was a brilliant affair. For the flower-waltzes flowers were scattered in a riotous profusion such as I have seldom seen. It was a pure battle of flowers. We danced far into the morning hours.

Georg von Hase Kiel and Jutland London, 1920

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