Extract from ‘A Naval Life’

WW1 – Marx as Q ship captain

Marx wrote at length to Dare giving him ‘hints about the business’ of being a Q ship Commander:

It is a difficult thing …as everything one does successfully is the result of common sense action at the moment.

As regards abandoning ship, in my opinion it is better to await the order to send your papers on board as otherwise your adversary may want to do a little target practice and commence shelling hard as was the case with Q 7. I am afraid all this is now obsolete as they will sink at sight.

The look out man being high up is sometimes necessary, a crow’s nest is generally out of the question, and a mast head man in a black waterproof streaming in the wind is as good as a danger flag : and that is why I am having a donkey boiler funnel fitted to put him in · which will raise him above the bridge.

It is a moot point what projectile to use, Lydite or common shell. I have so far used lydite for the sake of its explosion on the crew but with the modern SM I have given orders that the guns are to be kept loaded with lydite and the next rounds are to be common shell for piercing armour, if any.

As to depth charges, mine are always kept ready at sea and I have a third at hand in case of being wanted. A hand is told off to put them at safe in case of the ship sinking so as to avoid the fate of the Genistre.

There is one thing that I think ought to be pointed out and that is that when engaging a submarine, a careful look out should be kept on the other side. Sm.undoubtedly work in pairs, and it is the hardest thing possible to keep men from being attracted to the side where the vessel is being attacked.

Jan 12th – sunk a sub off the Casquets. Thank God after trying for 2 years and 3 months and having passed over 2, hit a third on my bow going 13 knots, been present when a trawler at 1000 yds has twice blown up her sweep on one, twice dropped a depth charge at another. At last we get one, blew her conning tower off.

Marx’s pleasure at the honour of the DSO was destroyed by Admiralty’s unwillingness to acknowledge the sinking of the submarine. He determined to prove them wrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *