Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 21

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[Page 21]

up the Gulf of Saros. In the distance I also saw another dreadnaught-cruiser. On asking which one she was, I was told she was the "dummy" "Inflexible". She is a captured German liner got up to resemble a dreadnaught, so that it is extremely difficult to tell the difference on seeing her silhouetted a long way off. I believe we have a number of these dummy ships, which are an invention of the ingenious brain of either Lord Fisher or Mr Churchill, I am not sure which. They are supposed to attract the enemy's torpedo craft and submarines, or else to lure on a squadron of his battleships to attack them.

I fancy they have been quite useless, and a very costly experiment. This dummy "Inflexible" was useless at the Dardanelles and subsequently she was sent back to Malta, but was sunk on the way by a German submarine. There is a rumour that the officer in charge, subsequently went mad when he saw her wooden turrets and 12 inch guns calmly floating out to sea, when the vessel herself disappeared beneath the waves. We continued to cruise off the Straits all that afternoon, bitterly disappointed that no enemy would show himself, and longing for the chance of letting off a gun at something or somebody. Binney, the gunnery-Lieutenant was continually seeing fortifications and masses of Turks, but these invariably turned out to exist only in his imagination, and the Captain resolutely refused to let him fire a shot. Our only occupation was therefore to play bull-ball, for half a crown a comer, which is a favorite pastime on all battleships. We were all very bored, when at about 5 o'clock a signal was received on board that on the following day we were to enter the Straits, and cover a destroyer which was to go as far up as possible, on a scouting expedition.

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