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[Page 156]

shot. A deliberate bombardment then took place, at a range of 14,000 yards, of the forts at Chanak and Kilid Bahr. The covering ships came under a heavy fire from the shore batteries and the Agememnon was hit no less than twelve times and had to shift her position. Meanwhile, shortly after noon, the third division of four ships, the Bouvet, Gaulois, Suffren and Charlemagne, under Admiral Guepratte, entered the Straits and steamed past the covering ships.

They steamed boldly up to within 9,000 yards of the Narrows, and opened up on the forts, which replied vigorously. The Gaulois was badly hit forward and had to leave the Straits in a sinking condition. The forts were in no way silenced and at one-forty-five the French ships began to retire down the Straits at high speed. At 1.51 the Bouvet, on the Asiatic side, appeared to be struck by a large projectile just abreast of the mainmast and above her armour belt. The accident may have been due to a mine, but in any case her magazine exploded and she sank in ninety-five seconds with the loss of practically all her crew.

Meanwhile, at 1.15, the Inflexible, 14,000 yards away from the Narrows, was struck in the fore-top by a shell which killed and wounded everyone in it except one man. At the same time, a fire broke out on her fore-bridge, and she had to quit the line and deal with the damage. Meanwhile the second division, under Captain Hayes Sadler, entered the Straits and relieved the French ships, advancing almost, to Kephez Point. Meanwhile the combined fire of the covering ships and the Second Division

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