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[Page 18]

sinking condition. Part of her crew were taken onto British ships but she eventually reached Rabbit Island and was run ashore being subsequently patched up and towed to Malta. At 1-45 the French ships began to retire and started down the Straits at high speed.

At 1-51 the Bouvet on the Asiatic side appeared to be stuck by a large projectile just abrest the mainmast and above her armour belt. The accident may have been due to a mine but be this as it may a tremendous volume of black smoke and yellow was seen to issue from her side. A large magazine had exploded. Heeling with fearful rapidity to starboard a terrible sight to those in our foretop she still steamed ahead plunging her sinking bow into the waves. In less than a minute she was on her beam ends the masts lying along the water masses of smoke rising amidships and her port b broadside pointing disconsolately into the air. Then she turned right over and sank by the stern boiler explosions sending fountains of water and debros to the surface. In 95 seconds the Bouvet had disappeared. Picket boats and destroyers rushed to the rescue and inspite of the fire from various batteries picked up some fifty or sixty from the wreckage.

For 90 seconds the ships overwhelmed by the catastrophie cesade their fire. Before this at 1-15 The Inflexible had suffered considerable damage. A large fire broke out on her forebridge and at the same time her foretop was struck by a shell which killed or wounded e everyone in it except one man.. She quitted the line for a space to deal with the damage. . He picket boat was also holed by a shell splinter and had to be abandoned.

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