Ostend Raid

May 10, 1918 Lady Monkswell: At 1am the old Vindictive, 6000 tons filled with concrete was forced into Ostend harbour and sunk. Another Zeebrugge (17 days ago). Engineer Lieut Cdr Bury severely wounded.

Commander Godsal, killed, Lieut Crutchley, finished the Vindictive’s position across the canal and fired the charges that sunk her. The Lieutenants of the motor launches that saved the crew of the Vindictive were GH Drummond and Bourke.

Alfred Godsal HMS Vindictive

Footnote: Lady Mary seems to be very well informed about this huge day in Dorset’s naval history. None of the officers were named in the newspapers at the time, but she knows them all. Cdr Godsal, from Sturminster Marshall (pictured above) was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre and Lieut Victor Crutchley (pictured in later life below) from Nettlecombe the VC for their part in the second raid on Ostend, sinking the old cruiser Vindictive in an attempt to block the Bruges canal to German U-boats.

HMS Vindictive Sir Victor Crutchley

When Godsal was killed and his navigating officer incapacitated, Crutchley took command, gave the order to abandon ship and blew some of the charges before overseeing its evacuation under fire.

He transferred to the damaged motor launch ML 254, taking command when wounded captain Lieut Geoffrey Drummond collapsed. Standing in water up to his waist, Crutchley oversaw bailing operations in ML 254 until the destroyer HMS Warwick came to their aid. He ended his distinguished career a knighthood and rank of Admiral dying in 1986, aged 92.

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Explore Voices from 1918 by day, month or person here on the blog or on our five Twitter feeds: @Voicesfrom1918 @LadyMonkswell @MarieStopes1918 @JamesSansom230 and @OliveHarcourt.

We have also recorded three audio podcasts entitled The year the World Changed by Mary Monkswell

Voices from 1918 has been developed by artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet in partnership with Wimborne Community Theatre, Dorset History Centre and the Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to all who have helped us with this project: Maria Gayton and staff at Dorset History Centre where we found Lady Mary Monkswell’s diaries; Joan Cocozza, ward of nursing auxiliary Olive Harcourt; Portland Museum where we found James Sansom’s diaries; the British Library and Wellcome Libraries; Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne and Gill Horitz from Wimborne Community Theatre.

We’ve used a new simpler type of blogging system which we beta tested for indie developer Janis Rondorf of Instacks software.

Posts are created as simple text files with a few lines of Markup instructions. These are dropped into a folder on the webserver and the post is added without the need for individual formatting or logging in. This made it easy to upload lots of posts quite quickly.

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