CWGC Shotley (St. Mary) Churchyard - Shotley Gate, Wednesday 1st August 2018
The Battle of Heligoland Bight was the first significant naval battle of the Great War takes place at Heligoland Bight. Commander Reginald Tyrwhitt is charged with leading the Harwich Force in a raid on German shipping located close to the German naval base at Heligoland. Tyrwhitt begins the action by sinking two German torpedo boats at around 07:00. The Germans then deploy six light cruisers in response. Finding himself outgunned Tyrwhitt calls to Vice Admiral Beatty for assistance at 11:25. Beatty, with the First Battle Cruiser Squadron arrives at 12:40 and sinks three German cruisers and damages three others. The battle is portrayed in the press at home as a major victory, the Royal Navy having sunk three cruisers and 2 destroyers for no British ships lost. A total of thirty-fire British sailors are killed while forty are wounded. Seven hundred Germans are killed and two hundred rescued and made prisoners while another three hundred are wounded.
John Chawner was serving on HMS Liberty, which was part of the Third Destroyer Flotilla, when he was killed in the battle.