The BBC piece is interesting, and correctly refers to the subsequent Battle of the Falkland Islands which saw a significant victory over the German squadron which had caused such a disaster for the British at Coronel. But it also shows a disappointing lack of research:

"If you had to guess where the British suffered their first naval defeat of World War One, what would you say? The North Sea, maybe? Or somewhere in the North Atlantic?

The answer actually lies in the southern Pacific Ocean, over 12,000 km (7,500 miles) from northern Europe, off the coast of Chile."

In fact, there was another British naval defeat of the war which was in the North Sea, and in September 1914. Three obsolete cruisers - Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue - were torpedoed and sunk off the Dutch coast with the loss of 1459 lives. I seem to recall many were reservists. The cruisers were hugely vulnerable to submarine attack, and even had a nickname - "the livebait squadron".

Both were tragedies, and both reflected poor planning.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
but use Geoffrey Bennett which is the best work - Bennett was a regular NO who retired as a captain.
2. The cruisers were lost because the captains of the second and still more the third could not twig that the U-boat would have a go at them. Or maybe they couldn't believe it was a U-boat that had sunk the first and assumed it was a mine .
3. Also on board were terms of teenage cadets hastily packed off to sea from Dartmouth -
Kipling: " ..Since the chests were slung down the College stair at Dartmouth in ’Fourteen.."

4. And the BBC .. 'reservist stockbroker' ... oh dear.
From the OP article posted:

Hollywood had been releasing first world war movies for a while by the time Battles was made: bombastic, slick fictions epitomised by blockbusters such as The Big Parade and Wings. “British audiences used to laugh at American war films,” explains Dr Lawrence Napper of King’s College London, author of a forthcoming book on British film and the first world war. “They were just so unrealistic. It wasn’t details, such as that the uniforms were inaccurate. They would have American troops fighting in battles that they had never been anywhere near.
A tradition they have proudly maintained ever since . . . .
Coronel is remembered in the RCN because our first wartime casualties were four midshipmen who had recently embarked in HMS Good Hope, Cradock's flagship. They were Midshipmen Palmer, Silver, Hatheway, and Cann. It has been suggested that Cradock's decision to engage such a superior force might have been swayed by the court-martial of RAdm Troubridge for failure to engage SMS Goeben in the Med two months before.

I also just saw a screening of the BFI remastering of the 1927 film "The Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands". HM Ships Barham and Malaya were used to play Invincible and Inflexible.
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