War Hero
Book Reviewer
At our end, the problem was having a greatly increased outfit without proper stowage. Cordite was shipped as cartridges made up in a silk bag (silk leaves no residue when burnt) . The silk cartridge was encased for transport and storage in a flash-proof 'Clarkson case' made of leather, or later of fireproof canvas or heavy cardboard.
See https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=163013&l=598e6dc515&id=133017106838877 which shows such cases from the wreck of HMS Audacious.

Before passing the cartridge to the gun the Clarkson case had to be removed. At Jutland one theory is that too many cases had been removed early in order to facilitate drill, and so there were too many exposed cartridges in the gunbays below the turrets, ready for loading into the hoists. See http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.com/topic/20736/RE-The-BCS-and-Beatty-s-ammo-order-question?page=2 (scroll down to post #32). Andrew Lambert is usually right. See also later posts regarding work-arounds compromising flashdoors.

The QE class, by contrast, could take tremendous punishment. Warspite took 31 hits from heavy shell, mostly when her steering gear jammed so that she turned 360 deg smack in front of the German fleet. One of my great uncles was turret midshipman in A turret of Warspite under S/Lt (later rear admiral) Bertie Packer who was given direct promotion to Lt after the battle - One hit B turret which must have somewht discombobulated the blokes in A. Uncle's only report of the fight to his father was a telegram: 'clothes burnt send money' (I suppose it's charged at so much a word!).


Lantern Swinger
So less "our bloody ships" and more "our bloody shells" then?
More like 'our bloody cordite' and less so, 'our bloody men'

German ships would have gone up if they used RN cordite, while ours would have simply lost turrets if using German cordite.

The RN may have lost turrets, rather than whole ships, if they hadn't stacked the handling rooms, and passages, with un-cased cordite.

Why was the cordite bad? I wonder if it down to the rapid expansion of the armaments industry with inexperienced workers and workshop managment?
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