Off the coast of Chile the heads of the Royal, Canadian, German and Chilean Navies saluted the fallen of the Great War.
Nearly 1,600 British and Commonwealth sailors who were killed when their ships went down at the Battle of Coronel in 1914 – the Royal Navy’s first major defeat in more than a century.
One hundred years on Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon and Chilean frigate CNS Almirante Cochrane paused over the wrecks of HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth for a service of remembrance.
On board the CNS Almirante Cochrane was the head of the Chilean Navy Almirante Enrique Larrañaga Martin, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the Commander of the Canadian Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Norman, and German Flotilla Admiral Karl-Wilhelm Ohlms. Each cast a wreath into the Pacific to remember those who were lost.
Defeat at Coronel in November 1914 at the hands of a German cruiser squadron under Admiral Graf Spee costs the lives of 1,570 Allied sailors, among them the British commander Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock and four Canadian junior officers – the first Canadians killed in the Great War and the first Royal Canadian Navy sailors killed in action.
As well as the Coronel commemorations, the Portsmouth-based warship spent 3 days in the port of Valparaíso to take part in the Exponaval exhibition – South America’s largest showcase for warships and naval systems – where she was berthed next to another former Royal Navy frigate, CNS Almirante Williams (previously HMS Sheffield).
Admiral Zambellas said:
As our navies modernise, we are exploring new and exciting opportunities in partnership. By sharing ambition, knowledge and technology, we can deepen and strengthen our multinational maritime partnership further still.
Press release, Image: UK Navy/LA(Phot) Rhys O’Leary