Leading Stoker Robert Lyal

Leading Stoker Robert Hume Lyal, Royal Navy. He was killed in action at sea aboard H.M.S. “Defence” on 31st May 1916, aged 23, during the Battle of Jutland. He was the son of William and Elizabeth Lyal of Gattonside and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. ( Plymouth was the Home Port for the “Defence” ). He had joined the Navy in 1911 and by 1913 he was aboard the “Defence”. In 1915 he was promoted to Leading Stoker. H.M.S. “Defence” was a Minotaur Class armoured cruiser of 14,600 tons and had been launched at Pembroke Dockyard in 1907. At Jutland she was the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot leading the 1st Cruiser Squadron. In attacking the disabled German cruiser “Wiesbaden” the squadron were engaged by four German Battleships and a Battlecruiser who were less than 8,000 yards away. ( Point blank range ). “Defence” was struck by two salvoes which detonated her magazines and destroyed the ship. There were no survivors from her crew of 900 Officers and men. ( Arbuthnot was later criticised for taking his under armoured ship and her sister ship H.M.S. “Warrior” into a dangerous and shell swept area of the battle where he had no right to be ). The “Warrior” was seriously damaged and later sank whilst under tow back to port.

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