Destruction of the British Armoured Cruiser HMS Black Prince during the night of 31st May 1916 at the Battle of Jutland: painting by German artist Willy Stower.
Able seaman Arthur Lane served on HMS Black Prince which was launched at the famous Thames Ironworks at Blackwall in 1904 and was a 13,550 ton Armoured Battle cruiser. At the outbreak of war she was stationed in the Mediterranean. At the Battle of Jutland whilst under the command of Captain T P Bonham RN she lost contact with the rest of the British Fleet. At 08.48 pm she wired that she had sighted a submarine. No one in the British Fleet witnessed her catastrophic end but it was presumed that she had either been torpedoed or struck a mine. A German account however reports that “Black Prince” headed towards their lines at around mid-night and her crew did not realise their mistake until too late. In attempting to turn the vessel round it presented a broadside to the German Fleet gunners and the battleship “Thuringen” opened fire. With several German ships within 1,000 yards the “Black Prince”was sunk within 15 minutes, after burning for a few minutes and at 12.10 am she exploded with the loss of all hands. A total of 37 officers, 815 men and 5 civilians were lost in the grey waters of the North Sea including Able Seaman Lane of Lower Sydenham who is also remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. This clash of the Dreadnoughts will also feature prominently as one of the Governments six iconic landmark battles of World War One (the only naval conflict) in its centenary year.