An archive of 22 Royal Nay telegram messages describing the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck is up for auction in the U.K.
The battleship fought Royal Navy ships in the battle of the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland on May 24, 1941, which resulted in the sinking of the British battlecruiser HMS Hood. Bismarck, however, was damaged in the battle and attempted to reach the port of Brest in German-occupied France.
Doggedly pursued by Royal Navy ships, Bismarck was attacked and sank in the Atlantic three days later. Only 115 of the 2,200 crew members survived, according to History Learning Site.
Auction house Henry Aldridge & Son explains that the telegrams are sold via a descendant of Harold Benson Key, the yeoman of signals onboard Royal Navy destroyer HMS Cossack, which participated in the pursuit and destruction of Bismarck. They include communications between HMS Cossack and HMS Dorsetshire, which was also involved in the engagement.
“I torpedoed German battleship Bismarck both sides before she sank,” reads one telegram. “Enemy had abandoned ship cannot get her to sink with gunfire,” reads another.
The lot, which will be auctioned Saturday, has a pre-sale estimate of 4,000 to 6,000 U.K. pounds ($5,234 to $7.851).
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