Who's Who - Sir Ernest Troubridge

Sir Ernest Charles Thomas Troubridge (1862-1926) served as a British naval commander at the opening of the First World War and was indirectly instrumental in bringing about Turkey's entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers.

Troubridge earned almost universal disdain with his failure, in August 1914, to prevent the escape of German Admiral Souchon's ships Goeben and Breslau from Messina into the Sea of Marmora.

While Troubridge's squadron was undoubtedly capable of overhauling and disabling Souchon's ships he inexplicably allowed himself to be convinced by his Flag Captain, Fawcet Wray, that he would be operating against Admiralty orders in engaging a superior force.

Consequently accused of cowardice, with First Sea Lord Prince Louis of Battenberg publicly calling his conduct "shameful", Troubridge was relieved of command and court martialed.

Although he was subsequently acquitted of cowardice at his court martial - able to point to somewhat vague Admiralty orders - his active career was effectively over.

He served, from 1919-24, as president of the International Danube Commission.  He died in 1926.

Souchon's success in escaping into Ottoman waters brought about Turkish entry into the war against the Allies a few months later in October 1914.

An "incendiary shell" is an artillery shell packed with highly flammable material, such as magnesium and phosphorous, intended to start and spread fire when detonated.

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Who's Who