HMS WARRIOR, HMS BLACK PRINCE and HMS DEFENCE going into action at Jutland.None came back. © IWM
Events conspired against Thomas and his hoped for leave though as the Grand Fleet sailed out on May 30th to find and engage the German High Seas Fleet which had left harbour and was out in the North Sea. This was to be the Battle of Jutland. The Royal Navy was to lose 14 ships with great loss of life, one of them was the Black Prince - lost with all hands.
The battle began on the afternoon of May 31st and the Black Prince met it's end around about midnight on May 31st/June 1st. During the battle, the First Cruiser Squadron was deployed as part of a screening force several miles ahead of the Grand Fleet. Black Prince lost contact with the rest of the Squadron as it came into contact with German forces at about 17:42. Not long afterwards two of the squadron came under heavy enemy fire. HMS Defence blew up with the loss of all hands and HMS Warrior was badly damaged and later sank.
After losing contact the next that is known of the Black Prince is that she engaged the German battleship Rheinland at about 23:35, scoring two hits. Then at about midnight she mistakenly approached the bulk of the German force, realising the mistake she turned but was caught in the searchlights of the battleship Thüringen. A murderous fire then came down upon the ship from perhaps six German vessels, including four battleships. The range was only 750 - 1500 yards and the British ship stood no chance. There were no survivors from the crew of 857, Thomas Lloyd amongst them.
The Admiral of the German High Seas Fleet, Reinhard Scheer, was witness to the ship's destruction:
"In a few moments she was on fire, and sank with a terrible explosion four minutes after opening fire. The destruction of this vessel, which was so near that the crew could be seen rushing backwards and forwards on the burning deck while the searchlights disclosed the flight of the heavy projectiles till they fell and exploded, was a grand but terrible sight"
On board one of the German battleships firing upon the Black Prince, Seaman Herman Meenzenn remembered:
"The Black Prince was 500 metres away from the Nassau on the starboard side. I was an eyewitness from the searchlight deck to the burning of the Black Prince which was over in a few minutes. To express my feelings about the battle is very difficult. I had a very strong feeling of duty, but the fire on the Black Prince left me feeling very sad and depressed"
A casualty list for HMS Black Prince and other ships lost at Jutland can be found here
Thomas Lloyd was born in Denton on 6th November 1896. His parents were James, a coal miner, and Elizabeth. James & Elizabeth had 14 children in total, sadly 8 of them died in infancy. Thomas' surviving siblings were Adline, Margaret Ann, John, Wilfred and Albert. After leaving school Thomas found work at one of the hat factories in Denton, the town being a centre for their manufacture. In October 1912, whilst still 15 years of age he joined the Royal Navy.
Thomas learned the ropes at the Navy training facility at HMS Ganges which was at Shotley near to Ipswich. His first ship was HMS Theseus which was part of a training squadron based at Queenstown in Ireland. He left the Theseus in March 1914 and the following month was assigned to the Black Prince which shortly afterwards headed to join the Mediterranean Fleet as one of the four ships in the 1st Cruiser Squadron.
After the outbreak of war in August 1914 the Black Prince participated in the pursuit of the German vessels Goeben and Breslau and after their escape into, then neutral, Ottoman waters she was sent into the Red Sea to search for German merchant vessels. There she captured the German ocean liners Südmark and Istria. On 6 November,Thomas' 18th birthday, she was ordered to Gibraltar to join a squadron of warships there to search for German warships still at sea off the African coast. This was cancelled on 19th November and in December the Black Prince joined the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow.
At some point early in the war his mother - and possibly his father - moved to Royton. James Lloyd died but at this point it's unclear whether that was in Denton, Royton or elsewhere. The new family home was at 45 Fir Bank Road. Thomas wrote home in May 1916 to say he planned to be in Royton on leave in mid June.
Date of Death:31/05/1916
Vessel:HMS Black Prince
Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial