In the early hours of 22 September 1914, about forty miles off the Hook of Holland; three Royal Navy cruisers H.M.S. Aboukir, H.M.S. Hogue and H.M.S. Cressy were torpedoed and sunk by a German Submarine. There were only 837 survivors and of the 1459 drowned (62 of which were officers) many were cadets and reservists. There was a public outcry at these losses and a court of inquiry was held. The senior officers of all three ships were censured.
Deemed by many sea going officers to have been avoidable, the incident eroded confidence in the government and damaged the reputation of the Royal Navy.
Three Canvey men were among the casualties. Below is the story of the sinking of the three ships and details of the Canvey men who died.