Wikipedia has a colorful GIF on VictoriaCamperdown disaster.

Then I read about Admiral Sir Percy Scott.

In July 1908 came what is referred to as the second signalling incident. Beresford signalled to the columns of the third division of the fleet, which were under Scott's command, to turn inwards together. As the two columns were at the time steaming on a parallel course with a separation of only 1,200 yards (six cables distance), this would have caused the leading ships, HMS Good Hope and HMS Argyll to collide. Scott ordered the captain of the Good Hope to disobey the order, thus avoiding a repetition of the Victoria – Camperdown disaster.

Isn't turning outwards safer? Why didn't these ships turn outwards instead? See beneath picture.


1 Answer 1


In combat, ships of the era needed to maneuver precisely to bring their power to bear at just the right moment.

In training, they need to maneuver precisely, in close proximity to each other, so they have confidence that they can do it in combat.

Admiral Tryon is dead, we cannot know what he intended to happen. But it seems obvious that he thought the maneuvering was safe enough for peacetime training purposes.

  • Thanks, but you didn't answer about the "second signalling incident"?
    – user59399
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 15:49
  • 1
    @user35024, you should not accept my answer this early, especially if you have questions about it. I'd suggest you un-accept for now. The second incident shows that even after the Victoria incident, the RN found it necessary to maneuver ships in dangerous proximity. If you read about Jutland, some things were wrong with the command culture of the RN, but I don't think close maneuvers were one of them.
    – o.m.
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 15:56

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