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Armenian Genocide... French Battleship Bouvet sinking...



Item # 629525

March 20, 1915

THE NEW YORK TIMES, New York, March 20, 1915

* The sinking of the French Battleship Bouvet
* The Armenian Genocide has begun?


The front page has: "Allies Lose Three Big Battleships In New Attack On Dardanelles; 600 French Drown, British Safe", with subhead: "Irresistible, Ocean, and Bouvet Go Down, Hitting Mines in Strait." Considerable coverage and a map is included. An inside report on page four has: "Whole Plain Strewn By Armenian Bodies", with subhead: "Turks and Kurds Reported to Have Massacred Men, Women and Children", with a little more than 4 inches of linear text. Note: Whereas most historians state mid-April, 1915 as the start of the Armenian Genocide, it is obvious from this report that the death marches into the Syrian desert had already begun in March - once again validating the importance of primary sources such as historic newspapers. Other news, war related reporting, and period advertisements throughout.
Complete in 20 pages, very, very brittle, loose at the left spine, margin chipping - but all of the content pages are in very good condition.
Personal note: With such events having making it into international newspapers, why do historians date the start of the Armenian Holocaust as April 24, 1915? If anyone has information regarding this, please contact me at: guy@rarenewspapers.com and we will update this post.

Light  browning with a little margin wear and chipping, otherwise good. Should be handled with care.


The Bouvet was part of the squadron contributed by the French to the Dardanelles Campaign. On 18 March 1915, the British commander, Rear Admiral John de Robeck, launched a concerted effort to overwhelm the Turkish forts defending the Dardanelles straits and Bouvet was one of the four French battleships making up the second line.

Bouvet sustained eight hits from Turkish artillery fire and the forward turret was disabled. When de Robeck ordered the French line to retire, Bouvet turned to starboard into Erin Keui Bay where a line of mines lay undetected. The battleship struck a mine below the starboard 274mm turret and suffered a massive explosion, probably of a magazine. Flooding was rapid since the ship lacked effective internal compartmentation (the detonation occurred in a very large machinery space that extended almost a third of the length of the vessel). The ship heeled very rapidly, since the hull was designed (like many French battleships designed by Huin) with a "tumblehome" form, meaning the sides sloped inwards; this meant that the hull was losing stability for every degree that it heeled over, which sped up the process of capsizing. Bouvet capsized and sank within two minutes, taking around 660 crew with her.

Category: The 20th Century

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