The Germans sortied from Messina on 6 August and headed east, towards Constantinople, trailed by Gloucester. Milne, still expecting Rear-Admiral Wilhelm Souchon to turn west, kept the battlecruisers at Malta until shortly after midnight on 8 August when he set sail at a leisurely 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) for Cape Matapan, where Goeben had been spotted eight hours earlier. At 2:30 p.m.[Note 2] he received an incorrect message from the Admiralty stating that Britain was at war with Austria-Hungary. War would not actually be declared until 12 August, and the order was countermanded four hours later, but Milne gave up the hunt for Goeben, following his standing orders to guard the Adriatic against an Austrian breakout attempt. On 9 August Milne was given clear orders to "chase Goeben which had passed Cape Matapan on the 7th steering north-east." Milne still did not believe that Souchon was heading for the Dardanelles, and so he resolved to guard the exit from the Aegean, unaware that the Goeben did not intend to come out.
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