I will ignore the repeated insults of people that don't deserve any attention and I will answer ONLY to polite people:
I see your scenario and I'm afraid I would have totally panicked in such a situation.
However, we know about people like Cmdr.Glasfurd (HMS Acasta) who was fired at by 2 German battleships and decided to do his utmost to damage them, despite HMS Glorious was already lost: he succeeded but died. We know Adm.Beatty comment to the explosion of his second ship at Jutland from the signature of Mr.Wadinga: he did not turn away the battlecuiser squadron for that. We know about Cmdr De Cristofaro (RN Tarigo) who, after a shell amputated his leg, refused to leave his bridge and ordered another attack against the enemy: he sank with his ship.
There are several heroism examples in which, in situations even worse than Leach's one, the commanding officer did his duty up to the end, succeeding and/or dying. I still consider Leach and Wake-Walker attitude quite timid according to the standard of the Royal Navy (as well as Troubridge's one).
the comparison of Leach decision with Lutjens, Kummetz or Italian Admirals' ones is not totally correct IMO: they had either explicit orders not to engage at all or to engage only in clear superiority situation (a very ambiguous definition).
AFAIK, Leach had no such order and was at sea to sink Bismarck, not to perform any other task that could justify his retreat.....
on paper, I'm sure Churchill would have sacrificed PoW in exchange with Bismarck, aren't you ? For sure Pound suggested Tovey that the sacrifice of a heavy cruiser was a light prize to pay for maintaining the contact with Bismarck instead of loosing contact. However the point here is not to blindly sacrifice one ship or the other, but to try to damage Bismarck in order to prevent her from her mission against the British traffic.
Wake-Walker orders were to locate Bismarck. However, once BC1 was in sight, there was no need of explicit orders for a flag officer to engage the enemy and support the action of the battleships (this is also the advise of Adm.Santarini in his book).
Once Holland was killed, Wake-Walker's duty was to try to stop Bismarck, replacing Holland, not to blindly continue his shadowing role, even after having been "solicited" by the admiralty with the "intentions" signal.
you are (unfortunately) right. What matters for history is the final result and I fully understand Churchill final decision "Leave it", while Troubridge was not so lucky and was trialed by CM because the Goeben succeeded.
However the final result cannot completely hide the deficiencies of some officers and that's why IMO a serious inquiry would have been preferable to the easy solution, the "sugar-coating" of the reports. My strict personal opinion, of course.
Paul Mercer wrote: "I'm sorry if this method of address offends you, but I think it is the polite way to do things"
I do agree, even if we (Paul and myself) are in disagreement about the evaluation of the military behaviors, we can discuss politely. Civilized manners should not be forgotten in this debate, but I think the desperation of some people unable to argument is surfacing in their insults.....