Home Archive Search Result Photographs of the Greatest Sea-Fight in History: British Battle-Cruisers in the Battle of Jutland Bank

Photographs of the Greatest Sea-Fight in History: British Battle-Cruisers in the Battle of Jutland Bank

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SIR JOHN JELLICOE says in his despatch “The conduct of officers and men throughout the day and night actions was entirely beyond praise. No words of mine could do them justice. On all sides it is reported to me that the glorious traditions of the past were most worthily upheld– whether in heavy ships, cruisers, lieht cruisers, or destroyers- the same admirable spirit pre- vailed. Officers and men were cool and determined, with a cheeriness that would have carried them through anything. The heroism of the wounded was the admiration of all. I cannot adequately express the pride with which the spirit of the Fleet filled me. Details of the work of the various ships during action have now been given. It must never be for- gotten, however, that the pre- lude to action is the work of the engine-room department, and that during action the officers and men of that depart- ment perform their most im- portant duties without the in- centive which a knowledge of the course of the action gives to those on deck. The qualities of discipline and endurance are taxed to the utmost under these conditions, and they were, as always, most fully maintained throughout the operations under review. Several ships attained speeds never . . before reached.”

SIR DAVID BEATTY says in his report which accom- panied Sir John Jellicoe’s de- spatch: “At 3.30 p.m. I in- creased speed to 25 knots, and formed line of battle, the Second Battle-Cruiser Squadron form- ing astern of the First Battle- Cruiser Squadron, with de- stroyers of the 13th and 9th Flotillas taking station ahead. I turned to E.S.E., slightly con- verging on the enemy, who were now at a range of 23,000 yards, and formed the ships on a line of bearing to clear the smoke. . . . Being between the enemy and his base, our situ- ation was both tactically and strategically good. At 3.48 p.m. the action commenced at a range of t8,5oo yards, both forces opening fire practically simultaneously . . . A review of all the reports which I have received leads me to conclude that the enemy’s losses were considerably greater than those which we had sustained…. This is eloquent testimony to the very high standard of gunnery and torpedo efficiency of his Majesty’s ships. The con- trol and drill remained undis- turbed throughout, and in many cases despite heavy damage to material and personnel . The behaviour of the ships’ companies under the terrible conditions of a modern sea battle was magnificent without exception.”

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In view of the recent publication of Admiral Jellicoe’s despatch, and the remarkable interest of the photographs given above and a companion one on another page, it is needless to offer any apologies for the lateness of their appearance. They have, indeed, only just reached us. Their value is, of course, that they were taken, from the deck of a British war-ship, actually during the fiercest stress of the great battle, when Admiral Beatty’s Battle-Cruiser Squadron was gallantly engaging the whole strength of the German High Seas Fleet.

Some of the ships are seen firing at the enemy, who are beyond them to thi right and not visible in the photographs. German shells dropping round our ships are throwing up huge columns of water, whose, enormous height is shown very clearly. These illustrations will enable our readers to realise, on the unimpeachable authority of the camera, the general appearance of a great fleet action under modern conditions of naval warfare.

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