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John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe

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John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe

Admiral of the Fleet The Right Honourable
The Earl Jellicoe
GCB OM GCVO
2nd Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
27 September 1920 – 12 December 1924
Monarch George V
Preceded by The Earl of Liverpool
Succeeded by Sir Charles Fergusson
Personal details
Born 5 December 1859
Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Died 20 November 1935(1935-11-20) (aged 75)
Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1872–1919
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands HMS Centurion
HMS Drake
Atlantic Fleet
Grand Fleet
Battles/wars Egyptian war

Boxer Rebellion
World War I

Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Order of Merit
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, GCB OM GCVO SGM (5 December 1859 – 20 November 1935) was a Royal Navy officer. He fought in the Egyptian war and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during World War I. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial: he made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port – at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic for Britain – but at the time the British public were disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a victory on the scale of the Battle of Trafalgar. Jellicoe later served as First Sea Lord, overseeing the expansion of the Naval Staff at the Admiralty and the introduction of convoy, but was removed at the end of 1917. He also served as the Governor-General of New Zealand in the early 1920s.

Early career

Born the son of John Henry Jellicoe, a captain in the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and Lucy Henrietta Jellicoe (née Keele) and educated at Field House School in Rottingdean, Jellicoe joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in the training ship HMS Britannia in 1872.[1] He was made a midshipman in the steam frigate HMS Newcastle in September 1874 before transferring to the ironclad HMS Agincourt in the Mediterranean Fleet in July 1877.[1] Promoted to sub-lieutenant on 5 December 1878, he joined HMS Alexandra, flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet, as signal sub-lieutenant in 1880.[1] Promoted to lieutenant on 23 September 1880,[2] he returned to HMS Agincourt in February 1881 and commanded a rifle company of the Naval Brigade at Ismailia during the Egyptian war of 1882.[1]

Jellicoe qualified as a gunnery officer in 1883 and was appointed to the staff of the gunnery school HMS Excellent in May 1884.[1] He joined the turret ship HMS Monarch as gunnery officer in September 1885 and was awarded the Board of Trade Silver Medal for rescuing the crew of a capsized steamer near Gibraltar in May 1886.[3] He joined the battleship HMS Colossus (1882) in April 1886 and was put in charge of the experimental department at HMS Excellent in December 1886 before being appointed assistant to the Director of Naval Ordnance in September 1889.[4]

The battleship HMS Victoria sinking

Promoted to HMS Camperdown and was wrecked off Tripoli on 22 June 1893.[4] He was then appointed to the new flagship, HMS Ramillies, in October 1893.[4]

Promoted to captain on 1 January 1897,[5] Jellicoe became a member of the Admiralty's Ordnance Committee.[4] He served as Captain of the battleship HMS Centurion and chief of staff to Vice Admiral Sir Edward Seymour during the Seymour Expedition to relieve the legations at Peking during the Boxer Rebellion in June 1900.[4] He was badly wounded during the Battle of Beicang[6] and told he would die but confounded the attending doctor and chaplain by living.[7] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath and given the German Order of the Red Eagle, 2nd class, with Crossed Swords for services rendered in China.[8] Centurion returned to the United Kingdom in August 1901, and was paid off the following month, when Captain Jellicoe and the crew went on leave.[9] He became Naval Assistant to Third Naval Lord and Controller of the Navy in February 1902[10] and was given command of the armoured cruiser HMS Drake on the North America and West Indies Station in August 1903.[4]

High command

Jellicoe as Captain, in command of HMS Centurion, flagship on the China Station (his depiction on a contemporary cigarette card shows he was in the public eye long before becoming an admiral).
Admiral, or as the French knew him: Amiralissime Jellicoe

As a protege of Admiral John Fisher, Jellicoe became Director of Naval Ordnance in 1905 and, having been appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order on the occasion of launching of HMS Dreadnought on 10 February 1906,[11] he was also made an Aide-de-Camp to the King on 8 March 1906.[12] Promoted to rear-admiral on 8 February 1907,[13] he pushed hard for funds to modernise the navy, supporting the construction of new Dreadnought-type battleships and Invincible-class battlecruisers.[14] He supported F. C. Dreyer's improvements in gunnery fire-control systems, and favoured the adoption of Dreyer's "Fire Control Table", a form of mechanical computer for calculating firing solutions for warships.[15] Jellicoe arranged for the output of naval ordnance to be transferred from the War Office to the Admiralty.[16]

Jellicoe was appointed second-in-command of the vice-admiral on 18 September 1911.[14] He went on to be Second-in-Command of the Home Fleet, hoisting his flag in the battleship HMS Hercules, in December 1911 and, having also been appointed commander of the 2nd Battle Squadron in May 1912, joined an inquiry into the supply and storage of liquid fuels in peace and war on 1 August 1912.[19] He became Second Sea Lord in December 1912.[14]

World War I

Grand Fleet

At the start of Home Fleet, was removed by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill.[14] Jellicoe was promoted to full admiral on 4 August 1914 and assigned command of the renamed Grand Fleet in Admiral Callaghan's place, though he was appalled by the treatment of his predecessor.[14] He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 8 February 1915.[20]

When Fisher (First Sea Lord) and Churchill (First Lord of the Admiralty) both had to leave office after their quarrel over the Dardanelles, Jellicoe wrote to Fisher: “We owe you a debt of gratitude for having saved the Navy from a continuance in office of Mr Churchill, and I hope that never again will any politician be allowed to usurp the functions that he took upon himself to exercise”.[16]

Jellicoe was in command of the British Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, history's largest (and only major) clash of dreadnoughts, albeit an indecisive one.[14] His handling of the Grand Fleet during the battle remains controversial, with some historians describing Jellicoe as too cautious and other historians faulting the battlecruiser commander, Admiral David Beatty, for making various tactical errors.[21] Jellicoe certainly made no significant mistakes during the battle: based on limited intelligence, he correctly deployed the Grand Fleet with a turn to port so as to "cross the T" of the German High Seas Fleet as it appeared.[22] After suffering heavy shell damage, the German fleet turned 180 degrees and headed away from the battle.[23] Jellicoe was criticised for not pursuing the German High Seas Fleet, but it is unclear that this would have been sensible, given the risk of German torpedo attacks.[16] At the time the British public were disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a victory on the scale of the Battle of Trafalgar.[14] Churchill described Jellicoe later as 'the only man on either side who could lose the war in an afternoon'.[14] Nevertheless he was appointed a member of the Order of Merit on 31 May 1916,[24] advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order on 17 June 1916[25] and awarded the Grand Cross of the French Legion of Honour on 15 September 1916.[26]

First Sea Lord

A 1935 portrait of Jellicoe by Reginald Grenville Eves.

Jellicoe was appointed First Sea Lord in November 1916.[14] His term of office role saw Britain brought within danger of starvation by German unrestricted U-Boat warfare.[27]

At the War Committee (a Cabinet Committee which discussed strategy in 1915-16) in November 1916, the admirals present, including Jellicoe, told Carson (First Lord of the Admiralty) and Admirals Jellicoe and Duff agreed to “conduct experiments”. However, convoys were not in general use until August 1917, by which time shipping losses to U-boats were already falling from their April peak.[28]

Jellicoe continued to take a pessimistic view, advising the War Policy Committee (a Cabinet Committee which discussed strategy in 1917) during planning meetings for the Third Ypres Offensive in June and July that nothing could be done to defeat the [29]

Jellicoe was rather abruptly dismissed by Geddes in December 1917.[27] Before he left for leave on Christmas Eve he received a letter from Geddes demanding his resignation. Geddes’ letter stated that he was still in the building and available to talk, but after consulting Admiral Halsey Jellicoe replied in writing that he would “do what was best for the service”. The move became public knowledge two days later.[30]

The Christmas holiday, when Parliament was not sitting, provided a good opportunity to remove Jellicoe with a minimum of fuss. Geddes squared matters with the King and with the Grand Fleet commander Admiral Beatty (who had initially written to Jellicoe of his “dismay” over his sacking and promised to speak to Geddes, but then did not write to him again for a month) over the holiday. The other Sea Lords talked of resigning (although Jellicoe advised them not to do so), especially when Geddes suggested in a meeting (31 December) that Balfour and Carson had specifically recommended Jellicoe’s removal at the 26 October meeting; they had not done so, although Balfour’s denial was less than emphatic. There was no trouble from the generals, who had a low opinion of Jellicoe. In the end the Sea Lords remained in place, whilst Carson remained a member of the War Cabinet, resigning in January over Irish Home Rule.[31]

Although it was pretended that the decision had been Geddes’ alone, he let slip in the Naval Estimates debate (6 March 1918) that he had been conveying “the decision of the Government”, i.e. of Lloyd George, who had never put the matter to the War Cabinet. MPs picked up on his slip immediately, and Bonar Law (Conservative Leader) admitted in the same debate that he too had had prior knowledge.[32]

As First Sea Lord Jellicoe was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Belgian [34] the Grand Cross of the Italian Military Order of Savoy on 11 August 1917[35] and the Grand Cordon of the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun on 29 August 1917.[36]

Later war

Jellicoe was created Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa Flow on 7 March 1918[37]

In June 1918, amidst concerns that - following the [38]

Retirement

Lord and Lady Jellicoe, 1924

Jellicoe was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 3 April 1919.[27] He became Governor-General of New Zealand in September 1920[39] and while out there also served as Grand Master of New Zealand's Masonic Grand Lodge.[40] Following his return to England, he was created Earl Jellicoe and Viscount Brocas of Southampton in the County of Southampton on 1 July 1925.[41] He died of pneumonia at his home in Kensington in London on 20 November 1935 and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.[27]

Legacy

In 1919, "Sleep, beneath the wave! a requiem" with words by Rev. Alfred Hall and Music by Albert Ham. was "Dedicated to Admiral Viscount Jellicoe." [42]

The attempt of his official biographer Admiral Bacon to portray him as the conqueror of the U-Boats is, in John Grigg’s view, absurd, as the main decisions were taken by other men. Bacon also claimed that his elevation to a viscountcy on dismissal was a deliberate snub, but in fact Sir John French, the former Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, was only a viscount at the time (both he and Jellicoe became Earls subsequently), whilst Fisher was never more than a Baron. Bacon's neutrality may be questionable as he had himself been sacked by Geddes from command of the Dover Patrol, replaced by Roger Keyes, shortly after Jellicoe’s removal.[38]

Family

Bust in Trafalgar Square.

In July 1902 Jellicoe married Gwendoline Cayzer, daughter of the shipping magnate Sir Charles Cayzer; they had a son and five daughters.[4]

Honours

Ribbon bar (incomplete)

Peerages

  • Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa Flow - 7 March 1918[43]
  • Earl Jellicoe and Viscount Brocas of Southampton in the County of Southampton - 1 July 1925[44]

British orders

  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) - 8 February 1915[20] (KCB: 19 June 1911;[45] CB: 9 November 1900[46])
  • Order of Merit (OM) - 31 May 1916[47]
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) - 17 June 1916[48] (KCVO: 3 August 1907;[17] CVO: 13 February 1906[11])

British decoration

British medals

International orders

International decorations

  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal of the United States - 16 September 1919[55]
  • Croix de Guerre of France - 21 February 1919[56]
  • Belgian Croix de Guerre - 21 April 1917[57]

Ancestry, arms, residences

Ancestors

Some of Admiral Jellicoe's ancestors
John Rushworth Jellicoe (1859–1935)
Captain John Henry Jellicoe (1825–1914) of Southampton

Samuel Jellicoe (1788–1861), contractor/banker of Millbrook (Hants) then 12, Portland Terrace, All Saints, Southampton.

Samuel Jellicoe (c. 1758 – 1843), ironmaster/contractorof Fontley, then Uplands House, Fareham, then of Brighthelmstone, Brighton.

Catherine Lee

Elizabeth Jane Whalley (Smythe Gardiner) (1792–1872), also of 30 Portland Street, Southampton

Sir James Whalley Smythe Gardiner, 2nd Bt. (d. 1805) of Clerk Hill, Whalley, Lancs., & Tackley, & Cuddesdon (Oxon), & Roche Court, Fareham

Jane Master

Lucy Henrietta Keele (1834–1916)

Dr. John Rushworth Keele (1787–1856) Mayor of Southampton 1823–26

John Keele (1760–1835), surgeon of Southampton & Hythe

Elizabeth Rushworth (1761–1817), daughter of Capt. Edward Rushworth, RN, sister of Edward Rushworth, MP

Constantia Patton (1798–1854)

Admiral of the Red Philip Patton (1739–1815) of Fareham

Elizabeth Dixon

Arms

John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe
Details
Crest Out of a naval crown or a demi-wolf azure.
Supporters On either side a sea griffin or.
Motto Sui memores alios fecere merendo:
"Remembered for their merits."
Blue plaque at 25 Draycott-place, (Blacklands Terrace), Cadogan gardens, London, SW3

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Heathcote, p.128
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24876. p. 4623. 24 August 1880. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Auction 26 Orders, Decorations and medals". San Georgio. April 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Heathcote, p.129
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26809. p. 3. 1 January 1897. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27235. p. 6098. 5 October 1900. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  7. ^ Bacon, p. 109
  8. ^ "Admiral Sir John Jellicoe". The Independent. 19 October 1914. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Naval & military intelligence" The Times (London). Friday, 20 September 1901. (36565), p. 8.
  10. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Wednesday, 9 April 1902. (36737), p. 10.
  11. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 27885. p. 1037. 13 February 1906. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27897. p. 2061. 23 March 1906. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27993. p. 899. 8 February 1907. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Heathcote, p. 130
  15. ^ Brooks, p. 135
  16. ^ a b c Grigg 2002, p371-2
  17. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 28048. p. 5390. 6 August 1907. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28401. p. 5481. 26 July 1910. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28632. p. 5721. 2 August 1912. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  20. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 29066. p. 1443. 12 February 1915. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  21. ^ Brooks, p. 232-237
  22. ^ Massie, p. 621
  23. ^ Massie, p. 645
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9070. 15 September 1916. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29629. p. 6063. 20 June 1916. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9081. 15 September 1916. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  27. ^ a b c d Heathcote, p. 131
  28. ^ Grigg 2002, p49, 51, 53
  29. ^ Grigg 2002, p373
  30. ^ Grigg 2002, p371-3
  31. ^ Grigg 2002, p374-5
  32. ^ Grigg 2002, p374
  33. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30029. p. 3821. 20 April 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30116. p. 5591. 5 June 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  35. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30227. p. 8208. 10 August 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  36. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30258. p. 8989. 29 August 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  37. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30565. p. 2989. 8 March 1918. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  38. ^ a b Grigg 2002, p372
  39. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31983. p. 7577. 16 July 1920. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  40. ^ "Grand Master & Past Grand Masters". The New Zealand Freemasons. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  41. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33063. p. 4448. 3 July 1925. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  42. ^ "Sleep, beneath the wave! a requiem" with words by Rev. Alfred Hall and Music by Albert Ham. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Waley, Royce and Co., 1919
  43. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30565. p. 2989. 8 March 1918. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  44. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33063. p. 4448. 3 July 1925. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  45. ^ London Gazette, 19 June 1911
  46. ^ London Gazette, 13 November 1900
  47. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9070. 15 September 1916. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  48. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29629. p. 6063. 20 June 1916. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  49. ^ "Court News" The Times (London). Thursday, 10 April 1902. (36738), p. 4.
  50. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29751. p. 9081. 15 September 1916. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  51. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30029. p. 3821. 20 April 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  52. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30116. p. 5591. 5 June 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  53. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30227. p. 8208. 10 August 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  54. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30258. p. 8989. 29 August 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  55. ^ Edinburgh Gazette, 16 September 1919
  56. ^ Edinburgh Gazette, 21 February 1919
  57. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30029. p. 3821. 20 April 1917. Retrieved 1 December 2012.

Sources

Further reading

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Henry Jackson
Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy
1908–1910
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Briggs
Preceded by
Prince Louis of Battenberg
Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet
1910–1911
Succeeded by
Sir Cecil Burney
Preceded by
Prince Louis of Battenberg
Second Sea Lord
1912–1914
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Hamilton
Preceded by
none
Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet
1914–1916
Succeeded by
Sir David Beatty
Preceded by
Sir Henry Jackson
First Sea Lord
1916–1917
Succeeded by
Sir Rosslyn Wemyss
Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Liverpool
Governor-General of New Zealand
1920–1924
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Fergusson, Bt
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Jellicoe
1925–1935
Succeeded by
George Jellicoe
Viscount Jellicoe
1918–1935
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