The Clash of the Main Fleets
The Germans must have been elated at sinking a third British battlecruiser. They must have thought that they were, at last, on the point of realising their objective of bringing overwhelming numbers to the destruction of a large part of the British fleet, thus achieving numerical parity.
They were speedily disabused. Hipper’s flagship, the Lutzow, had sustained such damage that Hipper had to transfer to the destroyer G39. At 18.15, Jellicoe had turned his whole force to the east and was about to catch the German ships in a huge trap. Jellicoe had successfully “crossed the T” of the German fleet, so that he could deploy his main capital ships on a huge arc so that they could concentrate their fire on the Germans. One of the first ships to open fire, at 18.30, was the battleship HMS Benbow, who fired six salvoes with her two forward turrets. Within months of the battle, HMS Benbow was to have its own Orange Lodge.
British dreadnoughts now began to open fire on the German ships. In the 5th Division of the 1st Battle Squadron there were four such ships – Colossus, Collingwood, St Vincent and Neptune – which had an Orange contingent. The 1915 Roll of Honour shows Brother E J Spargo, of King William III Lodge number 688, Plymouth, on board HMS Colossus, and Brother R McMullen, of Ulster Scot Lodge number 287, Devonport, on HMS Marlborough of the 6th Division. HMS Collingwood had Brothers A Duncan; Rd Hanning; J Jenkins; F Jones; T Morton and Robert Simpson, all of Ulster Scot Lodge number 287. The ships began firing on the Germans at 18.30.
Scheer realised that he could be about to lose the German Navy. As British shells started to fall around his leading ships he gave an order at 18.33, “battle about turn to starboard”. This involved the entire German fleet turning through 180-degrees behind a smokescreen laid down by German destroyers. Amazingly, Scheer pulled it off and his ships sailed away to the west.
Jellicoe was unperturbed. As Scheer sailed away to the west, Jellicoe continued on his course to the south. If both fleets had continued on these lines, Scheer would have been cut off from his base ports. At 18.55 Scheer once more turned his fleet through 180-degree turn, this time leading them east. Ahead of him he threw every light unit he could at the Grand Fleet.
Jellicoe’s ships came under torpedo attack from German destroyers, and even the crippled Wiesbaden could launch torpedoes. It may have been one of these that struck HMS Marlborough at 18.54, causing that ship to lose speed to about 16 knots. By that time, Marlborough had fired 162 shells at the enemy.
Scheer was still in the position where Jellicoe had “crossed his T”. The 4th Division of the 4th Battle Squadron, which had Orangemen in its ranks, opened fire on the German ships. HMS Benbow turned to starboard at 19.00 heading back towards the enemy. This took them past the wreck of the Invincible, both ends of which were still sticking up out of the water. Collingwood claimed hits on a German battleship, and Colossus fired on a German light cruiser, believed to be the Wiesbaden.
Scheer’s ships were starting to suffer serious damage, particularly the 3rd Battle Squadron, while Jellicoe’s ships were relatively unscathed. In desperation Scheer resorted, once more, to the “battle about turn to starboard” manoeuvre and turned away to the west at 19.17. This time the turn was accomplished with much more difficulty due to the concentrated British fire beginning to take effect. Again, Scheer ordered his destroyers to charge the British Grand Fleet and launch torpedoes. This time, however, he supplemented this with an attack by the battered battle cruisers of Hipper’s 1st Scouting Group. This was to become known as “the death ride of the German battlecruisers”.
The Death Ride of the German Battlecruisers
Scheer’s use of the battlecruisers betrays the desperation he must have felt. These ships had been in action almost since the beginning of the battle and they had taken a fearful pounding. They had lost their flagship, the Lutzow, which had been forced to fall out of line. Their Admiral, Hipper, had been forced to abandon the Lutzow and take to a destroyer. The four remaining ships, Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke and Von der Tann, dutifully obeyed orders and turned towards the line of British dreadnoughts, eighteen of which were firing directly at them.
The ships with an Orange contingent played a full part in this phase of the battle. HMS Benbow and HMS Temeraire of the 4th Division, 4th Battle Squadron, opened fire and hit the Derfflinger several times. On board the Temeraire were Brothers F Wilmott of Ulster Scot Lodge number 287 and S Vennard of Devon Pioneer Lodge number 824, which were both based at Devonport.
HMS Colossus and HMS Collingwood of the 5th Division, 1st Battle Squadron, also scored hits, several of them on the Derfflinger. On Collingwood, the Sub-Lieutenant in charge of “A” Turret was the future King George VI, then Prince Albert, who sat in the open on the roof of the turret so that he could see the enemy better. Derfflinger took 14 hits and had two main turrets put out of action. Seydlitz and Von der Tann took 23 hits between them. The German battlecruisers pressed home their attack and opened fire on Colossus but at about 19.30, having accomplished their objective of covering Scheer’s withdrawal to the west, they turned about and themselves began to withdraw. That these German battlecruisers were able to absorb such punishment and stay afloat was a tribute to German ship construction. Lutzow, however, could take no more and the ship was scuttled in the early hours of the morning.
At the same time the battlecruisers were attacking the British Grand Fleet, waves of lighter craft were also attacking, with the aim of launching torpedo attacks. The British dreadnoughts were furiously having to fight off the smaller German ships. The dreadnought HMS Conqueror, of the 2nd Division of the 2nd Battle Squadron engaged German destroyers of the 3rd, 6th and 9th Flotillas. In her crew she had Brother E H J Parnell of Excelsior Loyal Orange Lodge number 56, based at Plymouth. Thirty-one torpedoes were launched against the British fleet, which was successful in evading them all, and two of the German destroyers were sunk. These attacks, however, had been enough to worry Jellicoe, who turned the British Fleet to the east as a precaution. With darkness beginning to fall, the chances of Scheer successfully escaping were improving.
The Night actions
With the loss of daylight the two fleets were like two blind giants swinging badly-aimed punches at each other. The next phase of the battle brought the old adversaries, the battle cruiser fleets, into conflict once again. At 20.05 the light cruiser, HMS Castor, leading the 11th Destroyer Flotilla, spotted smoke and went to investigate. This turned out to be a force of German destroyers and the two sides exchanged fire. The sound of gunfire brought Beatty and his battle cruisers, who were seeking out the German fleet, and in the course of this manoeuvre they encountered the German battle cruisers again.
At 20.19 HMS Inflexible opened fire, followed by the rest of Beatty’s ships. HMS New Zealand and HMS Indomitable scored five hits on Seydlitz. At this point the six old pre-dreadnought battleships of Rear-Admiral Franz Mauve’s 2nd Battle Squadron appeared, and the British battle cruisers turned their fire on the newcomers, once more scoring hits. Ten minutes later the German ships disappeared back into the darkness. One of Mauve’s ships, the SMS Pommern, was struck by a torpedo from the destroyer HMS Onslaught at 3.10 in the morning. This time it was a German ship that had its magazines explode, and the Pommern blew up and sank with the loss of all its crew.
Jellicoe decided to proceed south, but with extreme caution. He was still trying to cut off the Germans from their bases so that he could destroy them when daylight returned. Meanwhile, Scheer was trying to evade Jellicoe by sailing to the rear of the Grand Fleet. Jellicoe had placed cruisers and destroyers here as a rearguard, and during the night these forces clashed repeatedly with the German ships. The 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, commanded by Commodore Goodenough in HMS Southampton, was heavily engaged. Part of his force was the light Cruiser HMS Dublin that had several Orangemen on board. Dublin fired 17 6-inch shells and in turn took five hits from 5.9-inch shells of the Elbing and eight 4.1-inch shells from the Stuttgart. In turn, they sank the German light cruiser Frauenlob. The Elbing was accidentally rammed by one of its own battleships and sank in the early hours of the morning.
British destroyers attacked the Germans ships throughout the night and five of them were sunk, - the Ardent, Fortune, Sparrowhawk, Tipperary and Turbulent. By their efforts they sank the German light cruiser Rostock. Despite all the encounters during the night, Jellicoe was given insufficient information to enable him to form a clear picture. By about 04.15 Jellicoe realised that Scheer had escaped him and reached his bases. Jellicoe returned to his home bases and, within 48 hours, had his ships ready to return to sea. The German High Seas Fleet, although it had lost fewer ships, was in no shape to venture out to sea again, as even the ships which had survived had been so badly damaged.
Although the German propagandists made much of their success in sinking the greater number of enemy ships, it soon became clear that the destruction of the German fleet had been only narrowly avoided, and that the British had won a significant strategic victory.
The doughty HMS Warspite had been holed 150 times during the course of the battle, and suffered 14 killed and 16 wounded. She had withdrawn from the battle in the darkness and made her way back to Rosyth. During the journey she had come under attack from a U-Boat that had fired three torpedoes, all of which missed. Still ready for a fight, Warspite had attempted to ram a surfaced U-Boat.
The Battle of Jutland was the greatest naval battle of the First World War. 1916 saw the most intense fighting of the War to date on all fronts. On the Western Front there were the battles of Verdun and the Somme; on the Eastern Front there was the Brusilov Offensive and the German conquest of Rumania; in the Caucasus the Russians enjoyed great success against the Turks; in Italy the Austrians staged the Asiago Offensive while the Italians staged four major attacks in the Isonzo Valley; the Allied force at Salonika made an unsuccessful attack in Macedonia; and while the British successfully defended Egypt there was a catastrophe in Mesopotamia when the garrison of Kut surrendered.
Despite all this, the Battle of Jutland still made a strong impression on the combatant nations. The Orangemen mourned their dead, particularly those of Loyal Orange Lodge number 827. In the August 1916 edition of the Orange Standard there was the following report, - PROTESTANT REFORMERS MEMORIAL, L.O.L. 758 Adjourned meeting of the above lodge was held in the schoolroom, Crete Street, Liverpool, on 21st June. Bro. Brocklebank, W.M., presiding, assisted by Bro. Slater. Scripture and minutes of the previous meeting were read. A scheme was next dealt with to raise money for the reception fund. A vote of condolence was sent to Bro. Jenkins, who has lost his son in the recent naval battle, also Bro. Kelly, W.M., R.B.P. 48, whose son has died of wounds in a French hospital. The brethren expressed their sympathy by standing in silence. Two new members were proposed.
Several seamen named Jenkins were killed at the Battle of Jutland, but the one most likely to be referred to here is Stoker 1st Class Christopher John Jenkins, K/4084, who was the son of William and Jane Alice Jenkins of 18 Pyramid Street, Everton, Liverpool. He was serving on HMS Defence and was 31 years old when he died. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
In the issue of July 1916, the first one after the Battle, this item suggests that the scale of the losses was still not known at that time -
IN MEMORIAM We would like to express our deepest sympathy with the relatives and friends of our brethren who were lost in the recent naval battle. There must be some hundreds of our members who gave up their lives in defending our country. We are certain that some of the lodges in Portsmouth must be practically depleted of their members. At the same time, we know that both their relatives and fellow members are proud that
those who have gone, died gloriously fighting for the freedom of this land. "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for another."
In the same issue the following item tried to strike a more positive note, -
“It was a grand fight." Stoker Petty Officer Bro R. B. Greenfield, of H M.S. “Duke of Edinburgh," writes; "I regret to inform you that a good many brethren are amongst the list of casualties during the recent action. The W.M. of Carnarvon, L.O.L. 827, being on the “Defence," as undoubtedly you are aware. We cannot account for our lucky escape. It was a grand fight, and I don't think the Germans will try conclusions for some time to come. Many thanks for forwarding magazines. We mourn the loss of our great soldier after such a brilliant career. We are glad to see the Ulster delegates are holding out – they will win in the end. I forward the ORANGE STANDARD to my brother in the trenches with the Ulster Division every month. There are a good number of Orangemen on board, many of us from fifteen to twenty years in the Order."
On the Roll of Honour, Brother R B Greenfield is shown twice, both times as serving on HMS Duke of Edinburgh, but once as a member of Carnarvon LOL 827 and the other as a member of Ulster Scot LOL 287.
In the August 1916 issue the following item suggests that Brother Greenfield was trying to rally any surviving members of Lodge 827, -
Naval Lodge CARNARVON, L.O.L. 827 We have been informed that most of the members of the above lodge went down with H.M.S. Defence during the Jutland Naval Battle. It is quite possible that some members were transferred to other ships. If this note should catch the eyes of surviving members we should be glad if they will communicate with Bro. R. B. Greenfield, S.P.O., H M.S. Duke of Edinburgh, c/o G.P.O., London.
The evidence of subsequent Grand Lodge Directories suggests that Brother Greenfield was unsuccessful. Although other lodges were to open in the Royal Navy, Loyal Orange Lodge 827 was not revived.
The losses suffered at Jutland were felt as far away as Hong Kong, as demonstrated by this item from the Orange Standard of February 1917, - EASTERN STAR, R.B.P. 8O1, HONG KONG Monthly meeting of this Preceptory held at the Seamen's Institute, on 11th October. Sir Kt Linfield, W.M., occupied the chair, and Sir Kt. Lockhart assisted in the vice-chair. There was a good attendance of Sir Knights. Sir Kt. Rose opened the proceedings with prayer and scripture. Secretary's minutes of previous meetings read and passed. A vote of condolence was passed in silence, the members standing for the relatives of the late Sir Kt. Monson, of this Preceptory, who lost his life in the last North Sea battle.
The 1915 Roll of Honour has two Brethren named Monson. Brother Charles Monson, of Carnarvon LOL 827, was serving on HMS Defence. Brother C Monson, of Ulster Scot LOL 287, was serving on HMS Defiance. This may be two different brethren, or it may be a duplication. As HMS Defence was sunk at the Battle of Jutland, it would seem that this would be the Brother whose loss was mourned.
In contrast to the sorrow felt at the loss of the brethren from 1st Cruiser Squadron there was a real pride felt in the way HMS Warspite and its Orangemen had acquitted themselves. The Grand Lodge Report of 1916 contained the following, - We have cause to be proud of our men on the “Warspite”, sister ship to the "Queen Elizabeth", for their splendid gallantry in the recent naval battle. The “Warspite” bore the brunt of a terrific attack by no less than six German Battleships. She put up a glorious fight and sank three of her assailants, disabled two, while the sixth fled. We are delighted to hear that all our brethren are safe and unharmed and that the whole crew are to be recommended. A good amount of the Lodge property was lost and the Warrant is somewhat damaged. We can proudly boast that there are Orangemen on board every ship in His Majesty's Navy.
The claims made of German losses are clearly exaggerated, probably influenced by Government propaganda, but the Warspite had performed well and the Orangemen were justifiably proud of their brethren on board.
The Orange Standard of January 1917 had an item which said as much, -
The Warrant of King William's Own L.O.L. 872, H.M.S. Warspite – which was damaged in the Jutland naval battle - and secured, at great risk from a burning cabin by the W.M., Bro G. H. Sharman, S.P.O., has been presented to the Grand Lodge as a relic. We are proud of the men on the “Warspite," and we shall take great care of such a treasure.
However, in the same issue there was the following item from a regular correspondent, Brother A J Kelsey, which may be a more accurate statement of how those who had taken part in the Battle really felt about it, -
Risks at Sea The following letter has been received by Bro. A. J. Kelsey, from Sto. C. Crowhurst, on board H.M.S. "Mignonette," – “Every man who came out of the Jutland Battle thinks himself very fortunate indeed; it was horrible, while it lasted. When the truth comes to be told (as it should at first) our casualties will be greater than reported. What rough weather we have been having of late ! The recent gale loosened a great number of mines and these had to be destroyed – rather a risky job. It had to be done for our own sakes and neutrals. Merchant shipping had to be stopped at once. We shall all be glad to return to our wives and families. Thanks very much for the football. I was very pleased with the "O.S.", as I have several dear friends in the Order. Glad to see that one lodge is held in Gillingham, Kent – which happens to be my home. I know Mr. H. Griffiths."
In the very next issue, February 1917, the following corrective appeared, -
"Half the Hun Fleet Down" CORRECTION We regret the deplorable error which we made in Stoker C. Crowhurst's letter under "Risks at Sea,” in our January issue. In condensing the letter we mistook the words "Hun Fleet” for "Home Fleet," and stated our casualties were greater than reported. We now give Stoker Crowhurst's exact words: "Everyman who came out of that (Jutland) battle thinks himself very fortunate; indeed it was horrible while it lasted. When the truth comes to be told (as it should at first) it will be seen that half the Hun Fleet went down the cellar."
So that’s all right then. Meanwhile, encouraging news of the Warspite Lodge continued to be included in the Orange Standard. The issue of August 1916 contained the following, -
"WARSPITE" ORANGEMEN Appreciate the "Orange Standard" Bro. G. H. Sharman of H.M.S. Warspite sends the following note:- Our Lodge has decided to send one shilling each month with the order for 'Orange Standards,' to assist in keeping our Monthly Magazine going, and if this is not sufficient and the O.S. is in danger of being stopped, please let us know at once and our Lodge will do all that lays in its power to assist you in keeping our glorious little magazine going; for we think the world of it and believe that the Institution at large would suffer if the O.S. should cease to be published.
In September 1916 there was the following, - Naval District KING WILLIAM’S OWN, L O.L. 872 The members of this lodge had a memorable time on 7th July and their special meeting was continued up to the 11th. Nineteen brethren were raised to the Royal Arch Purple Degree in the historic City of Edinburgh. The Bros Kyle, of Glasgow, acted as Masters of Ceremony. Brethren from near and far attended and there was a splendid muster. The W.M., Bro. G. H. Sharman, writes, "The whole proceedings were very impressive and our lodge was more than satisfied. I cannot speak too highly of the welcome and assistance which was accorded to our lodge by the Edinburgh brethren, and our very best thanks are due to the Sisters, for the manner in which they entertained us to tea and gave us a social ending to a never-to-be-forgotten evening. We are very grateful to the Grand Lodge of Scotland for sending three brethren from Glasgow to welcome our naval members and to the Scottish brethren and sisters for all their kindness and generosity.
In November 1916 there was the following, -
KING WILLIAM'S OWN, L.O.L. No. 872 This lodge, which is entirely composed of sailors in the Royal Navy, met recently in the Masonic Hall, Cowdenbeath – the W.M., Bro George H. Sharman in the chair, and Bro Crawford, District Master of No. 45 District, Scotland, in the vice-chair. The following were also present from Scotch lodges – Bros Morrison, W.M. No. 207; Norrie, W.M. No. 260; Evans, W.M. No. 262; and Patrick, P.W.D.M. District No. 6. The lodge was duly opened, after which the R.A.P. degree was conferred on a number of brethren – Bro Sharman assisted by the office-bearers, officiating. The lodge was then closed, and the members were entertained to tea by Bro Patrick, who presided at this function, after which an excellent programme of songs and recitations and musical selections was gone through. Addresses were delivered by Bros Sharman, Crawford, Morrison, Norrie and Evans. All the arrangements were in the hands of
Bro Patrick and he received warm congratulations on the success that had attended his efforts.
While King William’s Own Loyal Orange Lodge number 872, on HMS Warspite, was proceeding so well, Orange Lodges were spreading to other ships. Loyal Orange Lodge number 878 was established on HMS King Alfred, and the Naval Lodges were formed into their own District Lodge. The November 1916 Orange Standard carried the following report,
Nava1 District L.O.L. 878 Several of the lodges in the Navy have been formed into a special Naval District by the Grand Secretary and Bro Thomas Spanner, H.D.G.M., P.G.S. for the Metropolitan Province, has been appointed District Secretary. A good report is just to hand from L.O.L. 878, on one of H.M. ships. The lodge is making excellent progress, and at each meeting candidates are initiated. L.O.L. 878 is composed of men from Canada, Hong Kong, Birkenhead, Liverpool, Belfast, Newfoundland, London, Bath, Worthing and Plymouth. The Secretary states that the lodge meets under awkward circumstances, but all the members are determined to make it a great success.
The issue of December 1916 carried two reports from this Lodge, -
Naval District L.O.L. 878 KING ALFRED The monthly meeting of this lodge was held on the 27th Sept., 1916, which was the earliest date in the month suitable. Our W.M. having left us for servioe elsewhere, and the D.M. being absent on duty, the chair was taken by Bro. A. Protheroe, pro-tem, and Bro. Worsley, D.M., pro-tem. The lodge was opened in accordance with the rules, and Bro. Wagner appointed Sec. for that meeting. The minutes of last meeting were read and approved. Mr H. Fisher and W. E. Cockran were given the first degree of Orangeism. Instructions were given by the W.M., and they received a hearty welcome from the brethren present. The lecture was given by Bros. Protheroe and Moseley. Bro. Baillie, D. M., was then proposed by Bro Moseley and seconded by Bro. Saunders to be W.M., he being the senior Bro., and the proposition was agreed to. Bro. Worsley was elected D.M. succession to Bro. Baillie. Several new candidates were proposed for next meeting. This concluded the business of this meeting. KING ALFRED L.O.L. 878 The next meeting was held on the 19th Oct. and was presided over by Bro Baillie, W.M. There was a good attendance of brethren. Four new brethren were initiated to the first degree and received a fine welcome from those present. After the lecture, several candidates were proposed for the following meeting.
HMS King Alfred was an armoured cruiser, launched in 1901, with a speed of 23 knots and a main armament of two single Breech-Loading 9.2-inch Mark X guns. In 1916 she was in the 9th Cruiser Squadron.
There was a sad epilogue to the Battle of Jutland. A few days after the Battle, on 5th June 1916, the British cruiser HMS Hampshire struck a mine and sank off the Orkney Islands. The mine was one that had been laid by the German submarine U-75 in the opening phases of the Battle in the hope of sinking or damaging British ships.
Hampshire was on a special mission to take Lord Kitchener to Russia. There were two escorting destroyers, HMS Unity and HMS Victor, but because of severe weather conditions these escorts fell behind Hampshire. The cruiser struck the mine at 19.40 and sank within 15 minutes. Attempts to evacuate the ship were rendered almost impossible by the weather conditions, and lifeboats that were lowered were smashed against the sides of the ship. Only 12 members of the crew were rescued, and Kitchener was one of those lost.
In the Grand Lodge Report of 1916 this event received the following mention, - HMS Hampshire A good number of our dear brothers went down with Lord Kitchener on the "Hampshire". We had letters from some of them with contributions for the Orange Fund just before the eventful journey.
In the Orange Standard of July 1916 the following tribute was paid to Kitchener, -
OUR NATIONAL HERO THE day upon which Lord Kitchener was reported drowned was a day of tragedy indeed, for no single person in the land could be regarded more fully as the embodiment of the national spirit, no single name inspired such complete national confidence in the triumph of our cause. His death, which the Admiralty message appears to establish practically beyond doubt, is a poignant blow to the nation, and every head will be bowed in sorrow, though not in foreboding. The circumstances do but add to the sadness of the tragedy, for the popular imagination would rather have pictured this greatest soldier of the Empire falling at the head of a glorious army marching on to victory than think of him as the victim of the subtle attack of mine or submarine, finding his last resting place in an element which was never his own. Yet tragic as the end is, as it must have been wheresoever and howsoever it had come, it would have been a far heavier blow had it happened before the greatest work of his life had been well-nigh cornpleted. For Kitchener will go down to history, not as the victor of Khartoum, not as the general who brought the Boer War to a successful conclusion, not so much for any of his other brilliant military exploits, but as the man who, by the magic of his name, by the potency of his influence, by virtue of his wonderful organising powers, brought into being a trained and equipped army of five million free men to fight for Britain and for justice. That is his transcendent achievement, that the work to which he was called nearly two years ago, and which he grappled with all the tremendous energy and determination characteristic of the man. And that is the work for which the nation, and our Allies in this great struggle, will ever pay homage to his memory. His has been a life devoted wholly to the Army which he loved and to the nation of which he was so distinguished a son. And he has died, as he lived, in the service of his country. He will have faced death bravely, as he faced all the dangers which life brought him, confident, one feels sure, that the nation which so honoured him would carry through the great work to which he had put his hand to the end which he had in sight – victory and a lasting peace.
The following tribute was paid to the Orange brethren who were lost, -
Orangemen go down with the Hampshire and in the Naval Battle Brethren throughout the world will be grieved to know that a large number of Orangemen went down into a watery grave during the recent naval battle. One English lodge, which met on H M.S. – has gone down with all officers and members. A large number of brethren were also on H.M.S. Hampshire, with Lord Kitchener, when she went down. We had a letter from them recently, and a contribution for the Bible Fund. The death of these brave men is a sad loss to us, and we mourn with those who are near and dear to them. We are proud of them all, for they died in defence of their king and country. We have had letters from brethren on other ships, and they are most encouraging.
The Way Ahead
There was much soul-searching after the Battle. Broadly, the British public was disappointed that it had not yielded a spectacular victory like Trafalgar, with lots of enemy ships sunk. For a time, there was a feeling of disquiet, made worse by the death of Kitchener. Gradually, however, the realisation spread that the British had retained their strategic supremacy, while the High Seas Fleet had come close to destruction. The New York Times said, “The German Navy has assaulted its jailer, but is still in jail”. Jellicoe was deemed to have been too cautious and was moved upstairs, his job going to Beatty who was felt to be more aggressive. When Beatty took over, however, he too became more cautious, and rightly so. The British naval supremacy allowed a blockade of Germany which led, in the last winter of the war, to German civilians starving and the morale of the army and navy eventually cracking.
The Orange Order’s Naval lodges seemed to draw encouragement from the results of the Battle. New lodges were to be opened on other ships. The bravery of the crew of HMS Warspite, including the members of King William’s Own Lodge number 872, raised morale, while the brethren who died from Lodge4 number 827 were accorded the respect due to those who had given their lives for their country.
Michael E Phelan
Grand Orange Lodge of England
27th April 2015