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John Jellicoe

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filfoster

Hello all. Newbie, just found this site. I have been on GMIC for many years. (Give it a look, if you haven't already done so).

I am researching the ribbons worn on the reefer jacket of Admiral John R. Jellicoe at the time of Jutland (OK, Skaggerak or what have you for our German folks). He is shown wearing a reefer jacket with the sleeve insignia of his rank as full admiral. There are two rows of ribbons which appear to have two odd features. I make these ribbons to be:

first row:          Victorian Order  +  Order of the Bath  +  Egypt campaign medal

second row:    3rd China War campaign medal + Prussian Red Eagle order  +  Khedive's Star

 

The two odd things:  The Bath ribbon should precede the VO ribbon. Two clues that it's the Bath ribbon: It's wider than the other flanking ribbons and a solid color, which corresponds to the ribbon shown below. The precedence rules would have the Bath as the first ribbon. According to the rules that I have, there isn't any other ribbon of a solid color that he might have worn in this place, or 'mis-place' as it happens, save a Knight of St. John, (solid black ribbon), which I find no evidence that he was.

The second odd thing: Wearing the Prussian Red Eagle Order ribbon in 1916 (He had been awarded the RE 2nd class with swords - fairly high class of this- for his heroism in China, in a joint forces operation). It wasn't unknown to continue to wear belligerant nations' awards, as Robert Massie describes Admiral Christopher Cradock defacing his own Prussian ribbon with ink rather than removing it. 

 

Anyway, can anyone offer some proof or refutation to these guesses?  It is very odd that he or his batman or tailor would err twice among only six ribbons, although the Red Eagle retention after hostilities might be explained. Only black and white photos remain and these are not high enough resolution to serve well (The Egypt medal isn't visible in most prints of these photos but can be discerned in a few, such as the one below). 

admiral-sir-john-rushworth-jellicoe-1859-1935-early-20th-century-artist-B0KAHR.jpg

Edited by filfoster
more info

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2ndCMR

Which one did he get for sending Rear Admiral Tudor and his report off to the China Station?

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filfoster

This very jacket still exists among the collections of the UK National Maritime Museum. I have sent an enquiry about the ribbons but have not yet received a reply and will not hold my breath overlong waiting for one. The extant jacket shows ribbons added after Jutland and the Bath and VO are now properly oriented, the Bath preceding. Curiously, it still has what appears to be the Prussian Red Eagle ribbon. The color photos leave little doubt that it is indeed a Prussian Red Eagle.

If anyone know why the VO and Bath were reversed in the above photo, or if you have a genuine explanation of perhaps a different ribbon after the VO, that would be very welcome. 

If I get a reply from the Maritime Museum, I will share it.

Edited by filfoster

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filfoster

Perhaps someone can refer me to another source for this information?  I have also contacted the Royal Navy museums but their budget constraints will not permit research or response, so, then, only the Maritime Museum remains as an institutional source fo this information. 

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2ndCMR

And where is text of the memorandum that Jellicoe, once he became 1st Lord, ordered should not be circulated, while allowing the accompanying drawings to be?


 

Quote

 

On 22 December Tudor wrote to Jellicoe:

1st Sea Lord
D.N.C. has drawn up the enclosed memorandum marked 'A' on the damage inflicted on our Battle Cruisers & Battle Ships in the Jutland Battle.
The drawings he has had got out should be of great value & interest to the Fleet[.] I do not know if you would wish the memorandum issued.
Referred.
FCTT
22.12.16[16]

The same day Jellicoe minuted:

The memorandum should certainly not be issued. It does not at all represent the the views of officers at sea & I do not agree with it. No objection of the drawings.
JRJ
22/12[17]

 

 

 

Some part of Tudor's papers are here: https://kingscollections.org/_assets/components/archiospdfbuilder/?docid=1482

but one can see that anything related to these matters is either missing or not catalogued.
 

Quote

 

 

Context

Administrative / Biographical history:Born in 1863; joined RN, 1875; HMS BRITANNIA, 1876-1877; served on Mediterranean, Australian and ChinaStations; Senior Staff Officer, HMS EXCELLENT, 1894-1896; Assistant to Director of Naval Depot, 1896-1898;commanded HMS PROMETHEUS, Channel Fleet, 1901-1902, and HMS CHALLENGER, Australian Station,1904-1906; Assistant Director of Naval Ordnance, 1906-1909; commanded HMS SUPERB, Home Fleet,1909-1910; commanded HMS EXCELLENT, 1910-1912; Director of Naval Ordnance, 1912-1914; Third Sea Lord,Admiralty, 1914-1917; Commander-in-Chief, China Station, 1917-1919; V Adm, 1918; Adm, 1921; President,Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1920-1922; retired list, 1922; died in 1946.Immediate source of acquisition or transfer:Placed in the Centre by the family in 1976.

 

Content & structure Scope and content: Papers relating to his service as Third Sea Lord, 1915-1916, principally comprising 'History of armoured cars,juggernauts, land battleships, tanks', a memorandum on the development of an armoured car force, 1914-1916,written [for Tudor and other Sea Lords] by Murray F Sueter, Sep 1916; 'Report on the design and construction offirst land ship (tank)', written for Tudor by E H Tennyson D'Eyncourt, Director of Naval Construction, Sep 1916.Biographical notes on Tudor, compiled for members of the family by his great nephew, A B T Davey, with coveringletter, 1976.System of arrangement: 1 file

 

 

Jutland was a flop, if not a disaster and of course higher political considerations made it impossible to admit this in wartime.  Promoting Jellicoe and Beatty  was necessary to set the seal on the propagated myth of victory, while allowing them to supervise any cover up they thought necessary.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jutland  

 

The missing "memorandum" and the supporting documents of the interviews and studies from which it was prepared, which presumably are also now missing, are evidence first of all by their very absence!

 

Tudor's meteoric rise in the Service from Lieutenant to Assistant Director of Naval Ordnance in twenty years says enough about his brains and competence I think.  Royal Navy precedence and promotion policies in the early 20th C. are not my field, and "Bloggin's turn" may have prevailed there as in H.M. Army, although the Navy had at least the reputation of being more interested in merit than seniority.  The author of that article states that the various other officers listed had equal claims to a sea posting as Turner and that his appointment to the China Station, in other words completely out of any possible participation in the war, was a professional "lifeline".  This is rather amusing, unless promotion was purely by seniority, though the seniority of the other officers listed to Turner does not seem to be established by the author.   The other virtue of the China Station was of course that it was so isolated that even if Turner chose to talk, few would be able to listen.

 

One wonders how having been at the Admiralty as a Sea Lord for six odd years, privileged to read all sorts of studies, intelligence, operational reports and correspondence that would be denied a mere sea-going officer, would render Turner no more qualified than officers who were clearly not his professional equals, and clearly had not access to most of that material?!  Does an officer forget how to command ship or a formation in six years?

 

One wonders also if officers commanding ships were automatically subject to court martial if their ships were lost, what the regulations prescribed for their senior commanders at sea, were the officer(s) commanding the ships lost to be killed in the same action(s)?  No enquiry at all??

 

So three battle cruisers and 3300 men were lost in a couple of hours and there was no formal enquiry into the reasons why?  Seems a little odd, even it were to have strictly conformed to the regulations - and how bizarre that would be if true.

 

Curious indeed that the presently existing record shows nothing before Beatty apparently attempts to get his salvo in first, but this SIX WEEKS after the action?  What happened in the interval, nothing but clean up and repairs?

 

Obviously Beatty was busy for those six weeks mustering his arguments, and no doubt in mortal fear for his future career, lest for example, Jellicoe were to make a scapegoat out of him for the unsafe ammunition handling practices, not to mention taking his ships far closer to the Germans than they needed to be with the result that his gunnery range advantage was nullified.  Jellicoe for his part, might fear that Beatty would drag him down as well if his own career was ruined, so perhaps they got together and decided on a course of action and in keeping with their "first salvo and volume of fire" doctrines.  Their subordinate captains would likewise have feared to be made scapegoats themselves, to the extent they had also allowed unsafe ammunition handling, so as long as no one was punished so that he felt he had nothing to lose by talking, everyone had a stake in keeping mum.  Except of course the dead, who had no choice in the matter.

 

So Beatty goes into all sorts of details, no doubt in the hope that the respondents will immediately chase after replying to all his little points.  For example notice the canard in his initial letter: " (j) The ready communication of explosion from one magazine to another widely separated."   This makes no sense to Tudor either as he replies: " (j) This is not understood."  Laughable.

 

Quote

I therefore most strongly urge that it should be accepted that a radical fault does exist, and that the best brains in the country are necessary to assist in its speedy removal in existing ships and its prevention in new construction. To this end I suggest that Committees of the greatest experts should be formed, and no expense or trouble spared to thoroughly investigate the following amongst other points. I assume that the measures taken by the Admiralty since the action are not in any way final or other than temporary expedients; to my mind the cure is farther to seek.

 

One can see why Beatty would be so frantic to point to some "radical fault" in ship design.  Sadly none of any great import was never found, then or since.  Beatty's bio shows him to be an officer of no great brains or ability, but a careful careerist with a nose for connections and advantage.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Beatty,_1st_Earl_Beatty


 

Quote

 

After the war a report of the battle was prepared by the Admiralty under First Sea Lord Rosslyn Wemyss. Before the report was published, Beatty was himself appointed First Sea Lord, and immediately requested amendments to the report. When the authors refused to comply, he ordered it to be destroyed and instead had prepared an alternative report, which proved highly critical of Jellicoe. Considerable argument broke out as a result, with significant numbers of servicemen disputing the published version, including Admiral Reginald Bacon, who wrote his own book about the battle, criticising the version sponsored by Beatty and highly critical of Beatty's own part in the battle.

 

 

 

 

The question which I find most interesting, and which some interested writer might pursue, is whether Jellicoe and Beatty buried the facts of their unsafe ammunition handling policies so effectively that they continued into WWII and had some role in the loss of the Hood, as accounts of her loss also suggest some sort of flash fire.  It would remain for experts to evaluate her armour at that time and the comparative effectiveness of the German shellfire vis a vis that at Jutland, to determine whether there could be any realistic possibility of a magazine hit causing her sudden loss in a manner so uncannily similar to those at Jutland.   Mere probability suggests otherwise.  Years ago I corresponded briefly with a lady whose father had been IIRC a Master at Arms(?) on the Hood before transferring off shortly before her loss.  We discussed this possible cause of Hood's sinking and she stated that this was her father's belief also; that ammunition handling practices were connected with the sinking.  Having recently served on Hood, the obvious conclusion is that he was familiar with those practices onboard.

 

And that's all time permits now.

Edited by 2ndCMR

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Ron Clifton

Wikipedia has the following:

British orders
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) – 8 February 1915[21] (KCB: 19 June 1911;[50] CB: 9 November 1900[51])
Order of Merit (OM) – 31 May 1916[52]
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) – 17 June 1916[53] (KCVO: 3 August 1907;[18] CVO: 13 February 1906[12])
British decoration
Sea Gallantry Medal (SGM) – 1886
British medals
Egypt Medal
China War Medal (1900)
1914 Star
King George V Coronation Medal
International orders
 Kingdom of Prussia : Order of the Red Eagle, 2nd class with crossed swords – April 1902

 

The italicised ones do not pre-date Jutland although they clearly relate to it: other awards in the full Wiki list are post-Jutland.

 

Ron

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filfoster

Ron Clifton: Yes, I saw that.  This unfortunately doesn't explain the two ribbon errors in the photo. 

2nd CMR: Yes, there is much interesting controversy around Jellicoe's Jutland performance.  

Do you have any information to add to this thread concerning his uniform oddities mentioned above?

 

Since there seems to be evident interest in his command of the Grand Fleet, I may initiate a thread concerning his career elsewhere on this site, which would be better placed for a discussion of that, perhaps 'Sailors, Navies and the War at Sea' ?

    

Jellicoe's career is interesting but not the point of this particular uniform that I am researching. I turned to this site and this forum for help on that in particular. That is why I began this in the 'Medals' forum, thinking that would be the place for it, although the Uniforms, Cap Badges and Insignia forum would also be a useful place to start this thread.

I am new on this site, though and perhaps do not understand the parameters for these posts. 

Moderator, perhaps you can guide me here?

Edited by filfoster

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CorporalPunishment

I would date the photo in the opening post to between 1907 and 1911. Jellicoe was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1907 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1911. For that four year period the RVO ribbon would take precedence over the OB.   Pete.

 

 

 

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filfoster

Pete: Thank you, now we're getting somewhere. You are saying that the degree within the Order also determines the precedence, even if the order itself is higher/lower than the precedence of another order?   I did not have that information and am curious about it. My limited references do not indicate whether the ribbons are worn relative to the rank held within the respective orders. The photo above is indeed when he was a rear admiral, between February 1907 and September 1911 when he was promoted to Vice Admiral.

Now the conundrum: 

Here is a picture (it does not look retouched) of him on or after August, 1914 when he was a full admiral, and the ribbons are in the same order, VO preceding the OB: He was Knight Commander of both the VO and the higher OB from August 1914 until February, 1915 when he was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Bath. Now, must we suppose that he simply didn't bother to fiddle with his ribbons until sometime later, which is possible? After all, he has retained the Prussian Red Eagle, rather than remove it.

Is there some source for the precedence of the ribbons vis a vis the relative rank within the orders? That would 'seal the deal' at least as to the earlier photo, and may explain the later photos as the ribbons may have been a matter that he didn't feel necessary to bother with. In this one, which must be at least from August, 1914, though, it looks as though their order doesn't reflect his actual status as holder of at least a Knight Commander grade in both orders, and the OB would have precedence over the VO.

admiral-sir-john-r-jellicoe-PBW2P0.jpg.4555e806a34fadf350ce02b6de5264c7.jpg

Edited by filfoster

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CorporalPunishment

Sorry, I overlooked the rank bit. All I can come up with is that it was an oversight on his part, but having said that, 1911 to 1914 is one hell of a long oversight. As I understand it the order of precedence regarding the OB and the RVO is GCB, GCVO, KCB, KCVO, CB, CVO.   Pete.

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2ndCMR
6 hours ago, filfoster said:

Ron Clifton: Yes, I saw that.  This unfortunately doesn't explain the two ribbon errors in the photo. 

2nd CMR: Yes, there is much interesting controversy around Jellicoe's Jutland performance.  

Do you have any information to add to this thread concerning his uniform oddities mentioned above?

 

Since there seems to be evident interest in his command of the Grand Fleet, I may initiate a thread concerning his career elsewhere on this site, which would be better placed for a discussion of that, perhaps 'Sailors, Navies and the War at Sea' ?

    

Jellicoe's career is interesting but not the point of this particular uniform that I am researching. I turned to this site and this forum for help on that in particular. That is why I began this in the 'Medals' forum, thinking that would be the place for it, although the Uniforms, Cap Badges and Insignia forum would also be a useful place to start this thread.

I am new on this site, though and perhaps do not understand the parameters for these posts. 

Moderator, perhaps you can guide me here?

My only comment on ribbons would be examine the paintings of Jellicoe as these at least were done in colour, albeit perhaps too late in his career to be relevant to this question, though some information might be gleaned, at least from the order in which the ribbons appear, and perhaps with less coverage by the lapel, if the artist took care to "compensate" for that.

Edited by 2ndCMR

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MikB

 

On 31/10/2019 at 12:33, michaeldr said:

 

Simon Harley has an interesting article on this subject here http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/A_Direct_Train_of_Cordite

 

Just as a sideline - Beatty's first statement in the first quoted document in the above article is incorrect - the pre-dreadnought SMS Pommern did blow up spectacularly and with great loss of life after a torpedo hit from a destroyer in one of the last encounters of Jutland.  Beatty must have known about this, so it's hard to see how he failed to recall it. It immediately starts one wondering about the agenda of the rest of the document.

 

There's no doubt that mistakes were made and coverup techniques were used. Had individual captains taken more initiative and fired on some of the critically-damaged HSF capital ships they sighted at short range during the night actions, a more even balance of loss might have removed some of the heat from the controversy - which even today is giving rise to writings so loaded that it's impossible to evaluate them without very lengthy study.

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Andrew Upton
11 hours ago, filfoster said:

...Here is a picture (it does not look retouched) of him on or after August, 1914 when he was a full admiral, and the ribbons are in the same order, VO preceding the OB: He was Knight Commander of both the VO and the higher OB from August 1914 until February, 1915 when he was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Bath. Now, must we suppose that he simply didn't bother to fiddle with his ribbons until sometime later, which is possible? After all, he has retained the Prussian Red Eagle, rather than remove it...

admiral-sir-john-r-jellicoe-PBW2P0.jpg.4555e806a34fadf350ce02b6de5264c7.jpg

 

If it's any help there's quite a nice coloured version from 1917 of the later photo linked above...

 

Image result for john jellicoe "an appreciation"

 

 

Edited by Andrew Upton

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filfoster

Andrew Upton: Yes, thanks for these. I have of course seen them. The Amazon site colorized portrait is interesting but probably unreliable as it is likely an imagining rather than anything done from life.  Of interest is the Egypt campaign ribbon upper right and that Red Eagle ribbon. The Khedive Star ribbon in last position is also probably correct. The China War medal ribbon lacks the gold border stripes.  The painting leaves unresolved but suggests the transposition of the VO and Bath ribbons. 

 

I was intrigued by the suggestion of CorporalPunishment (Pete) above that the VO ribbon had been placed first may have been because he held a superior grade of that Order from 1907 to 1911.  Lacking any further corroboration of this, that may explain the mistake.

 

I have sent an enquiry to the UK National Maritime Museum which has the actual jacket, but with ribbons added later, and the VO and Bath are correctly placed. I will certainly post any reply (sadly unlikely, I feel, as budget constraints limit these facilities' staff).

If any forum members know anyone on staff at the Museum, perhaps you might put in a word?

Edited by filfoster

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Kitchener's Bugle

This is his dress uniform and medals as on display in Portsmouth.

 

jut1.jpg

jut2.jpg

jut3.jpg

jut4.jpg

Jellicoe.jpg

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filfoster

Kitchener's Bugle:  Thanks for this. It's a beautiful display, including his Prussian Red Eagle 2nd Class with swords neck order.  Nice to see these so well preserved and curated. 

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2ndCMR

Better watch they don't suffer the same fate as Nelson's.

Edited by 2ndCMR

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Kitchener's Bugle
On 07/11/2019 at 07:14, 2ndCMR said:

Better watch they don't suffer the same fate as Nelson's.

 

I presume you mean stolen, from Greenwich Hospital in 1900.

 

However his uniform survives and is on display in the National Maritime Museum.

 

 

Nelson1.jpg

Nelson2.jpg

Nelson3.jpg

Nelson4.jpg

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filfoster

At least Nelson's decorations make sense!

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2ndCMR

And the musket ball is still around somewhere too, in a little gold case IIRC.  A surprisingly accurate shot really for an apparently unrifled musket.

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