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Remembered Today:

Admiral Beatty Plaque


George Armstrong Custer
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beattyplaque.jpg

I bought this about two years ago. I believe Beatty's wife was a fabulously wealthy heiress in her own right, and that the marriage was tempestuous with the pair eventually splitting. When she commissioned this bronze plaque in 1915 in commemoration of her husband's somewhat overrated victory at the Battle of Dogger Bank however, she seems to have been proud enough to have been married to a naval hero. The plaque has been painted in gilt with the lettering highlighted in red, and is pretty heavy! Can anyone suggest where whatever it originally commemorated the planting of might have been - a public location, or the grounds of Beatty's home perhaps? I'm assuming from the epigraph at the bottom that it was probably an oak tree which was most probably planted in commemoration of the action 24 January 1915.

Any thought on this most welcome!

Ciao,

GAC

PS: I.m assuming that because the action of 28 January 1915 is referred to simply as 'the battle at sea', that the plaque must have been created pretty soon after, or at least before the clash became referred to as the Battle of Dogger Bank. Would this be correct?

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I bought this about two years ago. I believe Beatty's wife was a fabulously wealthy heiress in her own right,

Beatty's wife was Ethel, daughter of Marshall Field a Chicago chain-store, a very wealthy divorcee.

Andrew Gordon in 'The Rules of the Game' quotes from another, 'Ethel, “Beautiful, opulant, ambitious and unhinged by her hereditary fortune”, was to grow increasingy neurotic and demanding at the time his burdens were at their greatest.'

PS: I.m assuming that because the action of 28 January 1915 is referred to simply as 'the battle at sea', that the plaque must have been created pretty soon after, or at least before the clash became referred to as the Battle of Dogger Bank. Would this be correct?

The date is 24th January.

Beatty was lucky to get away with his life as his ship Lion was badly damaged. Damage sustained at the Dogger Bank by Beatty's force would, perhaps, have been a warning to an Admiral who had a less cavalier approach to his command. Beatty's attitude was largely underpinned by his ready access to his wife's fortunes.

Abdrew Gordon is well worth a read.

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Thanks to both for that information! Ethel Beatty nee Field sounds to have been a real vixen! Though Beatty as far as I understand was not an easy personality to get on with or even, apparently, a very likeable person full stop.

I'm puzzled by your date of 24 January, though, PP. Both the plaque and my copy of Correlli Barnett's The Great War, p. 104, give it as 28 January?

Thanks again,

GAC

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Thanks to both for that information! Ethel Beatty nee Field sounds to have been a real vixen! Though Beatty as far as I understand was not an easy personality to get on with or even, apparently, a very likeable person full stop.

Beatty “had in him some elements of the bounder”. Andrew Gorden 'The Rules of the Game annotation to plate 40.

[bounder; a dishonourable man - COED, a cad being the same with particular reference to women]

I'm puzzled by your date of 24 January, though, PP. Both the plaque and my copy of Correlli Barnett's The Great War, p. 104, give it as 28 January?

Thanks again,

GAC

Sorry but the plaque depicted here has XXIV embossed:

XX = 10x2 = 20

IV = 5-1 = 4

Total = 24

If Barnett has 28th January then this disagrees with Massie (Castles of Steel) and Strachan (The First World War) as well as with your plaque and other sources e.g.:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dogger_Bank_(1915)

not that Wikipedia gets everything correct. ;):unsure:

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PP - my apologies! You are quite correct, of course. I'd looked up the Barnett book originally to confirm Beatty's sea battle of January 1915, but failed to notice the discrepancy between his stated 28 January and my plaque's 24 January. If I'd taken the time to look at the plaque again when I saw your notation of 24 January I'd have seen that the discrepancy was Barnett's, not yours! Sorry 'bout that - and thanks again for the info (and correction!)

Ciao,

GAC

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David A Thomas 'Av Companion to the Royal Navy,' gives Dogger Bank as 24 Jan 1915, looks like Bennet had a typo.

Beatty - a good example of the 'Peter Principle,' one of the worst WW1 appointments Churchill made and lucky (+ wife's influence) not to be court martialed.

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Beatty “had in him some elements of the bounder”.

C'mon, anybody could tell that by the angle of his hat. :D

B100dy awful signaller, too.

Anyone got anything good to say for him? Blowed if I can think of anything...

Regards,

MikB

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Sorry 'bout that - and thanks again for the info (and correction!)

Ciao,

GAC

No worries. :)

It is very easy to be thrown by an innacurate account from a renowned source such as Barnett.

I am currently attempting reviews (for a well know journal on maritime affairs) of a trio of books on Trafalgar (which include aspects of Nelson's life, including his battles and skirmishes), it is quite a time consuming job sorting the wheat from the chaff using numerous other sources. One of the reasons I am a bit quiet here of late.

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C'mon, anybody could tell that by the angle of his hat. :D

And his DB jacket with six instead of the regulation eight buttons.

B100dy awful signaller, too.

Quite. But his communications failure was more general. He did little to weld his squadron into a cohesive team and failed to communicate with Evan-Thomas, I/C 5th Battle Squadron, so as to ensure close support from that quarter. Beatty chose to live the high life ashore instead of communicating with the captains of his ships.

This is why he in no way compares with Nelson whom he thought to emulate.

Anyone got anything good to say for him? Blowed if I can think of anything...

Regards,

MikB

Me neither. Indeed his treatment of Jellicoe, post Jutland, was one of the aspects that reinforces the bounder reputation.

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