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Admiral of the Fleet Earl Jellicoe Signed Presentation Photograph, 1920
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Admiral of the Fleet Earl Jellicoe Signed Presentation Photograph, 1920

Measurements: Overall: 26cm (10.25in) x 19.5cm (7.75in)

£365

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A sepia studio photograph of the 1st Earl Jellicoe taken in New Zealand. Signed in ink in the admiral’s hand to the lower mount, ‘With all best wishes from your old / term mate Jellicoe / AF’. Photographer’s signature of J.R. Andrew, Wellington, New Zealand. Contained in a modern glazed frame.

Jellicoe entered the Navy at thirteen in 1872, becoming a Naval Cadet in the screw line-of-battle ship moored on the River Dart that became the fifth H.M.S. Britannia. Length of training for Jellicoe and his term mates was four periods of three months each, with entries admitted at each quarter. After twelve months Naval Cadets took an examination. Jellicoe passed with a First-Class pass in 1874, and received twelve months seniority over those with a Third-Class pass. Cadets were supposed to be discharged to a sea-going training ship at the end of their course of study, but since such a ship was for a long time not available, many Cadets stayed for fifteen months.

Admiral of the Fleet  Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe of Scapa, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., R.N. (1859-1935) became well-known through his death defying exploits during the relief of the Peking legations in 1900; his attempt to save the lives of the crew of a Glasgow steamer when a lieutenant in H.M.S. Monarch (for which he was awarded the Board of Trades’s Sea Gallantry Medal), and for the subsequent loss of this award in a well publicised naval catastrophe - the sinking of H.M.S. Victoria in 1893. He was to become was also one of the most prominent public figures of First World War as the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet from 1914 to 1916. In May 1916 he commanded the Grand Fleet in the sea battle off Jutland that was to prove history's largest (and only major) clash of dreadnoughts. His handling of the fleet however remains controversial, with some historians describing Jellicoe’s approach as too cautious and other historians faulting the battlecruiser commander Admiral David Beatty for tactical errors. Jellicoe certainly made no significant mistakes and correctly deployed the Grand Fleet with a the classic naval warfare tactic of ‘crossing the T’ of the German High Seas Fleet as it appeared. After suffering heavy shell damage, the enemy fleet turned 180 degrees and fled the battle area. Jellicoe was criticised for not pursuing but it is questionable wether this would have been sensible, given the risk of German torpedo attacks. At the time the British public were disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a victory on the scale of the Trafalgar. Winston Churchill later described Jellicoe later as 'the only man on either side who could lose the war in an afternoon'—essentially hinting that Jellicoe's decision to prefer caution was strategically correct. Jellicoe was Governor-General of New Zealand 1920-24.
 

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