This is a memorandum issued by Jellicoe when he left the post of Commander-in-Chief of The Grand Fleet on 28 November 1916 to become First Sea Lord (professional head of the Royal Navy). It is addressed to all naval personnel who served under him and is written from his flagship HMS Iron Duke, the ship from which he had commanded operations during The Battle of Jutland six months earlier. The last line ‘[m]ay your arduous work be crowned with a glorious victory…’ is interesting because it suggests that neither Jellicoe nor his men regarded Jutland, the only major battle in which they had engaged, as a victory. It also hints at the frustration felt by many in the navy that their contribution to the war was of an on-going and defensive nature, easily overlooked by the press and the general public and lacking the opportunity for a resounding triumph in battle.
John Rushworth Jellicoe was a navy officer who commanded The Grand Fleet during World War One. He led Allied warships against the German High Seas Fleet and was involved in high-level decision-making about naval operations. The Jellicoe Papers comprise correspondence, memoranda, reports, charts and other documents either created or used by Jellicoe during his service in the Royal Navy.