At Sheerness. This morning’s papers contain a report of the battle which I have mentioned about in my notes for the past two days. It has been of a decisive character too and we have lost rather severely. I think the greatest damage to the ships on both sides was done during the hours of darkness, by torpedo attacks. Taken all round the losses are about equal, which considering that our ships were outnumbered and unable to be reinforced in time, is certainly to the credit of our men. A very different tale would have been told had Sir J. Jellicoe arrived in time. Admiral Beatty was in charge of the ships engaged
and as the Lion was refitting he was on board the Queen Mary. I hope he has been saved, for besides being a brave man he is a splendid commander, and I should not be surprised at any time if he were placed in command of the Grand Fleet, Admiral Jellicoe being sent to the Admiralty.
Judging by our being sent out so quickly on Tuesday, a raid was expected and I suppose Beatty fell in with the raiding force and engaged them, holding them until such time as Jellicoe worked around the Germans and cut off their retreat. This manoeuvre has been tried on each occasion, but the Huns made tracks for home too quickly. Admiral Hood – a man after Beatty’s stamp – was in the Invincible and if he is gone we shall have lost a splendid fighter. He had charge of the operations against the Belgian coast, and I have been told by a petty officer who was in the Crusader under his command that Admiral Hood was absolutely fearless and seemed to bear a charmed life for he used to go right into the thick of the fire from the German coast batteries, in a torpedo boat.
The loss of life must be considerable, something like 6,000 I should say, and the Westcountry will be hit rather hard I am afraid. This action gives us more confidence than ever in the final result, if ever “Der Tag” proper ever comes. The Germans had superior numbers of all ships and yet the result of the action is not a defeat for us – but to the contrary a victory.
Wrote to you today.
Admiral Browning has received the C. B. in the King’s Birthday Honours, and left for London this morning. His flag was hauled down at 2-30 p.m. and will be hoisted in the Antrim tomorrow morning.
Leave given from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Have heard that after our refit we shall be based at Scapa – but we hope not.
Received a letter from you.