Evan-Thomas Letter to Haggard, 14 August, 1923

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Extracts from a letter from Hugh Evan-Thomas to Captain Vernon Harry Stuart Haggard. Reproduced in The Beatty Papers Volume II, pp. 463-464. Located in the EVAN-THOMAS PAPERS, Add. MSS. 52504 at the British Library.


Admiralty House,


14th August, 1923.

Thank you for sending the proposed accounts of the battle of Jutland.

I do not consider page 20 to be a correct account of what occured and there is still a tone given to the account which implies blame. Lord Jellicoe's objection has not been met.

The point is that in the visibility as it was, together with the intense smoke made by the battle cruisers bringing fires forward, it was impossible to see what Lion was doing until most of the Squadron had turned. Barham was zig-zagging at the time, which caused delay, but as Lion had been signalling to Barham with a searchlight previously to the turn, and had made all alterations of course by that method, there was no reason why a signal should not have been made for Barham to turn with Lion, by searchlight, if not by wireless, had he wished her to do so.

[464: In the upper right of this page is a reproduction of a drawing by Evan-Thomas displaying the turn made by Barham, turning to starboard so that she ends up on Lion's starboard quarter. A similar reproduction is found in Gordon's The Rules of the Game.]

Page 37: Fifth Battle Squadron were definitely ordered to turn to Starboard. The signal was 'Compass 16' which was not hauled down for some time after Lion had passed; so it should be stated. As it is at present written it would appear that it was open to Barham to turn which way she liked: the fact of turning to Starboard did make a considerable difference, because it made a further turn to starboard necessary in order to get on the enemy side of Lion. Again, according to plan and according to my recollection, the statement that she passed about two miles off on the Port hand is considerably over-stated. It was in my opinion about one mile—If anything a little less.