Haggard Letter of 26 July, 1922

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Memorandum from the Director of Training and Staff Duties Vernon Haggard to the D.C.N.S. and the First Sea Lord.


27 July, 1922

It was approved verbally that an abridged edition of the 'Naval Staff Appreciation of the Battle of Jutland' should be prepared for issue to the Fleet, on the ground [sic] that many valuable lessons from the action ought to be placed at the disposal of those who it is necessary should profit by them.

The circulation of the 'Appreciation' itself has been suppressed but an edition which confines itself to statement of fact is in preparation for public issue. The abridgement has proved a matter of considerable difficulty. The mental attitude of the writer was rather that of a counsel for the prosecution than of an impartial appraiser of facts, and obvious bias animates his statements throughout the book, leading to satirical observations and a certain amount of misrepresentation. Moreover the writer vigorously condemns the use of the single line in a manner which would be more profitable if a practical method of employment of divisional tactics were indicated.

To criticise on such lines a system, which for all its faults has not yet been superseded, would be out of place in a Staff production intended for the general instruction of officers. We cannot at this early stage criticise the strategy and tactics employed in so destructive a manner as will be possible ten years hence. The Battle Orders operative at the time of the battle were known to the Admiralty and they remained materially the same until the end of the war. It is doubtful if they would even now be departed from if war were declared in similar circumstances.

It has therefore been necessary to make large alterations in the text at the risk of emasculating the book. I have gone through the "Appreciation" with Lieut. Commandr. Pollen: who having been associated with all the historical work in connection with the battle, is familiar with all its aspects, and have made tentative [455] alterations with a view to adapting it for publication as a Fleet Issue.

The reasons for various deletions, modifications and additions are detailed on the attached sheet.[See BTY/9/5/3]

Submitted for approval for revision to be completed on the lines indicated.


[Minute by A. Flint

Principal Asst. Secretary


When the "Appreciation' is issued to the Fleet it is for consideration whether officers should be warned to be discreet in conversation about the activities of Room 40 as revealed in the book.

Keyes Minute

[Minute by R. Keyes DCNS]


Approved, but Lord Jellicoe's reply must be awaited before this revision is sent to the printers.