During the First World War, senior military personalities were popular choices for postcard manufacturers and you could buy a picture of all the major allied leaders, both military and political, for a penny or two. It was of course assured that the admiral of Britain’s Grand Fleet, John Jellicoe, would be immortalised on card and tonight we have a World War One image of the erstwhile admiral:
Jellicoe was commanding the British fleet when it met the German High Seas Fleet at Jutland in the First World War’s biggest naval clash. Jellicoe’s handling of the fleet has been controversial ever since, with some arguing he was overly cautious. Certainly Jutland wasn’t the decisive victory that the public clamoured for, but Jellicoe made few mistakes in the battle and positioned his fleet to ‘cross the T’ of the German fleet. The heavy damage his ships inflicted resulted in the German fleet turning tail and remaining in port for the remainder of the war, so he had won a strategic victory, even if this was not to be a second Trafalgar. Although not as pugnacious as his subordinate Beatty, Jellicoe remained a respected and popular figure and this postcard reflects something of the celebrity status that senior military leaders found themselves with during the Great War.