Grand Fleet Underway Postcard

The British Grand Fleet was the force of battleships that was assembled to counter the German High Seas Fleet in World War One. It was formed in August 1914 and usually included 25 to 35 of the most advanced ships then in service with the Royal Navy. This week’s postcard is a colourised image of the fleet at sea, probably at the start of the war:

The Grand Fleet had a total of 32 Dreadnought and Super-Dreadnought battleships available to use by the time of Jutland. Of these, 28 took part, organized into four Battle Squadrons. The 24 vessels of 2nd, 4th and 1st Battle Squadrons formed the main body of Fleet.

Walter Greenway was a Baker aboard on of the British ships at Jutland and he later wrote home to his family describing the battle:

While my dough was proving in tins I went out on the quarter deck and witnessed a magnificent spectacle, one never to be forgotten.

“The whole visible horizon which was not more than four miles was one long blaze of flame, the hulls of the enemy’s ships was not visible to the naked eye, but could be seen dimly through the haze with the telescope.

“Shortly afterwards some enemy destroyers appeared suddenly out of the mist to attack this ship.

We opened up with our anti-torpedo armament and the leading destroyer was observed to be hit and catch fire aft.

“She quickly turned and dropped out of station and shortly after was observed to turn over… This shows you the awful havoc of modern gun fire.”

“We was constantly passing wreckage and dead bodies in rafts and floating, comrades and foe…

“But one does not grumble if they possess the heart of a Briton and one feels proud they have done their bit and took their chance.”

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