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JOHN R. JELLICOE, FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY, in AUSTRALIA APRIL 1919

The reverse shows the invitation which has the Australian Shield with the lion and unicorn at the sides, and it reads: The Premier of Queensland (Hon. T.J. Ryan) requests the pleasure of the company of Hon H.C. Jones M.L.C. at a Parliamentary Dinner on( Saturday 5th, crossed out, and replaced by a purple hand stamp Friday 4th) July, 1919 at 8 p.m. in Parliament House to The Admiral of the Fleet (Viscount Jellicoe).

Replies should be addressed to, Under Secrtary. Chief Secretary’s Department, Brisbane (Figure 1).

 

The aim of this paper is not to cover the life and career of Lord Jellicoe which was so extensive but rather to obtain a relatively short summary which was found at www.bookrags.com/printfriendly/?p=bios&u=john-rushworth-jellicoe . The real aim was to explore his short stay in Australia in April 1919 with emphasis on the above invitation meeting given by Premier Ryan, as well as his reception by the welcoming Australian public.

The English admiral John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe (1859-1935), was commander in chief of the British Grand Fleet during the first half of World War I. Born on Dec. 5, 1859, at Southampton, John Jellicoe was the heir to a long naval tradition. Before he was 13 years old, Jellicoe was in the navy training to be an officer, and 2 years later he was a midshipman on a 2½ year cruise of the sailing vessel Newcastle. In 1877 he was with the fleet at the Dardanelles during the Russo-Turkish War and, as the result of his excellent record there, was sent to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

Until 1898 Jellicoe was assigned to various posts, including gunnery and torpedo schools and sea duty. He became closely associated with the naval reforms and innovations of John French. In 1898 he was sent to East Asian waters as chief of staff to Admiral Seymour. There he was largely responsible for setting up the Chinese village of Weihaiwei as a British naval station. He later went as the leader of an international force that tried unsuccessfully to relieve Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. He was assigned to the Admiralty in 1905 and given charge of naval ordnance.

In 1910, when his tour at the Admiralty was over, Jellicoe, then a vice admiral, was given command of the Atlantic fleet; in this position he was able to direct the new dreadnought-class battleships at sea. In 1912 he was back at the Admiralty as second Sea Lord. The prewar crisis moved rapidly toward its climax, and Jellicoe was assigned on Aug. 4, 1914, when Britain entered the war, to be commander in chief of the British Grand Fleet.

At the end of May 1916 the German High Seas Fleet challenged the Grand Fleet, resulting in the war's only great naval action, the Battle of Jutland. Both sides lost heavily, but the German fleet escaped destruction by slipping back safely to its bases. As commander in chief, Jellicoe had won a great strategic victory, for the German fleet never came out to fight again, but the government and public opinion demanded his removal for failure to crush the German fleet completely. In November 1916 Jellicoe was transferred to the Admiralty as first Sea Lord and he remained in that post for about a year.

After the war Jellicoe returned to service to tour the empire and assess its naval defenses before going to New Zealand as governor general (1920-1924). Jellicoe was made a viscount in 1918 and an earl in 1925. After 10 years of active retirement he died on Nov. 20, 1935. Jellicoe was married and had one son and five daughters.

As shown by the alteration of the date for the Queensland Parliamentary dinner, the visit did not always go smoothly. The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 4 July 1919 on page 10 recorded the arrival in Brisbane as follows: "Lord Jellicoe and Lady Jellicoe reached Brisbane to-night from Sydney, and were recorded a great reception all along the (train-) line....they were met by the Premier and Mrs. Ryan and a large number of prominent citizens". The train was 2 hours late for it had been held up by a mail train on the same line. "On arrival at Central Station the Admiral was received by the Mayor who presented an address on behalf of the citizens of Brisbane. A large number of naval and military officers were present, as well as a large crowd of the general public." Many thousands lined the streets to view th Jellicoes, but they were driven off by motor car along a route other than previously announced. Jellicoe later contributed to the busy schedule problems himself by taking off to speak for an hour to a private individual about naval concerns in the Torres Strait!

A picture of Lord Jellicoe is seen in Figure 2.

 

 
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