The British Grand Fleet which engaged the German High Seas Fleet at Jutland in 1916 was the most formidable in the history of the Royal Navy. Admiral Sir John Jellicoe's 151 warships included 28 battleships and nine battle cruisers, commanded by 13 admirals and 75 commodores and post captains. The Royal Navy and British public confidently expected another Trafalgar. Instead, the Grand Fleet was severely mauled by the German Navy, which did not exist when Jellicoe was born, and lost more ships and many more men. George Bonney recalls this historic naval battle fought nearly a century ago that shook the nation, navy and the empire. The defeat also highlighted fundamental shortcomings in equipment, training, command and control in a British Fleet that had once appeared invincible.
GEORGE BONNEY served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. He lived in Buckinghamshire.