Jutland Letters June - October 1916, from Commodore C.E. Le Mesurier RN to his wife, Florence. Edited by Harriet Bachrach
Book published by Wessex Books in 2006, 116 pages. Paperback (N6413)
Commodore Mesurier was serving on 4th Light Cruiser Squadron ('John Jellicoe's Own'), itself part of the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, and this book collects together letters he wrote to his wife between June and October 1916.
From the rear side cover: 'You must leave things to individual initiative in these very high speed little ships - there is no time to make signals ... ' This remark made by Commodore Charles Le Mesurier, who commanded the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron (John Jellicoe's Own) in the Grand Fleet at Jutland, shows his forward-thinking use of 'Mission Command'.
Major.General Julian Thompson in his Imperial War Museum Book of The War at Sea 1914-1918 uses this to introduce his chapter on Jutland. The nineteenth-century sailor's rigid response to orders has been replaced by a modern use of initiative in a new type of vessel. The Jutland Letters collected and edited here by Charles Le Mesurier's granddaughter, Harriet Bachrach, provide vivid social and political comment on the First World War. The Commodore's son, Captain E.K. Le Mesurier RN who some years later captained HMS Belfast, 1948-50, has written his own recollections in which he compares his training with that of his father, whose life was cut short tragically by illness in November 1917.
An example letter (dated Monday 11th September) is given below to provide an example of the sorts of letters included in the book:
Sweetheart Yrs: of 6th - Give Hal and Flo time, poor people! and then they will, I know, be very proud - very 'proud. Well, well. Wilhelm has a lot to answer for. Today we have a strong N.W. wind, healthy enough and a trifle on the cold side - I wonder if the boy saw Burton's store at Falmouth? curios from all parts of the world bought from the crews of the sailing ships putting in at Falmouth for orders where to discharge cargo. I haven't been there since Hecla days in '91- Falmouth is now headquarters of the outer Channel trawler patrol Service with old John Denison in charge. No news, or very little. There is a fate attached to that Quebec bridge - the first attempt collapsed about five years ago, very heavy toll of life: some American firm, I think - Smyth, who went to Quebec for the centenary pageant says it's a very wide span to cover, with no convenient island, half way across, like there is in the Forth Bridge, for your centre tower.
They are taking their time aren't they, over the Honours Gazette for that 31/May? I much hope for a D.S.O. for Bickford: fear me he won't rejoin us, as his knee is still very stiff. Fellow I want to push is the Surgeon RNVR, a bounder from Manchester. By the way, Colonel Prentice, father of that boy who was at the Wells House, is now in command of a brigade of 'Churchill's victims' who have been taken over by the Army. I met Edward Gully, now a Lieutenant RNVR on board the flagship yesterday: he told me that the Dardanelles Committee were going to have Winston in the witness box this week! Night-night, my Heart, all goes well and smoothly.
Condition of the book is generally good. The cover has one or two minor scuffs, and some light wear along the edges and corners, and the book has been bumped in the bottom right hand corner (causing some creasing in that extreme corner which runs through the inside pages throughout), but the spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.