Admiral Jellicoe found fame in World War One as the admiral who led the British Navy at the Battle of Jutland. Jellicoe was criticised for his tactics but Jutland was still seen as a victory for Jellicoe.
John Jellicoe was born in Southampton in 1859. He joined the Royal Navy in 1872, becoming a captain in 1897, a vice-admiral in 1910 and an admiral in 1915.
Jellicoe was specifically trained to take high command of the navy during a war with Germany – a war that many felt was inevitable in the months leading up to August 1914. At the start of the war, Jellicoe was appointed commander-in-chief of the Grand Fleet. The Royal Navy, under his command, enjoyed small victories at the battles at Heligoland Bight (August 1914) and Dogger Bank (January 1915).
The battle fought at Jutland in 1916 was the only major naval battle of World War One involving the British fleet. The Royal Navy sustained heavier losses than the German naval fleet, but the British were deemed to have enjoyed a victory over the Germans. Jellicoe was subsequently criticised for his tactics which some thought were too cautious and likely to lead to casualties – both in terms of manpower and damage to ships.
Jellicoe served as First Sea Lord from 1916 to 1917 and in the closing months of the war, he was chief of the naval staff. In 1919, he became a viscount and he served as Governor-General in New Zealand from 1920 to 1924. In 1925, Jellicoe was appointed an earl. He died in 1935.