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Grand Fleet

From The Great War 1914-1918

Grand Fleet: The official name for the British Battleship and Battle-cruiser Fleet based on Scapa and Rosyth in the war. John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe is responsible for the name. The Fleet he took over command of early in August 1914, was officially known as the "Home Fleet." Three weeks later, in his congratulatory message to the Army for its heroism in the retreat from Mons, the admiral first used the term "Grand Fleet."

"The officers and men of the Grand Fleet wish to express to their comrades of the Army their admiration of their magnificent stand made against great odds, and wish them the brilliant success which the Fleet feels sure awaits their future efforts."

The Admiralty did not adopt the term and kept to "Home Fleet" until May 1916, when "Grand Fleet" was first officially recognised. The term, it may be added, is really an old historic name, first used in William III's War, in the year 1694. "Grand Fleet," after that, was occasionally employed as a name for the Channel Fleet at the end of the 18th Century, but went out of use after that until Lord Jellicoe revived it.

The "Grand Fleet" ceased to exist on 7 April 1916, when Lord Beatty hauled down his flag in the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Next day the "Home" and "Atlantic" Fleets were reconstituted and other formations announced.[1]

References / notes

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.108-109.

Glossary of words and phrases

The above term is listed in our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of Great Britain during the Great War. Included are trench slang, service terms, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. These words and phrases are contemporary to the war, which is reflected in the language used. They have been transcribed from three primary sources (see Contents). Feel free to expand upon and improve this content.
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