Grand Fleet

Grand Fleet
The fleet from within. Being the impressions of a R. N. V. R. officer (1919) (14582307917).jpg
The Grand Fleet in the Firth of Forth
Country United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Size~160 ships
EngagementsBattle of Jutland
Sir John Jellicoe
Sir David Beatty

The Grand Fleet was the main fleet of the Royal Navy during the First World War.


The 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet in 1914. From left to right the ships are: King George V, Thunderer, Monarch and Conqueror.
The Grand Fleet sailing in parallel columns during the First World War.

Formed in August 1914 from the First Fleet and part of the Second Fleet of the Home Fleets, the Grand Fleet included 25–35 modern capital ships. It was commanded initially by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe.[1] He was succeeded by Admiral Sir David Beatty in December 1916.[2]

The Grand Fleet was based first at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands and later at Rosyth on the Firth of Forth. It participated with the biggest fleet action of the war – the Battle of Jutland – in June 1916.[1]

During April 1919 the Grand Fleet was disbanded, with much of its strength forming a new Atlantic Fleet.[3]

Order of battle

Not all the Grand Fleet was available for use at any one time, because ships required maintenance and repairs. At the time of the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, it had 32 dreadnought and super-dreadnought battleships. Of these 28 were in the order of battle at Jutland. The order of battle of the Grand Fleet at the end of the war appears in the Naval order of 24 October 1918.[4]

The actual strength of the fleet varied through the war as new ships were built and others were transferred or sunk but the number of battleships steadily increased, adding to the margin of superiority over the German fleet. After the USA joined the war, the US Battleship Division Nine was attached to the Grand Fleet as the Sixth Battle Squadron, adding four, later five, dreadnought battleships.[5]


  1. ^ a b Heathcote, p. 130
  2. ^ Heathcote, p. 25
  3. ^ Heathcote, p. 26
  4. ^ "The Pink List: Position and Movement of H.M. Ships, 11th November 1918 8 a.m." The Admiralty. Retrieved 13 February 2015 – via
  5. ^ Jones, p. 25


  • Heathcote, T. A. (2002). British Admirals of the Fleet 1734–1995: A Biographical Dictionary. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-835-6.
  • Jones, Jerry (1998). U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-411-1.

External links

Media files used on this page

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Flag of the United Kingdom, Union Jack or Union Flag in a 1:2 ratio (typical on British warships and also the rank flag of an admiral of the fleet).
The fleet from within. Being the impressions of a R. N. V. R. officer (1919) (14582307917).jpg
Author/Creator: Internet Archive Book Images, Licence: No restrictions

Identifier: fleetfromwithinb00moserich (find matches)
Title: The fleet from within. Being the impressions of a R. N. V. R. officer
Year: 1919 (1910s)
Authors: Moseley, Sydney A. (Sydney Alexander), b. 1888
Subjects: Great Britain. Royal Navy World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations
Publisher: London, and Edinburgh, S. Low, Marston & co. ltd.
Contributing Library: University of California Libraries
Digitizing Sponsor: MSN

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Text Appearing Before Image:
ons. That was a fatal error. There areprobably more spies moving in prohibitedareas with apparent freedom than those whohave been actually dealt with. It sometimespays to wait—as they did in the case of Lody—until the spy has gathered all his availablematerial before pouncing upon him andgleaning from his records how much it ispossible for a spy to learn. Lodys report did justice to his daring,but hardly to his powers of observation.His description of guns was grotesque. Inestimating the calibre of these weapons heoften referred to pounders when he meantinches and inches when he shouldhave written pounders. He placed im-aginary defences where no defences were—because they were not necessary—and re-ferred to places as being unfortified wherethere was a veritable network of guns, mines,torpedoes, and other formidable weaponsbristling for all comers to see. Efficient spying in such a vast dockyardappears to the outsider not a very difficultmatter. It would seem impossible to hide
Text Appearing After Image:
SPIES AT THE BASE 129 the many and vast secrets of the Navy fromthe prying of trained observers. And yetsuch is the system in vogue that, so far as itis possible to learn, little ever leaked out,and probably every man sent by the enemyto spy out the land was under survey fromfirst to last. Secret information came in—of that I shall write later—but not very muchever got out. I obtained my first insight of what thisorganisation is in a curious manner. Myuniform as naval officer, I thought, would atonce dispel any particular interest in me,but I confess I was greatly taken off myguard when one of the intelligence officerssaid to me, d propos of nothing: Ratherhot time you must have had at the Dar-danelles, sir. I suppose youll be writinganother book about the Navy ? This wasa very unexpected greeting to receive froman official, when I had determined to impressmy status strictly as a naval officer. Hesaw my momentary embarrassment. Oh, youll find plenty of material here,he ended nonch

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2nd Battle Squadron.jpg
Ships of the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet in World War I. From left to right, King George V, Thunderer, Monarch, Conqueror