June 8th 1916

HMS Valiant 1918

HMS Valiant

Further news of the Battle of Jutland comes from Commander Geoffrey Freyberg (HMS Valiant). His ship is part of the 5th Battle Squadron under Admiral Beatty.

Unfortunately I cannot include all of his letter here. Some of it has to be censored to meet the requirements of paragraph 453, King’s Regulations.

 4/6/16. “And now you know why I’ve not been able to write for so long.

By all the laws of the game I ought to be dead at the bottom of the North Sea, but some Divine Providence watched over us throughout the fury of the long battle. I really thought at the time that death was on the threshold.

Well, I was not touched in any way throughout the long day and following night. Many friends are dead, but it was a fine finish as we drove the Huns after the arrival of Sir John Jellicoe, but it was Admiral Beatty and his friends who bore the heat and burden of the day until he came.

One was far too excited to be afraid, as the panorama was simply stupendous; the dead and dying in the water; ships vanishing close by; the lame ducks on both sides being polished off.

It was hell, but an intensely interesting hell.

************** (Censored) ***************

I reckon we killed 1500.

I had to make out a 16 page (foolscap) report with two diagrams from my rough diary of the action, and I am tired out after three nights in succession without sleep.”

Geoffrey is the older brother of Lieut-Commander Lance Freyberg (who was killed in May when HMS Russell was mined).

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