Grand Fleet Dreyer Table Committee
The Grand Fleet Dreyer Table Committee was an investigative body assembled in response to an Admiralty directive of 9 September 1918 inquiring what would be the best means of plotting consort range on the Dreyer Table Mark V. Its mission later grew in response to successive questions along similar lines. It issued 3 interim reports and a final report studying a variety of variations in accessories and methods of Dreyer table use in various ships.
The Committee consisted of Commanders (G) Julian F. C. Patterson of Barham (Staff, Fifth Battle Squadron), Cecil B. Prickett of Lion (Staff, Battle Cruiser Force), Thomas H. Binney of Queen Elizabeth (Staff, Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet), Flag Commander Guy C. C. Royle of Revenge, and Lieutenant-Commander (G) Norman A. Wodehouse of Revenge (First Battle Squadron), consulting in a guarded fashion with manufacturers.
Beatty forwarded their reports to the Admiralty with cover letters condensing the findings and providing emphasis and context.
First and Second Interim Reports
These appear to have been sent by Beatty to the Admiralty on 19 November 1918, addressing several issues in addition to the charter issue.
Third Interim Report
The third interim report was more extensive, seeking to address a question raised in H.F. 242/543 of 18 October 1918, regarding "the possibility of standardising the alterations which are being made by various ships to their Dreyer tables."
Beatty apparently forwarded this report to the Admiralty on 7 February, 1919, expressing the view that the matters discussed were sensitive enough that they should not be promulgated with Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders, but "as a SECRET DOCUMENT to ships present."
The final report sought to address another question from H.F. 242/543 of 18 October 1918, seeking to draft "recommendations as to the Fleet's requirements for the future development of Fire Control Tables generally."
The final report ended with
Design of Table.— It is considered that the process of building up our present fire control table from the original form to the present requirements has resulted in a collection of mechanism capable of considerable improvement in general arrangement and mechanical detail.
It appears, therefore, that the time has now arrived to reconsider the general design.
Generally speaking, our present system necessitates too many operations being carried out by hand, The new table should aim at making as many operations as possible automatic.
For example :— A combination of all the good points of the Dreyer table, Ford clock, and Argo clock would undoubtedly produce a far more compact and efficient arrangement to meet requirements than our present fire control table. It is recommended that the designs of all these instruments should be reviewed with a view to producing the best obtainable machine.
Beatty's cover letter in forwarding this report appeared to emphasise the last point in the report, and directly suggested that a blue-sky committee of experts be convened to study a new design from the ground up, and that this successor committee should include Lieutenant J. S. Dove of Royal Sovereign, Lt. Hugh Clausen, R.N.V.R. of Benbow, as well as civilian mechanical engineers Keith Elphinstone of Elliotts and Harold Isherwood, formerly of Argo Company.
- (G. 14444/18)
- Admiralty, Gunnery Branch, (1919). Reports of the Grand Fleet Dreyer Table Committee, 1918-1919. Pub. No. C.B. 1533. The National Archives. ADM 186/241.