Second Battle Squadron (Royal Navy)

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H.M.S. Orion, flagship of the Second-in-Command, Third Battle Squadron, leads Monarch, Conqueror and Thunderer, 1918. Taken from H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth.
Photograph: Imperial War Museum. SP 1703.

The Second Battle Squadron was a dreadnought formation of the Royal Navy.

History

The squadron was created on 31 May, 1912, as part of the First Fleet, Home Fleets, from the battleships of the Second Division of the Home Fleet. Vice-Admiral Sir John R. Jellicoe was relieved by Vice-Admiral Sir George J. S. Warrender, Bart., at the end of 1912. Upon the outbreak of the First World War in August, 1914, the First Fleet was redesignated the Grand Fleet.

The squadron took part in the abortive Action of 16 December, 1914 when it nearly ran into the whole German High Sea Fleet. At the end of 1915 Warrender was relieved in command by Sir T. H. Martyn Jerram, late of the China Station. The Second Battle Squadron led the British line of battle at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May, 1916, but lost touch with the German fleet as night fell. Sir Martyn Jerram declined to remain in command after Sir David Beatty became Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet at the end of 1916, and he was replaced by Sir John M. de Robeck, latterly commanding the Third Battle Squadron.

December, 1912

The Fleet flagship at this time was Neptune, which was not part of any Battle Squadron. 2BS was comprised as follows:[1]

December, 1913

Hercules has been moved over to the First Battle Squadron, and the two pre-dreadnoughts have been booted over to the Fourth Battle Squadron.[2]

By this time, this squadron had been equipped with Battleship Auxiliary W/T sets.[3]

July, 1914

The composition remains as in December, 1913. A scout cruiser is attached, though it may have been, previously.[4]

Attached: corvette Boadicea, repair ship Assistance.

August, 1914

The same line-up.[5][6]

Attached, at outset of war: Boadicea, Captain Louis C. S. Woollcombe.[7]

According to The Navy List, this roster would remain the same through at least January and possibly February of 1915 even though Audacious had been lost at the end of October.[8][9][10][11]

March, 1915

The loss of Audacious has been acknowledged. The squadron is now at a strength of seven dreadnoughts.[12]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

April, 1915

The powerful H.M.S. Warspite has arrived to bolster the squadron.[13]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

This line-up was to persist through September 1915.[14]

October, 1915

Warspite has been prised away to join the newly-formed Fifth Battle Squadron with two of her sisters.[15]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

This shorthanded line-up would last just one month.

November, 1915

Erin has been brought in from Fourth Battle Squadron to bring the strength back up to eight dreadnoughts.[16]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

This line-up would last through the Battle of Jutland and carry through, with administrative changes only, until February or March, 1917.[17]

Battle of Jutland

The squadron comprised the first and second divisions of the Battle Fleet, leading its 24 dreadnoughts in the following order after deployment into line ahead:[18]

November, 1916

Monarch has taken over the second flag from Orion, implying perhaps that Orion has started a period of refit.[19]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

This configuration would last just one month.[20]

December, 1916

Orion has resumed her role as second flagship.[21]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

Normalcy restored, this configuration would last until February or March, 1917.[22][23]

March, 1917

In March — possibly in February — Agincourt transferred in from First Battle Squadron, bringing the strength to nine dreadnoughts.[24]

Attached: corvette Boadicea

This configuration would last until August.[25][26][27][28]

August, 1917

Blanche was transferred in from Fifth Battle Squadron to help Boadicea with her screening duties.[29]

Attached: scout cruisers Boadicea and Blanche

This configuration would last until October.[30][31]

October, 1917

The scout cruiser Bellona has been transferred in from the First Battle Squadron to replace Boadicea, which has seemingly been sent off to have mine rails fitted{INF}} and {UK-1Blanche}}, which has been sent back to the Fifth Battle Squadron.[32]

Attached: scout cruiser Bellona

This configuration would last until January, 1918.[33][34][35]

January, 1918

Ajax has assumed temporary status as the flagship, implying perhaps that King George V has entered an extended refit.[36]

Attached: scout cruiser Bellona

This configuration would last only two months.[37][38]

March, 1918

King George V has resumed her role as squadron flagship.[39]

Attached: scout cruiser Bellona

This configuration would last until the end of the war, changing only when the squadron started to shrink through demobilisation.[40]

February, 1919

The squadron has been reduced by three dreadnoughts: Ajax and Centurion have been sent off to Portsmouth, and Agincourt to Rosyth. Bellona has been sent to Devonport.[41]

This would remain the state of affairs until April.[42]

April, 1919

The Squadron ceased to exist on 7 April.[43] It would soon be reconstituted as part of the post-war Fleet.

May, 1919

The squadron, now part of the post-war Atlantic Fleet, has been entirely redefined, seemingly as a renamed version of the Fifth Battle Squadron. The ships have all been renamed as the new Third Battle Squadron of the Home Fleet, with their roster unaltered. The new Second has a strength of four super-dreadnoughts.[44][45]

This would remain the state of affairs until at least July, 1919.[46][47]

In Command

Rear-Admiral Goodenough and Vice-Admiral Sir John de Robeck.
Photograph: Imperial War Museum.

Rear-Admirals, Second-in-Command

Footnotes

  1. Handwritten notes in Albert Francis Barclay Bridges papers at The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum. [BRG 1/1]
  2. Handwritten notes in Albert Francis Barclay Bridges papers at The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum. [BRG 1/1]
  3. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1913. W/T Appendix, p. 13.
  4. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 109 of 10 July, 1914.
  5. Naval Operations. Volume I. p. 438.
  6. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 15.
  7. Naval Operations. Volume I. p. 438.
  8. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September 1914). p. 8.
  9. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1914). p. 8.
  10. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1914). p. 8.
  11. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 8.
  12. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1915). p. 10.
  13. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1915). p. 10.
  14. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1915). p. 10.
  15. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 10.
  16. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1915). p. 10.
  17. See entries below for citations.
  18. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 33, 43.
  19. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1916). p. 10.
  20. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 10.
  21. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1916). p. 10.
  22. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1917). p. 10.
  23. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1917). p. 10.
  24. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1917). p. 10.
  25. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1917). p. 10.
  26. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1917). p. 10.
  27. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1917). p. 10.
  28. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1917). p. 10.
  29. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1917). p. 10.
  30. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September, 1917). p. 10.
  31. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1917). p. 10.
  32. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1917). p. 10.
  33. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 10.
  34. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1917). p. 10.
  35. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1918). p. 10.
  36. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1918). p. 10.
  37. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (February, 1918). p. 10.
  38. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1918). p. 10.
  39. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1918). p. 10.
  40. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1918). p. 10 and Suplements through February 1919.
  41. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (February, 1918). pp. 10, 20.
  42. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1918). p. 10 and Supplements to April.
  43. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. p. 3.
  44. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1919). p. 10.
  45. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1919). p. 12.
  46. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1919). p. 10.
  47. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1919). p. 10.
  48. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 693.
  49. Jellicoe Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 693.
  50. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. f. 3.
  51. Warrender Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1385.
  52. Warrender Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/39. f. 1385.
  53. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. f. 3.
  54. Jerram Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 692.
  55. Jerram Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/38. f. 692.
  56. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. f. 3.
  57. de Robeck Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 128.
  58. Squadrons and Senior Naval Officers in Existence on 11th November, 1918. f. 3.
  59. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 319.
  60. Oliver Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 319.
  61. Leveson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 472.
  62. Leveson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 215.
  63. Nicholson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 194.
  64. Nicholson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/88. f. 77.
  65. Curteis Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/13. f. 13.
  66. M. 11735/12. Copy in The National Archives. ADM 1/8271.
  67. King-Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 42.
  68. Superseded his predecessor that date. King-Hall Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 223.
  69. Wemyss Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 223.
  70. Arbuthnot Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 202.
  71. Arbuthnot Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 202.
  72. Leveson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 472.
  73. Leveson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 472.
  74. Goodenough Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 433.
  75. Goodenough Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 433.
  76. Nicholson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 290.
  77. Nicholson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 290.
  78. Clinton-Baker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 394.
  79. Kiddle Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 195.
  80. Kiddle Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 195.
  81. Mitchell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 134.
  82. Mitchell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44. f. 134.
  83. Little Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/95. f. 300.
  84. Little Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47/95. f. 300.
  85. Holland Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/51/23. f. 23.
  86. Holland Service Record The National Archives. ADM 196/51/23. f. 23.
  87. Blagrove Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51. f. 47.
  88. Blagrove Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51. f. 47.

Bibliography


British Battle Squadrons
First Battle Squadron | Second Battle Squadron | Third Battle Squadron | Fourth Battle Squadron
Fifth Battle Squadron | Sixth Battle Squadron | Seventh Battle Squadron | Eighth Battle Squadron