Beatty "the cad"

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Peter H
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Peter H » 01 Feb 2009 04:55

One analogy I have seen compares Beatty to Patton,Jellicoe to Bradley.

Also from Massie,page 745:
"At sea",explained one young torpedo man,describing the difference between the two admirals,"a figure in a duffel coat and sometimes wearing a white cap cover would come through the mess decks with an 'Excuse me' and that would be Sir John making his way to the bridge.When Beatty came on board it was 'CLEAR LOWER DECKS!' and a file of marines wearing short arms with Beatty in the middle..."

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cormallen
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by cormallen » 01 Feb 2009 12:11

Hi Peter,

Not sure about Beatty = Patton ?!

More like Dowding (slightly dour and cautious technocrat who knows what he is doing and how important not losing is) for Jellicoe and Leigh-Mallory (enthusiastic self publicist with a deluded view of how things work and a tendency to back stab his 'enemies' and re-write history to edit them out) = Beatty perhaps?

Dunno... interesting thread of thought... any other offers..


alan

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by glenn239 » 02 Feb 2009 18:39

No idea where you get this impression of Jellicoe's record? Beatty may have been cool under fire, but that was common amongst the British admirals
Jellicoe might very well have been as cool as Beatty under fire, but he was never seriously tested, so we do not know. Beatty almost died in a magazine explosion on Lion during the battle, but this didn’t even phase him, though 1/3rd of his command he watched perish to the same fate. That’s a cool customer in anyone’s navy.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 02 Feb 2009 19:56

Jellicoe might very well have been as cool as Beatty under fire, but he was never seriously tested
Jellicoe was wounded in the Boxer Rebellion, so seriously it was thought he would die, and also escaped from the sick bay when HMS Victoria sank after Camperdown rammed her. His was in action at Jutland, seeing Defence and Invincible suffer fatal conflagrations, but was not advised two other had been lost by Beatty until the next day! To see how cool he was, examine the time it took to for him to order the deployment with the limited nformation available. In acion he acted as an admiral and commanded the fleet, as contrasted to Beatty who gave few commands, and sent even less information.

Beatty was certainly cool in action, but he did not really command other than to order his ships to chase or run from the enemy, and failed to convert the overwhelming odds in his favour into a victory in any battle except Heligoland where it would be hard to see how anyone could fail.

The most revealing aspect is why did Beatty try to re-write history if he really did perform well, and why did he lie to make others look ineffective and use his position as First Sea Lord to block anyone looking at the truth?

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Peter H
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Peter H » 03 Feb 2009 01:01

Bravery,setting an example under fire,was the accepted norm for a Royal Navy officer.Sturdee("I won't be coming back") at Coronel is another case in point.

HMS Lion's losses at Jutland are given as 99 killed,51 wounded,total 150.This link here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Lion_(1910) ) gives a varying complement of 997 to 1267 at any one time.Assuming the later,higher figure casualties of the Lion equated to around 12% at Jutland.

70 of Lion's 99 killed was due to the Q turret hit.


From Jutland:The German Perspective,V.E Tarrant,1995,pp300-301
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Peter H
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Peter H » 03 Feb 2009 01:09

German casualties at Jutland as a comparasion if anyone's interested.Same source.

Of course having capital ships blowing up meant more losses(as in the British case).
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by cormallen » 03 Feb 2009 08:21

This discussion, of crew losses as evidence for martial prowess, harks back to the age-of-sail notion of a good butchers bill being evidence of worthy endeavour... Captains who won by tactical cleverness being somewhat looked down on in some company and those who managed to win without getting lots of their men killed were "obviously too clever" (a quote applied to Cochrane) and being dishonourably underhand in some way.
IIRC it was Nelson that said "no captain can go far wrong who places his ship close alongside the enemy" and this "fair fight" mentality may have made tactics somethin to be sniffed at in the 19th century navy?

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 03 Feb 2009 23:57

cormallen wrote:Hi Peter,

Not sure about Beatty = Patton ?!

More like Dowding (slightly dour and cautious technocrat who knows what he is doing and how important not losing is) for Jellicoe and Leigh-Mallory (enthusiastic self publicist with a deluded view of how things work and a tendency to back stab his 'enemies' and re-write history to edit them out) = Beatty perhaps?

Dunno... interesting thread of thought... any other offers..


alan
I would not remotely compare Beatty to Patton. Beatty strikes me as more akin to Douglas MacArthur. Both men(Beatty and Macarthur) did exhibit a "psuedo bravery" in their early carreers, when it was in their own best personal interests to do so, rather than any real connection/motivation to being "brave" for duty or country's sake.

For anyone to compare Beatty to Patton , I would suggest reading the "Patton Papers" to find out how different these two men were . About the only similarity to the two men is that they both married extremely wealthy women, and there is where the similarity ended . Patton was away from his wife for many years during his service and was no slave to his wife either, he was a soldier first. Bueatty was a pussy-whipped bastard , who when he was not beckoning to his cheatings wife's every whim on a daily basis, was busy being his mistress's pussy-whipped bastard, rather than at all doing/or attending to his job , which was perhaps the second most sensitive/vital job to Britain's national security next to GrAdm Jellicoe's. God only knows what kind of weird stuff Beatty and his wife and their friends were into. They surely fit right in with many of the other British high society/morally bankrupt pesonalities of the time.

Lucky for Beatty, Jellicoe was a rather reserved/nice person. I dam sure would have cashiered both Beatty and Seymour after Jutland,if not before,for their incompetence, deriliction of duty ,and lack of moral character.

Chris
Last edited by ChristopherPerrien on 04 Feb 2009 01:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Peter H
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Peter H » 04 Feb 2009 00:32

Beatty married into the Marshall Field fortune:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Field


Ethel, Countess Beatty,from: http://thepeerage.com/p11849.htm

Image


Another European military man who married an American heiress was Graf Alfred von Waldersee,married to Mary Esther Lee.

According to Massie,Beatty "was left with two permanently crippled fingers" from being wounded in the Boxer Rebellion,shot in the left arm and left wrist.

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cormallen
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by cormallen » 04 Feb 2009 08:33

His Chris

Uhm...not sure about all this "pussy-whipping" going on...I have only read of there being rather too much tennis to be honest, perhaps the P-W stuff happaned in the showers afterwards? Sounds kind of fun actually! (Or is that just my "morally bankrupt" british streak?)

Would have been nationally embarrassing and very controversial (given Beatty's contacts both social and within the admiralty) to try and can Beatty officially though perhaps he could have "promoted sideways" to Gallipoli or somewhere after Dogger? Or maybe actually promote him to some sort of shore post far from naval command? In an office somewhere, perhaps with attached Tennis courts and P-W suite?

Ideally the BCF needed someone who would follow general orders and communicate with GF, it was a recce force after all.


alan

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 04 Feb 2009 18:31

cormallen wrote:His Chris

Uhm...not sure about all this "pussy-whipping" going on...I have only read of there being rather too much tennis to be honest, perhaps the P-W stuff happaned in the showers afterwards? Sounds kind of fun actually! (Or is that just my "morally bankrupt" british streak?)

alan

You may understand the word "cuckhold" or "scycophantic" better than my American slang "pussy-whipped". And yes being constantly concerned about your adultous wife's whims over defending your nation and LEADING the 1000's of people under your command in a "life and death" struggle is definitely "Morally bankrupt".

Robert Massie (Castles of Steel)does a fairly good job of describing Beatty's motivations in relation to his wife. He was born a "bastard" and the precarious position that his birth put him in, drove him for the rest of his life. It was a "chip on his shoulder" or more succiently "an inferiority complex". After finally securing his position through marraige to his wife , he still felt totally insecure and was beholden to her on a constant basis , she was the lynch pin of maintaining his place in British "High society". I will add that originally Ethel Beatty married David solely to get herself into the highest rungs of Britsh society which had been barred to her because of her own questionable character.

It would not suprise me in the least if Beatty was infintely more worried about what his "wife " was doing while he was at sea taking fire at Jutland rather than commanding his Fleet.

Chris

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cormallen
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by cormallen » 04 Feb 2009 20:56

Hi Chris,

Thats ok, I do really understand your comments on Beatty (though not entirely relevant to his command performance, Nelson certainly had a rather "complicated" social life and it did not slow him down over much) AND WAS JOKING.

Slightly confused as to why you think I am in any way defending Beatty's conduct at sea though? It was another poster who brought up the idea of Patton being comparable, I had merely paraphrased them in terms of dis-belief...
to quote myself earlier -"..enthusiastic self publicist with a deluded view of how things work and a tendency to back stab his 'enemies' and re-write history to edit them out = Beatty perhaps?"

I do remember his wife (Beatty's, not Patton's, though I happy to be corrected on this?) offering to BUY the RN a new ship after B managed to break one a little earlier in his illustrious (JOKING ALERT) career.

alan

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 04 Feb 2009 21:12

It would not suprise me in the least if Beatty was infintely more worried about what his "wife " was doing while he was at sea taking fire at Jutland rather than commanding his Fleet.
Many at the time believed Beatty only truely happy when he was at sea and away from his wife, I'm not sure if Massie mentions this in detail, but it is Beatty's ability to command I would question. The entire BCF seems to have had a disregard for its duties, and indeed common sense at times, notably failing in its duty of reporting on the enemy and in making itself ready for combat to an efficient degree.

Beatty's early career bravery was notable, but there is no suggestion he ceased taking risks later on when he should have considered things more. If anything he was too brave, taking too many risks he did not have to, but by WWI this involved risking rather a lot more lives than his own.

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Peter H
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Peter H » 04 Feb 2009 23:55

Churchill on the issue:

The World Crisis 1911-1918,page 1039
The ponderous poignant responsibilities borne successfully,if not triumphantly,by Sir John Jellicoe during two years of faithful command,constitute unanswerable claims to the lasting respect of the nation.But the Royal Navy must find in other personalities and other episodes the golden links which carried forward through the Great War the audacious and conquering traditions of the past:and it is to Beatty and his battle-cruisers,to Keyes at Zeebrugge,to Tyrwhitt and his Harwich striking force,to the destroyers and submarine flotillas out in all weathers and against all foes,to the wild adventures of the Q-ships,to the steadfast resolution of the British Merchant service,that the eyes of rising generations will turn.


Certainly the Royal Navy was more audacious in the early years of WW2.The Graf Spee was taken on and chased into harbour,the Atlmark was likewise pounced on.Would it be fair to say that Beatty did leave a legacy of aggressive response in Royal Navy commanders in 1939 that did prove at that time successful and appropriate?

Interesting summary of the peacetime First Sea Lords that followed Beatty from 1927:

Madden-Jellicoe's brother in law.
Field-had previously been Madden's COS.I would assume a Jellicoe man.
Chatfield-a Beatty man?Previous Captain of HMS Lion.
Backhouse-another Beatty man?Battlecruiser veteran

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 05 Feb 2009 02:04

Peter,

The best quote I ever saw about Churchill's book was from a politician who said "I see Winston has written a book about himself and called it 'The World Crisis'" which does some up its objectivity in many ways. It is a good read, and very well written, but not exactly the most accurate version of events. The Royal Navy always had a rather aggressive outlook, evidenced by the 'active patrolling' that was a dismal failure in WWI and saw the loss under similar circumstance in WWII of Courageous. I wouldnt say this had a great deal to do with Beatty as such, it was many generations of expectations that led to this approach.

The First Sea Lords after Beatty are interesting, although how much either Beatty of Jellicoe were able to influence things must be guessed at. Madden was Jellicoe's recommendation to replace him as CinC, had been his CoS at Jutland and was credited with knowing the fleet better than anyone else. Field is a rather less known figure, but was counted as one of the Fisher and Jellicoe group of officers. Chatfield was generally loyal to Beatty but was less complimentary about aspects of Beatty's handling of the fleet at Jutland during the 1930's, and revealed a few insights into things otherwise not known. Backhouse was not too popular with some officers or the DNC in the period 1919-1920, but he seems to have been sensible and professional enough. There is a good chance that the differences could stem from the Fisher - Beresford clash, as certainly Jellicoe, Madden and Chatfield were often seen as Fisher's men, whilst Beatty was a more political appointment with less involvement in that particular dispute.

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