Grand Fleet

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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[edit]

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[edit]