Official: Admiralty: Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher: Correspondence.

Reference code: CHAR 13/14

Part of: CHAR 13
Next record: CHAR 13/15
Previous record: CHAR 13/13

Date: 01 Jan 1912 - 26 Aug 1912

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[See CHAR 13/16 for typescript copies].

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Physical: 1 bound file (164 folios)
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Contained records

Reference Record Date
CHAR 13/14/1-6 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty], criticising the Admiralty's shipbuilding programme for failing to match Germany: Fisher advocates lightly armoured battle cruisers with 15 inch guns and also submarines. Fisher also mentions the harm done by Admiral Lord Charles Beresford and his "scare revelations" in Germany and the Navy's oil supply. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/1-3]. [Jan] [1912]
CHAR 13/14/7-8 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the selection of Vice- Admiral Sir John Jellicoe to be "Admiralissimo" in 2 years time: "Favouritism is the secret of Efficiency". Also includes extract from the Islander, with a review of "The Navy and Its Story" by Arnold White, annotated by Fisher. [See CHAR 13/16/4 for typescript copy]. 06 Jan 1912
CHAR 13/14/9-12 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] offering congratulations on his "splendid memorandum", which was "Napoleonic in its audacity and Cromwellian in its thoroughness". Fisher advises WSC not to spend money on major repairs to ships, as they went out of date so quickly, but to build new; he states that he once told the German Naval Attache that he could arrange for him to steal plans for ships more than a year old, and alleges that the Attache had paid 500 pounds for documents left out on purpose. Fisher also alleges that his messenger used to sort through his waste paper basket, but states that he did not "run him in" as he was a "patriot without knowing it". Fisher also comments on J L Garvin's appointment as Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. [See CHAR 13/16/5-6 for typescript copy]. 10 Jan 1912
CHAR 13/14/13-17 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on warship design, criticising proposals from Sir William White [former Director of Naval Construction] for small battleships: Fisher states that "Size gives Safety", and that size also shortened the battle line, increasing the power of gun concentration. Fisher adds that he had been invited to meet Andrew Bonar Law [Leader of the Conservative Party], and that the Conservative opposition were very confident that they would shortly be back in power. Also confirming that he intended to remain abroad for the time being: "The worst service I can do you - or my dear friends the Sea Lords - or the Navy ... would be to re-appear on the scene ... I am ready for the Great Call when wanted". Fisher also comments on Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, who had all the "Nelsonic attributes (bar Lady Hamilton and there I sympathise in his lack)". [See CHAR 13/16/7-8 for typescript copy]. 14 Jan 1912
CHAR 13/14/18-24 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on warship design and construction, advocating the use of the three classes: the "Super Lion" [Battle Cruiser], the "Super Swift" [Scout] and the "Super Submarine", stating that aviation had knocked out all intermediate types. Fisher also criticises Arthur Lee, [former Civil Lord of the Admiralty], "a sneak of the lowest type", and Sir George Armstrong "a Royal pimp". [See CHAR 13/16/9-12 for typescript copy. Further notes at CHAR 13/14/44-47]. 16 Jan 1912
CHAR 13/14/25-43 Notes and aphorisms by Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher on subjects including ship design, the Marconi wireless system, ship armour and gun size, the "Super-Swift" and "Super-Active" classes, and submarines. [See CHAR 13/16/13-17 for typescript copies]. [Jan] [1912]
CHAR 13/14/44-47 Notes by Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [with CHAR 13/14/18-24] on subjects including advice to WSC to increase Britain's 60 per cent superiority over the German navy and the importance of Egypt to British influence. [Jan] [1912]
CHAR 13/14/48-52 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on anti-British sentiments in Germany, stating that his source of information was much better than "anything the Foreign Office gets". Fisher presses WSC to adopt the "two keels to one" standard over the German navy, enclosing a letter from Rear-Admiral Sir Sidney Eardley-Wilmot about the "Big Gun" and the need to develop a 16 inch gun following the production of 14 and 15 inch guns in Germany and the United States. Fisher also comments on an "illuminating letter" from Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, on the need for a bigger type of submarine, and also on a very serious defect in the "Hercules" and "Orion" classes in having inadequate bilge keels; also commenting on the political situation, particularly Irish Home Rule: "the first great step to that great coming federation of all who speak the English language - that bulwark of peace". [Typescript copies at CHAR 13/16/18-21]. 28 Jan 1912 - 01 Feb 1912
CHAR 13/14/53-58 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] with congratulations on his speech [to the Clyde Navigation Trustees, 9 February] on the Navy in Glasgow [Scotland]; Fisher comments on warship design and construction, advising strongly against announcing building programmes two years ahead, and building ships known to be obsolete; includes press cuttings from the Times on ship design and extract from the Fleet showing Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, annotated by Fisher "If that mouth ain't a steel trap I don't know what is! I should be d-d sorry if I was a German rat!". [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/22-26]. 19 Jan 1912 - 13 Feb 1912
CHAR 13/14/59 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the resignation of Sir Charles Ottley as Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence, urging the appointment of Maurice Hankey [Assistant Secretary] in his place. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/27]. 17 Feb 1912
CHAR 13/14/60-65 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel], to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the naval construction programme, particularly urging the building of big submarines, and the re-appointment of Captain Sydney Hall as Commander of the Submarine Service. Fisher also sends a "secret and private note" on the Home Fleet, which was being "worked to death": he states that it was necessary to have some relaxation, and suggests that ships be sent to southern ports, where sailors could get ashore and see friends; includes cutting from the Times on successful oil fuel trials. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/28-31]. 25 Feb 1912
CHAR 13/14/66 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] with thanks for sending information on the Naval Estimates; Fisher also advises WSC to see Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe [Commander, 2nd Division of the Home Fleet]. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/32]. 05 Mar 1912
CHAR 13/14/67-85 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on subjects including: relations with Germany; praising WSC's speech in Glasgow [Scotland] on Naval Defence [to the Clyde Navigation Trustees, 9 February]; criticising the visit by 1st Lord Haldane [Secretary of State for War] to Germany; warship design and construction, particularly of the "Super-Swift" and "Super-Active" classes; the importance of aircraft and submarines; with postscript stressing the importance of gunnery, and criticising the abolition of the annual Gun Layers Test. Also includes press cuttings on the German Defence Bills, withdrawing from the Mediterranean and naval training. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/33-40]. 02 Mar 1912 - 05 Mar 1912
CHAR 13/14/86-91 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on naval gunnery and on the morale of the Home Fleet. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/42-44]. 13 Mar 1912
CHAR 13/14/92-93 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] with congratulations on WSC's speech on the Naval Estimates [18 March]. [See CHAR 13/16/45-46 for typescript copy]. 22 Mar 1912
CHAR 13/14/94-97 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher, (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the departure of 15,000 Italian troops to Tripoli [? Libya]: Fisher comments that no Italian newspapers had "given the show away" and wonders if British newspapers would do the same. He asks WSC if he could trust Ralph Blumenfeld, Editor of the Daily Express, H A Gwynne, Editor of the Morning Post, or Leslie Cornford of the Standard, suggesting that if war broke out, all three should be arrested on a "false charge of contravening the Criminal Law Amendment Act". Fisher also comments on relations with Germany, predicting that they would not fight until they had got two more Army Groups ready, and their woefully-behind aviation was up to the French standard: "This won't be till AD 1914 (Kindly put that date in your diary)", stressing the importance of having Vice- Admiral Sir John Jellicoe as "top dog" in 1914. [See CHAR 13/16/47-48 for typescript copy]. 01 Apr 1912
CHAR 13/14/98 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] writing at the request of 2nd Lord Esher, urging him to recommend Maurice Hankey [Assistant Secretary, Committee of Imperial Defence] for the KCMG [Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George]. [See CHAR 13/16/49 for typescript copy]. 05 Apr 1912
CHAR 13/14/99-107 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher, (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]), to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] criticising him for appointments of Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux [earlier Hedworth Lambton], [as Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth], Admiral Sir Berkeley Milne [as Commander-in- Chief, Mediterranean], and Admiral Sir Reginald Custance. Fisher states that WSC had betrayed the Royal Navy with these three appointments, that Milne was unfitted to be Senior Admiral afloat, and Admiral Sir Edmund Poe should have been appointed to Portsmouth [Hampshire]; also commenting on warship design and construction. [See CHAR 13/16/50-52 for typescript copy]. 22 Apr 1912
CHAR 13/14/108-114 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] with thanks for WSC's letter of 27 April on senior naval appointments, defending his criticisms of Admiral Sir Berkeley Milne [Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean], Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux [Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, earlier Hedworth Lambton], and Admiral Sir Reginald Custance. [See CHAR 13/16/53-55 for typescript copy]. 02 May 1912
CHAR 13/14/115-116 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Hotel Excelsior, Naples [Italy]), to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on oil fuel. [See CHAR 13/16/56 for typescript copy]. 17 May 1912
CHAR 13/14/117-119 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Hotel Excelsior, Naples, [Italy]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] with thanks for giving him a cordial and affectionate reception following his "pestiferous letters" on senior naval appointments. Fisher states that he was still unconvinced about the appointments of Admiral Sir Reginald Custance, Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux [Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, earlier Hedworth Lambton], and Admiral Sir Berkeley Milne [Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean]: "I love a good hater!" He also comments on the appointment of Vice-Admiral Stanley Colville [Vice- Admiral Commanding 1st Battle Squadron] as a mistake, passes on the opinion of a German admiral that "anything might happen at any time" and adds that he is glad to be united with WSC again. [See CHAR 13/16/57 for typescript copy]. 26 May [1912]
CHAR 13/14/120-121 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Hotel National, Lucerne [Switzerland]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on members and work of the Commission. [See CHAR 13/16/58-59 for typescript copy]. 03 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/122-131 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Hotel National, Lucerne [Switzerland]), to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the composition and remit of the Commission. [Typescript copy at CHAR 13/16/61-63]. 17 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/132 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (The Athenaeum, Pall Mall [London]) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on a conversation with 3rd Lord Rayleigh [earlier John Strutt]: Fisher stresses the importance of having Rayleigh on the Commission, stating that WSC would have to write a "love letter" to get him. [See CHAR 13/16/64 for typescript copy]. 21 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/133-136 Note by Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher on "Battleships and Trade in the Mediterranean", stressing the necessity of holding up or destroying hostile flotillas of submarines and destroyers before a war or trade fleet could be at large there. [See CHAR 13/16/65-67 for typescript copy]. 24 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/137 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the possibility of being summoned to appear before the Committee of Imperial Defence. [See CHAR 13/16/68 for typescript copy]. 27 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/138 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the Foreign Office memorandum "The Situation in the Mediterranean" and commenting on Germany's strength in having all the German navy in one place and also an alliance with Austria. [See CHAR 13/16/69 for typescript copy]. 28 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/139-140 Letter from WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] to Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher, on the Foreign Office memorandum ["The Situation in the Mediterranean"]; includes covering note directing the letter to be shown to the Prime Minister [Herbert Asquith, later 1st Lord Oxford and Asquith]. [Hand-written copy, initialled by WSC; see CHAR 13/16/70 for typescript copy of WSC's letter]. 27 Jun 1912 - 28 Jun 1912
CHAR 13/14/141-142 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the Commission. [See CHAR 13/16/71-72 for typescript copy]. 06 Jul 1912
CHAR 13/14/143 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] asking for a meeting to discuss the Commission. [See CHAR 13/16/73-76 for typescript copy]. 12 Jul 1912
CHAR 13/14/144 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to Edward Marsh [Private Secretary to WSC] on a letter from Lionel Yexley, Editor of the Fleet, and the Commission. 19 Jul 1912
CHAR 13/14/145-146 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on oil fuel; includes a press cutting on motor ship construction in Germany. [See CHAR 13/16/60 for typescript copy]. 16 Jul 1912
CHAR 13/14/147-151 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on oil fuel and ship design. 24 Jul 1912
CHAR 13/14/152 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the defence of Cromarty [Scotland], also on the Commission. [See CHAR 13/16/78 for typescript copy]. 07 Aug 1912
CHAR 13/14/153 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] (Kilverstone Hall, Thetford, Norfolk) to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] with thanks for his support over attacks on Fisher by John Gretton; also on developments in oil fuel and the oil supply from Mexico. [See CHAR 13/16/77 for typescript copy]. 06 Aug 1912
CHAR 13/14/154 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on a German diesel-powered cruiser. [See CHAR 13/16/84 for typescript copy]. 28 Aug 1912
CHAR 13/14/155-159 Letter from Engineer Lieutenant Charles Hawkes, Joint Secretary, Royal Commission on Fuel and Engines, to Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher, enclosing a report on a meeting with William Reavell, on the manufacture of internal combustion engines in Europe. [See CHAR 13/16/79-83 for typescript copy]. 24 Aug 1912 - 26 Aug 1912
CHAR 13/14/160-164 Letter from Admiral of the Fleet 1st Lord Fisher [Chairman, Royal Commission on Oil Fuel] to WSC [First Lord of the Admiralty] on the Commission, particularly meeting with Dr George Beilby on the possibility of producing oil from coal. Fisher asks WSC to keep the letter "deadly secret and never mention it", stating that it was not a dream, nor the "outpouring of a diseased imagination". [See CHAR 13/16/85-86 for typescript copy]. 29 Aug 1912