June 2 – Three of the NI officers at Jutland

Commander Edward Bingham VC from Bangor, Captain Herbert Meade, DSO from Ballynahinch and Commodore Frederic Charles Dreyer from Armagh

Commander Edward Bingham VC, in HMS Nestor in command of a destroyer division at the Battle of Jutland

The Hon Edward Barry Stewart Bingham (1881-1939), of Bangor Castle, County Down, was the 3rd son of John, 5th Baron Clanmorris JP DL, ADC to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Matilda Catherine, daughter of Robert Edward Ward JP DL, of Bangor Castle.

The Hon Barry joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman, after school at Arnold House, Llanddulas, Carnarvonshire; and a spell on HMS Britannia, a permanently-moored training ship at Dartmouth, Devon.

He was commissioned Lieutenant RN and served a year (1904-5) on HMS Cormorant based at Gibraltar and then was given his own command, of the torpedo boat destroyer HMS Star.

In 1915, Bingham was promoted Commander RN, and given HMS Hornet, a destroyer.

In May, 1916, during the Battle of Jutland, Commander Bingham was in command of a destroyer division.

He led his division in their attack, first on enemy destroyers and then on the battle cruisers of the German High Seas Fleet.

Once the enemy was sighted Bingham ordered his own destroyer, HMS Nestor, and the one remaining destroyer of his division, HMS Nicator, to close to within 3,000 yards of the opposing battle fleet so that he could bring his torpedoes to bear.

While making this attack, Nestor and Nicator were under concentrated fire of the secondary batteries of the German fleet and Nestor was subsequently sunk.

For his actions, Commander Bingham earned the Victoria Cross, one of relatively few awarded for naval bravery during the 1st World War

The citation reads:
For the extremely gallant way in which he led his division in their attack, first on enemy destroyers and then on their battlecruisers.
He finally sighted the enemy battle-fleet, and, followed by the one remaining destroyer of his division (Nicator), with dauntless courage he closed to within 3,000 yards of the enemy in order to attain a favourable position for firing the torpedoes.
While making this attack, Nestor and Nicator were under concentrated fire of the secondary batteries of the High Sea Fleet. Nestor was subsequently sunk.

Bingham was picked up by the Germans at Jutland, and remained a prisoner of war (latterly at Holzminden) until the Armistice.

After the war, he stayed in the Royal Navy, was promoted several times and retired in 1932 with the rank of Rear-Admiral, having for a year held the position of Senior Officer of the Reserve Fleet, Devonport.

He had several commands, including HMS Resolution, in the Mediterranean.

Admiral Bingham served as Chief of Staff in the Nore Command, 1927-9, and was appointed ADC to George V.

Outside the Navy, his interests were equestrian; he was a keen jockey and polo player.

In addition to his VC, Bingham was also awarded the OBE and was mentioned in dispatches. He was also awarded the (Tsarist) Russian Order of St Stanislaus.

He published a memoir of his naval career in 1919, notable for his description of the worst part of naval life being, not nearly being blown to pieces in battle, nor the nervous hours and minutes before battle; it was the ordeal, in that pre-diesel age, of coaling.

Some maintain that his espionage activity during World War Two provided a model for the fictional writings of John le Carré, the successful English writer of spy fiction.

Admiral Bingham, who latterly resided at Evershot, Dorset, died in London.

Captain Herbert Meade, DSO, in command of HMS Royalist at the Battle of Jutland

Captain Herbert Meade, DSO, commanded HMS Royalist of 6th. Light Cruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland. His name is included in a list of Commanding Officers recommended for commendation for service at Jutland (London Gazette,15/09/1916).

The 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron and the 1st and 6th Light Cruiser Squadrons were central to the plot which saw them sweep across the North Sea to approach the outer edge of the quadrant of mines in Heligoland Bight where the German forces were working and then, having surprised the enemy, to try and force him into action.

The Honourable Herbert Meade, was a brother of the Earl of Clanwilliam, Montalto, Balynahinch, and a son of the late Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl of Clanwillian, GCB, KCMG, (1832 – 1907), also of Montalto, Ballynahinch. Born 03/11/1875, he too became an admiral.

Commodore Frederic Charles Dreyer – Flag Captain of HMS Iron Duke at Battle of Jutland

Frederic Charles Dreyer was born at Parsonstown, Ireland, 08/01/1878, the son of John Louis Emil Dreyer, a Danish astrologer, and Katherine Hannah Tuthill. His father was later the Director of the Armagh Planetarium. His knowledge and experience of naval gunnery caused him to write tables which were later adopted sevice-wide

He was educated at the Royal School, Armagh (1888-90), and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. In respect of Jutland, his grandfather had been the Danish minister for the navy.

He joined the Royal Navy and entered the training ship HMS Britannia, 1891-3. He served as a Midshipman in HMS Anson, 1893-6, and HMS Barfleur, 1896-7. He was promoted Lieutenant while serving in HMS Repulse, 1898. He was a student on the gunnery courses in HMS Excellent and at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1899-1901, and joined the staff of the Gunnery School at Sheerness. He was a Gunnery Officer in HMS Scylla, 1901, HMS Hawke, 1902, HMS Exmouth, 1903-7, and HMS Dreadnought, 1907. He was appointed Assistant to the Director of Naval Ordnance at the Admiralty, 1907-9, where he began work on his fire control table. He was promoted Commander, 1907, and commanded HMS Vanguard, 1909-10. He then transferred to HMS Prince of Wales, 1910-11, and HMS Hercules as Flag Commander, 1911. He was promoted Captain, 1913, and commanded HMS Amphion, 1913, HMS Orion as Flag Captain, 1913-15, and HMS Iron Duke as Flag Captain, 1915-16.

He returned to the Admiralty as Assistant Director, Anti-Submarine Division, 1916-17, Director of Naval Ordnance, 1917-18, and Director of Naval Artillery and Torpedoes, 1918-19. He was appointed Commodore and Chief of Staff to Jellicoe on his mission to India and the Dominions, 1919-20. On returning to England, he was appointed Director of the Gunnery Division of the Admiralty, 1920-22. He took command of HMS Repulse, 1922-23, and was promoted Rear-Admiral, 1923. He was appointed Assistant Chief of Naval Staff and a member of the Board of Admiralty, 1924-27; commanded HMS Hood, 1927-30; and was promoted Vice-Admiral, 1929. He was Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, 1930-31, and Admiralty representative on the League of Nations Permanent Advisory Commission. He was promoted Admiral, 1932, and Commander-in-Chief on the China Station, 1933-6.

He retired from the Navy, 1939. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to active duty as Commodore of Convoys, 1939-40, Inspector of Merchant Navy Gunnery, 1941-42, Chief of Naval Air Services, 1942-43, and Deputy Chief of Naval Air Equipment, 1943.

RN. Admiral. CB (civil), 1914, CB (military), 1916, CBE, 1919, KCB, 1932, and GBE, 1936. Joined 1891. Flag Captain of HMS Iron Duke at Battle of Jutland, 1916. Rear Admiral 1923, Admiral 1932. Represented UK on League of Nations Military Committee after World War 1.

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