- Letter Writer
- Biographies and personal histories, History - WW1, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2015 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Tony Nichols, our Canadian correspondence comments:
I always enjoy reading the NHR. What caught my eye in the article you wrote on Admiral Patey was the name Seydlitz which you describe as an auxiliary which was interned in Argentina. In fact as a well-armed battlecruiser, Seydlitz fought at Dogger Bank and Jutland and ultimately was among the High Seas Fleet that was interned at Scapa Flow in December 1918. My father, then a midshipman in the battleship Erin, happened to photograph Seydlitz amongst others in Scapa Flow.
The following response was sent.
In respect of SMS Seydlitz you are correct, she was a modern battlecruiser which saw service during WWI. We are pleased to receive your sharp eyed commentary, especially given the family connection. However there was another ship of the same name, a passenger/cargo liner of Norddeutseher Lloyd, berthed in Sydney immediately prior to the commencement of war. On 03 August 1914 she managed to slip out of harbour and made her way to Valparaiso where she joined von Spee’s Squadron. In 1917 she was interned in Argentina before eventually making her way back to her homeland and continuing in service post war. We trust this clarifies the issue.
We also thank John Ellis for the following interesting commentary:
I did enjoy the account of Admiral Sir George Patey in the recent Review, having very little knowledge of his service previously. The section covering the ceremony of his knighthood compared the scene with the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I. According to Stephen Coote in his 2003 biography, Drake, this version arises from late Victorian England reinventing the formative years of the British Empire, the Empire then at its apogee. The adventurous and Protestant Drake was promoted as one of the founders of empire and in his Victorian persona he was depicted by Sir John Gilbert being knighted by the Queen.
Coote presents another version of events. Drake returned from his circumnavigation in 1581 to great public acclaim. He had replaced the ballast of the Golden Hind with silver bars and coins; surely his achievements in annoying the King of Spain warranted a knighthood. What better way to insult Spain, however the timing would be important. The Protestant Netherlands had recently declared their Spanish master deposed and had nominated the Duke of Alençon, brother of the heir presumptive to the French throne, as their prince and lord. So France was supportive of the Netherlands and Elizabeth wanted to move closer to the Duke, even though she personally found him repulsive. By knighting Drake before French delegates, she would show how serious was the support of Protestant England for Protestant Netherlands against the might of Roman Catholic Spain. The Queen invited representatives of the French to dine on board the Golden Hind at Deptford. The leader of the French was the Marquis de Marchaumont. A sword was produced and she ordered Drake to kneel then passed the sword to the Roman Catholic Marquis, bidding him to proceed with the dubbing.