The Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914, by J. E. Maycock

Maycock, J. E.; The Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914

The Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914. Oil on canvas by J. E. Maycock.

The First Battlecruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916

The First Battlecruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916. Oil on canvas by D. W. Smith in collection of National Maritime Museum.

Smith, D. W., active early 20th C-mid-20th C; The First Battle Cruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916

Karte der Skagerrakschlacht/Map of Jutland, 1916

Skagerrakschlacht, Karte der Schiffsaufstellung

Scherl: Karte der Skagerrakschlacht 19378-31 [Herausgabenummer] ADN-ZB / Archiv: I. Weltkrieg 1914-18 Karte zur Skagerrakschlacht am 31.5. und in der Nacht zum 1.6.1916 zwischen der deutschen und der britischen Hochseeflotte. Der Ausgang der größten Seeschlacht des I. Weltkrieges blieb trotz der größeren britischen Verluste ohne strategische Bedeutung. 19378-31 [Herausgabenummer]

Royal Navy officers of the First World War

Royal Navy officers of the First World War, oil on canvas by Arthur Stockdale Cope.

NPG 1913; Naval Officers of World War I by Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope

The portrait depicts Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair, Robert Arbuthnot, David Beatty, Osmond Brock, Montague Browning, Cecil Burney, Walter Cowan, Christopher Cradock, John de Robeck, Doveton Sturdee, Hugh Evan-Thomas, William Goodenough, Horace Hood, John Rushworth Jellicoe, Roger Keyes, Arthur Leveson, Prince Louis of Battenburg, Charles Madden, Trevylyan Napier, William Pakenham, Reginald Tyrwhitt, and Rosslyn Wemyss.

Study of battlecruiser HMS Lion by William Wyllie, c. 1916-17

Study of Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Lion by William Wyllie. Watercolour with graphite, c. 1916-17. Shown with her main armament (13.5-inch guns) trained to starboard. In collection of National Maritime Museum.


Five years of prophecy? In 1909, David Beatty foretold outbreak of war in 1914.

Writing aboard HMS Queen at Bantry on 20th February, 1909, Beatty offered this vision of European conflict that seems, in hindsight, a prophecy of events in 1914.

My opinion is that Austria and Servia are as near blows as makes no matter, and I can’t see how it can be avoided, unless Austria entirely changes her attitude. Furthermore, if it does come, Russia can’t sit idle and watch Austria absorb Servia, so in she comes. Then arises the question of the Triple Alliance, and in how far Germany is involved to support Austria. It is a nice point, and I cannot see Germany doing nothing. Then where is our friend France and the Russo-Franco Alliance, backed up by the spirit which they like to make out pervades the whole of France, but in reality does not, namely, the one desire of a War of Revenge for 1870. Alors, where are we? The whole of Europe will blaze if it once starts, and the outlook at present is of the worst.

Chambers, W. S. The Life and Letters of David, Earl Beatty. London: Hodder and
Stoughton, 1951.

Sacré bleu! An insult to Nelson?

Yes, yes… giant cock… double entendres… all highly amusing…


The cockerel, blue or not, is the symbol of France. To place this statue in Trafalgar Square is an insult to the memory of Nelson, an insult to the men who fought and died at Trafalgar, an insult to the men who fought and died at Jutland (yes, that’s what the Lutyens fountains commemorate), and an insult to Britain.

Boris Johnson, you colossal arse.

Blue cockerel takes roost on Fourth Plinth

The sculpture has been described as a “domestic cockerel with a twist”

The new artwork for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a bright blue cockerel symbolising regeneration and strength, has been unveiled.

Titled Hahn/Cock, the 4.72m high piece is by German artist Katharina Fritsch and will be on display for 18 months.

Saturated in intense ultramarine blue, the sculpture was unveiled by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on Thursday.

It replaces a 4.1m high bronze of a boy on a rocking horse that had been on the plinth since February 2012.

The public sculpture, said Mr Johnson, “doesn’t just show that we’re the sporting capital, but we are also the artistic and cultural capital of the world”.

He also said he would try and avoid any double entendres when talking about the cockerel.

“It is a ginormous blue Hahn Cock, as it’s called,” he told BBC London.

“I think if you tried to Google it in the future, the Prime Minister would stop you from finding it” – a reference to David Cameron’s proposals to have internet pornography blocked by internet providers.
‘Totally inappropriate’

One London-based conservation group had tried to stop the cockerel – a traditional emblem of France – from being displayed.

Trafalgar Square takes its name from the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, one of Britain’s most significant naval victories in the Napoleonic Wars.

The Thorney Island Society wrote to Westminster Council in protest, branding the sculpture “totally inappropriate”.

But Justin Simons, director of the Fourth Plinth programme, said she was confident it would be a popular addition.

“We really love the striking vivid blue colour and also the character is really interesting,” she told BBC London.

“It’s an everyday kind of object – this regular domestic cockerel with a twist. The artist has supersized it.

“It will be as big as a London bus and she’s made it this striking blue colour, so it will be familiar but also quite surreal.”

Many leading artists have bid to have their work displayed on the Fourth Plinth over the last seven years.

The first sculpture to occupy it was Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo, a marble sculpture of a human-scale Jesus.

Others have included a statue of a naked, pregnant woman with no arms and Antony Gormley’s One & Other, where members of the public occupied the plinth for an hour at a time.

Jutland – Clash of the Dreadnoughts (2004)