British Naval Admiral. He was born on 17 January 1871 in Cheshire, of Anglo-Irish parentage. He entered the training establishment HMS Britannia, Dartmouth at the age of just under thirteen, and joined his first ship HMS Alexandria just before his fifteenth birthday. He served with distinction in the Sudan from 1896 to 1898, and it was in Khartoum in 1898 that a bottle of champagne famously was tossed ashore from Beatty's gunboat, the Fateh, to a grateful Winston Churchill. Beatty then served in China during the Boxer Rising of 1900, during which he was seriously wounded in action ashore, and promoted to captain at the age of only 29. He was further promoted to Rear Admiral on the first day of 1910, to become the youngest Flag officer in the Royal Navy, not of royal rank, since Nelson and Rodney in the eighteenth century. He subsequently refused the appointment of second-in-command of the Atlantic Fleet, for which he was put on half-pay. When Winston Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he chose Beatty as his Naval Secretary, and this was a successful appointment which lasted until 1913 when Churchill appointed Beatty commander of the Battle Cruiser Squadron. He served with success in the battles of Heligoland Bight in August 1914 and Dogger Bank in January 1915. At the battle of Jutland in May 1916, his bold and aggressive tactics arguably led to what became regarded as a tactical victory for the German High Seas Fleet in terms of losses, but a strategic victory for the Royal Navy as the enemy were discouraged thenceforth from attempting any further major fleet offensives. When HMS Indefatigible and then HMS Queen Mary blew up, Beatty, carrying his flag on HMS Lion, turned to her captain and remarked "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today." Captain Chatfield reported that this was a remark which required neither comment nor answer. Beatty's third cousin, Commander Barry Bingham, won a rare naval Victoria Cross at Jutland. On 21 November 1918 Beatty accepted the surrender of the German Fleet, by then anchored off Aberlady Bay in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. At 1100 Beatty signalled to Admiral von Reuter "The German Flag will be hauled down at sunset today, Thursday, and will not be hoisted again without permission." On 3 April 1919 Beatty was appointed an Admiral of the Fleet (as was Jellicoe on the same day) and effective from 1 Nov 1919, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, which he remained until 1927. He was granted a peerage and a gift of £100,000 for his services to his country. Towards the end of his life, a motoring accident and then a serious riding accident afflicted him. These, together with his insistence, against doctors' orders, on attending the lengthy funerals of Jellicoe and then of King George V possibly hastened his death which occurred at his home in Grosvenor Square, London, on 11 March 1936. He was interred in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral next to Jellicoe and close to Nelson.
Bio by: Ronald Land