Admiral Jellicoe Goes to Sea: The Naval Mission and the Ambition for an “Imperial Royal Navy”


  • Ian Yeates



Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Empire cruise, imperial defence, imperial relations, dominion navies


An important milestone in the development of the dominion navies was the Empire Cruise conducted by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe in 1919, during which he visited India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. At the conclusion of each stage of his trip, Jellicoe prepared a report for the dominion government concerned explaining how it might establish an effective local navy that could support the Royal Navy in the defense of the empire. Although Jellicoe’s advice was not immediately followed due to financial exigencies and war weariness, the principles he expounded provided the foundations for the highly effective dominion navies in the later years of the Second World War and beyond. While the historiography has largely dismissed the value of the Empire Cruise, this article offers a reappraisal.

La croisière de l’empire menée en 1919 par l’amiral Sir John Jellicoe, au cours de laquelle il a visité l’Inde, l’Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande et le Canada, a marqué une étape importante dans le développement des marines nationales. À la fin de chaque étape de son voyage, Jellicoe préparait un rapport pour le gouvernement fédéral concerné dans lequel il expliquait comment ce gouvernement pouvait établir une marine locale efficace qui pourrait appuyer la Marine royale dans la défense de l’empire. Bien que les conseils de Jellicoe n’aient pas été immédiatement suivis en raison des exigences financières et de lassitude de la guerre, les principes qu’il a énoncés ont jeté les bases des marines fédérales très efficaces des dernières années de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et par la suite. Alors que l’historiographie a largement rejeté la valeur de la croisière de l’empire, cet article constitue une réévaluation.

Author Biography

Ian Yeates

Ian Yeates received his BA (Hons) in History from the Royal Military College in 1979. Thereafter, he served in the RCN till 1996 and moved on to a second career at SaskPower in Regina. His post-graduate education includes an MBA from Queen’s University in 1993 and a MA in Naval History from the University of Portsmouth in 2018. He is presently working on a study of the comparative development of the dominion navies from inception to the early post-Second World War period.


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Image of Admiral Jellicoe from 1918, from the Imperial War Museum.




How to Cite

Yeates, I. (2023). Admiral Jellicoe Goes to Sea: The Naval Mission and the Ambition for an “Imperial Royal Navy”. The Northern Mariner Le Marin Du Nord, 33(1), 43–80.