Acquisitions: Summer 2012
Jutland letters (Col. Charles Le Mesurier), 1916; Orne Bridgehead; Jersey Evacuees Remember; The Channel Islands, 1370-1640: Between England and Normandy; Sweet water and bitter.
Jutland Letters, June-October 1916 &c. Wessex Books 2006.
'You must leave things to individual initiative in these very high speed little ships—there is no time to make signals ....' This remark made by Commodore Charles Le Mesurier, who commanded the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron (John Jellicoe's Own) in the Grand Fleet at Jutland, shows his forward-thinking use of 'Mission Command.'
Major General Julian Thompson in his Imperial War Museum Book of the War at Sea 1914-1918 uses this to introduce his chapter on Jutland. The nineteenth-century sailor's rigid response to orders has been replaced by a modern use of initiative in a new type of vessel.
The Jutland Letters collected and edited here by Charles Le Mesurier's granddaughter, Harriet Bachrach, provide vivid social and political comment on the First World War.
The Commodore's son, Captain E. K. Le Mesurier RN, who some years later captained HMS Belfast, 1948-50, has written his own recollections in which he compares his training with that of his father, whose life was cut short tragically by illness in November 1917.
The Commodore was a member of the Le Mesurier family who were the hereditary Governors of Alderney. He was a direct descendant of Havilland Le Mesurier, Commissary-General during the Napoleonic Wars, through his son Edward Le Mesurier (1796-1855), who settled in Italy and became a successful merchant, marrying Amelia Augusta Wright, daughter of Stephen Wright of London, in Genoa in 1822. Edward's own son Edward Algernon Le Mesurier (1839-1903), was born in Ancona and christened in Rome, but attended Elizabeth College in Guernsey (no. 977). Commodore Charles Edward Le Mesurier was the son of Edward Algernon and Elizabeth Wilson and was also born in Italy, in 1869.
Edward Algernon was a well known figure in Genoa. His eldest son Havilland (1866-1931), although also born in Italy, was educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford (1884-6). His career was spent in the Indian Civil Service (1866-1922), and it was in India that his son Havilland was born in 1894. This Havilland, the nephew of Commodore Le Mesurier, left a series of letters from the Front, which were privately published and are now in the India Office (British Library); these have been made into a monologue by Tricia Thorns, which has been perfomed on the West End, and made separately into a film documentary. He died in 1916, aged just 22.
Havilland Le Mesurier was not the uncle of the actor John Le Mesurier, as has been sometimes stated, although they were related, both being descendants of the unpopular Governor of Alderney, Jean Le Mesurier (1717-1793) and Martha Dobrée. The actor, John Le Mesurier, was the great-great-grandson of the original Havilland Le Mesurier's brother, Thomas Le Mesurier (1759-1822) and Margaret Bandinel, through his mother, Amy Michelle Le Mesurier, who came from a branch of the family that had settled in Bedford. Her grandfather, the Reverend Henry Le Mesurier (1805-1874), had been second master at Bedford School. She married a local solicitor, Charles Elton Halliley, who was reluctant to allow his son to use his surname as an actor, so John Charles Elton Le Mesurier de Somereys Halliley adopted John Le Mesurier as a stage name.
The Channel Islands, 1370-1640, by Professor Tim Thornton, Boydell Press, 2012.
A comprehensive survey of the islands in the late medieval and early modern periods. Chapters included are: War, Privilege and the Norman Connection, 1370-1435; Military Defeat and Civil Conflict, 1435-1485; Centralisation and its limits under Henry VII and Henry VIII, 1485-1547; Political and religious strifem 1547-1569; War and the development of autonomy, 1570-1604; The challenge of uniformity? 1605-1640; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index. The author is particularly interested in the persistent independence of the islands' culture and influence of the islands on other jurisdictions.
Clark, Lloyd, Orne Bridgehead. From the Battle Zone: Normandy series. Sutton Publishing, 2004.
Starting with an examination of 6th Airborne Division, its plan and the German opposition, Lloyd Clark provides an overview of British operations east of the River Orne from initial landings in the early hours of 6 June 1944 to the capture of Breville seven days later. The battlefield tours that follow include not only the famous and dramatic assaults on Pegasus Bridge and the Marville Battery, but also the lesser-known struggles to secure the British southern flank on 607 June and the Battle of Breville on 12 June. Lloyd Clark is a Senior academic at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and and Professorial Research Fellow in War Studies, Humanities Research Institute, University of Buckingham. He is a specialist in the history of airborne warfare and the author of several books, including Anzio: The Friction of War and Arnhem: The Greatest Airborne Battle in History.
Rees, Sian, Sweet water and bitter: The ships that stopped the slave trade. 2010.
Sweet water and bitter is the extraordinary sequel to Britain's abolition of the slave trade in 1807. The last legal British slave-ship left Africa that year, but other countries and illegal slavers continued to trade. When the Napoleonic War ended in 1815, British diplomats negotiated anti-slave-trade treaties and a 'Preventative Squadron' was formed to cruise the West African coast. In six decades, this small fleet liberated 150,00 Africans and lost 17,000 of its own men in doing so. This is the tale of their exciting and arduous campaign.
In Sarnia, F. B. Tupper gives us an account of the death of Guernseyman Lieutenant George Chepmell of the Royal Navy, in spring of 1816, aged just 24.
He was the first lieutenant of the Zenobia, 18 guns, Commander N C Dobrée, which, in 1815, accompained Napoleon to St Helena; and he left her to take charge of an empty slaver, which that brig, on her return, captured near the equator. Lieutenant Chepmell called in at the Western Islands for supplies, and was never heard of afterwards, the prize being doubtless lost with all hands on her passage thence to England.
Nicholas Charles Dobrée, his commander, a nephew of James Saumarez, was himself to die only two years later, trying to save the lives of the crew of a Dutch ship wrecked in Cobo Bay on March 9th, 1818. It is interesting to note that the Zenobia was a few years later commanded by yet another Guernseyman, John Lihou.