Sir Rosslyn Wemyss

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 3 (May/June 2012), Letters, Volume 20

Sir,—A small correction to the article by Conor McNamara on British cabinet papers on-line (HI 20.2, March/April 2012, pp 40–1). Sir Rosslyn Wemyss was first sea lord, as stated, from December 1917 until the end of the war. He was not, however, commander-in-chief on the coast of Ireland. That position was held by Sir Lewis Bayly, whose headquarters were at Admiralty House, Queenstown (Cobh). The title of this appointment was changed to ‘commander-in-chief western approaches’ in June 1917, some months after the United States had entered the war.


Wemyss was certainly contemptuous of Irish aspirations, but Bayly appears to have had very little to say on the matter. By all accounts his focus was on the prosecution of the war, and while his actions during the 1916 Rising and events leading up to it were immediate and decisive, he apparently gives little away on his own opinion of the events, of Ireland or the Irish. He does remark that during all his time in Queenstown he was never molested or threatened as he frequently walked from the pier to his house alone.—Yours etc.,




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