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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.


JELLICOE, Right Hon. Sir John Rushworth, First Earl, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Jellicoe, Viscount Brocas, Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, County Orkney; O.M., G.C.B., G.C.V.O


Second Governor-General of New Zealand (1920–24).

A new biography of Jellicoe, John Henry Rushworth appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.

Lord Jellicoe was born at Southampton on 5 December 1859, second son of Captain John Henry Jellicoe of the Royal Mail Line, and Lucy Henrietta, née Keele, of a family with three generations' association with the Navy. He was educated at Rottingdean, entering the Navy as a cadet (1872), and proceeding to the Royal Navy College (1878–80) where he graduated a lieutenant. He served in the Egyptian War (1882), and in 1893 was on HMS Victoria when she collided with HMS Camperdown. Present at the cession of Wei-hei-wei (1898), Jellicoe, later, as Chief of Staff to Sir Edward Seymour, was gravely wounded on the march to Tientsin. In 1902 he married Florence Gwendoline, daughter of Sir Charles Cazer, Bt., by whom he had one son and five daughters.

Jellicoe served on the Admiralty Committee on Naval Design (1904), afterwards participating in Quebec's tercentenary celebrations. Thereafter in rapid succession he became Director of Naval Ordnance, Controller of the Navy, Commander Atlantic Fleet, Commander Second Squadron Home Fleet, and Second Sea Lord. In the First World War he commanded the Grand Fleet (1914–16) and, after the Battle of Jutland (1916), became First Lord, Chief of Naval Staff, and Viscount. In 1919–20 a naval mission in HMS New Zealand took him to all the Dominions except South Africa. In 1920 W. F. Massey warmly supported the appointment of Jellicoe as Governor-General of New Zealand, an office which he most capably filled, and in a manner which showed that he was aware of its changing constitutional values. Ministers frequently sought, and valued, Jellicoe's advice.

A great sportsman, he was patron of practically every yacht club in New Zealand, and competed unsuccessfully in his 14-footer Iron Duke in the first series of races for the Sanders Cup, which he had presented. He was Grand Master of the New Zealand Masonic Lodge, and on his retirement (1924) was created an Earl.

Jellicoe wrote three books based on naval experiences: The Grand Fleet 1914–16, Crisis in the Great War, and Submarine Peril. He retired to Lawrence Hall, Isle of Wight, where he died on 20 November 1935.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

  • Life of Earl Jellicoe, Bacon, R. H. S. (1936).


Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.