A stash of 66 telegrams which were sent to the German High Seas armada in 1918 may compel historiographers to make some revisions on the story of one of the most celebrated naval surrenders throughout war history.
Oonagh Drage, a Tennants Auctioneers’ militaria specialist which is located in Leyburn, stated that she is hoping the handwritten information sent from HMS Repulse’s wireless room would cast off a new understanding on how WWI ended.
All. except three, of the telegrams have the Captain’s red seal and disclose the progress of the occurrences as they happened — events that had to do with the strains between the Royal Navy and their German equivalents after years of struggle as well as the Jutland and Dogger Bank clashes.
The documents are well-preserved and bore the dates just after Armistice Day,which is November 12, until November 26, 1918. These papers decreed the conditions upon surrender of 176 U boats and 70 ships along with how aircraft and torpedoes should be disarmed.
These said telegrams were by the captain of HMS Repulse which was the fastest Royal navy warship with the heaviest firepower during WWI. The said battleship had taken part in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1917 in the name of the government.
One of the telegrams entreated the German High Command to stop the inhumane treatments they were giving British Prisoners Of Wars majority of whom had been killed after being forced to take long marches without food.
Germany’s food crisis had reached a boiling point by this time and civilians were on the brink of starvation; the message then proceeded to threaten German military that the British command would take into account the treatment the imprisoned British soldiers received in their decision if they were going to supply the defeated country with food.
On the other hand, another telegram called for a report regarding the sinking of a German submarine and warned the High Command that had the incident happened due to carelessness or was calculated, then, it was a breach of the Armistice.
Miss Drage further added that the telegrams which are estimated to amount between £1,500 and £2,000 had been part of a private collection for many years; the son of the private collector then decided to auction the stash off.
“I have never seen any telegrams like this before and they tell a story.
“It has been difficult to put an estimate on the lot, how do you value something you have never come across before?” Miss Drage declared.
The telegrams along with a personal written description and drawings of the Battle of Jutland by a Royal Navy commander will be traded off in a militaria sale held at the auctioneers this coming November 27.