[Battle of Jutland, 1916.] Two Autograph Letters Signed from J. O. Barron, Lt Commander of HMS Acasta, to marine artist W. L. Wyllie, describing in detail damage incurred by the ship during the Battle of Jutland. With illustration by Wyllie's nephew.

John Ouchterlony Barron (b.1882), Royal Navy officer, Lt Commander of HMS Acasta during the Battle of Jutland, 1916 [ William Lionel Wyllie (1851-1931) and Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971), marine artist]
Publication details: 
Both of Barron's letters on letterhead of H.M.S. Mindful. 5 and 22 January 1918.
SKU: 20981

Barron commanded the destroyer HMS Acasta from November 1912 to June 1916. He was recommended for promotion following the Battle of Jutland, during which the Acasta suffered such heavy damage that she had to be towed by HMS Nonsuch to Aberdeen, where she was practically rebuilt. From the Wyllie papers, and relating to a painting by the artist depicting a scene during the battle when the crew of the disabled Acasta lined the decks to cheer the Grand Fleet's flagship, HMS Iron Duke as she passed. The three items are in good condition, lightly aged and worn. Both of Barron's letters are signed 'J. O. Barron'. ONE: ALS from Barron [to Wyllie], addressed to 'Dear Sir'. 5 January 1918. 2pp., 4to. Barron begins by apologising for the delay in responding to Wyllie's letter, explaining that 'we were several days away'. He states that he will 'try to give you the information you require'. A list of eight numbered points follows, the first two reading: 'I. A slight list to starboard. | II Two large holes just abaft midships on the waterline starboard side. | One large hole forward port side just above water line - | Several small splinter holes both sides'. Number 'VI', clearly relating to the passing of HMS Iron Duke, reads: 'The men standing on the forecastle, - amidships – and aft.' Following the list Barron apologises for not possessing a photograph of the Acasta: 'but there is a picture of the “K” class in Jane's book'. He is enclosing 'a rough sketch made by your nephew Colin (he is my first lieutenant) which may very roughly explain the appearance of the ship' (Item Three below). He ends in the hope that the information may be of assistance, and that he may 'have a chance some day of seeing the picture'. TWO: ALS to 'Dear Mr Wyllie'. 22 January 1918. 1p., 4to. He thanks him for his 'letter and sketch', the latter being 'a most charming thing to have'. He answers a few questions ending, 'I can't see anything wrong in the sketch of the ship except she was perhaps a bit lower in the water'. He ends by stating that Wyllie's nephew 'has only been with me for a month in this ship'. THREE: Ink sketch, 10 x 33 cm. Side view of ship with three funnels (the Acasta), noting 'Bag Flat', 'Petty Officers', 'Stokers', 'Marines', 'ERAs bath', 'Bunker', 'Torpedo Tube', 'Casings' and 'Gunshield'. Beneath the diagram is a note (signed with illegible initials): 'There was plenty [last word underlined three times] of shrapnel bursting over the ship & the wireless airials [sic] were shot through in several places'. Above the diagram: 'Cordite fire. (Box, 3pdt [rest illegible])'.