EQUAL SPEED CHARLIE LONDON - The Battle of Jutland - Centenary Initiative
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David Smith, Equal Speed Charlie London, Portsmouth, Waterlooville.

David Smith, Equal Speed Charlie London, Portsmouth, Waterlooville.

Just after having received the Equal Speed Charlie London lapel badge from David Smith. A pin that I will particularly treasure.The signal to deploy the Grand Fleet was made by Admiral Jellicoe on 31st May 1916 at 18:15. The hoist consisted of the “equal speed” pendant, the letter ‘C’ (“charlie”) and the letter ‘L’ (“london” (in the then-current phonetic alphabet)). The signal directed his fleet to change from a column formation to a single battle line steering course Southeast by East, while maintaining the current speed. The flag signal was later adopted as an unofficial badge of HMS Mercury, the Royal Navy Signal School located at Leydene, Hampshire from 1941 to 1993 and is still worn as a blazer badge by some ex-Royal Navy personnel today.

The Equal Speed Charlie London lapel badge

The Equal Speed Charlie London lapel badge

In 2014, the 31st May was adopted as `Buntings’ Day’ when ex-naval signalmen worldwide meet annually to commemorate their profession and to drink a toast at 6.15 p.m to all naval signalmen, past and present.  The idea of ‘Buntings Day’ and everything related to it was the brainchild of ex-Bunting, WOCY Dave Morris.The `Buntings’ Day’ badge incorporates the flaghoist `Equal Speed Charlie London’ (`Bunting’ is the naval nickname for `Signalman’, and derives from `Bunting Tosser’, bunting being the material that naval flags are made of).

Further information on “Buntings Day” can be obtained from Dave Morris at mdmorris118@gmail.com



  • Susan Rose
    Posted at 17:40h, 01 September Reply

    A great pic and a lovely gesture

  • Terry ruiz de Castilla
    Posted at 19:43h, 01 September Reply

    Every 31st of May, at preciesly 6:15 will you be doing a toast as well? What a wonderful tradition!

  • Nicholas Jellicoe
    Posted at 00:39h, 02 September Reply

    Will have to make up for lost time.

  • Danny Streather
    Posted at 14:28h, 08 September Reply

    Whole web page looking very good Nicholas. I am a friend of Dave Morris and yes, his initiative has been inspiring. Keep working on the centenary, it deserves to be in the public eye. I love the painting at the head of the website, Do you have any info on it?

  • Nick Jejlicoe
    Posted at 22:21h, 09 September Reply

    Danny, many thanks for your comments. Yes, we’ve done some research on thepainting by Whyllie. Here’s what we’ve got:

    ‘Inscribed with technical notes by the artist, lower right. This sketch is of the situation at Jutland at approximately 18.45 on 31 May 1916. Admiral Jellicoe’s flagship ‘Iron Duke’ is firing to starboard at the German battleship ‘König’. She is followed in the line by the ‘Royal Oak’, ‘Superb’, ‘Canada’, ‘Colossus’, ‘Collingwood’, ‘Neptune’ and ‘St Vincent’.

    The vessel listing on the left is probably the destroyer ‘Acasta’ of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla: she had made an unsuccessful torpedo run against the ‘Lützow’ and was hit by an enemy shell in the engine room which killed five men and disabled her. As she drifted into the path of the advancing British battleships her men lined the rails and cheered the ‘Iron Duke’ as Jellicoe passed: she was later taken under tow into Aberdeen, repaired and eventually scrapped in 1921. The four-funnelled vessel on the right is the flotilla leader ‘Kempenfelt’, leading the 11th Destroyer Flotilla. This drawing is essentially the same composition as a large oil painting which Wyllie did for Admiral Jellicoe in 1917, and may be a study for it since there is no obvious sign of a closely related etching.’

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