Here are some of the stories reported in the News Letter 100 years ago:
The Great Naval Fight
A British Victory
Germans Lose 18 Ships
The most important news of the great battle is contained in the Admiralty statement, issued last night. This makes it clear that so far from having been a reverse, the encounter [at Jutland] was a victory for us. It is officially stated that the German losses were absolutely greater than ours, including: two battleships, two dreadnought cruisers, four light cruisers, a submarine, and at least nine destroyers.
This compares with the British loss of six cruisers and eight destroyers.
The British Grand Fleet came in touch with the German High Seas Fleet at 3-30 on the afternoon of 31st May. The leading ships of the two fleets carried on a vigorous fight, in which battle cruisers, fast battleships, and subsidiary craft all took an active part.
The losses were severe on both sides, but when the main body of the British Fleet came into contact with the German High Seas Fleet a very brief period sufficed to compel the latter, who had been severely punished, to seek refuge in their protected waters.
This manoeuvre was rendered possible by the low visibility and mist, and although the Grand Fleet were now and then able to get into momentary contact with their opponents, no continuous action was possible. They continued the pursuit until the light had wholly failed, while the British destroyers were able to make a successful attack upon the enemy during the night.
The King has telegraphed Admiral Jellicoe paying tribute to the gallantry of officers and men.
“I mourn the loss of brave men, many of them personal friends of my own, who have fallen in their country’s cause. Yet even more do I regret that the German High Seas Fleet, in spite of its heavy losses, was enabled by the misty weather to evade the full consequences of an encounter they have always professed to desire, but for which when the opportunity arrived they showed no inclination.
“Though the retirement of the enemy immediately after the opening of the general engagement robbed us of the opportunity of gaining a decisive victory, the events of last Wednesday amply justify my confidence in the valour and efficiency of the fleets under your command.”
To Our Readers
One of the results which the war has brought about in the manufacture of paper is the difficulty of procuring bleaching material for wood pulp. Some manufacturers cannot obtain the necessary chemicals. The consequence is that one of our sources of supply is unable to produce the shade the readers of the “Belfast News-Letter” are accustomed to. Hence the change in the shade of the paper used in this issue. The quality, however, is exactly the same as hitherto, the only difference is the shade.
Tragic Fate of Lord Kitchener
The Secretary of the Admiralty announces that the following telegram was received from the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet at 10.30 yesterday morning:
“I have to report, with deep regret, that his Majesty’s ship Hampshire, with Lord Kitchener and his staff on board, was sunk last night about 8 o’clock to the west of the Orkneys, either by a mine or torpedo.
“Four boats were seen by observers on the shore to leave the ship. The wind was north-north-west, and heavy seas were running.
“Patrol vessels and destroyers at once proceeded to the spot, and party was sent along the coast to search, but only some bodies and a capsized boat have been found up to the present.
“As the whole shore has been searched from the seaward, I greatly fear that there is little hope of there being any survivors.
“HMS Hampshire was on her way to Russia.”
By his Majesty’s command, the following order has been issued to the Army:
“The King has learned, with profound regret, of the disaster by which the Secretary of State for War has lost his life while proceeding on a special mission to the Emperor of Russia.
“Lord Kitchener will be mourned by the Army as a great soldier who, under conditions of unexampled difficulty, rendered supreme and devoted service both to the Army and the State.”
Ulster and Home Rule
Momentous Meeting in Belfast
One of the most important and momentous meetings in the history of the anti-Home Rule movement took place in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, yesterday, when Sir Edward Carson put before the members of the Ulster Unionist Council the suggestion which had been made that the negotiations for settlement should proceed on the basis that the six counties, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh, with the County Boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry, should be excluded from the operation of the Home Rule Act.
The meeting had aroused the most intense interest throughout the Imperial province, and the attendance was naturally very large and thoroughly representative of the Unionists in the North of Ireland.
Delegates were present from every part of the Province, and there was practically a full attendance of the Irish Unionist parliamentary party.
A meeting of the Standing Committee was held at 11am in the Ulster Hall, when Sir Edward had a conference with the members, the right honourable gentleman outlining his own position in regard to the proposals.
The meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council took place in the same building at two o’clock, and was strictly private, the Press being excluded, and the credentials of the delegates being closely examined at the entrance to the historic building.
The matter was fully discussed at the meeting of the Council, and it was decided that the proceedings should stand adjourned until Monday next [June 12], at 11.30am, to enable the delegates to further consider the matter.
Ramore Head Tragedy
Woman Carried Out To Sea
Dr David Huey JP, deputy coroner, held an inquest in the Town Hall, Portrush, on Monday [June 5] relative to the death of Mrs Agnes L T Cooper, Belfast, whose body had been recovered from the sea at Portrush that morning.
Mr Hugh D Cooper identified the body as that of his wife, aged 28 years. On the afternoon of 29th April, he said, he, with the deceased and her mother, Mrs Corry, went to Ramore Head to fish.
Witness baited his wife’s line and threw it into the water. He had just turned and was putting a bait on his own line when a big wave carried his wife off the rock. A rope was flung to him, and he tried to throw it to his wife, but she was unable to reach it. She floated for between five and ten minutes. His wife was a good swimmer. Witness had fished in July at the place, and did not know there was any danger.
The jury found that the deceased was accidentally drowned off Ramore Head, and expressed the opinion that no blame was attached to anyone.
Sir Edward Carson’s
Love for the Province
The Right Honourable Sir Edward Carson, KC, MP, visited the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church yesterday, and was accorded a most enthusiastic reception by a crowded house.
Addressing the House, Sir Edward Carson said: “I was glad when I was told I might have the privilege to come here, because I wanted you, as I have often wanted you, to understand that my interest in Ulster, my interest in your Church, and indeed in all Protestant Churches, is not merely a matter of politics. (Applause)
“I have learned to love Ulster, to love Ulster’s men, and, may I say, Ulster’s women – (applause) – in a manner far different from the way in which political leaders grant a kind of temporary allegiance for the purpose of procuring followers and voters. No, my heart beats with your hearts.
“I have not been to Ulster for some time, and the reason is obvious. We were thinking or greater things, we were thinking of the whole future of our Empire, and we were thinking above all of the men who are to save us from the dastardly methods of German barbarism which have threatened the whole future of civilisation.”