My dear Billy,
I want you to save this letter till the end of your life for the history it will contain will give you and Edward the liberty for which more than half a million Englishmen have died those last four years.
We are out in the North Sea – all the Grand Fleet – the greatest collection of warships that was. We left Rosyth – ask mummy to show it you on the map – at 2 o'clock this morning and we have been steaming ever since. I was turned out at 5.30am and we had breakfast at 6.15. A quarter of an hour ago I first saw the German fleet – about ten of the biggest of them – and there are many others hidden away beyond them in the grey fog. We have altered our course and we are taking them back to the Firth of Forth – there to search them. We have our battle flags flying and every man is at his gun – fourteen of them are six inch and eight fifteen inch. If the Germans show any signs of fight -we are prepared to bang away. The German ships we said to be flying a red flag in the mast and the German Imperial flag on the other. The top deck is crowded with men on the Revenge and everybody is deeply moved at the sight. In all my dreams I never thought to see a day like this. When we get in this afternoon I will continue this then for the next few days.
12.35 I've just had dinner. The German ships have all gone into the Firth of Forth led by a little cruiser called 'Cardiff'. Some of our battleships are gone in behind them. We are out here (about twenty of us) manoeuvring for May Island and we are now on the way in. The Revenge, the flagship of the First Battle Squadron is leading line. If there had been a battle we should also led. There have been about sixty super-dreadnoughts (English & American) out this morning. I think I'll try half an hour's snooze by which time we shall close in and search parties are going on the German ships to look for any signs of deception. It now that soon after the Germans met us they lowered red flag and flew only the Imperial flag. But soon like a white flag could be seen this morning and quite sure of it. Beatty on the Queen Elizabeth is still outside us somewhere.
3pm. They are all in and anchored and we surround search parties are just piped to go aboard them. It is the most wonderful sights I have ever seen in my life. Today ranks as the most historic day in the naval history of the world. I'm afraid I shall wake up directly and find a dream.
Hope you & Edward are well. I expect to see you.
Heaps of love & kisses.
PS Put this letter in a new envelope & ask mummy to put it away for you.