BETHELL, Lt Maurice John, RN (1894-1916)

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Bethell's life and career, 1894-1932, and to his death in action, as First Lt, HMS NESTOR, 13 Destroyer Flotilla, Battle of Jutland, North Sea, 31 May 1916, including Birth Certificate and Certificate of Baptism, 1894; RN record and certificates relating to Bethell's naval career, 1907-1915; one Christmas card, 1913, and three letters to his sister Agatha [Hilda] Bethell, 1915, and eight letters to his mother, Hilda Mary Bethell, Lady Bethell, 1914-1916. Two letters from the Admiralty notifying the family of Lt Bethell's death, 1916; two letters to Hilda Mary Bethell, Lady Bethell, from Cdr Hon (Edward) Barry (Stewart) Bingham, Capt of HMS NESTOR, on Lt Bethell's heroism and on the loss of HMS NESTOR at the Battle of Jutland, 1916; two letters to Agatha [Hilda] Bethell from Lt William Stephen Richard King-Hall, HMS SOUTHAMPTON, on the Battle of Jutland and the sinking of HMS NESTOR, with extract from account of Jutland by Lt Harold Percy Keeley, HMS ATTACK, 1 Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet, Jun 1916; seven letters and telegrams of condolence, notably including HM King George V, Rt Hon Arthur James Balfour, First Lord of the Admiralty, V Adm Sir David Beatty, 1 Battlecruiser Sqn, Grand Fleet, Capt Wilmot Stuart Nicholson, HMS AURORA, and Capt Charles Edward Le Mesurier, HMS CALLIOPE, 1916-1918; three letters on the loss of HMS NESTOR and the death of Lt Bethell from Surgeon Probationer Alexander Joe, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, 1918. Edition of Supplement to the London Gazette, containing details of the award of a posthumous Mention in Despatches for Lt Bethell, 4 Oct 1918; nine letters between Adm Hon Sir Alexander Edward Bethell and the Admiralty relating to whether Lt Bethell's heroism was worthy of the award of the VC, Jan-Feb 1919; edition of Parliamentary debates, House of Commons (Hansard) containing questions asked in Parliament by Rt Hon Thomas James Macnamara, Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, relating to Lt Bethell's heroism during the Battle of Jutland, 12 Mar 1919. Photograph of Bethell [1914]; edition of Falklands, Jutland, and the Bight by Cdr Hon (Edward) Barry (Stewart) Bingham, RN (John Murray, London, 1919); official scroll and bronze plaque, sent to the next of kin of servicemen killed in action [1919]; certificate of Mention in Despatches, 1920. Copy of manuscript poem relating to the loss of HMS NESTOR by Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols entitled 'The souls of the righteous', 1931, with related correspondence from John Masefield, Poet Laureate, Cdr Hon (Edward) Barry (Stewart) Bingham, RN and Lt Dudley Rowe, RN, 1931.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1894; RN Cadet, Royal Naval College, Osborne, Isle of Wight, 1907-1909; RN Cadet, Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon, 1909-1911; served on Training Cruiser HMS CUMBERLAND, 1911; Midshipman, 1911; HMS BRITANNIA, Home Fleet, 1911; HMS DRAKE, Flagship of V Adm Sir George Fowler King-Hall, Commander-in-Chief, Australia, 1911-1913; HMS DREADNOUGHT, Flagship of V Adm Sir Charles John Briggs, commanding 4 Battle Sqn, Home Fleet, 1913-1914; acting Sub Lt, 1914; First Lt, HMS BONETTA, Devonport, 1914; Sub Lt, 1914; HMS AURORA, Devonport, 1914; served in World War One, 1914-1916; Lt, 1915; First Lt, HMS NESTOR, 13 Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet, Queensferry, Fife, Scotland, 1916; killed in action during the sinking of HMS NESTOR, 13 Destroyer Flotilla, Battle of Jutland, North Sea, 31 May 1916.


Arranged in sections as outlined above.

Access Information

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.

Acquisition Information

Placed in the Centre by the family in 1986.

Other Finding Aids

Summary guide available on-line at, and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the papers of Bethell's father, Adm Hon Sir Alexander Edward Bethell (1855-1932) (Ref: Bethell, A E), brother, Capt Edward Walter Bethell (1891-1918), 1 Bn, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regt), killed in action near Epehy, France, 21 Sep 1918 (Ref: Bethell, E W), sister, Mrs Agatha [Hilda] Marsden Smedley (1895-1985) (Ref: Marsden Smedley, A H), and brother in law, Cdr John Bertram Aubrey Marsden Smedley, RN ([1893]-1959) (Ref: Marsden Smedley, J B A).