Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO, PC (17 January 1871 – 11 March 1936) was a Royal Navy officer. After serving in the Mahdist War and then the response to the Boxer Rebellion, he commanded the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, a tactically indecisive engagement after which his aggressive approach was contrasted with the caution of his commander Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. He is remembered for his comment at Jutland that "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today", after two of his ships exploded. Later in the war he succeeded Jellicoe as Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet, in which capacity he received the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at the end of the war. He then followed Jellicoe's path a second time, serving as First Sea Lord—a position that Beatty held longer (7 years 9 months) than any other First Sea Lord in history. While First Sea Lord, he was involved in negotiating the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 in which it was agreed that the United States, Britain and Japan should set their navies in a ratio of 5:5:3, with France and Italy maintaining smaller ratio fleets of 1.75 each.
Beatty was born into an Anglo-Irish family at Howbeck Lodge in the parish of Stapeley, near Nantwich, Cheshire, on 17 January 1871. He was the second son of five children born to Captain David Longfield Beatty and Katherine (or Katrine) Edith Beatty (née Sadleir), both from Ireland: David Longfield had been an officer in the Fourth Hussars where he formed a relationship with Katrine, the wife of another officer.
Katrine had fair hair and blue eyes, soft wide lips, and overall an air of command. Beatty's father was 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall, dark haired with big hands and feet. Both David and his elder brother Charles were short, about 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) with small hands and feet. Charles was fair haired taking after his mother's features, whereas David had more the look of his father. After the affair between David Longfield and Katrine became known, David Longfield's father (Beatty's grandfather), David Vandeleur Beatty (1815–1881), arranged for his son to be posted to India in the hope that the scandalous relationship might end. David Longfield resigned from the regiment on 21 November 1865, with the honorary rank of Captain. He took up residence with Katrine in Cheshire and in 1869 sold his commission. David Longfield was unable to marry Katrine until Katrine had obtained a divorce on 21 February 1871, after the birth of their first two sons. Beatty's birth certificate recorded his mother's surname as Beatty, and his parents' eventual marriage at St Michael's Church in Liverpool was kept secret.
Beatty's early education concentrated on horsemanship, hunting and learning to be a gentleman. Beatty had a close relationship with his elder brother Charles, who became his ally against their oppressive and overbearing father. They remained close throughout life, so much so that the only time Beatty felt despair was at his brother's death. Beatty later wrote to his wife about Charles, we lived together, played together, rode together, fought together. His brothers would later join the British Army, but early on young David developed an interest in ships and the sea and expressed a desire to join the Royal Navy. In 1881 Beatty's grandfather died and David Longfield succeeded to the 18th century mansion, 'Borodale', outside Enniscorthy, in County Wexford. After retiring from the army David Longfield established a business training horses first in Cheshire and then at 'The Mount', near Rugby, Warwickshire. On inheriting and following the death of his wife at 'The Mount', David Longfield returned to Ireland abandoning the training business.