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Forces War Records Blog


Jutland Centenary: Latest events.

31st May 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. – Join in with the commemorations and Remembrance services that will be held across the UK with this round up of events.


Battle of Jutland Memorial Wood.

Working in association with the Royal Naval Association, the Woodland Trust are planting a new wood to pay tribute to those who fought and died in the Battle of Jutland.

Eight acres of their First World War Centenary Wood in Langley Vale, Surrey, will become a poignant living memorial to the British seamen and officers who perished in this great sea battle.

The memorial woodland will be created by the planting of saplings, each representing one of the lives lost and providing a growing and lasting tribute as a reminder of the sacrifices made. The wood will also have semi mature oaks planted, each representing the 14 ships sunk in the battle, as well as a sculptured centre-piece which will help visitors to the site learn about the significance of the event.

The wood, which will be planted in waves to represent the sea, will be divided into four groves, each named after those awarded the Victoria Cross for their part in the battle; Rear Admiral The Hon Edward Barry Stewart Bingham, Boy John Travers Cornwell, Major Francis John William Harvey and Commander Loftus William Jones.

"Jutland Wood will be an enduring and living memorial, not only to those who gave their lives during this one major battle but to commemorate all who died at sea during the First World War. For generations to come people of all ages will enjoy its presence, while remembering those sailors who did not return to land." - Woodland Trust Ambassador, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel

Planting will start in 2017 and the wood will be officially opened on 31st May, 2018. All dedications will be included in a commemorative book that will be housed at the wood’s visitor hub. The wood is part of the Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods Project which will create a wood in each nation of the UK.

The woods are located at Langley Vale, Surrey, Dreghorn Woods, near Edinburgh, Coed Ffos Las in Carmarthenshire and Brackfield Wood in County Londonderry.

Dedicate a tree at Jutland Wood and help keep their memories alive.

See further details via:


Queensferry commemoration for Battle of Jutland dead

A series of events will take place in South Queensferry and Rosyth, including a remembrance service, parade and schools’ exhibition. Rosyth – where the Jutland Battlecruiser force was based in 1916 – will kick-off commemorations followed by a second act of remembrance in South Queensferry Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Cemetery.

A closed ceremony, it will be attended by Jutland descendants, veterans and visiting schoolchildren from Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson described the occasion as a “time for remembrance and reconciliation”.

He added: “The battle itself may have lasted only a matter of hours, but close to 9,000 British and German lives were lost. It is so important to bring citizens together to remember our shared past and I am impressed by how the Leith, Queensferry and Fife communities have been so eager to play their part in the commemorations.”

A commemorative service will be held at South Queensferry Cemetery when a wreath will be laid to remember those who were lost. The public will line the streets at Hawes Pier, where The Band of HM Royal Marines (Scotland) will perform Beat the Retreat.

HMS Kent will then departure alongside the iconic vessel MV Fingal, dazzle painted by artist Ciara Phillips.


UK exhibition - Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth

The National Museum of the Royal Navy are remembering Jutland with an exhibition called 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that Won the War.

Treasures from the museum's own collections come together with key items from the Imperial War Museum, as well as five other public collections and more than 20 private lenders.

They range from British Commander Admiral Jellicoe’s dress uniform to the personal effects of men and women involved in the battle, such as the diary of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service Nurse, Mary Clarke, which tells of her service as a naval sister in the Grand Fleet hospital ship PLASSY

The museum has also launched an interactive map to create a record of the individuals involved in the Battle of Jutland, chart its impact and convey the ‘human’ story, highlighting its scale and significance to the First World War.

Launched with more than 6,000 entries from across Britain, the map is already showing the national impact of Jutland and providing a comprehensive record

36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War opens at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth on May 19.


HMS Caroline - open to the public

Incredibly, there is a surviving warship from the Battle; the light cruiser HMS Caroline, which after 90-odd years moored in Belfast’s Alexandra Dock, has been meticulously restored for the anniversary. 

The historic vessel opens to the public on June 1stand visitors are promised a unique journey back to a century ago and life at sea during the First World War.

Inside, a range of historic spaces including the Captain’s Cabin, Royal Marines Mess, Seamen’s Wash and the very important engine room, sick-bay and galley kitchen reveal what life at sea was like for more than 300 crew who served on board Caroline during 1916.

The June 1st opening is preceded on May 31st by a Commemoration of The Irish Sailor and Belfast’s Centenary of Battle of Jutland ceremonies and events at Alexandra Dock.

HMS Caroline opens to the public on June 1 2016. For tickets and information visit the NMRN website.


Jutland 1916: WWI’s Greatest Sea Battle at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

In London, at the National Maritime Museum, they are placing the battle within the wider context of the war by examining the action in an exhibition created with input from the grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, the commander of the British Grand Fleet.

Valued objects from the National Maritime Museum collection, including paintings, photographs, ship models, plans, sailor-made craft work and medals, go on display – many of them for the first time – in a show that brings individual stories and powerful personal testimonies to the fore.

The effect of the war on the British home front is also explored through the stories of the widows of the sailors killed in the battle who set up support networks and memorial funds.

The exhibition also explains how the battle was reported and received at the time, through photographs, newspaper clippings and quotes from official communiques and investigates how public sentiments in both Britain and Germany in the immediate aftermath of the battle eventually made it clear that neither could claim a decisive victory.


The Navy’s Air War: Jutland 1916 at the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum - opening May 18

At the Feet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, they are looking at Jutland as a pioneering era of aviation by telling the story of the only aircraft to fly during the battle, the Short Type 184, and its pilot, the fascinating Frederick Rutland, who became known as ‘Rutland of Jutland’.

Flying with his co-pilot observer, Assistant Paymaster G. S. Trewin, Rutland’s exploits during the battle included a daring sortie over the German fleet, ditching his plane to make repairs to a fuel line and then taxiing across the waves back to his carrier HMS Engandine. He later jumped into the water to save an injured crewman during the transfer of sailors from the sinking cruiser HMS Warrior.

He received the first of his two Distinguished Service Crosses and an Albert Medal for Lifesaving for his exploits in the battle.

But Rutland went from a hero in the First World War to being interned as a traitor in the Second World War after being recruited by the Japanese in the 1920s to covertly help them develop aircraft carriers in the interwar years.

As well as the chequered story of a hero turned renegade the museum also has a full size replica of another classic seaplane from the First World War, The Sopwith Pup, a single seater bi-plane, which the irascible Rutland flew from a gun turret platform of HMS Yarmouth in June 1917.


Jutland 1916 : Remembering the Forgotten Battle, at Hartlepool Museum, opening May 21

In Hartlepool in County Durham, the town’s museum is partnering with the National Museum of the Royal Navy for an exhibition exploring the part the communities of the North East played in the Battle of Jutland, via artefacts, ship models, audio-visuals, photographs and hands-on interactives for families, and a supporting event and activity programme.

Nearby, The Heugh Battery Museum, will have a three metre model of HMS Warspite on display for the anniversary.


Poppies: Weeping Window at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

As to the site of the Grand Fleet’s remote anchorage at Scapa Flow in Orkney, they are commemorating the anniversary of the battle with a moving remembrance.

The iconic 14-18 NOW poppy sculpture Weeping Window, developed from the famous installation that occupied the moat of the Tower of London in 2015, cascades out of a small high window of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, marking the start of the UK’s Battle of Jutland commemorations taking place in Orkney throughout May and June 2016.

The Cathedral will be at the heart of those commemorations, which includes a memorial service there on May 31, followed by a ceremony at the Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery in Hoy, where over 400 Commonwealth servicemen and German sailors from the First World War are buried.

During the course of the following week, a full commemorative programme of events will take place across Orkney, culminating on June 5 with an event to commemorate the loss of 737 men, including the Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener, when HMS Hampshire was sunk by a mine west of Orkney off Marwick Head.


Orkney's Museums remember Jutland and HMS Hampshire

The Scapa Flow Visitor Centre has a new First World War display that includes additional material relating to the Battle of Jutland and the sinking of HMS Hampshire.

At The Orkney Museum The Battle of Jutland, Scapa Flow and the War at Sea (until September 30 2016) focuses on the War at Sea and Orkney’s involvement in it with a new exhibition featuring the first-hand accounts of them the men and women whose lives we shaped by the presence of the British Fleet at Scapa Flow.

As well as photos and stories, the exhibition includes rarely-seen historic model boats from the museum’s collection together with artefacts loaned by the family of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe.

Over at Stromness Museum the focus shifts to the loss of HMS Hampshire in 1916 with an exhibition boasting a fascinating selection of artefacts, from 'death pennies' to memorial Lord Kitchener toby jugs charting the impact of the loss of the warship.

For more information on the loss of HMS Hampshire see the Orkney Heritage Society website  

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