Jutland 1916: WWI’s Greatest Sea Battle, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10, until November 2018
Today marks the centenary of the only major naval battle of World War One – ‘Der Tag’. Some two hundred and seventy nine ships were involved in the Battle of Jutland on the 31st May 1916 and it was a fight that resulted in no clear victory but saw serious losses of ships and the loss of more than eight thousand five hundred lives.
This fascinating, but sobering, exhibition has been brought together with the help of the grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, the commander of the British Grand Fleet. Through photographs, ship models, paintings, medals and film the visitor sees the battle in context and the impact of its aftermath.
For example the 14ft long shipbuilder’s model of HMS Queen Mary, which was one of the largest British battle cruisers in the fight was destroyed by enemy fire and out of its 1,266 strong crew only 18 survived.
On a more cheerful note I met the grandson of Marcus Bailey, a West Indian, who had served on HMS Chester, and despite the ship being hit by 17 shells, wounding and killing 78 men, he survived. Visitors will see Bailey’s image thanks to the photograph his grandson loaned to the exhibition.