A Century Ago Today – Lest we Forget

 Jutland 1916: WWI’s Greatest Sea Battle, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10, until November 2018

Model of HMS Queen Mary (1912) © National Maritime Museum, London

Model of HMS Queen Mary (1912)
© National Maritime Museum, London

 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.

Admiral Sir John Jellicoe (1859-1936) © National Maritime Museum, London

Admiral Sir John Jellicoe (1859-1936)
© National Maritime Museum, London

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.

Imperial German Naval Ensign from SMS 'Moltke' 1912 that was present at Jutland. © National Maritime Museum, London

Imperial German Naval Ensign from SMS ‘Moltke’ 1912 that was present at Jutland.
© National Maritime Museum, London

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.

British Naval Ensign used as a battle ensign by HMS 'Chester' 1915 at the Battle of Jutland 31 May 1916. © National Maritime Museum, London

British Naval Ensign used as a battle ensign by HMS ‘Chester’ 1915 at the Battle of Jutland 31 May 1916.
© National Maritime Museum, London

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.

 

http://www.rmg.co.uk

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