UK government unveils Battle of Jutland centenary plans

Jutland ships

Warships from Britain and Germany will lay wreaths in the North Sea to mark the commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 2016.

Fought off the Danish coast, the battle was one of a relatively few full-scale naval engagements to take place during the First World War.

It cost the lives of around 6,000 British sailors and almost 2,500 of their German counterparts.

Events across the UK

Other events for 2016 include a memorial service at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall (Orkney) and commemorations at the Royal Navy Cemetery at Lyness, on the island of Hoy.

In Belfast, the light cruiser HMS Caroline, the last surviving Jutland warship, will open as a visitor attraction.

Speaking about the plans, UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: ‘These commemorations will be an opportunity for the country to come together to honour those who lost their lives during the Battle of Jutland.

‘Behind the scenes of conflict there are also the contribution of Scotland and the people of Orkney who supported the war effort – we must remember their sacrifice too and ensure their stories are told for generations to come.’

Clash of Dreadnoughts

Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, added: ‘The First World War remains characterised by imagery of the trenches of the Western Front. Yet the sea was Britain’s lifeline and the supremacy of the Royal Navy was crucial to national survival.

‘Today, the strategic effects of navies are just as relevant across oceans and onto the land. So, the Royal Navy works in close partnership with navies around the world to keep the seas safe for trade and to uphold security, stability and the rule of law.

‘It is right, a century after Jutland – the largest and last clash between Dreadnoughts, that we join together to remember those lost from both sides.’

To read more about the restoration of HMS Caroline, click here.

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