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Jutland battle relatives urged to share memories to mark centenary

Published 22/05/2016

HMS Invincible blowing up during the Battle of Jutland (PA/MoD)
HMS Invincible blowing up during the Battle of Jutland (PA/MoD)

Relatives of the seamen who fought in the Battle of Jutland have been asked to share their stories to mark the centenary of the largest naval battle of the First World War.

More than 8,000 men died off the coast of Jutland, in Denmark, in the 36-hour battle which began on May 31 1916.

The British Grand Fleet sailed from Rosyth, Cromarty and Scapa Flow to repel the German High Seas Fleet fighting to break a British blockade.

Both sides claimed victory as the Germans lost 11 ships and Britain lost 14, but the German surface fleet failed to significantly challenge the British again during the war.

To mark the centenary, Imperial War Museums (IWM) is seeking contributions for a permanent digital memorial, Lives of the First World War.

TV broadcaster and naval historian Dan Snow said: "Jutland is one of the greatest sea battles of all time. It decisively affected the outcome of the First World War and thus the course of the twentieth century.

"It was the apogee of 400 years of naval warfare which saw battleships fire guns at each other; the last major battle before the advent of aircraft changed war at sea forever.

"The experience of the men involved or the terrible fate of those sailors trapped on doomed ships deserve to be remembered.

"Digital memorials like Lives of the First World War help to ensure that they will be."

The memorial currently includes a memoir from Signalman Reuben Poole, who was among the seamen rescued from the stricken HMS Warrior and taken to Scotland for recovery on June 2 1916.

He said: "The wounded were passed across the starboard after gun turret to the (HMS) Engadine.

"One unfortunate wounded man fell between the two crashing ships.

"Bravely, Lieutenant FJ Rutland, the seaplane pilot of Engadine, risked being crushed to death and went over the side to rescue the wounded man.

"The Albert medal was awarded to Lieutenant Rutland for his gallant act.

"To me Scotland was a beautiful sight after the horrors of the battle."

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