Dreadnought battleships of the Grand Fleet patrolling the North Sea (Photo: National Museum of the Royal Navy).

Jutland Centenary - UK navy museum to mark 'defining naval battle' of First World War

Posted on centenarynews.com on 23 October 2015
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Britain's museum dedicated to the Royal Navy has announced plans for a major exhibition marking the centenary of the Battle of Jutland in 2016.

"36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that Won the War" is described as a 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity to bring together material from across the UK and Germany.

The exhibition will open at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), Portsmouth, in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of Jutland at the end of May.

Together with the restored HMS Caroline* in Belfast, also opening next year, the exhibition aims to make a 'massive contribution' to public understanding of the battle.

NMRN's Head of Heritage Development, Nick Hewitt, said: "The Battle of Jutland is the Royal Navy's defining moment in the Great War, and perhaps the largest sea battle in history.

"It’s the only event in the (UK) national First World War centenary programme which is wholly naval in character, and at the NMRN we’ve pulled out all the stops to put together a comprehensive and exciting programme of activity to mark it."

The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth's historic dockyard (Photo: Centenary News)

More than 100,000 sailors and 250 warships from the British and German navies were involved in the clash in the North Sea on May 31st/June 1st 1916.

NMRN says its exhibition will  explore the personalities involved, the men who served and the impact it had on a war-torn Britain.

"The story will be told in real-time and draw upon the latest exhibition design to engage and stimulate visitors of all ages," the museum explains.

Ensigns flown by Royal Navy warships, some bearing the scars of battle, are among the historic exhibits being prepared for display.

More than 6,000 British sailors and 2,500 German crewmen lost their lives at the Battle of Jutland. Although the Royal Navy suffered greater losses of men and ships, the German High Seas Fleet didn't again mount a major challenge.  

'Incredible sacrifice'

NMRN Director General, Professor Dominic Tweddle, said: "One hundred years after the fleets of the Imperial German and Royal Navies fought the defining naval battle of the First World War it is essential that we mark and commemorate the incredible sacrifice made.

"Our Great War at Sea 1914-1918 programme of exhibitions and events is succeeding in demonstrating that the First World War was also fought at sea around the world and that our naval supremacy ensured that the war was won."

'36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that Won the War' will formally open on May 19th 2016 at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The exhibition is being produced in partnership with Imperial War Museums (IWM).

*HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship of the Battle of Jutland, is in the care of NMRN. Visitors will see the bridge with its original compasses and telegraphs, the engine rooms with four Parsons turbines still in position and many other aspects of the ship’s living quarters which have remained unchanged in 100 years. HMS Caroline is being restored in Belfast with an £11.5 million grant from the UK heritage Lottery Fund.

Also in Centenary News:

UK Government announces Jutland Centenary commemorations. 

Source: National Museum of the Royal Navy

Images courtesy of NMRN (Dreadnoughts); Centenary News (NMRN building)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News