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Orkney commemorates Battle of Jutland

Orkney commemorates Battle of Jutland

A ceremony to commemorate the largest naval battle in history took place on Orkney at the weekend.

On May 31, 1916 the main fleets of the British and German navies clashed on the eastern side of the North Sea, at the Battle of Jutland.

The huge battle is the largest the Royal Navy has ever fought in and involved more than 110,000 sailors in 150 British and 100 German vessels.

More than 6,000 Navy sailors and 2,500 Germans were killed, with many others burned and wounded and 25 warships were sunk or irreparably damaged. But despite its losses the Navy retained command of the sea.

Now the stories of some of the men laid to rest at Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery on Hoy will go on display in interactive information panels at the cemetery, where 38 victims of the battle are buried.

Other panels detail information on those who fought in the battle, including Prince Albert – later to become King George VI – who wrote: “It was certainly a great experience to have been through and it shows that we are at war and that the Germans can fight if they like.”

The head of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Colin Kerr, unveiled the new panels at the ceremony on Saturday.

He said: “The new panels at Lyness will be an interactive way for new generations to learn about the final resting place of so many Commonwealth servicemen and women, in an engaging and meaningful way.

“I hope that the installation encourages many more people to visit this stunning and moving cemetery, and remember those who fell during both world wars.”

The panels at Lyness are among 500 being installed at commission gravesites worldwide.

They display information about the cemetery and a QR (Quick Response) code which, when scanned with a smartphone, provides more details including personal stories of some of those buried or commemorated there.

Among the stories revealed on the panels at Lyness are those of Walter Adams from Somerset, who survived the Battle of Jutland but just months later died when HMS Hampshire struck a German mine off Marwick Head, Orkney, on June 5, 1916 and sank within 15 minutes.

All but 12 men of more than 650 on board perished, including Lord Kitchener, who was travelling with a delegation to Russia.

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