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The War at Sea Remembered 100 Years On: National Commemorations Announced for Battle of Jutland

Posted  17 May 2016 in News  
By Hannah Clark
L-R: Queensferry Sea Cadets Murray George, Ethan Megson and Amy Hallas look out over the Firth of Forth ahead of the Battle of Jutland centenary commemorations in South Queensferry and Rosyth on Saturday 28 May

Local school children from South Queensferry High School joined Royal Navy veterans and Queensferry & District Sea Cadets on Tuesday May 10 to mark 100 years since the Battle of Jutland, and launch the national commemorations for the First World War’s biggest naval battle.

A remembrance service, parade, community event, a Dazzle Ship and schools’ exhibition are just some of the events taking place on Saturday 28 May as part of the Scottish Government’s national First World War Centenary commemorations. The programme of events will commemorate the contribution and sacrifices made by all those who served during the war’s largest naval battle where more than 6,000 British sailors lost their lives, and also highlight the important role of the Forth during the war.

The events have been organised by a number of different parties working together, including the Royal Navy, Queensferry Ambition, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Edinburgh Art Festival, 14-18 NOW, The University of Edinburgh’s Scotland’s War project, and both The City of Edinburgh and Fife Councils.

Rosyth, where the battlecruiser force was based in 1916, will mark the start of the commemorations, and will be attended by HRH The Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence attending as a Commissioner for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the First Ministers of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and the Secretary of State for Scotland. A wreath-laying service will take place followed by an act of remembrance in Rosyth Parish Church.

An exhibition commemorating Rosyth’s role in the Battle of Jutland and celebrating the centenary of both Rosyth Garden City and the Dockyard will be revealed, before the community come together to remember Fife’s role in the conflict. The exhibition, organised by Rosyth Garden City Association, also involves four local primary schools.

Members of the public are thereafter invited to line the streets at Hawes Pier, where The Band of HM Royal Marines (Scotland) will perform Beat the Retreat. HMS Kent will take departure alongside the iconic vessel MV Fingal, dazzle painted by artist Ciara Phillips.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant, Donald Wilson, said: “The Battle of Jutland was the biggest naval clash of the First World War and left a tragic legacy along the Firth of Forth. The battle itself may have lasted only a matter of hours, but close to nine thousand British and German lives were lost.”

“Our commemorative events on Saturday 28 May will mark close to 100 years since the tragedy. It will be a time for remembrance and reconciliation. It is so important to bring citizens together to remember our shared past and I am impressed by how the Leith, Queensferry and Fife communities have been so eager to play their part in the commemorations. It is touching that our events will be attended by school children from Germany as well as Scotland who wish to pay their respects.

“I hope to see the Hawes Pier lined with young and old, locals and visitors alike and of course, descendants of those people lost in the battle. The atmosphere will be palpable.”

Colin Kerr, Director for External Relations at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said: “The centenary of the Battle of Jutland is the perfect time for us to remember those who lost their lives in one of the most important, but little known, battles of the First World War.

Find out more about this event and other commemorations on the Scotland WW100 website.

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