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Woodland Trust joins forces with the Royal Naval Association to create Battle of Jutland memorial wood

Posted  21 April 2016 in News  
By Liz Robertson
Southampton HMS ratings and petty officers c1915-1916 NMRN

The Woodland Trust in association with the Royal Naval Association are to plant a new wood to pay tribute to the largest sea battle in military history.

Eight acres of the Trust’s First World War Centenary Wood in Langley Vale, Surrey, will become a poignant living memorial to the Battle of Jutland – a battle which defined the role of the Navy for the remainder of the conflict.  6,097 British seamen and officers perished, more than 670 personnel were wounded and a further 177 were captured.

The battle was fought by the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet against the Imperial German Navy’s High Seas Fleet from 31 May to 1 June 1916 in the North Sea, near the coast of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula. It was the only full-scale clash of battleships in the First World War.

The memorial woodland will be created by the planting of saplings, each representing one of the lives lost and providing a growing and lasting tribute as a reminder of the sacrifices made. The wood will also have semi mature oaks planted, each representing the 14 ships sunk in the battle, as well as a sculptured centrepiece which will help visitors to the site learn about the significance of the event.

The wood will be divided into four groves, each named after those awarded the Victoria Cross for their part in the battle; Rear Admiral The Hon Edward Barry Stewart Bingham, Boy John Travers Cornwell, Major Francis John William Harvey and Commander Loftus William Jones.

Woodland Trust Ambassador, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel said: 

“Jutland Wood will be an enduring and living memorial, not only to those who gave their lives during this one major battle but to commemorate all who died at sea during the First World War.  For generations to come people of all ages will enjoy its presence, while remembering those sailors who did not return to land.”

People can get involved in the project by dedicating a tree in Jutland Wood as a lasting, unique and very personal way to give thanks to all those who made sacrifices during the First World War.

Planting will start in 2017 and the wood will be officially opened on 31st May 2018. All dedications will be included in a commemorative book that will be housed at the wood’s visitor hub.

The wood is part of the Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods Project which will create a wood in each nation of the UK. The woods are located at Langley Vale, Surrey, Dreghorn Woods, near Edinburgh, Coed Ffos Las in Carmarthenshire and Brackfield Wood in County Londonderry. The First World War Centenary Woods project is supported by the Trust’s lead partner Sainsbury’s, helping to plant millions of native trees to commemorate the First World War.

If you would like to help create this living tribute, you can dedicate a tree at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/jutland

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