Major exhibition marks Battle of Jutland centenary

Credit: National Museum of the Royal Navy

A major new exhibition opens to mark the centenary of the defining naval battle of the First World War, the Battle of Jutland.

Credit: National Museum of the Royal Navy

Taking place over 36 hours from May 31, 1916 to June 1, 1916, the Battle of Jutland was the defining naval battle of the First World War and the greatest naval battle ever involving 250 ships and 100,000 men.

In the centenary year, The National Museum of the Royal Navy will open the largest exhibition ever staged on the subject to commemorate the battle, which took place in the North Sea, near the coast of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula between the British Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet and  the Imperial German Navy’s High Seas Fleet.

Located at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War will highlight the essential role of the British Royal Navy in winning the First World War through never-before-seen displays and immersive galleries.

Credit: National Museum of the Royal Navy

For each of those brave men, there’s a story to be told. Working with IWM (Imperial War Museums), the exhibition will provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to view the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s collection with objects from 21 private lenders and five public organisations including personal effects from men and women involved in the battle.

The largest collection of Jutland artefacts ever assembled will give a sense of the scale of the battle, its human cost and the bravery of those who lost their lives with first-hand accounts from previously unseen diaries and letters.

The exhibition will also challenge the belief that the Battle of Jutland was a German victory. The British lost 6,094 seamen and the Germans 2,551 during the battle, but National Museum of the Royal Navy will present the battle as a British victory, tactically and strategically.

Most British losses were tactically insignificant, with the exception of HMS Queen Mary, and the Grand Fleet was ready for action again the next day. One month after the battle the Grand Fleet was stronger than it had been before sailing to Jutland. By contrast, so shaken were the Germans by the weight of the British response that they never again seriously challenged British control of the North Sea.

The exhibition will run for three years, until spring 2019.

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