Monday, 30 May 2016


We are in the middle of a series of 100th anniversaries of significant events from the First World War.

This weekend saw commemorations for the inhumane savagery that took place at Verdun in France, and July 1st sees the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme

The next 2 days is the anniversary of the war's only major sea battle, the Battle of Jutland. Fought on May 31st - June 1st 1916, the vast juggernauts of the British and German navies met off the coast of Denmark. It proved to be a rather inconclusive affair, but probably proved that neither side could ever hope to totally defeat each other navies.

The most famous part of it all however, was the story of the Victoria Cross winner, Jack Cornwell. The 16-year-old, who stood by his post when all were lost around him. The gun he was still protecting when he was found dead is now in the Imperial War Museum.

My own Grandfather was serving in the navy at the time, having signed up for a 15-year stint in 1914, just before war was declared. He was stationed in Scotland at the time, and so would more than likely either have been there or on the fringes of the battle. Apparently he did speak of it, although sadly I never met him to ask about it.

I've got two interesting items to show you from the battle, first is a commemorative medal made in 1916 by Spink & Son. They were sold to raise money for naval orphanages.

And a very rare original photograph taken from H.M.S. Nottingham at 5pm on May 31st 1916. I bought it at an antiques fair in the Midlands some 20 years ago, and have treasured it ever since.

No comments:

Post a comment