Battle of Jutland – 31st May 1916

The Battle of Jutland took place from 31 May – 1 June 1916, in the North Sea, near the coast of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. It was the largest naval battle of the First World War which incurred a great number of losses for the British.

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Map of Jutland, 1916 Courtesy of Grandiose and Wikipedia Commons

By 1916, the British Navy had successfully put up a blockade of Germany, whose coastline made it relatively easy to enforce. Admiral Reinhardt von Scheer, Commander of the German High Seas Fleet hoped to end the blockade by engaging with Britain’s Navy. The British Grand Fleet, along with a fleet based at Scapa Flow faced a German fleet of 40 ships. Although losses on the British side were great (14 ships and more than 6000 lives), the Germans never challenged the British Navy in the North Sea again.

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Press photograph of Jack Cornwell VC, posed by his brother George c. 1916, No Known Copyright Restrictions

Jack Cornwell was serving aboard the HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland, and died as a result of his injuries when his gun crew were shelled by the German fleet. Despite his injuries, Jack remained at his post until medical assistance reached him. He died at Grimsby hospital on the 2nd June. He was buried at Manor Park in Essex. After his death, Jack was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. His grave recently received Grade II listed status.

Local man George Benjamin Baldwin, of Kew Foot Road, served on board the HMS Queen Mary in 1916. In 1907 George married Edith Hitchings and by 1911 they were recorded as living at 55 Railway Side in Barnes with their two children. George, along with 1265 crew, was lost when the HMS Queen Mary took part in the Battle of Jutland.

Featured image: Explosion of the British battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary 1916, No Known Copyright Restrictions

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