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Major commemoration plans for Battle of Jutland centenary

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is excited to announce its major contributions to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Jutland for 2016, highlighting the pivotal role played by the Royal Navy.

This follows the Government’s plans to mark the milestone which were released earlier this week.

Commemorative events for Jutland 2016 start in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with the formal opening, on May 24th, of a blockbuster exhibition “36 hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War.” As well as being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together material from across the UK and Germany, the exhibition is linked to the other significant NMRN launch in 2016, namely the opening of HMS Caroline in Belfast.


HMS Caroline is the last survivor of the battle and following the receipt of the largest Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded in Northern Ireland, the ship is being transformed into a world class heritage visitor attraction in time for the national centenary commemorations of the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 2016.


Head of Heritage Development at the NMRN, Nick Hewitt, said: “The Battle of Jutland is the Royal Navy’s defining moment in The Great War, and perhaps the largest sea battle in history. It’s the only event in the national First World War centenary programme which is wholly naval in character, and at the NMRN we’ve pulled out all the stops to put together a comprehensive and exciting programme of activity to mark it. As a naval historian, it’s a great privilege to be involved in a once-in-a-lifetime event like this, and I’m absolutely sure our visitors will be as engaged by this epic, tragic story as we are.”


Director General of the NMRN, Professor Dominic Tweddle, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. One hundred years after the fleets of the Imperial German and Royal Navies fought the defining naval battle of the First World War it is essential that we mark and commemorate the incredible sacrifice made. Our Great War at Sea 1914-1918 programme of exhibitions and events is succeeding in demonstrating that the First World War was also fought at sea around the world and that our Naval supremacy ensured that the war was won.”


Director of Visitor Experience at the NMRN, John Rawlinson, said: “The story of the Battle of Jutland is a dramatic one which few know about. However it was the battle that won the war. Whilst debate rages as to who was the decisive victor, one thing is sure, it changed the course of the First World War and ultimately led to the British defeating the Germans.”


The NMRN is working in partnership with the Imperial War Museum for the exhibition. This, with the opening of HMS Caroline, will make a massive contribution to visitors’ understanding about the battle; the personalities involved, the men who served and the impact it had on a war-torn Britain. The story will be told in real time and draw upon the latest exhibition design to engage and stimulate visitors of all ages.  Anyone who visits is sure to be inspired, but most importantly we will ensure that all those who served and died in the battle will remain in the forefront of people’s minds in the centenary year. 

36 hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that won the War, opens on 19th May 2016

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