Royal Australian Navy commemorates Battle of Juttland

The Royal Australian Navy has marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland with a commemorative service at the Navy Memorial in Canberra.

The decisive First World War naval engagement – the largest of the war – was fought in the late afternoon of 31 May 1916 and continued until the early hours of 1 June.

Around 250 ships and tens of thousands men engaged in a series of actions in the North Sea near the coast of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula.

Head Navy Capability, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, hosted the service which was attended by the British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Menna Rawlings and members of the Diplomatic Community.

Rear Admiral Mead paid his respects to the Australians who served in the British Grand Fleet as well as officers and sailors from Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany.

“Today we salute those who served at Jutland and we honour their memories not only through commemoration of their service but also through remembrance of the enduring lessons that Jutland and other battles have taught us,” Rear Admrial Mead said.

More than 10 Australians perished in the Battle of Jutland. The family of Sub Lieutenant Joseph Mack, who was killed in Royal Navy ship HMS Defence, were in Canberra for the event said they were proud of the achievements of the Australians.

The battle arose out of Germany’s intention to isolate and overwhelm a section of the British Grand Fleet and disrupt British shipping off Denmark and Norway. British intelligence had warned of the sortie and the Grand Fleet took the opportunity to intercept in an attempt to destroy a substantial part of the German High Seas Fleet.

In the battle, Britain and her allies lost 14 ships and over 6,000 men while Germany lost 11 ships and more than 3,000 men.

Both sides claimed victory and the outcome of the battle is still a topic of many a discussion. However, it is widely considered a tactical defeat for Britain but a strategic defeat for Germany.

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