31 May 2016
One hundred years on we're remembering the heroes of the Battle of Jutland - the major naval battle of the First World War.
The Battle of Jutland was the major naval battle of the First World War. It was fought from 31 May 1916 to 1 June 1916 and more than 6,000 British sailors lost their lives. Now a new online memorial map from The National Museum of the Royal Navy is helping people to share their ancestors’ war experiences and commemorate their service. In Family Tree July, expert maritime historian Dr Simon Wills speaks to digital project manager Casey Keppel-Compton. Here's just a taster, but you can get the full interview in the magazine, available from 8 June.
Q Wills: Why do you think people have been so interested in the map?
A Casey: Many people have no idea about Jutland, so this battle is a story that’s not been told, and families of those involved want it told. When you land on the map you can see clusters of sailors around places like Portsmouth, but as you zoom out you can see how the whole of the UK and Ireland was involved, because the sailors came from everywhere. The map has got people curious: we had about 1,000 web hits a second on the first day of launch! The photos add to it too – when you can see an image of a 14- or 15-year-old cadet going off to war, and read about the story of his life, it makes it all so real and personal. I’ve been involved with the project right since the beginning, but even I was shocked one day when I read down the list of the crew of HMS Indefatigable and realised that 1,000 men had died on that ship alone. All those families left behind, lives cut short…
Q Wills: Are you still interested in people contributing information about their family?
A Casey: Yes please! We’re always keen for family historians to add their stories and photos and to volunteer to help. If people go to the website, jutland.org.uk, they can add photos or information remotely themselves. (There’s also a ‘contact’ feature at the bottom of the page if you want to send an email.)
Find out more about this valuable commemorative WW1 project in the July issue of Family Tree, on sale 8 June-5 July 2016. Download the issue from Pocketmags or subscribe and save.