Battle of Jutland centenary: Relatives invited to free events

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image captionMore than 6,000 British personnel and 2,500 Germans died in the battle in the North Sea

Relatives of sailors who served in World War One have been invited to take part in events marking the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.

More than 6,000 British personnel and 2,500 Germans died in the battle in the North Sea between 31 May and 1 June 1916.

Free events will take place on the Orkney Islands, where the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet was based, on 31 May 2016.

These will include a cathedral service and a commemorative event.

The battle, which happened near the coast of Denmark's Jutland Peninsula, involved about 250 ships.

'Heroism and sacrifice'

A service will be held at Britain's most northerly cathedral, St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney Mainland, followed by a commemorative event at the Royal Navy Cemetery at Lyness, on the island of Hoy.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said the Battle of Jutland was "the biggest and most brutal naval battle" of World War One.

"We want to commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of all who served," he said.

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, whose grandfather fought in the battle, said it was "only right" there was a chance to remember relatives "who fought so bravely".

Other events elsewhere include a wreath-laying ceremony at sea on Jutland Bank by British and German ships and the laying of commemorative paving stones in honour of the four Victoria Cross recipients from the battle.

Relatives have until Friday 22 January to apply for tickets for the events in Orkney from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Battle facts:

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  • The British lost 14 ships and the Germans lost 11
  • The British flagship was HMS Iron Duke which was under the command of Admiral Jellicoe
  • It is also the battle which the Queen's father - the then Prince Albert, Duke of York - took part in. He was mentioned in despatches for his action as a turret officer aboard HMS Collingwood
  • Both sides claimed victory

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