Almost a century ago more than 6000 British sailors perished in the biggest maritime conflict of the First World War.
The Battle of Jutland secured Britain’s naval supremacy but came at a high price.
A gathering took place at South Queensferry yesterday for the launch of commemorations marking the poignant role of the Firth of Forth.
Veterans and sea cadets joined the city’s Lord Provost and the Depute Provost of Fife at Hawes Pier ahead of official activities on May 28.
A series of events will take place in South Queensferry and Rosyth, including a remembrance service, parade and schools’ exhibition. Rosyth – where the Battlecruiser force was based in 1916 – will kick-off commemorations followed by a second act of remembrance in South Queensferry Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Cemetery, where 40 casualties from the battle are remembered or buried.
A closed ceremony, it will be attended by Jutland descendants, veterans and visiting schoolchildren from Wilhelmshaven in Germany.
Lord Provost Donald Wilson described the occasion as a “time for remembrance and reconciliation”.
He added: “The battle itself may have lasted only a matter of hours, but close to 9000 British and German lives were lost. It is so important to bring citizens together to remember our shared past and I am impressed by how the Leith, Queensferry and Fife communities have been so eager to play their part in the commemorations.”
A commemorative service will be held at South Queensferry Cemetery when a wreath will laid to remember those who were lost. The public will line the streets at Hawes Pier, where The Band of HM Royal Marines (Scotland) will perform Beat the Retreat.
HMS Kent will then take departure alongside the iconic vessel MV Fingal, dazzle painted by artist Ciara Phillips.
Yvonne McEwen, director of Scotland’s War Project, has been working with pupils from South Queensferry Community High for more than two years to research and record the lives and stories behind the men buried in the 188 Commonwealth War Graves in the local cemetery. This has resulted in the Roll of Honour that will be presented during the Jutland Centenary Commemorations.
She said: “We believe this – along with the exhibitions and public talks taking place – is a fitting legacy for those that lost their lives at the Battle of Jutland 100 years ago.”