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Danes plan stone figures in memorial park for Jutland dead

Jutland Memorial Denmark
11 February 2016
These solemn granite figures are your first look at a unique memorial to the greatest naval battle fought in European waters

Come the beginning of June, stone figures will cluster around 26 granite pillars in Jutland, Denmark – each figure representing a British or German sailor lost in the Battle of Jutland exactly 100 years earlier.

The dunes outside the Danish fishing village of Thyborøn have been chosen as the site, around 90 miles east of the main site of the battle, is probably the closest location on land.

The sound of the guns of 250 British and German ships belching fire and fury on May 31-June 1 1916 could be heard along a 100-mile stretch of the Danish coast which gave the battle its British name (the Germans chose Skagerrak after the sea between Denmark and Norway).

Last year Danish diver and historian Gert Norman Andersen opened the Sea War Museum in Thyborøn with the emphasis on the fighting in the North Sea between 1914 and 1918.

He’s been fascinated by the battle for more than half a century, has dived on some of the wrecks, and is determined to see “a final, respectful closure to the world’s greatest naval battle, a monument on neutral ground – the park does not distinguish between British and German sailors”.

a final, respectful closure to the world’s greatest naval battle, a monument on neutral ground – the park does not distinguish between British and German sailors

With Danish sculptor Paul Cederdorff he has come up with the idea of a permanent memorial created honouring the sailors killed at Jutland in the rugged windswept dunes in Thyborøn.

Twenty-six 3½-metre stone obelisks will mark each ship which was lost – with the 26th standing for the more than 600 men killed on ships which survived the battle. 

Eventually, around these pillars of remembrance there will be more than 8,000 individual 1.2-metre-high stones. A stone for each victim.

The memorial is the vision of, marine explorer and founder of the Danish Sea War Musuem and it is, in fact, Denmark’s neutrality that gives the Sea War Museum a very special freedom to pass on the story of a great naval conflict without bias or propaganda.

The memorial park has the backing of Nick Jellicoe and Reinhard Scheer-Hennings, grandsons of the men who led the British and German fleets into battle that fateful Wednesday afternoon in 1916.

They say the monument will result in a “memorial that the fallen of Jutland have always deserved” – and so are urging descendants of those who lost their lives in the battle, as well as people and organisations interested in the battle, to donate – either to help pay for the individual figures, or even to sponsor a ‘ship’ and its ‘company’.

More details can be found at Jutland1916.com or by contacting Mr Andersen at [email protected].

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