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HMS Pembroke joins NATO allies for Jutland commemoration

HMS Pembroke joins NATO allies for Jutland commemoration
The 100th anniversary of one of the most fiercely fought naval battles in history has been commemorated at sea by Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Pembroke.

At 5.48pm on Tuesday, May 31, HMS Pembroke met at sea with four other ships from NATO nations – exactly 100 years after the sea battle commenced. Together they remembered those who lost their lives on both sides during the battle.  

As part of the remembrance service, three members of HMS Pembroke’s crew joined representatives from the other ships present on board German replenishment vessel Donau. There the sailors paid a poignant tribute to the 9,823 sailors from both sides who tragically lost their lives.

Sub Lieutenant Victor MacKay, one of those who represented the Royal Navy at the service, said, “It was an honour to be a part of the Jutland commemoration events with our NATO partners.

“Britain and Germany both suffered heavily at Jutland, but now we are working side-by-side as allies. It is great for both our navies to come together and remember those who lost their lives a century ago.”

Clyde-based mine hunter HMS Pembroke is currently working alongside NATO allies as part of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1).

Britain and Germany both suffered heavily at Jutland, but now we are working side-by-side as allies. It is great for both our navies to come together and remember those who lost their lives a century ago

Sub Lieutenant Victor MacKay

Made up of 14 NATO and partner nations, the group has most recently been operating in the Baltic Sea, clearing the explosive ordnance which is the legacy of two World Wars.  

During the First World War, the Royal Navy enjoyed control of the seas and used their numerical superiority to blockade German ports. 

Realising that they could not openly engage the British Fleet, the German Navy devised a plan to lure and trap a portion of the Grand Fleet in order to ultimately break the blockade.  

But German radio signals were intercepted and decoded by the British and sensing that something was afoot, British Admiral Sir John Jellicoe ordered the Grand Fleet to sail from bases at Rosyth, Scapa Flow and Cromarty.  

The German High Seas Fleet was led by Vice Admiral Reinhardt von Scheer and on May 31 the two navies clashed near the Jutland Peninsula.  

Both sides claimed victory. While the Royal Navy did not destroy the German High Sea Fleet, and lost more ships than their enemy, the Germans retreated to harbour and at the end of the battle the British retained command of the sea.

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