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HMS Bulwark arrives in Orkney for Jutland 100

HMS Bulwark arrives for Jutland 100
HMS Bulwark arrives alongside in Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands, to take part in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, taking place in and around Scapa Flow.

The Devonport-based amphibious assault ship arrived with the Band of the Royal Marines, Portsmouth (The Royal Band), and the Royal Navy’s ceremonial Royal Guard embarked.

Fleet Amphibious Flagship HMS Bulwark will be supporting the Jutland 100 national commemorations at Kirkwall and at Lyness Cemetery with her sailors, marines and landing craft playing a key role in the events, as well as supporting the embarked forces.  

A remembrance service involving about 100 descendants and 400 guests will take place in St Magnus’ Cathedral, Orkney and the subsequent Service of Remembrance at Hoy Naval Cemetery, Lyness will be attended by about 450 people, again including descendants of those who fought. 

Captain James Parkin, the Captain of HMS Bulwark said, “I am honoured that HMS Bulwark is able to play such a significant part in the Jutland 100 commemorations, to remember the sacrifice of those before us.” 

Prior to arriving in Kirkwall, HMS Bulwark took the opportunity to hold a service of remembrance in Scapa Flow, the anchorage where so much of the British Fleet departed for battle, to mark the centenary.

I am honoured that HMS Bulwark is able to play such a significant part in the Jutland 100 commemorations, to remember the sacrifice of those before us

Captain James Parkin, Commanding Officer of HMS Bulwark

The solemn ceremony included wreath laying, readings of first hand accounts of the battle from both sides and was attended by over 600 people, including a group of German Navy sailors from the frigate FGS Schleswig-Holstein, as well as cadets and dignitaries from Orkney and the Shetland Isles.

Chef Joshua Clark, 17, the youngest sailor on the ship, who read the famous lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem ‘For the Fallen’, said afterwards, “I was fascinated to hear of the sacrifice of Boy Cornwell VC who at only 16 years old remained at his gun when others around him had fallen”.

Oberleutnant zur See Christoph Sperling, from the German Navy, who laid a wreath alongside the Captain, said, “I was proud to take part in this shared commemoration marking the loss of life from both sides”

Jutland saw the loss of 8645 men (British 6,094 and German 2,551) and while the Royal Navy did not destroy the German High Seas Fleet, arguably the battle set the strategic conditions which undermined the German economy, drove the US into the war and, ultimately, led to victory.   

As then as is now, Britain is a nation dependent on the sea - on the freedom to use the sea as a highway for trade on which the nation’s prosperity and security depends.  

Following the Jutland commemorations, the ship will continue preparations to lead the Royal Navy’s Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) deployment later in the year.

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