Plans to remember Mansfield heroes from the Battle of Jutland

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A Mansfield vicar is calling on relatives of sailors who lost their lives in the only great sea battle of Word War I.

Later this month will see the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, in which 6,000 British men and 2,500 Germans were killed.

Former Navy man, Revd Paul Bentley, of St Lawrence Church, Skerry Hill, is planning a service and is appealing to the descendants of those who took part in the engagement to attend.

Revd Bentley said: “We have eight people from Mansfield who died in this battle that we know of, and four of them were actually from St Lawrence’s Parish, so I’ve offered to put together a service of remembrance.

“The battle only took 36 hours but it started on May 31 so it is appropriate.

“If there any people whose relatives died in the battle, or even from those who returned, they are most welcome. We believe there must be descendants of them.”

The battle, which took place off the Danish coast started at 4pm on May 31 and lasted for little over 36 hours, but led to the sinking of 250 ships.

Despite both sides claiming victory, and Britain losing more men, the damage sustained to the German fleet meant they would be unable to fight another major sea battle during the Great War.

“It was an important battle in that it stopped the German fleet from harassing the trade and commerce coming in to Britain,” said Revd Bentley.

“Although we lost 6,000 men in 36 hours, it meant that Britain still ruled the waves.”

Those to have perished from Mansfield included John Allsop, 23, of Harcourt Street, Ernest Blake, 24, of Broxtowe Drive, Thomas Dove, 25, of Gladstone Street, John Henry Hassall, 29, of Foster Street, William Henry Heaton, 44, of Haywood Street, Frederick James Richards, 24, of Garden Road, Charles Leeson, 37, of Mansfield Woodhouse and Joseph Edward Wright, whose age and address are unknown.

The service will be held at 7pm at St Lawrence Church on May 31 and will be attended by relatives of Jack Cornwell from Essex, who died aged just 16 during the battle but became one of the youngest people ever to receive the Victoria Cross.

He carried on firing at the enemy from HMC Chester despite being mortally wounded.