WE MUST never forget their ultimate sacrifice for our island nation.
That was the poignant sentiment at a civic church service in Emsworth to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland.
We must never forgetPippa Nalder
Around 200 people gathered at St James’ Church to remember the lives lost in the battle, including 14 men from Emsworth.
There was sombre silence as the 14 men’s names were read out by Pippa Nalder – whose father Kenneth Wilson was 16 in the battle and lived to tell the tale to his children – and Pippa’s husband Mike Nalder.
Pippa, 73, of Emsbrook Drive, Emsworth, had brought along a letter her father penned shortly after the battle while serving on HMS Minotaur.
Pippa told The News: ‘We should remember people who gave their lives and the freedom they assured us.
‘We must never forget. They fought for our freedom. Our country is very special.’
During the service, the leader of Havant Borough Council, Mike Cheshire, the former Commanding Officer of HMS Victory, spoke of the terrible loss of human life and the 176,000 tons of shipping being lost over 36 hours.
He presented a plaque from HMS Iron Duke – the flagship of the Grand Fleet – that has been bestowed to the people of Havant borough.
Bedhampton Councillor David Smith told the congregation how the outcome of the battle had always been a matter of controversy.
But he added: ‘It was a victory that certainly decided the outcome of the First World War.’
Cllr Smith read a message from Nick Jellicoe, the grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Commanding Officer of the Grand Fleet at Jutland.
He said his grandfather’s thoughts were with the people of Emsworth and the Havant borough.
The message added: ‘8,600 men did not return to their families, including 14 men from Emsworth.
‘It is their sacrifice we turn our thoughts to today.’
There was a moving speech from Victoria Edwards, who is a recipient of the Cornwell Scout Medal, which honours the courage of Jack Cornwell, a 16-year-old gunner who died in the battle and was the youngest-ever recipient of the Victoria Cross.
She said: ‘Jack Cornwell showed amazing strength by staying at his post even though he was mortally wounded.’
A sermon given by The Rev David-Stephen Butler said that the main emotion for the sailors during the 36 hours of the battle would have been ‘fear and apprehension’.
The Mayor of Havant borough, Councillor Faith Ponsonby, highlighted the young age of the sailors and them being ‘terrified amid the smoke of the bangs, fire and explosion’ and ‘being plunged into icy seas’.
She said we should remember the ‘wives left to bring up children’ and the children who grew up without a father.