Prime minister David Cameron, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Princess Royal joined descendants of those who fought at the Battle of Jutland during services on Orkney to remember the 8,648 seamen who died in the most decisive sea engagement of the war.
The Royal Marines Band were joined by German military bands as crowds lined the streets for the arrival of the prime minister at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.
Guests and descendants later travelled by boat to Lyness Cemetery on the island of Hoy – the final resting place for more than 450 service personnel who died in the war, including sailors killed at Jutland.
The cemetery stands close to Scapa Flow, from where the British Grand Fleet set out for the Jutland Bank to repel the German High Seas Fleet attempting to break a British blockade.
A remembrance service was also held at sea where British and German naval representatives scattered poppies and forget-me-nots – the German flower of remembrance – into the North Sea at Jutland Bank where some of the downed ships still sit on the seabed.
A message from the Duke of Edinburgh, who was unable to attend on medical advice, was carried in the order of service for the commemorations.
He said: ‘War may be senseless and the Battle of Jutland may have been inconclusive, but there can be no doubt that their sacrifice was not in vain.’
Mr Cameron said in the order of service it was a reminder that the First World War was not only fought in battlefield trenches such as the Somme.
He said: ‘It is very moving that we are joined today by the descendants of some of those who served at sea during the war.
‘We stand together with them to pay our profound respects to their ancestors and to ensure that the events of a hundred years ago will be remembered and understood in a hundred years’ time.’