Northern Ireland

Battle of Jutland: Belfast hosts all-Ireland commemoration to World War One Irish sailors

Belfast is hosting a special all-island commemoration for Irish sailors who died in World War One.

It is bringing together British, Irish and German naval representatives, along with 200 descendants of those killed.

The event is being held on the centenary of the Battle of Jutland, the biggest and deadliest sea battle of the war, when 6,000 men in the Royal Navy were killed - 358 were Irish.

The commemoration is taking place on HMS Caroline.

Image copyright PA
Image caption More than 350 Irishmen died during the Battle of Jutland

It is the only remaining ship from the 1916 battle off the coast of Denmark.

Representatives of the Royal Navy and Irish Navy are in attendance at Tuesday's commemoration.

Commodore Martin Quinn of the Royal Navy said it was a "huge day for the maritime community in general".

"In 1916 of course Ireland wasn't partitioned so we were all one nation at that point," he said.

"Many thousands of Irishmen served at sea including the merchant marine, the fishermen. The community involvement with the sea has been huge for 100-odd years and for thousands before that, so this is a massive day for all of us."

Image caption Commodore Hugh Tully of the Irish Naval Service and Commodore Martin Quinn of the Royal Navy attended the event

Commodore Hugh Tully, who is head of the Irish Naval Service, also emphasised the importance of the event.

"Sailors are the same the world over, they love to get together and, on this important occasion, we are commemorating those who lost their lives at sea during the First World War so it is a very important occasion to have the two navies together."

The battle was fought between 31 May and 1 June 1916 and involved about 250 ships.

It saw the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, based at Scapa Flow in Orkney, clash with the German High Seas Fleet.

The centenary of the battle is being marked in Scotland, where a service in Orkney will be attended by German President Joachim Gauck along with the Princess Royal.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The German fleet are deflected from bombarding the British coast during the battle

Representatives of all the nations connected to the battle, including Ireland, are attending that service.

A service of remembrance is also taking place on board HMS Duncan at Jutland Bank, the site of the battle.

There will be a live stream of the ceremony on the BBC News NI website from 12:20 BST on Tuesday.

More on this story

Around the BBC