It was a very dignified and emotional service,

Eithne Wright, Chairwoman of the Jutland Memorial Society

A joint Catholic-Church of Ireland service was held in St Colman’s Cathedral with the pews packed as locals were reminded of the impact Jutland had on the town; a joint blessing then took place of 20 sailor’s caps, each representing the rank of those Cobh men killed in action in the clash of dreadnoughts, including one for Cdr Richard Herbert Denny Townsend, the highest-ranking Irishman to die at Jutland.

“It was a very dignified and emotional service,” said Eithne Wright, Chairwoman of the Jutland Memorial Society and great niece of Shipwright William McGrath.

He died when battle-cruiser HMS Queen Mary blew up – a tragedy which prompted Admiral Beatty’s famous remark: “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.”

Afterwards, a short procession led by Piper Adam Duggan and a symbolic pall bearer detachment from the Irish Naval Service Reserve, the flag standards of the Royal Naval Association of Ireland and descendants carrying the 20 caps moved to the grounds of St Benedict’s Priory – Admiralty House under British rule.

There sculptor James McLoughlin’s monument was unveiled by County Mayor, Cllr Declan Hurley and blessed by Father John McCarthy and the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot.

Wreaths were laid and a Bugler sounded the Last Post. This was followed by a two-minute silence which was concluded with a bell being rung eight times – as traditionally used to mark the change of watch on ships.

The event was concluded by Chev. Adrian Gebruers of St. Colman’s Cathedral where the service began. At 4.03pm, marking the moment  the HMS Indefatigable sank, he played the Naval Hymn on the Carillon Bells, followed by Abide with Me at 4.25pm – marking the moment HMS Queen Mary met her fate.

Pictures: Gordon Kinsella and the Jutland Memorial Society of Cobh

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