Jutland exhibition to close December

If you haven’t learned about the Navy’s greatest 20th Century battle, you’ve got just weeks to experience the largest exhibition ever staged about it.

36 hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War closes its doors for good on December 2 after two and a half years of educating visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Upwards of 100,000 British and German sailors locked proverbial horns in the battle which saw 150 Royal Navy vessels take on 100 from the Kaiser’s High Seas Fleet.

At stake was naval mastery of the North Sea. And when it ended on the morning of June 1, the Royal Navy held the field of battle with the Germans retreating to their bases.

More than 180,000 people have visited the Jutland exhibition

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The cost was fearful: 25 ships sunk, 14 of them British, including three battle-cruisers which blew up and more than 8,500 dead – all but 2,500 of them Royal Navy.

Historians at the National Museum of the Royal Navy claim that Jutland was nevertheless not merely a British victory, but played a decisive role in the Allied powers’ triumph in 1918. Never again would the German Fleet seriously challenge the Royal Navy’s dominance, while Germany gradually starved thanks to the blockade British ships enforced.

More than 180,000 people have visited the Jutland exhibition – the most comprehensive staged in the past 100 years – since it opened on the centenary of the battle.

A further 70,000 people have visited HMS Caroline – the sole surviving British warship from the titanic clash – which opened as a floating museum in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, celebrating the heroism not merely of the men of Jutland, but Irishmen who served under the White Ensign between 1914 and 1918.

Caroline is a permanent attraction. Not so the multimedia Jutland exposition which, for its final few weeks, has been loaned a rare artefact from the battle by the Maltese.

A piano from the midshipmen's mess in battleship HMS Benbow – both came through Jutland unscathed – was subsequently acquired by a Maltese sailor and ended up in the collection of the Malta Maritime Museum, which has donated it to the team in Portsmouth for the exhibition’s duration.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £8 for OAPS and £5 for children – although the price is halved if you buy in conjunction with an ‘all attractions package’ to see all the historic dockyard’s sights.

Details: www.historicdockyard.co.uk/site-attractions/item/466-36-hours-battle-of-jutland-1916