Surviving Jutland

World War 1’s The Battle of Jutland Took Nearly 10,000 Lives

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Surviving Jutland Jutland or the Battle of Skagerrak is the preeminent battleship battle in history. Moreover, the most imporant naval episode of the First World War.

Map of the Battle of Jutland, 1916.svg

Fought about 60 miles or 97 km off of the west coast of Jutland, a northern european peninsula made up of Denmark and parts of Germany.


The battle itself took a staggering amount of seamen from both sides. The British lost over 6,000 men while the German lost nearly 3,000. Even if you could get out of your sinking ship, the waters were freezing.

Half of the British losses came from the sinking of 3 ships. HMS Invincible, HMS Indefatigable and the HMS Queen Mary.

Imperial War Museum, London. Copy found at Great War Primary Documents Archive.
Destruction of the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland

Hubert Edward Dannreuther, a gunnery officer, turned out to be one of the very lucky 6 saillors who would survive from HMS Invincible’s sinking.

She carried, 1,031 men that day.
HMS Invincible (1907) British Battleship.jpg
Photograph of HMS Invincible, British Battlecruiser, launched 1907
Presumed to be an official British Government photograph. – http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~cyberheritage/work/inv.jpg.
Terrible survival odds, to say the least.

Dannreuther’s report to the admiralty detailed the loss of HMS Invincible:

Invincible exploding at Jutland, taken from a destroyer nearby.

The Ship had been hit several times by heavy shell but no appreciable damage had been done when at 6.34 p.m. A heavy shell struck “Q” turret and bursting inside blew the roof off. This was observed from the control top. Almost immediately following there was a tremendous explosion amidships indicating that “Q” magazine had blown up. The ship broke in half and sank in 10 or 15 seconds

Hubert Edward Dannreuther, Royal Museums Greenwich
The two shattered halves of Invincible temporarily standing on the seabed
Official RN photographer – This is photograph SP 2470 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-01)

The survivors on coming to the surface saw the bow and stern of the ship only, both of which were vertical and about 50 feet clear of the water. There was very little wreckage. The six survivors were supported by a target raft and floating timber till picked up by H.M.S. “BADGER” shortly after 7 p.m. Only one man besides those rescued was seen to come to the surface after the explosion. And he sank before he could reach the target raft.

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Hubert Edward Dannreuther, Royal Museums Greenwich
HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship that saw action at Jutland, is preserved in BelfastNorthern Ireland
Dannreuther would spend over 20 minutes in the freezing North Atlantic waters. Eventually, HMS Badger would spot the survivors and pick them up.
HMS Badger 1911

Furthermore, Dannreuther would go on to command the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.

HMS Eagle underway 1930s.jpeg
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Eagle underway. The U.S. Navy give the date as 1942, but due to the lack of camouflage and wartime modifications this photograph was probably taken in the 1930s.

And eventually become an Admiral and legendary figure in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy!

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Photo source: IWM HU 120926

Hubert Edward Dannreuther and the loss of HMS Invincible. | Royal Museums Greenwich (rmg.co.uk)