Holyhead sailors

The Royal Navy fights the Battle of Jutland against the German Navy. The Royal Navy loses more ships but chase the Germans back to their port.

At sea Britain was the strongest power in the world. Before the war Germany had started building up a big navy of powerful ships and this was one of the reasons the relationship between Britain and Germany was in trouble.

When war broke out Germany knew that the Royal Navy would be tough to beat. They planned to draw out part of the British fleet by sending some of their ships out as bait. Then the rest of the German ships would arrive and do battle with them. This seemed better than trying to take on the whole of the Royal Navy at once!

Germany had to do something about the Royal Navy because they were blockading Germany and stopping lots of supplies from reaching them. This blockade had to be broken if Germany had any chance of being able to keep making everything they needed for the war.

At first the German plan went well. A smaller group of British ships sailed out to meet the German squadron acting as bait in the North Sea. The Germans sank several British ships but the British commander Admiral Beatty spotted the bigger German fleet closing in and avoided falling in to the trap.

Instead Beatty sprang a trap of his own and led the Germans back toward the mighty full force of the Royal Navy, led by Admiral Jellicoe.

The German ships ran straight into the British guns and were forced to retreat. Jellicoe decided not to chase the Germans - a decision for which he was later criticised.

When the battle ended the Germans claimed to have won. They sank more British ships and suffered fewer casualties. However the Royal Navy was still the dominant force in the North Sea, the blockade of Germany remained, and the German navy never tried to force the British into a major battle again.

Admiral Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas, Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys was an officer in the British Navy who fought at Jutland. He was from a landed family who owned the Llwynmadoc Estate in mid Wales as well as the Gnoll in Neath, south Wales. He commanded the 5th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and was a friend of King George V.

Holyhead sailors

Among the Welsh sailors fighting at Jutland were a large number from Holyhead in North Wales. Five men from Holyhead were killed in the battle - among them Royal Navy Reservist Richard Thomas who was 46 years old. He was killed when the HMS Queen Mary sank with the loss of 1,266 lives. His son Richard was killed in 1915, aged just 16, when the hospital ship Anglia hit a German mine.

The Royal Navy ship HMS Indefatigable sinks after being hit by the German ship Von de Tann at Jutland.