This Project investigates the impact of the Battle of Jutland on British society through identifying the communities of the 6,100 sailors who lost their lives in the conflict. It has been traditionally assumed that most naval sailors were enlisted from seafaring communities since the navy recruited sailors directly from their base ports rather than establish recruiting centres in the UK’s major cities (as was the tradition in the Royal Marines). The project will test this theory by mapping the 6,100 sailors killed in Jutland and assess whether certain communities suffered disproportionally from others. The researchers will then identify some of these key areas and examine how communities responded to a heavy loss of life through exploring the local press. There is very little academic research on naval recruitment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries or on the social and cultural impact of the Jutland Battle on British society. In investigating a community’s reaction to the significant loss of life of local men, the project will provide a better understanding of issues such as the urban elites’ response to tragic war-time events, the potential accord and or dichotomy between local and national patriotism, and popular morale on the home front during the First World War.
This project has been co-designed by academics at the University of Portsmouth and the Portsdown University of the 3rd Age group (U3A). The researchers will also work closely on outputs with the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The project will significantly develop and contextualise work already conducted by the Portsdown U3A on Jutland’s impact on Portsmouth which has been submitted to the HLF for consideration. The project’s emphasis on a collaborative research process, findings, and outputs will be an invaluable experience for the participants (both academic and U3A) and leave them in good stead to produce a large AHRC research grant application for a project on ‘The impact of the First World War on British coastal communities’.