HMS Bulwark visited Portsmouth today as part of preparations for commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland in and around Scapa Flow. The Devonport-based amphibious assault ship is in port to embark the massed band of the Royal Marines, and the Royal Navy’s ceremonial Royal Guard.
HMS Bulwark will be supporting the Jutland 100 national commemorations at Kirkwall and at Lyness with her sailors, marines, and landing craft playing a key role in the events, as well as supporting the embarked forces. A remembrance service involving about 100 descendants and 400 guests will take place in St Magnus’ Cathedral, Orkney and the subsequent Service of Remembrance at Hoy Naval Cemetery, Lyness will be attended by about 450 people, including descendants of those who fought.
Captain James Parkin, the Captain of HMS Bulwark, said: “I am honoured that HMS Bulwark is able to play such a significant part in the Jutland 100 commemorations, to remember the sacrifice of those before us, as well as recalling how important the strategic use of seapower was then, as it is today”.
Jutland saw the loss of 8645 men (British 6,094 and German 2,551) and while the Royal Navy did not destroy the German High Seas Fleet, arguably the battle set the strategic conditions which undermined the German economy, drove the US into the war and ultimately led to victory. Britain is a nation dependent on the sea — on the freedom to use the sea as a highway for trade on which the nation’s prosperity and security depends.
Following the Jutland commemorations, the ship will conduct a brief maintenance period, exercise the Freedom of the City of Durham, and take summer leave. After which Bulwark will lead the Royal Navy’s Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) deployment later in the year.
Based in Devonport, HMS BULWARK is one of the Royal Navy’s two Amphibious Assault Command and Control ships. She has a ship’s company of 350, a quarter of whom are made up from 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.
The ship is designed to carry up to 225 marines in dedicated accommodation for long periods and another 500 in austere conditions for short periods.