Over 38,000 Jutland service records have been released to commemorate centenary of the largest naval engagement in human history

Fully searchable transcripts allow anyone to uncover the stories of ancestors who served with the British Grand Fleet. For example, we found records of King George VI, the youngest ever recipient of the Victoria Cross, a national hero who went on to spy for the Japanese and a heroic Royal Marine who was lauded by Churchill.

Findmypast has published over 38,000 records of Royal Marine and Royal Navy service men who fought at the Battle of Jutland.

The publication marks the 100 th anniversary of the largest naval engagement of World War 1, and has been specially put together using various service records held by The National Archives and Naval and Military Press. The British Royal Navy & Royal Marines, Battle of Jutland 1916 Servicemen collection gathers together the names of those who served with the British Grand Fleet between 31 May and 1 June 1916, to form a single, easily searchable index of Jutland servicemen.

Each record consists of a scanned image of an original service record and a fully searchable transcript, allowing anyone to go online and discover their Jutland ancestors.

The Battle of Jutland was a collision of the world's two largest naval powers, fought in Skagerrak, a strait on the North Sea off of the coast of Denmark. It was World War 1's largest naval battle, involving 250 ships and about 100,000 men. The British Royal Navy had the larger number of ships, 151 compared to Germany's 99 and, in terms of tonnage, the battle is considered to be the largest naval engagement in human history.

The types of ships involved were battleships, cruisers, battlecruisers, destroyers and seaplane carriers. Of the total number of ships involved, 25 vessels were sunk: 14 British and 11 German. The battle also resulted is a large loss of life: 6,094 on the side of the British and 2,551 on the side of the Germans died. It was a confusing and bloody battle that resulted in an indecisive victory.

Discover more about World War 1 records

The records contain the names, ranks, service numbers, enrolment dates, dates of birth and birth places of Royal Marines, Royal Navy Officers and Ratings. The scanned images of original documents also reveal if they were promoted, the names of the ships on which they served and their dates of service. Many will also include a home address, occupation prior to joining the service and a full physical description.

Famous faces in the records

King George VI

The service record for King George VI. At the time of the Battle of Jutland, he was the Duke of York. The records show that 'Bertie', as he was known to his family, entered the service in January 1909. During the battle, he served on board the HMS Collingswood. After the battle, in a letter to his brother, the future King Edward VIII, he wrote that, 'it was a great experience to have gone through and one not easily forgotten'.

John Travers Cornwell VC

John Travers Cornwell VC, (8 January 1900 – 2 June 1916), commonly known as Jack Cornwell or Boy Cornwell. Jack died aboard HMS Chester aged 16 years of age and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross after remaining at his gun battery after all the men around him were killed.

Frederick Rutland

Frederick Rutland, also known as "Rutland of Jutland", a decorated British pilot in World War I and a pioneer of naval aviation who went onto work for the Japanese and was investigated by both the FBI and MI5 during WW2. Rutland served aboard the seaplane tender HMS Engadine at Jutland and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross "for his gallantry and persistence in flying within close distance of the enemy light cruisers". He was then awarded the First Class Albert Medal for Lifesaving in gold after disobeying orders and diving overboard to rescue a wounded man who had been dropped from a stretcher.

Major Francis John William Harvey

Major Francis John William Harvey, VC, an officer of the British Royal Marine Light Infantry who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Harvey, although mortally wounded by German shellfire, ordered the magazine of Q turret on the battlecruiser Lion to be flooded. This action prevented the tons of cordite stored there from catastrophically detonating in an explosion that would have destroyed the vessel and all aboard her. Although he succumbed to his injuries seconds later, his dying act may have saved over a thousand lives and prompted Winston Churchill to later comment: "In the long, rough, glorious history of the Royal Marines there is no name and no deed which in its character and consequences ranks above this".