Please see below an article below written by Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL, former Second Sea Lord who is now an Ambassador for Woodland Trust.
Those who attended, or watched on the news, the Orkney commemoration for the centenary of the Battle of Jutland could not fail to be moved by the occasion. Similarly, I know of many people who have been touched by the wonderful exhibition, ’36 Hours’, displayed at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, revealing the brutality of the battle which claimed the lives of 6,097 Royal Navy officers and ratings in such a short period of time.
The Woodland Trust with the Royal Naval Association is to deliver a lasting tribute to all those British sailors who died in the battle with the creation of Jutland Wood, an eight-acre site at the Trust’s First World War Centenary Wood in Langley Vale, Surrey . Eight acres of this glorious site will be used to create a wood of four groves containing a tree for each of the fallen and a semi mature oak to represent each ship sunk.
I know it’s something many of you already know about as a number of branches and individual members have kindly dedicated trees to honour our men. Market Drayton branch took the time to write to the Woodland Trust to say thank you after the trust allocated them an appropriate Serviceman to dedicate a tree to. In a fitting tribute the branch reported that they toasted the memory and sacrifice of their shipmate, Valentine Cooper, with a tot of rum.
As the Trust’s ambassador for this poignant memorial, my heartfelt thanks go out to those of you who have contributed already, especially the National Council which has generously sponsored two specimen oaks in the avenue of 14 trees. The campaign has got off to a good start with more than 180 dedications so far, but there’s a long way to go if we are to reach our target of dedicating every tree.
Planting will start in 2017 and the wood will be officially opened on 31st May 2018. If you would like to join me in helping create this living tribute and honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice, you can find out more at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/jutland or ask your branch for a leaflet. I know that you already contribute so much to other good causes but please consider dedicating a tree for the Jutland Wood, a dedication which future generations can enjoy while remembering those who did not return.