Town honours men lost in naval battle
BRAVE young men who lost their lives during a devastating naval battle were commemorated during a service of remembrance.
This year marks a century since The Battle of Jutland - the only major naval battle of World War One - which claimed the lives of three young men from Macclesfield.
The battle involved 250 ships and around 100,000 men and took place in the North Sea, off the Danish coast, on May 31 1916.
Britain lost 14 ships and more than 6,000 men but were ready for action again the next day. The Germans lost 11 ships and more than 2,500 men and never again seriously challenged British control of the North Sea.
Macclesfield Royal British Legion commemorated the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland with a ceremony at the War Memorial, Park Green, yesterday.
Bollington Town Hall is also flying the White Ensign - the naval flag flown by warships - as part of the commemorations.
Peter Lake, parade marshall for the Macclesfield Royal British Legion, said: “It was one of the biggest Naval battles in British history, we thought itw ould be quite easy because of the British Navy dwarfed the Germans but they sank quite a lot of our ships. There was an enormous loss of life so it’s important to mark it, especially during the centenary. If not these things get forgotten.”
Coun Allan Williams, who is a former Member of the Royal Navy and currnetly chair of Macclesfield British Legion, described the battle as when Germany ‘started losing the war’.
Councillor Williams, who is Mayor of Bollington, said: “The Germans’s ran away from the navy so technically we won it but we suffered incredible losses.
“We lost 6,000 and Germany lost 2,000.
“Jutland turned the war around from that point, that when Germany moved to submarine war- fare and the Americans got involved.
“It was a very significant battle. It’s when Germany started losing the war.”
Among the men who lost their lives during the battle was Theodore Procter, a 21-year-old Stoker 1st Class.
Theodore was the son of Ellen, a silk picker, and went to Crompton Road Day School and attended the Spiritualist Free Church Sunday School.
He worked for at Lower Heyes Mill and was working as a railway engine cleaner when he joined the Navy in 1914.
Theodore was serving aboard HMS Warrior when it was attacked by six German war ships. It was hit at least twenty times by shells which caused fires and heavy flooding. HMS Engadine managed to rescue 743 survivors before the Warrior sank.
Theodore has no known grave but is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Park Green war memorial, at Macclesfield Town Hall and the Spiritualists Church.
Two other Macclesfield men who died during the battle were J W I Jones and Leonard James King.
Jones had previously served on the HMS King Alfred before he was lost at sea.
Jones has no known grave but is commemorated on the Macclesfield Industrial School war memorial.
Little is known about Leonard King, other than he was born in 1995 and served as carpenters crew on HMS Benbow, which survived the battle, while King did not.
Information was supplied by Macclesfield Reflects, the Macclesfield Great War Commemoration group ( www. ma c c l e s f i e l - dreflects.org.uk).
●● The Weinberg Family are among the Jewish families to feature in the exhibition
●● Theodore Procter, from Macclesfield, died during the battle