"A curious coincidence"
Alan Bush discovered that he and his wife, Julie, had even more in common than they thought after he mentioned the Battle of Jutland.
Alan and Julie Bush with Athelstan Bush's memorabilia
“At the time of the Battle of Jutland, my grandfather, Athelstan Paul Bush, was a Lieutenant on HMS Spitfire in the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla. The Flotilla engaged the German Battle Fleet in the middle of the night: the Spitfire was rammed by one of the German dreadnoughts and only just made it home. It was a bit of a close thing and they were pretty lucky. My grandfather was awarded the Legion of Honour for Jutland, and then a Distinguished Service Order at the end of the war."
"I’ve always been aware of his role at Jutland. I remember lots of pictures up around the house and various items that he had ‘acquired’ as souvenirs: there are some four-inch shell cases that were used for the fire irons among other bits and pieces. Because the ship was quite badly damaged, they probably thought that nothing would be missed."
"Both my wife and I will be commemorating the centenary this year, after finding out a curious coincidence. We met in a house-share in London and were chatting about our families. The topic of relatives who had fought in the two world wars came up so I mentioned my grandfather, and Julie said that her great-uncle had lost his life on HMS Tipperary."
Athelstan Bush in full dress uniform
"It wasn’t until about 10 years later, when I started doing more research on the subject, that I discovered that the Tipperary was the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla leader, and that the Spitfire was her next astern."
"My grandfather had therefore witnessed the destruction of Julie’s great-uncle’s ship, with the Spitfire trying to pick up survivors from HMS Tipperary when it was rammed by the German dreadnought. Julie’s great-uncle’s grave is in Egersund, Norway, so we will be there on 31 May."
"Not to downplay what happened in northern France at all, but I think the Navy played an important role in the First World War. Even at the time it wasn’t covered that much and I think it is important that it is remembered. The centenary of Jutland is a really good opportunity for this. There were a lot of lives lost at Jutland in a short amount of time, and it is right for us to commemorate these sacrifices.”
You can also commemorate an individual who died during the battle by leaving a special message on our Every Man Remembered website - www.everymanremembered.org.uk. Help us to commemorate every man and woman who gave their lives during the First World War.