Was Pop right about the Battle of Jutland?


Why Pop thought the history books got it wrong about the sinking of Indefatigable at Jutland

Originally published by HuffPost, June 10, 2016

I am no military historian, but this week’s centenary of the Battle of Jutland has a special significance for me. My grandfather, Harry Burden – known to successive generations of the Burden family as “Pop” – was there.

Last week I visited the Jutland exhibition in Portsmouth Dockyard. It brought lots of memories of Pop and other family members who are no longer with us except in those precious memories. It also brought home to me the sheer horror of what Harry had lived through during those chaotic 36 hours at the end of May 1916.

It all got me re-reading Pop’s autobiography, Mr Chips RN. If you get hold of a copy and read it yourself, you will quickly find my politics are hardly “aligned” with his. But there you go, I am who I am and Pop was who he was. I just wish he had got himself a good editor/advisor/publisher for his book. There is fascinating stuff in there which I wish we could know more about, just as there is a weight of detail about other things that could probably have been; well – cut down a bit. But, as I say, Pop was who he was and Mr Chips RN are his unvarnished words.

I can hear him saying them.

That is why, on the centenary of the Battle of Jutland, I want to flag up something that Pop always said and that he features in Mr Chips RN. He reckoned the history books wrongly recorded the circumstances in which HMS Indefatigable was destroyed in the early hours of battle on 31st May 1916 …

Read the full article here.

Recent Posts

Richard Burden

Avatar photo

I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Get in touch

You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.