1st Class Stoker 312400
John George Brentnall
HMS Invincible Royal Navy
Drowned on Wednesday 31st May 1916 aged 29 during the Battle of Jutland.
The Invincible was the last of the three British battle cruisers to be lost during the battle of Jutland, where she was the flagship of Admiral Horace Hood.
In May 1916 the 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron had been sent to join the Grand Fleet to get some invaluable gunnery practise. This squadron led the advance of the Grand Fleet from Scapa Flow which came close to catching the German High Seas Fleet.
At around 6.15 p.m. on Wednesday 31st of May 1916 HMS Invincible joined in the battle against the German battle cruisers. The Invincible opened fire first at 10,000 yards, disabling the Wiesbadenand and the Pillau, two light cruisers (although the Pillau later escaped). The Invincible also scored two hits on the Lützow, but was exposed to fire from that ship and the Derfflinger. The fifth hit, from Derfflinger, hit the roof of 'Q' turret, penetrating the thinner battle cruiser armour. The explosion set fire to the cordite propellant, the flash spread back to the magazine and the ship was blown in half and reports said that she sank within 15 seconds at 6.33pm.
'Flames shot up from the gallant flagship, and there came again the awful spectacle of a fiery burst, followed by a huge column of dark smoke which, mottled with blackened debris, swelled up hundreds of feet in the air'.
John being a Stoker would have been well below decks so if he survived the explosion he would have had no chance of escape.
61 Officers and 965 men were killed.
Only seven of her crew survived.
After the war, the wreckage of the Invincible was located by a minesweeper at 57-02-40 N/ 06-07-15.E. 55 metres down. The pieces of the ship rest on a sandy bottom near each other, the stern right-side up and the bow upside-down. The roof of the aft 12 inch turret is missing, the guns still loaded. She is protected as a War Grave.
The ship is John's last resting place and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial which commemorates 9,667 sailors lost during the First World War with no known grave.
John is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 17.
John was the son of the late Alfred & Rachael Brentnall, of Marlpool, Heanor, Nottingham.
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