Time to remember a brave Horncastle hero of battle

Rob Belton with a picture of his great uncle who was killed at the Battle of Jutland 100 years ago EMN-160523-154202001
Rob Belton with a picture of his great uncle who was killed at the Battle of Jutland 100 years ago EMN-160523-154202001
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He’s the only seaman named on Horncastle’s memorial to those who lost their lives during the First World War.

Later this month, a service will be held in the town to commemorate the life of Harold Belton.

Harold was 26 when he was killed at the Battle of Jutland, the only naval battle of World War One.

Fittingly, the service - which will also feature a concert by the Banovallum Brass Band - will be held on the evening of Tuesday May 31 - exactly 100 years since the battle took place.

And an especially poignant feature of the evening is that it will be attended by five members of the Belton family who still live in the Horncastle area.

The event has been organised by the Horncastle and District Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Branch chairman Mike Allard explained: “There are more than 140 names on the town’s First World War Memorial.

“Most people know about the horrors of the Somme but unfortunately everyone seems to have forgotten about Jutland - and how important that was to the overall outcome of the war.

“What we’ve planned should be a fitting memorial and a chance to remember the sacrifice made by a very brave young man from Horncastle.”

The battle took place between May 31 and June 1 in 1916. It involved ships from the German High Sea Fleet and the British Grand Fleet.

Over 6,000 British sailors lost their lives. Although there was no clear victor, Britain is widely recognised as coming out on top.

Harold was born in Horncastle on September 27, 1889 to parents John and Emily.

The family home was at 3 Hemingby Lane

He joined the Royal Navy and the census of 1911 records him at Portsmouth aboard HMS Invincible, a formidable battlecruiser.

Harold was as stoker (1st class), which meant he often worked in hot and dirty conditions - well below deck.

It’s not clear how Harold died although Invincible sank after being hit by a shell which split the ship in half. More than 1,000 officers and crew were killed.

Harold was listed as ‘killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’.

○The service is at Stanhope Hall (7.30pm) and is open to the public.

There will be free entry and refreshments. Army, Air and Sea cadets will attend.