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Plans illustrating designs for Royal Naval ships which fought in World War One have been rediscovered in West Sussex almost a century after they were created for The Battle of Jutland. Bellmans Auctioneers took receipt of the documents on one of their weekly open valuation days at their saleroom, where they were recognised by Antiquarian Books and Ephemera specialists David Dawson and Denise Kelly. The pieces attracted strong national and international attention, before being sold to a delighted room bidder for a combined hammer price of £1,400.
The drawings were divided into two consecutive lots to aid the sale: Lot 1327 included documents showing the capital ships of the fleet, including seven of HMS Neptune, two of The Dreadnought, and others; all drawings were authenticated by the presence of the appropriate Admiralty/Dockyard/Shipbuilders dated stamps, initials & notes. Lot 1328 included an original scale drawing prepared for the construction of the battleship HMS 'Iron Duke', which carried the flag of the Commander-in-Chief, Sir John Jellicoe, at the Battle of Jutland. The lives of more than 6,000 British personnel were lost at Jutland, with over 250 ships and around 100,000 crew members involved. The timing of this find is especially poignant as 31st May 2016 will mark 100 years since the battle. A delighted Denise Kelly commented “It has been a privilege to oversee the auction process for these wonderful pieces, from when they were first consigned on one of Bellmans weekly valuation days, to the hammer going down on auction day. I was up on the rostrum knowing that I was witnessing a piece of history being sold! It is a great testament to the staff at Bellmans, showing that pieces of such extraordinary historical significance can realise their market value outside of London”.
The link below features a short piece of video footage about the items: