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Oakham School Archives

Explore the history of the school through the documents and objects that have been left behind...


Battle of Jutland / Battle of Skagerrak (31st May-1st June 1916)

The Battle of Jutland was the only major battle of the First World War fought at sea. It lasted 36 hours. Both sides claimed victory. There was no decisive victory. Indeed, the British sustained greater losses, but they remained dominating in the North Sea. The Battle of Jutland was fought at sea, off Denmark’s North Sea coast. 250 ships and more than 100,000 men were involved in the fighting.

The Germans’ objective was to weaken the Royal Navy by ambushing their Grand Fleet. Admiral Reinhard Scheer had hoped to destroy Vice Admiral Beatty’s scouting force before the British Grand Fleet arrived. However, on 30th May 1916, the British Admiralty broke the German signal codes and they put both forces to sea. On 30th May 1916 at 10:30pm, Beatty’s battle cruiser fleet and the 5th Battle squadron set sail from their base at Rosyth, Scotland, and Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet left its base at Scapa Flow, north of Rosyth.

The British Grand Fleet outnumbered the German High Seas Fleet. There were two major phases in the battle:

  • On 31st May 1916, at 4:00pm, the scouting forces of Vice Admiral David Beatty and Vice Admiral Franz Hipper commenced an artillery duel at 15,000 yards in the Skegerrak (Jutland). The Germans sank HMS Indefatigable at 4:00pm and HMS Queen Mary shortly after, and damaged HMS Lion. Hipper’s ships were severely damaged but survived. Beatty lost three battle cruisers. He decided to turn north and lured the Germans onto the Grand Fleet.
  • At 7:15pm, Admiral John Jellicoe brought his dreadnoughts into a single battle line, taking full advantage of the fading light, and cut the Germans off from their home base. Admiral Reinhard Scheer was forced into retreat.

Casualties: By full darkness at 10:00pm, the British had lost between 6,200 and 6,800 men, and 14 ships (3 battle cruisers, 3 cruisers, 8 destroyers); the Germans had lost between 2,500 and 3,100 men, and 11 ships (1 battleship, 1 battle cruiser, 4 light cruisers, 5 destroyers).


Old Oakhamians who Fell During the Battle of Jutland

Charles Philip Tanner

8th November 1893 – 31st May 1916


Charles was born at Cold Overton, Leicestershire to Reverend George Alfred and Josephine Elizabeth Tanner. His brother George W., born in 1892, went to Oakham School. He fought in the First World War and survived. He was awarded the Military Cross.


Life at Oakham School

Charles attended Oakham School between 1905 and 1911. He was in School House. His school achievements are listed below:

  • Rugby 2nd lot: a three-quarter back – Winter 1906; Winter 1907; Winter 1908.
  • Rugby 1st XV: Winter 1910.


  • Cricket 2nd lot: Summer 1907; Summer 1908; Summer 1909.
  • R. Blatherwick, Esq’s XI: Summer 1910.
  • Cricket 1st XI: Spring 1910.


  • Fives Junior Competition: semi-final (paired with C.C. Sills) and lost final (against C.C. Sills) – Spring 1908.
  • Shooting: Spring 1909.


  • Debating Society: Spring 1909.
  • Forms 1 and 2 Latin prize: Summer 1905.

Oakham School Magazine Reviews

In his sporting career, the Oakhamian Magazine made comments upon his rugby prowess.

Winter 1907 Rugby review: ‘Tanner ii is best at collaring and so is Wellington; Tanner ii, however, is much more certain in bringing his man down.’

Winter 1910 Rugby review: ‘Proved an admirable successor to his brother as full-back; he fields the ball well and kicks with remarkable accuracy; a plucky and fairly safe collar.’


After Oakham and the War

After school, Charles studied at Glasgow University in 1912. He gained a Whitworth Exhibition at Glasgow University in Summer 1915 and a “George Young” Bursary in Winter 1915. He obtained a BSc in Engineering on 25th April 1916. He enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Sub-Lieutenant and was posted on board the HMS Indefatigable. His ship was part of the Grand Fleet, which fought the Germans during the Battle of Jutland. OO Orde Murray-Browne's brother, Granville, was a Lieutenant Commander on board HMS Indefatigable.

Royal Navy badge.

Charles was killed in action on 31st May 1916. He was 22.

Roll of honour in the Oakhamian Magazine, Summer term 1916, Vol.32, no.2

Charles is remembered in Knossington’s Church, on panel 10 of the Naval War Memorial in Plymouth and in Oakham School chapel.



Jutland Images

Map of the Battle of Jutland.

The Battle of Jutland.

HMS Lion, Vice Admiral David Beatty's flagship. © IWM (Q 75277)