British Battle of Jutland victim honoured 100 years later

Royal Navy Able Seaman Harry Gasson was properly laid to rest in Esbjerg on Tuesday, a full century after being killed in the Battle of Jutland, the biggest naval battle of the First World War.

British Battle of Jutland victim honoured 100 years later
AB Gasson's service was attended by relatives (L) and sailors from HMS Tyne (R). Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Gasson’s body was recovered on the Danish coast near Esbjerg in September that year and buried at Esbjerg New Cemetery with the grave inscription ‘A British Seaman of the Great War’.
After being properly identified by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), AB Gasson was finally given an honourable resting place on Tuesday. The sailor’s grave was re-dedicated with a new headstone that now bears his name at Esbjerg New Cemetery. 
AB Gasson’s descendants Barbara Pritchard and Niece Michelle Enrof, both from Toronto, Canada, and his cousin once removed, Maggie Compton from Ludlow in Shropshire, attended Tuesday’s rededication ceremony. 
“It was a very emotional day and we are so happy that Harry finally has a named grave. We are extremely grateful to everyone that has worked so hard to make this happen,” Maggie Compton said in a statement provided to The Local. 
Also present were representatives from Britain’s Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre and the CWGC, the UK's Ambassador to Denmark, Vivien Life. 
“I am honoured to be in Jutland to mark such a historic day with such a moving ceremony. This was a very personal story of one sailor who gave his life, but which represents the many who were lost one hundred years ago,” Commodore Ian Bisson of the Royal Navy said. 
A memorial sculpture park for the victims of the Battle of Jutland is due to open in the northern Jutland town of Thyborøn later this month. 
More than 6,000 British and 2,500 German sailors were killed in the 36-hour battle, which began off the Danish coast on May 31, 1916. More than 100,000 sailors were engaged in 250 ships.

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How a Viking king inspired one of our best-known modern technologies

A Swede and American tell the story of how they hatched the idea for the moniker 'Bluetooth' over beers.

A Danish 16th-century paining of Viking king Harald Bluetooth
A Danish 16th-century paining of Viking king Harald Bluetooth. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

At the end of the 1990s, Sven Mattisson, a Swedish engineer working at telecom group Ericsson, and Jim Kardach, an American employed by Intel, were among those developing the revolutionary technology.

In 1998, at the dawn of the “wireless” era, the two men were part of an international consortium that created a universal standard for the technology first developed by Ericsson in 1994.

But prior to that, they had struggled to pitch their wireless products. Intel had its Biz-RF wireless programme, Ericsson had MC-Link, while Nokia had its Low Power RF. Kardach, Mattisson and others presented their ideas at a seminar in Toronto in late 1997.

“Jim and I said that people did not appreciate what we presented,” Mattisson, now 65 and winding down his career at Ericsson, recalled in a recent interview with AFP.

The engineer, who had travelled all the way to Canada from Sweden for the one-hour pitch, decided to hang out with Kardach for the evening before flying home.

“We received a lukewarm reception of our confusing proposal, and it was at this time I realised we needed a codename for the project which everyone could use,” Kardach explained in a long account on his webpage.

‘Chauvinistic story’

To drown their sorrows, the two men headed for a local Toronto bar and ended up talking about history, one of Kardach’s passions. “We had some beers… and Jim is interested in history so he asked me about Vikings, so we talked at length about that,” said Mattisson, admitting that his recollection of that historic night is now somewhat foggy.

Kardach said all he knew about Vikings was that they ran “around with horned helmets raiding and looting places, and that they were crazy chiefs.”

Mattisson recommended Kardach read a well-known Swedish historical novel about the Vikings, entitled “The Long Ships”.

Set in the 10th century – “a chauvinistic story” about a boy taken hostage by Vikings, says Mattisson – one name in the book caught Kardach’s attention: that of the king of Denmark, Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson.

A Bluetooth adapter from 2004. Photo: Stefan Gustavsson/SvD/TT


An important historic figure in Scandinavia in the 10th century, the king of Denmark’s nickname is said to refer to a dead tooth, or, as other tales have it, to his liking for blueberries or even a simple translation error.

During his reign, Denmark turned its back on its pagan beliefs and Norse gods, gradually converting to Christianity.

But he is best known for having united Norway and Denmark in a union that lasted until 1814.

A king who unified Scandinavian rivals – the parallel delighted those seeking to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.

And the reference to the king goes beyond the name: the Bluetooth logo, which at first glance resembles a geometric squiggle, is in fact a superimposition of the runes for the letters “H” and “B”, the king’s initials.

Low-cost and with low power consumption, Bluetooth was finally launched in May 1998, using technology allowing computer devices to communicate with each other in short range without fixed cables.

The first consumer device equipped with the technology hit the market in 1999, and its name, which was initially meant to be temporary until something better was devised, became permanent.