Close

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 17 of 17
  1. Taken from BBC archives

    Making History
    HMS Bulwark and HMS Princess Irene

    Two mighty explosions in which more than a thousand people died shook Sheerness in Kent in the early months of the First World War. Sheerness, at the mouth of the river Medway, was an important and busy naval dockyard.

    The first explosion occurred on 26 November 1914. HMS Bulwark, a 15,000-ton battleship, was moored at Kethole Reach on the Medway. It was while the men on board were having breakfast that the ship suddenly exploded into smithereens. When the smoke cleared the ship had gone. The explosion was heard as far away as Whitstable to the south and Southend in Essex, where it shook the pier. There was considerable damage in Sheerness. More than 700 men on the ship were killed. Winston Churchill reported the disaster to the House of Commons later that day, reporting that only 12 had survived. There were rumours of sabotage, but Bulwark was almost certainly destroyed while ammunition was being loaded: there may have been some mishandling of the powder charges.

    Less than six months later there was a second explosion. This time it was the Princess Irene. She was a 1,500-passenger liner built at Dumbarton in 1914 for Canadian Pacific. Before she could leave Britain she was commandeered for war service and became HMS Princess Irene, used for laying mines. After several trips she was back in the Medway for a refit. On the morning of 27 May 1915 a huge explosion tore through the vessel, shaking the ground for miles around and showering the surrounding villages with remains of bodies and debris. There was a great mushroom cloud and the ship was gone. This time 278 died, including 78 workers from nearby towns and villages. In one Sheerness street there were ten who died. Once again sabotage was suspected, but it would seem that the mine charges were unstable and they were awaiting replacement. It was another internal explosion.

    Silky

    I'm an ex medic. Now retired but still workin as I publish a magazine of poetry and short stories.

  2. My grandfather was on the crew of the Princess Irene and had just left the ship to post a letter when the ship was blown up. His name was James Thomson. I have an original cutting from the newspaper at that time although his name is not mentioned.
    Veronica D.

  3. #13
    is it possible to scan or photo graph the news cutting?

  4. #14
    trishrodgers Guest

    Mrs Patricia Rodgers

    Hello Tony
    My grandfather Joseph Brady was one of the men who died on Princess Irene. He was 27 and left a wife with one daughter and expecting another. The other baby was born 22nd June 1915 and was named after the ship. That baby was my mother Irene Bridgette Brady.
    treenyrodgers@hotmail.com

  5. #15
    suejanew Guest

    Princess Irene

    My Grandfather's older brother Albert Willingham died when the Princess Irene exploded. He never spoke of it but family research has provided this important information for the family.

  6. Family legend is my grandfather was decorated for towing burning mineship out to sea before it exploded he was badly injured in the explosion and wore a leather sling on his burned arm for the rest of his life .During WW1 he was a captain RN Ordinence. on the river medway. My father kept a newspaper article of his action and named my sister irene after the ship I read David Willis was saved by the tug Bruno ,Possibly my grandfather was captain of this tug? His name was Cecil Kingdon I have e mailed J Hendy and hope to get to the truth of the story KeithwKingdom

  7. My grandfather had been discharged off this ship at 9 am on the day it blew up. He was aged 19 years. I saw an article saying J T Sutton was a survivor that is - not on board. He was J J Sutton. He named his first child Marie Irene. Will there be a memorial in 2015 - if so any details would be appreciated. I am hoping to travel from Australia.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •