Discussion in 'History' started by Trainer, Jun 5, 2016.

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  1. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    052000A Jun 1016

    One hundred years ago precisely, HMS HAMPSHIRE struck a mine and sank off Marwick Head, Orkney. Sank within 15 minutes, 700+ crew dead.
  2. Including Field Marshal Kitchener and his staff.
  3. There was a recent thread about the HMS Hampshire

    The HMS Hampshire Memorial Project based in the Isle of Orkney have done some great work in ensuring that the HMS Hampshire centenary was commemorated . There was a risk that the Jutland centenary would eclipse their work.

    A few years ago did some research about Lord Kitchener's death. Seems that the conspiracy theorists had a great time : One popular contention was that he was assassinated , even though this would mean that everyone on board the HM 'Hampshire- besides the twelve survivors -would be what we'd now count as 'collateral damage' . A rival claim was that he had faked his own death and was working away in secret somewhere to assist the Allied cause. The fact that his body was never found helped to fuel the speculation. Once the war was over, and Lord Kitchener didn't return meant that option 2 was less likely.
    Speculation concerning the 'assassination' theory peaked around 1926 .
    One relevant book is 'The Mystery of Lord Kitchener's Death ' by Donald McCormick from 1959.
  4. Though Lord Kitchener's body was never found, the body of Ltn Colonel Oswald Fitzgerald , was discovered .
    Fitzgerald's body was taken from the north of Scotland and buried at Ocklynge Cemetery in Eastbourne. To the best of my knowledge the only body from the HMS Hampshire that was found and then conveyed any distance for burial .

    There is a short pathe newsreel clip of the funeral

    There is an entry for Fitzgerald on 'Find a grave'
  5. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    I was at the launch of the Archaeological ROV Filming at the Community Centre at Birsay, Orkney a Fortnight ago. Some very, very interesting footage of the wreck.
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  6. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    One for @sweetpea . My dear colleague - where would the naval will of someone killed in the HAMPSHIRE sinking be kept currently? If at all.
  7. Would be pleased to see any more pictures from the filming. A few years ago I was reading quite a lot about Lord Kitchener and the HMS Hampshire sinking. Felt quite moved to see a picture or two of the wreck. Must be quite exciting to be on the dive itself.
    So glad that this wreck has been protected. I know that there has been problems with the wrecks of the so called 'Livebait Squadron' , the 'Aboukir' , 'Cressy' and 'Hogue' in the North Sea ( sunk by the U9 on 22nd September 1914 ) , and rogue divers trying to loot from them.

  8. There are a few good photos of the wreck here:

    A report published in The Herald Scotland:

    As already stated, it is a war grave and is being treated as such. The Divers have been carrying out their work with the utmost respect. The new photos, filming, 3D Scans, images and new documentation of the shipwreck taking place will help us to record clearly her sad fate. Sadly 737 perished when she hit a mine and sank on 5 June, 1916.

    Lord Kitchener is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. MEMORIAL, SOUTHAMPTON

    HMS HAMPSHIRE Casualty List.

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
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  9. Check through this website, and the casualty lists.
    There are 723 names in Don Kindells list as opposed to the official reported figure 643. Don attributes this to the fact that the men buried at Lyness are in a common grave and are listed in CWG without command but dying on 5 June 1916.
    (My own theory regarding the casualties whose death date given is 5th June buried in Lyness - In all probability some were casualties of HMS Hampshire".


    HMS HAMPSHIRE Sailors.

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
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  10. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    @sweetpea , did you see my question above about the will? I have a relly of a Lyness incumbent who wants to know.
  11. Thank you for the posts @sweetpea. It's great to see the photos of the wreck. May all those who died RIP.

    Looking forward to the book HMS Hampshire: A Century Of Myths And Mysteries Unravelled.

    Found a blog with some information about the hoaxer Frank Power who stimulated a lot of the conspiracy theories regarding Kitchener's death . Lord Alfred Douglas -Oscar Wilde's 'Bosie'- managed to get involved , only to lose a libel action instigated by Winston Churchill, and went Bosie went to jail for six months.

    There's some more information here :

    Though seems a bit farcical to us now, I remember from looking at the National Archives- the authorities were monitoring the exploits of the conspiracy theorists. When Power claimed to have Kitchener's body imported in a coffin from Norway in 1926, he was exposed as a fraudster when said coffin was found to be empty.
  12. UOTE="Trainer, post: 1335286, member: 18166"]@sweetpea , did you see my question above about the will? I have a relly of a Lyness incumbent who wants to know.[/QUOTE]

    Ooops, so sorry Trainer, by the time I had finished listing links of interest I had forgotten about your Will question (My bad, hope I am forgiven and sending you a big hug).

    The National archives, Kew, hold copies of Wills. I have access to some Wills, so will take a look through them if you like (I have already paid my yearly fee to Ancestry and I am very happy to use and share all the files available), just PM me the name of the person etc, and I will do a search for you.

    Some Soldiers Wills have been digitised by the Government and are available online for a fee of £10 - nothing is ever free here in the UK!
    I have never used this link therefore and I am unaware whether any Naval Wills are listed.

    SP. :)

  13. Yes, I had read about the conspiracy theories regarding Kitchener's death, all because there was no actual body recovered. Conspiracy theories give folk something to tittle tattle about, nothing has changed ie the 'conspiracy theory' of Lord Lucan, Robert Maxwell, Princess Diana etc etc.
    I really like a good mystery myself, but in the case of Kitchener's death, there really was no mystery.

    SP. :)
  14. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    Was not actually empty - It was filled with tar to the weight of a human body. He then claimed that someone had stolen the body and replaced it with the tar!

    I believe it was Churchill himself who described him as a Charlatan of epic proportions..
  15. Trainer

    Trainer War Hero Book Reviewer

    Somme at Thiepval on Friday and I've been invited to Westminster Abbey Thursday Night for the Service :)
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  16. I am sure that there is a dissertation waiting to be written about this subject ! Wonder whether the impact of the Great War and the realisation that society was never going to be the same again, fed the conspiracies. Kitchener belonged to a previous age where British imperial power was assured. At the time he was so often referred to as 'Kitchener of Khartoum', and considered to be the avenger of the killing of General Gordon and the victorious general of the battle of Omdurman in 1898. Kitchener also had a leading role during the Boer War. His death seemed to indicated that the certainties of a previous age had come to an end.

    I can't think of any other British figure of the Great War, besides General Haig, whose reputation has fallen so dramatically in the following decades.

    But also don't think that there was a mystery. HMS Hampshire hit a mine. The heavy losses of the HMS Hampshire were due to the sea being so rough by a rocky shoreline....the average person reading about the ship would simply have had no idea how ferocious that stretch of water can be even in the Summer. And would wonder how few survived when the ship was sailing in June and so near land. All this happening in such anxious times. A great basis for conspiracy theories.


    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  17. I stand humbly corrected ! Indeed you are right. A purely empty coffin would be too much of a giveaway.


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