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Author Topic: HMS Bulwark  (Read 21389 times)

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Offline CDP

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2015, 12:19:30 »
A report of this disaster is in the local paper, a copy is in the Sheerness Library.
 "H.M.S.Bulwark Blown up ",   November 26th,  1914, paper printed Nov. 28th and a slightly later report is in the paper of November 3rd, 1917.

                                               
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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2015, 22:19:43 »
Twelve years ago today his Majesty's ship Bulwark-a battleship of 15,000 tons- was lying at a buoy in the Medway, between Sheerness and Chatham , when at 7.55 a.m. she blew up. The first thing noticed by eye-witnesses was a bright yellow flame in the vicinity of the mainmast, followed by a rumbling explosion not unlike a distant thunderclap. The stern of the ship was seen to come out of the water, and she was immediately enveloped in an enormous cloud of brownish-yellow smoke. When this smoke had cleared away no trace of the Bulwark remained, beyond a mass of wreckage floating around the buoy to which she had been moored.
                                        London Morning Post 27 November 1927.

Photo of the explosion, 26 November 1914 http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205024540

Two photos of the remains of HMS Bulwark, 6 February 1915.
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205283259
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205283260

He Chose Poverty.
The British battle-ship Bulwark blew up at Sheerness in 1914. The death roll was 741. One of the survivors was Leading Seaman Charles Fitter. Recently Fitter, who is on the retired list, accepted work as night watchman aboard the Humber, the floating crane which has began salvage work on the sunken Bulwark. He signed his papers, but when the boat sailed for Sheerness from Dover he did not appear. Interviewed by a "Sunday Express" representative, he said: "I simply could not face it. Ever since I agreed to take on the work I have lived over the dreadful scene again and again. It is, more than I could bear to spend those night-watches there. My doctor has advised not to go. I could do with the money, but poverty is better than that. It has brought back all the memories I have been striving to forget."


The South-Western News (Aus) 11 October 1935.

Photo below IWM (Q21O52B)
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Richrat2000

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2012, 14:03:37 »
Inquiry into loss.. A naval court of enquiry into the causes of the explosion held on 28 November 1914 established that it had been the practice to store ammunition for Bulwark's 6 in (150 mm) guns in cross-passageways connecting her total of 11 magazines. It suggested that, contrary to regulations, 275 six-inch shells had been placed close together, most touching each other, and some touching the walls of the magazine, on the morning of the explosion.

The most likely cause of the disaster appears to have been overheating of cordite charges stored alongside a boiler room bulkhead, and this was the explanation accepted by the court of enquiry. It has also been suggested that damage caused to one of the shells stored in the battleship's cross-passageways may have weakened the fusing mechanism and caused the shell to become 'live'. A blow to the shell, caused by it being dropped point down, could then have set off a chain reaction of explosions among the shells stored in Bulwark's cross-passageways sufficient to detonate the ship's magazines.


Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2012, 12:30:01 »
The New York Times - 16 December 1914

No Enemy Sank Bulwark.

Ammunition Explosion Caused Disaster, England Asserts.

London, Dec 15. - The Official Press Bereua announced tonight that an explosion due to the accidental ignition of her own ammunition caused the sinking of the battleship Bulwark.
There was no evidence, the bereau said, of any hostile act.  Investigation had disclosed no evidence of treachery on the part of any person aboard the vessel or of any act by an enemy.

The British battleship Bulwark was destroyed by an explosion on Nov. 26 while lying off Sheerness.  About 800 lives were lost.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2011, 21:48:51 »
HMS Bulwark, lost from internal explosion, Thursday, 26th November 1914.
List of dead and injured.http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1914-11Nov.htm
You will need to scroll down to 26th November.
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Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2011, 20:56:42 »
27 November 1914 The Milwaukee Journal

30 Bodies Recovered from Sunken Warship

Most of the corpses are mutilated almost beyond identification No official list out.

Sheerness, Eng, via London, Nov. 27.  Thirty bodies from the British battleship Bulwark were recovered from the River Thames.  The Bulwark was blown off Sheerness yesterday, presumably the result of an internal explosion.
Most of the bodies recovered are mutilated almost beyond identification.  Many pathetic scenes were witnessed as relatives gathered in an effort to obtain information concerning the warship.  Up to the present, however, the authorities have not given out a list of the lost.
Additional details concerning the Bulwark make the admiralty theory that she was blown up by an internal explosion more plausible.  An official inquiry which is being held in private was opened in Sheerness today.
It is believed there that the explosion of the Bulwark was caused by the fall and bursting of a 12-inch lyddite shell in her magazine.

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2011, 19:56:14 »
 :)  I am glad these posts have been of interest!  I will double check to see if any names are on these pictures but I don't there are.  I think this was the last bits of that folder I am afraid, obviously if I come across any more I will add them  :)

Offline alkhamhills

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2011, 19:40:14 »
Kyn. I cannot be 100% certain, but the handwriting looks very much like my father's writing. At that time he was the "office man" for Dover Industries Ltd"
You are keeping me in suspense, Kyn, to see the outcome, as to who got the job in the end !!!
Keep it coming please

Offline JohnG

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2011, 19:08:06 »
Kyn.  I have enjoyed reading your posts about HMS Bulwark, thank you.  JohnG

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2011, 14:40:33 »



Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2011, 10:29:59 »
Wreck of H.M.S. Bulwark
Proposed dispersal.
Notes of the Meeting held at the Admiralty on 10th February, 1938.
PRESENT:
Representing the Admiralty:-


Rear Admiral F.T.B. Tower - Director of Naval Equipment.  (Chairman)
Captain W.O. Benn, R.N. - Director of Navigation.
Commander R. Ramsbotham, R.N. - King's Harbour Master, Sheerness.
Mr. B. Pool - Assistant Director of Contracts.
Mr. P.N.N. Synnott - representing Head of Naval Law Branch.

Representing the Medway Conservancy:-

Mr. F.F. Smith
Captain W.H.E. Nelson
Mr. G.A. Gill
Mr. D.L. Collard (Also representing the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom).

Representing Berry Wiggins & Co. Ltd.

Mr. T McDermot
Mr R.C. Paterson
Mr. M.T. Knight

The Chairman pointed out that the wreck had been lying for twenty years in its present position; it was well buoyed and the main channel was clear.  From the Admiralty point of view therefore, the position was not unsatisfactory.  The Admiralty had been advised that there was no liability on law to oblige them to remove the wreck.
The King's Harbour Master, Sheerness, stated that in his view removal might be done in two ways:-
(a)   Piecemeal dispersion which would leave obstructions behind on the bottom, and would therefore involve dredging afterwards.  The cost would be very large; in fact it might be impossible to dredge with an ordinary dredger.
(b)   The Coffer dam method; in a local Trinity House Pilot's estimate, this might cost 100,000 with the additional cost of dredging, which might amount to 50,000 afterwards.
The representatives of the Medway Conservancy said they considered dispersal and dredging would cost much less.  They referred to the report from the Dover Industries, offering to disperse to a level of 35 feet below low water, for 10,000 plus the cost of explosives, which offer, they suggested, should be accepted.  Local traders, pilots, fishermen and sailing ship owners had all voiced strong views on the presence of the wreck.  These other interests used other parts of the river and not only the main channel.  Traffic was increasing, and would continue to increase.  While the wreck was well marked, this marking was no use in haze of fog.  The area occupied by the wreck would be particularly useful as an anchorage.
The representatives of Berry Wiggins said that the wreck was a nuisance and a danger to ships leaving their jetty which has been built under the understanding that the wreck was to be dispersed.  The Admiralty representatives pointed out that no such understanding existed.  The King's Harbour Master, Sheerness, said that he thought the bank would continue to increase to the southwest, but never so much as to prevent ships berthing at the jetty.
Summing up, the Chairman stated that while (as previously pointed out) from the Admiralty point of view the present position was not unsatisfactory, the other interests were of opinion that dispersal of the wreck was desirable: to meet the wishes of these interests, the Admiralty would be prepared to offer assistance, but they could give no hope of doing the whole work as a charge to public funds.  They suggested therefore, that the other interests concerned should consider making a contribution.  Medway Conservancy and Berry Wiggins agreed to put this proposal to their Board, and Mr. Collard, speaking on behalf of the big ship owners, agreed provided the Admiralty would also pay a percentage.
Consideration was given to the question of securing the fulfilment of any contrast for the dispersal of the wreck.  Medway Conservancy considered that the offer from the Dover Industries was practicable and would be completed.  The King's Harbour Master, Sheerness, referred to the question of dredging after dispersal of the wreck, but it was suggested that after the wreck was dispersed, the silting problem might solve itself.
The following agreement was reached; (1)   that the wreck should be surveyed (work on this was now proceeding) Dover Industries being asked to provide any available information in their possession.
(2)   Dover Industries should be approached in connection with their offer to disperse the wreck; enquiries were to be made to ensure that this offer implied guaranteeing a clear 35 feet below low water, and the Contractor was also to be asked whether his offer included a similar guarantee in respect of the bank which had spread around and outside the actual area of the wreck.
(3)   When an estimate of costs has been made, the question of division of costs between parties concerned would be considered.
(4)   On behalf of the Admiralty, it was pointed out that the Department was not at present prepared to go beyond offering to provide the necessary explosives, at a cost of 4,000.

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2010, 21:12:08 »
Sir,
I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to refer to your letter of 29th September 1937 and to state that careful consideration has been given to your representations concerning the wreck of H.M.S. BULWARK.
My Lords are prepared to accept responsibility for the marking and buoying of the wreck, but They have never admitted and cannot accept any liability to remove it.  Moreover, in Their Lordships' view, as stated in the previous correspondence to which you refer, the wreck does not constitute a danger to navigation.
Under the proposal which has been made by Dover Industries Ltd. the company offer to disperse the wreck to a depth of 35 ft. at low water, for a fixed sum, on the understanding that the Admiralty would supply up to 50 tons of explosives.
My Lords would be glad to know whether the Conservators would be prepared to bear the cost of dispersing the wreck if the Admiralty undertook, as an act of grace, to supply the explosives.  In this connection My Lords note that reference is made in your letter to the largely increasing trade on the River, and in particular to developments in the Oil industry.  The Conservators might consider it desirable to approach Messrs. Berry Wiggins & Co. Ltd. on the question whether that Company would contribute to the cost.
I am to add that this letter is entirely without prejudice.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,


Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2010, 23:51:58 »
23rd November, 1937.
My dear Bridges,
I do not know whether this letter really concerns you, but if it does not, perhaps you will be kind enough to pass it on to the proper quarter.
The Admiralty are considering the dispersal of the wreck H.M.S. BULWARK, which blew up and sank in the Medway during the Great War.  Various salvage operations have since been carried out on her by commercial undertakings.  The latest of these was by Dover Industries Ltd., who bought the wreck from the Admiralty in May, 1935, with an option to abandon it after two years, when the Admiralty would be obliged to resume possession, provided that certain conditions as to buoying, lighting etc. had been satisfied.  The firm has recently abandoned the wreck under this option, believing that there is no more profit to be had out of salving it.
The Medway Conservancy, hearing of the termination of Dover Industries' contract, have written to the Admiralty saying "they are still strongly of the opinion that the clearing of the bed of the river from the remains of the wreck should now be undertaken...very large developments have been made in the oil industry in the neighbourhood of the wreck.  A jetty has been built and special moorings put down for the accommodation of very large oil tankers, and the position of the wreck will form a danger to the manoeuvring of these vessels in approaching and leaving the jetty".
Messrs. Berry Wiggins, the contractors who own the jetty mentioned by the Conservancy, have written to say that they have heard with dismay of the probable discontinuance of the breaking up and removal of the wreck and that they consider that "in its present position this wreck is a serious menace to the safety of ships berthing at our Bee Ness Jetty, particularly during rough weather".  Captain L.F. Plugge, M.P. for Rochester, has also written to the First Lord suggesting that "it would be far better to get rid of this undoubted impediment to river traffic".  Finally, Dover Industries Ltd. themselves say that as a result of their experience of salving the wreck they have come to the conclusion that it is "an absolute necessity for the safety of men and ships that the wreck be properly dispersed".
We have ascertained from the Treasury Solicitor that there is no legal obligation on the admiralty to do more than light and mark the wreck (which we are now doing) and it is his opinion that no liability would attach for damage caused to a vessel by the wreck.  He suggests that one course would be to inform Conservancy that we admit no obligation to clear the wreck, but would accord them full liberty to disperse it at their own expense.  He goes on to say, however, that he has always held the view "that a strong moral obligation rests on the admiralty to remove the wrecks of H.M. vessels which may be dangerous or obstructive to navigation: And if this view finds support, an alternative course would be to approach the Conservancy with a view to arriving (without prejudice) at some arrangement for the removal of the wreck by Admiralty on terms e.g. that some portion of the expense be borne by the Conservancy".
The admiralty fully agrees with this last opinion but although it is clear that the wreck may be a considerable danger to vessels using the jetty, I must point out that our Director of Navigation does not consider it a danger or hindrance to the general traffic of the river.  The Medway Conservancy, however, have never accepted this view.
Messrs. Dover Industries have offered to disperse the wreck to a depth of 35 feet at low water for the sum of 10,000 via 50 tons of explosives.  What we propose is to suggest to the Medway Conservancy, in the first instance, that they should undertake the dispersal of the wreck (possible with the assistance of Messrs; Berry Wiggins) at their own expense, provided that the admiralty provide, free, the 50 tons of explosives.  The cost of this to the Admiralty, at a very rough estimate, would be 4,000.  Should this proposal be unacceptable to the Conservancy, we should propose to go further and offer to pay not more than half of the total cost of dispersal, i.e., a maximum of roughly 7,000.  I enclose a copy of the letter which we propose to send to the Conservancy.
It is possible that some other firm might make a better offer than Dover Industries, and no doubt the Conservancy would investigate the alternatives.
I should be very glad to know whether the Treasury agree to our making this proposal:  Dover Industries? offer is conditional on their receiving early instructions to proceed with the work.  If the Conservancy agreed to proceed on the above terms, we would write to you officially for sanction when we know a little more clearly what would be involved.
Your sincerely,
(Sd.) R. H. A. Carter

Offline kyn

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 10:32:17 »
Concur to ask representative of the Board of Trade; it is proposed also to invite a representative from Trinity House, which actually carried out the dispersal operations in the case of the wreck of the "SPIDER".  N.L. cannot suggest any other bodies which might profitably be invited.  In the past we have received protests from the Sailing Barge Owners committee and there mat be another fishery and commercial interests involved, but it does not seem worth while inviting them in the first instance.  It is suggested that the Medway Conservancy might be asked at the Conference to consider inviting contributions from any such interests.
The following, it is suggested, might attend on behalf of the Admiralty, representatives of Hydrographer and/or D. of N; of C; D.N.E; N.L.
Before the Conference starts it will be necessary to obtain a reply from C. in C. Nore, to Admiralty letter of the 20th September (no reply can be found in these papers) to confirm that the wreck in its present condition has not made the navigational position any worse.
It may be remarked in passing that the protests be Messrs' Berry Wiggins do not carry very much weight, since they instituted their industry with the wreck already in position and with full knowledge thereof.  Similarly the Dover Industries advice that the wreck is a menace to navigation must to some extent be discredited as the opinion of interested parties, anxious to get the contract.  The facts they quote of ships passing over the wreck simply show that such ships were negligently navigated; this can hardly be used as an argument against the Admiralty.

????
For HEAD of N.L.
14 December, 1937.

Nobby007

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Re: HMS Bulwark
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2010, 16:51:36 »
Try this website about the tragedy, very interesting
http://www.nhcra-online.org/20c/bulwark.htm

 

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