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Author Topic: Princess Irene.  (Read 33507 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2011, 10:01:12 »
Lieutenant Arthur Howard Notley.  R.N.R.
H.M. Trawler.  "SCOTT".
Called and Cautioned.
159.   Were you looking at the "Princess Irene" at the time of the explosion?
A.   Yes.  The reason I was doing so was because she was one of our own boats.
160.   How far off was she?
A.   3 cables.
161.   Was there any external throwing up of water.  Any column of water?
A.   I saw none.
162.   Could you see both sides of her?
A.   No.  The starboard side only.
163.   You say the first flash occurred by her mainmast?
A.    Yes.
164.   Would that be just abaft her funnels?
A.   Well abaft her funnels.
165.   Did you notice whether there were any aeroplanes overhead?
A.   I did not look for one.
166.   Is there anything you wish to add to your statement?
A.   No.
167.   Did you hear the second explosion distinct from the first?
A.   Without a doubt.
Witness withdrew.
COMMANDER.  H.M.S."ANGORA"
CAPTAIN.  H,M.S."CONQUEST"
REAR ADMIRAL. H.M.S."PEMBROKE".

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2011, 09:23:15 »
LIEUTENANT GREHAM WRAGGE. R.N.   H.M.S. "PEMBROKE".
Called and cautioned.

145.   What party were you in charge of yesterday?
A.   Party loading up barges with mines for the "Angora"
156.   Where were you when the explosion occurred on board the "Princess Irene"?
A.   In the chart house of the Mine carrier "COVE".
147.   Will you state what occurred as far as you know?
A.   The first thing I realised was a tremendous explosion.  At first I thought it was the mast of the derrick of the carrier come down.  The whole of the fore part of the ship was covered in dark brown smoke.  I went straight out of the chart house.  When I got out of the door There was a much bigger explosion than the first one.  The smoke came right over us.  I thought it was one of the mines in the hold had gone.  When the smoke cleared I saw what had happened.
148.   You did not witness it yourself.?
A.   No.  I did not see the first explosion at all.  We were just leeward of her.
149.   How far off were you?
A.   200 yards at the most I should think.
150.   Do you know what they were doing on board the "Princess Irene"?
A.   I could not be certain.  I understood they were priming.  They had taken all the mines in.  The only party we had alongside was one for empty boxes.
151.   When did she draw her mines?
A.   The first lot were put alongside Tuesday afternoon and they started taking them in on Wednesday at 6 a.m.
152.   What sort of mines were they?
A.   Majority were guncotton ones.  I think there were about 90 lyddite and a few ammonia.  They were a mixed
 lot just as they had come out of the holds.  The lyddite ones had been sent from Woolwich about 48 hours before.
153.   Do you know the nature of the pistols they were fitting.?
A.   Heneage pistols mark III.  There were no special pistols for the lyddite ones.  When the carrier first came round she had about 100 lyddite mines and in equal number of pistols to go with them.  Cases marked lyddite pistols.
154.   You think they were all ordinary pistols.
A.   Yes.  They were all Mark III or II Star.
154.   Had you been on board "Princess Irene" at any time they were priming mines?
A.   No.  Not this time.  The first time she loaded I think I was on board but I am not quite certain.
156.   You lately have had great experience in loading mine-layers.  have you not?
A.   Yes.  Since last October.
157.   Have you any theory to account for this explosion?
A.   None at all.  They get knocked about.  Certain mines get hoisted out of
the holds but probably not more than when they are being put on board ship.  All primers and detonators were put in one barge together.  They were not spread about the ship when they first got them.
158.   Do you know anything about Captain Cobbe and his staff?
A.   No.  Nothing at all.  The Captain of the "Acteaon" told me he was on board but I have not seen him at all.

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2010, 17:59:46 »
Thats a lovely picture, she was bigger than I expected!

Offline conan

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2010, 17:39:54 »
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline conan

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2010, 17:37:14 »
From the archive


[/UR

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2010, 20:34:19 »
Henry Fuller.  Skilled Labourer.
Called and cautioned.
137.   What work were you doing on board?
A.   Iron caulking and cutting.
138.   Whereabouts?
A.   In the first place we cut out some holes for the bollards for the hawsers to go through.  Then we were on the lower deck caulking combings and in the magazine.
139.   What were you caulking with?
A.   Iron caulking.
140.   Did you see men of the ship's company at work on board?
A.   In the first place when they fetched the mines on board, they had a sort of flange covers on top of the mines.  They undid the ends and jarred them with a hammer to break the joints.  Then - we were close handy to them - we saw them fetch some covers with a tube in the centre and wires on it from I do not know where.  Next they lifted these on top of the mines on a bottle shaped affair about 9 by 3 screws on the end of that, and replaced these in the mine.  Next time I was passing they had bars about 2 feet or 2 ft 6 inches long with a hooked shape thing into the sides of them and they lay along the side like that.  (Demonstrated to the Court).  I passed right alongside them up an alley way.
141.   Was this on the upper mining deck or lower?
A.   Lower.
142.   Did you notice the upper one?
A.   No.  They had not started on them when we left the upper cutting out and came to the lower cutting.  They were taking blank flanges in but not putting other gear into them.
143.   Were you looking at the ship when the explosion occurred?
A.   No.  We had our backs to her.  We had just passed the "ANGORA".  We had just got the fore side of her.
Witness withdrew.

144.   LIEUTENANT MANNERS.  H.M.S. "ACTAEON".
Stated he had nothing to add to his written statement.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2010, 17:04:49 »
SAMUEL CLAY.  Established skilled labourer.
Called and cautioned.
129.   Were you looking at the ship when the explosion occurred?
A.   We had just left the ship about 3 minutes.
130.   Were you looking at her?
A.   Our backs were towards her.
131.   Did you see what the people were doing when you came on board?
A.   Yes.  They were connecting the mines up, taking the charges and screwing them on and then putting them down inside.  Connecting the caps and screwing all the nuts up and putting the gear and the long bars, putting them in position.
132.   That long bar - is that a very long bar?
A.   About 2 ft 6 inches long.  Screwing them in each side.
133.   On which deck was that?
A.   The lower main deck.
134.   Did you see the state of mines on the upper deck?
A.   I had occasion to go up there once but I was only there a few minutes.
135.   Did you see the mine on which the Commander was working over the stern rails?
A.   I believe the Commander and Captain were aft at about 10.15 when we had just come up from the magazine and were waiting for the boat to come ashore.  I did not see them.
136.   You say you saw mines being J???ed and hammered to break the joint?  These were the ones before they were fitted?
A.   Yes. Blank flanges.
Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 12:42:20 »
EDWARD JOHN STANDEN.  Established Shipwright.
Called and Cautioned.

122.   You were sitting facing the ship, were you not?
A.   Yes.  On the starboard side of the pinnace going towards the dockyard.
123.   Was anything above the ship.  An aeroplane of anything of that sort?
A.   No.  Nothing that I could see.
124.   Was any column of water thrown up outside the ship when the explosion took place?
A.   I could not see that, but the flame seemed to run from forward to aft.
125.   Where do you think the first explosion occurred?
A.   I thought the flame came from right forward just before the funnels and went aft.
126.   What did you see taking place between the ship and the barge alongside?
A.   Taking covers or blank flanges and bringing them out and throwing them down the fore hold of the barge.
127.   Did you see what they were replacing them with?
A.   Something, but I do not know the nature of a mine.  I saw them placing some thing on the mine.
128.   The Dockyardmen had two forges on board, did they not?
A.   I do not know.  I was sent at 7 a.m. in the morning to take some slings out of the boat to take to the Yard to be tested.
Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2010, 12:52:21 »
109.   YEOMAN OF SIGNALS NEWSOME OF GARRISON POINT SIGNAL STATION.
Stated that he had nothing to add to his statement.
110.   LANCE SERGEANT CHEESMAN.  GARRISON POINT SIGNAL STATION.
Stated that he had nothing to add to his written statement.

Mr Stephen George Quint, Chargeman of Skilled Labourers.
Called and cautioned.
111.   Were you looking at the "Princess Irene" when she exploded?
A.   No.  I had my back to her.
112.   Would you state what you observed on board before you left the ship.  What you noticed being done?
A.   I noticed the naval ratings were engaged in operations on mines.  I am not versed in technical terms with regard to mines but they appeared to be working on top of the rails and top of the sphere.
113.   What work had you been doing on board?
A.   Drilling, riveting and iron caulking.
114.   Whereabouts was this in the ship?
A.   All the rivets were aft and the iron caulking upper deck etc.
115.   Had you any fires alight?
A.   Forward of the upper deck.
116.   What sort of fire?
A.   Rivet forge.
117.   Would that be a long way away from where the mines were?
A.   Yes.  A considerable distance.
118.   Do you know what was in the barge alongside?
A.   No.
119.   Were they working in connection with her?
A.   No.  Not that I saw.  I could not see that they were.
120.   Do you know nothing about mines?
A.   No.  I know nothing about mines.
121.   How were they testing the stern mine rails?
A.   The upper stern rail when I saw it.  When I leaned over the stern they had got a sinker underneath and they were just lowering it over the turn and they were lowering it down a little way and bringing it back again to see that it was alright, I take it.

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2010, 18:57:25 »
Mr. Herbert Lawrence.  Signal Boatswain.  Garrison Point Signal Station.
Called and Cautioned.

105.   Had you been looking at the "Princess Irene" before?
A.   No.  Not actually looking at her.
106.   Had you been looking over the harbour generally?
A.   Yes.
107.   Were there any aeroplanes in sight?
A.   No.
108.   Can you be certain that there was nothing of that sort above the "Princess Irene"?
A.   Quite positive.  I was looking that way specially, because a destroyer at 49 buoy had been asked for a steamboat from "Actaeon" and I was looking to see if the steamboat was on its way to "Actaeon".

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 22:05:13 »
98.   The following ratings were called and asked if they had anything to add to their statements, and all replied that they had nothing to add.

Chief Petty Officer Thomas Cheesman.   "Angora"
Leading Seaman John L. Maw.
Able Seaman William R. Costin.
Able Seaman William J. Mann.
Able Seaman William H. Silver.
Able Seaman George F. Cope.
Able Seaman Arthur C. Hide.  R.N.V.R.
Able Seaman H. Reynolds.  R.N.V.R.
Ordinary seaman H. L. Darton.
Master at Arms John Allum.

Leading Signalman Sidney William Grimsey.  H.M.S. "ANGORA".
Called and Cautioned.

99.   Were you looking at the "Princess Irene" when she blew up?
A.   Just previous to the actual explosion I was looking past there and at the signal there answering a signal from "Actaeon".  Immediately after that I saw a flash and head a terrific explosion.
100.   Where did you see the flash?
A.   The flash seemed to come from the midship part of her., up in one flame.
101.   How many explosions?
A.   One large explosion.
102.   How much of the ship could you see.  Port side, starboard side, or both?
A.   Her stern was towards the midstream.  It showed the starboard side to me.
103.   Was anything alongside her?
A.    Barge on the starboard side and prior to that a trot boat, and another harbour launch, but I could not say whether both had left when the explosion occurred.
104.   Was anything being hoisted in or out of the barge?
A.   Observed nothing.

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2010, 16:07:54 »
James Thompson.  Chief Steward.  H.M.S. "Princess Irene".
Called and Cautioned.

79.   What time did you leave the ship?
A.   9.15 a.m.
80.   Do you know what Officers were on board when you went on shore?
A.   The First Lieutenant, Captain Maurice and the Commander-in-Command.
81.   Do you know whether Captain Cobbe was on board?
A.   Yes.  I saw him and his staff myself.
82.   Did you see anything of the explosion?
A.   Yes.  I saw him and his staff myself.
82.   Did you see anything of the explosion?
A.   Yes.  I was on the town pier waiting to go off.  I saw a flash of flame and smoke.
83.   Were you looking at the ship at the time?
A.   Yes.
84.   Where did the flame first appear?
A.   It enveloped the whole ship.  I could not see the ship for flame.
85.   Could you not distinguish whether it was midships, forward of aft?
A.   It was all over the ship.  It was a very broad flame.
86.   Did you hear one explosion or two?
A.   A series of explosions.  You could not call it more than one.
87.   Had you any knowledge of the system of mining?
A.   Nothing, except what little of it I had had explained to me, and keeping my eyes open.
88.   What were they doing aft when you left?
A.   Priming mines.
89.   Where?
A.   On the lower deck.  The top deck were already primed.  About 150 mines remained to be primed when I left the ship.
90.   Did you see if Officers were on charge of the parties?
A.   On the deck where I took particular notice of the mines, Mr. Rae, Warrant Officer, was in charge.  I was speaking to him.
91.   To your knowledge was the priming being done in haste?
A.   Yes.
92.   Do you know why?
A.   I think they were anxious to see how quickly it could be done.  I heard several say so.
93.   Do you know what boats were alongside?
A.   One barge was all I saw.
94.   Had you any suspicions of anybody in the ship?
A.   No.
95.   Were they all Englishmen as far as you know?
A.   All Britishers.
96.   Are you quite certain there was no priming going on on the upper main deck?
A.   I saw the Carpenters breaking out the pistol boxes and getting them prepared.  I never saw anybody priming them.
97.   You state that the mines on the upper mining decks were finished.
A.   The pistols were in them and they were finished.  I am certain of that.

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 09:58:17 »
Signalman John Geffrey Sutton.  H.M.S. "Princess Irene"
Called and cautioned.
62.   What time did you leave the ship?
A.   9.15 trot boat.
63.   What was going on on board when you left the ship?
A.   Priming mines.
64.   Did you see it yourself?
A.   Yes.
35.   Where were they priming them?
A.   Both mining decks.
66.   Who was doing it?
A.   The ship's company in general., assisted by a working party of between 80 and 90 from Depot.
67.   Were there Officers in charge of each deck?
A.   Yes.
68.   Do you know who?
A.   2 Torpedo Gunners who were putting primers in the mines assisted by 2 Torpedo Gunner's Mates.  The Torpedo Gunner's Mates and Leading Torpedo Men were putting the detonators in the primers.
69.   What were the Depot working party doing?
A.   Carrying pistols about and taking off nuts on tops of mines.
70.   Were any of the whiskers on the mines?
A.   No.
71.   Do you know what boats were alongside?
A.   Barges.
72.   What barges?
A.   Mine barges that were bringing pistols, but I would not be certain.
73.   Had you any suspicions of anybody in the ship?
A.   No.  We had some funny things in the ship.
74.   Did you see the explosion?
A.   No.
75.   Was anything being hoisted in or out of the ship at the same time as priming was going on?
A.   Not that I know of.  They had finished the mines themselves the day before.
76.   Do you know what the dockyardmen were doing on board?
A.   Working about 2 anti aircraft guns also supporting the deck below the two mining decks, beams etc.
77.   Had they any fires on board?
A.   Yes.  One between where the two anti aircraft guns were and also one aft on the poop.
78.   What sort of fires?
A.   Fires for heating rivets.

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2010, 13:46:46 »
43.   What had she in her?
A.   I could not say.
44.   Was any other work going on on the upper deck besides priming mines?
A.   Not that I am aware of.
45.   Did you see the explosion?
A.   No.
46.   Where were you?
A.   Postman ashore.
47.   Do you know whether you had any orders about sailing?
A.   No.
48.   Had you any suspicion that it was possible that there was any ill play in connection with the ship?
A.   Three things happened in the ship some time ago and the Captain cleared lower deck and said to the Ship's Company that he thought there was foul play going on in the ship.  
The first thing was the motor boat that was hoisted at the davits at night.  The falls were left turned up on the bollards of the motor and some one during the night switched on the motor but the cut out of the motor went before the falls had parted.
Second.  Some one had put a screw or nail between two electric wires in the Officers Smoking room and one of the Officers happened to see sparks flying from it.
Third.  Some one had been into the engine room and switched on some valves that let water into the oil tanks.
49.   Had the Ship's Company any suspicions about anyone?
A.   No.
50.   All Englishmen as far as you know?
A.   Yes.  As far as I know.
51.   Your Ship's Company were half Naval ratings and half entered from the shore?
A.   Yes.
52.   Did they all work well together?
A.   Yes.
53.   You stated the pistols were on the upper deck.  Were they primed on the upper deck?
A.   They put the pistols on the upper deck to cock them.
54.   What was done with them then?
A.   They were put in the racks till the following morning.
55.   What happened then?
A.   The working party were carrying them down below for the people that were priming.
56.   Where were they actually priming?
A.   They started on the lower deck.
57.   Did you actually see priming going on?
A.   I saw them priming while I was coming from my mess to catch the 9.15 boat.
58.   What was the position in the ship?
A.   Some were priming on the upper mining deck aft, some on the lower mining deck aft and some forward.
59.   Do you know if there was an Officer in charge of each party?
A.   I could not say.
60.   You are sure there were 3 priming positions?
A.   Yes.
61.   Were whiskers being put on the mines?
A.   I could not say.

Witness withdrew.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2010, 14:23:32 »
Able Seaman William John Pace.  H.M.S. "Princess Irene".
Called and cautioned.

26.   What time did you leave the "Princess Irene"?
A.   9.15 a.m. the trot boat left.
27.   Do you know who was on board at the time you left?  Whether Captain Cobbe was on board?
A.   Captain Cobbe was on board.
28.   Do you know any of the others - whether his Secretary was with him?
A.   They were all on board so far as I know at the time I came off from shore with papers at 8.30 and when I went in with Ward Room papers they were all at breakfast.  All his staff.
29.   What was going on on board when you left the ship?
A.   Priming mines.
30.   Were all the mines on board the ship then?
A.   Yes.
31.   Did you see priming going on?
A.   I saw them put pistols in the mines.
32.   Who was doing it?
A.   All hands, but the working party mostly.  When we got the mines on board on Tuesday, all the pistols were taken in on the upper deck and the Carpenter's crew were opening the boxes and the armourers were cocking the pistols.  On the upper deck inside were all the pistol racks.  The pistols were taking inside on Wednesday morning.  The working party who were from the Depot here were carrying the pistols down to the men who were priming the mines.
33.   Do you know who were actually priming the mines?
A.   All the seaman ratings of the ship's company were assisting in priming the mines.
34.   Have you ever been employed in priming?
A.   Yes.
35.   What part have you taken in it?
A.   Assisting the Gunner in putting detonators in the primers and also assisting the Torpedo Instructors in cocking pistols.
36.   Before cocking pistols, what precautions were taken?
A.   The precautions taken were what we were told by the Captain when cocking the pistols - to see that all the lugs were properly taken off.
37.   Were you given any instructions as to the gauging of the protrusion of the striker?
A.   The Torpedo Gunner and the Torpedo Gunner's Mates used to see to that.
38.   Do you know whether they gauged them?
A.   I cannot say.
39.   Were the pistols always handled by the Torpedo Gunner's Mate?
A.   The Torpedo Gunner's Mates used to be on top of the mine rails and the men used to carry them along and hand them up to them and then the Torpedo Gunner's Mates used to put them in the mines.
40.   Was any fitting ever done by anyone below the rating of Torpedo Gunner's Mate?
A.   Yes.  The Leading Torpedo men used to help to fit the pistols.
41.   How many Leading Torpedo men had you?
A.   I could not say for certain.
42.   Do you know what boats or barges were alongside when you left the ship?
A.   One barge lay alongside the starboard foremost gangway when I left the ship.


 

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