Plans coming together for HMS Hampshire centenary

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A view of Marwick Head, with Kitchener Memorial in the distance (image: Scott McIvor)

When we started our Kitchener and HMS Hampshire Memorial project to “Better Remember” the hundreds of men who were lost one stormy summer night in the First World War the centenary of the tragedy seemed a long way away.

But now it is less than four months until folk will gather at Marwick Head, Orkney on 5 June 2016 to commemorate the men who were lost with HMS Hampshire. How is the Orkney Heritage Society project progressing?

Well, the existing Kitchener Memorial, a 48-feet high stone tower built in 1926, is now restored – the roof is repaired, the pointing finished, only the concrete apron remains to be finished.

Work to build the new commemorative Hampshire wall will start soon. An order has already been placed with engravers who will carve in granite the 737 names of the men lost with the warship, along with the nine lost shortly afterwards on HM Drifter Laurel Crown.

The money to complete the project is still a few thousand pounds short of what we need. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, if you would like to donate please go to our JustGiving page.

Meanwhile the Birsay Heritage Trust’s Remembering The Hampshire project is also making good progress. Many of you have offered artefacts and mementoes for the exhibition to be held, near Marwick Head, at Birsay Community Hall from 3 to 5 June.

If you think you can help with artefacts of HMS Hampshire and her crew and passengers, including Earl Kitchener, or spare time as a volunteer, please contact Alan Manzie, Birsay Community Development Worker (details at the bottom of this blog entry).

Our family and naval historian Andrew Hollinrake is turning up some fascinating stories about the men who were lost with HMS Hampshire. Just one example is a surprising cricket link. The Hampshire’s chaplain Rev Philip George Alexander was married to Fannie, niece of perhaps England’s most-famous cricketer W.G. Grace. You can read more about the chaplain on the webpage The history of the War Memorial, Downend, Bristol.

Speaking of Andrew, he will be giving a talk about HMS Hampshire at an event next week, Friday 26 February, which falls exactly 100 days before the centenary of the warship’s loss. Birsay Heritage Trust is hosting an Orkney Seafarer’s Group lunch in the Hampshire lounge at the Barony Hotel, Birsay. Tickets price £6 are on sale from Voluntary Action Orkney, 6 Bridge Street, Kirkwall until Wednesday 24 February.

Plans for the centenary weekend itself are falling into place. Information about the weekend’s events, and those for the Battle of Jutland centenary a few days earlier, are available on the Orkney Islands Council website.

Shortly afterwards the St Magnus International Festival will mark both centenaries when the St Magnus Festival Chorus and BBC Symphony Orchestra perform Stanford’s Songs of the Fleet. They are also performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and rehearsals begin on Monday 22 February. More information on the festival website.

To find out more and help

Anyone who would like to offer artefacts or memories, or act as a volunteer, can contact Alan Manzie, Birsay Community Development Worker, by telephone (07503 519328), email (Alan.Manzie@vaorkney.org.uk) or by writing to: Alan Manzie, Birsay Community Development Worker, Voluntary Action Orkney, Anchor Buildings, 6 Bridge Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HR.

Alternatively, contact can be made through through Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney), this blog or the new HMS Hampshire history website, www.hmshampshire.org.

Families of those who were lost with HMS Hampshire, and the Laurel Crown, are encouraged to contact our historian Andrew Hollinrake via the above Facebook, Twitter, blog or website contacts, or by emailing kitchener.memorial@gmail.com.

Anyone who wishes to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/ or send a cheque (payable to Orkney Heritage Society) to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, KW15 9AD.

Graham Brown

Remembering The Hampshire

A Birsay Heritage Trust project

Do you think you might have artefacts related to the loss of HMS Hampshire, or to Lord Kitchener, famous for the First World War “Your Country Needs You!” recruitment posters?

If so, Birsay Heritage Trust would love to hear from you. The group’s volunteers are arranging an exhibition to mark the centenary of the sinking of the warship off Orkney with the loss of 737 men, including Kitchener.

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HMS Hampshire (image: © IWM (Q 39007))

Keith Johnson, Chairman, Birsay Heritage Trust, believes there may be artefacts, photographs, letters and memorabilia hidden away in cupboards, attics and sheds which would be of great interest to the public. Or, perhaps you have a family story related to the Hampshire to be told?

A replica of HMS Hampshire has been specially commissioned as a contribution to the “Remembering The Hampshire” exhibition, to be held from 3 to 5 June at Birsay Community Hall, Orkney.

The model, expected to be around one metre long, is to be built by professional model maker, Paul Tyer, of Peedie Models, Tankerness, using Admiralty plans obtained by the trust.

HMS Hampshire was taking Earl Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of State for War, to Russia for talks when she sank on 5 June 1916. There were only 12 survivors.

Keith Johnson said: “We hope the exhibition will interest local people and the many visitors expected here in June to remember the loss of the crew of HMS Hampshire, as well as Lord Kitchener and his staff, when she foundered after hitting a mine off Marwick Head.

“We are appealing to folk throughout Orkney, and the UK and abroad, for items, photographs, and memories.”

The trust will work with Voluntary Action Orkney to record oral memories which will be made public in both audio and written formats, and preserved for posterity.

Volunteers will be trained in the correct use of the equipment, and in the techniques used to best “draw out” family memories and stories from people who have come forward. Help is also needed to staff the exhibition throughout its opening times.

Birsay Heritage Trust’s Remembering The Hampshire – supported by Orkney Island Council’s World War I Culture Fund – is intended to complement Orkney Heritage Society’s Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project which will see the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head restored and a commemorative wall created alongside, engraved with the names of all men lost with the warship.

On Sunday 5 June, the centenary of the sinking, an evening service will be held at Marwick Head, Orkney. It is expected the nearby Birsay Community Hall will be the hub of activities that weekend with talks, films and catering.

Mr Johnson said: “We hope the exhibition events will be a focal point for those attending the centenary events, enriching their visit and offering them some Orkney hospitality.”

All historic items not needing to be returned afterwards will be held by Birsay Heritage Trust and publicly shown, on an ad hoc basis, as opportunity arises.

Anyone who would like to offer artefacts or memories, or act as a volunteer, can contact Alan Manzie, Birsay Community Development Worker, by telephone (07503 519328), email (Alan.Manzie@vaorkney.org.uk) or by writing to: Alan Manzie, Birsay Community Development Worker, Voluntary Action Orkney, Anchor Buildings, 6 Bridge Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HR.

Alternatively, contact can be made through through Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney), this blog or the new HMS Hampshire history website, www.hmshampshire.org.

Thank you.

Graham Brown

 

The 746 names to be engraved on Orkney’s HMS Hampshire commemorative wall

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An aerial view of restoration work at the Kitchener Memorial, showing the arc-shape of the planned HMS Hampshire wall (image: Scott McIvor)

It is less than six months until the centenary of the sinking of HMS Hampshire, just off Orkney on 5 June 1916, when 737 men were lost, including Britain’s Secretary of State for War Earl Kitchener. Later that month, HM Drifter Laurel Crown sank in the same area, with the loss of all nine crew. Both ships hit mines.

Next year a new commemorative wall, engraved with the names of all 746 men lost with the two ships, will be unveiled. It will be built on Orkney’s Atlantic coast next to the existing Kitchener Memorial, unveiled in 1926, and now being restored.

The wall’s arc shape was chosen following a public consultation. The names will be engraved in block letters, arranged alphabetically in panels facing the memorial. There will be separate panels, within the wall, for Kitchener’s party and for the Laurel Crown crew, which included George Petrie from Burray, Orkney.

The restoration and the new wall are being created as part of the Orkney Heritage Society’s Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project, run by volunteers, writes Graham Brown.

Today on this blog we publish a list of the 746 names, the result of research by local military historian Brian Budge and by memorial project member Andrew Hollinrake.

Andrew is also launching a new website, www.hmshampshire.org, and explains more: “The new website, for now, will just show a list of names. But we hope to have much more in the way of detail online later, including information and photographs we’ve gathered through our research, and from family members of the casualties.

“The final list of names comes from a number of sources including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, the National Archives at Kew, family history websites, relatives and newspaper archives.

“It has taken many hours of work but it is an honour to do this to remember the men from HMS Hampshire, Kitchener’s party and the Laurel Crown.

“I invite everyone with an interest in this project, particularly family members, to look at our list and please let us know if you think amendments are needed before the names are, literally, carved in stone.”

The project members estimate they are more than 90% of the way towards the funding needed for the restoration and the wall, with less than £10,000 still to find.

Anyone who wishes to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/ or send a cheque payable to Orkney Heritage Society.

Relatives who would like to contact Andrew and the team about the published list of names, or who may have artefacts suitable for a planned exhibition around the time of the centenary, may email kitchener.memorial@gmail.com or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, KW15 9AD.

Alternatively, the volunteers can be contacted through Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney) and via this blog.

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Three men whose names will be on the wall: George Petrie of Orkney (left), JWH Beechey (top right) and AG Watts (bottom right)

HMS Hampshire crew [list updated 15 February 2016]

Update – 13 May 2016: Please note that some further amendments have been made to get the final list of names which will appear on the commemorative wall. This final list can be viewed in full on our history website, hmshampshire.org.

ABURROW J A
ADAMS H
ADAMS W F
ADAMS W H
ALEXANDER P G
ALLEN E A
ALLEN F H
ALLEN W B
ALLUM G A
AMEY N P
AMEY W J
AMOS J J
AMY W M
ATTWOOD C E
ATTWOOD G
AUSTIN A E
AYLING C G J
AYTON G
BAGLEY J L
BAILEY C
BAILEY G
BAILEY H R
BAILEY J C
BAINES S
BAKER F G
BAKER P
BALLARD R G
BANCROFT I
BANWELL E J
BARBEARY C H
BARGEN T E
BARNARD J E T
BARNETT J
BARROW N
BARTLETT F H
BARTLETT G 284537
BARTLETT G Sussex 4/172
BARTLETT V G
BATES A
BATES B E
BATES G
BAULK A S
BAYNES G A
BEAN F F
BEAR J V
BEARMAN W J
BECK G E
BEECHEY J W H
BEESTON G S
BELCHAMBER E
BELL W A
BENNETT L S
BENNETT W H
BENTLEY F
BEVERLEY R
BEX W L
BILLINGHAM B
BILLINS W E
BIRTLES R
BISHOP G S J
BLACK R B
BLACKSHAW G
BLAKE E A J
BLANDFORD S T
BLOOR T
BOBBETT J J
BOND G H
BONNICK H A W
BORAMAN R J
BORNE J H
BOSWORTH M J
BOWEN G W
BRAGG J A
BRAIN W H
BRIDGES W F
BRINDLEY J
BRISCOE J
BROAD W H
BROCKWAY A G C
BROWN R
BROWN W
BROWNING H
BUCKENHAM J T
BUCKINGHAM R A
BUNTING T
BURDEN E
BURFOOT C N N
BURREN G P
BURROWS A
BURTON J R
BURY F
BUSBY W S
BUTLER F E
BUTLER G I
BUTLER R T
BYNG J
CADBY W G
CADMAN C
CAKE W
CAMERON W J
CANNON J A
CARD W G B
CARTER C C W A
CARTER T E
CARVIN C
CHAMBERS A H
CHAPLIN H G
CHARLTON A C
CHEATER H J
CHESWORTH A
CHILD A E
CHITTY A
CLARK W
CLAY F
CLAYTON W
CLEARY F W
COLBECK P
COLE F G
COLLECOTT F G
COLLETT J W
COLLIER S
COLLINS S
COLLIS W T
COMPTON A W
CONNELLEY P
CONSTABLE L A L
COOGAN J
COOK F
COOKE H N
COOMBS J R
COOPER G H
COOPER W L M
COPE H
COSSEY A E
COULTHARD T
COVEY J E
COWLEY G W
COX H
COX J
COX J C
COYLE J
CROMPTON E
CROSS A
CRUSE P
CULLINGTON F T
CUMMING D
CUNNINGHAM H
CUNNINGHAM J
DABBS H
DAGWELL F
DALLAS W A E
DANIELS E
DARBY W G
DASENT M
DAVEY E
DAVIS A
DAWSON A W A
DAWSON J B
DE STE CROIX W B
DEAN F P
DENHAM H S
DENNIS H
DEVESON P W
DEVLIN J
DIAMOND C H
DIAPER H J
DODD W
DOHERTY M
DOHERTY R
DOMINEY C J
DONNELLY G N
DOOLEY S
DOVE G W
DOWLAND S J
DOWNES J
DOWSON J
DRUMMOND F G
DUFF P
DUFFIN A J
DUNCAN A J C
DUNN L G A
DURRANT G W
DYER G
EADES J
EAST E R
ECCLESTON N
EDWARDS I S R R
ELLISON V
ELMER G J
ELSON R M
EPPS J F
EVANS G M
EVANS J
EVANS P
EVANS R
EVANS W A
EVERETT W
EWING W
EYRE J
FALLOWFIELD R
FARINDON A
FARTHING W T
FEAR E C
FELLOWES E E
FELLOWS B
FERRETT S J F
FERRETT T C J
FERRIMAN G F W
FIELD G
FIELDING P
FINCKEN C A T
FISKEN P
FITCH J W N
FITZGERALD J H
FLACK F
FLANAGAN B
FLAVIN M
FLEMING J H
FLEMING M T
FLEXMAN E F
FONEY F J
FORREST G H
FORREST J
FOSTER E
FOSTER J
FOTHERGILL E
FOWLER A T
FRASER C S
FREEMAN W A
FREEMAN W C
GALE H A
GALE W
GANDER J
GARDNER W F
GARRETT S
GARRETT W J
GARSDEN J W V
GEARNS J C
GEORGE E C
GERRARD F E
GIBBS W J
GIBSON W
GILDERSLEEVE H
GILES H
GISBORN J F
GLOVER F
GLOVER G A
GOBLE A E
GOMM C
GOODFELLOW B
GORDON J E G
GRACE W E
GRANT S A
GREEN G
GREEN J J
GREEN J
GREENAN J
GREENHILL B P K
GREENWOOD B T
GREY E V
GRINYER C E
GROOMBRIDGE V A
GROVES T P
GROVES W E
HACKEN R F
HAGAN J
HAGAN J S H
HAINES A W
HAINSWORTH H
HAMLIN C H
HANSELL A
HARDEN C
HARDING J
HARGREAVES J H
HARMAN D J
HARPER A H
HARRIS L W
HARRIS S J
HARRISON E G
HARRISON J W
HARRISON T
HART C G C
HART G
HARVEY J R
HARWOOD T J
HAWKINS E
HAWKINS J C
HAWKINS W
HAYES H J
HAYLER J
HAZEL S
HAZEON C S
HEAD G H
HEATH M
HEDGES E T
HEGGS J H
HENEAGE V
HENNESSAY J E
HENRY T W
HENWOOD D
HESELWOOD R
HEWITT F
HICK H
HIGGINS F A
HILL E T
HILL G H
HILL J J
HILL R
HILL T P
HILLS H G
HIRTZEL G H
HISCOCK J T
HOBBS F N
HOBSON M B
HOCKLESS L H
HODGKINSON J
HOLBROOK W
HOLDEN J
HOLL G W
HOLLAMBY F H
HOLLEY J F
HOLLIS S
HOLLOWAY F
HOLTOM H E
HOOK F C
HOOKER B H
HOOKHAM B
HOPE C
HORROCKS A W
HOUGHTON G
HOWDEN W H
HOWE H W
HUDSON S A
HUGHES R L
HUMPHREY A
HUNT F
HUNTER E
HUNTER E F
HUNTER F A
HUNTER G M
INNOLES W F
IRESON W
ISHERWOOD F
IVES J
JAMES G
JAMIESON W
JARVIS B
JARVIS J E
JEFFRIES H
JELLEY T W
JENNINGS G T M
JENNINGS H J
JENOURE A S
JEWITT L
JOELS E J
JOHNSTON J K/24401
JOHNSTON J 8299(S)
JOHNSTONE L H
JONES C
JONES E
JONES H
JONES J
JONES J A
JONES T
JONES W G
JORDAN A H
KANAAR J A G
KEBBLE A A
KEEPING T L
KENDALL A
KENNEDY J
KENNY T
KENWARD H C
KIMBER W J
KIRBY J H
KIRBY W J
KIRKUP F
KNIGHT G H
KNIGHT H
KNIGHT J G
KNOWLSON J W
LACEY R
LACY A
LAITY J H
LAMB J H
LAMPARD A E
LAMPITT J
LARKING A G
LARKINS H
LATTER W T
LATTIMORE G C
LAWLER W
LAWLER W G
LAWRENCE L J
LEACH T W
LEADER L J
LEDGER A E
LEDWOOD J W
LEE W H
LESLIE F P
LEWIS J G
LEWIS J H
LILLEY A L
LIND C N
LIPSCOMBE C W
LITTLE R T
LITTLEWOOD H R
LOCKER G W
LOVEGROVE T G
LOWE J
LOWE T
LOWE W C
LOWERY H
LYFIELD A G
LYNCH J
LYNN A E
MacGREGOR J D
MALLARD J A
MALLET C S B
MALLETT H F
MANSER F S J
MARINER E
MARNER G A
MARSHALL A
MARSHALL F G
MARSHALL G E
MARTIN C
MARTIN G F
MARTIN R P
MASKELL J E
MASTERS B W
MATTHEWS H
MAXTED H
MAYHEW E G
McADAM W
McCALL D
McDONELL P
McFARLANE R M
McGARRIGLE D
McGARVIE W C
McGOWAN F G
McGRATH H
McINTYRE A
McLAUGHLIN J
McLOUGHLIN R J
McNALLY H F
McNEILL R
McPHERSON A J
MEDHURST C A
MELHUISH W J
MERRITT C H
MERWOOD R
MEW J
MIDDLETON R C
MITCHNER H
MOORE G W
MOORE R
MORETON W A
MORLEY A
MORPHEW G A
MORRIS E O
MORRIS F S
MORRIS F A
MORTIEAU A J
MORTON A F
MORTON C E A
MOULD A C
MUDIE D B
MULLEN D
MULLENS F C
MULVEY P
MUNTON A
MUSSON T
NAYLOR A G S
NEELD A W
NEWBEGIN J
NEWMAN J
NINEHAM W E
NOEL H
NORRINGTON T E
NORRIS A C
NORTH A
NORTH G
NORTHOVER S J
NOVICE J A
NOWLAND F
NUGENT M L O
NYE C W
O’CONNELL A A
OLIVER F C
OLIVER J W
ORMONDE W A
OUBRIDGE W B
OULTON W H
OWEN N
PAGE J H
PAMPLIN J H
PARKER G H
PARKER J
PARKHURST A J
PARKS W
PARSONS H
PARSONS S C
PARSONS W R
PASHLEY A E
PATON D
PATTENDEN A
PAYNE A
PAYNE H
PAYNE H E
PEARCE A J J
PELLETT E A
PENGILLY P W
PERRY D
PERRY P E
PESSELL P J
PETERS W R
PETTETT E
PETTETT W J
PHILLIPS A
PIPER F S
POLLARD J
PONSFORD C H
PORTER A J
POTTER F
POWELL J
POWELL W G
PRAGNELL G V
PRAGNELL W
PURNELL E
QUINTON W E
RAGLESS P J
RAMSEY P R
RANDELL G
RAWLINS W E
REDFERN T H
REED G E
REED W
REES W H
REEVE G E
REYNOLDS G
REYNOLDS P
REYNOLDS S H
RICHARDS E
RIGBY J E
RILEY E
RIORDAN T J
ROBERTS P B
ROBERTSON J W
ROBERTSON W H
ROBEY W C
ROBINSON A F
ROBINSON E F H
ROGERS E J
ROGERS W
ROGERS W E
ROSE R J
ROSSITER T
ROWELL W G
ROWLEY J
RUSSELL F
RYAN S
RYAN W
RYLES M
SALISBURY W H
SALOWAY W L
SANDOM G C
SAUNDERS A
SAVILL H J
SCHEURER A L
SCRIVEN T G
SEE C W
SEMPLE R
SEXTON R P A
SEYMOUR H J
SHAILL T E
SHANKS J 270194
SHANKS J K/27968
SHARP W H
SHARPLES T H W
SHAW J P
SHEARMAN C N
SHEPHERD F R
SHEPHERD W
SHERWIN C E
SHIELDS W
SHORT W H
SIDEBOTHAM W
SILK E G
SILLS E E
SIRDIFIELD J T
SKINNER W
SKYNNER W W
SMEDLEY J H
SMITH A K/18646
SMITH A SS/114387
SMITH A PO/15494
SMITH B
SMITH E
SMITH G E
SMITH G S
SMITH G W
SMITH H W
SMITH W J/38334
SMITH W K/2353
SNELL S S
SNOW V G
SNOWDEN J N
SOWDEN W R
SPARKES S J
SPARROW W C J J B
SPEDDING F
SPENCER E G
SPIERS O A
SQUIRE W C
STABLES G
STAFFORD W E
STALLARD G T
STANLEY S
STARMORE E S
STEAD E
STEELE C T
STEPHENS S W
STEVENSON W
STEWART F G
STEWART R C
STRINGER A D
STRINGER C T
STRINGER H
STRINGER J E
SUCKLEY W V
SUTTON A L
SWEETZER H D
TAILBY G A
TAPPER S C
TAYLOR E E
TAYLOR H d P
TAYLOR J A
TERRY P W
THOMPSON R A
THOMPSON W
THORNTON W J
THWAITES W H
TIDEY S W
TILBURY W
TILLING H C
TINGLEY J C
TIPPING E
TIZARD P L E
TOONE S
TREFFRY F C
TRODD H V
TROTT J H
TRUE E B
TUCK C E A
TUCKER C A E
TUNNICLIFFE J
TURNER E J
TURNER F
TURNER F H
TWOMEY L J
VARNDELL E H
VEALE M
VERLANDER G C
VERNON H F
VINCE S J H
VIVIAN R C
WAGSTAFF A H
WAIGHT F E
WALDEN E
WALKER A
WALKER A E
WALLER W J
WALTERS C C
WATERMAN W F
WATERMAN W G
WATERS H
WATTHEW F H
WATTS A G
WATTS C W
WAUGH J
WEBB J H
WELSBY W
WENHAM W F J
WEST C
WHEELER C W
WHEELER G B
WHEELER W A
WHELAN H A
WHITE B
WHITE E
WHITE F K/15718
WHITE F SS/114743
WHITE G V
WHITE J
WHITE W E
WHITLOCK H
WHITNEY F W
WHITWORTH J
WICKENS T J
WICKER R A
WIGFALL T B
WIGG W J
WILDEN G P
WILKINSON C W
WILLIAMS C
WILLIAMS E H
WILLIAMS G
WILLIAMS J G W
WILLIAMS P G
WILLIAMS W
WILLS W S
WILSON A
WILSON B J
WILSON W
WITHINGTON C
WOOD F
WOOD J
WOOD W
WOODGER J E
WYMER F L H
YEATES C H
YOUNG J G

Kitchener’s party

BROWN D C
DONALDSON H F
ELLERSHAW W
FITZGERALD O A G
GURNEY J W
KITCHENER H H
McLOUGHLIN M
MACPHERSON R D
O’BEIRNE H J
RIX L C
ROBERTSON L S
SHIELDS W
SURGUY H
WEST F P

Laurel Crown crew

BAKER T J
COULL J
DURRANT C
MITCHELL R
MURPHY A
NICOLSON M
PETRIE G
SLATER R
STEPHENSON C P

Eight months until an important First World War centenary

Restoration work progressing on the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, Orkney
Restoration work progressing on the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, Orkney

Eight months from today on the evening of 5 June 2016 a remembrance service will take place high above Orkney’s Atlantic shoreline exactly 100 years after 737 men were lost nearby when the Royal Navy warship HMS Hampshire sank.

The tragedy on 5 June 1916 claimed the life of Britain’s Secretary of State for War, Earl Kitchener, a hero of the British Empire, but also many other men whose names have barely featured in history.

Men like John William Harry Beechey, Stoker on the Hampshire, whose niece recently wrote to us with a photograph of her uncle.

John William Harry Beechey, Stoker on HMS Hampshire, one of 737 men lost on 5 June 1916
John William Harry Beechey, Stoker on HMS Hampshire, one of 737 men lost on 5 June 1916

The Kitchener Memorial was unveiled in 1926, and the 48-feet high stone tower overlooking the site of the sinking has become an iconic and important part of the Orkney coastline at Marwick Head.

Work is underway to restore the memorial in time for the centenary commemorations, which will be attended by many relatives of those lost with HMS Hampshire.

But volunteers from the Orkney Heritage Society project also want to “better remember” the sacrifice of the other men. A low commemorative wall is to be built alongside the tower, engraved with the names, arranged alphabetically, of everyone who died on that stormy June evening during the First World War.

Many generous donations of money, time, materials and mementoes have been received but, frustratingly, we still find ourselves around £15,000 short of the money we need to complete the project in time for next year’s centenary.

Thank you to everyone who has helped, in whatever way. If you would like to help financially please go to our JustGiving fund-raising page: https://www.justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/.

You can follow the progress of the project on Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial) and Twitter (@kitchenerorkney).

If you would prefer you can contact us via email – kitchener.memorial@gmail.com – or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 9AD.

Graham Brown

Making connections

Postcards of HMS Hampshire
Postcards of HMS Hampshire donated to our project

One of the pleasures of volunteering with the Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project is the connections we are able to make across the world, and languages, and into the past.

Recently two of our volunteers, Neil Kermode and Andrew Hollinrake, were interviewed for a report in Gaelic about our project on BBC Alba’s evening news programme. Fortunately they were able to make their contribution in English.

The TV report by Donald Morrison, with beautiful shots of Orkney’s scenery, was able to show that restoration is well underway on the Kitchener Memorial itself and good progress is being made on the new HMS Hampshire commemorative wall which will be engraved with the names of all 737 men lost, including Earl Kitchener, when the warship sank on 5 June 1916.

You may have read in our previous blog how members of the United States National Guard (Air and Army), visiting Scotland as part of their summer exchange, joined with Orkney’s own Royal Engineers to help progress the building work.

Memorial postcards for Earl Kitchener
Memorial postcards for Earl Kitchener donated to our project

And, thanks to the power of social media, we were contacted by Cathy Bryan on Facebook who said: “I live in the city of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; it was renamed ‘Kitchener’ from ‘Berlin’ in honour of Lord Kitchener after his death. I would like to see the city somehow involved in the centenary or with the Kitchener memorial.”

We were thrilled to hear from Cathy and we hope to involve Kitchener, Ontario in our project. Many folk living in Orkney and who visit on holiday may not realise that the Canadian city has a Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex, home to the Kitchener Panthers baseball team and the Kitchener Rangers ice hockey team.

Meanwhile our appeal for memorabilia about the loss of HMS Hampshire has not gone unnoticed and Colin Nibbs of Crosby, Liverpool sent us a fascinating collection of material which will form part of a display to coincide with next year’s centenary.

This collection – as you can see in this blog – includes old photographs and postcards, as well as a copy of the official Admiralty report into the loss of HMS Hampshire, a good conduct medal and two copies of a book written by one of the 12 survivors of the tragedy, W.C. Phillips – one of them signed by the author.

Colin wrote to us to say: “They are gifted to you in memory of my maternal grandfather Frederick E Waight, Stoker P.O., number 308424 (Po), who perished on HMS Hampshire.”

Thank you Colin. Thank you also to everyone who has made financial and other donations to our project.

I should say we are still short of our fund-raising target – perhaps £15,000, or more, depending on the bills – so work on that front continues for us. If you would like to help please go to our JustGiving fund-raising page: https://www.justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/.

You can follow the progress of the project on Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial) and Twitter (@kitchenerorkney). If you would prefer you can contact us via email – kitchener.memorial@gmail.com – or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 9AD.

Graham Brown

Links

Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex – http://www.theaud.ca/

Kitchener Panthers – http://kitchenerpanthers.pointstreaksites.com/view/kitchenerpanthers

Kitchener Rangers – http://kitchenerrangers.com/

Royal Engineers & US National Guard boost our project

Boots on the scaffolding at the Kitchener Memorial (image: Leslie Burgher)
Boots on the scaffolding at the Kitchener Memorial (image: Leslie Burgher)
An aerial view of work to create the HMS Hampshire wall (image: Leslie Burgher)
An aerial view of work to create the HMS Hampshire wall (image: Leslie Burgher)

Our project has taken big strides in the past week with help from the British Army and US National Guard in restoring Orkney’s Kitchener Memorial and building a commemorative wall to the men lost with him on HMS Hampshire during the First World War.

A squad from 71 Engineer Regiment’s 10 (Orkney) Field Troop have been working with colleagues from both the US Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. They are due to finish their part of the project tomorrow (Tuesday 4 August).

Earl Kitchener himself served with the Royal Engineers so it was appropriate to have some of his successors working on his memorial’s restoration (mortar picking) and creating the foundations to the new HMS Hampshire commemorative wall, alongside our contractors Casey Construction Ltd.

The appearance of the military at Marwick Head caused much interest locally. You can read a detailed report in The Orcadian newspaper when it publishes on Thursday.

Meanwhile, take a listen to this edition of BBC Radio Orkney’s Around Orkney (11 minutes in)…

And take a look at this video (with audio) posted by Orkney.com…

Andrew Hollinrake, a member of our Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project committee, told the press: “We are most grateful to the Royal Engineers for their help on this important memorial work. Their effort moves our work on substantially, and reduces our funding gap. We are getting donations from relatives and others, but still have a gap to fill.

“Several of Kitchener’s party setting out for Russia were serving Army officers, and two senior civil servants from the Ministry of Munitions in the party were temporarily given Army rank, a Brigadier-General and a Lieutenant-Colonel, presumably for the benefit of the Russians who no doubt would expect such a military mission to be made up of high-ranking officers.

“Kitchener himself started his army career as an officer in the Corps of Royal Engineers, so it’s fitting that Orkney’s Army Reservists, alongside personnel from the USA, are helping with the work on his memorial since they are now part of 71 Engineer Regiment.”

Digging out the foundations of the HMS Hampshire wall (image: Leslie Burgher)
Digging out the foundations of the HMS Hampshire wall (image: Leslie Burgher)

Earl Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of State for War, was among those lost when HMS Hampshire, sailing from Scapa Flow to Russia, sank just off Orkney’s Atlantic coast in 1916.

Restoration work started on the 90-year-old Kitchener Memorial, a 48-feet high stone tower, at the end of June. It involves restoring the stonework to its original condition, inspecting and repairing the roof, reinstating the ventilation and restoring the inspection doorway.

The HMS Hampshire wall – to “better remember” all those lost on HMS Hampshire – will, when complete, carry the engraved names of all 737 men lost with the warship.

Orkney Heritage Society volunteers still need around £15,000 to complete the project and are seeking further funding.

A fund-raising guided walk on Sunday led by Andrew to Stromness wartime sites, including the Ness Battery, raised £115.

Signpost to the Kitchener Memorial (image: Graham Brown)
Signpost to the Kitchener Memorial (image: Graham Brown)

Anyone wishing to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/ or send a cheque payable to Orkney Heritage Society.

Please continue to follow the progress of our project via this blog, on Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial) and Twitter (@kitchenerorkney).

Oh, and if you are a reader of the monthly magazine Living Orkney, we’re in that as well. L.C. Littlejohn’s article is in the August edition, in the shops now.

Graham Brown

Permission granted for HMS Hampshire commemorative wall

Work begins on the Kitchener Memorial restoration (image: Orkney Heritage Society)
Work begins on the Kitchener Memorial restoration (image: Orkney Heritage Society)

Have you heard the good news? Yesterday Orkney Islands Council’s Planning Committee granted planning permission for our HMS Hampshire commemorative wall, to be built alongside the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, Orkney.

We issued the following press release to the media.

Graham Brown

Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project press release

Volunteers working to “better remember” 737 men who died when HMS Hampshire sank off Orkney during the First World War have secured planning permission for a commemorative wall engraved with the names of all those lost.

The wall will be a little over a metre high, made of Orkney stone, and laid out in an arc shape alongside the existing Kitchener Memorial tower. The wall will be capped in sandstone with a pillar at each end. Artist-designed carved sandstone panels will be incorporated in the pillars and the internal face of the wall will be faced in dark coloured granite to list the names.

The Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project will also see the Kitchener Memorial restored. Work began on the tower’s restoration last week (week beginning Monday 29 June) and involves restoring the stonework to its original condition, inspecting and repairing the roof, reinstating the ventilation and restoring the inspection doorway.

The contractor chosen by Orkney Heritage Society for the tower restoration and to build the wall is Casey Construction Ltd of Kirkwall.

Permission for the wall was granted by Orkney Islands Council’s Planning Committee today (Wednesday 8 July).

Graham Brown, a member of the memorial project committee, said: “We are delighted to have secured permission for the commemorative wall. We believe that, together with a restored tower, this will make a fitting place of remembrance for next year’s centenary and beyond.”

Now the volunteers have to secure funding to ensure the commemorative wall can be completed. They estimate they need at least another £15,000 to realise the project.

The Kitchener Memorial, a 48-feet high stone tower, was unveiled in 1926 to commemorate Earl Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of State for War, who was among those lost when HMS Hampshire sank just off Orkney’s Atlantic coast on 5 June 1916.

The restored tower and wall will be officially unveiled at events marking the centenary of the sinking on Sunday 5 June 2016. Relatives of some of those lost are expected to attend.

The project committee would like to hear from anyone who may have artefacts linked to HMS Hampshire for a planned exhibition around the time of the centenary. Please email kitchener.memorial@gmail.com or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 9AD.

Anyone who wishes to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/ or send a cheque payable to Orkney Heritage Society.

Follow the progress of the project on Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney) and via a blog at kitchenerhampshire.wordpress.com/.