Clark and Hogg Family History

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Able Seaman William Clark (J/3284)

1892 - 1914

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On this day, 26th November, one hundred years ago in 1914 during WW1 at around 7.50am the HMS Bulwark exploded in the Medway estuary killing Able seaman William Clark. Over 750 other sailors were killed and the bodies of many were not recovered.
RIP William Clark. We are remembering you.
[ WW1 Every Man Remembered ]
HMS Bulwark
William Clark, the son of Gordon Barclay Clark and Janet Clark, was killed in the accidental explosion of HMS Bulwark V during WW1 at Keyhole Reach on the Medway, near Sheerness, Kent on 26th November 1914. Over 740 sailors died and only about 9 survived.
William is amongst the seventy people whose body was not recovered or identified. Many of the unidentified are buried in a communal grave in Gillingham.
A report on the HMS Bulwark explosion
HMS Bulwark
HMS Bulwark
William Clark- Everyman remembered
[WW1 British Legion Every Man Remembered]
Commonwealth War Graves - Certificate Of Able Seaman William Clark
William Clark - CWGC
William Clark CWGC Certificate
Portsmouth Naval Memorial Portsmouth Naval Museum
Portsmouth Naval Museum
The Naval War Memorial, Southsea, on which victims from Bulwark are commemorated.

Disaster in the Medway - The story of the HMS Bulwark Explosion of 1914

On 26th November 1914 HMS Bulwark, a 15,000 ton battleship, was moored at buoy number 17 at Kethole Reach on the River Medway. She was taking on coal from the airship base at Kingsnorth, on the Isle of Grain.

At 7.50am (other reports say it was 7.30), as the crew were having breakfast, an explosion ripped the ship apart. The explosion was heard as far away as Whitstable to the south and Southend (in Essex) to the North. Eye witnesses stated that once the smoke has cleared, there was no sign of the ship. This evidence is supported by the fact that naval divers who investigated the wreck three days after the explosion found just two large fragments of wreckage - a section of the port bow as far aft as the sick bay, and 30 feet further away, a section of the starboard bow. Debris from the explosion fell up to four miles away.
HMS Bulwark, pictured in 1904.  Image kindly provided by Michael W. Pocock,
HMS Bulwark, pictured in 1904. © Michael W. Pocock,
In all, the explosion killed 745 men and 51 officers. Five of the 14 men who survived died later of their wounds, and almost all of the others were seriously wounded. There are mass and individual graves in Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, for the Bulwark's dead, who were mostly drawn from the Portsmouth area.

Although the local papers immediately suspected sabotage, the subsequent naval court of enquiry (held at the Royal Naval Hospital, Gillingham) found that much of the ammunition for the ships guns had been stored in the corridors between the 11 magazines, and that either a fault with one of the shells or overheating cordite near a boiler room bulkhead could have started a chain reaction which destroyed the ship.

The site of the wreck is now a restricted area, designated as a Military Wreck by the Admiralty.
see a satellite image of the wreck site on Google Maps. The site is very close to the shore.

The Graves

Communal grave of the unidentified victims of the HMS Bulwark and HMS Princess Irene explosions. The bodies of the men who died when the ship exploded, and of those who died later, are buried in Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham. Those who could not be identified are buried in a communal grave, along with those of the HMS Princess Irene explosion.

The grave is in the middle of the naval section of the cemetery, amongst the individual graves.
The inscription on the communal grave of the unidentified victims of the HMS Bulwark and HMS Princess Irene explosions.
The inscription on the grave states:
Individual graves of the victims of the HMS Bulwark and HMS Princess Irene explosions. The identified victims, including those who died later of wounds, are buried around the communal grave. One of the things that struck me, walking around the naval section of the cemetery, was the mixture of different types of gravestones.

The usual Commonwealth War Graves Commission pattern isn't used exclusively - some are slightly taller with a slightly different curve along the top. There are also some privately purchased stones. Presumably these were allowed because the men died in Britain, not abroad.
with thanks © and others
A memorial to those lost on Bulwark (and Princess Irene) was erected at the Dockyard Church, Sheerness in 1921. It was dedicated by Archdeacon Ingles, the Chaplain of the Fleet, and unveiled by Hugh Evan-Thomas, Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.

Victims of both ships are also commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval War Memorial at Southsea.

Another memorial was placed in Woodlands Road Cemetery, Gillingham, as part of the Naval Burial Ground.
The explosion broke windows in Whitstable (Kent) 20 miles away and in Southend (Essex) 10 miles away on the other side of the Thames the pier was shaken by the explosion.

Other info

Bulwark Info (survivors and buried)
A report on the HMS Bulwark explosion
Bulwark Association
Wiki on HMS Bulwark [click here]
William Clark was born in Dudley Worcestershire on 20th October 1892 and died on 26th November 1914.

The fellow seamen of William Clark

see the page with the other casulties of the HMS Bulwark explosion [casualty list link]

David Clark
His grandfather David Clark in 1911, aged 80.
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