December 31. Internal explosion sinks HMS Natal. Roll of Honour

During the afternoon of the 30th December 1915, HMS Natal, under the command of Captain Eric Back, blew up at anchor with a great loss of life including nine men and boy sailors from Northern Ireland. On 31/12/1918 in an aeroplane crash at Turnberry, Scotland, James Milliken of Ballyclare and Carrickfergus died serving with the Royal Flying Corps. Robert Dempsey from Ballymena is remembered at Kranji Cemetery Singapore (1939), and Gunner Thomas McConnell from Londonderry is commemorated at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Thailand (1944). Today’s Veterans Roll names eight men who served in HMS Natal in WW1 before her tragic end. They are from Belfast, Holywood, Lisburn and Portrush.

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