November 26. 700 dead in HMS Bulwark explosion. Leading medic Sir William Thompson. Roll of Honour

Without a shot being fired, the mixture of men, mines and munitions is always a potential for danger. This was proved on the morning of Thursday, November 26th, 1914, when HMS Bulwark (photo), moored near Sheerness, was torn apart with an internal explosion and sank. At least five men from NI died when HMS Bulwark exploded killing almost 700 men. Alexander Montagu from Cromore, Portstewart died. His brother Fr Walter Phillip Montagu, SJ, Chaplain to the Forces, died in 1918. Both are named on Portstewart WM. Sir William Thompson was Professor of Medicine at QUB for 27 years. In WW1 he served with the RAMC and with other Belfast medics in France making important medical breakthroughs. Sir William’s son, an only child, served as a Captain with the RAMC during WW2 and was killed during the fall of Singapore. Gunners John Cochrane of Coleraine and William Montgomery of Upperlands died serving with 9HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery. They are remembered in Lybia, Egypt, and Derry Cathedral.

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