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A Blast From the Past 1914

November 26th: The Bulwark, one of the great ships of the Battle Fleet anchored in the Medway has been destroyed in a single explosion, killing all but 12 of the 741 officers and men on board. This dastardly crime is believed to be the work of a U-boat or enemy agents in the area.

Witnesses on the mainland at Stoke and Grain say the incident will for ever be fixed in their memory. There was a tremendous flash, accompanied by a blast and one of the ships was suddenly enveloped in a huge cloud of smoke.

When that smoke cleared the vessel had gone. The Bulwark had simply just disappeared. Admiralty divers are currently examining the wreckage in an attempt to determine the cause of the explosion.

"The Bulwark blows up in the Medway: 741 killed"

They are faced with a hopeless task for the upper deck of the ship has been ripped asunder and timber and metal strewn over an area of sea believed to be more than a mile in radiusParts of the ship, including an officer's wardrobe, are lying on marshes on the mainland.

Mean while work continues in looking for survivors. A few were picked up by boats which went to the rescue in the wake of the tragedy. They were in the water surrounded by floating debris and corpses and were shouting hysterically for help. Other , bodies were being wshed downstream by a strong current and the rescue parties made the decision to leave the men in their watery grave. An official enquiry will be held soon. The U-Boat theory may be dismissed as unlikely. That means the explosion was caused by an accident or sabotage ? and the latter is strongly suspected.

Some people in Sheerness have already reported the sighting in the area of a foreignlooking gentleman dressed like a farmer but having a military bearing. There are spies all around us. The Bulwark moved to the Medway anchorage earlier this month with the Fifth Battle Fleet to combat any German moves to invade England. She was launched in 1899 as a flag ship and carried 11 magazines connected by a passage running through the entire ship. These ammunition passages were packed with shells and cordite. The explosion was seen as far away as Southend and Sittingbourne where one man reported it as being just like a wonderful sunset.

January 3rd: The last horsedrawn bus has made its final journey through Beckenham.
January 15th: Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty has threatened to resign from the Government in protest against Ministerial opposition to higher naval expenditure.
February 9th: The wireless pioneer Marconi announces that he can light a lamp six miles away by wireless power.
February 25th: Ulster's opposition to Home Rule for Ireland as a whole means the country is drifting towards civil war. The parliamentary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) has 100,000 armed men and has wamed there will be bloodshed if the Home Rule bill should ever become law.
April 13th: Mr Bernard Shaw's new play Pygmalion opened in London last night to great acclaim. Actress Mrs Patrick Campbell made a personal success as the Cockney flower girl who is taught to speak like a lady.
April: Cricket ball makers at Penshurst and Tunbridge are among thousands of workers throughout the country on strike for higher wages. Building workers came out in January followed by Yorkshire miners in March.
June 20th: The world's biggest liner, The Bismarck, is launched by The Kaiser in Hamburg.
June 28th: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the AustroHungarian throne and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenburg have been assassinated as they drove tugh the streets of Sarajevo, through the capital of Bosnia. They were killed by two shots from a Browning automatic
July 28th: Austria declares war on Serbia.
July 30th The German Kaiser Wilhelm III warns the Czar of Russia that Germany will mobilise unless Russia withdraws the mobilisation orders of 1,200,000 troops
. July 30th: The Government agrees to shelve the Irish Home Rule bill in the face of the crisis in Europe.
August 1st: The Kaiser declares war on his cousin, the Czar. The Royal Navy is mobilised.
August 3rd: Germany declares war on France. Britain says it will stand by the 1839 Treaty of London guaranteeing Belgium neutrality and will protect French coasts. John French and his British Expeditionary Force land in France.
August 23rd: Russian troops penetrate 50 miles into Prussia. Japan declares war on Germany. Brussels falls.
August 31st: British troops are engaged in a bitter struggle for the town of Mons. Bloody battles are being fought in an ever shifting line from Belgium in the north to Lorraine in the south. The Rus sian army have suffered a terrible defeat on the Eastem Front along the borders of East Prussia.
August 4th: Germany invades
September 7th: The first bomb falls on London. The Royal Fly ing Corps are throwing steel darts out of their aircraft into the Ger man trenches.
September 9th: Herbert Asquith, the Prime Minister, has called for another 50,000 men to sign up for the army. The army's strength is now 825,000 and almost as many men are joining in a day as are normally recruited in a year. Thousands are coming from Kent.
September 18th: Crayford inventor Hiram Maxim reveals his anti Zeppelin incendiary bullet
September 28th: Turkey attacks Russian ports.
October 10th-17th: More than 5,000 Belgian refugees and wounded soldiers are brought into Dover.
October 28th: Police round up aliens across the country. Concentration camps are set up in Kent.
October 29th: The Ramsgate fishing vessel, "Our Tom", is blown up by a German mine. All hands are killed.
November 26th: HMS Bulwark blows up in the harbour at Sheerness. 700 are killed. Income tax is doubled to pay for the war.
December 8th: HMS Kent sinksthe German cruiser Nurnberg in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
December 24th: An aerial bomb falls on Dover.
December 28th: SS Montrose intended as a blockship in Dover Harbour has blown out to sea and been wrecked on the Goodwin Sands. No casualties