|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.