Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, June 27, 2022

Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, Orkney

HMS Hampshire, an armored cruiser, was en route from Orkney to Russia, taking Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, on a secret mission to bolster support from the tsar for the war when it hit a mine and sank on 5 June 1916. There were only 12 survivors, 737 perished, including Lord Kitchener and his staff.

HMS Hampshire at Anchor

Kitchener Memorial

Sailing alone in heavy seas into high winds, Hampshire was approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km) off Mainland, Orkney, between Brough of Birsay and Marwick Head at 19:40 on 5 June when an explosion occurred and she heeled to starboard. She had struck one of several mines laid by the German minelaying submarine U-75 on 28–29 May, just before the Battle of Jutland. About 15 minutes after the explosion, Hampshire sank by the bow. Most of the lifeboats were smashed against the side of the ship by the heavy seas when they were lowered.The ship is upside down at a depth of 180–230 feet  of water.

Panels Listing the Fallen

Inscription on the Tower

A tower was erected on Marwick Head on Mainland, Orkney, in 1926 by the people of Orkney to the memory of Kitchener and the officers and men of Hampshire. The Kitchener Memorial is a square, crenellated stone tower with the inscription: "This tower was raised by the people of Orkney in memory of Field Marshal Earl Kitchener of Khartoum on that corner of his country which he had served so faithfully nearest to the place where he died on duty. He and his staff perished along with the officers and nearly all the men of HMS Hampshire on 5 June 1916."

View of the Sinking Site from the Tower

Source:  Thanks to Steve Miller and Mike Crutch for the great photos; The Scotsman, Wikipedia

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