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The Invergordon Archive

Edmund Geoffrey Abbott GC
The Invergordon Archive
Edmund Geoffrey Abbott GC

On the 5th August 1919, an explosion occurred on board the ex-German battleship Baden whilst in dry dock at Invergordon and Lieut. Edmund Geoffrey Abbott was awarded the Albert Medal - later George Cross for his action at the time.

Here is the citation for the account of the incident:
On the 5th August 1919, an explosion occurred on board the ex-German battleship Baden whilst in dry dock at Invergordon. Lieutenant Abbott immediately proceeded down the hatch to the main deck and saw that smoke was coming from the ladder-way tunnel leading down to the shaft passage and after-room containing the cooling plant. Other measures proving ineffectual, he proceeded to the corresponding tunnel on the starboard side, to see whether it was possible to get below and work up to the scene of the explosion from that side. The starboard tunnel was practically clear of smoke, so he proceeded to the upper deck, collected a party, and descended again through the tunnel to the room containing the cooling plant. He made his way to the port side and found a dockyard workman lying unconscious.
Assisted by the party which had accompanied him, Lieutenant Abbott got the body to the upper deck, but life was found to be extinct. Although greatly affected by the fumes, Lieutenant Abbott called for further volunteers and again proceeded to the rescue of a second man whose groans had been heard and succeeded in removing him out of danger.
Picture added on 24 April 2005
I own and maintain the George Cross website www.gc-database.co.uk and we are now producing a series of small books with a run on about 300 each on the GCs. I wonder if anyone knows anything about the incident described above. I would very much like to add in a picture of the dock at around that time, the sinking of the Baden - and if there are any cuttings of the incident, that would be most useful.
Added by Marion Hebblethwaite on 24 April 2005
I have just found out that his medals are in the National War Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Added by Marion Hebblethwaite on 23 June 2005
When I have the medals and have completed the entry for Abbott - I will send it here - I am happy to put in something about your grandfather John if you would like to email me direct with it on info@gc-database.co.uk
Added by Marion Hebblethwaite on 02 August 2005
I, was intrigued to find this entry. I had just received some papers about an enquiry into my grandfather's death. He was involved in the Baden incident and died of pneumonia, in tragic circumstances, not long afterwards. His name was Charles William Knight. I would greatly welcome any further information about him; he was as far as I know a civilian attached to the Admiralty.
Added by John Randall Waters on 02 August 2005
I am a grand daughter of Charles William Knight and cousin to John Randall Waters. Charles William Knight was the acting Chief Construction Officer at the H.M. Dockyard Invergordon. According to the documents I have he led the second rescue party. I have in my possession page 13 of the First Battle Squadron Temporary Memorandum dated 3/10/19. This page lists those by rank, name, occupation, who made up both rescue parties should you be interested.
Like you, I am wondering what other information is available pertaining to this incident.
Were all members of the rescue parties awarded the George Cross?
Added by Susan Knight on 09 February 2007
The dockyard workman who was killed was 30 year old Albert William Agate formerly of Chatham, Kent but living at the time at Pretoria House, Shore Road, Invergordon. He was my wife's great uncle.
Added by John Brunsdon on 21 March 2012
I am the grandchild of Edmund Abbott. My mother might know more about this incident. I have found it interesting to read about it from another angle.
Added by Anne van Oudtshoorn, Perth, Australia on 20 July 2013
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Group PhotoNew sign at Natal GardenThe Sinking of SS Sterlina in 1910Hec and Mary Macrae with Flora YoungFive-a-side team from the SmelterSmelter Cup FinalPloughing CompetitionInvergordon Gala WeekPet Parade at the Recreation ParkFootball Teams