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The Invergordon Archive

Natal graves at Rosskeen Cemetery
The Invergordon Archive
Natal graves at Rosskeen Cemetery

(Image kindly supplied by Invergordon Off the Wall Web Site: www.invergordonoffthewall.co.uk/)
Picture added on 21 January 2006
I found this photograph very moving. My Great Uncle (Ernest Henry Spain) died in the explosion. I am researching my family history and only found out about the tragedy a few weeks ago. He had married Florence Maud Horwood only a year or two before. I know that he is remembered on the Naval War Memorial at Chatham, Kent - but can someone find out for me as to whether he is buried at Rosskeen Cemetery, please? I would be very grateful. Thank you.
Added by Margaret Marion Dyson on 19 April 2006
Margaret, sorry I omitted your Great Uncle's service number; it is 187501...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 20 April 2006
Margaret, I did a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site and also Rosskeen cemetery attached to this site and found nothing under the surname of Spain on either the site or cemetery records report. I searched under United Kingdom nationality....I note however there is 1 unidentified at Rosskeen from HMS Natal...perhaps you could visit the site yourself, good luck to you.

Margaret, I then revisited the Commonwealth war grave commission site and this time put in the year 1915. Here is what I found....Name, Spain Ernest Henry...Rank Petty Officer 1st class..date of death 30/12/1915..age unknown..grave/memorial ref 9..cemetery/memorial name Chatham Naval Memorial. Still find nothing in Rosskeen so doubt if he is buried there....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 20 April 2006
Thank you for adding my request to your Comments page. I have received great help from Mr. O'Neill and have thanked him.
May I add some interesting information I have received from a cousin of mine who lives near Alness. She told me that her mother-in-law was looking out of her window at the ship on that fateful night. Apparently, there was a party going on - and then she witnessed the explosion. Everyone thought that it was sabotage.
Added by Margaret Marion Dyson on 23 April 2006
Is it possible to access a list of the gravesites from the Natal? My great-uncle Bertie John Coles, stoker on the Natal, died when it exploded. I have not been able to find a gravesite in his village, Millbrook, Bedfordshire.
Added by Penelope Shaffer on 17 July 2010
Penelope, he is listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site. Some bodies were not recovered. He is on the Chatham Memorial. Do a search for Commonwealth War Graves Commission, then search their records and follow the directions.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 17 July 2010
I have found out that my Great grandfather Henry Potts 8582S was a stoker on HMS Natal and died on 30.12.1915. I was told as a child that he had swapped duty with another sailor who wanted to go ashore otherwise my gr.grandfather would have survived. He was a farmer living on South Farm, Blyth, Northumberland where my grandfather was born a year earlier.
Added by Meg Archbold on 08 November 2010
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The Natal - Warship destroyed by an explosion off Invergordon during WW1

H.M.S. NatalGuy Titley's MemorialThe Wreck of HMS NatalHMS NatalHMS Natal and Cantilever crane at Barrow.The upturned hull of HMS Natal - c1916 HMS Natal