Memorial to the dead of HMS Vanguard at Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Orkney (Photo: Centenary News)

100 Years Ago: HMS Vanguard blast kills more than 840

Posted on on 10 July 2017
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Commemorations have been held in Orkney to remember those lost when a British battleship blew up on 9 July 1917.

HMS Vanguard sank almost almost immediately, with the loss of 843 lives.

The warship suffered a series of explosions after a day of exercises in Scapa Flow, the vast natural harbour which served as the base for the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet during the First World War.

A board of inquiry found that a fire had started in the ship's ammunition magazines.

100 years on from the tragedy, naval divers travelled to Orkney to change the White Ensign on the wreck of Vanguard.

There was also a wreath-laying ceremony above the wreck site, which is protected war grave.

Remembrance services were held at Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, where some of the crewmen are buried, and at St Magnus Cathedral in the Orkney Islands' capital, Kirkwall. 

Most of the dead have no known grave but the sea and are commemorated on the Naval War Memorials at Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth.

The personal stories of some of the men lost on HMS Vanguard are told by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in a centenary tribute on its website.

Sources: Commonwealth War Graves Commission/Royal Navy

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team