The Kitchener Memorial undergoing restoration on Marwick Head, Orkney. A new commemorative wall alongside will honour the men lost on HMS Hampshire and mine-sweeping vessel Laurel Crown (Photo: Scott McIvor)

HMS Hampshire memorial project: full list of 746 names available online

Posted on on 20 December 2015
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The names have been released of all the men who'll be remembered on the new HMS Hampshire Memorial being created by volunteers on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic coast of Orkney.

Britain's War Minister, Lord Kitchener, was the best known casualty of the sinking of the Royal Navy cruiser Hampshire off the Orkney Islands on June 5th 1916.

But a new commemorative wall next to the towering Kitchener Memorial will remember all those who perished when the warship hit a mine.

The monument will bear the names of 737 men on the Hampshire, together with the nine-man crew of the Laurel Crown, sunk while sweeping the same waters for mines in the wake of the disaster.

All 746 have been identified following lengthy research by supporters of Orkney Heritage Society's Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial Project.

It was long believed that 643 men from the Hampshire died.

But Orkney historian Brian Budge discovered dozens more casualties, many of them members of the party accompanying Lord Kitchener on a mission to Russia.  

Project committee member Andrew Hollinrake then spent many hours researching online, and trawling through hundreds of files at the UK National Archives in London, to arrive at a final figure of 737 men lost, including Kitchener. 

Andrew also sourced information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, family history websites, relatives and newspaper archives.

The task included untangling two family names which had been wrongly joined together.


Andrew explains: "The new website, for now, will just show a list of names. But we hope to have much more in the way of detail online later, including information and photographs we've gathered through our research, and from family members of the casualties.

"It has taken many hours of work but it is an honour to do this to remember the men from HMS Hampshire, Kitchener's party and the Laurel Crown."

The names and spellings have been cross-referenced and double-checked for accuracy but Andrew Hollinrake is appealing for comments before they're engraved on the commemorative wall.

"I invite everyone with an interest in this project, particularly family members, to look at our list and please let us know if you think amendments are needed before the names are, literally, carved in stone."

The wall, together with the restored Kitchener Memorial, are due to be opened on June 5th 2016, the centenary of the sinking of HMS Hampshire.

To search the full list of names, visit the project's new HMS Hampshire website or blog.

Unveiled in 1926, the original Kitchener Memorial is a 48-feet high stone tower overlooking the site of the disaster on cliffs at Marwick Head, on Mainland Orkney's Atlantic coast.

It has a plaque which only makes brief reference to the men lost with the Secretary of State for War as he sailed for secret talks with Britain's First World War ally, Russia.  

Volunteers with Orkney Heritage Society's Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project believe the new arc-shaped low wall, to be built alongside the existing monument, will "better remember" all those who died.

In that spirit, it's been decided that the nine-man crew of the Laurel Crown should also be included.

The drifter was among eight boats sent to sweep for mines after the loss of the Hampshire when she also struck a mine, and sank on June 22nd 1916.

Discover more about the loss of 'HM Drifter Laurel Crown' here.

Relatives who would like to contact Andrew Hollinrake and the project team about the published list of names, or who may have artefacts suitable for a planned exhibition around the time of the centenary, may email or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, KW15 9AD.  

Alternatively, the volunteers can be contacted through Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney) and via the blog.

With less than six months to go until the centenary of the 'Hampshire' sinking, project members estimate they are more than 90 per cent of the way towards the necessary funding, with less than £10,000 still to find.

Also in Centenary News:

Jutland Centenary: Descendants of WW1 sailors invited to UK commemorations in Orkney.

Source: Kitchener and HMS Hampshire Memorial Project

Images courtesy of Scott McIvor

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

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