HMS Hampshire: 100th anniversary of sinking commemorated in Orkney

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media captionHMS Hampshire struck a mine and sank in a force nine gale

The 100th anniversary of a wartime sinking with the loss of hundreds of lives has been commemorated in Orkney.

HMS Hampshire was carrying Lord Kitchener, one of the key figures in World War One, from Scapa Flow for talks with the Tsar of Russia in 1916.

He was among 737 killed after it struck a mine and sank. Only 12 survived.

A stone wall with the names of all those lost in the sinking was unveiled on Sunday evening, as part of a series of weekend events.

The sinking happened on 5 June 1916, when HMS Hampshire struck a mine while tackling a force nine gale less than two miles off shore.

It was just days after thousands of sailors died during the Battle of Jutland.

After the war, a stone tower was built on sea cliffs overlooking the waters where the wreck lies.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionLord Kitchener was among those killed
image copyrightNot specified
image captionThe Kitchener Memorial marked the 1916 loss

Until now only Lord Kitchener's name has been commemorated at the site.

The unveiling of the memorial wall was held on Sunday night.

One of those who died was 38-year-old father-of-seven William Cake.

Granddaughter Jackie Baynes said: "William's body was found on the shore.

image copyrightJackie Baynes
image captionWilliam Cake was one of those who died

"It is thought that he died of hypothermia, as his fingers and nails were badly cut and broken through his efforts to pull himself up the beach.

"Maybe he would have lived if local people had not been stopped from going to rescue survivors.

"At the time of his death, his wife was 39. She was left with seven children, aged from two to 20, to bring up. Hard times indeed."

'Kept memory alive'

Mrs Baynes added: "I feel close to my grandfather despite his early death. His family kept his memory alive in their home. A large framed photograph hung proudly in my grandmother's front room.

"Until recently the only memorial had been the Kitchener Memorial.

"The Orkney Heritage Society has now restored this memorial to its original condition and to mark the centenary the Society has built a low granite wall around it, with plaques carrying the names of all those unfortunate seamen lost in the sinking."

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