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Remembered Today:

Francis George Strawbridge of HMS Clan McNaughton


AnnB
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100 years ago today on 3rd February 1915 HMS Clan McNaughton was lost off the north of Ireland with 281 officers and ratings including Francis George Strawbridge of Kenton, Devon. Francis Strawbridge had been a merchant seaman with the Orient Line and had volunteered at the outbreak of war. He died aged 27 leaving a widow and four young children all under 6 years old.

The loss of the Clan McNaughton is the subject of several previous posts on this forum.

RIP Francis and all the other 280 men and boys who died that day.

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  • 6 months later...
Guest Toon7608

Francis George Strawbridge was my mother in laws Grandad, she was Barbara Strawbridge of Exmouth and has 4 sisters is there any more information on him? They have been to Kenton and seen the memorial.

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  • 4 years later...

I have only just picked up on this post. I am almost certainly related to Francis if one goes back far enough in the family tree. I have a medal (pre WW1) named to 517 PTE. F. STRAWBRIDGE. 3rd V.B. DEVON:REGT.  I wonder if he served in the Territorials before WW1.

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  • 1 year later...

I have only just joined GWF, having found it when googling HMS Clan McNaughton. I'm already finding much of great interest in my family research and although now well past the 100th anniversary of its loss in 1915, I echo the sentiments above and wish to remember those lost, including my granny's older brother Dugald Kennedy. Aged just 17, from the village of Calbost in the Isle of Lewis. Like many young Hebridean islanders, he grew up beside and on the sea (fishing locally) and so it was natural to join the Royal Naval Reserve.  Such sad and tragic loss for every family, particularly in light of possible top-heavy overloading of the ship maybe having caused her to go down in heavy seas.

Dugald drowned notice UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921 and 1939-1947.png

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Not so much overloading, but certainly there were stability issues which became worse once a ship such as this was low on bunkers. The combination of a lowering of ballast weight low down, together with the the heaviness of eight 4.7” guns fitted topside made her somewhat top-heavy and increased the amount of roll experienced in stormy sea conditions.

MB

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The name of Francis George Strawbridge (Mercantile Marine) is on the Honiton War Memorial. The Devon Heritage website shows :- "438464 Steward Francis George Strawbridge of the Mercantile Marine, HMS Clan McNaughton. Son of Ann and the late George Strawbridge. Born in Colyton 18 February 1877. Died 3 February 1915 aged 38." His name is also on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (panel 10) on The Hoe.

Edited by Jim Strawbridge
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13 hours ago, KizmeRD said:

Not so much overloading, but certainly there were stability issues which became worse once a ship such as this was low on bunkers. The combination of a lowering of ballast weight low down, together with the the heaviness of eight 4.7” guns fitted topside made her somewhat top-heavy and increased the amount of roll experienced in stormy sea conditions.

MB

Thank you for this information...it's great to learn such detail in building my understanding of what happened. It reminds me a little of visiting the Vasa Museum in Sweden and seeing the incredible Vasa warship (preserved after over 300 years on the seabed), which was so top heavy at the request of the King, who wanted additional decks and cannon, that its stability was so badly affected it sank within minutes on its maiden voyage out of Stockholm harbour in 1628. Apparently the ship's architects / naval engineers were too afraid to speak out about the glaring problems to the King. So sad that 30 sailors were lost along with the Vasa.

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No one will ever know for sure what the cause of the sinking was, there was certainly a severe storm, and being top-heavy would not have helped - but generally speaking accidents at sea are often a fatal combination of multiple factors. 
MB
 

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I'm not sure you should set too much store by the fitting of 4.7 inch guns on deck causing some sort of catastrophic loss of stability.  As far as I can ascertain, depending on the mounting a 4.7 inch guns mass is around 3 tons.  A deck load of 8 is only 24 tons and on a ship of this size would be of little consequence. In normal service she might be capable of carrying many hundred tons of deck cargo if her maximum deadweight allowed.  It all depends what other cargo she was carrying. Most of the AMC carried ballast in their holds, could be stone or pig iron, some were even taken up with the cargo they were carrying at the time, which must have annoyed the shippers somewhat.

 

As MB says any ship can be overwhelmed in heavy weather. Whatever its initial statical stability might be, the computer has not yet been invented which can calculate the dynamic stability of a ship moving in a seaway whose underwater volume, the bit keeping her afloat, think Archimedes, is changing continually as the ship rolls and pitches, loss of underwater volume due to wave action can certainly cause sufficient loss of stability to overturn a ship if the circumstances are just right.  I cannot think that the "Clan boat" in question did not have adequate stability in normal service.  The answer to the question asked in parliament about the loss was fairly emphatic that the ship was initially stable, and use of bunkers on passage from double bottom tanks would have been taken into account. Ship stability is a constant, certainly daily, calculation on any merchant ship despite modern car carriers turning over which is down to poor stability calculation.

 

Tony

 

 

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