Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
kin47

HMS PEMBROKE Chatham Barracks

Recommended Posts

kin47

Hello

Can anyone give me details of the bombing on Chatham Barracks on 3 September 1917 in which 95 Royal Navy personnel were killed?

Many thanks

don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dolphin

Don

This was the first night attack by the Gotha bombers of Kagohl 3, the Englandgeschwader, and was directed against the Chatham Naval Base. Five Gothas set out on the raid, but one had to return en route. The Gothas dropped 46 bombs, about half of which fell on or near the Base. The Chatham attack commenced at 2310 but, due to a communications failure, Chatham received no warning of the raid, which resulted in the Naval recruits being killed when a bomb hit the drill hall used as accommodation. This was the worst bomb incident of the War.

The RFC flew 16 defensive sorties against the raid, with aircraft from Nos 37, 39, 44 and 50 Sqns involved, but without result. However, No 44 Sqn flew Sopwith Camels as night fighters - the first time this had been done - which proved that the very difficult machine could be flown at night.

I hope that this helps.

Gareth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jonathan Saunders
... which resulted in the Naval recruits being killed when a bomb hit the drill hall used as accommodation. This was the worst bomb incident of the War.

I thought a bomb hit the gymnasium but whether gym or drill hall, apparently there was a glass roof involved and many of the injuries came from falling glass splinters. Also the total number of deaths was something like 133. Ironically the Naval cemetery in Gillingham was also hit during this raid and this is where many of those that died now rest with a memorial cross in the cemetery dedicated to the remembrance of those killed in the raid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kin47

Hello

Many thanks for the information Gareth and Jonathan.

Looking back at my file, there were 126 RN personnel killed. The original number did not include the numerous died of wounds. A book published post WW I gives the number as 131 "sailors or soldiers" and 90 injured.

All best

don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jackin

I had a great uncle die in that bombing.It was definately the drill hall being used as overflow accomodation, now I believe a library.They also have a list of all the names of those that died that night. A Mr Bedingfield also wrote about this incident and if you contact the library at chatham they are very helpful and knowledeable. Many were awaiting to join HMS Vanguard also.A few years ago a plaque was laid to commemerate the incident at Chatham.

I had been looking at how my uncle had died as he was only 19, as I have all the medals etc incliding the penny.I was always told a "Bomb Accident", and I assumed wrongly on the ship HMS Pembroke, never thought it was the establishment.

Yours Sincerely

Boaz

Can anyone give me details of the bombing on Chatham Barracks on 3 September 1917 in which 95 Royal Navy personnel were killed?

Many thanks

don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HERITAGE PLUS
Can anyone give me details of the bombing on Chatham Barracks on 3 September 1917 in which 95 Royal Navy personnel were killed?

See:

http://campus.medway.ac.uk/library/about/history.php

click on the 'bombing raid' link for more detail.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mbloy

I've just finished reading 'The fleet from within' by Sydney Moseley and you may be interested in a brief reference to the bombing that's contained therein ....

"I heard the noise of gun-fire and bomb-dropping, but we had grown accustomed to such music, and I did not trouble to stir. In a few minutes, however,a steward came in to inform me that "they were over the building and had dropped a bomb.' ! Officers, he said, were ordered below.

That bomb, you remember, was one of the few Hun bull's-eyes. It fell on the top of the men's quarters and killed a large number of the fellows whom I had seen drilling a few hours previously. The Huns were still above the building when I went across to the drill-hall. In the semi-darkness the scenes were weird and soul-piercing. But what was so stirring to watch was the whole-hearted contempt the surviving sailors had for the presence of danger. I believe I was the first officer present, but there was no need to give orders to such men. They worked expeditiously and carefully, removing the debris of broken glass and timber, the dead and the dying bodies of their comrades".

Asst. Paymaster S.A. Moseley RNVR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jonathan Saunders
Many were awaiting to join HMS Vanguard also.

The loss of HMS VANGUARD preceeded the Gotha raid on HMS PEMBROKE, however at least one of the fatalities - Stoker John Green - had been part of the VANGUARD crew. He has been absent from the ship when she exploded. I am not sure why, but his CWGC gravestone gives his ship as HMS VANGUARD when he would have been "paid off" from the VANGUARD on 10 July. I believe there were other VANGUARD survivors at PEMBROKE awaiting their next posting, but I havent cross-referenced to see if any others were killed in the Gotha raid.

Regards,

Jonathan S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KevinBattle

I think the reference to Vanguard is the fact that these men were due to be part of her crew, but due to the magazine explosion and loss of Vanguard were being held at HMS Pembroke pending reassignment to other ships. Hence the "overflow" accommodation.

I'm sure a little Googling will track down accounts of that might. I certainly recall reading them no more than 6 months ago....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jonathan Saunders

Kevin - you might be right. I dont recall having come across that before in any documentation at Kew or in the local (Medway) newspapers of the time, but its quite possible.

Regards,

Jonathan S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KevinBattle

Jonathan, Heritage Plus has already given you the campus medway link!! That's what it says...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jonathan Saunders

Yes I read that and other articles from a "google" - the origination appears to be referenced from a 1990s article written by someone called Booth (if I remember correctly from yesterday) but I cant get back to where Booth originally sourced his information. Its very plausible but I havent located anything to substantiate it (for example, does one, or half a dozen, VANGUARD sailors in the gymnasium become corrupted over time to a plethora).

When I find time, I will rummage amongst the Admiralty/VANGUARD papers taken from Kew as these should make reference to ratings ear-marked for VANGUARD - again from memory, they make reference to actual VANGUARD ratings who were not on board on the evening of the explosion.

Regards,

Jonathan S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mbloy

Moseley makes brief reference in his book to the crew of a (unnamed) Dreadnought being accommodated in the drill hall that day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DENNIS POTTER
On 01/04/2010 at 11:23, jackin said:

I had a great uncle die in that bombing.It was definately the drill hall being used as overflow accomodation, now I believe a library.They also have a list of all the names of those that died that night. A Mr Bedingfield also wrote about this incident and if you contact the library at chatham they are very helpful and knowledeable. Many were awaiting to join HMS Vanguard also.A few years ago a plaque was laid to commemerate the incident at Chatham.

I had been looking at how my uncle had died as he was only 19, as I have all the medals etc incliding the penny.I was always told a "Bomb Accident", and I assumed wrongly on the ship HMS Pembroke, never thought it was the establishment.

Yours Sincerely

Boaz

Can anyone give me details of the bombing on Chatham Barracks on 3 September 1917 in which 95 Royal Navy personnel were killed?

Many thanks

don

 

Hello . 

My name is Dennis Potter Welfare Officer RNA Chatham ,

Last year to mark the centenary of this tragic event , RNA Chatham and the Universities of Medway Held a commemorative Parade to pay homage to all those who died in the Drill Shed bombing ,

A few of us didn't want to leave it " Shelved " for another 25, 50 or 100 years , so we decided to create this Video of what happened, 

The details are as close as we can get with the research that we had carried out , and there will always be another story or view to contemplate , however 

It was filmed on HMS Cavalier Chatham as there are no facilities to hang hammocks etc in the Drill Library now called, 

We also know there were 7 Ships in the dockyard at the time and that many men where trying to communicate to get some sort of retaliation status in place but as we know it would have been too late, 

This is our first attempt at doing this , but More importantly and the main main reason was to let the world know , we do not forget tragedies such as this and want to honour men such as your uncle who sacrificed so much at such a tender age, and would love to know his name please , There is a permanent Memorial cabinet in the Drill library with some items from that night,

There is a roll of Honour whilst the last post is being played in the video , so you should find him there ,

Really hope you find this helpful 

Best Regards, 

Dennis

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nils d

Impressive tribute Mr Potter.:poppy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy

Thanks for posting the video

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rolt968

Thank you for posting this. I asked some years ago about the bombing at Chatham.

RM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aspern

Thanls for posting the link to the film Dennis. I was at the site two weeks ago and found it a fascinating visit - so good to see that the tragedy is remembered there even though the site has a very different function now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×