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Remembered Today:

Major surface vessels destroyed by internal explosions


John Gilinsky
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Herewith a list of 8 major surface warships that were destroyed by their own munitions or misadventure(?) during World War I -

Vanguard (1909) Royal Navy 19,250 grt Scapa Flow, Scotland July 9, 1917 internal explosion

Bulwark (1899) Royal Navy 15,000 grt Sheerness, England November 26, 1914 internal explosion

Natal (1905) Royal Navy 13,550 grt Cromarty Frith, Scotland December 30, 1914 internal explosion in after magazine

Kawachi (1910) Japanese Navy 21,420 grt Tokuyama Bay, July 12, 1918 internal explosion

Tsukuba (1905) Japanese Navy 13,750 grt Yokosuka, January 14, 1917 internal explosion

Benedetto Brin (1901) Italian Navy 13,215 grt Brindisi, Italy September 27, 1915 internal explosion

Basilicata (1914) Italian Navy 2560 grt Port Said, Egypt August 13, 1919 internal explosion

Imperatritsa Maria [ Empress Maria ] (1913) Russian Navy 22,435 grt Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia October 20, 1916 internal explosion and fire

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I suppose I should have added her as ninth:

HMS Glatton (1914) Royal Navy 5,700 grt On fire in Dover Harbour and deliberately torpedoed to avoid explosion on September 16, 1918

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The loss of Princess Irene (27th May 1915) may not have counted as a major surface warship loss, but it was a devasting explosion.

The Japanese used British cordite charges, which is probably why their vessels suffered the same fate as ours. Probably they were still using stocks, or a similar mixture, in WW2 which may have caused the loss of the Mutsu.

Some sources suggest that Benedetto Brin was sabotaged.

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John,

There have been posts some time ago about some of these ships. If you go to the search engine you will find them. Maybe HMS Princess Irene should be counted in this list as well.

Andy

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Princess Irene (1914), 5.934 grt, minelayer, destroyed by internal explosion of own mines, Sheerness, 27 May 1915.

Glatton was a monitor attached to the Dover Patrol.

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Thanks all! I just thought it might be helpful for underwater archaeologists, naval enthusiasts etc. to see what major or larger sized ships were destoryed internally though not under fire at the time. Empress Maria was actually completely or nearly completely salvaged in the mid-1950s and there are exhaustive studies in Russian on her. I know that the Natal or Vanguard also have even books on their cases. The Japanese cases are interesting - they probably learned to protect their internal munitions better as a result of these ww1 tragedies - look at Yamamto battleships in ww2!

John

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You'd probably have to add SMS Karlsruhe (first one) to the list as well.

Best wishes,

Michael

Yes November 4, 1914 her bows were blown off and she sank within 30 minutes and it is presumed due to her own ammunition exploding while she was proceeding to raid Barbados.

John

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Natal was lost in 1915.

Mutsu blew up in 1943.

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Justin

Mont Blance,French merchantman, chartered as an ammunition carrier,expolded in Halifax NS harbour in 1917.

Sotonmate

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Justin

Mont Blance,French merchantman, chartered as an ammunition carrier,expolded in Halifax NS harbour in 1917.

Sotonmate

Yes in December 1917 just after one of the most famous elections in Canadian federal politics. However I am really interested not in munitions ships but warships especially larger ones that self-destructed.

Thanks though for reminding us of the merchant vessels.

John

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