On 5 June 1916, HMS Hampshire left the Royal Navy’s anchorage at Scapa Flow, Orkney, bound for Russia. The Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, was on board as part of a diplomatic and military mission aimed at boosting Russia’s efforts on the Eastern Front.
At about quarter to nine in the evening, in stormy conditions and within two miles of Orkney’s northwest shore, she struck a mine laid by German submarine U-75. Only 12 crewmen survived.
In 1926, the people of Orkney erected the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, overlooking the site of the tragedy. The Orkney Heritage Society has been carrying out a project to restore the existing memorial.
It was long thought that about 650 men, including Kitchener, died when HMS Hampshire was lost. But recent research by local historians Brian Budge and Andrew Hollinrake has revealed that the final death toll was 737.
To better remember the loss of those aboard HMS Hampshire, the Orkney Heritage Society raised funds and erected a new wall next to the Kitchener Memorial, engraved with the names of all 737 men lost. Also commemorated on the new memorial are the nine men killed when HM Drifter Laurel Crown hit another of the mines during minesweeping operations on 22 June 1916.
Fundraising has gone well but we are still short of our target. Anyone who wishes to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/ or send a cheque payable to Orkney Heritage Society to:
Orkney Heritage Society,
PO Box 6220,
List of Names
The full list of names of those who were lost on both vessels, along with the list of survivors, are listed on this website – click on the links above. Please note that in due to course we hope to develop this to include a much more detailed profile of all the casualties and survivors, rank, serial number, age etc.
Further information and updates on progress can be found on our blog: kitchenerhampshire.wordpress.com
On the evening of Sunday 5 June 2016 there was a commemoration at the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head in Birsay to mark the centenary of the loss of HMS Hampshire, during which the new memorial wall was unveiled.
The event was streamed live online and can still be viewed here (The service itself starts at 1h35m).
Any relatives of those who were lost who would like to get in touch, or anyone with any enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, KW15 9AD.