Thursday 27 May 1915 – We Lost 677
The battleship HMS Majestic (Captain H F Talbot) is torpedoed and sunk this morning by U-21 while she is supporting the army in the Gallipoli Peninsula. Her torpedo nets are deployed and she is surrounded by destroyers. She is hit by two torpedoes and she lists rapidly. There are forty casualties while seven hundred thirty-seven survive. As in the case of the Triumph two days earlier, it takes only a single torpedo to send this battleship to the bottom.
The minelayer HMS Princess Irene (Captain Mervyn Hugh Cobbe) blows up due to an internal explosion at Sheerness. At 11:14 GMT, Princess Irene exploded and disintegrated. A column of flame 300 feet (91 m) high was followed a few seconds later by another of similar height and a pall of smoke hung over the spot where Princess Irene had been, reaching to 1,200 feet (370 m). Two barges laying alongside her were also destroyed. The explosion was larger than that which had destroyed HMS Bulwark six months earlier, although the loss of life was less. A total of 352 people were killed, including 273 officers and men, and 76 dockyard workers who were on board Princess Irene. On the Isle of Grain a girl of nine was killed by flying débris, and a farmhand died of shock. A collier half a mile (800 m) away had its crane blown off its mountings. A part of one of Princess Irene’s boilers landed on the ship; a man working on the ship died from injuries sustained when he was struck by a piece of metal weighing 70 pounds (32 kg)Captain Cobbe is son of Lieutenant General ‘Sir’ Alexander Hugh Cobbe KCB and is killed at age 42. Lieutenant Commander Humphrey Randle Upton Cottrell-Dormer is killed. He has had two nephews previously killed in action in the Great War. Assistant Engineer the ‘Honorable’ Cormac FitzMaurice-Deane-Morgan is also killed. He is the son of the 4th Baron Muskerry who lost another son on service in India in 1907. Acting Mate William B Sinclair is killed at age 29. His brother will be killed in action on the Western Front in December 1917.
Admiral ‘Sir’ Henry Bradwardine Jackson is appointed First Sea Lord.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of the 4th Baron Muskerry
- The son of a General
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A man whose brothers was lost on service in 1907
- A man whose brother-in-law will be killed in the Great War
- A man whose two nephews have been previously killed
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Lieutenant Edward Crawford (Inniskilling Fusiliers) dies of wounds at age 35. He is the son of Robert Crawford DL.
- Lieutenant Keith Eric Wood (London Regiment) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend C F W Wood.
- Lieutenant Robert Maule (Royal Scots) is killed by shrapnel at age 31. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Robert Maule JP and his brother-in-law was killed in October 1914.
- Second Lieutenant Herbert Martin (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds at age 24. His brother will die of illness in July 1916.
- Lance Corporal Herbert Bradford (Alberta Regiment) dies of wounds as a prisoner of war at age 31. His brother will be killed in September next year.
- Lance Corporal Thomas Briers (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 22. His brother will be killed in July 1916.
- Private John Henry Cosnett (South Wales Borderers) is killed in action. His brother died of wounds in January of this year and six other brothers will serve during the Great War.
- Sapper James Sanford Murray (Royal Engineers) dies of wounds at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend James Murray DD.
- Private James Ralph (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 40. His brother was killed in the sinking of HMS Hawke last October.