Monday 16 September 1918 We Lost 589
At about 18:00 this evening an explosion occurs on board HMS Glatton while she is lying in Dover Harbor. This is followed by a severe fire involving the whole of the amidship part of the ship. Efforts are made to deal with the fire by means of salvage tugs. The foremost magazines are flooded but it is found impossible to flood the after magazines. The initial explosion and fire cut off the after part of the ship killing or seriously injuring all the officers who are on board with one exception and there is danger of a further explosion which might cause severe damage to the town and to other vessels which are in close proximity loaded with oil and ammunition. At the time of the explosion Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Edward Leicester Atkinson DSO (Royal Navy) is at work in his cabin. The first explosion renders him unconscious. Recovering shortly thereafter he finds the area outside his cabin filled with smoke and fumes. He makes his way to the quarter deck by means of a ladder during this time he brings two unconscious men on to the upper deck. He now returns to the flat and is bringing up a third man when a smaller explosion occur while he is on the ladder. This explosion blinds Atkinson and at the same time a piece of metal is driven into his left leg in such a manner that he is unable to move until he has himself extracted it. Placing the third man on the upper deck he proceeds forward through the shelter deck. By feel being totally unable to see he finds two more unconscious men both of whom he brings out. He is found on the upper deck in an almost unconscious condition so wounded and burned that his life was in peril for some time. Lieutenant George Devereux Belben DSC, Sub Lieutenant David Hywel Evans (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve), Petty Officer Albert Ernest Stoker and Able Seaman Edward Nunn are in boats rescuing men who have either been blown or jumped overboard. They then board Glatton on their own initiative and enter the super structure which is full os dense smoke and proceed down to the deck below. They succeed in rescuing seven or eight badly injured men from the mess deck in addition to fifteen who they find and bring out from inside the ship. They continue their efforts until all chances of rescuing others has passed and the ship is ordered to be abandoned. For their efforts Lieutenant Commander Atkinson, Lieutenant Belben, Sub Lieutenant Evans, Petty Officer Stoker and Able Seaman Nunn will all be awarded the Albert Medal. At about 20:00 the ship is torpedoed and sunk. Seventy-nine are killed or die as a result of the explosion including Lieutenant Commander Reginald James Blakeney Drew the son of the late Inspector General W B Drew killed at age 30.
Second Lieutenant Harold Leslie Edwards, while on patrol with nine other machines, engages twelve enemy scouts. In the combat that ensues he destroys one, his pilot accounting for a second, and they take part in the destruction of a third.
The armed merchantman S S Acadian (Master J Snowden) is torpedoed and sunk by the U-boat UB-117 eleven miles west south west from Trevose Head. Twenty-five are killed including her master. There is one survivor.
Today’s losses include:
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great war
- A Military Chaplain
- A grandson of a member of the clergy
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Archibald Denys Irivng (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds when he is struck by a piece of shell while leading an ammunition column at Saulcourt. He is the grandson of the late Reverend Thomas Bray.
- Chaplain ‘the Reverend’ Matthew Vincent Prendergast died on service in Cairo at age 37.
- Sergeant Richard Speakman (Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age 26. His brother died of pneumonia on service in February 1915.
- Lance Corporal Henry Watson (Sussex Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother was killed in May 1917.
- Gunner Wilfrid Norminton (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed at age 29. His son will be killed in the Second World War.