William Forsyth likeness

Able Seaman William Forsyth

Royal Naval Division HMS Natal
Service No: Clyde Z / 5693

William Forsyth grave

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Personal details

Family Information

Son of William and Susan Forsyth of 17 Coathill St, Coatbridge. Williams older brother AB James Forsyth died at home from Broncho Pneumonia (see index) with another brother Henry also with the Royal Naval Division.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 17 Coathill St, Coatbridge

Died

30/12/1915 Natal Disaster

Enlisted

1913

Employed

Lochrin Iron Works

Age

18

Buried / Remembered

Portsmouth Naval Memorial, England

Cemetery / Memorial Information

Standing on Southsea Common overlooking the promenade in Portsmouth, Hampshire, is the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. It commemorates nearly 10,000 naval personnel of the First World War and almost 15,000 of the Second World War who were lost or buried at sea. Among those commemorated at Portsmouth are most of the crew of HMS Bulwark, who died in 1914, and 127 men who lost their lives when the mine layer HMS Princess Irene exploded while anchored near Sheerness on 27 May 1915.

Additional Information

William joined the Royal Naval Division in July 1913 and was later posted to HMS Achillies. After just 3 weeks he was transferred to HMS Natal. On 30 December 1915, Natal was lying in the Cromarty Firth with her squadron, under the command of Captain Eric Back. The captain was hosting a film party aboard and had invited the wives and children of his officers, one civilian friend and his family, and nurses from the nearby hospital ship Drina to attend. A total of seven women, one civilian male, and three children were in attendance that afternoon. Shortly after 15:25, and without warning, a series of violent explosions tore through the rear part of the ship. She capsized five minutes later. Some thought that she had been torpedoed by a German U-boat or detonated a submarine-laid mine, but examination of the wreckage revealed that the explosions were internal. A total of 421 sailors, civilians and children died

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