William Forsyth likeness

William Forsyth cap badgeAble Seaman William Forsyth

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve H.M.S. "Natal"
Service No: Clyde Z/5693

William Forsyth grave





Personal details

Family Information

Son of William and Susan Graham Forsyth of 17 Coathill St, Coatbridge. William's elder brother Able Seaman James Forsyth died at home from Broncho Pneumonia. His other brother Henry was also with the Royal Naval Division. From the 1901 Census - Address - 112 Whifflet St, Coatbridge - William Forsyth aged 43, Susan Forsyth aged 43, Agnes Forsyth aged 17, Henry Forsyth aged 13, George Forsyth aged 10, James Forsyth aged 8, William Forsyth aged 3, William's fathers mother-in-law Ann Graham aged 79.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 19 Coathill St, Coatbridge.


Died on the 30/12/1915 H.M.S. "Natal" Disaster




Lochrin Iron Works.


18 / DOB - 03/04/1897

Buried / Remembered

Portsmouth Naval Memorial (10), 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

See Directory for William's brother Able Seaman James Forsyth's page. William joined the Royal Naval Division in July 1913 and was later was posted to H.M.S. "Achilles". After just 3 weeks he was transferred to H.M.S. "Natal". On the 30th of 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. See photos for William's Newspaper clippings x 2, his Naval Medal and Award Rolls, his Enrolment Form, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Portsmouth Memorial Panel List, his name on the Portsmouth Memorial, 2 photos of H.M.S. "Natal" and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Blazer Badge. Please check out this site on this disaster here

William Forsyth newspaper clippingWilliam Forsyth newspaper clippingWilliam Forsyth remembered at homeWilliam Forsyth remembered at homeWilliam Forsyth remembered at homeWilliam Forsyth remembered at homeWilliam Forsyth additional photoWilliam Forsyth additional photoWilliam Forsyth additional photoWilliam Forsyth additional photo

Creative Commons License

We have made this information and the images available under a Creative Commons BY-NC license. This means you may reuse it for non-commercial purposes only and must attribute it to us using the following statement: © coatbridgeandthegreatwar.com


There are no comments yet for Able Seaman William Forsyth. Be the first to leave one.

Do you have any information about or memories of Able Seaman William Forsyth that you would like to share?

Or even if you would just like to leave a message to say you've been here, please leave a comment below.

*Please note that all comments are verified by a moderator before appearing on the site. All fields are required except links to photos.