Rosskeen Burial Ground and HMS Natal

Rosskeen Burial Ground is a large and long standing burial grand facing south over the Cromarty Firth. I first visited several months ago and was rather moved, so made a second visit today. While I was there I found this rather beautiful line of stones marking some of the dead from HMS Natal.

In the First World War, Invergordon onthe Cromarty Firth was an important naval base, providing a particularly well-protected deep water anchorage. HMS Natal was at anchor there on 30 December 1915, and hosting an event to which parties from shore had been invited, when she suddenly exploded. The probable cause was faulty cordite or other ammunition in the ship’s ammunition stores. The number of people lost in the explosion is listed as between 390 and 420. The graves above are just a small part of that number.