Crew of Diligence by wooden Vanguard Mem

THE VANGUARD MEMORIAL HISTORY

The earliest memorial to the crew was constructed shortly after the explosion.  It was a small wooden cross and photographed with shipmates from HMS DILIGENCE surrounding it, placed in Lyness Cemetery on Hoy Island, Orkney.  This image was taken in the summer of 1917, shortly after the tragedy.

Below shows a closer image of the cross in memory of the Captain, Officers and Men of HMS VANGUARD.

 
Wooden Vanguard Memorial Cross.jpg
 

Order of Service Booklet

This image shows a rare Order of Service booklet handed to those attending the memorial service either in 1917 or 1918.  Inside contained a poem on the loss of the Vanguard as well as a diagram of the fleet anchorage in Scapa Flow at the time of the explosion.

(image courtesy of N Matthews)

Copyright N Matthews
 

The Loss of the "Vanguard" poem

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The sea was as calm as a mill-pond, the vessel at anchor lay; the crew in silence slumb'ring, Till the dawn of another day.

A noise like a clap of thunder, A flash lights up the night; 'Mid a cloud of smoke and fire, She disappears from sight.

It happened all in a minute, Those hearts so true and brave; Gone in the ship they loved so well, Beneath the ocean wave.

Our boats were manned right willing, We pulled across the wave; Hoping that we should be in time, Some gallant lad to save.

Our hearts were filled with sorrow, No sign of life found we; But thought of comrades we had known, No more their face to see.

No more they plough the ocean, Those gallant British sons; Each one has found a hero's grave, Far from the sound of guns.

Can we forget their loved ones? God, what a bitter blow! May Heaven bless and comfort them, Wherever they may go.

We know Lord, Thou wilt help them, Be ever near their side; Grant they may meet their loved ones, When they cross the great divide.

Pay homage to their memory, Those sailors staunch and true; They paid the price for freedom's cause, All British through and through.

Whene'er we meet the foemen, We'll strike with might and main; For the heroes of the VANGUARD, Who were so foully slain.

W.V. Bernard

(image courtesy of N Matthews)

 

The newspaper cutting from the Aberdeen Weekly Journal dated Friday 17th May 1918 showed the new design of the more permanent stone memorial that was to be placed at Lyness Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney

A large white cross (11 feet high) of white Kemnay granite, with a base of red Peterhead granite, had been completed, in the yard of Lord Provost Taggart, Great Western Road, Aberdeen.

The front of the base simply stated VANGUARD, the rear worded "Erected by Squadron Mates".
The right side from facing mentioned the date of the crew's loss of life, the left side worded "Tradition Never Dies" and a bronze medallion of Nelson, the symbol of the ship.

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Early Vanguard Memorial Cross.jpg

This photograph shows the Cemetery with the newly placed permanent cross behind a row of graves at Lyness Cemetery , Hoy Island.

 
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This new image, kindly donated courtesy of @NavalOccasions shows temporary grave markers of some of the crew at Lyness, on Hoy, Orkney.
In the background are some older stone styles which are Admiralty markers.  These were subsequently replaced by the CWGC in later years.
Notice in the foreground the temporary marker for Commander Duke's stone.....it is blurred, but seems to have the incorrect date of 9/7/1917 (he died of his injuries on 11th July 1917).

 

The final image shows the memorial as it stands today - the photo taken at the Centenary in 2017.

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