THE LOST BATTLESHIP.
STATEMENTS OF EYE-WITNESSES. PORTSMOUTH IX MOURNING. LONDON, November 27. The ‘Daily Chronicle ’ states that most of the Bulwark's crew were breakfasting below at the time of the catastrophe. Eye-wit nesses on haul state that a long, muffled roar was heard 14 miles off, then a terrific flash was seen, the ship momentarily resembling a fireworks display." A great white cloud arose similar to a cordite explosion ; apparently the forward magazine had blown up. When the smoke cleared not a vestige ot the reseed remained. At the time of the explosion tho Bulwark was signalling to another ship, the signalling officer of which, watched tho smoke clear, and was astounded to soo nothing of tho ship. Workmen on tho shore counted the vessels at their moorings, not crediting that one had entirely gone from the harbor. Instantly commissioned officers and men from the chips rushed on deck half-stunned, ami rescue beats put off in all directions. Tho vessel is visible in throe sections at low water. Her masts and funnels have gone. A chest of drawers was found on tho marsh half a mile away. All the glass and crockery in nearly all tho vessels in ( Sheorness Harbor was shattered. The ! general opinion at Chatham is that the bottom of the vessel was blown out. FURTHER DETAILS. LOXDOX, November 27. A number of men were drilling on deck at tho moment of the disaster. A sailor on a vessel near by states that two heavy reports were followed by a flash of tiro. The whole ship seemed to heave and then to drop into iragments. Another eye-witness afllrms that there were two explosions—one fore and the other aft. He believes they were simultaneous explosions. The concussion shook tho Southend pier, and was felt by hundreds of civilians and Germans interned in ships in tho Southend reads. At first it was thought by people ashore that it was a Zeppelin raid; then there was a suspicion that an aeroplane had bombed the gasworks, until it was found that tho aeroplane was a British one. Three minutes after the explosion only a whirling sea of white foam, specked with caps, wreckage, and kit bags, marked tho spot where the Bulwark had been. Fourteen of the crew are in hospital at Gillingham, suffering from concussion of the brain and fractured limbs, and four are in a critical condition. No officers were saved. Very few were actually aboard. There were not many other craft moving in tho Medway at the time. One boat was protected from the direct effects of the concussion by the river bank headland, yet she was flung out ot the water, and when righted picked-up a bluejacket. The latter stated that he was sitting on a grating when the explosion threw him high into the air. He turned somersault after somersault, and fell into the river. He was little hurt, and was able to swim until ho was picked up. He suggested that the disaster was due to the fall ot a 12in lyddite shell in the Bulwark’s magazine.
Admiral Lord C, Beroaford, who once | commanded tho Bulwark, ears that tho magazines were in a very safe position, and were protected by every modem device to keep tho ammunition at the right temperature. Even a shell might be dropped in the shell room without exploding the magazine. Sir Hiram Maxim says that faulty manufacture of guncotton was impossible under modern conditions of manufacture. . There might have been some accidental fulminating powder present which, set tho cordite off. Hundreds of the crew wero Portsmouth men, and there was a pathetic scene in the barracks with grief-stricken women. THE ONLY SPORT: FIGHTING AT THE FRONT. (London ‘Times* and Sydney ‘Sun’ Services.) LONDON, November 26. The ‘Pall Mall Gazette’ is taking part in a campaign against football until the demand for recruits is satisfied. It announces that it will not publish the results of matches, as it consideis that football is a direct impediment to the raising of the new armies which tho nation requires. Football, .t says, is an agency for drugging the conscience and manhood of a huge "susceptible portion of the public. The only true “spurt” to-day is to be found at tho front. BELGIUM’S CRY FOR HELP. WASHINGTON, November 26. According to the European Relief Commission; 7,300,000 Belgians are without food. Appeals have been made to the United States to despatch immediately 5.000 tons of fix'd. NEW SOUTH WALE> WHEAT. GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE CHARGE. SYDNEY. NovemWr 27. In tho Assembly Mr Hall (State, Attor-ney-General) stated that the Government’s intended commandeering of all wheat was due to two causes—-the drought and the war. It is estimated that .Australia’s yield will be 27.5G0,000 to 30,000,000 bushels, and she requirtd the latter quantity for feed purpiof.es. Wheat was still being exported to New Zealand, and there was a t osdbilitv of flour rising within the year to £l6 10s per ton, ami In cad to 5d per small loaf. If possible the Government were going to prevent that. They did not 'anticipate that action would be necessary for some months, because supplies would tome forward, but if seizure was necessary these would bo seized.
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THE LOST BATTLESHIP., Evening Star, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914