16th September 1918 H.M.S. GLATTON Sink in Dover harbour

HMS Glatton and her sister ship Gorgon were originally built as coastal defence ships for the Royal Norwegian Navy, as Bjørgvin and Nidaros respectively. She was purchased from Norway at the beginning of World War I, but was not completed until 1918 although she had been launched over three years earlier. 

When World War I broke out, the Royal Navy requisitioned most warships under construction in Britain for foreign powers and refunded the two-thirds of Bjørgvin's £370,000 purchase price already paid by the Norwegians. Glatton displaced 5,746 long tons at deep load as built, with a length of 310 ft, a beam of 73 feet 7 inches at maximum, although her main hull only had a beam of 55 feet (16.8 m) and a draught of 16 feet 4 inches. She was powered by two vertical triple expansion steam engines, which developed a total of 4,000 indicated horsepower (3,000 kW) from four Yarrow watertube boilers and gave a maximum speed of 12 knots.

H.M.S. Glatton was armed with two 9.2-inch guns arranged in two single-gun turrets, one each fore and aft. Her secondary armament consisted of four six-inch guns, also in single-gun turrets, two of which superfired over the 9.2-inch turrets. The other two were positioned on each side of the superstructure. One 3 in (76 mm) anti-aircraft gun was mounted on each centre-line 6-inch turret. She also carried four 3-pounder and two 2-pounder guns on high-angle mounts. The Gorgon class monitor “HMS Glatton”, arrived in Dover on 16th September 1918, and was moored inside the harbour being prepared for sea. Her magazines were full of ammunition and explosives, and the stokers were feeding the boilers, at about 6.15 p.m. there was an accidental explosion in the 6" magazine amidships which developed into a fierce fire that soon threatened to spread to the 9.2" magazines. The ammunition ship ‘Gransha’ was berthed nearby, if an explosion occurred on the ‘Glatton’ which resulted in a fire starting on the ‘Gransha’ the resulting explosion would have not only devastated much of the port area but also much of the town. Crews were sent onboard to aid the existing crew in trying to contain the blaze, and the tug ‘Lady Brassey’, tired to put out the fire but was unsuccessful. After completion, Glatton sailed for Dover on 11 September 1918 to prepare for the offensive planned for later that month.

At 6:15 on the evening of 16 September, Glatton's midships 6-inch magazine had a low-order explosion that ignited the cordite stored there. Flames shot through the roof of 'Q' turret, starboard midside, and started to spread aft. The ship's captain, Commander N. W. Diggle, ordered the forward magazines , but the crew were unable to flood the rear magazines as the flames blocked access to the magazine flooding controls. The presence of the ammunition ship Gransha only 150 yards away risked a massive explosion that would devastate Dover if Glatton's rear magazine exploded and set off Gransha's ammunition. Vice-Admiral Keyes, who had been walking with Commander Diggle when Glatton's magazine exploded, boarded the recently arrived destroyer Cossack once apprised of the danger. He ordered Cossack to torpedo Glatton in an attempt to flood the magazine before it detonated. Cossack's first 18 in torpedo struck the anti-torpedo bulge amidships, but failed to explode because it had been fired too close to Glatton. Her second torpedo blew a hole in Glatton at 7:40, but the torpedo's 200 lb warhead was too small to penetrate through her bulge and Glatton remained afloat, still burning. Keyes transferred to the destroyer Myngs and ordered her to fire on Glatton with her 21 in torpedoes at 8:15. They were aimed at the hole blown in Glatton's starboard side by Cossack's second torpedo and succeeded in causing Glatton to capsize until her masts and superstructure rested on the harbour bottom and dousing the fire.  Casualties were heavy: 60 men were killed outright and 124 were injured of whom 19 later died of their burns.


Sunk in Dover Harbour on 16th September 1918




ALFORD, Alfred, Stoker Petty Officer, 308073 (Po)

ALLANTON, George, Ordinary Seaman, J 86211 (Po)

AMES, William, Stoker 1c, K 25984 (Po)

BAKER, Albert, Stoker 1c, 288508 (Po)

BARLOW, Bertram A B, Able Seaman, J 15962 (Po)

BEATTY, Alfred, Engine Room Artificer 4c, M 28409 (Po)

BENNETT, William S, Stoker 1c, K 19414 (Po)

BENSON, John W, Engine Room Artificer 2c, M 15317 (Po)

BRIDGE, Thomas, Stoker 1c, SS 116362 (Po)

CARD, Walter A, Stoker 1c, K 7261 (Po)

CAVE, Henry, Stoker Petty Officer, K 7773 (Po)

CLIFTON, Robert, Ordinary Seaman, J 83010 (Po)

COPP, William J, Petty Officer, J 10584 (Po)

COWDREY, Charles, Chief Engine Room Artificer 2c, 271332 (Po)

CURT, Albert, Ordinary Seaman, J 86100 (Po)

DICKSON, Thomas, Stoker 1c, K 33972 (Po)

DREW, Reginald J B, Lieutenant Commander

GENEE, Raphael A Stoker Petty Officer, 312415

GILLIVER, James, Private, RMLI, 9387 (Po) 

GREENWOOD, Ralph D, Engine Room Artificer 4c, M 25854 (Po)

GROVE, William G, Stoker 1c, K 39457 (Po)

HARDEN, Percival J R, Ordinary Seaman, J 85740 (Pl)

HARDEN, William F, Able Seaman, RNVR, London Z 5095

HEATH, Charles B, Stoker 1c, K 41973 (Po)

HILL, Alfred H, Officer's Cook 1c, 354708 (Po)

HOWARD, Charles, Stoker 1c, K 13989 (Po)

JOHNSON, Alfred J, Stoker 1c, K 19408 (Po)

JONES, William T, Stoker 1c, K 35845 (Po)

KNAPP, Edwin, Stoker 1c, K 7749 (Po)

KNIGHT, Robert, Stoker 1c, K 26183 (Po)

LAKE, Walter, Petty Officer, 222452 (Po)

MACKIE, Thomas B, Engine Room Artificer 4c, M 32031 (Po)

MAKIN, Charles T, Engine Room Artificer 4c, M 3787 (Po)

MARTIN, Peter, Petty Officer, 238767 (Po)

MILLER, Frederick J, Stoker 1c, K 29131 (Po)

MILLS, Thomas R, Stoker 1c, SS 111470 (Po)

MOGER, Charles W, Private, RMLI, 15920 (Po)

MOTTRAM, Alfred H, Leading Stoker, SS 115438 (Po)

NETTLESHIP, William, Stoker 2c, K 51279 (Po)

OWEN, George A, Chief Petty Officer, 201273 (Po)

RHODES, Frank, Shipwright 2c, M 2451 (Po)

ROBSON, George C, Stoker 1c, SS 117718 (Po)

SCORER, Thomas, Stoker 2c, K 51313 (Po)

SHADWELL, Frederick W, Engine Room Artificer 3c, M 10909 (Po)

SHAW, Alfred B, 3rd Writer, M 22794 (Po)

SIMPSON, Frederick W, Engine Room Artificer 4c, M 32151 (Po)

SMALL, Martin, Stoker 2c, K 51318 (Po)

SMITH, Thompson, Stoker 2c, K 51330 (Po)

STAMP, Tom, Stoker Petty Officer, 191430 (Po)

STARKEY, Charlie A, Stoker Petty Officer, K 3796 (Po)

STENSON, Walter, Stoker 1c, K 44005 (Po)

STUBBS, George, Stoker 2c, K 51329 (Po)

SULLIVAN, Michael, Shipwright 2c, M 2503 (Po)

TAYLOR, George H, Stoker 1c, 298837 (Po)

WAUGH, Matthew, Stoker 2c, K 51444 (Po)

WEIR, Robert, Able Seaman, J 21573

WHITINGTON, John J, Boy Servant, L 10879 (Po)

WILLS, John, Stoker 2c, K 51320 (Po)

WRAY, Robert Mc G, Leading Stoker, K 14212 (Po)

+ 39 missing names.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Some of HMS Glatton’s dead remained entombed in their ship.

Her wreck was partially salvaged in 1926, and moved into a position in the north-eastern end of the harbour where it would not obstruct traffic.  The remains of the ship and some of her dead were subsequently buried by landfill underneath the current car ferry terminal.

  We should remember them.