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Lord Charles Bereford

Postcard of HMS Bulwark and its vice admiral.

HMS Bulwark

By Collections blog

This postcard shows HMS Bulwark with Vice Admiral Lord Charles Beresford. Beresford was the second son of John Beresford, 4th Marquess of Waterford, thus despite his courtesy title as the younger son of a Marquess, he was still eligible to join the House of Commons. He combined the two careers of the Navy and Member of Parliament, making a reputation as a hero in battle and champion of the navy in the House of Commons. He was a well know and popular figure who courted publicity, widely known to the British public as “Charlie B”.


HMS Bulwark was one of five London-class pre-dreadnaught battleships built for the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century. The Londons were a sub-class of the Formidable-class pre-dreadnaughts. Completed in 1902 she was initially assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet as its flagship. The ship then served with the Channel and Home fleets from 1907-1910, usually as a flagship. From 1910-14, she was a reserve in the Home Fleet.

Following the start of the First World War in August 1914, Bulwark along with the rest of the squadron, was attached to the reformed Channel Fleet to protect the British Expeditionary Force as it moved across the English Channel to France. On 26 November 1914 she was destroyed by a large internal explosion with the loss of 741 men near Sheerness; only a dozen men survived the detonation. It was probably caused by the overheating of cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler-room bulkhead. Little of the ship survived to be salvaged and her remains were designated a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

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