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30 September 2015
Remembering the Natal

Ceremonies were held on sea and land this afternoon to mark the centenary of the sinking of HMS Natal in the Cromarty Firth.

The day's events began with the throwing of wreaths into the sea at the Natal Buoy between Invergordon and Cromarty. It was at this spot that the Natal exploded and sank on 30 December 1915 with the loss of 421 lives.

At the Cromarty Cemetery pupils from the Cromarty Primary School and Fortrose Academy choirs sang and laid roses on the 15 Natal graves. Two Royal Marine buglers playing Last Post, followed by a minute's silence and Father Mel Langille and three young pipers playing 'Amazing Grace'.

A large crowd gathered at the harbour as the Royal Marine Band played 'Beating the Retreat' in front of the Royal Hotel.

Further along the harbour near the lookout tower, the platform party gathered for the unveiling of a commemorative panel by Mrs Rosalind Cahill, grand-daughter of Captain Eric Back of the Natal. Captain Chris Smith RN (Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland) made a short speech about HMS Natal and Cromarty's role in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The day's events ended with the singing of 'Eternal Father, strong to save', the playing of 'Ceremonial Sunset' and the National Anthem by the band and the lowering of the ensign.

Photo by Sarah Pern