Alexander Maitland

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: July 1910
  • Place of enlistment: Customs House Dundee
  • Service no: 1747S
  • Rank: Stoker
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Bulwark
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Navy
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea, west of Sheerness in the estuary of the River Medway.
  • Age at Death: 28
  • Date of Death: 26.11.1914
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 6

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth: Dundee
  • Address: 57 Alexandria Parade, Glasgow.
  • Occupation:
  • Mother:

    Sarah Maitland

  • Father:

    Alexander Maitland, 31 Robson St, Govan Hill, Glasgow

  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Alexander Maitland

Alexander has no known grave but is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He was serving on H.M.S. Bulwark which was attached to the Channel Fleet, conducting patrols in the English Channel. On 26 November 1914 while anchored at Sheerness she was destroyed by a large internal explosion with the loss of 736 men. There were only 14 survivors of the explosion and of these, 2 died later in Hospital. The explosion was believed to have been caused by the overheating of Cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead.

Alexander Maitland was born in Dundee and lived at 10 Anfield Row in Dundee when he volunteered to join the Royal Naval Reserve at the Customs House in Dundee in July 1910. He worked as a Crane man at Rosyth, as a Fireman and then working on gas engines in Dundee at Maxwell’s. In 1913, he moved to Glasgow and lived with his mother, Mrs Sarah Maitland at 57 Alexandria Parade, Glasgow. Before the war he undertook training at Portsmouth and Portland and onboard the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Revenge. Men of the Royal Naval Reserve were mobilised on the outbreak of war and Alexander Maitland reported to the Naval Barracks in Portsmouth. From there he was drafted to the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Bulwark. A powerful internal explosion ripped Bulwark apart just before 8am on 26 November 1914 while she was moored west of Sheerness in the estuary of the River Medway. All of the ship’s officers were killed in the explosion and only a dozen ratings survived. A total of 741 men were lost. Only about 30 bodies were recovered after the explosion. In terms of loss of life, the incident remains the second most catastrophic accidental explosion in the history of the United Kingdom. Alexander Maitland is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common in Portsmouth.

Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

Information supplied by Gary Thomson.

Further information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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