was a Duke of Edinburgh
class armoured cruiser
. She was built by Vickers Maxim of Barrow and launched on September 30, 1905. She was sunk by an internal explosion near Cromarty on 30 December 1915.
On the 30th December 1915 Natal
was lying in the Cromarty Firth
with her squadron, under the command of Captain Eric Back
. Shortly after 3.20pm, and without warning, a series of violent explosions tore through the ship. She capsized five minutes later. The most probable explanation was that a fire had broken out, possibly due to faulty cordite
, that ignited a magazine.
The exact number of casualties is still debated, and ranges from 390, up to 421. Some were killed in the immediate explosions, others drowned as the ship capsized, or succumbed to the freezing water of the Cromarty Firth. Most of the bodies which were recovered from the sea were interred in Rosskeen Churchyard, Invergordon
. A small number of casualties were interred in the Gaelic Chapel graveyard in Cromarty.
There was a huge amount of speculation about the loss of the Natal. A mine laying U-boat was thought to be the cause but an underwater inspection revealed massive damage from an internal explosion. Sabotage by German agents was suspected but never proved.