Albert Ernest Biggs

Ordinary Seaman
Royal Navy
Date of death 
30 December 1915
Age of death 
42 Chingford Lane
Woodford Green
Address source 
1911 Census
Cemetery / Memorial 
United Kingdom

Born on 25th February 1897 in Kennington London, son of Archibald Ernest (Journeyman Painter) and Charlotte Biggs.

1901: With his family at 73 Woodlands Road, Leyton. 1911: With his family at 42 Chingford Lane, Woodford Green (Walthamstow).

HMS “Natal” was launched in 1905, and in 1915 was with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron part of the Grand Fleet usually based at Scapa Flow. It had been engaged on routine patrolling of the North Sea. On 30th December 195 “Natal” was anchored with other vessels in Cromarty Firth, when at 15.25 there were a series of large explosions and fire at the rear of the vessel; within five minutes it had rolled over and sunk. The Inquiry established that the explosions occurred within the ship, so ruling out a torpedo attack or mine strike as the cause. It was decided that most probably the explosions, which originated in the 9.2 inch shell room or 3 pounder and small arms magazine, were caused by faulty cordite.

Although 400 crew survived, the death toll among crew and visitors (including some children) attending a Christmas film show, was in excess of 400.

Albert Biggs was not recovered.

Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian