ROYAL NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS

PRIOR TO W/T IN THE FLEET

WAS VERY POOR!

During annual fleet manoeuvres the Royal Navy always invited the most reliable and authoritative newspaper in the land to send several journalists to report on the event, ostensibly so that their very knowledgeable assessments would give a good indications of the state of the fleet and its preparedness for action and battle to the general public. Few of the years in the last decade of the 19th century warranted good reports, but the 1892 manoeuvres were probably the worst.

Flagship were normally chosen to host these journalist providing good accommodation and messing facilities.

Reports were not routinely vetted by the Admiralty before being published, and the accepted procedure was based on an implicit trust that reports would be fair and rational. Hard-hitting adverse comments were brought to the attention of the admiral in charge at sea, and if what had been recorded was deemed to be fair at the various wash-up's, they were nodded through, albeit reluctantly.

Here then is an abbreviated Times report showing the ships involved and the comments made in the Royal Sovereign only.

Killery BAY

In the following document, note the parameters of the Killary/ery Harbour which at times is also called Killary/ery Bay. Why this should be I don't understand, but clearly, the anchorage outlined below in the Royal Sovereign story is very long [10 miles] and very narrow [no more than 1 mile across throughout its length]. At the end of the anchorage on your right there is a dead end with a bridge carrying a roadway.

The following three pictures give perspective to the area.

The island to the left of Killary Sound on which the church is built, is called Achill, which is Ireland' largest island.

This is a picture of that now church ruin wrongly signposted in the picture above and a desolate and sad neglected cemetery; the name in brackets before the words Holy Well, according to the Irish press should be Kildownet. What a forlorn, desperately sad place this is, not to mention spooky. It was named after a 7th century saint, a young woman who fled to Belgium [and was subsequently decapitated] after her mother died and her father wanted to marry her, his daughter. The sky, the harbour without a ship in sight, and every time I view such a scene I am more and more convinced that cremation is the dignified way to dispose of our dearest loved ones. I have been to Scapa and paid my respects at the sea-grave of the Royal Oak and those many men resting together, and to other graves in that lonely but proud environ. This picture is credited to LOCATIONSCOUT.NET who own the copyright to it. Thanks for taking it and showing it in the public domain.

There are many cemeteries in north county Mayo, in fact 79 of them and this one is recorded as No 41; No 42 quite nearby is called the new cemetery.  No 41 contains graves of those who died in the infamous potato famine.

This lovely picture is credited to GLENN BENNETT and we thank him too for allowing us, whose likelihood of going to the lovely emerald isle to see for ourselves is rather limited. We are navy people, and this church standing so close as it did to our great fleets using Killary is part of our history which now we can claim. It overlooks the Killary Harbour, and what naval sights these inhabitants must have witnessed over the years? This monument says that it is erected to commemorate 32 named persons [on the side we are viewing] who were accidentally drowned in Clew Bay on June 14th 1894 R.I.P. On the side we cannot see it says 'Of your Charity Pray for their Souls'. The dreadful accident occurred at the annual exodus of west coast people leaving to go to England for potato picking and general farming duties including the harvest. Approximately 100 young people were travelling from Mullaranny [see map above] in a small sail boat to catch a steamer for their onward journey. Most of these were down below in the hold keeping warm, when the oncoming steamer was sighted. Simultaneously, they all climbed onto the main deck and onto the side with a clear view of the steamer when the sail boat capsized. Thirty two relatively young people perished and all are buried in the same grave. Over 400 people attended this mass funeral.

 

 But now for a change from the sentimental to the reason for writing this page. Killery Bay [more often than not spelt as Killary] in two places, was called such by the Times journalist: the Irish call it a harbour or a sound, with the only near and registered bay being Clew Bay.

 

Good sailing to all now serving at sea on behalf of their country and may God Bless you all.