Cromarty Archive

Disperser Funeral Procession

Disperser Funeral Procession

Date Added: 01 January 2003 Contributor: Unknown Year: 1940 Picture No: 105

The Disperser was the vessel used to break up the Natal. When war broke out she was commandeered and sent to Scapa Flow to lay mines. She broke up during a storm, causing the death of six Cromarty men.

Albums: Graves and Funerals, People, The Sea

Groups: Loss of the Disperser


My aunts, Mary and Nancy Robertson who lived in Shore Inn, were in the WRNS and staitoned in Scapa Flow. When the Disperser went down, they were asked to identify the bodies of the six Cromarty men, which they did. I think it was a very brave thing for them to do as Nancy was only 20 and Mary was, I think, about 24. Comment left on 09 February 2005 at 16:20 by Freda Bassindale
My Grandfather, John MacKenzie, was Fireman on the S.Y. Disperser. Very emotional looking at the photograph but so pleased to have found it to add to my Family History. Comment left on 07 April 2005 at 22:15 by Gloria Watts
The two little boys at the front of the Procession is Cecil Shepherd and Alastair Eastwood, Cecil lost his father Alexander Shepherd and his brother Douglas Shepherd in the disaster. Comment left on 06 June 2006 at 21:21 by Margaret Cassie (Clelland )
My uncle Charles Watson of Gordons Lane Cromarty was lost on the Disperser. My mother Jane Watson was at her brothers funeral as was my Granny(who I never met). My Granny had lost all her sons by this point John who died in New York, Jimmy who died of meningitis and Charlie
Comment left on 23 August 2006 at 00:50 by Jill Molyneux (nee Webster)
My grandfather Captain George Abson, Master of the Disperser was drowned when the Disperser was lost in 1940. My mother's cousin's father who was Mr Spence, ship's cook, was also lost. This was a great family tragedy leaving two families without a father. It also finished the South Stockton Shipbreaking Company of which my grandfather Captain Abson was Managing Director. The company was engaged in the salvage of HMS Natal 1937-1940. Comment left on 14 April 2007 at 22:10 by Malcolm
I am a granddaughter of Murdo Mackenzie of Invergordon, Chief Engineer of the Disperser. Thank you to those who submitted the press cuttings and the comments. This was indeed a great tragedy. Comment left on 07 July 2007 at 22:45 by Rosalie Graham (now Samaroo)
My uncle died in the explosion. I have lots of info and photos if of interest to anyone. Comment left on 03 October 2010 at 02:39 by Rachel Jervis
Hi Rachel. is the info and photos you mentioned referring to the Disperser? if it is i would be very interested in them as Captain Abson was my mum's uncle. Regards from somerset Comment left on 15 September 2013 at 09:49 by Trevor
Sorry Trevor, but they are mostly of the Natal. I have lots of info and photos. Comment left on 16 September 2013 at 16:40 by Rachel Jervis
Thanks Rachel. I am trying to find a photo of Captain George Abson (Disperser) for his grand-daughter Anne Kirkeberg who is my third cousin. She lives in Norway. But i would be interested in any info re Natal, thanks. Comment left on 17 September 2013 at 19:37 by Trevor
was reading a book in the Buckie heritage today,titled Shipwrecks of the North of Scotland by R.N, Baird, he states the Disperser was lost 15th April 1940, was refloated,repaired and returned to service 1944 and was broken up in llanely wales in 1953. there was a previous Disperser,built in 1781 as a gunboat but converted to a salvage vessel. she also was lost in a gale but no lives lost, she was owned by North east Salvage and Shipbreaking co. West Hartlepool Comment left on 24 September 2013 at 18:49 by Ian Jack
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