Service marks 100th anniversary of HMS Racoon

Service marks 100th anniversary of HMS Racoon

Tue, January 09, 2018

The 100th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Racoon has been marked with an event at Bonamargy Friary.

The vessel went down near Malin Head on January 9th, 1918, with the loss of 91 people on board.

Some of those who perished were laid to rest in the ancient graveyard outside Ballycastle while a numbers of others, including unknown sailors, were buried in Ballintoy, Billy Church of Ireland Parish Cemetery, Dunluce Parish Cemetery and on Rathlin Island.

The ceremony was complimented by a similar event in Rathmullan, County Donegal which marked its connection to the tragedy.

The memorial was organised by the Ballycastle branch of the Royal British Legion. Among those in attendance were relations of William Henry McKay. He served as a Stoker 1st Class on board HMS Racoon and was buried at Bonamargy following the disaster.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, laid a wreath during the event. Speaking afterwards she said: “A century has passed since our shores became the final resting place for these men, and this ceremony serves as another poignant reminder of World War One’s local legacy. The ongoing efforts of our RBL representatives ensure their lives and deaths will never be forgotten, and it was a privilege for me to have this opportunity to pay my respects.”

HMS Racoon was en route from Liverpool to Lough Swilly when she got into difficulties during a snow storm. The vessel hit rocks near the small Garvan Islands, East of Malin Head after succumbing to heavy sea conditions and atrocious winter weather.