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Cromarty Image Library

Disperser Funeral Procession
The Cromarty Archive
Disperser Funeral Procession

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.
Picture added on 01 January 2003
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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.
Added by Freda Bassindale on 09 February 2005
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.
Added by Gloria Watts on 07 April 2005
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.
Added by Margaret Cassie (Clelland ) on 06 June 2006
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

Added by Jill Molyneux (nee Webster) on 23 August 2006
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.
Added by Malcolm on 14 April 2007
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.
Added by Rosalie Graham (now Samaroo) on 07 July 2007
My uncle died in the explosion. I have lots of info and photos if of interest to anyone.
Added by Rachel Jervis on 03 October 2010
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
Added by Trevor on 15 September 2013
Sorry Trevor, but they are mostly of the Natal. I have lots of info and photos.
Added by Rachel Jervis on 16 September 2013
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.
Added by Trevor on 17 September 2013
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
Added by Ian Jack on 24 September 2013
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Loss of the Disperser

Whole District in MourningLoss of the DisperserAerial view of the town from the East