On the southern wall of the Holy Martyrs Chapel (see Cathedral Plan).
AND TO THE MEMORY OF
ENG. LIEUT. F.N. BENNETT
AND HIS WIFE IDA MAY (NEE BEVIS)
WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN H.M.S. NATAL
DISASTER AT INVERGORDON 30 DEC 1915
LOVELY AND PLEASANT IN THEIR LIVES
AND IN DEATH THEY WERE NOT DIVIDED
HMS Natal was a Warrior class armoured cruiser completed in 1907. She was 13,550 tons displacement and was armed with 6 x 9.2 inch guns, 4 x 7.5 inch guns, 26 x 3 pdr guns and 3 x 18 inch submerged torpedo tubes. She got her name because the funds required to build her in 1905 came from the inhabitants of Natal Province in gratitude for the protection provided by the Royal Navy.
The Natal was at anchor in the Cromarty Firth when she exploded in the afternoon on 30 December 1915 and, at the time, her Captain, Eric Back, and his wife were hosting a party on board which included nurses, civilians and children, all of whom were among the 388 who lost their lives. Many of the victims are buried in the churchyard here.
After her tragic loss in 1915, the cause was determined to be due to internal explosion. The wreck was stripped of armament and steel, and the remainder was blown up in the 1970's to level the wreck to prevent it from being a hazard to navigation for the expanding oil industry. The wreck of HMS Natal is a government protected site now. A memorial to the ship in Durban was erected in 1927 whilst in the UK, there is a memorial plaque to Captain E. Back RN in the Officers' Mess in HMS Excellent.
Lieutenant Frank Norman Bennett is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.