Naval tragedy remembered

WREATH Cdr Steve Moorhouse, commanding officer of HMS Lancaster, lays a wreath at the wreck of HMS Serpent off Spain
WREATH Cdr Steve Moorhouse, commanding officer of HMS Lancaster, lays a wreath at the wreck of HMS Serpent off Spain

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SAILORS on HMS Lancaster paid tribute to a Victorian naval tragedy which led to the compulsory wearing of lifejackets.

The Portsmouth-based warship remembered the dead from the sinking of HMS Serpent in 1890 during a recent visit to Spain.

The sinking of the torpedo cruiser led to an overhaul of safety in British warships.

Serpent was bound for West Africa to relieve another vessel when she was wrecked off the Costa da Morte in a storm.

There were only three survivors from the 175 aboard.

Lancaster’s captain Commander Steve Moorhouse laid a wreath at sea where the ship went down.

He said: ‘Despite the huge advances in technology, the sea remains a most unforgiving environment.

‘To lose almost an entire ship’s company is devastating.’