John Primrose

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Reference WMO/274169


Kirkbean Church




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Status: On original site
Type: Non freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Within a garden/park/churchyard/enclosure/Marketplace
Description: Addition to Gravestone
  • Stone Stone (any)
Lettering: Incised
  • 19th Century Wars
About the memorial: Addition to family gravestone. From "The Times" from 1894, more about the sinking of the "Kow Shing" or "Kowshing" Extract from Telegram sent on 2 August 1894 published Friday 3 August 1894 "Kowshing. - Officers - Galsworthy, Tamplin, Welch, Wake. Engineers - Gordon, Halley, Primrose. Passengers - Hanneken and two Germans, names unknown. Hanneken saved. Galsworthy, Tamplin reported saved" Galsworthy was Captain of the "Kow Shing", Lewes H. Tamplin was Chieff Officer. Hanneken was Captain von Hanneken who supervised the building of the Chinese Forts at Wei-hei-wei (soon to be a British possesion). Another article on 6 August mentions that a third crew member not mentioned above, Quartermaster Evangelista, was also saved. Later articles give more details. In total 43 crew and over 900 Chinese soldiers died in the sinking. It was a British registered ship but I'm assuming that only the officers mentioned above were British and the rest of the crew were Lascars or Chinese. The German gunboat "Iltis" rescued 150 Chinese soldiers. The French Gunboat "Le Lion" rescued 43 Chinese soldiers. The Royal Navy Torpedo Cruiser "Porpoise" also rescued troops but I don't know the number. None rescued any Europeans. An interview with First Officer Tamlin on 25 October 1894 gives more detail of the sinking. I'll summarise. The Japanese Cruiser "Naniwa" tried to torpedo the "Kow Shing" but missed and then fired a broadside which sunk the "Kow Shing". As the ship was sinking Tamlin escaped from his Chinese bodyguards and jumped overboard. He states Third Officer Wake couldn't swim and went down with the ship. When he was in the water he saw Captain Hanneken and they were both shot at by Chinese troops from the sinking "Kow Shing". (They had already been quite excitable before the action started). They swam for the Japanese warship and were picked up by its boats along with the Captain and Quartermaster. On the way back to the Cruiser the Japanese boats sank two of "Kow Shing's" lifeboats crowded with Chinese Troops. There are conflicting reports of these troops shooting at the Japanese and that is perhaps why the boats were sunk. Hanneken also gave his statement just after the event and he stated that the Japanese shot at troops in the water too. The Japanese cruiser left the area soon after without rescuing any more Europeans or any Chinese. There is no mention of Primrose in later articles so there is no way of knowing if he died in the shelling, was killed by the Chinese on the boat or in the water, or drowned.
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