The Royal Navy

234241 Leading Seamen Claude Eggleton Rushen

Claude Eggleton Rushen serving on H.M.S. "Highflyer" died on Thursday, 6th December 1917, age 28. He was the son of Alfred and Emily Rushen of 55, Kent Road, Grays, Essex. He was born on 23rd July 1889 and joined the Royal Navy as a boy on the 17th July 1905. He trained at HMS "Impregnable" and HMS "Vivid" and served aboard several ships including, "Hibernia", "Hanniball", "Hood", "Monmouth" and "Cumberland."

Explosion in Halifax.

On the morning of 6 Dec 1917 anchored in the outer harbour Halifax harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada was HMS "Highflyer", a Hermes class cruiser carrying out escort duties. Steaming out of the inner harbour was the Norwegian ship SS IMO heading for New York. Coming from New York was the SS Mont Blanc loaded with explosives and volatile benzol stacked on her decks. Both ships collided in the "narrows". Benzol drums broke loose and caught fire. All hands were ordered to abandon ship and the Mont Blanc drifted ablaze until she came to rest against pier 6 in the harbour. At around 9.05 am the Mont Blanc exploded. This explosion killed over sixteen hundred people and flattened two square kilometres of Halifax. Amongst those killed was Claude Eggleton Rushen and six of his ship mates from HMS Highflyer. The Albert Medal in Gold was awarded to Lt. Cmdr. Triggs for life saving at sea. He was in charge of a whaler from HMS Highflyer, manned by volunteers, that rowed towards the pier and the burning Mont Blanc to see if the Imo might be towed clear of danger. When only 100 yards away the Mont Blanc blew up. Lt. Cmdr. Triggs and all but one of the crew were lost. Claude Eggleton Rushen was one of the crew.

He is commemorated at the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

The sole survivor, Able Seaman Becker, was awarded the Albert Medal in Bronze.

H.M.S. "Highflyer".

Claude's Medals.

Commemorative Scroll.

The wreck of the Imo.

HMS "Highflyer" after the explosion.

Claude Eggleton Rushen's Service Record.

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