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Centenary memorial service marred by 'bomb plot' - 22nd February 2005

Centenary memorial service marred by 'bomb plot'

A MEMORIAL service for a Bedford naval officer killed when one of the world's first submarines blew up in Ireland 100 years ago was the target of an alleged bomb plot this week.

Sub Lieutenant Frederick Charles Skinner, 21, and five of his shipmates died when the A5 sub, known as HMS Mars, exploded while being refuelled with petrol in Cork Harbour on February 13, 1905.

Several relatives of the victims travelled to the Irish city for a wreath-laying ceremony last Sunday to remember the dead.

British and Irish navy officials were present along with Cork's Mayor, Cllr Sean Martin, while HMS Richmond (pictured), one of the Royal Navy's biggest frigates, berthed in the harbour.

But on Monday a man appeared in court accused of possessing two petrol bombs with intent to cause criminal damage.

Terence O'Brien, 34, from Blackpool, Cork, was remanded on 100 euros bail until March 15 by the city's district court.

The judge was told he was unlikely to reoffend because now HMS Richmond had left Cork the problem has 'gone away'.


A number of people described as O'Brien's 'supporters' were in court for the short hearing.

Sub Lieut Skinner's body was returned to Bedford after the submarine tragedy and he was buried with full military honours.

His five shipmates were buried at the Old Church cemetery in Cobh, where a large block of granite is now being carved into a memorial to them. The ill-fated submarine, which carried four torpedoes, had only been commissioned into service two days before the accident.

A spark from an electric ventilation fan is believed to have ignited fuel vapour.

The force of the blast was so great that several of the dead were blown clean through the sub's hatch into the water.

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