The memorial commemorates the lives lost by a gunnery accident on HMS Royal Sovereign caused by the premature ignition of a cartridge in a six inch gun before the breech had been closed, the men killed were all buried at sea.
The memorial reads - 'ERECTED BY THE OFFICERS AND MEN IN MEMORY OF THOSE KILLED IN A GUN ACCIDENT ON BOARD HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN OFF PLATCA NOVEMBER 9TH 1901 WHILST DISCHARGING THEIR DUTY.' 'CAPT. H.W. SPURWAY, R.M.A. / C. PRIMMER CH. ARMr / F. OSBORNE P.O. 1st Cl / L. COLBORNE ARMr /H. GARDNER PO 2nd Cl / C. CONNOR Ld SEAm' 'ALSO TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE/WHO DIED DURING THE/COMMISSION' 'MR R.E. JOHNSTON M.D. / H.J. CUDDLEYFORD M.A. W.W. MASON A.B. / R. HEARD CH. STO. C. NEWMAN A.B. / W. WALKER P.O. 1TC D. RUNDLE STO. / A. MITCHELL A.B. A. JORDAN STO.'
HMS Royal Sovereign was the lead ship of the Royal Sovereign class of battleship and was the largest warship in the world at the time of her construction. She was laid down on 30 September 1889 and completed in 1892. Built at the Portsmouth Dockyard at a cost of £913,986 she was 125.1m long with a 23m beam, 8.38m draught and had a complement of 712 officers and men.
Powered by twin coal fired Humphreys & Tennant 3 cylinder triple action steam engines (9,700kW) and twin screws she had a cruising speed of 15.7 knots.
Armament consisted of four 13.5 inch guns in two open barbettes, ten quick firing 6-inch guns, ten 6 pounders and six 18 inch torpedo tubes. Armour varied from 64mm to 76mm on the deck to 356mm to 457mm in the main belt.
She was christened by Queen Victoria on 26 February 1891 and after sea trials was commissioned into the fleet on 31 May 1892. In September 1909 she was paid off in Devonport and sold for scrap in October 1913.