Page 1

www.deeplens.com

1


www.deeplens.com

2


www.deeplens.com

DIVE ! EGYPTS WRECKS

PART 4 THE MEDITTERANEAN

3


www.deeplens.com

FORWARD by JOHN WOMACK I am John Womack Snr, BSAC First Class Diver, Advanced Instructor & owner of Otter Drysuits in Yorkshire, having dived the Britannic, Prince of Wales, Repulse and the Victoria plus many more over the last 40 years I would not go anywhere in the Red Sea without one of Peter's guide books. I have been on numerous successful trips of Peter's including wreck searching in Truk Lagoon. Peter's new book is awesome, there are so many wrecks and to give detailed descriptions of all the wrecks themselves is great, it makes you feel like you have dived them already. I remember doing a night dive on the Thistlegorm which was just fantastic it was pitch black with pin points of light from fellow divers lights.In the south, Peter, Tom and myself went looking for the wreck of the Maidan on Rocky Island, we followed the debris trail down to 65mtrs and there before us was the huge shadow of the wreck hanging over the abyss starting at 80 mtrs. We could only look down in wonder, but we had found what we were looking for after 10 years. Peter's trips are a must and very much like his trips his books are a must read, Peter is a walking encyclopaedia on all things diving and ship wrecks. A lot of great ships were made in the North East and it comes as no surprise to me that this is where Peter came from too, we have been friends/fellow wreck divers a lot of years and hope to be sharing experiences and books for many more years to come.

John Womack MD Otter Watersports Yorkshire.March 2018 Otter Drysuits, UK This series of guides is respectfully dedicated to this great man. I am proud to have called him friend and shared his last dive. JOHN MICHAEL WOMACK 23 MARCH 1943- 30TH NOV.2018

4


www.deeplens.com CONTENTS S.S. ZEALAND I.N. ELATH S.S. EMPIRE PATROL S.S. SURADA S.S. PRINCEE MARGUARITTE M.V. HAV M.V MARIDIVE X111 H.M.S. MEDWAY M.V DALIA S ITS BASILICA S.S. MUREX S.M.S. PERESVYET S.S CALEDONIAN YASAKA MARU U559 S.S WELBECK HALL S.S. MURCIA S.S. BARBARY ABOUKIR BAY: L’ARTEMISE,LA PATROITE S.S. GEELONG S.S. HYPERIA S.S. SAMOSET S.S. SAN ANDRES S.S SZECHUEN S.S. TALODI & S.S.TAIF S.S. THISTELBAN M.V DELPHINULA H.M.S CORMORANT M.V ORKANGER S.S. NICOLAS A MASTRANDREAS H.M.T (RMS) ARAGON MV MILOS 11 S.S.REGAL HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH E.N. SOLLUM S.S.PUNDIT S.S. SARNIA S.S OSMANIEH H.M.S ATTACK S.S. ARCHIMEDE S.S. ALBACHA S.S. BILSWOOD M.V BINTANG S.S. CAMERONIAN S.S. BUSIRIS M.V KOS IX MTB 261 S.S. CLAN MAC INDOE S.S. CLAN MAAC NIEL HDML 1015 S.S. CIVILIAN S.S. KEPHALLINIA S.S. ROSALIND M.V CAPTAIN FOUAD MV. CHAKDINA M.V ATHENE M.V NADIRM M.V ISTRIA S.S. REAPWELL M.V MARIA DESPINA ITALIAN AIRCRAFT HMS GALATEA HMS COVENTRY

5


www.deeplens.com INTRODUCTION Our journey north through Egyptian waters brings us to the Mediterranean and a huge difference in the make up both of this guide and secondly the diving environment, infrastructure and potential. It should be noted at this time we have not included the Bitter Lakes. The influence of war has had a much greater effect on the quantity and diversity of wrecks, and in this the final leg of the journey we will discover many WW2 shipwrecks listed , many in deep water ,many designated war graves. Given that many wrecks are military there is a wealth of detailed information readily available

The amount of diving carried out is minimal, with little diving infrastructure in place, although one operation we befell to would tell you otherwise. It is an area of untapped potential for discovery and a legacy for the future divers wishing to explore and discover. To aid those lucky enough to be part of that challenge, I have included as many wrecks recorded- whether they are within diving depths or not. Why? Many wrecks will be very similar merchant ships, so those in deep water can be eliminated from the “list of suspects� Our only real wreck dive was on one such vessel-A typical WW2 armed merchant vessel we were told was French. I have no doubt that careful on site research will quickly identify some while others will retain their secrets. These two final books are there for nothing more than a starting point- and by no means definitive. As we have learned over the last 20 years there is always that un expected wreck just around the corner. The area of search though is quite narrow with the continental shelf falling away quite quickly. I would imagine that local fisherman knowledge will turn up many wrecks with that long thin area of coastal water. Marine life too is very different, and while the River Nile has a huge influence, once away from its effects the water become very clear.

6


www.deeplens.com

M40

VELORE HMS COVENTRY BILSWOOD BINTANG ALEXANDRIA THISTLEBAN BENGALI FATEMA ATHENE MADIA EL ENIF ABU QIR EL SOLLUM MUREX ISTRIA SHERIF CAPTAIN FUAD CIVILIAN HIGHBURY RMS ARAGON ROSETTA CLAN MC NIEL CLAN MC INDOE KOS IV GEERONG EL GIZA SERIOUSE, LE PATRIOTE, ATREMESE

MEDWAY DALIA S CORMORANT BALTIM SARNIA

CALEDONIAN MERCIA

M40 MARIDIVE X11 EMPIRE PARTOL U559

PERSUVET. SECHVON

DAMIETA ST. ANDREWS SAMOSET WELBECK HALL

HAV

BARBARY HYPERIA YOCKOW SUARADA PORT SAID

EL TINA BAY

MEDITERRANEAN SEA

PRINCESS MARGARITTE

ELATH

EL ARISH ZEALAND

AREA MAP

7


www.deeplens.com

8


www.deeplens.com

S.S.ZEALAND: The Zealand was a Steam Cargo vessel of 1,433 Grt. built at Barclay, Curle & Co., Whiteinch, Glasgow for Leith, Hull & Hamburg S. P. Co., Ltd., (James Currie & Co., Ltd.), Leith. She was launched on 11 November 1935 and completed in January of 1936. The ship was 262.1 feet in length, 40.4 feet in beam, 15.9 feet in draught, with a triple-expansion engine and single propellers providing her with a speed of 10-12 knots. On 28 June 1942, the Zealand, under command of Master Lancelot James Branagan, was steaming South-Soutwest of Haifa, Israel with convoy Codename "Metril" consisting of 3 merchant vessels and escorts, when the German submarine U-97 (Friedrich Burgel) fired a spread of two torpedoes at the convoy. At 1316 in the afternoon, the Zealand was hit and sunk at position 32.27N/34.43E taking with her ten crew members and four gunners. The U-97 fired a stern torpedo at 1324 which struck and damaged another merchant vessel in the convoy, the Memas. The escort HMS Islay T172 rescued the Zealand's master, twelve crewmembers, and six gunners, and then delivered them to Haifa.

I.N. ELATH

The Israeli destroyer had been the Z CLASS H.M.S ZEALOUS, built by Vickers Arm strong during 1943.She was one of many vessels of her type, a fast anti submarine destroyer-many off her sisterships had names beginning with z thus the classification; Zambesi, Zebre, Zest etc. Fitted with twin geared Parsons turbines giving them a speed of 36knots (a charter boat normally does 8!), their dimensions of 110mtrs by10mtrs beam and a 3 mtrs draught made them fast and sleek-ideal for hunting –and destroying submarines. By 1955 these vessels were deemed obsolete and surplus to the Royal 9


www.deeplens.com Navies needs and were either scrapped or sold off. Two of these vessels HMS ZEALOUS and HMS Zodiac were sold to Israel and two, HMS Zenith and HMS Myngs (they must have run out of names beginning with Z) to Egypt .

On October 21st 1967 during the Six Day War the Elath was 14 miles off Port Said, when she was sunk with 4 “ Styx� miles from the Egyptian-Komar class missile carrying gun ships.47 of her crew died with may of the 151 survivors injured. She had been zig- zagging in the bay of Romani-in and out of territorial waters, taunting Egyptian radar- A month earlier she had sunk two Egyptian gun boats. She was the first vessel to be sunk by missiles. The wreck has been located in 21mtrs of water14 miles north east of Port Said.

S.S. EMPIRE PATROL The Empire Patrol was passenger cargo ship of 3220 GRT built at Stablimento Tecnico, Trieste (San Marco Yard No. 760) as the Rodi for Soc. Anon. Adriatica Nav., Trieste. Her keel was laid 08 April 1927, launched 17 December 1927, and completed 25 April 1928. She was 317-feet 2-inches in length, 44-feet 10-inches in beam, diesel powered with a single propeller and a 10-knot service speed (maximum speed of 15 knots). The ship was seized as a war prize by the British at Malta on 10 June 1940, re-named Empire Patrol, and used by the Royal Navy as a mine depot ship. Turned over to Ministry of War Transport (MOWT) in 1941 and managed by the Prince Line (Furness Withy). While in MOWT service, the Empire Patrol, being of Italian build, encouraged an attempt by the Royal Navy to deliver stores and materials from Alexandria to Malta unescorted. On 01 November 1942, the ship departed Alexandria loaded with 1200 tons of aviation fuel and 300 tons of benzine (all in cans) to be delivered to Malta. The ship was ordered to proceed east of Cyprus, through Turkish waters wearing Turkish colours, then to turn westward and sail under Italian colours as if the ship was 10


www.deeplens.com of Italian registry on the commonly used Italian route from the Dardanelles to southern Italy. The Commanding Officer had total discretion to abandon the attempt if it was felt that this disguise was compromised. As the ship was plagued with electrical and diesel problems, and after having been closely scrutinized by a German reconnaissance aircraft, the Commanding Officer (a LT. RNR) abandoned the attempted passage and entered Famagusta on 03 November. The sinking of the Empire Patrol: On 29 September 1945, the Empire Patrol set sail from Port Said with 497-500 Greek refugees returning home to their island of Castelorizo (79 male, 210 female, 182 children). Approximately 38 miles out of port, the ship experienced a fire (cause unknown), which spread throughout the entire ship. An S.O.S. was sent out which resulted in the escort carrier HMS Trouncer (Capt. Geoffrey Alexandr Rotherham), HMS Devonshire, HMS Mermaid, and HMS KLO all responding. The HMS Trouncer arrived late in the day and commenced rescuing the ship's passengers. However, it would not be until the following day that the remaining ships would arrive. The Empire Patrol ablaze As the fire spread throughout the ship, the order to lower lifeboats and abandon ship was given. Many passengers were trapped at either end of the ship and jumped directly into the water. Passengers on the stern of the Empire Patrol as the HMS Trouncer comes bow to stern The ship was on fire at location 31.56N/32.45E and, after all rescue attempts were complete, the ship was taken in tow on 01 October 1945. While enroute to Port Said, the ship sank at position 31.30N/32.33.30E.

Thirty-Three people lost their lives (some sources state 38 lives lost). The HMS Trouncer is credited with saving 450 from the burning ship, although this may in fact be in error as there were other ship involved which picked up survivors in the water.

S.S SURADA The Surada was a 5,236 Grt. Passenger/Cargo ship built at A. & J. Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow (Yard No. 266) for the British India Steam Nvigation co., Ltd., Glasgow. The ship was launched 25 January 1902 and completed 03 March of that same year with a length of 125 meters, beam of 15.5 meters, triple-expansion engines, and a single shaft for a speed of 10.5 knots. She was designed to carry 9 First-Class passengers, 16 Second-Class passengers, and 1,421 Steerage Class passengers. Leased for use by the Australian Commonwealth during WWI and designated an HMAT, she carried the Australian 9th Light Horse Regiment 1st Reinforcements (06 February 1915) and the Australian 10th Light Horse Regiment (26 September 1916) 11


www.deeplens.com from Freemantle, Australia to the Middle-East and Western Front theatres. Commonwealth control of the Surada ended on 04 January 1917. On 02 November 1918, while enroute to Marseilles from Karachi with a cargo of rice and gunnies, the Surada was attacked, torpedoed, and sunk by German submarine UC74 (Hans Schuler) off Port Said. No casualties

S.S.PRINCESS MARGUERITE Built in 1925 by John Brown &Co, for the Canadian Pacific Railway co., the 5908 ton, 350ft. passenger liner Princess Marguerite was fitted with turbine engines delivering 2462 knots, giving her a speed of21knots

On August 17th, during the North African Campaign, Princess Marguerite was en route from Port Said, Egypt to Famagusta on the the Mediterranean island of Cyprus with around 1,000 troops on board. Despite a vigilant escort of three destroyers and the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Antwerp, the Marguerite was torpedoed by U-83. The fires which resulted were soon out of control and Princess Marguerite's master, Captain Leicester, gave the order to "abandon ship". Blazing fuel in the water made this dangerous, but the aptly-named British destroyer HMS Hero (later transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and renamed HMCS Chaudiere), managed to rescue a very high percentage of those aboard the liner. Fifty-Five lives were lost.

12


www.deeplens.com

13


www.deeplens.com

M.V HAV:

The Hav was a cargo ship of 5,062 GRT built in 1939 at Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend, Sunderland for A/S Havtank & A/S Hav (managed by Helmer Staubo & Co., Oslo, Norway). She was a diesel powered motor vessel with a speed of 12.5 knots.

The Hav had just departed Norway with general cargo and lumber just before the country was invaded on 09 April 1940. She was originally enroute to a South African port but was redirected by Canadian authorities to change course to Esquimalt, arriving on 11 April. She was then ordered to her original destination, but without stopping at ports within Dutch or Russion territories. So took on 300 tons of fuel at Victoria, B.C. and proceeded to Beira, South Africa. However, on 08 May the ship experienced engine trouble with the injector assembly of the diesel's #4 cylinder, reuiring the engine to be stopped. Repairs required 15 hours by the crew before the ship could continue the passage with limited diesel output which resulted in maneuvering difficulties. Communications were sent and parts were ordered ahead so that they would be available upon arrival. However, once pierside in Beira on 16 June, the ship was informed that there was no news on the repair parts. The ship was then informed that they had been chartered to an Australian company for the next 6-months effective upon unloading their cargo…………………………………………………………………… Still steaming on the problematic diesel, the ship sailed to Lorenco Marques, Durban, and East London, arriving at East London on 15 July. Engine repair parts arrived a few days later and the crew proceeded to repair the engine. Cargo was unloaded at East London, refueled in Durban, then sailed on 23 July to Calcutta in ballast, arriving 12 August. Departed Calcutta 17 August and arrived Fremantle, Australia on 02 September where 640 tons of cargo was offloaded. Took on 340 tons of cargo and departed for Adelaide on 04 September, then to Melbourne and Sydney. At Sydney, a cargo of flour was onloaded for delivery to Taku Bay on 18 October. Then to Shanghai on 30 October where she was drydocked……………………………………………..

14


www.deeplens.com 02 November the Hav departed for Nauru to pick up a cargo of phosphates for delivery to Geraldton and Fremantle. While in transit, was forced to sail through a typoon on 06 November, arriving in Nauru 4-days late unscathed by the storm. Onloaded 9200 tons of phosphates and departed Nauru on 17 November, arriving Fremantle on 02 December where the phosphates were offloaded and a cargo of railroad tracks and general cargo were onloaded. Additionally, the Bridge superstructure was modified with additional protection on 30th December…………………………………….. Departed Melbourne on 01 January 1941, arriving at Suez at the beginning of February, stopping at Aden enroute. The ship was minus 6 crew due to 4 of them jumping ship and 2 being paid off due to illness. The ship then continued to Haifa and offloaded her cargo before returning to Port Said. The Hav was then requisitioned into service for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) and headed to Alexandria and onloaded heavy vehicles. Departed for Piraeus, arriving and offloading here cargo, got underway in convoy for Alexandira on 25 March. On the morning of 26 March the convoy came under aircraft attack, and again later in the afternoon. The second attack consisted of 10 aircraft and the Hav was damaged by a near miss off the port bow by either a bomb or torpedo, lifting the entire bow out of the water and resulting in extensive damages, which were temporarily repaired……………………………………………………….. The ship continued on her passage, arriving in Alexandria under her own power on the 28 March. Additional temporary repairs were conducted at Alexandria. Permanent repairs could not be accomplished here due to no drydocking facilities. Released from Sea Transport Office services on 11 April, with temporary repairs being completed on 18 April. Departed Alexandria the same day and sailed to Qusseir, arriving on 22 April, and taking on a cargo of phosphates. Departed 27 April enroute Fremantle, via Aden, for routing orders to Melbourne. Arrived at Melbourne 29 May and was drydocked 06 June where permanent repairs to the ship were conducted, with completion of repairs on 20 June, and with the addition of degaussing and a gun mount installed aft (without gun). While under repair, the 6-month charter to the Australian company was extended for an additional 6-months . Cargo was onloaded upon completion of repairs and the ship was ready to get underway, however, 6 crewmembers were missing and 1 crewmember was hospitalized. 3 replacement crewmembers were taken on and the ship departed for Port Said, via Aden, arriving Port Said on 30 July. Cargo was offloaded and departed 17 August for Colombo, via Aden for refuelling. Arrived Calcutta on 03 September where general cargo was taken on for delivery to Chile and Peru, stopping at Rangoon enroute for additional cargo…… ……………………………………………………………… The ship by now had armament (aft gun), 2 Australian gunners, a new 4th mate, and 4 additional Chinese crewmembers. The ship arrived at Talcahuano, Chile 31 October. She then proceed to discharge her cargo at various South American ports and then taking on cargo at Tocopilla between 22 and 28 November for delivery to Australia. 4 crew members were left behind at Valparaiso. Hav arrived Sydney on 01 January 1942 and, by the 9th had offloaded here cargo. She was then ordered to a shipyard for additional repairs as a result of having encountered a storm while enroute to Sydney which showed that the previous repairs conducted at 15


www.deeplens.com Melbourne were inadequate. New protection was added to the Bridge and a new gun was installed at this time. The ship's captain, G.E. Henrikson, was paid off to take a vacation in mid-January. The 1st mate, Josef Jensen replaced him as the ship's captian on 16 January.Repairs were completed on 18 January and departed for Newcastle, Australia for coal, then to Adelaide via Sydney. From Sydney she went to Whyalla and took on a cargo of ore for delivery to Newcastle, where the ship was once again drydocked for repairs. Upon completion of repairs, departed Newcastle with a cargo of coal and delivered it to Adelaide on 15 February.

Onloaded a cargo of 8850 tons of flour at Adelaide for delivery to the Mid-East. Underway on 26 February for Dandar Shapur, arriving 31 March. Offloaded her cargo of flour, unloaded a cargo of barley and departed for Port Said and Alexandria, stopping enroute a Basra to unload additional cargo (departed Basra 21 April) and Abadan on 22 April. Arrived Suez on 06 April with 7380 tons of barley, 16-tons of general cargo, and 220-tons of steel rods which had been unloaded at Abadan. In Suez, the general cargo and steel rods were offloaded and then the ship continued to Port Said where she was directed to wait for further orders. On 13 May, the ship was directed to Beirut in order to offload the cargo of barley. FINAL VOYAGE The Hav got underway from Port Said that same day (13 May) enroute to Beirut as ordered. Shortly after the Port Said pilot had left the ship that afternoon, the ship was rocked by an explosion on the starboard side amidships. The ship had struck a mine laid by U-561 (Robert Bartels) on 14 April.

The ship immediately started to sink, with holds numbers 1 ,2 3, and 4 flooded along with the engineroom. A tugboat and 2 minesweepers provided assistance in towing the ship to shallow water where she was beached in 7-8 meters of water at 31.17.57N/32.21.09E. Two people were killed, with several injured. The British hospital ship Aba took 3 of the injured to the British hospital in Port Said. (Injured crewmembers are: 3rd Engineer John Silseth, 2nd Mate Richard Fureborg, and Ordinary Seaman Thor Kvilhaug.)

However, the ship's story does not end here. Seven crew members and 2 gunners were assigned to keep watch on the ship while the injured were taken ashore. Captain Jensen and a Chinese mess boy (Chang Ming Chen) were then taken to a hospital. The crew members were on guard onboad the ship from 13 May until 23 June. On 13 May, the captain of the Vilja (Anderson) visited the ship. the Valja had arrived at Port Said after suffering damage at Hifa. Some equipment and supplies were transferred from the Hav to the Valja at this time. On 23 June, the crew members guarding the ship were relieved by personnel from shore. That same day, a fire was observed onboard the ship, and it was not to be the last. Six additional fires were experienced later that summer which eventually reduced the ship to scrap.

16


www.deeplens.com

M.V. MARIDIVE XII: The Maridive XII was an offshore tugboat of 844 or 949 Grt. originally guilt as the Angel Fish at Sud-Quest in Bordeaux, France. The tugboat was launched on 21 April 1982 and had a length of 53.6 meters and a beam of 11.5 meters. Twin screws provided propulsion. The tugboat was purchased by the Maridive Corporation in 1985 and renamed Maridive XII and used as an offshore supply vessel. On 10 October 1999, during bad weather, the Maridive XII foundered between Port Said and the Baltim off shore oil field. The Master and 2 crew were lost. Some reports list the vessel as being lost 7 km from Baltim.

H.M.S.MEDWAY

HMS Medway in 1929 A British Naval depot ship, built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow In Furness in 1928. She was 580 ft long, 85 ft beam, 14,650 tons armed with two 4 “ guns, four 4� A.A. guns and 12 other smaller arms, she was the first large submarine depot ship designed and built for the Royal Navy. She was commissioned at Devonport on 6 Jul, 1929. The ship sailed for China station together with six O-class submarines to replace the HMS Titania and her L-class boats, remaining there until April 1940, when she was sent to the Mediterranean, arriving on 2 May in Alexandria. She was based there to operate the 1st Submarine Flotilla. At 08.24 hours on 30 Jun, 1942, bound for Haifa and Beirut HMS Medway was torpedoed and sunk by U-372. commanded by Heinz-Joachim Neumann off Alexandria. Capt P. Ruck Keene, commander of the 1st Submarine flotilla was on board. There were 30dead and 1135 survivors. She was escorted by the HMS Dido 17


www.deeplens.com and seven destroyers. but 47 of her stock of 90 torpedoes floated clear and were recovered. The small depot ship HMS Talbot moved from Malta to replace her at Beirut, changing her name to HMS Medway II.1135 (30 dead and 1105 survivors). Sunk by U-372 As a result of the sinking of the HMS Medway, Allied submarine operations in the eastern Mediterranean came to a standstill as a result of the loss of her facilities, which included 114 spare torpedoes and spare submarine equipment and repair parts.

M.V.DALIA “S� The M/V Dalia "S" was a diesel powered cargo ship of 180 tons of Syrian registry which was carrying a cargo of 320 tons of nitric acid (3 containers of 20 tons each and 100 containers of 2.6 tons each) from Tartous to Alexandria. On 16 May 2000 an S.O.S. was received by the Egyptian Coast Guard indicating that the ship was taking on water 7 miles off Alexandria due to some of the containers having leaked nitric acid and the hull of the ship had been corroded away. The M/V MariDive 85 was dispatched to the ship's location. Upon arrival the ship was reported to be listing approximately 35degrees to port. The crew of the ship were rescued and medical treatment was provided by the Maridive 85. The ship sank a few hours afterwards at position 31.27N/30.10E in approximately 15-18 meters of water, which had a large environmental impact on the local fishing industry over the following 6-months. The MariDive Offshore Projects company was contracted to remove the remaining containers of nitric acid under the supervision of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. Recovery of all remaining containers of nitric acid was conducted from 08 June 2000 and completed on 02 July 2000

18


www.deeplens.com

I.T.S.BASILICATA An Italian light cruiser of 2480 tons, built in 1914at the Castellamare Dockyard, the Basilicata was sunk after a boiler exploded in the entrance to the Suez Canal at Port Suez on August 13th 1919.Mnay of the 250 crew were badly injured. The vessel was quickly moved after 3 days ,as its position blocked the busy shipping lanes. She was refloated the following year.

S.S. MUREX The Murex was a 3,654 GRT bulk-oil tanker with quite an interesting history. She was built at W. Gray & Co., Ltd., West Hartlepool, London (Yard No. 442) for Marcus Samuel & Co. (Shell), London. The ship was launched 28 May 1892 and completed the following July with a length of 338 feet, beam of 43 feet, and a draught of 26 feet. Coal-fired boiler and a single shaft. The Murex was designed by Fortescue Flannery and was the first of 8 ships ordered by Marcus Samuels. The ships were innovative for their time. They had 10 cargo tanks arranged in a 2-by-5 pattern placed amidships with an installed steam cleaning system for cleaning the tanks for other cargoes, cofferdams at each end of the cargo tanks which isolated them from the engineering spaces and the fore peak tank, baffles in the tanks to control free surface effect of the oil, expansion tanks on top of each tank to control expansion of the oil due changes of temperature, coal bunkers were placed on each side of the boiler room where they were convenient, lighting was exclusively electrical (vice lanterns), and loading and discharging was entirely by pumps (vice gravity flow). Modern oil tankers are still designed in basically the same manner. These innovations resulted in the Murex, and her sister ships which followed later, receiving Lloyds of London's highest safety rating. The reason that she was built in such a fashion was because Marcus Samuel and his brother, the sons of Marcus Samuel who ran a successful import/export business in London, realised the potential of the oil trade during a trip to the Black Sea and had to have ships which met the safety requirements of the Suez Canal Authority in order to transit through the Suez Canal. Standard Oil pretty much had the monopoly on supplying oil to the world but they too, were unable to transit the canal because their ships did not meet these requirements. Marcus Samuels ordered 8 vessels and decided to name them after sea shells, after his first business where he sold painted shells. And thus, Shell Transport and Trading Company began, being incorporated in 1892. 19


www.deeplens.com At that time, oil tankers were not allowed to transit through the Suez Canal for fear of ships catching fire or grounding in the canal. With the design of the Murex, Lloyd's safety rating, and possibly a bit of coercion by the British government, the Suez Canal Authority granted Samuel's right to passage through the canal. Samuels had leveraged his relationships and the Rothschild family, who had funded Britain's purchase of the Suez Canal, and signed a 9-year supply contract for Samuel to sell kerosene to markets east of the Suez.

Upon completion of the Murex on 28 May 1892, under command of Captain John R. Coundon, set sail for Batum in the Black Sea where she onloaded a full cargo of Russian Kerosene. From there she made her way to south and on 24 August 1892 became the first oil tanker to transit the Suez Canal.

By being able to transit the Suez Canal, which Standard Oil could not do, Samuel effectively broke the monopoly that Standard Oil had enjoyed in the asian oil market. However, there was a near-fatal setback once Samuel's kerosene reached Asia. Samuel had underpriced his product in the hopes that local buyers would be knocking his door down to buy his kerosene. His prices were good but the Asian consumers were used to Standard Oil's blue tin containers, which were recycled and used for everything from bird cages and cooking pots, to patches for their tin roofs. Once Samuel grasped the problem, he sent a freighter of fresh tin to ports across Asia and instructed trading houses to use local labor to manufacture new containers. A nephew suggested that the new containers be painted red, which they were. As Stephen Howarth wrote in his book, "A Century of Oil": "Within months, Oriental roofs, bird-cages and bedpans alike were changing from rusty blue to shiny red". By World War I, Shell Transport and Trading Co. had combined with the Royal Dutch company of the Netherlands to become Royal Dutch Shell. During WWI the Shell Oil ships contributed greatly to Britain's war effort by providing oil to their war machine. In recognition of his contribution to the war effort, Marcus Samuel was made 1st Baron Bearsted of Maidstone in the County of Kent in the 1921 Birthday Honours. The Murex , unfortunately, did not survive the war. On 21 December 1916, while sailing on the Mudros-Port Said route in ballast, she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-73 (Gustav Siess) approximately 94 miles Northwest of Port Said at position 32.20N/31.00E in over 1000 meters of water. 1 casualty reported.

20


www.deeplens.com

21


www.deeplens.com

S.M.S..PERESVYET

The Peresvyet (also spelled "Peresviet, Peresvet") was the first of three 13,500 GRT pre-dreadnaught ships of the same class name, Peresvyet, after the Russian Monk Alexander Peresvyet who was the champion at the Battle of Kulikovo, Built for the Imperial Russian Navy at the Baltic Shipbuilding yard, St. Petersburg, Russia construction was inspired by the British HMS Centurion. She was designed for good range and seakeeping, higher speeds, but with weaker armour and armament than first class battleships. Her construction style also shows a French influence by the tumblehome of the ship's hull. Russian ship construction was typically slow at the time, which resulted in her being nearly outclassed by the time she entered service.

Her keel was laid 21 November 1895, launched 19 May 1898, and completed in July 1901. She was 133 meters in length, 21.8 meters in beam, and 8-meters in draught 22


www.deeplens.com with 32 Bellville type coal fired boilers (generating 15,000 Bhp), 2 vertical tripleexpansion engines, and 2 shafts which provided a maximum speed of 18-18.5 knots and a range of 3500 NM. Armament consisted of: 4x 10-inch guns (254mm in twin mount formation) 11x 6-inch 152mm guns (single-mount installations) 20x 75mm guns (single-mount installations) 5x 15-inch torpedo tubes (381mm) Armour was 9-inch Harveyised nickel steel belt which ran nearly the entire length of the ship. The Peresvyet was based at Port Arthur, Tasmania as part of the Russian Pacific Fleet. She participated in the Yellow Sea Battle on 10 August 1904 where she was seriously damaged by the Japanese while pierside. She was subsequently trapped in Port Arthur and reportedly was hit by 20 or more 11-inch Howitzer rounds. The ship was scuttled by the Russian Navy on 07 December 1904. The "Peresviet" scuttled at Port Arthur The Japanese Navy eventually raised and repaired the Peresvyet, renaming her the Sagami where she served in the Japanese Navy until Russia, in great need of warships for her White Sea ports against possible German raids in WWI, purchased her from the Japanese Navy in 1916 and returned to her original name, Peresvyet. Shortly after being purchased and renamed Peresvyet, she promptly ran aground off of Vladivostok on 26 May 1916, where she remained aground until being refloated the following July.

Later during that same year, she was reassigned to the Russian Arctic Fleet to become the fleet's flagship. However, while enroute from Vladivostock to her new station in the company of the Russian ships Ashold and Variag, she had just passed through the Suez Canal on 04 January 1917 when she struck a mine laid by German Type UC-II Mine Laying Boat UC-73 (Kurt Schapler) approximately 10 miles off of Port Said. The following is an excerpt from the son of the Variag's commanding officer: "From Ceylon, the ships proceeded through the Suez Canal, and warning had been given that the waters outside the Canal on the Mediterranean side had been heavily mined by enemy submarines, and strict orders were given to sail through lanes, which had supposedly been cleared of mines. Father disobeyed orders, feeling that at the exit of those lanes enemy submarines may be lurking, and he was right, the Variag, taking another course, and coming out safely, whereas the Persviet, on coming out of the lane, struck a mine, or was torpedoed, and sunk, the Ashold came out alright" . Over 700 sailors of the ship's sailors were rescued by British ships in the area, where they were taken to Port Said and treated at the 31st General Hospital. The number of lives lost varies between 47 and 60.

23


www.deeplens.com

24


www.deeplens.com

S.S YOCHOW The Yochow was a Steam Cargo vessel of 2127 Grt. built at Scott & Co., Greenock, London for the China Navigation Co., Ltd., London (Swire Line). She was 88.4 meters in length, 12.3 meters in beam, and 6.8 meters in draught, with triple-expansion engines and a maximum speed of 8.5 knots. The ship was launched 15 October 1901 and completed the following month. Requisitioned for war service (date unknown) she was provided with defensive armament. She was sunk by a German U boat 254 miles N3/4E of Port Said on March 20th 1918.Her captain and 49 crew were lost.

S.S CALEDONIAN The Caledonien was a French steel-hulled passenger ship of 4233 GRT built at Cie. des Messageries Maritimes, La Ciotat (Yard No. 54) for Ce. des Messageries Maritimes, Marseille. Unable to locate dimensions of this ship. However, throughout the life of the ship numerous upgrades were made to the propulsion machinery and accommodations. The Caledonien was the third in a a series of seven vessels rigged as a three-masted barkentine built for use by the Austrailian company Couriers Maritime Company under the Convention of 1881. The hull plans were used for other ships built later (the Saghalien built for a Chinese line in 1890, for example). The Caledonien propulsion machinery was upgraded in 1895 to a triple-expansion steam turbine providing 4,000 HP and a speed of 16 knots. Other upgrades and improvements included extending the aft main deck outdoor overhead, enhancements to fireplaces, tables, yards, repainting the hull white with two narrow dark yellow stripes. she operated between Marseilles, the Seychelles, Reunion, Maritius, Austrailia, and New Caledonia between 1882 and 1895. She was also used for a short period in 1900 on the Levant and the Indian Ocean in 1901. One equipment casualty was recorded in 1901 as being a loss of the propeller shaft in which she was towed to Marseilles by the S.S. Himalaya of the P & O Line and repaired. From then, until requisitioned for war service by the Ministry of War Transport (MOWT) on 30 June 1917, she made various passages to the Far East, Austrailia, Egypt, and the Indian Ocean as required. After being requisitioned for war service as either a troopship or for postal service (sometimes they were the same thing), the Caledonien was enroute to Madagascar on 25


www.deeplens.com the Marseille-Madagascar route, under escort of the General Fallieni and Theyelli, when on 30 June, 1917 she struck two mines laid by the German submarine UC-34 (Robert Sprenger) on 28 May 1917 approximately 30-34 miles from Port Said at location 31.45N/32.23E . The ship sank in about 4-minutes while at the rear of the convoy. The mine explosion damaged many of the lifeboats, making rescue of the ships crew and passengers difficult. 51 lives were reported lost.

S.S.YASAKA MARU The Yasaka Maru was a Steam Passenger Ship of 10,932 Grt. built at the Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd., Kobe, Japan (Yard No. 369) for the Nippon Yusen K.K., Co., Tokyo. Her keel was laid 17 June 1913, launched 14 March 1914 and completed 15 October 1914. She was 157.5 meters in length, 18.8 meters in beam, with TripleExpansion engines providing 616 nhp each, and 2 propellers which gave her a cruising speed of 13 knots and maximum speed of 16.46 knots. For the era in which she was built, this made her one of the largest steamships of the day, with accommodations for over 500 passengers in three classes and a crew of 160 personnel. The ship entered into the Japan-Europe service in December 1914. On 21 December 1915, while enroute from Port Said to London, the Yasaka Maru was attacked, torpedoed, and sunk without warning (an uncommon practice at the time) by German submarine U38 (Max Valentiner) approximately 60 miles Northwest-by-West from Port Said at position 31.53N/31.10E in 62-66 meters of water. This position is also approximately 15 miles offshore from the "EL Burullus" lighthouse.(Admiralty Navigation Chart No. 2574) One reference indicates that the ship was carrying a cargo of gold sovereigns valued at $200,000 at the time, and that the ship was partially salvaged shortly after its sinking. However, I have been unable to verify this to date.

On 20 March 1918, the ship was sailing from Port Said in ballast (empty) when she was attacked, torpedoed, and sunk without warning by German submarine U-33 (Hellmuth von Doemming) approximately 54 miles North-3/4-East of Port Said. The Master and 49 of the crew were lost.

26


www.deeplens.com

27


www.deeplens.com

U559 (GERMAN U BOAT) The German submarine (or Unterseeboot U-559 was a Type VIIC submarine (Feldpost No. M 38 782), one of 568-577 built, which played a small, but significant role in the Allied fight against the Axis powers during WWII. Built at Blohm & Voss shipyard, Steinwerder, Hamburg, Germany (Yard No. 535) for the German Kriegsmarine, she was ordered 16 October 1939, laid down on 01 February 1940, launched 08 January 1941, and commissioned 27 February 1941, commanded by Hans Heidtmann, the Uboat's only commander. Unterseeboot Type VIIC technical data: Displacement: (tons) 769 (surfaced), 871 (submerged), 1070 (total) Length: (m) 67.10 overall, 50.50 (pressure hull) Beam: (m) 6.20 overall, 4.70 (pressure hull) Draught: (draft) 4.74 meters Height: 9.60 meters Power: (hp) 3200 (surfaced), 750 (submerged) Speed: (knots) 17.7 (surfaced), 7.6 (submerged) Range: (miles / knots) 8500/10 (surfaced), 80/4 (submerged) Torpedoes: 14, 4/1 (bow / stern tubes) Mines: 26 TMA Deck gun: 88/45 (220 rounds) Crew: 44-52 men Max depth: ca. 220 meters (722 feet) Hans Heidtmann The U559 was originally supposed to serve in the Altantic, serving with the 1st Flotilla out of St. Nazaire patrolling the Wester Approaches (Patrols: 04 June-05 July 1941, 26 July-22 August 1941, and 20 September-20 October 1941). During these patrols the U-559 only sank one ship, the British freighter S.S. Alva (3,255 tons) in Convoy OG71 on 19 August 1941.

During the first part of her third patrol, she was reassigned to the Goeben Group, which were the first U-boats to enter and operate in the Mediterranean Sea during WWII. The U-559, based out of Salamis, Greece, participated in three patrols in the Mediterranean with the 23rd Flotilla (24 November12 December 1941, 16-26 February 1942, and 04-21 March 1942) sinking three ships (The 1,060 ton Austrailian Frigate HMAS Parramatta on 27 Nov. 1941, British 3,059 ton freighter S.S. Shuntien on 23 Dec. 1941, and the Polish 2,487 ton freighter S.S. Warszawa on 26 Dec. 1941).

Assigned to the 29th Flotilla on 15 April 1942, she had two additional successes with 28


www.deeplens.com an attack on Convoy AT-49 which resulted in the sinking of the Norweigian 4,681 ton freighter M/V Athene, and the damaging the British freighter S.S. Brambleleaf, both on 10 June 1942. On 30 October 1942, the U-559 was reported to have been seen surfaced approximately 70 miles north of Port Said. The HM Destroyers Pakenham, Petard, Dulverton, Hero, and Hurworth were ordered to proceed from Alexandria to relieve the HMS Echo who had been searching for the submarine. With assistance fram a Wellesley aircraft of the 47th Squadron, the U-559 was finally located and the ships commenced a barrage of depth charges which lasted 10 hours, eventually damaging the submarine's pressure hull which forced it to surface at around 2240 near the Petard. The Petard, shining a spotlight on the submarine and seeing the submarine's number and its donkey emblem on the conning tower, fired at the conning tower, damaging it with a 4-inch round. The crew of the submarine opened seavalves and petcocks in order to scuttle the submarine before abandoning it. Captain Hans Heidtmann surrendered the sinking vessel and the crew of the U-559 were taken aboard the Petard and hastily taken below-decks so that they would not be able to see what was going to happen next. The Petard's First Officer, Lt. Anthony Blair Fasson, dove into the water, followed by Able Seaman Colin Grazier and Canteen Assistant Thomas (Tommy) Brown, and swam to the U-559 and boarded her. Fasson and Grazier went below in search of any important documents or materials. Located in the Captain's cabin were what were later determined to be the Kurzsignalheft (short signals) and Wetterkurzschlssel (short weather key) code books used for deciphering ENIGMA messages, among other important documents. All of these were passed up through the conning tower to Tommy Brown who loaded them onto a small boat moored alongside the submarine. Tommy Brown is said to have made three trips down the conning tower to retrieve more documents. Meanwhile, inside the U-559, the incoming seawater had risen to kneedeep while Fasson and Grazier continued looking for documents. The submarine suddently heeled over and sank at position 32.30N/33.00E in approximately 73 meters of water taking these two men to the bottom with it. Tommy Brown was able to escape and return to the Petard. The Petard then proceeded to Haifa where the code books were then sent to Bletchley Park in England where the British used the information to break the ENIGMA code, which eventually helped turn the tide of the war in the Allies favour, saving thousands of tons of supplies and ships, as well as thousands of lives. For their sacrifice, Lt. Fasson and AB Colin Grazier were award the George Cross posthumously. Thomas Brown was promoted to Senior Canteen Assistant and awarded the George Medal. The Victoria Cross had been considered but it was decided not to award it because this event was not in the "face of enemy action" and possibly because it may have brought too much publicity to the event, which the British government certainly wanted to be kept secret. Lt. Anthony Blair Fasson Able Seaman Colin Grazier The story of the U-559 does not end here however. Lt. Commander Peter Keeble, who was attached to a salvage unit based in Alexandria, was recruited to dive on a submarine located somewhere off the coast of Beirut in ordered to recover from the sunken submarine U-307 an infra-red device of some kind that was able to illuminate enemy targets. In his book, "Ordeal by Water", he describes the preparation for the salvage evolution. A mock-up of the submarine's control room was built and Keeble practiced 29


www.deeplens.com entry and exit while blindfolded. Keeble was able to enter the submarine's conning tower and made his way to the control room, while on the way encountering a human body which he assumed to be a German crew member. Using his dive knife he had to cut his way through the body in order to continue into the control room. Once in the control room he located the "device" and removed it, forgetting to defuse a self-destruct device that he had been told of in advance. While removing the "device", he was repeatedly tapped on his dive helmet by the hand of another dead body wearing a wedding ring. Keeble successfully exited the submarine and returned to the surface after completing his decompression stop at 27 meters. The "device" was then secreted off to the British government. Here is the mystery concerning this dive and the submarine's identity: The U-307 never operated in the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, the U-307 wasn't even commissioned until after the U-559 had sunk! (Commissioned 18 November 1942). Additionally, the two dead bodies encountered were at, or near, the locations which Fasson and Grazier would have been at during the sinking of the submarine. So, did LT CDR Keeble actually dive on the U-559? Many people believe so.... Captain Hans Heidtmann spent the next 4 and a half years in captivity in Egypt, Canada, and England until his release in May 1947. In January 1958 he joined the Bundesmarine where he served in several staff positions until he retired in September 1972 as "Kapitan zur see". He passed away 05 April 1976 in Hamburg, Germany. Thomas Brown was immediately returned to England after it was discovered that he had lied about his age in order to serve his country. He was only 16 years old! Ironically, he died in 1945 at the age of 18 when his family's home in Lily Gardens, N. Shields caught fired and burned. Some resources state that he died while trying to rescue his 4 and a half year old sister, Maureen, who also died in the fire.

.S.S.WELBECK

HALL

A 5,643 Grt. Steam Cargo Ship built at the William Doxford & Sons shipyard (Yard No. 463), Pallion, for the Welbeck Hall Steamship Co., Ltd., (Edward Nicholl, owner) London. She was launched 10 February 1914 and completed the following month with a length of 118.9 meters, beam of 15.9 meters, triple-expansion engine and a single propeller which gave her a maximum speed of 11 knots. In 1917, the Hall Line was purchased by Hansen Brothers Ltd., Cardiff (Sven Wohlford Hansen, father Carl Hansen, and a brother). At some point during WWI, the ship was either leased or requisitioned for war use and provided defensive armament On 22 April, while steaming on the Piraeus-Port Said route, the Wellbeck Hall was attacked, torpedoed, and sunk by the German submarine UB-53 (Robert Sprenger) approximately 75 miles Northeast-by-North from Port Said. 4 lives reported lost

30


www.deeplens.com

S.S.MURCIA The Murcia was a steam cargo ship of 4,871 GRT built at Short Brothers Ltd., Yard No. 389, Sunderland, for English & American Sg Co., Ltd., (C.T. Bowring & Company / Red Cross Line), London. The ship was 117.3 meters in length and 16.3 meters in beam, with a single shaft. She was launched 11 March 1915 and completed on July of that same year. On 02 November 1918 while carrying a cargo of rice and gunnies on the BasseinMarseille route, the Murcia was sank by the German submarine UC-74 (Hans Schuler) approximately 12 miles north of Port Said.

S.S.BARBARY The Barbary was a steam cargo ship of 4185 GRT built at Richardson, Duck & Co., Stockton (Yard No. 522) for D. McIver, Sons & Co., Ltd., Liverpool. She was launched on 05 April 1901, completed the following month, with a length of 112.8 meters, 14.7 meters in beam, and a single propeller. At some point during WWI the ship was requisitioned for use by the Royal Navy and was defensively armed (armament unknown). On 11 December 1917, the Barbary was torpedoed by the German submarine UC-34 (Horst Obermuller) and sank 56-miles Northwest-by-North of Port Said. 3 lives reported lost, including the Master

31


www.deeplens.com

ABOUKIR BAY.

THE NAPOLEONIC ERA- THE BATTLE OF THE NILE ERA- THE BATTLE OF THE No book covering Egyptian shipwrecks would be complete without mentioning one of the most famous battles in Maritime History, no matter how briefly. It merits a book in its own right and it is not the remit of this work to cover such a major event. We shall look merely at the outcome and indeed the evidence left behind in Nelsons daring attack on Napoleons far superior fleet sent three vessels to a watery grave; . From the very early days of underwater exploration, Divers have searched in vain for a treasure trove of relics from the Battle of the Nile. It wasn’t until 1983 when Jacques Dumas, with the help of the French Navy, began to explore and survey the area of Aboukir Bay. Dumas , along with Archaeologist Franck Goddio found the remains of the 124 gun ORIENT and the 40 gun frigate AREMISE. An incredible amount of artefacts were recovered from the site giving an insight into the life on board a French Warship. In 1996 Goddio conducted a thorough survey of the area and discovered a third wreck the SERIEUSE. In 1998 a complete project was underway and a vast assortment of artefacts were recovered ranging from cannon, coins , pottery, swords, muskets and cannonballs. Even a printing press from the Orient has been recovered. Work goes on to this day on this amazing wreck sight.

L'ARTEMISE The L'Artemise was a 32-gun, 600 ton Magicienne class frigate of the French Navy. She was laid down at Toulon in December of 1791 as the Aurore when the British had captured Toulon. She was finished when the city was retaken on 24 July 1794 and subsequently renamed L'Artemise. Placed in service in November 1794.

later

relieved

of

his

The ship was 44.2 meters in length, 11.2 meters in beam, and 5.2 meters in draught. Armament consisted of 26 x 12 pounder long guns and 6 x 6pounder long guns. Painting of L'Artemise by Julian Stockwin The L'Artemise took part in a naval action on 23 June 1795 with the 40-gun Minerve against the HMS Dido and the HMS Lowestoffe. The Minerve was captured during this action while the L'Artemise was able to escape. Her captain was command for leaving the Minerve.

In 1798, the L'Artemise was part of Napoleon's Expedition of Egypt and participated in 32


www.deeplens.com the Battle of the Nile. During the battle she was engaged by the HMS Orion and HMS Theseus. (see L'Orient for an account of the Battle of the Nile.) Below is an excerpt from "American Independance and the French Revolution" (S. E. Winbolt, M.A., and Kenneth Bell, M.A.):

LE PATRIOTE The Le Patriote was one of the 400 ships which Napolean Bonaparte used to transport over 50,000 men from France to invade Egypt in 1798. In addition to military troops, Napoleon brought with him 151 savants (artists, scientists, engineers, scholars, etc.) to document the culture of Egypt. The Le Patriote has been described as one of the research vessels, probably a commandeered merchant ship, which brought these savants and many of their research supplies and equipment from France, having departed Toulon on 19 May, to Egypt, arriving on the shores of Alexandria on the first of July. The arrival of the savants was not an easy one. Approaching the coast of Egypt, Le Patriote struck a reef, known today as "EL-Fara Reef", located to the west of the harbour entrance and was fast aground. The savants and ship's crew were able to abandon the ship and safely reach the shoreline located a few hundred meters away. However, the ship eventually sank where it had struck the reef, taking with it many of the scientific tools and research materials which the savants required. History shows us that while Napoleon's military invasion of Egypt was a failure, in part due to the loss of his capital warships during the Battle of the Nile and becoming stranded in Egypt, the scientific expedition was a greater success than anyone had envisioned. The scientific expedition resulted in the discovery of the Rosetta Stone which was the key to deciphering hieroglyphics, the publication of the "Description de l’Égypte" published from 1810-29, the founding of the Institut d'Éypte (which eventually became the modern day Cairo Museum), and "Scientific and Military History of the French Expedition to Egypt" in 1830-36, among other works. The Le Patriote however, was forgotten where she sank. The man most affected by the loss of the scientific equipment and materials onboard the ship was Nicolas-Jacques Conté, a chemist and inventor, who remained in Alexandria for some months afterwards manufacturing replacement equipment for the expedition. He was also the commander of Napoleon's "Aerostatic Corps" in charge of the expeditions survey balloons and equipment. He was known as a ingenious inventor of which Gaspard Monge, a fellow scientist and a mathematician said: "He had all of the sciences in his head and all of the arts in his hand". While in Alexandria Conté invented and built an engraving machine which greatly improved the quality of the engraving process and saved numerous man-hours, manufactured surgical equipment, tools and utensils, minting equipment and windmills. (Trivia Note: Conté is also known and the inventor of the pencil in 1795, which still bears his name today!) Meanwhile, the Le Patriote remained forgotten and was lost to history until, in 1983 and 84, Jacques Dumas and the Egyptian Underwater Archaeology Department (DUA) were conducting surveys of Napoleon's fleet in Aboukir Bay located to the east of Alexandria. In addition to identifying the wreck of L'Orient, the wrecks of 3 other ships of the fleet were discovered. In 1986, The Société Français de Recherché Archéologique Sous-marines (SOFRAS), assisted by the French Navy, conducted 33


www.deeplens.com excavations of these ships. Information learned from the research and excavation of these ships aided in determining Le Patriote's final resting place in 4-meters of water on the western end of EL-Fara Reef which is located to the west of the modern day beach resort area of Agami. The wreck of the Le Patriote was excavated in the same year, with many artifacts being recovered. The artifacts were delivered to the DUA's labratory located in the Stanley district of Alexandria for conservation, restoration, and study. This, at the time, was the largest conservation and restoration project which the DUA had conducted to date. Seriusse: The Serieuse was a 32-gun, 600 ton Magicienne class frigate of the French Navy. She was ordered on 28 August 1778, but was not completed before the British had captured Toulon. Before the British abandoned Toulon on 18 December 1793, they set fire to the ship. However, the French were able to extinguish the fire and save the ship and subsequently complete her. The ship was 44.2 meters in length, 11.2 meters in beam, and 5.2 meters in draught. Armement was 26 x 12 pounder long guns and 6 x 6-pounder long guns. Painting of a Magicienne Class Frigate In 1781, the Serieuse ferried soldiers after the Invasion of Minorca. Captured

by

the

HMS

Speedy

09

June

1794

In 1798, the Serieuse was part of Napoleon's Expedition of Egypt and participated in the Battle of the Nile on 01 August 1798. During the battle she was attempting to reinforce the crew of the Tonnant with 150 men of her own crew. Engaged and sunk by the HMS Orion. The following morning, 02 August 1798, her poop deck was still above water and her crew was rescued and made prisoner by the British. (see L'Orient for an account of the Battle of the Nile.) The Serieuse now lies in approximately 5-7 meters of water just north of the ancient sunken city of Heraclion (31.18.775N/30.07.670E). Not much remains of the ship except a few charred timbers laying on the seabed. Archaeological excavation of the site has been conducted by the team of Frank Goddio and the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities Department of Underwater Archaeology. This wreck is currently off-limits to recreational diving References:

34


www.deeplens.com

S.S.GEELONG The Geelong (ID No.1118426) was originally built as a passenger ship of 7,954 GRT by Barclay Curle Whiteinch, Glasgow, for Blue Anchor Line Ltd., (Wilhelm Lund) London. Launched as Australia in 1904 and completed as Geelong in order to avoid confusion with the ship of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P & O Line) of the same name As built, she was 450.2 feet in length, 54.5 feet in beam, 26.9 feet in draught, and could carry 90 1st Class and 450 3rd Class passengers. 803 n.h.p and triple expansion engines. Sold to the P & O (Branch Line) for 88,426 GBP in 02 May 1910. In October 1910: first P & O sailing after modification to 3rd Class passengers only with space for 700 passengers. Utilized as a troop transport (HMAT A2) during WWI carrying troops of the Australian Expeditionary Forces from August 1914 to February 1915. While on convoy on 01 January 1916 she was lost by collision with the British vessel Bonvilston approximately 100 miles north of Alexandria at position 32.46N/30.05E in over 1500 meters of water while in transit from Sydney to London via Port Said with general cargo including tea and lead

S.S.HYPERIA The Hyperia was a steamship of 3,921 GRT which began life as the Pinners Point. Built at J.L. Thompson & Sons, Ltd., North Sands, Sunderland (Yard No. 323) for Norfolk & North American Stm Sg Co., Ltd., (Simpson Spence). The ship was launched 07 August 1895 and completed the following month with a triple-expansion turbine, single propeller, and a maximum speed of 12 knots. She was 109.1 meters in length and 13.8 meters in beam. In 1903 the ship was purchased by British and South American Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., (R.P. Houston & Company...Houston Line) and renamed Hyperia. At some point the ship was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) for war service during WW1 and was defensively armed. On 28 July 1918, while on Marseille-Port Said route with a cargo of military stores, the Hyperia was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-51 (Ernst Krafft) approximately 84 miles Northwest-by-North of Port Said at position 32.21N/31.25E. Sources state that either 7 lives were lost (including the Master), or 75 lives were lost.

35


www.deeplens.com

S.S SAMOSET The Samoset was a 5,521 GRT Tanker originally built as the Cadillac at Napier & Miller, Ltd., Glasgow (Yard No. 163 at Old Kilpatrick) for AngloAmerican Oil Co., Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland. She was launched 07 November 1908 and completed in January of 1909. The ship was 117.4 meters in length, 15.8 meters in beam, with triple-expansion engine and single propeller. About Anglo-American Oil Co., Ltd., it was the first foreign affiliate of John D Rockefeller's US company the Standard Oil Trust. In 1934 this came to be called "SO" or as it is more commonly known as: "ESSO". Eventually becoming EXXON in 1972. The Cadillac was sold to the Tank Storage & Carriage Co., Glasgow in 1912, renamed Samoset in 1914, and then sold again to Standard Transportation Co., Hong Kong in 1916. On 20 March 1918, while on the Port Said-Brindisi route with a cargo of fuel oil, the Samoset was attacked by German submarine U-33 (Hellmuth von Doemming) without warning and sunk approximately 50 miles North-by-Northeast-by-3/4 East from Port Said with the loss of 3 personnel.

S.S. SAN ANDRES The San Andres 3,314 Cargo Ship built at Workman Clarke & Co. Ltd., Belfast, N.I. for Clark & Service (United Fruit), Glasgow. She was launched 29 January 1918 with a length of 96.1 meters, beam of 13.5 meters, triple-expansion engine and single screw providing a speed of 15 knots. She was also one of the first of a new type of vessel....The Refrigerated Cargo Ship! Requisitioned for war use by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), she was provided with defensive armament. On 02 September 1918, while on the Salonica - Port Said route in ballast, the San Andres was attacked, torpedoed, and sunk by German submarine U-65 (Gustav Siess) approximately 40 miles North-by-West of Port Said. No casualties reported

36


www.deeplens.com

S.S SZECHUEN The Szechuen was a 1,885 Grt. steam Passenger/Cargo Ship built at Scott & Co., Greenock for the China Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., London. She was launched 30 May 1895 and completed the following June with a length of 79.5 meters, beam of 11.6 meters, triple-expansion engine and a single shaft. The Szechuen was taken over by the Shipping Controller, London, in 1916 for service during WWI and was defensively armed.On 10 May 1918, while enroute to Port Said, under the command of Capt. Tucker, on the Famagusta-Port Said route with general cargo and firewood, the Szechuen was attacked, torpedoed, and sunk by German submarine UB-51 (Ernst Krafft) approximately 60 miles North-by-East-1/2 East from Port Said at position 32.00N/32.46E. 9 casualties reported.

S.STALODI &S.S.TAIF... The S.S. Talodi and S.S. Taif were 1,585 and 1,590 GRT passenger/cargo ships built at Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland (Yard No.'s 521 and 520 respectively) for the Khedivial Mail Steamship & Graving Dock Company, Ltd., London. These two ships were ordered and built to replace the two larger Khedivial Mail S.S. Co. 5,800 GRT ships Famaka and Fezara upon their sale to the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company as a result of decreased passenger and mail traffic. The Khedivial Mail S.S. Co. was managed by Lord E. Hamilton at this time. The Taif was launched 17 May 1928 and completed the following June, and the Talodi was completed the following month. The ships were steel hulled with 3 decks, the main deck being constructed of teak, and sheltered single-deck superstructure running from the 80-foot foc'sle to the 26-foot fantail. The ships were 236-feet 6-inches in length, 39-feet 4-inches in beam, and 16-feet in draught. Propulsion was provided by two 175-PSI oilfired boilers and a triple-expansion steam engine built by Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland, which had a strock of 30-inches. The cylinders for the engine were 17.5", 29", and 47" each which provided 181 NHP to a single shaft and screw for a top speed of 11 knots. The ships are also listed as having electric lights and a wireless direction finder (Pretty hi-tech stuff for 1928!). The ships had accommodations for 26 First Class passengers, 10 Second Class passengers, and could carry 490 Deck Class passengers. At the time of completion the Talodi was registered in Alexandria, while the Taif was registered at Suez. The Taif would later be re-registered in Alexandria as well when the

37


www.deeplens.com Khedivial Mail S.S & Graving Dock Co. was reorganized and reformed as the Pharaonic Mail Line in 1936. The ships were homeported out of Suez and carried mail and passengers between the ports of Suez, Jeddah, Yambo, Tor, Port Sudan, Massawa, Djibouti, and Aden. Many of the ship's voyages included carrying pilgrims from Egypt to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj to Mecca. One interesting aspect of these trips to Mecca was that before departing on the pilgrimage, everybody onboard the ships was inspected and vaccinated for smallpox and cholera, a serious health concern at the time, by the Suez Quarantine authorities. Upon returning from Mecca, the ships were again inspected and placed in quarantine if passengers were found to be infected. Once the ships were determined to be disease-free, "Certificates of Measurements" were issued to the ships, after which they could continue service. This practice continued well into the 1950's. In 1941, the Pharaonic Mail Line changed it's name to the Khedivial Mail Line and the ships continued service on the same routes without major incident until, on 13 April 1958, the Talodi collided with the HMS Bulwark while carrying approximately 120 pilgrims to Mecca. The HMS Bulwark has been struck a glancing blow on the forward starboard quarter and received only superficial damage. However, the Talodi's bows had been crumpled in, shortening the ship's length by possibly as much as 15-feet, the foremast had fallen, and the ship's anchors were lost. However, she remained seaworthy and was able to make it to port for repairs. In 1961, the Khedivial Mail Line was nationalized under then president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, becoming part of the United Arab Maritime Co. where both ships continued service in the Red Sea. During the War of Attrition, the city of Suez and Port Abadiyeh, were virtual ghost towns due to regular and frequent bombings by the Israeli Air Force. Both the Talodi and Taif were bombed and sunk at Port Suez during this conflict. Possibly during the Israeli Operation Boxer in which approximately 500 air sorties were conducted between 12 and 28 July 1969 in which targets along the Suez Canal were repeatedly bombed. No additional information concerning the sinking of these ships has been located to date. However, it is highly probable that the ships were either salvaged or broken up and removed during the clearing of the Suez Canal in 1974 and 1975. S.S.THISTLEBAN: The Thistleban was a cargo ship of 4,117 Grt built at Craig, Taylor & Co., Ltd. (Yard No. 141), Stockton for the Albyn Line, Ltd. (Allen, Black & Co.), Sunderland. the ship was launched 25 June 1910 and completed the following month. She was 112.8 meters in length, 15.7 meters in beam, with a single screw and a cruising speed of 11 knots. Requisitioned for by the British Admiralty for war service and defensively armed.

On 23 December 1916, while on the Karachi-Hull route carrying a cargo of rape seed, linseed, and peas, the Thistleban struck a mine, or mines, 5 miles North-Northwest of Alexandria which had been laid by the U-73 (Gustav Seiss) the previous day. The ship was beached on 24 December and declared a total loss.

38


www.deeplens.com

M.V. DELPHINULA The Delphinula was a tanker of 8,120 grt, 465 feet in length, and 59.2 feet in beam built in 1929 by Lithgows (Yard No. 919), Port Glasgow, Scotland and owned by the AngloSaxon Petroleum Company. Propulsion was a single diesel with a cruising speed of 12knots. On 18 May, 1943 the ship ran aground 3.7 cables bearing 231-degrees (true) from the Great Pass Beacon in 9-13 meters of water off of Alexandria, Egypt while in transit to Port Said. While grounded during several days of stormy weather, a fire broke out onboard due to fuel vapours igniting either from the ship itself, or from one of the tugboats that were assisting in salvage. Two tugs that were assiting in salvage of the vessel were reported on fire as well. The ship was abandoned and the resulting explosion resulted in the vessel being holed, twisted, and distorted. The fire was extinguished on 20 June 1943. On 21 July, 1943 the vessel broke in two and was considered a total constructive loss . Below is an account by Jack Burgess who was onboard the ship at the time of the fire: "We went across the South Atlantic to Durban in South Africa, up the Mozambique Channel to Suez through the Canal to Alexandria. We arrived there on May 18th 1943. From there Haifa then back to Alexandria again. Then to Port Said. I was keeping watch on the main engine for four hours in every eight-hour watch. It was diesel. My ship was called the Delphinula; it was one of the main ships of the Anglo-Saxon company. All ships were named after rare shells. Delphinula was a beautiful ship much better than a passenger liner; we had shells on the bed covers. We ran aground near Alexandria; the pilot came abroad and said we were on the beach. We were there for several days. It was very stormy; we used a salvage tug to pull it out. They pressurised the tanks to get us off the bottom. One morning at 6am the third mate said 'get on the fore deck the afternoon pump room had gone up'. One of the tugs had open fires and the vapour around the ship had caught fire. We lived mid deck and I could hear people screaming and dieing it was awful. I got out and looked out the whole lot was alight - it was pretty high. I got out on the fore deck eventually. I ran up there and jumped off my hair was alight and my ears were burning as the vapour had blown across that way. I was a fairly good swimmer and started going for 39


www.deeplens.com it. All our crew were Chinese and the Salvage Captain pointed out a man who was drowning, so I went back and got him. Our ship was completely destroyed. By now the tank lids - inch thick with wing nuts and swing bolts holding them tight were blowing off, falling into the sea like playing cards. I towed the man to a minesweeper from Rasez tin naval base. We ended up in Windsor Hotel on the sea front in Alexandria. When top brass from Anglo-Saxon came out we had to move to the hotel Leroy in Ruestanboul. We went back to Alexandria after being fitted with a barrage balloon. We joined a fleet of ships in Alexandria preparing for the invasion of Sicily. I joined the motor vessel Crista. Crista was a happy ship; I enjoyed a fair bit of gin and iced water."

HMS Cormorant was a 6th rate Frigate of 20-guns built at Havre de Grace in 1793 as the French ship L'Etna with a length of 119.5 feet and 33 feet in beam. On 13 November 1796 she was captured by the British ships Melampus and Childers and renamed Cormorant in 1797. On 20 May 1800 under the command of Captain Courtney Boyle she was wrecked on the coast of Egypt when she ran aground on a shoal 3.5 miles from the Bogaz of Rosetta at 31.25N/30.20E. The crew was rescued but were made prisoners by the French.

M.V.ORKANGER The M/T Orkanger was a tanker of 8029 Grt. delivered in September 1928 from the Ateleliers et Chantiers de la Seine Maritime Works & Cie., (Yard No. 51) Le Trait, France. The ship was 139.6 meters in length, 18.2 meters in beam, diesel powered, single screw with a cruising speed of 11 knots. The ship was laid up in San Pedro from 13 September 1930 until 07 February 1931, and then again from 02 October 1931 until 05 February 1932 due to the Depression. Laid up yet again in Stavanger, Norway for 2 and a half months. Just prior to WWII, the ship was chartered to the Norwegian State for a while and used as a depot for five months in Oslo, Norway.

Orkanger arrived Port Said from Abadan on May 26-1940, with a cargo of fuel oil for the Admiralty. She waited for orders until June 7, when she was ordered to continue to Malta, and left Port Said alone late that afternoon with 1 British officer, 2 naval ratings and 9 soldiers on board as passengers. On June10th they heard about Italy's entry to the war over the radio, whereupon an envelope with secret orders was opened, and in accordance with instructions therein she turned around to head back. 40


www.deeplens.com However, the next day she was ordered by a British cruiser to continue to Alexandria. Torpedoed, port side between tanks No. 6 and 7 at 22:55 on June 12 by the Italian submarine Naiade (Baroni), position 31 42N / 28 50E. The ship's side and the deck outside the summer tank hatches was torn open so that the plates were projecting about 15' up in the air, and oil from the tanks were flung all over the amidship causing complete darkness on the bridge for a while. The port, midships lifeboat was thrown on deck and smashed. Engine was stopped and the starboard midships boat as well as the 2 aft lifeboats were launched, 2 of which rowed away from the ship, while the starboard aft boat was ordered to wait for the captain, the 3 mates, the 1st engineer and the British officer who remained on board. An SOS was sent out, and after the damages had been investigated it looked like she could be saved, but at 23:05 another torpedo struck, this time aft in the engine room, destroying the lifeboat which was waiting alongside and killing 4 of the men in it. The remaining men, 5 of whom were injured were subsequently picked up by the other lifeboats. Orkanger slowly sank by the stern at about 23:30.

41


www.deeplens.com

H.M.T(R.M.S) ARAGON

42


www.deeplens.com

Built in 1905 at Harland & Wolf for the Royal Mail Steam Packet shipping Co, the 9588 ton, 513 ft steamship was fitted with TWIN quadruple expansion steam engines. Her compliment was : 306 First Class, 66 Second Class, 632 Third Class.. Launched on the 23rd February 1905 by Countess Fitzwilliam, Aragon was the Company’s first twin-screw liner. She made her maiden voyage on the 14th of July, Southampton – Brazilian Ports. She was taken over by the British Government during WW1, and employed as a troopship (auxillary transport) Towards the end of 1912 the Admiralty decided to match the German policy by arming some British passenger liners, starting with RMS Aragon. On 25 April 1913 Aragon left Southampton as Britain's first Defensively Armed Merchant Ship (DAMS), carrying two QF 4.7-inch (120 mm) naval guns on her stern. Governments, newspapers and the public in South American countries that Aragon visited took little notice and expressed no concern. There was criticism from some serving and retired naval figures in Britain but the policy continued. Aragon's sister ship RMS Amazon was made the next DAMS, and in the following months further RMSP "A-liners" were armed. They included the newly built RMS Alcantara, which in the First World War served as an armed merchant cruiser. During the First World War the ship was requisitioned as a troop ship and became HMT Aragon. She took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, in which one source states that she began by taking the 5th Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment and Royal Army Medical Corps units to the campaign in March 1915. As the landings were not until 25 April, this may refer to troops moving from the UK to the Eastern Mediterranean in 43


www.deeplens.com preparation for the landings. Her duties included evacuating nearly 1,500 wounded personnel to Alexandria and Malta. On 8 April Aragon was in Alexandria where she embarked the 4th Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, the Hampshire Regiment. Both battalions were units of the 88th Brigade, which as part of the 29th Division had been ordered to take part in the Gallipoli Landings. On 11 April she left Alexandria for the Aegean island of Lemnos, where French and British ships were assembling in the large natural harbour of Moudros in final preparation for the landings. On 13 April 1915 Aragon's troops transferred to the cargo steamer SS River Clyde in preparation for the landing at Cape Helles 10 days later. Later in the Gallipoli Campaign a British Forces Post Office, Base Army Post Office Y, transferred from Arcadian, another troop ship, to Aragon. BAPO Y later redeployed from Aragon to a land base at Moudros. The invasion was a costly failure and in January 1916 French and British forces withdrew from the Gallipoli peninsula. On 13 February Aragon left Moudros for Malta, taking troops on leave including four officers and 270 men of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division (RND). On 14 May Aragon was again at Moudros to withdraw troops; this time including the 1st Battalion the Royal Marines and elements of the 2nd (Royal Naval) Brigade. She reached Marseille in southern France at 0630 hrs on 19 May. 1916 Aragon served in the Indian Ocean. In December 1916 she sailed from Kilindini Harbour in the British East Africa Protectorate, reaching Durban on Christmas Day. 1917 Aragon spent two weeks at anchor off Marseille before receiving orders in December to sail for Egypt. She took about 2,200 troops to reinforce the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Empire, plus about 150 military officers, 160 VADs and about 2,500 bags of Christmas mail. She and another transport, the Nile, then sailed in convoy with an escort of destroyers for Egypt. On 23 December they reached Windy Bay, Malta, where the two transports stayed at anchor for four or five days. Aragon and Nile then continued to Egypt with a fresh escort: the Acheron-class destroyer HMS Attack plus two Imperial Japanese Navy destroyers. The convoy weathered a gale ,and off the Egyptian coast at daybreak on Sunday 30 December it divided. The two Japanese destroyers escorted Nile to Port Said, while Attack escorted Aragon to Alexandria. On approach to the port Attack zig-zagged ahead to search the channel for mines while Aragon waited in Alexandria Roads. The armed trawler HMT Points Castle approached Aragon flying the international flag signal "Follow me". The troop ship did so, until Attack returned and signalled "You have no right to take orders from a trawler". The destroyer intercepted Points Castle and then ordered Aragon to return to sea. The troop ship obeyed and turned back to sea. Aragon and Attack were in Alexandria Roads about 8 miles outside the port, awaiting permission to enter, when at about 1100 hrs the German Type UC II submarine SM 44


www.deeplens.com UC-34 torpedoed Aragon, hitting her port side aft and causing extensive damage in her almost empty number 4 hold. About 15 minutes after the torpedo struck Aragon, her Master, Captain Bateman, gave the order from her bridge "Every man for himself". Those remaining aboard rushed to get over her side, and her bow rose out of the sea as soldiers swarmed down her side into the water. One of the VADs who survived later recorded "We felt that all our friends were drowning before our eyes". About 20 minutes after being hit Aragon went down, and she suffered a second explosion as the cold seawater reached her hot boilers. Some of her boats were left upturned in the water. HMS Attack was now crowded with 300 to 400 survivors: some wounded, many unconscious and dying. One soldier, Sergeant Harold Riddlesworth of the Cheshire Regiment, repeatedly dived from the destroyer into the sea to rescue more survivors. He survived and was decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal. Then a torpedo struck HMS Attack amidships and blew her into two pieces, both of which sank within seven minutes. The explosion ruptured Attack's bunkers, spilling tons of thick, black bunker fuel oil into the sea as she sank. Hundreds of men were in the water, and many of them became covered in oil or overcome by its fumes. Aragon's surviving lifeboats now ferried hundreds of survivors to the trawlers, where the VADs "worked unceasingly and with great heroism" to tend the many wounded. Other trawlers came out to assist,] and the first trawler or trawlers returned to harbour for safety.] Of those aboard Aragon, 610 were killed] including Captain Bateman, 19 of his crew and six of the VADs. Hundreds of troops were killed. Many of the survivors from Aragon's crew were repatriated to England, reaching Southampton on 10 February 1918 Some voyaged all the way by steamship, but the majority travelled overland.

As ARAGON settles in the water HMS ATTACK and POINTS CASTLE come to the rescueof her survivors..

45


www.deeplens.com

The ship now lies at Lat: 31.18.0 N Long: 29.48.0 just outside of the entrance to the Alexandria Harbour in approximately 40-meters of water. MV MILOS 11 A Greek motor vessel built in1948, she was 1256 tons,72 mtrs long and on a voyage from Chalkis Greese to El Wej, Saudi Arabia with 1900 tons of cement on March 5 1978, when she sank 15 miles north east of Port Said, after an explosion in her engine room. The crew of 9 were all rescued. 31 37n 32 34e S.S REGAL The British cargo ship,2412 tons, 300ft long was built in 1883 by Cambell, Mackintosh & Bowstead for the Conaway Co. Her final voyage was from Antwerp with a general cargo. When she neared her final destination, Alexandria, she foundered just at the bar on the16th Feb 1894

46


www.deeplens.com

H.M.S QUEEN ELIZABETH

A Queen Elizabeth class battleship, sister ship to Valiant and Barham. Built at the Portsmouth dockyard launched in 1913. 463 ft long, 32700 tons displacement and a compliment of 1124. She had a range of 4400 miles and her turbines could deliver 80,000 hp through 4 shafts giving her a speed of 24 knots. Her armament consisted of eight 15�, twenty 4.5 A.A guns numerous 40mm and 20mm A.A.guns During WW1 she saw \action at the Battle of Jutland. She was modernised twice and operated with the home fleet at the outbreak of war, moving into the Medditeranean during 1941, based in Alexandria. During March 1941 she was involved in the Battle of Matapan While based in Alexandria she was attacked and badly damaged by Italian charioteers – midget submarines. The next day she was again attacked by the Italian submarine SCIRE, using 3 manned torpedoes attacking the HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and the tanker SAGONE. The crews of the manned torpedoes were captured but the resulting explosions sank the battle ships , damaged the tanker and the destroyer HMS JARVIS, which was refuelling alongside. Despite severe damage to her bottom plates she was able to sustain a substantial fire power and engaged in attacks of Geman aircrfaft as Rommel advanced towards El Alamien. She was later taken to America where she was repaired.

47


www.deeplens.com

E.N SOLLUM The Sollum was originally the HMS Wedgeport (J-139), a Bangor Class (also known as Ardrossan class) minesweeper built at Dufferin Shipbuilding Co. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Montreal-Loco Yard No. 56 for the Royal Canadian Navy. Laid down 29 April 1941, launched 02 August 1941, and completed 21 April 1942. The ship was 665 Grt (672 Brt), 189 feet in length, 28.5 feet in beam, and 8.25 feet in draught. She was powered by two 3-drum small tube-type boilers which provided a top speed of 16 knots. Crew compliment was 60 personnel and was armed with a single 3-inch AA gun, two 20mm AA guns, and 4 machine guns. The Bangor class minesweepers which were known for their poor handling capabilities. Their shallow draft made them unstable and their short hulls tended to bury the bow when operating in a head sea. tHe HMS Wedgeport was transferred to the Egyptian Navy 02 August 1946 On 07 March 1953, during bad weather, the Sollum foundered and sank off of Alexandria. 54 lives lost. .

S.S.PUNDIT The Pundit was a steamship of 5,917 Grt. built a Chas. Connell & Co., Ltd., Liverpool (Scotstoun Yard No. 270) for the Asiatic Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., Liverpool. She was launched 01 October 1902 and completed in December of 1902. She was 438 feet in length, 51.3 feet in beam, and 25.7 feet in draught. The ship was a single-screw vessel with triple-expansion turbines providing a cruising speed of 12.5 knots. At some time during the life of the ship, she was requisitioned for war service in the British Royal Navy and was defensively armed On 09 June 1918 the Pundit was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-105 (Wilhelm Marschall) approximately 85 miles West-by-Northwest of Alexandria while on the Tyne-Alexandria route carrying a cargo of coal. The captain and 5 crew were lost with the ship.

S.S. SARNIA The Sarnia was a steam passenger ship of 1,498 Grt. built at Cammel Laird & Co., Ltd., Birkenhead Yard No. 762 for the London & S. Western Railway Co., Southhampton. She was launched 09 July 1910 and completed March 1911 with 3 screws which provided a maximum speed of 20.5 knots. During WWI the ship was utilized as an Armed Troop Carrier. The Sarnia is best known for its collision with the British requisitioned ferry Hythe at approximately 2000 on 28 October 1915 at Mudros Bay in which the Sarnia accidentally collided with the Hythe (Lt. Albert V. Kenyon, RNR), who was running without lights as it neared its destination, cutting deep into the port bow, almost halfway through the ship, and brought the ship to a complete standstill. The Hythe was overloaded with men packed on the decks, many huddling under an awning that had 48


www.deeplens.com been rigged to provide little relief from the bad weather, rain, and spray. When the Sarnia collided with the Hythe it caused the foremast to fall onto the awning and men directly below causing many casualties. The Hythe sank in approximately 10 minutes with many personnel being drowned beneath the awning or trapped in the cabs of vehicles being transported onboard. The Sarnia lowered its boats and attempted to rescue as many people as possible. Between 130 and 143 men were reported lost in the sinking. The Sarnia survived the collision and was repaired. The Sarnia was later sunk on 12 September 1918 off off Alexandria by German submarine U-65 (Gustav Siess) at position 32.58N/30.55E in 80-110 meters of waters with 53 lives lost. The survivors were in the water for nearly two days before being picked up.

S.S.OSMANIEH The Osmanieh was an RVRN Fleet Messenger (also classified as a Passenger/Cargo ship) built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd. (Yard No. 761), Newcastle for the Khedivial Mail Steamship & Graving Dock Co., Ltd., London and launched 09 May 1906.She was 4041 tons,360 ft x 45 ft x 24ft and fitted with triple expansion engines. Contracted as a Hired Transport (HT) by the British Navy in 1916 for use during WWI which involved fleet support duties, primarily for the carrying stores and personnel. On 31st December, 1917, under the command of LCDR David R. Mason (RNR), she was carrying troops and medical staff to Alexandria when she struck a mine on the starboard side amidships in a minefield which has been laid by the German submarine UC 34 under the command of Oberleutnant zue See Horst Obermuller at the entrance to the harbour at 31.10.8N/29.48.3E running 270-degrees at 100-meter internals. The vessel sank quickly taking with her: Lieutenant Commander D.R. Mason. (Commemorated - Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery) Two other officers. 21 of its crew. One military officer. 166 other ranks.Eight nurses (Also commemorated Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery). It should be noted here that this is at,or near, the same location which the HMT Aragon and HMS Attack were torpedoed by the same submarine the previous day (approximately 31.18N/29.48 or .49E in 40-50 meters of water).

H.M.S ATTACK A British Navy destroyer, built at Yarrow in 1914, was 252ft long and fitted with steam turbine engines and could make 29 knots. She was torpedoed while effecting a rescue on the RMS ARAGON (CF) ON December 30th 1917 her official compliment was 72, but many survivors from the Aragon were on board at the time.

49


www.deeplens.com The HMS Attack was an Acheron Class Destroyer (re-designated as "I" Class in 1913) built by Yarrow & Company, Scotstoun, Glasgow and launched on 12 December, 1911. On 30 December, 1917 she came to the assistance of the HMT Aragon which had been torpedoed by the German U-Boat UC-34 (Horst Obermuller) at the entrance to the Alexandria Harbor (see HMT Aragon). While rescuing personnel from the Aragon, she was also torpedoed and cut in half, and quickly sank. The ship now lies on the bottom near the wreck of the HMT Aragon approximately 10miles outside the entrance to the Alexandria Harbor at 31.18N/29.49E in approximately 44-meters of water. bhp, 29 knts. Compliment72 Armament: 2 x BL 4-inch (101.6 mm) L/40 MK VIII Guns, mounting P Mk V 2 x QF 12-Pounder, 12 cwt naval guns, mounting P Mk I 2 x single-tube for 21-inch torpedoes

S.S. ARCHIMEDE A passenger/cargo ship built by A Stephen & Sons, Glasgow at the Linthouse yard No. 258; laid down for the Floria Line (I. & V. Florio & Co., Palermo), and launched on 22 November 1881 for the successor firm of Navigazione Generale Italiana (NGI). 2,837 tons; 106,70 x 12,19 meters (350.1 x 40 feet; length x beam); clipper bow, 1 funnel, 3 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion, service speed 12 knots; accommodation for 20 1st-class, 56 2ndclass,and 550 3rd-class passengers. 07 February 1882, maiden voyage, Catania-Palermo-New York. 18 June 1887, last voyage of 1887, Palermo-NaplesNew York. 07 February 1888, only voyage that year, Naples-Cadiz-Montevideo-Buenos Aires. 03 March 1899, only voyage of that year, Genoa-Naples-New York. 14 March 1903, last voyage, Genoa-Naples-New York (40 roundtrip voyages 1903). 1903, transferred to the Italy-Alexandria service and renamed CAIRO and operated by South Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P Bonsor. 05 March 1905, wrecked near Alexandria at approximately 31.18N/29.48E in 50-60 meters of water.

S.S.ALBACHA The Albachiara was a single screw steam cargo ship of 1,234 or 1,235 tons, 74.9 meters (LPP), and 10.9 meters in beam, with a cruising speed of 10 knots. Built in 1904 at the Schiff v. Henry Koch yard No. 153 in Lubeck, Germany for C. Tiede, Wismar, and originally named Anna 50


www.deeplens.com Tiede. Sold in 1909 to Leith Lines and renamed Mecklinburg. Sold again in 1928 to Renato Durante, re-flagged and renamed Albachiara. Sank by torpedo attack on 05 September 1942 by the British submarine HMS Traveller approximately 24-25 nautical miles north of Ras EL Tin Naval Base, Alexandria bearing 15 degrees.

S.S. BILSWOOD The Bilswood was a cargo steamer of 3,097 tons constructed 1915 at the Ropner & Sons, Ltd., Yard (No. 501), Stockton, for J. Constantine, Middlesbrough. Launched 30 April 1915 and completed in June of that same year. The ship was 102.1 meters LPP and 14.6 meters in beam and was defensively armed. While in transit on the Hull via Malta-Alexandria route, the ship was mined on 12 March 1917 eight miles Nortwest of Alexandria by mines laid by U-73 (Gustav Siess) M.V.BINTANG The M/V Bintang was launched 19 November 1921 and completed in 22 May 1922 at the Nakskov Skibsvaerft A/S, Nakskov Yard No. 4 in Denmark. Owned by MOWT, she was 2779 GRT, 86.8 meters LPP, 13.5 meters in beam with 2 diesels and a cruising speed of 10 knots. Lost during an air raid on 22 February 1942 at 31.50N/26.01E.

S.S. CAMERONIAN The Cameronian began life as the "Kamerun" of the German company HamburgAmerika Line (now known as HAPAG-Lloyd) in 1913 and was in service in West Africa during 1914 and 1915. She was5861 tons,428ft x 5ft x29ft and fitted with quadruple steam engines.She was found derelict in the Kamerun River by the British ship HMS Cumberland in 1915 and a prize crew delivered the ship to Liverpool where a prize court gave her to the Leyland Line. During WWI she was pressed into military service as an armed transport (H.T. or H.M.T.). The following is an account of the sinking of the ship on 02 June 1917 from the Dictionary of Disasters During the Age of Steam 1824-1962 (Charles Hocking) "In the early morning of June 2nd, 1917, the Cameronian, Capt R. Roberts, carrying a large number of mules, with a few soldiers to look after them, was torpedoed by a subMarine when 50 miles N.W. by N. one quarter N. of Alexandria, her destination. Unfortunately, a number of men were asleep in hammocks on the lower deck. The explosion flooded this deck and all the men were drowned, the ship sinking 51


www.deeplens.com in five minutes.�Those lost included Capt. Roberts, two army officers and 30 other ranks, and one officer and nine men of the crew. The ship was torpedoed by the UC-34 (Robert Springer) at 31.53N/29.19E in over 1000 meters of water.

S.S.BUSIRIS The SS Busiris was a British Merchant Cargo Steamer of 2,720 tons built in 1904 by John Blumer & Co., Sunderland and owned by the Moss Steamship Co. Ltd., Liverpool. While on a voyage from Alexandria to Liverpool carrying general cargo, she was captured and sunk by German submarine U39 at 32.50N/26.20E

S.S.BENGALI Built in 1901 as MONTGOMERYSHIRE by Gourlay Bros. & Co. at Dundee, the Bengali was a steam cargo ship of 5,665grt, 445ft in length, beam of 50ft 2in and a cruising speed of 11 knots. Sistership of the GLAMORGANSHIRE. She was delivered to T & J Brocklebank as the BENGALI and transferred to Shire Line in 1906. In July 1911 she was chartered to Royal Mail for service in the Far East but reverted to Brocklebank's and BENGALI in 1912. On 13th September 1917 she was torpedoed 115 miles north of Derna in North Africa and four days later was beached, patched up and managed to reach Alexandria where she was repaired. On 8th April 1918 during her second voyage after being repaired and bound for Calcutta in ballast she was torpedoed and sunk by UC-34 14 miles off Alexandria at 31.21N/29.47E in 70-85 meters of water.

M.V. KOS IX: The KOS IX was a Norwegian whaler of 248 Grt of Hvalfangerselskap Kosmos A/S (Anders Jahre, managers), Sandefjord, Norway which was built at Smith's Dock Co, Ltd., South Bank-on-Tees, U.K. (Yard No. 932) and was launched 11 July 1930. The ship was 116-feet in length, 24-feet 2-inches in beam, and 12-feet 8-inches in draught. Propulsion was provided by a single oil-fired boiler with a triple-expansion engine with cylinders of 14-, 23-, and 39-inches, with a stroke of 24-inches, which generated 75 NHP. The "KOS VII", sister ship of the "KOS IX" Altogether there were 23 ships built bearing the name "KOS", all of which were built in England. Upon completion of the KOS IX, the ship joined the growing fleet of whalers of Hvalfangerselskap Kosmos A/S. In 2929, the company had launched the Kosmos, a ship which was a major innovation in the whaling industry because she was considered by many to be the largest whale processing ship afloat at the time. On 11 October 1930, the KOS VIII and KOS IX joined the fleet of seven other whale catchers in the Antarctic during the Kosmos' second whaling season. The KOS IX would also join the whaling expeditions in 1934-35, 1936-37, and 1939-40. During the 1936-37 expedition, the KOS IX was delivering a freshly caught whale to the KOSMOS in rough seas. While attempting to moor alongside the larger ship, the 52


www.deeplens.com KOS IX struck the Kosmos due to the rough seas which resulted in the loss of the ship's propeller. One of the other whale catchers with the fleet then towed the KOS IX to Walvis Bay, South Africa for repairs which last for 12 and a half days. March 21, 1940 finds the ship in Walvis Bay, South Africa, just prior to Germany's invasion of Norway on 9 April. In November 1940, the fleet was requisitioned by the British Admiralty along with other ships of the "KOS" fleet, the KOS IX being one of them, for use as an armed minesweeper. The KOS IX departs Walvis Bay on 12 November and arrives in the River Clyde in early February 1941. Anchored in the River Clyde from 4-7 February until being moved to a South Shields shipyard on the 9th where she received a refit, was modified for minesweeping duties, and was defensively armed. On 16 June the ship is transferred to Invergordon, Scotland until returning to the River Clyde on 05 July 1941. The ship was renamed HMS Firmament (FY 1725 sometime during this period, after which the ship is placed in war service. The next that we here of the ship concerns her loss. The ship, under the command of T/Skipper J. Muttit (RNR), was lost due to stranding off Alexandria on 30 May 1944 and it was deemed as being impractical to salvage her.

MTB-261 MTB-261 was an Elco Type Torpedo Boat originally built by the Electric Launch Company Ltd. (Elco), Bayonne, New Jersey, USA, as the PT-12. Laid down 09 April 1940, launched 18 October 1940, and commissioned 12 November 1940, she was 32 Grt. and 70 feet long. In April 1941 the boat was transferred to the Royal Navy and renamed MTB-261.Participated in Operation Vigorous with MTB-259 in 1942. Destroyed 26 August 1945 after sinking in the Alexandria Harbour.

S.S.CLAN MacINDOE The Clan MacIndoe(official No. 144233) built by Lithgows of Port Glasgow in Yard No. 728 for the Clan Line Steamers, Ltd. (Cayzer, Irvine & Co.) and launched on 11 November, 1920 and completed in December of that same year. 4635 Grt with a length of 384.8 feet, 52 feet in beam, and 26.7 feet in draught she was registered in Glasgow, Scotland. Reported on fire 15 April, 1943, beached off Alexandria on 27 April. Considered a total constructive loss

S.S.CLAN MacNEIL The Clan MacNeil was a Turret Deck Steamer built by W. Doxford and Sons Ltd. Sunderland Yard No. 307 for the Clan Line Steamers (Cayzer, Irvine & Co.)Launched 13 May, 1903 and completed in July of that same year. On 11 September, 1917 the ship was attacked by a submarine west of Gibralta and escaped when the torpedo missed. While on a voyage from Karachi to Marseilles with a cargo of grain and onions, she was attacked by German submarine UC-34. The ship was torpedoed and sunk approximately 10 miles north of Alexandria, at 31.21N/29.48E in 125-135 meters of water 53


www.deeplens.com

HDML 1015: The HDML 1015 was a 54 Grt. Harbour Defense Motor Launch (HDML) built at M.W. Blackmore & Sons, Bideford, N. Devon, UK. for the British Royal Navy. One of 486 of this vessel type built during WWII, she was launched on 24 February 1941, with a length of 22 meters, beam of 4.9 meters, and a draught of 1.5 meters fully loaded. Propulsion was provided by two Gardner 8L3 diesel engines providing 204 bhp to twin shafts for a top speed of 12 knots, with a range of 2000 miles at 10 knots cruising speed. Design criteria required that the boat have a turn radius of that of a surfaced submarine. This resulted in the installation of two large rudders and the keel ending 13-feet from the boat's stem. Crew compliment was 2 officers, 2 petty officers, and 6 ratings. Armament for the HDML's was typically twin 20mm Oerlikon guns, twin Vickers "K" machine guns, and 6 depth charges. As well as any assortment of small arms which the boat's crews could procure on their own. Boats were initially shipped to foreign stations on board ships. However, later in the war when cargo space became scarce, many of these vessels made their own was as far a Iceland, Gibralter, and the Mediterannean. Boats serving in the Med. and in tropical waters had their hulls sheathed in copper below the waterline to prevent damage by Toredo Navalis (wood boring worms). After launching, the HDML 1015 departed Devon in March 1941 to Clyde (Holy Loch) via Hamble, Appledore, and Holyhead for transport via ship to the Mediterannean. While enroute, the boat collided with a bouy while departing Appledore without suffering serious damage. In May 1941 the HDML 1015 was placed onboard the S.S. Belpareil and departed on the 31st as part of Convoy OB-329 for Suez via Durban, South Africa. The convoy is dispersed on 05 June and the S.S. BelPareil steamed independently to Suez via Freetown, Capetown, Mombasa, Aden, Massawa, and Port Sudan, as well as other ports. Arriving at Suez 18 August 1941, the HDML 1015 is offloaded The HDML 1015 then joined the 102nd Motor Launch Flotilla at Alexandria, Egypt on 01 January 1942. This flotilla consisted of the motor launches ML 1012, ML 1017, ML 1023, ML1038, ML1039, and ML 1051. In October 1943 the HDML 1015 was lost in heavy weather near Alexandria.

S.S SARNIA The Sarnia was a steam passenger ship of 1,498 Grt. built at Cammel Laird & Co., Ltd., Birkenhead Yard No. 762 for the London & S. Western Railway Co., Southhampton. She was launched 09 July 1910 and completed March 1911 with 3 screws which provided a maximum speed of 20.5 knots. During WWI the ship was utilized as an Armed Troop Carrier. The Sarnia is best known for its collision with the British requisitioned ferry Hythe at approximately 2000 on 28 October 1915 at Mudros Bay in which the Sarnia accidentally collided with the Hythe (Lt. Albert V. Kenyon, RNR), who was running without lights as it neared its destination, cutting deep into the port bow, almost halfway through the ship, and brought the ship to a complete standstill. The Hythe was 54


www.deeplens.com overloaded with men packed on the decks, many huddling under an awning that had been rigged to provide little relief from the bad weather, rain, and spray. When the Sarnia collided with the Hythe it caused the foremast to fall onto the awning and men directly below causing many casualties. The Hythe sank in approximately 10 minutes with many personnel being drowned beneath the awning or trapped in the cabs of vehicles being transported onboard. The Sarnia lowered its boats and attempted to rescue as many people as possible. Between 130 and 143 men were reported lost in the sinking. The Sarnia survived the collision and was repaired. The Sarnia was later sunk on 12 September 1918 off off Alexandria by German submarine U-65 (Gustav Siess) at position 32.58N/30.55E in 80-110 meters of waters with 53 lives lost. The survivors were in the water for nearly two days before being picked up.

S.S.CIVILIAN She was a steamship of7,871 tons built by Chas. Connell & Co., Glasgow in 1902 for Charente Steamship Co., Ltd., (T & J Harrison), Liverpool. The ship was carrying general cargo when she was sunk on 16 October 1917 by the German submarine UC74 (Wilhelm Marschall) fifteen miles north of Alexandria with the loss of two lives

S.S.KEPHALLINIA The Kephallinia was a British Schooner which was originally built as City of Belfast Laird (Yard No. 590) at Birkenhead for J. Little & Co., Barrow. Launched in April 1893 and completed 01 July of that smae year. She was 1055 or 1267 Grt., 85.5 meters in length, and 9.8 meters in beam, with twin screws and a cruising speed of 17 knots. Requisitioned for use during WWII (RVRN Kephallinia). Foundered and sank off of Alexandria 13 August 1941 while carrying supplies to Tobruk. The HMS Hero assisted her.

S.S. ROSALIND A Cape Romain Class Freighter, built in 1918 as War Mercury by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Sparrows Point, MD; Launched 4 May 1918; Completed as Cape Romain; Acquired by the Navy 25 June 1918 and commissioned USS Cape Romain (ID 2970) the same day; Decommissioned 3 March 1919 at New York and transferred to the United States Shipping Board; Sold in 1920 to the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Steamship Corp. of Baltimore, MD; Repossessed by the USSB in 1922; Sold in 1929 to the A. H. Bull Steamship Co. of New York and renamed Emilia; Sold in 1951 to the Basile Shipping Co. of Honduras and renamed Isabel; Sold in 1953 ro Cia Comercial y Financiera Sudamericana of Panama and renamed Rosalind; Sold in 1956 to Overseas Enterprise, Inc. of Panama. Specifications: Displacement 10,505 t.; Length 391' 9"; Beam 52'; Draft 23' 11"; Speed 11 kts.; Complement 52; Armament one 6" and one 3" mount; Propulsion: Scotch boilers, one 2,800ihp reciprocating steam engine, single shaft. Foundered in bad weather 2 March 1956 in the Mediterranean Sea off the northern coast of Egypt at position 33° 21' N./ 27° 50' E.

55


www.deeplens.com

M.V CAPTAIN FOUAD The Captain Fouad was originally built as the Atlantic Forwarder, a 519 GRT. cargo ship built at SchĂźrenstedt KG Schiffswerft und Bootswerft, Bardenfleth (Berne), Germany (Yard No. 1342) in 1968 (Owner Unknown). The ship had an overall length of 74.1 meters and beam of 11.6 meters. Propulsion was provided by diesel engines, a single shaft and had a maximum speed of 12.5 knots. The ship changed names three times during her lifetime, with the first name change occurring in 1974 to Hadan, again in 1979 to the Carolina V, and then again in 1997 to the Captain Fouad. The ship was registered in Belize as records found to date indicate that the ship, registered as Belize, was detained in Rhodes, Greece on 22 March 1999 as a result of violations of Port State Control Officer's (PSCO) inspections in that port (violations and discrepancies not listed). The ship was given 14-days to correct the deficiencies noted in the inspection report. On 23 August 1999, the Captain Fouad is again shown as being registered in Belize after being given an administrative fine of $10,000 USD for unknown reasons while in Thessaloniki, Greece. The Loss of the Ship: Lloyd's Casualty Report dated 17 June 2000 states that the Captain Fouad, carrying an unknown cargo, experienced a fire and explosion onboard. The ship was anchored at the entrance to Alexandria Harbour and subsequently sank later that same day. M.V.LOS 11 A Greek motor vessel built in1948, she was 1256 tons,72 mtrs long and on a voyage from Chalkis Greece to El Wej, Saudi Arabia with 1900 tons of cement on March 5 1978, when she sank 15 miles north east of Port Said, after an explosion in her engine room. The crew of 9 were all rescued. 31 37n 32 34e BISNCHAKDINA Launch Date: 22 September 1914 Completion date: 11 December 1914 Type: Passenger/Cargo Tonnage: 3033 Builder: Ramage & Ferguson, Leith (Yard239 Owners: British India S.N. Co. Ltd., Glasgow Propulsion: Single Screw, 12 knots cruising speed dimensions: 100.8 meters Beam: 14.1 meters The B.I.S.N. steamer "Chakdina" was built in 1914 at the outbreak of WW1. On January 13, 1940 it was requisitioned by Admiralty as an armed boarding vessel. In company with another similar vessel, the cased petrol carrier S.S. "Kirkland", it was returning from a supply trip to Tobruk back to the 62nd General Hospital in Alexandria with some 300 British wounded and 100 prisoners including the German general, von Ravenstein, on December 5, 1941, when at 21.35 hours at 32.11N and 24.30E it was torpedoed by the German submarine U.81 commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Guggenberger . 56


www.deeplens.com

There are however eye witness reports that the ship was actually sunk by torpedobombers. Peter Bates, a New Zealand journalist then serving with the Supply Company of the New Zealand Division was on the "Kirkland". in his book "Supply Column" (M37) writes: "At 9.30 pm there was a sudden shout on board the "Kirkland", a swirl of movement as the crew rushed for the freighters ack-ack protection - 12 m/g's plus a Breda - and the ship began to spit fire into the sky. Then there was another heavy explosion and another shout: "The bloody "Chakdina's" gone". The "Chakdina" - 100 yards away across the moonlit water - was sinking after having been hit by a torpedo. In three and a half minutes the water had closed over her. Then there was another explosion and the sea boiled as the boilers burst. Of the 381 on board, few below escaped and others were drowned when the fast sinking ship dragged them down. 17 Australian POW were drowned including 12 members of the 2/13th Inf Bn. Peter Bates is of the opinion that the torpedo was released by German aircraft. Some 200 survivors were rescued by the British destoyer H.M.N. "Farndale" and another 60 by a Norwegian whaler "Thorgrim". Rowland Ryder in his book "Portrait of a German General" (M27 p106) states that Von Ravenstein said when rescued that the "Chakdina" had been attacked by an Italian Savoia torpedo-bomber. 2ND ACCOUNT OF SINKING Armed boarding vessel commandeered by the British in Tobruk to evacuate their wounded. Acting as a hospital ship it sailed from the harbour with 380 wounded soldiers on board including 97 New Zealanders. Some officers and medical personnel were also accompanying the wounded. The ship was heading for Baggush, the H/Q of the 2nd N.Z. Division. At 9 o'clock in the morning an Italian Savoia Marchietta 79 plane dropped a torpedo which struck the ship in the after hold. It took only three minutes for the Chakdina to sink giving the wounded little chance to escape. Those who were not severely wounded managed to reach the escort destroyer HMS Farndale which picked up eighteen New Zealanders from the water. All the medical staff, except one, were saved. In all, 79 persons lost their lives. The Farndale reached Alexandria two days later and the survivors admitted to the No. 3 New Zealand General Hospital. M.V ATHENE Built in 1938 by Armstrong Whitworth for the A/S Athene (Jorgen Bang), she was fitted with oil engines, 4681 tons, 345 ft long and developed 580 n.h.p. She was torpedoed off Alexandria on the 10th June 1941 and sunk with the loss of twelve crew and one gunner. M.V.NADIRM The Narirm was a small (395ton) general motor cargo vessel, registered in Honduras. He final journey was from Limosol to Alexandria. In December, 1986.Nearing Alexandria she was caught in heavy seas and driven ashore stranding on the 26th and finally sinking the following day.

57


www.deeplens.com

58


www.deeplens.com

M.V.ISTRIA The Istria was a cargo ship of 5,441 Grt. built by S.T. Triestino (Yard No. 569) at San Marco, Italy for Navigazione Libera Triestina. The keel was laid 01 December 1919, launched 26 February 1921, completed 26 June 1921. The ship was 123.2 meters in length, 16.5 meters in beam, with a single screw and a cruising speed of 10.5 knots. In 1937 the ship was transferred to the Societa Italia Flotte Riuniti/Italia Societa Anonima di Navegazione for service during WWI. The ship was attacked in 1942 during a night raid in which the cargo exploded resulting in the ship sinking near Ras EL Tin, Alexandria

S.S.REAPWELL The Reapwell was a steam cargo ship of 3,417 Grt that was originally built as the Shirley at the W. Gray & Co., Ltd., West Hartpool Yard No. 604 for Mitre Sg Co. Ltd. (Houlder, Middleton), London. Launched 18 December 1899 and completed in Febrary 1900, the ship was 101 meters in length, 14.4 meters in beam, and a single screw. Renamed Reapwell in 1913.On 27 December 1916 while enroute from Cardiff to Malta via Port Said carrying general cargo and coal, the ship was torpedoed by German submarine U-39 (Walter Forstmann) at position 33.37N/27.35E. The U-39's KTB states the sinking postion as being 33.07N/28.20E. Master taken prisoner

M.V.MARIA DESPINA A Lebenese steamship, built in 1944 at the New England Ship Buidling Co Portland Maine, the 7452 ton, 441ft left Shanghai on her last voyage with a cargo of sewing machines,,600tons of tea and 9000 tons of maize.in March 1966. On the 18th she approached Alexandria harbour in a violent storm with winds of over 45mph, and was pounded against the east harbour breakwater. With her hull breached she flooded and continued to be pounded by waves and the breakwater, finally breaking in two on the 20th. Remains of the wreck can be found strewn in the rocks and at depths down to 25 mtrs in two halves.

59


www.deeplens.com H.M.S GALATEA

An. Athusa class light cruiser, built at Greenock by Scotts Shipbuilding and engineering Co Ltd. In 1933 launched in 1934. She was 5220 tons, 256 ft long with a 256 ft beam her turbine engines could deliver 64,000 shp making 32 knots. She had six 6 inch guns, 8 4 inch , 9 smaller guns , and 6 torpedo tubes. She was a unit of the 15th Cruiser squadron , captained by E.W.B.Sim. On 4 April 1940The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica joined the British light crusiers HMS Arethusa, HMS Galatea and three British destroyers to carry out a patrol in the North Sea to intercept German invasion groups heading for Norway.

On 31 August 1940 a group of destroyers sailed from Immingham on a minelaying mission off the Dutch coast. HMS Express struck a mine and was badly damaged, HMS Esk went to her assistance and hit mine and sank immediately, HMS Ivanhoe also went to her assistance and hit a mine and was badly damaged, so much so she she had to be sunk by HMS Kelvin. The following day they were joined by the light cruisers HMS Aurora and HMS Galatea and while returning to base HMS Galatea struck another mine and was slightly damaged off Cleaner Shoal Buoy near the Humber light vessel. She had seen action at Dunkirk and the Bismark saga. On December 14th 1941 , returning to Alexandria, she was subjected to a 7 hour air attack, then at midnight, HMS Galatea was torpedoed by the German submarine U557 off Alexandria, Egypt in position 31.17N, 29.13E. She sank in 3 minutes. Captain Sim, 22 officers and 447 ratings were killed. Some 100 survivors were picked up by the British destroyers Griffin and Hotsur. U-557 was sunk the next day. 60


www.deeplens.com

H.M.S COVENTRY

LEFT .A commemorative plaque celebrating the launch of the HMS COVENTRY. RIGHT;the ship under sea trial A British light cruiser, built atT Wallsend on Tyne by Swan Hunters and Wigham Richardson, launched in 1917. She was 4290 tons, 450 ft long with a 43 ft beam her turbines produced 40,000 shp making 29 knots. Prior to WW2 she was converted into an anti aircraft cruiser, her armament consisting of ten 4 inch guns and 14 machine guns. She had a compliment of 400 men Her captain was R.J.R. Denny.

On 15 September 1940 the British battleship HMS Valiant, the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, the heavy cruiser HMS Kent and 7 destroyers left Alexandria. The next day, while south off Crete they were joined by the Anti-Aircraft cruisers HMS Calcutta and HMS Coventry. The force then sailed toward Benghazi. During the night of 16/17 September, aircraft from the Illustrious, mined the harbour of Benghazi. They also attacked shipping in the harbour with torpedoes. The Italians lost On the 13th December 1940 HMS Coventry was torpedoed and damaged by the Italian submarine Neghelli in the eastern Mediterranean On Sept 14th,1942 she was attacked by Ju 87 Stuka’s, and sunk north west of Alexandria. The Italians lost 2 destroyers and two merchants.

61


www.deeplens.com

PETER COLLINGS BIBLIOGRAPHYPUBLICATIONS 1986- 2015

1986

2000

1988

1991

2001

2002

2005

2009

2008

2009

2002

2008

2009

62

1996

2009


www.deeplens.com

2010

2010

2011

2011

30 YEARS OF PUBLISHING PETER COLLINGS. Peter began diving in 1970. In 1983 he wrote the first of 12 diving related books and has won several international awards for his publications and underwater photography. His articles and photographs have appeared consistently thought the international diving press, Including SCUBA 63


www.deeplens.com WORLD, DIVER ,DIVE, SPORT DIVER, SCOTTISH DIVER , H20, TAUCHEN DYKE & OCTOPUS A BSAC Advanced instructor, ( Red Sea Wreck Academy) SSI PRO 5000 DIVER and TDI Advance Trimix diver, Peter has lead over 500 wreck and photo safaris around the world, logging over 6700 dives, and along with his regular team of experts has located and identified many of the shipwrecks in Egyptian waters. To date Peter has written and published 24 diving related guide books.

64

Profile for Maxshow Limited

Dive Egypt Shipwrecks - Part 4 - Med Coast (Hi Res Edition)  

"DIVE EGYPTS SHIPWRECKS!" is a 5 part work by International award winning author, photographer and wreck hunter Peter Collings. It is a book...

Dive Egypt Shipwrecks - Part 4 - Med Coast (Hi Res Edition)  

"DIVE EGYPTS SHIPWRECKS!" is a 5 part work by International award winning author, photographer and wreck hunter Peter Collings. It is a book...

Profile for maxshow