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Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War

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 Forgotten Wreck Stories

Every single wreck that is being investigated by the Forgotten Wrecks project has its own story to tell. Some are tales of tragedy, others of survival. Some even contain instances of chivalry or a spark of humour. 

These case studies have been put together by staff and volunteers on the project and will be added to as wrecks are researched in more detail. 

Airship SSZ15 lost off Devon with a crew of 3 in April 1918.

Algerian: struck a mine off the Needles and sank off Gurnard whilst being towed back through the Solent.

Asturias, beached off Devon in 1917.

Ballarat: loaded with Australian troops, the sinking of this liner on the newly constituted Anzac Day was especially poignant.

Coonagh: cargo ship  sunk by a torpedo with the loss of all hands.

Dover Straits - misfortune or misjudgement? The loss of SS Eidsiva, SS Toward, HMY Aries, HMT Othello II on 31st October 1915 

Eleanor: targeted by a U-boat, this merchant ship sank with the loss of all but one officer.

Empress Queentroop transport ship which ran aground and was eventually abandoned.

Empress  of Midland: cargo ship sunk by a mine. 

Formidable: a battleship serving with the 5th Battle Squadron, torpedoed by U-24 on New Year's Day 1915 with very high loss of life. 

Galway Castle: South African mail steamer torpedoed resulting in heavy loss of life among the women, children and invalided South African troops on board. 

Glatton: a victim of ammunition failure and U-boat attack before it was finally sunk as it became a danger to other ships.

Hallsands: a village lost to the sea

Hazard: Dryad class torpedo gunboat sank in 1918 following a collision in dense fog. 

Indian City: torpedoed and sunk after the crew were ordered off by a German U-boat.

John Mitchell: a fishing trawler, hired by the admiralty for minesweeping duties, lost through collision in November 1917, all hands saved.

Lanfranc: a hospital ship returning British wounded torpedoed in the Channel.

Londonier: a Belgian ship, chartered by the French, torpedoed south of the Isle of Wight by UC-71 in March 1918 with the loss of 12 lives.

Mechanician: torpedoed twice, coming to rest on shingle bank, IOW where it split in two.

Netley Pier: built to serve an Empire, where First World War soldiers convalesced.

Ports in WW1: how ports supplied the front.

SibiriaFoundered on the Goodwin Sands during a storm.

Steam Pinnace 704: visible in Forton Lake, Gosport. 

South Western: torpedoed south of the Isle of Wight by UB-59 in March 1918. Only six survivors from the crew and passengers.

Thisbesurprised by a U-boat in broad daylight, this vessel’s loss was especially tragic.

Tycho and Porthkerry: two ships sunk by the same U-boat as the crew of one rescued survivors from the other.

U-103in May 1918, the hunter became the hunted when Kapitänleutnant Claus Rücker of U-103 prepared to attack the ocean liner SS Olympic.

UB-81: a combination of tragic events resulted in the loss of the brand new coastal U-boat SM UB-81 and 29 of its crew in December 1917. 

V44 & V82: two German destroyers in Portsmouth Harbour.

Val Salice: foundered on the Goodwin Sands during a storm.

War Knight: a catalogue of war-related misfortune resulted in the loss of this ship and nearly all of her crew as the ship caught fire following a collision in March 1918.


 If you’re interested in writing up the story of a wreck yourself, please get in touch.