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Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War

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SS Mechanician


 Built: 1900

Lost: 1918

Reason for Loss: Sunk by U-boat

The SS Mechanician was a British-built merchant ship sunk by a German U-boat at 02:50 on the 20th January 1918. She was built in Belfast by Workman, Clark and Co. in 1900 for Harrison of Liverpool. During World War I the Admiralty requisitioned her where she was heavily armed to operate as an armed escort ship.

She was on-route to Plymouth from the Thames estuary and manned by a Royal Navy crew when she was attacked.1 Located 8 miles west of St. Catherine's Point she was hit by 2 torpedoes, each 30-minutes apart, fired by the German submarine UB35.  The first hit the number 6 hold causing the stoke-hold to flood, the second hit the boiler room.2 There were 102 crew members on board and 13 were lost. She continued her journey until she grounded on the edge of the Shingles by the Needles (Isle of Wight) and by October 1918 had broken into two separate halves. In 1922 Trinity House dispersed the wreck to seabed level giving her a depth of over 35ft.2 Today, most of the wreck is buried in shingle.

Researched and written by volunteers Lucy Morris and Nicole Santos.


 Sources

  1. Martin Pritchard, Kendall McDonald (2001) A Diver Guide, Dive Wight and Hampshire Second Edition, 2001, No. 8. Photograph. Page(s)31-2
  2. Richard and Bridget Larn (1995) Shipwreck index of the British Isles, volume 2: Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Sussex, Kent (Mainland), Kent (Downs), Goodwin Sands, Thames Section 1, Hampshire (BA)
  3. The Wreck Site. http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?1270 [accessed on 27th April 2017]