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STRATH CARRON

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 274643

Map Reference SR05SW

Grid Reference SR0243251071

Unitary (Local) Authority Maritime

Old County Maritime

Community Maritime

Type of Site WRECK

Broad Class MARITIME

Period Modern

Site Description Archaeological remains associated with the loss of this vessel are not confirmed as present at this location, but may be in the vicinity.

Event and Historical Information:
The STRATHCARRON was built by the Greenock and Grangemouth Dockyard Co, Greenock, in 1912. At time of loss, it was owned by Strath Carron Steamship Company Ltd. Technical and configuration specifications are given as 4347gt; 2907nt; 375ft length x 52ft breadth x 25ft depth; 2 decks, 5 bulkheads, passenger deck 36ft, boatdeck 100ft, forecastle 39ft; screw propulsion powered by four boilers linked to a triple expansion engine producing 321 nhp. The vessel was on hire to the Admiralty as collier number 715. The STRATHCARRON had left Barry on Monday 7 June 1915 with a cargo of coal for Zanzibar, when around 6.20m the next day, without warning, the ship was struck by a torpedo on the port side amidships. Contemporary newspapers printed crew accounts - one stated "It was our water tanks that, allowed us to escape as we did. For it kept her up sufficiently long for us to get clear". Another stated “There was not much time for thinking but we were well prepared, the boats all being in readiness for an emergency, and every man obeyed the Captain's orders to the letter so there was no commotion and we got nicely away, but the ship soon afterwards sank". All the crewmembers got safely into the lifeboats and the STRATHCARRON sank 20 minutes later. After the lifeboats were some distance astern of the sinking ship, the periscope of a submarine was seen a quarter mile away, and five minutes later the U35 surfaced. The enemy remained surfaced until 6.45 a.m, when it submerged to attack a French schooner LA LIBERTE (see NPRN 519181) some 6 miles away to the east. The crew of the STRATHCARRON bore witness to the attack. After the schooner has been sunk, the two crews rowed their lifeboats together until picked up by the steamship BRANKSOME HALL and landed at Milford Haven. The U-35 was under the command of Waldemar Kophamel and went on to became with most successful U-boat of the Great War - undertaking 17 patrols and sinking 226 ships. The submarine was surrendered on 26 November 1918 and broken up at Blyth in 1919-20.

Sources include:
HMSO, 1988, British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-18 and 1939-45, pg7
Lloyds Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1 July 1914 - 30 June 1915, number 2030 in S
Mercantile Navy List 1915, pg560 (http://www.crewlist.org.uk/data/viewimages?regtype=MNL&year=1915&name=STRATHCARRON&steamsail=Steam&page=560)
National Archives, ADM 137/2959 (157)
UK Hydrographic Office Wrecks and Obstructions Database. © Crown Copyright and database rights. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)

WWW resources include:
Barry Dock News, 18 June 1915, pg 5 (http://newspapers.library.wales/view/4130135/4130140)
Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph, 9 June 1915 (http://welshnewspapers.llgc.org.uk/en/page/view/4118525//ART29)
STRATHCARRON, http://www.uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/5799.html
https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/465219

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, February 2019.