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CAMBANK

Site Details

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

NPRN 272145

Map Reference SH59NE

Grid Reference SH5630396520

Unitary (Local) Authority Maritime

Old County Maritime

Community Maritime

Type of Site WRECK

Broad Class MARITIME

Period Modern

Site Description The wreck lies with its keel orientated 055/235 degrees across a sand ridge. There are large scour pits to the north and south side of the wreck. The stem of the bow stands upright, creating a pinnacle in the centre of the southern scour pit which extends eastward. The remainder of the bow section and around the foreward hold has collapsed or been flattened as a result of the salvage undertaken in the 1950s. The remains of the central bridge/accommodation block now form the highest parts of the wreck. The stern has now collapsed and largely buried. In August 1989, the ship’s bell was recovered engraved with 'SS RAITHMOOR 1899'.

Event and Historical Information:
The CAMBANK was built by John Readhead & Sons, South Shields, in 1899. It was built for W J Runciman, who had been a childhood friend of James, son of the founder. The first vessel built for the Runcimen was the BLAKEMOOR in 1888 and the association between the line and the yard continued for many years (e.g. CASTLEMOOR 1892, HAZELMOOR 1894, etc). By the start of World War I, the company owned 49 steamships and had changed its name to the Moor Line. The RAITHMOOR's technical specifications are given as 3112gt; 323ft long x 47ft wide x 22ft depth; 1 deck, 5 bulkheads, quarterdeck 29ft, boat deck 80ft, forecastle 32ft; screw propulsion powered by two boilers linked to 3 triple expansion engines producing 278 hp; cylinder diameters 24in, 40in and 64in, length of stroke 42in. It was sold to the Merevale Shipping Co of Cardiff in 1913, who changed the vessel's name to CAMBANK to fit with the line's own naming tradition (e.g. CAMROSE, CAMWELL, CAMDALE, CAMLAKE, etc). At time of loss, William Evans Thomas, was the nominated manager of 17 Merchants Exchange Bute Street. Surviving crew lists at Glamorgan Archives suggest a regular or 'core' crew often including Thomas R Prescott as master, W Williams of Carmarthen as Mate, W E Rothbottom of Pencoed, Engineer; George Dring of Carrbridge, Donkeyman; and George Webb of Carrbridge, pilot.
The CAMBANK was travelling from Wuelva to Garston with a cargo of copper, when, soon after picking up a pilot, it was torpedoed by German U-30 at 11am on 20 February 1915. Sources give differing positions for the loss - between 4 and 10 miles east of Point Lynas. The sound of the explosion was heard ashore and was a signal for the lifeboat to be launched. Although three lives were lost in the initial explosion and a fourth man drowned during the evacuation of the ship, 21 survivors made it into the ship's two lifeboats. These were taken in tow by the Bull Bay lifeboat until picked up by the armed yacht ORIANA, which then towed all three back to Amlwch. The CAMBANK broke in two and sank 20 minutes after being attacked. Much of the copper was salvaged in the 1950s.
The crewmen commemorated on the memorial for merchant sailors and fishermen at Tower Hill, London, are as follows: Joseph Wilson Boyle, Third Engineer; Michael Lynch, Fireman and Trimmer; Robert Quigley, Donkeyman; and Charles Sinclair, Fireman and Trimmer.
The ship was included in the multi-beam surveys undertaken by Bangor University in 2018, as part of the Royal Commission's HLF funded Partnership Project - 'Commemorating the Forgotten U-Boat War around the Welsh Coast 1914-18'.

Sources include:
Gater, D, 1992, Historic Shipwrecks of Wales, pg129
HMSO, 1988, British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-8 and 1939-45, pg 4
Larn and Larn shipwreck database 2002
Liverpool Daily Post, 22 February 1915 (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000648/19150222/100/0004)
Lloyds Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1 July 1913 - 30 June 1914, number 177 in C
Mercantile Navy List 1913, pg455,
Mercantile Navy List 1904, pg342
Port of Cardiff Shipping Register 1912-1916, Glamorgan Archives DRBS1/10, 7 in 1913 (folio 33)
Portsmouth Evening News, 22 February 1915, pg6 (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000290/19150222/163/0006)
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)
Wynne-Jones, I, 2001, Shipwrecks of North Wales, 4ed, pg82

WWW resources include:
https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/1029511
https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/416465

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, February 2019