Ref Number: 00139
Ref Number: 00139
Founded in 1903, Tysack and Branfoot Steam Shipping Co. constructed the vessel. In 1911, it was sold to Well Line Ltd., whose name appears on the wreckage of the S.S. Camberwell, for the purpose of transporting commodities between the United Kingdom and India.
Even though World War One had just begun, the S.S. Camberwell kept working and even got a stern cannon. It left Middlesbrough for London and then on to Calcutta, India, in May of 1917. Cargo ships were constantly being targeted by enemy forces during the conflict. On May 18th, 1917, the Camberwell met with this fate. A patrol boat had informed it that German mines were in the vicinity, but that didn’t stop it from hitting one. Only a few miles away from the Isle of Wight, it has recently departed England. The mine’s detonation knocked off the hatch covers and ripped holes in the ship’s side. In just a few minutes, it sank after taking in water, breaking in half, and listing to starboard. There were 65 crew members who made it into lifeboats on board. Sadly, one of them sank, taking seven lives of Indian sailors with it. Frederick Adamson, the ship’s captain, and the other survivors were brought to safety by patrol boats.
A submarine, specifically the UC-36, had planted the mine. It was around 50 metres in length and 5 metres in breadth, and it was capable of towing seven torpedoes and 18 mines. Twenty-four vessels were lost, the Camberwell being the biggest. The French ship Molière sank the UC-36 three days after this attack.
She now lies on the sea bed with the bow and the stern intact and remains a good dive when other dives have been closed down due to bad weather, as it is sheltered by Sandown Bay.