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History & Archaeology



There are hundreds of wrecks around the Isles of Scilly, a site with one of the highest concentrations of wrecks in the UK. Because of the treacherous rocks around the islands that can be covered at high tides, the water is very dangerous navigational territory. Some of the more notorious wrecks include the HMS Colossus which is incredibly well preserved and a popular dive site. Also the Torey Canyon, a supertanker wrecked on the Seven Stones which caused an environmental disaster with the leakage of crude oil.

Here is a list of wrecks in chronological order:

1641 Merchant Royal- English Merchant Ship
1665 Royal Oak- Cargo Ship
1707 HMS Association, HMS eagle, HMS Romney and HMS Firebrand with the loss of nearly 2000 souls
1743 Hollandia- cargo ship wrecked on Annet with the loss of 276 souls
1784 Nancy wrecked on Rosevear with the loss of 49 souls
1798 HMS Colossus- British Naval Vessel, one sailor lost
1813 Queen Charlotte, four souls lost
1841 SS Thames- British Steamship, 61 souls lost
1843 Challenger- British Schooner wrecked on Nundeeps
1853 Sultana- German cargo ship, whole crew lost
1860 Osvetitel- wrecked on Maiden Bower in the fog, crew and cargo recovered
1872 SS Earl of Arran- passenger steamer- no-one hurt
1872 Rosa Tacchini- wrecked on paper ledges- no-one hurt
1873 Cornish Girl- Sailing Lugger from Cornwall wrecked on Spanish Ledges, crew recovered
1874 Minnehaha- Cargo ship wrecked on St.Mary’s- 10 lives lost
1874 SS Zelda- wrecked on Maiden Bower in the fog, all lives saved and some cargo recovered
1875 SS Schiller- German liner wrecked on Retarrier Ledge- 335 souls lost
1879 River Lune- Cargo ship wrecked on Annet, crew recovered
1879 Maipu- Sailing Barque wrecked at Hell Bay, crew recovered
1882 St.Vincent- London barge wrecked off Spanish Ledges, crew recovered
1885 SS Sussex- wrecked at Maiden Bower, crew recovered
1887 Castleford- Steamer carrying cattle ran aground among the Western Rocks
1893 Horsa- Cargo ship from New Zealand, crew recovered
1893 SS Serica- hit an unnamed rock, later names Serica Rock
1898 SS Brinkburn- wrecked on Maiden Bower in the fog, crew recovered
1907 Thomas W Lawson- Schooner lost 16 lives, 4 lives saved
1910 SS Minehaha- First Class Liner, later re-floated
1913 Susanna- wrecked on Zantman’s Rock
1915 Gulflight- American tanker, later re-floated
1917 SS Italia and SS Lady Charlotte- two wrecks on the same day (11th May) during heavy fog
1917 Annie F Conlon- American schooner damaged in warfare, broke up at Tean sound
1917 Jacob Jones- American destroyer
1921 HMS K5, British Submarine
1939 SS Longships- British cargo ship wrecked on Seven Stones, crew rescued
1944-5 5 German U Boats lost during World War 2
1951 SS Scillonian ran ashore on Wingletang Rock in the fog, but was later re-floated
1955 SS Punta- Steamer from Panama ran into the Sevenstones and crew abandoned ship, she later sank
1967 Torey Canyon- supertanker wrecked on Seven Stones which caused major oil spill and contaminated parts of the Cornish Coast
1970 Jean Gougy- French Trawler wrecked on the Western Rocks
1970 Poliere- Cypriot cargo boat wrecked on Little Kettle Rock
1976 Rarau- Romanian Ship wrecked on Seven Stones, crew rescued
1977 Enfant du Bretagne- wrecked on the Western Rocks, coastguards reached the crew but heavy seas meant they lost them
1979 Many yachts sank in extreme weather in the Fastnet race
1997 Cita- German cargo ship wrecked on St.Mary’s
1997 Albatros- badly damaged but repaired
1999 Rachel Harvey- fishing boat, later re-floated
2000 Team Philips- Sailing vessel lost part of its hull, later repaired




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