Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset


Site Details

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

NPRN 273139

Map Reference SM85SW

Grid Reference SM8142251690

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 possibly be in the vicinity.

Event and Historical Information:
The THORNFIELD was a steel-hulled steamship built by Ramage & Ferguson Ltd, Leith, in 1913 (yard number 236). Technical and configuration specifications are given as 488gt, 197nt; 160ft long x 26ft 1in breadth x 9ft 8in depth; machinery aft; 1 deck, weather deck, 4 bulkhead, quarterdeck 92ft, boat deck 7ft, forecastle 26ft; screw propulsion powered by a single boiler linked to a compound engine producing 56hp, official number 132062, . The steamship was owned by the Zillah Shipping and Carrying Company Ltd and was registered at Liverpool (58 in 1913). The THORNFIELD was on passage from London to Peel under the command of master T S Williamson on 17 August 1915. It was carrying a cargo noted as wooden huts. The steamship was captured by the German submarine U38 under the command of Max Valentiner. The crew were forced to abandon ship, after which the THORNFIELD was sunk by gunfire. The THORNFIELD was amongst 10 vessels sunk on 17 August by U38. The U-boat had begun its patrol in April in the North Sea, passing north around Scotland to then come south to cruise between southern Ireland and Ushant, France. This patrol accounted for 5 trawlers, 3 sailing vessels and 22 merchant ships. Max Valentiner and U38 would go on to be amongst the five most successful commanders and German submarines of the Great War.

Sources include:
Cambrian Daily Leader, 19 August 1915, pg1 (
Goddard, T, 1983, Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks, pg102
HMSO, 1988, British Vessels Lost at Sea 1914-8 and 1939-45, pg9
Koerver, H J, (ed), 2012, German Submarine Warfare 1914-18 in the eyes of British Intelligence, pg175
Larn and Larn Shipwreck Database 2002
Lloyds Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1 July 1915 - 30 June 1916, number 669 in T
Newcastle Journal, 20 August 1915, pg6 (

WWW resources include:

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, February 2019.