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SAINT JACQUES

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 273164

Map Reference SR89NW

Grid Reference SR8470097866

Unitary (Local) Authority Maritime

Old County Maritime

Community Maritime

Type of Site WRECK

Broad Class MARITIME

Period Modern

Site Description This wreck, believed to be the SAINT JACQUES, measures 70.2m length x 23.5m breadth x 3.1m weight and presents a magnetic gradient reading of 120.1 nT/m. It lies with its keel roughly aligned 045/225 degrees (northeast/southwest) on a sandy seabed with ripples aligned east to west. There are some rock outcroppings to the north of the wreck site. The wreck is partially buried (a large number of parallel dark reflectors may indicate the internal structure of the hull). There is a large upstanding anomaly near the centre which may be the ship's steam plant and boilers. Divers have reported that the bow lies to the east (separate from the rest of the wreck) on its starboard side. Identifiable features include the anchor winch, deck fittings, gun mount, and mooring bollards. The stern propeller is also reported to be separate from the hull, with another propeller partially buried nearby. An oiler was reported to the Receiver of Wreck after being recovered in this vicinity and may be from this wreck (see NPRN 240744).

Event and Historical Information:
The SAINT JACQUES was a steel-hulled steamship built by Atel. & Ch. De France, Dunkirk, in 1909. Technical and configuration specifications are given as 2459gt, 1339nt; 288ft 8in long x 38ft 9in breadth x 16ft 6in depth; 2 decks, boat deck 31ft, forecastle 32ft; screw propulsion powered by two steam boiler linked to a triple expansion engine producing 156hp. The SAINT JACQUES was the third vessel of that name owned and operated by the Societe Navale De l’Quest (the first SAINT JACQUES was built at Dundee in 1871 and the second at West Hartlepool in 1889). The company was formed in 1880 by George Leroy and maintained a preference to name all its ship after saints during all its years of operation right up 1972. They were a well-known carrier between Normandie and Antwerp, Spain and Portugal, North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. On 15 September 1917, the SAINT JACQUES left Barry carrying 2700 tons (2743 tonnes) of small coal consigned to the Compagnie des chemins de fer Bône-Guelma (Bône-Guelma Railway Company) which operated railways in Algeria and Tunisia (then part of French North Africa). The ship was under the direction of a pilot from Barry.The master had taken the precaution of making sure that the gunners were at their posts forward, aft and on the bridge. At 15:50, UC-51, under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Hans Galster, fired a torpedo which struck the port side of the SAINT JACQUES The explosion caused a large hole below the waterline, measuring 36ft (11 metres) long and 13ft (4 metres) wide. The engine room was completely wrecked and flooded, and five crewmen within the spaces closest to the explosion were killed. The master, the Barry pilot and remaining 28 crewmen took to the lifeboats and remained alongside to see if the ship might yet remain afloat and be taken in tow. The trawler SIDMOUTH came alongside the SAINT JACQUES and signalled to Milford Haven for assistance at 16:10. The trawler ALBATROSS arrived 10 minutes later, followed by the HM Rescue Tug FRANCES BATEY. The SAINT JACQUES had taken on a heavy list to starboard, and yet crew from the FRANCES BATEY managed to secure a tow rope. However, the SAINT JACQUES only stayed afloat for another 10 minutes. It turned over on its starboard side showing the damage sustained on its port side and sank bottom upwards. The site was sought as part of the Cadw-funded Welsh Coal and Slate Wrecks Project and this wreck was located during a marine geophysical survey undertaken by Wessex Archaeology in April-May 2010. The wreck 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:
ADM137/4000 French SS “SAINT JACQUES” sunk 15 September 1917, The National Archives, Kew
Diver Magazine, February 2004
Goddard, T, 1983, Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks, pg108
Larn and Larn Shipwreck Database 2002
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).
Wessex Archaeology, 2009, The Maritime Archaeology of the Welsh Coal Trade, Report Ref: 5311.02s-3, pg 56, WA ID 2023
Wessex Archaeology, 2010, Wrecks off the Coast of Wales: Marine Geophysical Surveys and Interpretation, Report Ref: 53111.02-5, pg38, WA ID 7021

WWW resources include:
https://uboatproject.wales/wrecks/saint-jacques/
https://www.peoplescollection.wales/collections/994421
SAINT JACQUES, https://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/5320.html

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, June 2019

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Archive Records