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Moyallon (UKHO 93302)

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Map ReferenceSM94SW
Grid ReferenceSM9130241692
Unitary (Local) AuthorityMaritime
Old CountyMaritime
Type Of SiteWRECK
Period20th Century

The wreck of the MOYALLON lies in 38m of water and is orientated 240 (bow)/ 060(stern) degrees. The wreck is upright but partly disintegrated amidships, with a surveyed length of 42.9m. The machinary is visible in the aft part of the ship. The wreck was first located and surveyed by the UKHO in January 2020, with a further survey in December 2020.

The SS MOYALLON was originally associated by the UKHO with UKHO ID 9855 (NPRN 800297). However, the most recent UKHO surveys of UKHO 9855 in 2019 indicate that its length is around 80m, nearly twice that of the MOYALLON (43m). A more detailed survey by Bangor University in June 2021 indicates a length of c. 76m (McCartney, 2022: Phase 1 Analysis), leading McCartney to conclude that UKHO 9855 was too long to be the wreck of the MOYALLON. 

In 2020, UKHO 93302 was discovered in the area with a length of 42.9m, closely matching that of the MOYALLON of 43.3m. The location of the wreck of the MOYALLON, and its associated UKHO record have been updated to reflect this.

Event and Historical Information:
The MOYALLON was built as a 'C S' or Coaster Standard type cargo vessel built at the end of World War I by J Fullerton & Co Ltd, Paisley (Yard No. 262). The ship was laid down on 16 April 1919 and completed the same year as part of an extensive programme of shipbuilding set in motion by the British Government's Shipping Controller in 1916. The 'C S' type included seven distinct groups of vessels (C1-C7) ranging in size from 400 - 3,000 tons. The MOYALLON began life as the WAR IRWELL, a C1 type, with the configuration machinery aft, bridge-amidships, and raised quarterdeck. Specifications are given as 432gt; 142.05ft (43.3m) length x 25.12ft  (7.65m) breadth x 11.4ft (3.5m) depth; 1 deck (weatherdeck), quarterdeck 79ft, boatdeck 9ft, forecastle 22ft; 3 bulkheads; 3 masts; screw propulsion powered by a single boiler linked to a compound engine producing 82hp; machinery by Campbell & Calderwood, Paisley; official number 142487. The Inchape disposal plan enacted at the end of the war saw ownership of the MOYALLON eventually pass to John Kelly Ltd of Belfast. The vessel was laid up afloat at Belfast from 18 April to 1 September 1924.

The MOYALLON foundered on the 16 September 1924. A full and detailed account of the sinking is given in the subsquent Board of Trade Inquiry (link in sources below), which can be summarised as follows. On 12 September 1924, the MOYALLON sailed from Dublin at 11pm in ballast for Carreg-y-llam (Caernarvonshire), where it arrived next day at 7.30 am to load a cargo of road metal for Newhaven, Sussex. At the time of sailing, the crew consisted of ten hands all told, with Robert Hutchison as master. As soon as the loading was finished the vessel proceeded on her voyage to Newhaven at 9.15 am on the 15 September 1924. At 12.15 pm Bardsey Island was abeam, strong SW wind and heavy sea. At 5.30 pm the chief engineer sent word to the master that there was more water in the stokehold than the pumps could deal with. The master immediately went below and saw the amount of water in the stokehold and also helped to put a lashing on the hopper cover. On coming on deck he ordered all available hands to start baling, which was immediately started and carried on until driven from the stokehold by the water. About 6.30 pm, when it was seen that the water had increased considerably, and the fires were getting low, the master determined to keep the ship away to S by E in an endeavour to reach Fishguard. When put on this course the vessel rolled to such an extent that work of any kind was an impossibility, and the vessel had to be brought head to wind and sea again. Distress signals were then shown, which were picked up by the SS HAMPSHIRE COAST.

The HAMPSHIRE COAST arrived in the vicinity at 8 pm and an attempt was made to establish a tow, but the HAMPSHIRE COAST was unable to pick it up through the heavy weather then prevailing. Conditions were described as "a very dark, dirty night with a heavy SW to WSW gale blowing and a high sea running". About 7.40 pm, the fires were put out and all pumps stopped at 8.15 p.m. The crew also had to stop baling, as the floors in the stokehold were adrift and washing about. Eventually, the vessels were connected up by the master of the HAMPSHIRE COAST backing up his vessel's stern under the lee of the MOYALLON thus enabling the crew of the latter to throw a heaving line on board. Two hawsers were then passed, the HAMPSHIRE COAST began towing at 10.40 pm, the vessels being approximately sixteen miles NW of Fishguard. About 2 am, on the 16 September, the hawsers parted, the vessels at the time were beginning to get into smoother water and were less than a mile off Strumble Head. At 2.30 am the MOYALLON appeared to be settling down fast by the stern. Orders were given to launch the lifeboat. The crew managed to jump and scramble into the boat. At 2.45 am the MOYALLON sank stern first, reportedly in 27 fathoms of water, Strumble Head bearing SSE (mag), distant 1 mile. The HAMPSHIRE COAST picked the boat up, took the crew on board and landed them at Fishguard. 

Sources include:

Board of Trade Inquiry, number 7817, December 1924

Larn and Larn Shipwreck Database 2002

Lloyd's Register Casualty Returns, 1 July - 30 September 1924, p.5 (b)

Lloyds Register Documentation:

Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1 July 1920 - 30 June 1921, number 66565 in M

McCartney, I., 2022. Echoes from the Deep. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Mitchell, W H and Sawyer, L A, 1968, British Standard Ships of World War I, pp.91, 94

SS Moyallon, Wreck Site EU

UKHO ID 9855: Contains public sector information, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0, from UK Hydrographic Office.

UKHO ID 93302: Contains public sector information, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0, from UK Hydrographic Office.

J. Whitewright, RCAHMW, January 2024.

This record was enhanced in 2020 with funding from Lloyd's Register Foundation as part of the project ‘Making the Link: Lloyd's Register and the National Monuments Record of Wales’. Visit Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre for more resources.