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Site Details

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

NPRN 274747

Map Reference SM83NE

Grid Reference SM8542439997

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 be in the vicinity (?see UNNAMED WRECK NPRN 518423 broken up and partially buried)

Event and Historical Information:
The BURUTU was a steel-hulled steamship built in 1902 by A Stephen and Sons Ltd, Linthouse, Glasgow. Technical and configuration specifications are given as: 3902gt; 109.72m x 13.46m x 4.47m; 1 deck, 6 bulkheads, passenger deck + boat deck 242ft, forecastle 48ft; screw propulsion linked to a 3 cylinder triple expansion engine; official number 115280; international code signal T K D W. At time of loss the cargo vessel was owned by British and African Co Ltd, Colonial House, 20 Water Street, Liverpool (John Craig given as Manager) and was registered at Liverpool. The British and African Steam Navigation Company, formerly of Glasgow, was re-registered as a company in 1900 to manage an additional fleet of steamers now belonging to Elder Dempster and Co. On 3 October 1918, the BURUTU was carrying tin ingots and copper from Lagos to Liverpool under the command of H A Yarate. Travelling in convoy without lights, in accordance with Admiralty orders. It collided with Glasgow registered steamship CITY OF CALCUTTA, also travelling in convoy and steaming without lights. The incident occurred in dark, rainy and stormy weather. The bow of the CITY OF CALCUTTA struck the BURUTU on its port side, and the BURUTU sank in just a few minutes, with the loss of 79 passengers and 71 crewmembers, including the master, officers, and others on watch on the bridge. The subsequent inquiry into the incident concluded that the cause was the darkness of the night and navigating without lights, and that the collision occurred without negligence on either side. A number of attempts have been made to salvage the more valuable items of the ship's cargo. The loss location was given as 25m west of Fishguard.
The names commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Portsmouth Naval Memorial, St Saviours Church Memorial, Lagos, and at Middlesbrough Cemetery were members of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; Nigerian Marine, and Newfoundland Naval Reserve - William Grice, ordinary seaman, age 20; William Ernest Hollis, Ordinary Seaman age 20; Herbert Frederick Chadwell, signalman, age 19; W G Blackburn, Junior Engineer; F A Blyth, Mate; F J Liddell, Engineer; L Mathieson, Junior Enginer; C E C Sorensen, Junior Engineer; and Jacob Bussey, Leading Seaman, age 22.

Sources include:
Board of Trade World War I Wreck Return 1918, Part II, Table A, pg39(3)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (
Hocking, C, 1989, Dictionary of Disasters at Sea in the Age of Steam: including sailing ships and ships of war lost in action 1824-1962, pg109
Larn and Larn Shipwreck Database 2002
Liverpool Daily Post 5 October 1918 pg5 Col 7; 7 October 1918 pg3 Col 5; 8 October 1918 pg6 Col 3
Lloyds List, 2 June 1918
Liverpool Mercury 7 October 1918
Lloyds Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1 July 1918-30 June 1919, number 1889 in B
Mercantile Navy List 1918, pg80

WWW resources:

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, July 2019.