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Mesaba (UKHO 9912)

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Map ReferenceSM57SW
Grid ReferenceSM5090770919
Unitary (Local) AuthorityMaritime
Old CountyMaritime
Type Of SiteWRECK
Period20th Century

The wreck of the MESABA lies in 96m of water. The wreck is broken, with the forward, northern section measuring 43m long. The southern, larger section is 99m in length. (McCartney, 2022: 169).

The wreck was originally identified by the UKHO as the CITY OF GLASGOW (NPRN 240641). Research by Dr Innes McCartney (2022: 169) for the Echoes from the Deep project, following a detailed survey by Bangor University in May 2017, identified the wreck as being dimensionally, positionally, and archivally consistent with the loss of the MESABA. The record has been updated to reflect that new research.

NOTE: The update to the location of the wreck of the MESABA means that it no longer lies within Welsh Waters, and is to the west of the Wales/Ireland median line in the Irish Sea. As such, the wreck should not be considered as an active part of the National Monuments Record of Wales. It has been retained within the overall NMRW for completeness.

Event and Historical Information:
The MESABA was built by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast in 1898 (yard number 319). Technical and configuration specifications are given as 6833gt, 4423nt; 482.1ft length, 52.2ft breadth, 31.6ft depth; steel hulled; triple expansion engine, single shaft, 1 screw, 4 masts; 772 nhp; max speed 13 knots; Official number 109392. The ship was delivered to Frederick Leyland & Co Ltd and operated under the name of WINIFRED. The owner at time of loss was Atlantic Transport Co Ltd of Fenchurch Street, London. The MESABA had been defensively-armed and was on passage from Liverpool to Philadelphia - it had sailed from Liverpool in the combined convoy OL32/OE21 on 31 August.

On 1 September 1918, the ship was torpedoed without warning 21 miles E from Tuskar Rock, St Georges Channel by German submarine UB 118. Twenty lives were lost including the Master, Owen Percy Clarke. The wreck was located and examined by HMS BEAGLE in April 1980. The submarine UB-118 also sank the steamship ANT CASSAR (NPRN: 240303) a few days before the MESABA. The names commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial to the Merchant Marine, Plymouth Naval Memorial and Portsmouth Naval Memorial include the following from the MESABA: James Albert Bush, age 17, Sculleryman; Edgar Stanley Chaloner, age 19, Able Seaman (Born at Llay, Clwyd); Owen Percy Clarke, age 52, Master; Robert Joseph Clifton, age 32, Fireman; Frank Foster, age 16, Assistant Steward; James Francis, Leading Seaman (service no. 2125C); William Stanmore Glover, age 39, Chief Officer; Adam Stanley Hampton, age 26, Junior Fourth Engineer Officer; John Kennedy, 41, Greaser; William Edward Kerr, age 25, Fireman; William Kildea, age 50, Seaman (service no. 2100), Royal Naval Reserve; G W Land, Carpenter's Mate; John MacLure, age 48, Chief Steward; Hy McNeil, age 19, Assistant Steward; Leonard Charles Mills, age 27, Purser; William George Rehill, age 54, Able Seaman; Thomas Riding, age 37, Fireman; Donald Stewart, age 64, Trimmer; Dominik Tineich, age 35, Fireman; and Alexander Wilson, age 39, Donkeyman.

Sources include:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lloyd's Register Casualty Returns, 1 July - 30 September 1918, p.8 (i)

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

Mercantile Navy List, 1900, p.235

Mercantile Navy List, 1910, p.339

Mercantile Navy List, 1915, p.390


SS Mesaba, Wreck Site EU

U-Boat Project: Commemorating the War at Sea

UKHO ID 9912: Contains public sector information, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0, from UK Hydrographic Office.

J. Whitewright, RCAHMW, November 2023

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.