By Capt. Dan Berg
Photo: Wychwood steamer.
Courtesy Mike Davis collection.
The English steamer Wychwood was built in 1950 by S.P. Austin
& Son, Ltd., Sunderland, England, for Wm. France Fenwick &Company.,
Ltd., London. She was 302.5 feet in length, had a 45 foot beam and
displaced 2,506 gross tons.
At 8:35 PM on August 11, 1955, while enroute from Walton, Nova
Scotia, to Port of Spain, Trinidad, with a cargo of barytes, the
Wychwood ran aground in 18 feet of water ten miles from Gibbs
Hill Light. According to Lloyds Weekly Casualty Reports, the
Wychwood was finally pulled off and re-floated by the United
States Navy tug, Papago, and the Coast Guard cutter, Rockaway, on
August 12th. At that time, she was leaking badly, but her pumps were
handling the flooding without too much trouble. They started to tow
her stern first because her rudder had been damaged towards St.
Georges. On August 13th, the Wychwood was anchored at Five
Fathom's Hole and abandoned due to the heavy weather from the
approaching hurricane, Diane. The crew was transferred to the
cutter, Rockaway. On August 14th, 11:50 AM, it was reported that the
Wychwood sank in 50 to 60 feet of water after her pumps could no
longer keep up with the influx of rushing sea water. Only the tips
of her masts remained above the water.
The Marine Court of Inquiry concluded that the stranding was
primarily caused by the negligence of her master.
The Wychwood was later blown up because she was a hazard to
navigation, and she now lies scattered across the ocean floor.
The information listed
above was taken with permission from the Book:
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS, ISBN # 0-9616167-4-1
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Now also Available as
an instant download printable PDF eBook
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS ebook
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks
4.5 MB instant download, printable PDF file
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page
From the first quarter of the 16th century,
Bermuda became a landmark for
Spanish ships sailing back to Spain from the New World. The desire to sight
Bermuda to confirm their position often ended their voyage as they wrecked
on Bermuda's outer reefs. To this day Bermuda's treacherous reefs have taken
their toll on shipping. The reefs have claimed vessels ranging from ocean
lines to small fishing boats. Bermuda Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive,
accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and
stories ever written about the legendary wrecks around Bermuda. Bermuda
Shipwrecks includes over 100 illustrations comprised of 61 sensational color
photos, 17 rare b&w historical images, 19 stamps, 4 sketches plus one
map. Bermuda Shipwrecks contains a wealth of enlightening information that
gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition
of over 55 of Bermuda's most popular Shipwrecks.
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