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That's Members Representative to you!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

Not been too active on YD lately for a number of reasons, one of them being a couple of wrecks we've been researching off the North Coast of Anglesey. It all kicked off a few years ago when CSAC member and author Chris Holden had us diving the wreck of an old steam trawler we referred to as 'Not The Lady Windsor'. We were trying to figure out her identity, researching losses, measuring her etc. During this process we came up with a good idea of what she might be - only problem was (there's always problems with wreck research!) the wreck we thought she was, was not more than a few miles away and had been known about for many many years. So, back to the drawing board - or were we...?

A bell off the other wreck, known as the "Kincorth", had been removed 20 odd years ago marked TR4, so Nigel Cossons, another CSAC member, spent many months piecing together the complete history of the bell. This took us all the way to Canada, and the Castle Series of Steam Trawlers built during WW1 for the Admiralty.

Anyway, a brief article appears in this months Dive Magazine on page 13, but this is the full story of the TR4/Cartagena. Please note we didn't discover either of these wrecks, we've just researched the correct facts, dived her, and confirmed her identity - the first time this has ever been confirmed...

I'll post some photographs up later this evening.

SHIP MISSING FOR 79 YEARS IDENTIFIED BY LOCAL DIVE CLUB

Chester Sub Aqua Club has recently confirmed the fate of a ship lost without trace in the Irish Sea in 1928. The ship, a steam trawler called Cartagena, went missing on passage between Fleetwood and Rio de Janerio; she sailed from the Lancashire port in January 1928 and was never seen again. Her crew of twelve were all lost when she sank.

The club has been researching the wrecks to the east of Anglesey including one from which a bell marked TR.4 was recovered in the late 1980’s. The wreck has been known locally as the Kincorth for many years and it is only recently that the club has managed to establish that the TR.4 is in fact the Cartagena following documentary research in the UK and Canada together with a series of dives on the wreck. It is now clear that the ship was built in Canada during the First World War as a minesweeping trawler and was subsequently sold by the government to a UK based fishing company in 1926. She was then sold once more to the Brazilian government and was being delivered when she was lost. The dives on the ship have served to confirm the identity of the wreck.

The Liverpool Courier reported that the ship’s empty lifeboat was recovered at Llandudno after being spotted capsized in the sea from the pier, and later a lifebuoy was recovered at Carnforth but no further trace of the ship herself was ever found. The newspapers of the time describe the anxiety of the relatives waiting for news of the ship, however, since she had taken on board additional coal to enable her to make the voyage to Rio without stopping they were forced to wait for over six weeks until her fate became clear. Subsequently a Board of Trade Inquiry held in Liverpool noted that the Court could “find nothing else in the evidence to guide it as to the probable cause of the loss of the vessel”. This suggests she was suddenly overwhelmed and this was supported by the fact that the lifeboats cover was still, at least partly, in place when the boat was found. This was considered at the time to be an indication that it had been swept off the ship rather than launched by the crew.

The recent dives on the wreck have not yet identified any obvious damage to the ship and the cause of her loss still remains unknown. Further dives will be carried out over the coming months to try and solve this mystery.

The fact that this wreck is not the Kincorth means that the location of this vessel now needs to be established. The Club has located a candidate wreck and further research is being undertaken on this site as well.

Full details of the wreck will be published shortly in the second volume of Chris Holden’s Essential Underwater Guide to North Wales.

During the process of identifying the wreck the names of the crew have been found in the 1928 newspapers and the Club will be working with a Fleetwood historian to determine whether any relatives still live in the area.

Background Information

TR.4 / Cartagena

The TR.4 was built by the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company in Port Arthur, Ontario (Port Arthur is now known as Thunder Bay). It is believed that she was completed in 1917 but then frozen in by ice in the St Lawrence Seaway for the winter and so not commissioned until May 1918. The ship was built for the UK Admiralty but served in the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship was one of 60 Canadian built minesweeping trawlers of the “Castle” Class, the ships were named TR.1 to TR.60.

After the First World War the TR.4 was returned to the Admiralty and steamed across the Atlantic to Inverness where she was laid up until 1926 for disposal. She was purchased by the Boston Deep Sea Fishing and Ice Company Ltd and renamed Cartagena, only to be laid up again at Grimsby and then Boulogne. The fishing company negotiated her sale to the Brazilian Government and the ship was taken to Ostend to be fitted out for fishing. She then sailed to Fleetwood, the home port of the Boston Company, where her deep sea crew were signed on to deliver her to Rio de Janerio. The contract for the sale of the vessel was to be completed by her delivery. It appears that she was never actually used by the fishing company but spent all of her time in their ownership laid up.

She left Fleetwood on the 14th January 1928 and anchored off the port overnight. She swung her compass on the morning of the 15th January and then left the Lune Deeps for Rio de Janerio. She was never seen again. Subsequently a lifeboat and a drum of oil were recovered at Llandudno and a life belt (bearing the ships name) at Carnforth. All twelve of the crew perished in the sinking.

It was intended that the ship should make her passage to Rio de Janerio without stopping and the local newspapers of the time imply that the crew would have received a bonus had they arrived early. However, arrangements had been made for the ship to call at the Cape Verde Islands should she run short of fuel or supplies. Therefore, it was not possible for the Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Company to categorically confirm that the ship had been lost until she failed to appear in Rio de Janeiro some six weeks later.

The Board of Trade Inquiry was held in Liverpool in 1929 but could not find any reason for the loss of the vessel. There was discussion about the state of her trim and the fact that ballast had been removed during her refit in Ostend. There were also concerns about the fact that coal had been stowed in her fish hold though the fishing company noted that this was common practice for trawlers travelling to distant ports or fishing grounds. The reasons for the loss of the Cartagena remain a mystery.

Such long voyages by trawlers of this size were not uncommon and there are records of other Canadian built “Castle” class trawlers steaming to South Africa and even Australia without mishap.

Kincorth

The Kincorth was built in Aberdeen in 1909 as a long liner. She was requisitioned for naval service in the First World War and passed through the hands of several owners after that; by the Second World War she was fishing from Fleetwood though still registered in Aberdeen. She retained her original name throughout her life.

She is reported to have been lost on 10th December 1941 in a mine explosion off Point Lynas on Anglesey in North Wales. All of her crew of eleven were lost in the sinking.

Her final crew agreement notes the method of fishing as trawling so it would appear that at some stage she was converted from a long liner to a trawler. The agreement also notes her loss in a mine explosion and gives details of her crew; it appears that this included a father and son who were Second Engineer and Fireman respectively.
 

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One Team One Dream
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I would second that comment about the report its noce to know the name of a wrech i dived last year with a group of friends from Scott Watermans boat Quets also good to find the details of the home of a very big edible crab that nearly had my finger off which for the naturests was left to live another day (only because the bugger would not let go of the fishing net )
 

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Beach-bum-Blonde Mafia ;o)
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yaay

Nice one Justin - I'd love to be involved in something like that!

Sue

PS - the fish are back ;)
 

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Charter Boat Skipper, Salvage Diver & YBOD abuser
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Nice one Justin.
I saw Chris on Thursday but forgot to ask about the "not the Lady Windsor".
If the Kincorth is the Cartegena then the "not the Lady Windsor" could well be the Kincorth- given the state of it... all good stuff :teeth:
We've actually got some vis ... 6m+ on the Dakota tonight!
ATB,
Terry
 

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That's Members Representative to you!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Some pictures to go with the story...

Articles from the time the ship disappeared...





The TR1, first in the TR series under construction at Port Arthur (Now Thunder Bay), Canada... Photo courtesy of the National Archives of Canada.



These are grabbed from the video we used to identify the wreck, hence the low quality...

Overgrown trawling gallow, with winch/pulley block still in place.



Main winch, with the cable still in place.



Trawling gallow and supporting strut.

 

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That's Members Representative to you!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice one Justin.
I saw Chris on Thursday but forgot to ask about the "not the Lady Windsor".
If the Kincorth is the Cartegena then the "not the Lady Windsor" could well be the Kincorth- given the state of it... all good stuff :teeth:
We've actually got some vis ... 6m+ on the Dakota tonight!
ATB,
Terry
Hi Terry,

Thats the thinking... Hopefully some lucky sod will stick their hand on the bell one day! By the way, it was me in the little red RIB a few weeks ago that picked up your buoy off the line!

I had pm'd Elfyn and was hoping to get across to Amlwch on that Thursday night after we'd finshed the weeks worth of diving - but I was shattered after 6 nights in a tent being woken up at 4am every morning by the sheep! I just had to get home and get some sleep, but will hopefully be back up there soon!

Cheers for the replies everyone - it was really nice for the whole club to stumble across this little mystery - but most of the credit must go to Nigel Cossons and Chris Holden of CSAC. Chris's wealth of knowledge and the fact he knows practically everyone around North Wales set the whole thing rolling. And Nigel, who is currently laid off diving, has spent a lot of time chasing people both in the UK and Canada getting all the information together.

I just took the boat out and video'd the wreck!

:D
 

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Charter Boat Skipper, Salvage Diver & YBOD abuser
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but I was shattered after 6 nights in a tent being woken up at 4am every morning by the sheep!
They wanted seconds did they? Horny little buggers aren't they :teeth:

We've had three bells so far- not a name on any of them :rolleyes: It'll be there somewhere. Must have been one hell of an explosion given the state of the wreck.
Ta, for retrieving the buoy, we're usually on channel 8 if you want to give us a shout anytime/listen to the local skippers.
ATB,
Terry
 

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That's Members Representative to you!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm probably gonna regret this but...

We sent the story of the TR4/Cartagena to Granada Reports in the hope we might get some more information about this wreck and the Kincorth... So Chris Holden and I were interviewed last night and it we should be getting a few minutes coverage at some point over the next few days - I'll confirm the date when they tell me...

Should hopefully be some nice photo's and some underwater footage too...

EEK!
 

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Likes to play his bongo's in the morning
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Hi Justin,
saw the article in the dive mag, well done to all involved.

Get your moment in the limelight from Granada Reports onto You Tube for us all to have a chuckle.

PS: how's your Aussie soap opera trivia coming along? :wink:
 

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Beach-bum-Blonde Mafia ;o)
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Bugger! - 'programme not available in your country' :(
 
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