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The King Of The Divan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you, who like a bit of history around their wrecks, this is a small nugget which brings it to life.

Was on holiday up near Oban a couple of weeks ago and we stayed at a lovely cottage called Dalvuie Beag just outside of Benderloch.

Lovely place, can highly recommend it; on a "hobby" farm - daughter got to bottle feed lambs every morning and really friendly owners.

Anyhoo, hanging on a wall was this photo of a lady and a horse.





Turned out that the lady was a previous owner of the house, called Mary MacNiven and the horse in question was Bradshaws one of the Aga Khan's 10 race horses on board the Breda when it sank. Mary rescued the horse from the sea and took it back to Dalvuie Beag for it to recover. For this she was honoured by the Royal Humane Society.

Apparently the horse was still tied to its box/ stall which was floating in the sea and she rowed out to it.

A small piece and very insignificant piece of history but one which made my day.

Snash

PS - apologies about my kack handed photo
 

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Respected Wreck-diving Author & Resident Farnes Ex
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Yes, it was sad about the horses on the ship - that was one of the lucky ones

Cheers Ron
 

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The King Of The Divan
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, it was sad about the horses on the ship - that was one of the lucky ones

Cheers Ron
Ron

Not sure if it is true but the cottage owner said that one of the horses ended up being shot by the Home Guard as they were searching on the beach at night and heard noises and in classic Dad's Army style shouted "Halt, who goes there!" a couple of times. No answer was given and the noises continued so shots were let off. In the morning, an ex-horse was found.

Sounds a bit far fetched and fanciful but would be interested if there is any truth in it.

Snash
 

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Never heard that one Snash, but I know many horses did swim ashore, although there'd probably been quite a few losses too. It is quite a swim to shore from the Breda

Cheers Ron
 

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according to Bob Bairds "Shipwrecks of the west of Scotland" the Breda was bombed in the Oban Roads and although taking on water was able to be beached on the East shore of Ardmucknish bay.she remained there long enough for some of her cargo to be removed but then slipped back into the deeper water where she lies to this day.
The horses were released, some swimming ashore, some still in boxes (presumably as deck cargo) floating ashore. One of them with a dog on top of the box. He says not all of the horses made it ashore but a number did and the last one died in Oban in 1961.
The body of a monkey was also found near Benderloch, a few miles north of Oban with a collar inscribed "SS Breda" round its neck, it must also have got ashore but died later.
As an aside two experienced Welsh divers disappeared while diving on the wreck in 1995. Despite very extensive searching by Police and Royal Navy divers they were not found for almost sixteen months. It was a member of my club who located the bodies in a virtually inaccessible part of a hold and he guided the police divers to them and assisted in the recovery of their remains. He was employed as a motor mechanic in the Police station at which the underwater search unit was based and knew them well. This was his second such grim find, he had recovered the body of a Dutch woman diver in the Red Sea a couple of years earlier.
He is still diving but fortunately has had no more such tasks.
 

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The horseboxes from the Breda weren't finished after the wreck settled.
One was floating off Maiden Island some time later and was struck by a RAF flying boat on landing. The aircraft broke up after striking the half submerged box.
As far as I am aware this particular aircraft was not lifted or has been found as yet, however scallop dredgers have found lots of bits of aircraft over the years in the area and at least three are still recognisable as aircraft on the seabed.
 

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I used to own an old VHS video showcasing wrecks off oban. An old lady was interviewed on the video, whom i think was the lady referred to in the post above. She said in the video that quite a few horse boxes were wrecked on the falls of lora.
 

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The horseboxes from the Breda weren't finished after the wreck settled.
One was floating off Maiden Island some time later and was struck by a RAF flying boat on landing. The aircraft broke up after striking the half submerged box.
As far as I am aware this particular aircraft was not lifted or has been found as yet, however scallop dredgers have found lots of bits of aircraft over the years in the area and at least three are still recognisable as aircraft on the seabed.
Would this be the one that's meant to be in the Sound of Kerrera?
 

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Would this be the one that's meant to be in the Sound of Kerrera?
I was diving looking for that one back in 1966 when I split my mask and had to use my knife on its lanyard to find out which way to swim up. This was before the days of ABLJ's.
 

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Hi Guys, just thought I would share an incident we had when diving the Breda in the 1980s, even it was just a laugh on the club:)
In July 1982 the club had a fabulous holiday diving in the Outer Hebrides, starting at the Butt of Lewis. On the return journey we stopped off at Oban and made some dives on the wreck of the Breda.
Rolf and John were first to go down and after some 15 minutes they both broke the surface in a frenzy of excitement about 30-metres away, shouting and waving their arms about. There could not have been more commotion if a Great White Shark was after them. Rolf spat out his mouth piece and blurted out that he had found what looked like a huge block of gold. It measured about two feet by one foot and it seemed solid. He said that he had scraped it with his knife and it was reasonably soft. Nobody doubted him because he had ten years experience as a diver and knew the difference between the likes of copper, brass and lead etc. We hastily took some good transits and debated our next move. New dive sites were the farthest thing from our minds as a block of gold that size would have provided holidays in the South Seas for the rest of our lives! The adrenalin was really starting to wind us up and we headed post haste back to Oban for refills and a light meal. While we waited (and waited) for our decompression times to pass we discussed the various possibilities of what our 'golden block' may be? How it could be on, or near the Breda? And where it could have come from - as well as how we could handle such a short heavy object. Rolf had said that he had dug down underneath the block so we thought it may be possible to put a rope around as the bottom was just compressed silt. We were back again at 5 pm and we raced out to the scene of our gold mine with hardly a word being spoken - each of us in our own world of dreams.
Once at the buoy we kitted up, with Rolf and I making the first dive, equipped with two big lifting bags. There was no sign of our booty near the anchor but we knew it could not be far away so we decided to separate and search on two sides of the
Anchor however the viz had changed by then. Only a couple of minutes had elapsed when lo and behold, there it was in front of me, shining in the dim green light just as Rolf had said it, the block of gold? If it was it must have been worth in the region of £50 million.
I found the hole Rolf had dug and completed the job quite easily with my knife. Soon I had the heavy nylon rope secured round it, the lifting bags attached and the bags filled to their capacity. Obviously I did not expect anything to happen but I decided to give it a helping hand and put my back into it. The ropes on the lifting bag were straining like a bow string. Nothing happened at first; then an inky cloud rose up around the base as the suction gave up its hold and off went our `gold' like a bat out of hell, leaving behind a very disappointed diver, showered in dirty black silt. Rolf was still out of sight, so I decided to go up top while I had 'air time' left.
Happily the lads had been watching our movements and kept us both under surveillance. By the time I surfaced they had the 'gold' on board and the same disappointment showed on their faces as must have shown on mine. The 'gold' was a small stainless steel cabinet with a flush door and full to the brim with gooey, black, silt, which had been largely caused by rusting metal objects. After the initial gloom, we had a good laugh and decided Rolf should not go unrewarded for our spoilt dreams. Just then he surfaced, swam over to the boat and inquired as to what we had on board. It was then that we gave him the 'reward'; about three gallons of the black goo over his head! Fortunately he saw the joke and had a good laugh at his own expense.
Rolf placed his cabinet on a rocky headland at the end of the bay with a wooden board describing its origin and date and probably it will still be there to this day.

Cheers Ron
 

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The King Of The Divan
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just a quick question - why were the Aga Khan's race horses on the Breda in the first place????

Answers such as because there was no room on the Rondo do not count.....
 

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I used to own an old VHS video showcasing wrecks off oban. An old lady was interviewed on the video, whom i think was the lady referred to in the post above. She said in the video that quite a few horse boxes were wrecked on the falls of lora.
Hi Johnny Boy, I live in Oban and I wondered if you still have the VHS film footage of the old lady being interview in the video about shipwrecks off Oban as I am currently researching her story and hoping to make a short documentary about her. I would be very grateful for any info on that. Thanks Nina
 

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Hi Johnny Boy, I live in Oban and I wondered if you still have the VHS film footage of the old lady being interview in the video about shipwrecks off Oban as I am currently researching her story and hoping to make a short documentary about her. I would be very grateful for any info on that. Thanks Nina
Or if you no longer have the video do you remember the name of the film?
 
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