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Tyne and Wear HER(12934): Roker, Presto - Details

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Roker, Presto



Maritime Craft

Transport Vessel

Cargo Vessel




Built for the Preston Steamship Co. in 1905. 228 feet long and 1143 tons. The Presto struck a mine 4 miles off Roker on 17th April 1917. 4 crew were killed. There are several unidentified wrecks on the chart which might be the Presto (Collings). Steel, 1,143-ton, 69.59m long, 9.8m beam, 4.31m draught British steamship registered at Newcastle upon Tyne. She was owned at the time of loss by Pelton steamship Co. Ltd and built by J. Crown & Sons Ltd at Sunderland in 1905. Her single steel propeller was powered by a three-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engine that employed one boiler. Her machinery was built at Sunderland by G. Clark Ltd. She had one deck, a well-deck, four watertight bulkheads and a superstructure consisting of a 5.8m poop-deck, 18.5m quarter-deck, 14.6m bridge-deck and 8.5m forecastle. The vessel was also armed with a stern-mounted deck gun that fired 2.72kg (6lb) shells. On 17 April 1917 (the NMR database records two dates April 17th and April 6th), the Presto was in ballast on passage from Lowery, when she foundered and was lost, one and a half miles east of the River Wear. She was making about 9.5 knots when it is believed she detonated a German-laid mine under her no.1 hold, which caused a violent explosion and killed four of her crew (another report says six crew) at 9:40am. The ship immediately began to sink by the head. Her surviving crew abandoned ship in the boats and the examination vessel, which happened to be close by at the time, picked them up and took the Presto in tow by the Stern. Two tugs also came out from the Wear and assisted the tow. However at 11am she had taken in so much water that the fore part actually struck the seabed about one and a half miles from Roker lighthouse, where she was abandoned, settling on the bottom in 17m of water (Spokes and NMR records her location as 4 miles from Roker). The wreck believed to be the steamship Presto, lies fairly close to the remains of the Hebble on a well swept seabed of hard stone and sand, in a general depth of 17m. The wreck is in line with the main shipping channels for the river and appears to have been dispersed with explosives at some time, because she is reported to be totally collapsed, rather flattened and concreting to the seabed. The highest section of about 3m is around the boiler and engine which are covered in soft corals. Grid reference conversion made 02.02.2011 with with Lat/Long referenced as N 54 55 26 W 01 19 01




Peter Collings, 1991, The New Divers Guide to the North-East Coast, page 20; Young, R. (2000) Comprehensive guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast (The): Volume One (1740 – 1917), Tempus, Gloucestershire. p. 140, Ian T. Spokes Wreck Database, Inga Project, National Monuments Record MONUMENT NUMBER: 908624; Hydrographic Office wreck index

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