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Tyne and Wear HER(12999): St. Mary's Island, Mollusc (Medusa) - Details

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N Tyneside

St. Mary's Island, Mollusc (Medusa)

St. Mary's Island


Maritime Craft


Anti Submarine Vessel




A 597 ton yacht on H.M. Service which was attacked and sunk by German aircraft on 17 March 1941. Lies in 24 metres of water. Many brass fittings have been removed. N 55 06 15 W 001 26 06 (Collings). Steel, 627-ton (597T also recorded in the Spokes database), luxury yacht with two masts a bow like a schooner and a step tapering stern-end, built for the Guinness family in 1906 as one of the most luxurious vessels afloat! Every fitting on her was made of high quality bronze, copper or brass and most of it shone ‘like a new penny’. The vessel had a figurehead at the bows and around twenty-two portholes along each side. She had one deck and a three-tiered superstructure, with the smoke-stack positioned just aft of the bridge wheelhouse amidships. Her single bronze propeller was powered by a three-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engine that used one boiler. On 12 January 1915, the Guinness yacht was hired by the Admiralty as an auxiliary patrol vessel, then later used as an anti-submarine yacht. On 22 March 1919 she was renamed HM Yacht Medusa, then the HM Yatch Mollusc, in November 1939. On 17 March 1941, she was on active duties some two and a half miles off the British submarine base of Blyth, Nothumberland, when she was attacked by German aircraft. Two of the plane’s bombs exploded so close to the Mollusc that they split her hull plates, sending thousands of gallons of water into the vessel, she foundered soon after. The wreck likes orientated in a south-south-east to north-north-west direction on a seabed of sand and stone in a general depth of 28m (a depth of 24m also suggested in the Spokes/NMR database) one and a half miles east-south-east of Blyth. More than twenty years ago this wreck was completely in tact, but a huge amount of salvage work has been carried out on it over the past few years, which has left the remains well smashed and broken up. The highest section, at 4.7m, is around the engine and boiler, which stand amid a jumble of twisted plates and pipes, under which the glint of a considerable amount of copper and brass can be seen. Spokes records the wreck as salvaged by Pock. Grid reference conversion made 18.01.2011 with with Lat/Long referenced as N 55 06 16 W 01 26 10




Peter Collings, 1991, The New Divers Guide to the North-East Coast, page 49; Young, R. (2001) Comprehensive guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast (The): Volume Two, Tempus, Gloucestershire. p. 179, Ian T. Spokes Wreck Database, Inga Project, National Monuments

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