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Tyne and Wear HER(13162): Whitburn, Birtley - Details

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S Tyneside

Whitburn, Birtley



Maritime Craft





The Birtley was a steel British steamship 2873 tons, 101.9m long, 13.6m beam (wide) and 6.5m draught (needed 6.5m of water to float). She was built by Wood, Skinner & Co. in 1923 and was owned by the Burnett Steam Ship Co. at Newcastle. The propeller was powered by a three-cylinder triple-expansion steam engine with three boilers. The machinery was built by the North East Marine Engineering Co. at Sunderland. On 5th May 1936 the Birtley ran onto rocks about 230m from the bottom of Rackley Way in dense fog. The Whitburn life saving apparatus could not reach the vessel. The Roker Volunteer Life Brigade and lifeboat were called and reached the Birtley with their rocket. However tugs were unable to pull the vessel off the rocks. On 2 December 1936 the Birtley was finally refloated. On 19th January 1941 she went aground again on the Long Sands at Tynemouth. On 15th September 1941 she struck a German mine and sank ten miles off Cromer in Norfolk. 3 of her crew and 6 DEMS gunners were lost.




Ron Young, 2001, The Comprehensive Guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast, Vol 2 (1918-2000), pages 118-119;

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