North East Diving

Letters and Photographs Copyright of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Muesems Collections

SS Hogarth

SS Hogarth, not where they thought.

Depth: 55m
Location: East of Amble
Type: Wreck
Description: Cargo/passenger steamer

For a lot of years some individuals have been searching for a cargo/passenger ship that sank off the Farne Islands.
We know why they never found it. It wasnt there!
Initial reports and researchers reported the following;

On 7 June 1918, the Imperial German U-boat, SM UB 107 (Kplt. Eberhard von Prittwitz und Gaffron) torpedoed the SS HOGARTH (Captain David Stephen), 10-miles south ½ east from the Longstone light. The steamer had sailed from London for Aberdeen with a 650-ton general cargo, but was hit amidships at midnight and sank almost at once; with the loss of 25 crewmen. The sole survivor was the senior DEMS gunner, who happened to be in his cabin at the time; the next thing he could remember was being in the freezing water and clinging to some of the ship’s floating wreckage. It was two days, before a passing patrol boat picked him up and took him to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he was treated for hypothermia.

We came accross a letter sent by the manager of the shipping line which didnt corroborate the previous articles;

'Dear Mrs Cooper
I think it well to send you the following particulars now received by our London agent from Gunner Bunting regarding the disaster to the "Hogarth".
"I have seen Bunting, and he says Flamboro' Head was passed 7.20pm on 7th inst. and they would be just north of the Tyne, and what he reckoned about 30 miles south of the Farnes, when the vessel was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side - amidships, evidently striking the boilers, which in his opinion exploded at the same time as the torpedo.
Everything seemed to be smashed, and all was over in 4 minutes; practically no time for anyone below to save themselves. It was a very quiet still night with a smooth calm sea and not dark.
His story is that the "Watch" had just changed at midnight Friday 7th. he was in his cabin under the bridge, whilst his mater Robertson had gone aft to the gun position. He had just got his boots off when all at once he was shot out of his cabin - he thought upwards - and into the water, when he managed to clutch hold of what he ultimately found to be the raft placed on Boat Deck, but was then almost immediately sucked under through the sinking of the vessel, and on coming to the surface and recovering himself found everything vanished - at some distance he heard the cries of two men. He called out to them to "Keep a good heart" and for half an hour or so he heard them, and then all was still. On daylight coming in he saw nothing but wreckage floating about but none of the boats, only portions of these. About an hour after he saw a Patrol boat going north but too far off to hear his cries, and saw nothing more until towards evening when an Aeroplane flew overhead and at some distance saw sweepers working. At the time of the torpedoeing it was low water and the flood carried him south, the ebb carried him north to the Farnes, the following flood took him more towards the land, and the succeeding ebb carried him inside the Farnes and into the Forth when he was seen and pciked up by an escort of a convoy - "Othello" 8:30am Sunday 9th and taken to North Shields. His right leg was injured below the knee, and the lower portion of leg of his trousers torn off.
His right hand was also injured and a severe bruise on his left shoulder, but these injuries are getting on satisfactorily."
Yours very truly,
21st June 1918'

This letter indicated that its position was indeed not the Farnes but much further south. And this meant we had something to get our teeth into.
Unfortunately, the number of unknown marks in the Tyne area are numerous and visability is usually poor due to the outfall from the river.
We've been hitting unknown marks for sometime now, and on the 27th we dropped on one in 55m. Brian Matthewman was first down the shot with myself and Jo Jefferson in tow. Bri tied in the waster, as is the routine and I lined off.
The wreck was in a well broken condition with little or no structure identifiable which is to be expected in shallow waters off the Tyne. Moving over the wreck we identified cargo which appeared to be general building materials. Getting to midships we encountered wooden decking and other objects indicative of the superstructure. A bit of rummaging around uncovered a broken compass and the bell. A real team effort to recover it from the position it was found. Good work also from the guys on deck dragging it in.

The crew

We found some images of the vessel.

Further investigations led us to someones personal account of their experience on board this vessel. Absolute gold dust when trying to visualise the ship and understand it's history.

Personal account of a passenger on the Hogarth.
Dad was a panel patient and the evil of the National Insurance Scheme was amply in evidence in his case. The doctor sent for immediately but presumably because it was Sunday he refused to come, although called no less than three times during that afternoon and night. If my father had been other than a patient for whom the doctor received payment from the Government whether he attended him or not, I am quite sure his behaviour would have been otherwise. He condescended to put in an appearance about 9 o’clock the next morning and, I recall being told, got a great shock and became as white as a sheet when he saw the severity of the injury. We can only trust that others benefited from what must have been to him a sharp realisation of the neglect of his duty as a physician. That Dad eventually recovered and was fit enough to be accepted for the Army two years later was in the greater measure due to the splendid constitution built up by years of clean living and honest toil. Dad’s incapacity for work for a long time was a serious matter for the household in our humble circumstances where the only income was the few shillings sick benefit granted weekly by his Union and it does my heart good when I think of how the Clan rallied round and helped in many ways to lighten the burden. One incident I shall never forget. An uncle and aunt, who shall be nameless, had visited us and it was only after they had been gone some time that we discovered a parcel of groceries behind the outer door which they had placed there surreptitiously when entering. Such kindness can never be forgotten. Anyhow, to return to the good ship, ‘Hogarth’. At the time I started that vacation, Dad was already convalescent but still far from fit for work. Father and mother and sister used to come to the quay to see me off on every occasion and it so happened that one day while they were there, the departure of the vessel was delayed on account of the second class stewardess failing unaccountably to turn up. But time and tide wait for no man or even a stewardess and it had just been decided to cast off when Johnnie, inspired, dashed down the gangway, grabbed my mother my the arm - ‘Come on, you’re the stewardess this trip’ – and hustled her aboard, leaving Dad and my sister Madge standing open mouthed on the quay. Johnnie quickly instructed Mother as to her duties which were merely to be at the beck and call of every female passenger and to assist in every way. Mother was soon busy but alas for all her good intentions to give satisfaction as stewardess on that trip. As soon as we had cleared the harbour and reached the open sea, the wind freshened to almost a gale and the poor little ‘Hogarth’ was tossed about like a cork all the way from Aberdeen to London. The second class quarters resounded with moans and cries of ‘Stewardess, stewardess’ but in vain. The new stewardess had been among the first to succumb to mal de mere and lay in a bunk praying weakly, I suppose, for death – when given the opportunity. So to all intents and purposes, the ‘Hogarth’ was none the less stewardess less during that trip. The return voyage, however, was made in perfect weather and I shall never forget the evening, with the sun sinking slowly like a great ball of fire in a sea of glass and my mother singing ‘Somewhere a voice is calling’ on the fore deck where the passengers had gathered for a sing song. Every time I hear that song it brings that scene back to me. There were doubtless other items but that is the only one I remember. It was one of those moments when it seemed the world stood still and the song with its setting were imprinted on my memory for evermore. The stewardess more than amended for her lapse on the outward trip and returned home much richer than when she set out, a great blessing under the circumstances. During one trip that summer, I celebrated my 10th birthday and I still remember the thrill that was mine that morning when I woke up and found two large cakes of chocolate next to my pillow, place there my Johnnie, the dear chap. He had also allowed me to sleep until I waked as an additional birthday present. When I did appear in the cook’s galley in due course, he came forward to congratulate me but I stopped with the the remark,’Not yet. I wasn’t born until 10 o’clock.’ And only when that hour struck did I deign to accept his congratulations. For a child of my years, I used to make quite a large sum (two or three shillings) in tips every trip. These tips came from second class passengers who generally economised by taking their food with them for the 36 hour journey instead of patronising the dining room and who came regularly to the galley to beg hot water for making tea. The task of supplying this want was delegated to me and I was quite proud of my official position as hot water dispenser. And talking of hot water that reminds me that I got into that element myself of one occasion on board the good ship ‘Hogarth’, running foul of the ship’s carpenter, albeit quite innocently. Up to the time my voice broke, I possessed the gift of imitating the whistling of a canary in a really wonderful degree, according to report. The trill in the canary’s song can, of course, be likened to a whistle with a pea in it, such as milkmen were then in the habit of using and may still do for all I know. Anyhow, the captain of the ‘Hogarth’ used such a whistle for calling the carpenter and as I had been trilling away intermittently in sheer exuberance of blithe youthful spirits one day, the carpenter, poor man, had been running up and down the stairs leading to the bridge all day to the great surprise and annoyance of the captain every time he appeared. I verily believe the carpenter would have clouted my ear if he could have got me alone. As it was, he did lift me clear of the ground and gave me a shaking but not in earnest, I suppose, but I know that I was so scared that I yelled blue murder and so upset the poor man that he hastily released me. But I was resolved from then on to keep the canary for dry land. My seagoing vacation in the following year, 1914, was broken off abruptly by the outbreak of war on 4 August. It was a keen disappointment to me – what did war mean to a child of my years? The Hogarth was later in the war torpedoed and sunk off Flamborough Head. These trips implanted in me a love of the sea and ships which has never died and up to the time I was sixteen, a sailor’s life was my ambition. During my last year at Gordon’s College, I attended the Navigation School there and had every intention of following the sea as a career. Circumstances, however, and no doubt for the best, decided otherwise. To enroll me as an apprentice on one of the steamship lines was beyond my parents’ means as a premium of anything from £40 to £100 had to be deposited and during the 4 year’s apprenticeship private means were practically essential. I was quite prepared to take the alternative course of shipping before the mast as an ordinary seaman, but immediately after the war (this was 1919) with the return of so many seamen to the merchant service, there were no vacancies to be found. So my dreams of a seagoing career had to be perforce shelved, although, the lure still haunting me, I tried to join the Navy even after I had apparently settled down in the position of a respectable bank clerk. But even there I was baulked, as there were no vacancies in the Navy either. Quite obviously, Fate had other plans for me.

Some plates were recovered with a nice print of the shipping line crest visable on them.

I think you will agree this is a marvelous wreck to find and find out about.

Lastly, I would like to tribute the men who lost teir lives on that day.

Adamson, Alexander 19yrs, Fireman
Anderson, Alexander Second Engineer
Barnett, John 33yrs, Carpenter, JOHN
Binnie, Alex 43yrs, Trimmer
Bodie, Alexander Ingram 37yrs, Cook
Bowles, Albert Edward 18yrs, Trimmer
Byres, Stephen Reynolds 58yrs, Able Seaman
Cheyne, George 33yrs, Greaser
Cooper, J. Greaser
Cormack, Peter 33yrs, Fireman
Dunlop, James Alexander 31yrs, Donkeyman
Gibb, Duncan Forbes 33yrs, Fireman
Main, Harry 34yrs, Fireman
Marr, George, Steward
McBrain, George 61yrs, Able Seaman
McDonald, John 54yrs, Boatswain (Bosun)
Niclasen, Niels Carl Sofus 30yrs, Able Seaman
Porter, David 34yrs, Able Seaman
Ritchie, Andrew 45yrs, Able Seaman
Robb, Alexander 34yrs, Able Seaman
Robertson, James, First Engineer
Smart, Alexander 45yrs, Mate
Smith, Alexander Walker 31yrs, Fireman
Stephen, David 55yrs, Master
Steward  William Second Mate
Steward, William Second Mate
Letters and Photographs copyright of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Muesems Collections

SS Fingal

The S.S. Fingal was a fast cargo / passenger liner belonging to the London & Edingburgh Shipping Co. We discovered the wreck in 2005 & a team of local rebreather divers dived on & positively identified the wreck.

It is standing upright in 62 metres of water & is in excellent condition standing 7 metres high in places.

Plans of the vessel are on hand & dives can be moticulously planned down to the last detail, because of the depth this remains a dive for mixed gas divers.


Another cargo/passenger liner. This vessel was owned by the Falkland Islands Shipping Co. & this very substantial wreck

lies in 50 metres of water.

   This is an exceptional dive & can be managed on air as the wreck stands some 8 metres high.

   Again plans of the vessel are available for pre-dive scrutiny.




Trident ?

A very large wreck of some 100 metres in length. She lies in 48 metres & is very substantial with the mast still standing.

   Thought to be the merchant ship Trident but still not positively identified. 


Video footage by Ed McCullam.

At 54M. the Svava is still one of the most popular dives amongst local techy

divers. In summer months the viz is spectacular & lots of trinkets keep on

turning up. (Gold pocket watch found by lucky Kevin)

S.S. Svava.