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Thistlegorm (Red Sea)
 
owner Allan, Black & Co. - Albyn Line, Sunderland
ship general cargo ships
yard Thompson Joseph L. & Sons, Sunderland
   
wreck photo World Map
length 131,6 m
width 17,7 m
tonnage 4898 BRT
launch 09.04.1940
country Red Sea
team
Sunken 06.10.1941
depth 6-33 m
GPS 27° 48' 55" N 33° 55' 13" E
   
   
History The 130 m long British freighter SS Thistlegorm ran in April 1940 in Sunderland (North of England) at the shipyard Joseph L. Thompson & Sons Ltd.
for the shipping company Albyn Line launched.

As built during the war ship was managed by an antiaircraft gun, another cannon on the stern and several machine guns.
At its fourth and final trip to Thistlegorm ran out in Glasgow (Scotland) in August 1941st
On board was a load of weapons, ammunition and equipment, including grenades of various calibers, mines, tanks, trucks,
Motorcycles, two locomotives and several railroad cars.
The material was intended for British Army, which was preparing a major offensive against the German Afrika Korps under Rommel.
Because of the hazards caused by German and Italian submarines and airplanes the Thistlegorm took the longer but safer route around the Cape of Africa around.
On September 24, she was assigned to a convoy of 20 ships under the protection of the cruiser HMS Carlisle in Aden (Yemen), running this through the Red Sea to the north.
Since the passage was blocked by the Suez Canal with a wreck, the southern tip of the Sinai lying reef Sha'ab Ali had the convoy at anchor east waiting for the release of the route.

After a ten-day waiting period, the convoy during the night of October 6 1941 by a German Heinkel He 111 bombers II.Gruppe the battle squadron was discovered 26 (KG26).
Together with a second He 111 aircraft had the two special bombs equipped for combat and ship launched in Crete machine supposed to sink the passenger steamer used as troop transports RMS Queen Mary, but did not find him. The crew recognized the SS Thistlegorm as worthwhile goal and attacked them at low altitude. One or both bombs hit the ship in the rear part on the level of the fourth load compartment. The hit brought a certain part of the ammunition cargo exploded and probably the pressurized steam boilers in the engine room. Through a series of detonations the tail broke off, and the ship sank within minutes. The sinking nine crew members died, the 30 survivors were rescued by other vessels of the convoy. The aircraft, which had sunk the Thistlegorm, was shot down, the crew was captured.

1956 the Thistlegorm was discovered by the French diving pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau during an expedition with the Calypso.
Cousteau's people hid on that occasion, inter alia, the captain, but it contained only rotting ships documents safe. Since the position of the vessel was not released, fell into oblivion and the wreck was rediscovered in 1991 by a group of German sport divers for a systematic search. Since it is the probably most popular wreck in the Red Sea.

The main part of the ship is on an even keel at a depth of 30 meters on a sandy ground, the bridge rises to 17 m. In particular, the front part is well preserved; the loaded as deck cargo railway wagons still stand in their original locations. In the two front cargo spaces which are easily accessible through the open hatches, include numerous motorcycles and trucks to be found, but which were now partly damaged by souvenir hunters. Other distinctive points of WraDas tail is broken off and lies at an angle of about 45 degrees on the base. It is badly damaged by the bombing and the following explosions, but still wearing the flak gun and another gun with protective shield. In the debris field between the two parts of the boat are the remains of Bedford trucks, small chain-driven armored personnel Bren Gun Carrier type (also known as Universal Carrier) and shells of all sizes. Nearby a damaged steam locomotive stands on the seabed. She was like the carriages for deck cargo and was thrown out by the explosion of the ship.
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