The Archangel was originally launched as the St. Petersburg form the the yard of John Brown & Co. Ltd in Clydebank (Yard No.397). Constructed in iron, the hull measured 330.8′ x 43.2′ x 17.8′ and weighed in at 2448 gross tons. The St. Petersburg was purchased from her original owners, the Great Eastern Railway Co Ltd, by LNER in 1923, renamed Archangel and she then served for nearly 20 years on east coast routes and beyond. At the outbreak of World War Two she was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Shipping for use as an auxiliary transport and troopship.
On the night of 16th May 1941 she was en route from Kirkwall to Aberdeen under the command of Captain A P Sutton when she was attacked by German aircraft. The ship received multiple direct hits and was severely damaged but thankfully did not sink immediately. However there were a number of casualties aboard caused by the explosions. The exact number of casualties is unclear with reports varying from 17 to 40 crewmen (including Captain Sutton) killed, many wounded and possibly a number of passengers lost too.
The survivors were safely evacuated while the ship continued to float. As morning dawned and she was taken in tow and beached off Balmedie. The wreck was reported later to have broken into four sections and was subsequently heavily salvaged. It is believed that some wreckage remains in position 57° 14.987’N, 002° 00.232’W (WGS84).