Launched from the Clydebank yard of John Brown and Co Ltd on 25th April 1910 for the Great Eastern Railway Col Ltd. of Harwich, the iron steamship St Petersburg measured 330.8′ x 43.2′ x 17.8′ and weighed 2448 gross tons, 1039 net tons. She was powered by triple steam turbine engines by John Brown delivering 10,692 shaft horse power.
She was renamed Archangel in 1915 and continued to operate for these owners until she was sold to the London and North Eastern Railway Co Ltd. in 1923. 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 killed, many wounded and possibly a number of passengers lost too.
The ship was then evacuated with all survivors taken off by her escort ship, HMS Blankney. Despite the damage she remained afloat till the following day so tugs were sent out from Aberdeen and the severely damaged ship was taken in tow and finally beached off Balmedie.
The wreck was reported later to have broken into four sections and was subsequently heavily salvaged although some wreckage remains in position 57° 14.987’N, 002° 00.232’W (WGS84).