The Bermuda was the largest ship built by Workman Clark and Co Ltd of Belfast. She measured 525.9′ x 74.1′ x 39.6′ and displaced 19086 tons. Her quadruple screw diesel engines by William Doxford delivered 11200 bhp. The luxurious liner, owned by Furness Withy and Co of Liverpool had seven decks housing accommodation for 616 first class passengers and 75 second class passengers and a crew of 300. She was built specifically to serve on the New York to Bermuda route for her owners Furness Withy. She entered service on this route in 1928 and was very popular with the rich clientele setting out from New York for a Carribbean adventure.
In June 1931, while lying in Hamilton harbour, Bermuda, fire broke out in a lift shaft and spread to three of her upper decks. 60 men, including some Royal Navy sailors, needed hospital treatment after successfully extinguishing the fire. Unfortunately one crewman, an assistant barber Percy Heleme, and one of the firemen died in the blaze. The damage could well have been much worse had the captain not flooded the oil tanks to avoid an explosion. The Bermuda was extensively damaged and had to be withdrawn from service.
The Bermuda was taken back to the Workman Clark yard in Belfast for repair and refit but, as the refurbishment work neared completion, the ill-fated ship was to catch fire again. Despite the efforts of the Belfast Fire Brigade and many of the 300 workmen aboard the ship, the fire could not be extinguished as the dense smoke made it impossible to get to the seat of the fire. Efforts to sink the ship were also to no avail as crewmen were driven back by the intense heat. The fire raged for many hours before eventually burning itself out leaving the ship so badly damaged that she was declared a constructive total loss.
The hulk was purchased by Metal Industries, the company responsible for much of the salvage work on the German High Seas fleet in Scapa Flow, to be scrapped and, after some of the fittings were removed at Belfast, in Late April 1933 she was taken in tow by the powerful tug Seaman for a last trip round Scotland to the company’s breaking yard at Rosyth. The final indignity for the once beautiful ship was on 30th April, while off the north west coast of Scotland, both tow lines snapped and she was washed ashore on the Badcall Islands, Edrachallis Bay 25 miles south of Cape Wrath. With some difficulty the lines were reattached and the ship pulled off the rocks but they parted again and this time the ship was washed further inshore on the south side of the bay in a position that meant that refloating her was impossible.
The wreck was extensively salvaged where she lay but some substantial wreckage, particularly of the stern remain in three large pieces in position 58°14.993’N, 005°11.609’W (WGS84) on the south side of Edrachillis Bay in water up to 12 metres deep. The site is sheltered and not subject to any tidal movement although the shallow nature of the site can make it undiveable if the sea swell is high.