Launched from the yard of William Simons and Co Ltd., Renfrew on 10th December 1920 the coastal steamship Camlough measured 167.0′ x 26.6′ x 9.9′ and weighed 540 gross tons, 205 net tons. Her triple expansion steam engine by Simons delivered 89 rhp. She was owned by John Kelly Limited of Belfast.
At 8:30pm on 9th December, 1932 the radio at Portpatrick wireless station crackled into life with a distress message from SS Camlough. She was en route from Belfast to Birkenhead under the command of her skipper, Captain Harvey when her engine failed in a strong westerly gale. The crew of the Portpatrick lifeboat bravely launched their vessel and headed out into the huge waves that were driving straight into the harbour mouth of the seaside village. At the same time, on the other side of the Irish Sea the crew of the lifeboat at Donaghadee heard the same message and launched their own boat, heading out eastwards to the rescue scene.
Twenty miles away the Camlough was wallowing in the huge swell with another steamship, SS Moyallen, attempting to get a line secured to tow the Camlough towards safety. Seven times the line was secured and the Moyallen gradually managed to tow the powerless steamship closer to land but each time the line parted as she pounded up and down in the waves and another line was passed across and attached to the Camlough. As the lifeboats arrived on the scene in the early hours of the morning of the 10th the first messages to the men listening from the shore station suggested that the efforts to tow the ship to safety would be successful. Finally, as they reached Luce Bay, the seventh line also parted and, with no further tow lines available aboard either ship, the captain of the Camlough ordered her crew to let go her anchors. Unfortunately the anchors would not hold and the ship was driven inexorably towards the rocks.
The Portpatrick lifeboat coxswain, John Campbell, skilfully steered his craft close to the drifting ship allowing the eight men aboard the Camlough to jump onto the lifeboat by the light of the searchlight. One of the crewmen missed his footing and fell into the sea between the vessels but thankfully was quickly pulled aboard the lifeboat. John Campbell was later awarded a bronze medal for his bravery and skill is rescuing the crew safely.
Meanwhile the Camlough drifted towards the shore and was finally wrecked on the Black Rocks in Monreith Bay. As the gale subsided the steamship was left high and dry on the rocks broadside to the sea with damage to her stern frame, rudder and propeller but initially salvage experts who had arrived on the scene hoped to be able to get her off. Bad weather over subsequent days gradually damaged the hull to the point that she was declared a constructive total loss. She was eventually broken up where she lay and removed for scrap. A few scattered scraps of metal remain among the rocks and spread across the sand close to Monreith.