Built for the American Export Shipping Line of New York at the yard of American International Shipbuilding Corporation at Hog Island, Pennsylvania the steamship Exmouth was 390.0′ x 54.2′ x 27.8′ and 4979 gross tons, 3068 net tons. She was launched on 31st January 1920 and began her career plying back and forth across the Atlantic predominantly serving routes between USA and Italy.
As the Americans entered the war she was pressed in to service ferrying vital supplies to various ports around the world in India, Ceylon, Africa, South America and Europe. Initially these voyages were unescorted but progressively as the war on shipping intensified she joined a number of convoys crossing the North Atlantic to Britain. She had recently arrived in Southend on her latest Transatlantic trip and was ordered back to Methil in ballast en route back to the US to pick up another cargo. She left Southend in unescorted convoy FN 1433 on Saturday 29th July, 1944. The convoy consisted of thirteen ships in total. As she neared her destination the ship strayed into a British minefield and struck a mine which fatally damaged her. Thankfully the crew of 43 and 27 gunners who were aboard were uninjured and were safely evacuated from the sinking ship.
The wreck of the Exmouth lies in position 56° 25.554’N, 001° 38.466’W (WGS84) and is considered one of the best dives in the area as she has only recently been discovered and identified and is still more or less untouched. The ship lies in 53 metres oriented 075°/255°. She is more or less intact lying with a slight list to starboard and is festooned with sealife. The bridge and central superstructure is still clearly visible with her defensive guns at the stern and bow and on the port bridge still in place. The starboard gun has fallen onto the seabed below. The bow section is broken slightly from the remainder of the hull which is otherwise in tact.