The steel steamship Fernside was launched from the yard of R B Harrison in Newcastle in 1921. She measured 117.1′ x 22.2′ x 9.1′ and tonnage was 269t gross and 98t net. She was powered by a compound steam engine by Shields Engineering Co Ltd. delivering 57 nhp. Her owners Rose Line Ltd of Sunderland operated mainly on North Sea routes up and down English and Scottish east coast.
On 27th February 1942 she was en route from Hartlepool to Wick under the command of Captain Thomas Fleck who had a crew of seven men under his command. The details of the loss are not known as the vessel and the crew vanished without trace somewhere on the voyage. It was presumed that the vessel was lost to an attack by German aircraft or U Boat.
The final resting place of the Fernside was unknown until a wreck was discovered by Rod Macdonald in 2006, lying very close to the charted wreck of SS Gowrie. A bell with the inscription Fernside was recovered solving the mystery of her location almost 80 years after her loss.
The wreck lies to the east and within 50 metres of the charted wreck of the SS Gowrie in estimated position 56° 57.645’N, 02° 04.075’N. The damage to the wreck confirms that she was bombed as the aft superstructure has been blown over and now lies upside down. The engine and boiler sit in open water and at the bow the focsle sits upright and the hull plating has collapsed outward. Seabed depth around the wreckage is 56 metres, maximum height of wreckage is 3m.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Rod Macdonald – www.rod-macdonald.com in the preparation of this article. A short video of a dive on the Fernside can be found on his website.