The steel steamship Talavera was launched from the Walker yard of William Dobson Newcastle on 27th April 1889. She measured 266.0′ x 37.1′ x 15.8′ and her tonnage was 1785 gross tons, 1055 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by North Eastern Marine Engineering Ltd, Wallsend delivering 176 net horse power. She had been ordered by H Scholefield and Son of Newcastle. Ownership was transferred to the Talavera SS Co Ltd in 1901 before she was purchased by A/B Kullen of Helsingborg, Sweden in 1904. In 1917 she was purchased by Rederi A/B Svenska Lloyd, Gothenburg in 1917 who renamed her Fylgia. Unfortunately their ownership was to be short lived as she was to become a victim of the German U-boat’ s ongoing attacks in the North Sea.
On 24th January 1918 she was en route from Gothenburg to Rouen with a general cargo of iron, steel and wood under the command of her captain M V Edstrom. They had crossed the North Sea and for protection joined convoy HZ2 heading south down the east coast of Britain. Meanwhile the German minelyaing submarine UC-49 under the command of Oberleutnant Hans Kukenthal was on patrol near Bell Rock. Kukenthal had been in the area for more than a week laying mines in the Firth of Forth on 20th January before heading north to search of shipping to attack. Fylgia had become separated from the rest of the convoy and became an easy target when Kukenthal spotted her through his periscope. Fylgia suffered a direct hit from the single torpedo fired from UC-49 and sank quickly. Three of the crew were lost, presumably from the explosion on impact, but the remainder of the crew were able to escape in the ship’s boats before she went down. Later that same day Kukethal had a second success sinking Jonkoping II only a few miles from his attack on Fylgia.
The wreck believed to be the Fylgia lies in position 56° 22.966’N, 002° 16.762’W oriented 09/270 degrees. She lies in 51 metres with a least depth clearance of 43 metres. The central section is reported substantially in tact but both ends are degraded and collapsed. We are not aware of the recovery of any artefacts absolutely confirming her identity but the size of the wreck and the location very close to the reported attack position of 56° 23’N, 02° 17’W from the UC-49 KTB make this almost certain.