The iron steamship Maggie Warrington was launched from the West Hartlepool yard of Richard Irvin and Co Ltd (Yard No 24) on 4th April 1878. She measured 220.0′ x 30.0′ x 16.1′ and her tonnage was 928 gross tons, 539 net tons. She was powered by a compound steam engine by Blair and Co Ltd., Stockton-on-Tees delivering 136 net horse power.
She was built for Samuel Hough Limited of Liverpool and was to operate for various Hough related businesses over much of her working career, including a name change in 1911 to Mary Hough. In 1913 she was sold to T Stone and Co Ltd of Sunderland who changed her name to Gwladmena before she returned her base to Liverpool owned by Stone and Rolfe Ltd of that city.
The details of the collision that resulted in loss of the Gwladmena are vague due to wartime reporting restrictions but, on 2nd January 1918, while she was lying at anchor off Lerwick she was run down by the Danish steamship Flora and sustained significant enough damage that she sank some hours later. She had recently arrived in Lerwick from Methil with a cargo of coal. Her captain Frank Wood and his crew of twenty one men safely embarked from the ship in her boats before she went down.
The wreck of the Gwladmena lies on an even keel in position 60° 08.170’N, 001° 08.670’W in 35 metres with a least depth clearance of 30 metres. The wreck was wire swept after the war removing much of her superstructure and parts of her hull leaving most of the wreck as an interesting jumble of spars, plates and scattered wreckage. The boilers and engine are visible midships and both bow and stern sections still rise high above the shingle and sand seabed.
We would also like to thank Lloyd’s Register Foundation – Heritage & Education Centre for allowing us to reproduce documents from their archive in this article.