The iron steamship Kathleen was launched form the Belfast yard of Workman Clark & Company in March 1887. She measured 155.7.’ x 23.2′ x 11.8′ and her tonnage was 367 gross tons, 128 net tons. She was powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine by J and J Thompson, Glasgow delivering 70 registered horse power.
She operated out of Belfast for her initial owner J Milligen before she was sold to the North Eastern Shipping Company of Aberdeen in 1899.
In January 1914 the Kathleen left Burghead loaded with railway sleepers bound for Middlesbrough. She was never seen again. She had a crew of ten men aboard. What is known is that later that day a violent gale swept through the north east of Scotland and it can only be assumed that the Kathleen succumbed to the dreadful weather and mountainous seas.
Her whereabouts was a mystery until it was solved by a team from Buchan Divers in 2022. They dived a wreck lying due east of the mouth of River Ythan and recovered a bell inscribed ‘Kathleen Belfast’ The mystery had been solved.
www.buchandivers.com in the preparation of this article.
We would also like to thank Naomi Watson for allowing us to reproduce her underwater photographs of the wreck and Lloyd’s Register Foundation – Heritage & Education Centre for allowing us to reproduce documents from their archive in this article.