The steel steam trawler Kumu was launched form the Torry yard of John Duthie and Co Ltd., Aberdeen (Yard No 386) on 9th April 1913. She measured 130.0′ x 23.6′ x 13.3′ and her tonnage was 315 gross tons, 129 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by James Abernethy and Co Ltd., Aberdeen delivering 69 registered horse power. Order by Clifton Steam Trawlers Ltd of Fleetwood she was registered there FD176 with Joseph and Ernest Taylor appointed managers.
She was involved in a serious collision with the large steamship Duke of Argyll but survived and was successfully repaired and re-entered service for her owners. On 5th September 1914 she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to use as a minesweeper with the addition of a 6 pounder deck gun and a mine sweep. On 19th May 1917 she hit a German mine in Torbay laid by UC-17 which killed two of her crew. She was badly damaged but managed to beach at Babbacombe and was subsequently repaired and re-entered service. On 12th March 1919 she was returned to her owners and back to her fishing duties.
In February 1929 she was fishing near St Kilda under the command of her skipper Harold Sawyer. He had a crew of eleven aboard. At 6am in the morning of 20th February she was enveloped in a thick fog and ran aground off Soay, one of the larger islands in the St Kilda Archipelago. Her distress calls were picked up by Malin Head radio reporting forehold, forepeak and fish hold leaking badly. The distress messages were also picked up by the Fleetwood trawler Harry Melling which soon reached the scene. The Kumu managed to limp towards shelter in North Bay (aka Glen Bay), Hirta but when she reached there the crew could not get her anchor to hold. The Harry Melling pulled alongside and was lashed tightly to Kumu but, even with pumps running at maximum the water continued to gain. Throughout the afternoon the water level increased until finally, at 4:30am on 21st after her crew had moved aboard the Harry Melling, she finally sank in 20 fathoms.
The wreck of the Kumu lies in position 57° 49.535’N, 008° 36.128’W in depths reported as 43 metres. She was first dived in 1998 when divers reported the recovery of a bell inscribed ‘SS Manor Fleetwood 1913‘ Later research solved the mystery as Kumu had been apparently been transporting the bell to Norway. The bell was donated to the National Trust warden on St Kilda for display in the museum on the island. The divers described the wreck as well broken with the stern section the most in tact. We have no further updates on the status of the wreck today.