The steel steam trawler Lord Nelson was launched from the North Shields yard of Smith’s Dock Co Ltd in 1906. She measured 132.5′ x 22.6′ x 12.25′ and her tonnage as 273 gross tons, 119 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by Shields Engineering Co Ltd delivering 75 registered horse power. Built for J E Ruskworth of Grimsby and registered there as GY194 she operated successfully unti she was told to Icelandic owners H/F Island around the end of 1910 and registered in Reykjavik as RE138.
In the early hours of the morning of 20th January, 1911 on what would appear to be her first fishing trip for her new owners the Lord Nelson was fishing off the Scottish east coast under the command of skipper Hjalti Jonsson in close proximity to another Icelandic trawler. At around 3am, the Aberdeen trawler Northman (A652) appeared out of the dark night and ran directly into her side. The Northman rebounded from the collision with serious damage to her bow but it was the Lord Nelson that was most damaged. She quickly began to fill through a large gash in her side forcing the crew to abandon ship, to be picked safely up by their companion ship. The Northman stood by to make sure they crew were safe before heading swiftly for port to avoid a futher calamity as water was seeping in through the damaged hull plates at the vessel’s bow. Thankfully the Northman made it safely back to Aberdeen without further incident as the watertight compartment at the ship‘s bow held firm keeping her afloat despite the ingress of water.
A wreck believed to be the Lord Nelson was located by Buchan Divers in 2012. She lies in position 57° 31.581’N, 01° 40.859’W (WGS84) in 57 metres of water. The wreck, which lies oriented 090/270 degrees with her bows facing east, is fairly in tact except for the bow area which is broken and collapsed presumably due to damage caused during the collision. The stern rises 5 metres above the seabed and midships, with the superstructure collapsed and gone, the engine and boiler are clearly visible.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Buchan Divers – www.buchandivers.com in the preparation of this article.