Built for the Morpeth Steamship Company of Newcastle, the Meldon was launched from the yard of Robert Stephenson and Co Ltd on 17th October 1910. She was purchased by the Dawson Steamship Co Ltd, Newcastle in 1916. She measured 310.0′ x 43.1′ x 20.5′ and weighed 2514 gross tons, 1572 net tons. Her triple expansion steam engine, built and installed by North Eastern Marine Co Ltd of Wallsend delivered 233 horse power.
There are few details of the loss of the British steamship Meldon on 3rd March, 1917. She was owned by the Dawson Steamship Company and registered in Newcastle. Her fate was sealed when the German submarine U-78 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Droscher laid a pattern of eight mines north of the Garvellachs on 11th February 1917 (Mine barrage 10a on chart).
The Meldon sailed from Penarth, South Wales with a cargo of coal and was northward bound when she struck one of the mines laid by U-78 only three weeks earlier. The ship must have been badly damaged and her master decided to beach her in Loch Buie. The crew got safely ashore but the ship became a total loss although what actually happened when she reach the shallow water on the shores of Loch Buie is not clear. She certainly went ashore but, surprisingly in the circumstances, it is actually her stern that is closest to the shoreline.
The Wreck Today
The wreck of the Meldon lies off the north west shore of Loch Buie in position 56°19.513’N, 005°55.596’W (WGS84) which is approximately a quarter of a mile north east of Rubha Dubh. Her rudder post breaks the surface at most states of the tide making her very easy to find. If she is not visible above water, care should be taken when approaching the area of the wreck as it will be only a few feet below the surface. The wreck should still be able to be simply located as the kelp on the stern will be visible in the normally clear water.
The wreck lies on a gently sloping shingle seabed with the stern sitting in around 8 metres and the remains of the bow in 13 metres, the wreck lies 130°/310°. The stern section is the most intact with her cast propeller and rudder still visible. Moving forward she gradually becomes more broken although engine and boiler are still recognisable. Forward she is very broken and the bow has now collapsed and is lying on its side. There is no tide in the loch and the position on the north west shore leaves the wreck sheltered from the prevailing wind although it will probably be subject to some swell in heavy weather as it sweeps round the point at Rubha Dubh.