The Woodburn was a small rear engined coaster built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company of Ayr (Yard No 170) and launched in January 1907. Her steel hull measured 111.2’ x 19.7’ x 8.3’ with tonnage of 194 gross and 66 net. The vessel was powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine also provided by the builder. The Woodburn was originally built for Charles Clegg of Carrickfergus, and later purchased in 1918 by John Kelly Limited and served on the Irish Sea routes for this company for five years.
On Saturday 19 February 1923 the Woodburn left Maryport with a cargo of coal for Carrickfergus under the command of William Davis of Bangor along with a crew of five which also included his son. Unfortunately that night was to bring one of the worst storms to hit the area for many years. The precise details of the loss of the Woodburn are unclear as all those aboard lost their lives in the incident.
Around 5am the following morning the keepers at the Isle of Whithorn lighthouse heard an unidentified foghorn which was later thought to be a distress call from the Woodburn as she was driven ashore. The loss was confirmed later that day when wreckage, including two damaged lifeboats with the name Woodburn were washed ashore near Isle of Whithorn. Tragically all seven of her crew went down with the Woodburn.
The submerged wreck, with masts and forecastle protruding above the surface, was spotted later that day under steep cliff known locally as Hay Barns. The wreck was visited the following day by the Liverpool Salvage Association who declared the vessel a total loss. She quickly broke up over the following week and vanished beneath the surface.
Further information on diving the wreck of the Woodburn can be found on Newton Stewart Sub Aqua Clubs website here – https://www.nsdivers.co.uk/dive-sites/s-s-woodburn-tour/