Date(s) - Aug 12, Mon
There are 10 places, 10 are still available.
Load from 06:00, ropes off 07:15
The Iolanthe was a British steam driven, armed merchant ship of 3081 gross tons, measuring 325ft long with a 49ft beam and was built in 1904. Bound from Greenock for St Helens Isle of Wight, Iolanthe was laden with military supplies and a big cargo of hay in her holds, and railway wagons on her deck.
At 11pm on 4th January 1918 she was 10 miles SE by E of Portland Bill, having steamed quickly past the Shambles Lightship for fear of being lit up, with Captain James Scott maintaining a strict watch for submarines. Two gunners manned the 12-pounder gun on the stern. However, none of them knew that they had been tracked for some 20 minutes by U-boat captain Oberleutnant Johann Lohs who, at 11.05, released a torpedo into Iolanthe’s port side, close to No 3 hold, causing a colossal explosion and ripping a huge hole in her hull. Initially, the ship appeared still to be buoyant, but she soon started to settle. Just after midnight, Captain Scott gave the order to abandon ship. As they pulled clear, they had their first sight of the U-boat as it came out of the dark before disappearing seawards. Two patrol trawlers tried to take the steamer in tow, but as soon as they got lines aboard, Iolanthe sank. Her crew of 30 Britons and one Norwegian were all landed safely at Weymouth.
Her final resting place was only discovered in the early nineties – amazing given her size and position. The wreck is now fairly well collapsed but stands 7 metres in places and the bow is still intact. Distance from Weymouth 15 miles.
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