S. S. Lord Strahcona
Bell Island Wrecks, Newfoundland, Canada
All four wrecks off Bell Island were sunk as a result of torpedo hits by German submarines sneaking into Conception Bay during WW2. The wrecks were English-built merchant ships designed to carry iron ore from the mines on the Bell Island to their final destinations across Atlantic. All four were built in a similar fashion with the superstructure located amidships and two massive cargo holds placed between the superstructure and bow/stern. Loading and unloading was done with the help of derricks located in the middle of each cargo hold.The length of all four ranged from 400 to 455 ft, and tonnage from 5500 tons to 7500 tons. Guns, the war time defense feature, were located at the stern.
L. Strathona went down on September 5, 1942 struck by two torpedoes fired by German U-boat U-513. Saganaga and Lord Strathcona were struck and sunk on the same day, each by two torpedoes. Saganaga was hit first and Lord Strathcona crew was searching for survivors when their vessel was hit. Being heavy loaded with iron ore, both disappeared underwater within minutes. No one died on Lord Strathcona but 29 officers perished on Saganaga.
With depth ranging from 75 to 125 ft, Lord Strathcona was the second deepest among the foursome. If she was located anywhere else in the world, she would be considered a premier wreck. In Newfoundland, she has a misfortune of being close to the Rose and therefore does not get as much attention as she deserves. The highlights were definitely the bow with the anchor in place, the stern covered with marine life and the towering stern gun. One of the torpedoes hit the engine room opening it right up.
2013 update: The group in wanted to dive Rose almost exclusively, but we did a couple of second dives on Strathcona. Similar to Rose, we wanted to spend as much time inside as we could and there are definitely some penetration opportunities on this one.