Princess Victoria Wreck

Ngaio 62
26th July 2006, 02:51
Some while back I bought Stephen Cameron's book Death in the North Channel , a very good book, which told the story of the Princess Victoria.

The wreck sit was recently dove upon which he reports but gave very little information about the state of the ship on the seabed today. Is there anyone here who knows about this?

Many thanks


27th July 2006, 06:03
Hi Martin
Sorry but there is'nt anything I can tell you about the under sea side of this but like you I would be interested in hearing or seeing more about it.
I was 9 years old when it happened.
She was a Larne Stranraer passenger and car ferry and sank during a wild gale which was blowing straight Belfast as well, am sure it was on a Saturday morning, the same afternoon I was on my way to the movie matinee with the other kids, I ran across the road and got hit by a big old car and got up and ran on to the movies where the cops came looking for me and I missed the next episode of the Johnny Mac Brown serial.
There is a net site which I think you could get to by typing in MV Princess Victoria.
It sounds as though you and I would like Robert Ballard to get interested in her, doubt if that would ever happen.

Ngaio 62
27th July 2006, 12:13
Ted ,
thanks for your words. Dr Ballard made hunting wrecks come to a wider audience. Many others have taken it up and there are exploration groups like Sea Hunters and Leigh Bishop. Maybe someone should approach him with the idea.
Hope your sumer is good,


27th July 2006, 22:31
I approached Clive Cussler some years ago ( the author of The Sea Hunters and many rip roaring adventure yarns ) about finding a wreck off Skerryvore light , in the Little Minch : the steam trawler Red Falcon, lost without trace in 1959. he wrote back to me with an excuse which amounted to the fact that he didn't have enough funds in the NUMA organisation to fund any more searches for shipwrecks than he was doing for his books??? For a man who has, I believe, sold over 70 million books world wide,I find hard to digest.good luck though.

27th July 2006, 23:29
You may have found these pages yourself,
but in case you haven't ....

Story, photos and info on BBC attempt to film the wreck

Story and photos

pdf files at

Best Wishes

28th July 2006, 01:47
Thanks Treeve,
Got on to a couple of those sites and downloaded the other PDF files but they dissappeared into the system somewhere, I'll look for them later.
I did not realise that she got so far off course to the south close to the Copeland Islands, with tongue in cheek I ask, could they not have made a dash for the bay at Bangor , in saying so I know you are going to say that is like the Lusitania steering for the Old Head of Kinsale.
When Mother Nature is involved forget the theories
Talking of summer wishes Martin and Mother Nature, we are finally getting some good rain in South East Queensland and for the first time in a few years it is even falling in the dams catchment area.
Just yesterday our State Premier informed us that we are soon to be drinking recycled water from the sewerage treatment plants.
Cheers Guys

30th July 2006, 11:24
Aleddy, my own reading on the subject has taught me that she was not under way when she sank. The engines had been swamped. She was drifting very fast as well due to the prevailing wind.

I too have been in contact with Clive Cussler's people about this ship. Several prominent MP's from Stormont were amongst the lost and had they survived the course of history may have changed.

Also interesting to note that no women or children survived the sinking.

31st July 2006, 02:41
Thanks Gdav,
Was'nt able to fathom that she had lost power, what does "on her beam ends mean"? I now thinking almost submerged to the main deck but still on an even keel.

31st July 2006, 04:49
beams ends,Aleddy,listed right over port/starboard,same as the carrier up in the pacfic .dom

31st July 2006, 10:15
Conditions were so bad apparantly that a destroyer only 1 mile away couldn't see the PV.

1st August 2006, 03:27
Re read the story guys, understanding a couple of terms which would be general knowledge to you and clearing from my mind the emotion that they were so close to saftey puts every thing in a proper perspective.
The old rule of women and children first and in one lifeboat, in this case could it have been an error, adding a few more strong backs spread into two lifeboats might have helped get them clear of the ships wall. Perhaps ?

3rd August 2006, 02:17
Taking a sideways step on this thread, talking of the Copeland Islands which I have never been on but my older brother has back in the 50's and told me of a direlect submarine which in on one of the three islands.
Has anyone any info on this sub ? It is unlike the RN to leave these things lying around.
Believe all 3 islands are a protected bird sanctory and even with the lighthouse they have in the past been a danger to shipping.

3rd August 2006, 05:40
Taking a sideways step on this thread, talking of the Copeland Islands which I have never been on but my older brother has back in the 50's and told me of a direlect submarine which in on one of the three islands.
Has anyone any info on this sub ? It is unlike the RN to leave these things lying around.
Believe all 3 islands are a protected bird sanctory and even with the lighthouse they have in the past been a danger to shipping.


I was based at Orlock Head in the late 80's and attended some wonderful barbecues on the Copelands. The submarine business which you mentioned rang a bell with me so I've had a bit of a search. I don't ever recall hearing of an abandoned submarine on the Islands but there is speculation about a supposed submarine fueling station near Orlock Head. (The Copelands lie about one mile off Orlock Head).

See page 6 of this document.
The paragraph concerned is titled "Wooden floor on the sea bed."

4th August 2006, 03:45
G'day Ray,
Great to hear from you on this mystery sub, hope you are able to pick something up on it from your many source's.
What were you doing at Orlock Head, don't believe I had ever heard of it, it must be close to The Dee.
When I was a boy in Belfast that area was a day trip away, cut lunch and a bottle of water effort.
Have tried that site, it completes the download ok but won't open, will try the address thru search engine.

4th August 2006, 12:43
Hi again. Sorry the link wouldn't work. It's in .pdf format so, if you don't have Adobe loaded onto your PC, it probably won't open.
Since I've already provided the link, I've copied the relevant piece of text which I'll paste below this.
I was stationed at Orlock Head because of my job - HM Coastguard. MRSC Belfast used to be located there but has been replaced by MRCC Belfast which is a splendid purpose built premises in Bangor Marina.

A wooden floor on the sea bed

"Some years ago an amateur diver Noel Kirpatrick exploring the inlet beside the tunnel discovered rows of iron bound interconnected wooden slabs lying on the sea bed11. Colin Breen of Ulster University Maritime Archaeology Department suggests that these boards may be connected to a W.W.2 submarine fuelling station that is reputed to have been situated close to Orlock. My late father-in-law had also heard of such a station when he worked in Londonderry for the Admiralty during the war. Set upright in the shingle of the same cove above the low water mark is a row of five wooden slabs. Each measures 0.76 m. (30 inches) wide by 0.065 m. (2 1/2 inches) thick, composed of double sheets of wood bound by angle iron, with a large oval metal plate holding a pair of metal rings. (As they are partially buried their lengths remain unknown). Whether these are the same type of boards that line the floor of the cove can only be ascertained by the inspection of the submerged boards by a diver.

Local people have interpreted the four visible slabs as part of the door of the hold of a Kelly’s coal boat that is said to have sunk close by. This has been a deduction made by association with the large quantity of coal that used to be washed ashore during northerly storms. However there appears to be no report of a coal boat having been sunk in this area. Also Kirkpatrick describes the wooden slabs forming a ‘man made floor’ out to a depth of around 40 feet and makes no mention of seeing anything of a sunken boat.

World War 2 and Orlock Point

Orlock Point was first identified as an important situation for military defence of Belfast Lough in 1912 when it was established as a Port War Signal Station (this and the following information has been gleaned from Bill Clements’ Defending the North). At the outbreak of W.W.2 an electrically controlled cable was laid across the Lough between Black Head and Orlock Point with the purpose of detecting submarines as they passed over it. Orlock was also the command post for the Royal Navy Extended Defence Officer whose duty was to control an electrically operated minefield also laid across the entrance to the lough. A cable can still be seen stretching out from Sandeel Bay. On the rocks can be seen the remains of two brick artillery search light enclosures which once had armoured glass shutters. Two 6 inch (152 mm.) BL guns were mounted at Orlock, both protected by concrete gun houses. One of these gun houses has been adapted as a private residence with the naval PVII mounting surviving as a feature on the patio. The other gun house has been removed or engorged by a large new dwelling although the ammunition house remains as a garage.

The generator house which provided power for the whole station was hidden behind a rock face below the gun houses. It was demolished a little while ago as it had become an attraction for riff-raff. Orlock Point and the four other defence batteries around Belfast Lough were the only coast defences in the army where women were employed in operational roles. This arrangement had been agreed between the OC Fixed Command in Northern Ireland and the senior ATS officer in Northern Ireland. As it happened they were man and wife. The purpose of the arrangement was to release men for other duties elsewhere but it also relieved the boredom experienced by men on these stations by providing opportunities for mixed ‘recreational’ activities as
related in an anecdote by Sir Charles Brett in his book Buildings of North County Down."

9th August 2006, 14:13
Thank you for that Ray, it is very interesting information as is this site.
In the last hour looking thru todays posts there was mention of the Head Line and Orlock Head, gone now of course as are all the other Head line ships.

10th August 2006, 02:36
My pleasure.
Head Line - yes, some nice ships there ..... sadly gone!