SS Kenmare

The image (sidebar right) is of SS Inniscarra, which was torpedoed and sunk May 1918, also of The City of Cork Steam Packet Co. Ltd.

Both the Kenmare and the Inniscarra were built by the same shipbuilder, for the same client and have very similar dimensions and tonnage. Therefore it is reasonable to speculate that they must have looked alike.
Notes from “THE IRISH BOATS” volume 2 Liverpool to Cork and Waterford. By Malcolm McRonald. Tempus publishing Ltd, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2QG. ISBN 0-7524-3884-0.

The second ship from Wigham, Richardson was Kenmare , which was delivered in 1895. During the First World War she was attacked by enemy submarines on four occasions . On the 27th June 1915 she was attacked by gunfire, when she was off Youghall, but she outpaced her attacker and suffered little damage. On 21st October 1917 a submarine fired a torpedo at her when she was off Holyhead, bound from Liverpool to Cork. The torpedo passed a few feet astern of her, right under her log line. The next attack was on 7th November 1917, when she was chased by a submarine, and fired at it to save herself. The final encounter, on 2nd March 1918, proved fatal. She was again sailing from Liverpool to Cork, and was twenty-five miles north-west of the Skerries, off Anglesey, when she was struck by a torpedo from the German U-104 without warning. She was badly damaged by the explosion, and sank by the stern within two minutes. Only one of her lifeboats remained afloat and usable, and only six men out of her crew of thirty-three were able to reach it. Although those onboard tried to find the other crew members in the water, they were unsuccessful in the dark. They were picked up the next morning by the steamer Glenside, which landed them at Dublin.

Kenmare (Official No. 104278)
In Fleet 1895-1918.
Dimensions (Length x breadth x depth) 264.5 x 35.6 x 16.9
Gross tons. 1,346
Builder and details.
Wigham, Richardson and Co., Newcastle Upon Tyne. 306.
Builder. Triple expansion steam. 222rhp, 420nhp. Single screw.
1895: Launched 16th February as Kenmare.
1895: Completed for City of Cork Steam Packet Co. Ltd (Cork).
1918: Torpedoed and sunk 2 March by German submarine U-104, twenty-five miles NW from the Skerries,
Anglesey, on a voyage from Liverpool to Cork.

During the First World War, she found herself under attack by German submarines (U-boats) on four occasions. On 27 June 1915, SS Kenmare was attacked by gunfire off Youghall, but outran her attacker with minimal damage. Two years later, on 21 October 1917, Kenmare was off Holyhead, bound from Liverpool to Cork, when a torpedo passed only a few feet from her stern. A few weeks later, the Kenmare had to fire at a submarine that was chasing her. However, the last attack, on 2 March 1918, proved fatal.

That day, SS Kenmare was sailing from Liverpool to Cork with a general cargo at position 53°40’095”N 5°06’099”W. This is 60 km (approximately 35 nautical miles) north of east from Skerries, Co Dublin and 40kms (approximately 25 nautical miles) north west from The Skerries, Anglesey (see map at the bottom of this article). At around 7pm, U-104 fired a torpedo without warning. It inflicted severe damage, and Kenmare sank by the stern within two minutes. Only one lifeboat was serviceable, and the three who had managed to get into it tried to find other crew members. Three more were saved. In spite of shouting being heard, the occupants of the lifeboat did not manage to locate these unfortunates as it was dark by that time and the sea covered in wreckage.

Pictured above: Captain Peter Blacklock (and above) the captain and some of his officers. Captain Blacklock also received a Commendation for Good Service in December 1916
Pictured below: Peter Blacklock's Master's Certificate and citation, courtesy Peter Blacklock (captain's grandson)

Twenty-nine members of crew perished, 24 of whom were in a boat which overturned – the weather being poor and the sea rough at the time. The First Mate, four crewmen and Gunner James Henry Chamberlain Brougham RNVR, aged 20 survived the torpedoing of the ship. This was remarkable, bearing in mind that the ship sank in just two minutes. Two other gunners, Able Seaman Albert Edward Aston RNVR and Leading Deck Hand John Macaulay RNR did not survive. Apparently, the ship’s gun had been thrown from its mountings by the force of the explosion. The survivors were picked up by the steamer Glenside the next morning, and taken to Dublin.

Below map shows the location of the wreck of the SS Kenmare.
Image supplied by D.J. Grundy, using information from

No comments:

Post a Comment