Club hears story behind ship wrecks off Tynemouth

An insight into the millions of ship wrecks off the British Isles was given at a Whitley Bay Willow Club meeting.

Professional marine archaeologist Steven Brown said of the 2.5 million wrecks, some were off the Farne Islands, Blyth, Tynemouth and Sunderland.

He talked about two lying just south of the southern Tynemouth lighthouse – MS Oslofjord, which sank on January 22, 1941, after hitting a mine two months earlier, and the SS Essen, which collided with it.

Steven also talked about the German U-boat, SM UC II, carrying torpedoes and sea-mines.

She is credited with sinking six ships and was deployed on February 23, 1917, to lay mines in the River Wear. When leaving the river she hit one of her own mines, removing the bow of the submarine.

The Willow Club meets each Thursday, between 10.30am and noon, in the Wesley Hall, St John’s Church, Ilfracombe Gardens, Whitley Bay, to listen to an invited speaker. The club is open to all retired men.