british Cory Colliers Ltd. (Wm. Cory & Son) SS Sir Francis [+1917]
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nationality british
purpose transport
type cargo ship
subtype/class coal cargo ship (collier)
propulsion steam
date built 1910
live live
weight (tons) 1991  grt
dimensions 85.34 x 12.34 x 5.64 m
material steel
engine Steam triple expansion by G. Clark Ltd. Sunderland, two single boilers, single screw
armament 1 x 3pdr Mk V stern gun
power 208 
speed knots
yard no. 254
about the loss
cause lost torpedo
date lost 07/06/1917  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.10rank: 652
about people
Austin S. P. & Son Ltd., Sunderland
engine by
Clark George Ltd., Sunderland
Cory Colliers Ltd. (Wm. Cory & Son), London
captain Andrew Wanless / R. G. Strickland
no. of crew 22
about the wreck
status broken in several pieces
depth (m.) 44 max. / 41 min. (m)
position on seabed upright
visibility average
current normal
sea bed hard ground
protected no
war grave no
 Racey Carl, A Century of Steamship Losses
entered by Lettens Jan
entered 27/08/2008
last update Racey Carl
last update 15/09/2010
Lettens Jan01/10/2009
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longitudeUK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office
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  The Wreck today  

Lettens Jan01/10/2009

UK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office

Racey Carl15/10/2009

This is the wreck of a typical WW1 merchant steam ship. The fairly intact stern section is lying over at 45 degrees on its port side. As you progress forward the ship levels out at amidships and is sitting on her keel. The engine is laid over on its side but the two boilers which are sat forward of the engine are in their correct orientation. There are catwalks andframing around part of the engine.

The bow section is also fairly intact but folded back on its self with the deck at 60 degrees from the seabed. There is a lamp room in the middle of the whale back, close to this is a mast running to the sea bed with a bell bracket which appears to have the bolt still in place! We have not seen any sign of a gun or shell cases, although we have a report from G. Wadworth that there is a gun on the seabed, in the stern area. A part from the ship’s steam gear was recovered, and is the same as one from the LADY HELEN (also built by S. P. Austin). An onion type oil lamp was recently recovered bearing a Cory name plate along with shards of crockery having the Cory black flag on. More recently (Aug ‘06) a stair tread type makers plate was found in the starboard side bow area bearing the ship builders name.
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 Racey Carl

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copyright: Racey Carl
 copyright: Racey Carl copyright: Racey Carl copyright: Racey Carl copyright: Racey Carl 
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 copyright: Racey Carl copyright: UK Hydrographic Office copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu  
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  Hydrographic Service UK  
Racey Carl01/03/2009The SIR FRANCIS was proceeding on a course following the War buoys for the Tyne to collect a cargo of coal and making 10 knots, an explosion occurred under No 3 hold on the starboard side at 4.40 a.m., throwing up the hatches and other wreckage. The vessel began to settle fast by the stern. Before the ship’s lifeboats could be lowered a second torpedo stuck under the bridge on the starboard side and she sank about half a minute afterwards. Twelve of the crew were picked up by passing ships s.s. DRYADE and s.s. VERNON, and were later landed at South Shields. The master and the rest of the crew were not found and presumed drown.

A report from the master of the DRYADE said that he saw the submarine fairly close which fired the first torpedo which struck the SIR FRANCIS, and the second torpedo, intended for the DRYADE, passed under the stern of his ship and hit the SIR FRANCIS, which sunk in a minute and a half. The ship’s confidential papers went down with the vessel. Two crewmen were picked up by the DRYADE and handed them over to the lifeboat of the VERNON. The VERNON we are informed picked up 10, several lives appear to have been lost.
ref. used: 
 Racey Carl, A Century of Steamship Losses
Racey Carl09/04/2009Built for W. Cory & Son Ltd, London; Yard No 254; Launch Date 25/05/1910; Fitted with 1 x 3pdr Mk V stern gun; Vessel torpedoed by UB.21 whilst under the command of Franz Walther (later of UB.75); Two explosions, the first abreast of No 3 hatch on the starboard side, the second on the starboard side destroying the bridge and chart room, sank by the stern within half a minute; 22 crew.

10 lives lost including master.
ref. used: 
 Racey Carl, A Century of Steamship Losses
Racey Carl15/10/2009The UB-21 became the most successful submarine that operated along the Yorkshire coast of England.
In February 1917 the UB-21 sank the LADY ANN off Scarborough. In the following 15 months she was responsible for the JOHN MILES, BYWELL, VICTORIA, RIKARD NORDRAAK, EDITH CAVELL, SNA II, SIR FRANCIS, TRELYON, GLOW, VANLAND, SPRINGHILL, AMSTELDAM, GEMMA, OCEAN, PATRIA, HERCULES (Whitby), HERCULES (Filey Bay), CONSTANTIA, ANBOTO MENDI, GOTHIA (off Hartlepool), HASLINGDEN (off Seaham), the sailing vessel MENTOR (off Hartlepool) and finally the PAUL in Sept 1918.
A total of 23 vessels where sunk by UB-21 off the Yorkshire Coast, and at least another 9 vessels sank or damaged along the east coast of England and 4 vessels taken as a prize of war. Also, under the command of Franz Walther, UB-21 sank the fishing vessel EXCEL 18/02/1917 and the Swedish steamer HAROLD on 06/05/1917, both NE of the Tyne
ref. used: 
 Racey Carl, A Century of Steamship Losses
Lettens Jan03/12/2010UK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office

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About Owners
Cory Colliers Ltd. (Wm. Cory & Son), London

Cory Colliers (William Cory & Son) Ltd. 52 Mark Lane, London. Originally in the coal trade, became tug operators. Later renamed to Cory Towage Ltd.
About Builders
 Austin S. P. & Son Ltd., Sunderland

Peter Austin (1) (1826-1846)
Peter Austin (2) (1846-1860)
Austin & Son (1860-1874)
Austin & Hunter (1874-1879)

S. P. Austin & Son Ltd. (1879-1896)
S. P. Austin Ltd. (1896-1953)

Austin’s was famous for its pontoon, which opened in 1904. The pontoon was a platform that could be sunk below a ship, then re-floated to raise the ship out of the water.

Austin’s merged with Pickersgill’s in 1954 to become Austin and Pickersgill. The yard closed in 1956

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Clark George Ltd., Sunderland
George Clark of Southwick Engine Works, Crown Road, Southwick, Sunderland
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SS Sir Francis [+1917]
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