SS Mahratta (1917)

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Name: SS Mahratta
Owner: T & J Brocklebank Ltd
(Brocklebank Line)
Builder: Robert Duncan & Co, Port Glasgow
Yard number: 328
Launched: 20 October 1917
Out of service: 6 October 1939
Homeport: Liverpool
Identification: Official Number 140545
Code letters JRSC
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Fate: Wrecked on Goodwin Sands[1]
General characteristics
Tonnage: 6,690 grt
Length: 445 feet (135.64 m)
Beam: 58 feet 2 inches (17.73 m)
Propulsion: 1 x Dunsmuir & Jackson Ltd triple expansion engine of 702 horsepower (523 kW)

SS Mahratta was a Brocklebank Line steamship launched in 1917. She ran aground in the English Channel on the Goodwin Sands in October 1939. She was the second and final Brocklebank Line ship with this name. The first Mahratta suffered a similar fate in 1909. After Mahratta broke up, the ship was found to be resting on top of the first Mahratta.[2]


SS Mahratta was launched on the 20 October 1917.[3] On 6 April 1936, SS Matheran lost her propellor off Port Sudan. It was decided that Mahratta would tow Matheran the 718 nautical miles (1,330 km) to Suez where another ship would tow Matheran to Alexandria for repairs. Despite Matheran being a bigger ship than Mahratta, the tow was completed at an average speed of 7.32 knots (13.56 km/h).[4]


On 9 October 1939, Mahratta was inbound to London from Calcutta when she ran aground on the Goodwins.[3] Mahratta had originally been bound for Liverpool but received new orders at Gibraltar to sail to London.[5] Mahratta left Gibraltar as part of Convoy HG 1 on 26 September 1939.[6] In blackout conditions she ran aground on Fork Spit, less than a mile away from where the first Mahratta had run aground.[5] The Deal hoveller Lady Haig was given charge of the salvage operations.[7] A tug attempted to move Mahratta into deeper water the next day, but the plates on her port side buckled and by nightfall Mahratta had broken in two.[5] The crew of Mahratta were transferred to the steamer Challenge in four trips. On the third trip, a lifeboat full of luggage salvaged from Mahratta was taken in tow, but a large wave almost capsized Lady Haig and the lifeboat was cast adrift after the ten crew from Mahratta on it were rescued.[7] They were landed at Dover.[5]

Pride of Canterbury ferry incident

On 31 January 2008, the roll on roll off passenger ferry Pride of Canterbury operated by P&O Ferries struck the wreck of Mahratta while manouevering in severe weather into a holding position in The Downs. The ferry suffered extensive damage to her port propeller and had to be assisted to berth in Dover. It is not clear whether the wreck site named in the MAIB report is that of the first SS Mahratta or the later vessel.[8]


  1. Jordan, Roger (2006). The World's Merchant Fleets, 1939: The Particulars And Wartime Fates of 6,000 Ships. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 9781591149590. 
  2. Hudson, Christopher (24 January 2007). "Bloody past of the wreckers". Daily Mail : pp. 9. Retrieved 14 November 2008. "On Good Friday 1909, the 5,730-ton liner Mahratta stuck in the Goodwin Sands, with a heavy cargo, a crew of 90 and 17 passengers. The Sands did not break the Mahratta's back for 24 hours, allowing time for locals to help unload its cargo. Many of them demanded their right of salvage, and when customs officers searched their houses they were physically roughed up. Her owners named another ship the Mahratta, and in August 1939 she sailed from Calcutta for London. Two months later, she went aground on the Goodwin Sands. When she broke up, it was found that she was resting on an earlier wreck. It was the first Mahratta." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Launched 1917: ss MAHRATTA". clydesite. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  4. "BROCKLEBANK'S SS MATHERAN 11 (1936)". Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Brocklebank's SS Mahratta 11". Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  6. "CONVOY HG 1". Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Dunkirk Little Ship Lady Haig". Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  8. "Report on the investigation into the grounding of Pride of Canterbury". Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 

External links

Coordinates: 51°14′45″N 01°30′05″E / 51.24583°N 1.50139°E / 51.24583; 1.50139