The second deepest of the Bell Island wrecks, the Lord Strathcona allows for better penetration and longer bottom times than her sister ship, the Rose Castle. The ship’s super structures will tower over you, and the cavernous depths of her holds will invite technical divers. Being deeper than the PLM-27 and Saganaga, it is in slightly better condition, thanks to being out of the way of currents and passing icebergs.
If you are interested in exploring this Bell Island wreck, please see our Wreck-Reation tour.
On the morning of September 5, 1942 while anchored off Bell Island, Conception Bay, Newfoundland the ore carrier SS Lord Strathcona was torpedoed and sunk. She was the second ship to meet her fate on this day at the hands of U-513, which had sunk the SS Saganaga only minutes before. Fortunately for the crew of the Lord Strathcona, they knew what was coming and took advantage of a few precious minutes to abandon ship, resulting in no loss of life.
The German submarine U-513, commanded by Fritz Rolf Ruggeberg, was also spared this day as, in its haste to sink the SS Saganaga and to maneuver for another kill, it struck the stern of the Lord Strathcona, damaging it’s own conning tower. Quickly recovering from this almost fatal blow, U-513 fired two torpedoes from its stern tubes and brought the Lord Strathcona down. However, U-513 eventually met its fate on July 19, 1943 off Santos, where she was depth charged and sunk by U.S. Naval Aircraft.
Interestingly, it’s well worth noting that prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Germany was the principal consumer for the iron ore produced at the Bell Island mines. Thus, the German High Command was very familiar with the Bell Island Anchorage and its strategic value in the war effort. It may well have been the same ore which was used to produce the U-boats and torpedoes that were to bring down these ships and cause such havoc on this day.