On this day in 1905

1905 The SS Hilda, a steamship owned by the London and South Western Railway sank, with the loss of 125 lives when she struck ground at the entrance to Saint-Malo harbour.

She had sailed from Southampton at 22:00 on 17 November 1905 on her regular service to Saint-Malo in Brittany with 103 passengers on board. Thick fog caused her master, Captain Gregory, to anchor off Yarmouth, Isle of Wight to await better weather conditions. At 06:00 on 18 November the Hilda resumed her voyage and by 18:00, she was approaching St Malo. Although the lights from the town could be seen, squally snow showers  impaired visibility and her Captain was forced to abandon the attempt to reach port.

There then followed occasions when the visibility improved briefly but then deteriorated. Gregory made several attempts to reach St Malo’s port, each of which he had to abandon. Around 23:00, the visibility improved again and the Hilda made its final attempt to enter the harbour. Sadly, minutes later, the ship struck the Pierre de Portes rocks, that lie to the west of the entrance channel to St Malo’s harbour and broke up.

About 20 or 30 survivors managed to climb the rigging  of the wreck to await rescue. By 09:00 on 19 November, when they were discovered by SS Ada, only six remained.

SS Hilda sinks off Saint Malo this day in 1905
SS Hilda sinks off Saint Malo 19th Nov 1905

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