The SS Shirala was used to ferry passengers and cargo on scheduled routes to and from India. On 29th June 1918, she started her final voyage. She was bound for Bombay in India and fully loaded with a very mixed cargo that included munitions, ivory, wine, marmalade, lorry parts, spares for model T cars, diamonds and sheets of paper from the Bank of England to be printed as Rupees.

At 17.12pm, on 2 July 1918, the Shirala was four miles northeast of the Owers lightship vessel, when Lohs fired a torpedo, detonating amidships on the port side. Captain E. G. Murray Dickenson gave the order to abandon ship. All 200 passengers survived, but, sadly, eight out of the one hundred crewmen died when cold sea water came flooding into the stoke room, and caused a secondary explosion upon contact with the hot boilers.

Lives Lost

  • Abdul Majid. Fireman, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Abdullah Amad Khan. Fireman, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Ahmad Kanji Abdur Rahman. Lascar, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Ali Muhammad Ghulam. Trimmer, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Muhammad Jabbar. Serang, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Naimuddin Saifuddin. Tindal, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Sahibzadah Abdul Ghani. Fireman, Indian Merchant Service.
  • Malcolm Wright, Second Engineer, Mercantile Marine. Husband of Marion Wylie Wright (nee Tannahill) of 65 Marchfield Avenue, Paisley PA3 2QE

The Wreck Today

The wreck today is well dived and a must for all divers. The Shirala is well broken up, and lies in approximately 22 meters (73 feet) of water. There are still brass detonating caps, marmalade jars and wine bottles scattered in the sand amongst aircraft bombs and lorry parts. Visibility is typically 4 to 9 meters.