True Stories Of Ships And The Men That Sailed Them

Within these links are stories and pictures of ships and the men and women that sailed them, many of them lost at sea or on the Great Lakes.

Admiral DuPont

Civil War Era Steamer Admiral DuPont

Named for Samuel Francis DuPont, a distinguished Union naval officer whose skills in commanding a fleet of ironclad warships during the American Civil War earned him the rank of rear admiral, the little iron hulled passenger and cargo ship Admiral DuPont not only participated in the war, but became one of its casualties. Click For Story


Gallois Went Aground Fleeing U-Boat

The Gallois was a 321-foot merchant ship that holds the distinction of being one of nine vessels from World War II Convoy FS 559 that became disoriented in fleeing a German submarine attack and wrecked on the Haisborough Sands off the east coast of England. Click For Story

Sunk At The Dock

Excursion Boat City Of Cincinnati

When launched at Jamestown, New York in 1882, this 132-foot vessel began operating as an excursion ship on the Great Lakes under the name Cincinnati. In its day the steamer offered fine furnished cabins, fancy deck railings and colored sky-lights in the upper cabins. The competition on the lakes was fierce and by 1891 the Cincinnati was sold to the Chautauqua Steamboat Company for operations on Chautauqua Lake in the State of New York. For the next 35 years the vessel, renamed the City of Cincinnati, made three trips a day on the 17-mile-long trip between Jamestown at the southern end of the lake, and Mayville at the northern end. Click For More

La Rubida

Christmas Tree Ship La Rubida

The 30-year-old schooner La Rubida was laden with 10,000 Christmas trees, probably bound for her home port of South Haven, Michigan, when it was driven ashore and wrecked near Naubinway on Lake Michigan, on November 25, 1906. Captain A. E. Dow and his crew of the 75-foot-long wooden schooner managed to escape to shore in spite of the bitter cold, and found shelter after spending a terrible night on the beach. Click For Story


The Arctic Disaster Of 1854

It was September 27, 1854 and the four-year-old Collins Line steamship Arctic was on the last leg of a voyage from Liverpool to New York when it ran into fog and collided with the French steamship Vesta off the Newfoundland coast. An estimated 400 passengers and crew members perished when the steamer foundered. Click For Story

Wrecked Maheno

Mighty Maheno Lies Rusting

The 400-foot ocean liner Maheno has been a quiescent fixture on the sandy shore of Australia’s Fraser Island since 1935 when a cyclone drove it hard aground. Once a proud liner for New Zealand’s Union Company the wreck today is but a rusted curiosity piece for vacationing island visitors. Click For Story


U-Boat Sank Hospital Ship Rewa

The battle at sea during World War I was somewhat of a gentleman’s war. German U-boat commanders were known to surface in front of cargo vessels and give crew members time to escape in lifeboats before sinking the ship. That is why the U-boat sinking of the British hospital ship Rewa, filled with 279 injured troops returning from Malta, off the English coast, raised a political storm. Click For Story


War Survivor Eaglescliffe Hall

At 253 feet the Eaglescliffe Hall was never meant to be anything more than a bulk freighter on the Great Lakes. Its length defines the vessel as a "canaller," which means it was designed to enter the lakes via the old Welland Canal locks. But when war came, this Canadian ship joined the North Atlantic merchant fleet, serving allied forces during the Second World War. Click For Story


Mystery Loss Of British Submarine Affray

The 281-foot diesel/electric submarine Affray was on a simulated war operation when it foundered without warning in the English Channel taking its 28-year-old commander, Lt. John Blackburn and 74 other naval officers and British personnel to their deaths on April 16, 1951. Click For Story


Divers Find Wreck Of Roberval

A team of Great Lakes shipwreck researchers from Rochester, New York, recently found the remains of the Roberval, a small Canadian steamship that sank in Eastern Lake Ontario on September 25, 1916. The wreck is lying in about 300 feet of water about 15 miles off Oswego. The small 128-foot steamer was laden with lumber bound from Cape Vincent on the St. Lawrence River to the Diamond Match Company in Oswego when it was hit by high northwest winds when it entered Lake Ontario. Click For Story


"U-Who" The Submarine That Sank Itself

In 1991 the wreck of an unidentified German submarine from World War II was discovered in 240 feet of water off the New Jersey coast. The wreck became jokingly tagged "U-Who" for lack of a true name. A few years later divers recovered a torpedo aiming device and spare parts from the motor room engraved with serial and other numbers and specifically identified the submarine. It was the U-869, a vessel thought to have been lost somewhere off the coast of Africa. Click For Story



James L. Donahue is the author of four fine books crammed with Great Lakes shipwreck and shipping history. His books, available through Thunderbay Press, can be purchased on line at Amazon, Borders and other popular book sellers. They include Steaming Through Smoke and Fire, Steamboats In Ice 1872, Terrifying Steamboat Stories and Schooners In Peril.

All written material on this site is copyright protected. Reproduction on other sites is permitted if proper credit is given and the material is not sold or used for financial gain. Reproduction for print media is prohibited unless there is expressed permission from the author, James L. Donahue.

Great And Lost Ships Of The World