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. For latest stories go to NEW site at

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


Third Wreck Finished The Schooner Acontias

When the 137-foot-long schooner Acontias wrecked on Presque Isle in Lake Huron on October 28, 1887, the incident brought an end to the 31-year-old vessel’s disastrous years on the Great Lakes. Click For Story


Arson Believed The Cause Of Keystone Blaze

When fire swept three idled steamships tied alongside each other at Ecorse, on July 23, 1932, it destroyed the once fine passenger liners Keystone and Dover and left the third vessel, Enterprise, damaged. Click For Story


Treasure Ship Port Au Prince Found

The burned-out remains of a 200-year-old tall ship of war, last believed used by the British as a privateer on the high seas, have been believed found by sport divers off the coast of Lefooga, in the Tonga Nation of the South Pacific. If they are right, local diver Tevita Moala, the man who found the wreck, believes he may have found the legendary Port Au Prince, which was captured, burned and sunk by King Finau Ulukalala II and his people after the ship, commanded by a Captain Duck, dropped anchor off Lefooga on November 29, 1806. Click For Story


Sinking Of The Robert J. Walker

The ruins of an ancient iron clad steamship were found by commercial fishermen off the coast of New Jersey in 1970, but it was only recently that the vessel was identified as the Robert J. Walker, a historic pre-civil war era ship. The Walker was one of the first iron steamships launched in the United States. It was commissioned in 1847 for the Revenue Service but then used by the Coast Survey to chart the Gulf Coast, the East Coast from the Florida Keys north to Mobile, Alabama. Click For Story


Wreck of the Schooner Abbie

The Abbie was a small two-mast schooner launched at Ludington, Michigan in 1886. It was owned by Grand Haven interests and probably never left Lake Michigan waters during the 19 years it remained in service. At 88 feet in length, the Abbie was especially built for small cargos and designed to be operated by small crews. The vessel had a crew of only four men on the day it went aground and wrecked near the entrance to Portage Lake, off the Michigan coast, on November 8, 1905. 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