HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

HMS Patia

Hob Uid: 1001497
Location :
Grid Ref : NU3566825695
Summary : Remains of 1941 wreck of British aircraft catapult vessel which foundered 6 miles east of Beadnell Point after being bombed en route from the River Tyne for Belfast. Before foundering her gunners managed to shoot down the attacking aircraft [see 1381894 / NU 32 NW 55]. Built in 1922, she was a steel screw steamer requisitioned by the Admiralty.
More information : Wreck Site and Archaeological Remains:

19-MAY-1941: Sunk in vicinity of 20G buoy. (FOIC Tyne) 55 34N 001 27W approx. (1)

Her charted position, which is given as position approximate, puts her in excess of 60m of water. The charted position of 55 34N 001 27W states a minimum depth of 35m over the wreck, but this is a figure at which it is considered to be a safe depth for navigation purposes, as the exact depth has not been established. HMS PATIA will undoubtedly be classed as a War Grave under the Military Remains Act. (6)

She was 400ft long with a 51ft beam and lies in 35m. (8)

Position given as 55 24.75N 001 26.30W, otherwise the account is substantially the same as source (11) below. (10)

Depth: 57m
Reference: 55 31.421N 001 26.098W
7 miles ESE of Beadnell Point

Wreck Site:

This large naval vessel now lies orientated almost north to south, on a seabed of hard sand in a general depth of 57m, the lowest astronomical depth, with her decks in 48m and a least depth of 43m. She sits upright all the way back to No.3 hold, where she was broken by the bomb's direct hit. From this point to the stern she is twisted through 90 degrees, leaving the decks lying nearly vertical. Starting near to the bridge and finning over to the bow on the port side, the diver can still see the railway track-like structure, which was used to launch the Hurricane fighter plane. Halfway back from this ramp stands the large derrick which was used to lift the Hurricane onto the tracks, still standing erect and pointing towards the surface . . . The derrick is now festooned in masses of trawl net, held aloft by dozens of floats.

. . . Moving back to the bridge, the main body is still recognisable, although there has been some collapse of the bridge roof, making the main bridge compartment only 1.5m high. Inside are the remains of the bridge operating systems, with the wooden wheel, although badly worn, still intact . . . while behind the wheel is the doorway leading into Captain Baker's cabin. The door has long since rotted off . . . The bridge wings still have anti-aircraft guns defiantly pointing towards the surface, with empty shells lying scattered around the base, testifying to the brave and heroic fight the crew put up against the Heinkel bomber.

Moving away back from the bridge to the engine room, skylights allow the diver to see right down the stairwell to the engine room, and further back still, revealing the gaping hole where her funnel once stood, which is flanked on four sides by ventilation shafts that supplied air to the engines. Close by are the davits that had been left outboard, providing the means of escape for the ship's crew. A little further back, the ship is twisted and broken, with decks changed from horizontal to vertical. Caution is required at this point, because a very large trawl net is suspended from the bottom of the deck . . .

Divers should remember that HMS PATIA is a war grave. As recently as September 1997 some of the ship's brave survivors visited the area to meet local people who had helped them in their time of need. (11)

Description, photograph and illustrations of site showing wreck broken in two and the two sections twisting in opposite directions; the catapult rails were still in situ forward as at 2008; aft, one anti-aircraft gun remained, the other had fallen onto the seabed. (14)

Charted without qualification as HMS PATIA, in general depth 57m; dimensions of site 134m x 20m; orientation 165/345 on a sandy seabed. (15)

Designated under Schedule 1 of the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (Designation of Vessels and Controlled Sites) Order 2012 as a vessel to which the Act applies (protected place). Made 16th April 2012; coming into force 1st June 2012. (16)

Wreck Event and Documentary Evidence:

Requisitioned for use as auxiliary fighter catapult ship. Sunk during machine gun and bomb attack by German aircraft, which was itself shot down. (FOIC Tyne, 28-APR-1941). (1)

Sunk by aircraft off Northumberland. (2)

Sunk by aircraft near 20G buoy. (3)

Originally hired as an ocean boarding vessel OCT-1940 then an aircraft catapult vessel MAR-1941, armed with 2 x 6in guns. (4)

Originally owned by Elders and Fyffes. Cdr. D M B Baker, 7 officers and 31 ratings were lost. (5)

HMS PATIA. A 400ft steamship with a 51ft beam, serving as a fighter aircraft catapult ship in WWII, carrying Swordfish spotter aircraft armed with light torpedoes. She was quite a large vessel at 5,355 gross tonnes [sic] and her role was to spot, and if possible, destroy, enemy submarines . . . Ironically she was sunk as a result of being bombed by enemy aircraft on April 27th, 1941 . . . (6)

Hired by the Admiralty as an ocean boarding vessel October 1940, then converted into a convoy aircraft catapult ship in March 1941. Whilst part of a convoy, she was attacked by German aircraft using machine guns and bombs, and whilst the attacking aircraft was herself shot down, the Patia foundered and lies in 60m, in the vicinity of No.20 buoy. Those lost when the PATIA sank included her captain, 7 officers and 31 naval ratings. (7)(9)

HMS PATIA, position 55 34.00N 001 27.00W, was sunk by a German bomber which itself was shot down; eight officers and 31 crew were killed. (13)

On 27 April 1941 HMS PATIA had joined a convoy and was steaming north to pick up Hurricane aircraft on her maiden voyage [on conversion to a Fighter Aircraft Catapult Ship]. She was about 4 miles off Boulmer, Northumberland, and was at cruising stations with a faulty radar set, when a low-flying German bomber suddenly loomed out of the sky. Her crew were unprepared for the onslaught that came from the aircraft, which first strafed the vessel with machine-gun fire and then dropped two bombs on its first run.

The bombs both fell short of their target, but at least four crewmen died on the ship as a result of the bomber's machine guns on its first attack. The plane turned and came in for a second run, raining more bombs as it came, but by then the ship's ack-ack gunners had pulled out all the stops and their accuracy paid off when they sustained a direct hit, knocking the German bomber out of the sky. Sadly, one of the last bombs dropped hit HMS PATIA, causing a huge explosion which seriously damaged the ship. Massive clouds of searing shrapnel flew into the air, killing and injuring many of the crewmen, and with the ship sinking rapidly, she had to be abandoned.

31 of the bedraggled and battered crew, many with their clothes burnt off and with terrible burns, broken bones and serious wounds, managed to drift . . . the four miles to the shore in a lifeboat, where a policemen directed them towards Boulmer . . . While the ship's crew were arriving on shore, the local lifeboat was called out with an armed escort to rescue three of the survivors from the German plane and it was only when they found themselves in the midst of the wreckage, that the lifeboat crew realised that a British ship had gone down.

Local people rallied round and gave the sailors dry clothes and towels and treated their wounds, then they were given wine and spirits . . . A Board of Inquiry decided that, because the ship was at cruising stations when she was attacked, they were at fault for being taken by surprise . . .

Photograph of PATIA as a merchantman prior to conversion. (11)

'PATIA was commissioned as a Fighter Catapult Ship on 26.04.1941, and left the Tyne as such the following day for gun trials, returning to port later that afternoon . . . the Fulmar aircraft which would be brought on board at Belfast . . . At 1825 hours on that same afternoon, PATIA left the Tyne bound for Belfast and the impending catapult trials.

'At around 2117 hours, some 35 miles north of Tynemouth, PATIA had passed 20G Buoy when an unidentified aircraft was spotted to the east. The vessel's Radio Direction Finding apparatus was unserviceable and in the twilight the approaching aircraft had not been spotted until it was almost on top of them. Flying at around 70 to 80 feet above the waves, a Heinkel He111 dropped a bomb on PATIA, which missed due to Commander Baker's order to turn the ship hard a-starboard. As it flew over the vessel, the Heinkel dropped a second bomb, which exploded in the water close to the port side of the ship. With PATIA now at action stations, her gun crews waited for the Heinkel to come into range.

'The bomber returned for a second attack some five minutes later, opening fire with its machine guns while flying at masthead height. PATIA's anti-aircraft guns were brought to bear when the Heinkel was in range; presumably this distracted the bombardier as two more bombs which were dropped fell well clear. However, one of the pom-poms and one of the Hotchkiss machine guns jammed during this action. The Heinkel returned once more at low altitude, making a stern attack and raking the vessel with machine-gun fire, killing an officer manning one of the Harvey projectors before flying east . . .

'Approaching again from extremely low altitude, the Heinkel again opened fire with its machine guns and dropped three bombs, the first falling short. The second hit PATIA between the engine room and No.3 hold. The third exploded near the starboard side of the vessel, damaging the bridge. Dropping a flare, the bomber again opened fire, this time using its rear-facing machine guns.

'Meanwhile, PATIA's engine room and boiler room had flooded, and the ship itself was beginning to sink. Following the "Abandon Ship" signal, there was some initial confusion as to the method of lowering the boats, since it was a new ship and the naval ratings were unused to the new release gear. 39 men went down with the PATIA . . . ' (12)

Saturday 26th April 1941, 2330hrs. The fighter catapult ship HMS PATIA was attacked and sunk by a Heinkel 35 miles north of the Tyne . . .

On 22nd May 1999 a remembrance service was held at Boulmer and afterwards a plaque was unveiled bearing the names of the 39 men who lost their lives on this ship. (13)

‘WAR SERVICE LOSSES… The Secretary of the Admiralty regrets to announce the following casualties:
H.M.S. “PATIA‼br />
Baker, D.M.B., Comdr, R.D. R.N.R. (in command)
Nicholls, C.S., Temp. Lieut., R.N.V.R.
Prim, B.K., Temp.Sub-Lieut. R.N.R.
Bartram, Norman, P.O.Stew’d.
Downs, James R., Fireman.
Doherty, John, Greaser.
Ferguson, John, Donkeyman.
Gray, William, Carpenter.
Godley, Albert W., Ord. Sea.
Hengler, Sidney, Storekeeper.
Hughes, George, Butcher 2.
Huzzey, William A., Asst.Store.
Jones, Alfred, Ord. Sea.
Lawrence, Leonard. Greaser.
Neuling, Julius, P., Greaser.
Orman, William, F., Fireman.
Rogers, Douglas, Fireman.
Short, Cyril, Ord. Sea.
Smith, John, Ord. Sea.
Smith, Wilfred S., Ord. Coder.
Stafford, George, Fireman.

Died of wounds:
Jennings, Mr. N., Electrician.
Kirkham, W., Temp.Act.Sub-Lieut. (E), R.N.V.R.
Jennings, Neville, Electrician.

Missing, presumed killed:
Owen, F.J., Lieut., R.N.R.
Riley, E.L., Temp.Lieut., R.N.V.R.
Williams, B.E.T., Prob.Temp.Lieut., R.N.R.
James, John. E., Ord. Sea.

Cook, W.C., A.B.
Davis, R., Act. Ldg. Sea.
Day, Morris N., Fireman.
Jewers, William, Greaser.
Matcham, Arthur, Storekeeper.
Mintern, L.A., Ord.Sea.
Owen, Royston W.H., 2nd Writer.
Parrish, F.A., A.B.
Phillips, G.S.P., Ord.Sea., R.N.V.R.
Pelling, Henry, Fireman.
Tompkins, Frederick E., P.O. Steward.
Voules, Raymond, 1st Writer.’ (17)

Built: 1922 (5)(11)
Builder: Cammell Laird (5)(11)
Where Built: Birkenhead (11)
Converted: 1941 (12)
Builders for conversion: Brigham & Cowan (12)
Where Converted: South Shields (12)
Construction: single bronze screw (11)
Propulsion: Screw driven, 3 cylinder triple expansion engine (5)(7)(9)(11)
Boilers: 3 (7)(9)
HP: 3750 (5)
Armament: 2 x 6 ins deck guns; fighter aircraft (7)(9)(11) - these were to be loaded at Belfast (12); 3 x 6ins "high-angle" QF guns; 2 pom-poms; 2 Hotchkiss machine-guns; 3 Harvey rocket projectors (12)
Commanding Officer: Cdr D M B Baker RNR (5)(12)(13)
Crew: 70 (11)
Crew Lost: 39 (5)(6)(7)(9)(12)(13)
Owner: original owner Elders & Fyffes (5)(11)(12); requisitioned by the Royal Navy (all sources)

Date of Loss Qualifier: Actual date of loss

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Hydrographic Office wreck index
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : British vessels lost at sea 1914-18 and 1939-45
Source details : Section III
Page(s) : 12
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : The Comprehensive Guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast, Vol 2 1918-2000.
Source details :
Page(s) : 211-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Air North
Source details : The Loss of the Fighter Catapult Ship HMS PATIA, April 1941, by Graeme Carrott
Page(s) : 189-91
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 41
Source Number : 13
Source : Northumberland Aviation Diary: Aviation Incidents from 1790 to 1999
Source details :
Page(s) : 73
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : Diver [incorporating Underwater World]
Source details : "HMS Patia", John Liddiard, January 2008
Page(s) : 74-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Examination of EH deskGIS SeaZone layer, 07-SEP-2009
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Statutory instruments [SI]
Source details : 2012 No.1110: The Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (Designation of Vessels and Controlled Sites) Order 2012
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : The Fleet - The Journal of the British Navy
Source details : No. 436, June 1941
Page(s) : 98
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : XXXVII
Source Number : 3
Source : Lloyd's war losses: the Second World War 3 September-14 August 1945, Volumes I and II
Source details :
Page(s) : 232
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Ships of the Royal Navy, volume 2: navy-built trawlers, drifters, tugs and requisitioned ships from the fifteenth century to the present
Source details :
Page(s) : 169
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam
Source details :
Page(s) : 543
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Dive north east : a Diver guide
Source details :
Page(s) : 95
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : United Kingdom shipwreck index [pre publication typescript]
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : The illustrated dictionary of north east shipwrecks
Source details :
Page(s) : 118
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Shipwreck index of the British Isles, volume 3. The east coast of England : Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland
Source details : Section 7, Northumberland (CG)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : The diver's comprehensive guide to the Farnes and Holy Island
Source details :
Page(s) : 219-21
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Built 1922
Monument End Date : 1922
Monument Start Date : 1922
Monument Type : Cargo Vessel
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Lost 1941
Monument End Date : 1941
Monument Start Date : 1941
Monument Type : Aircraft Carrier, Aircraft Catapult Vessel, Admiralty Vessel
Evidence : Vessel Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Hydrographic Office Number
External Cross Reference Number : 6601716
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Admiralty Chart
External Cross Reference Number : 156 24-09-76
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Admiralty Chart
External Cross Reference Number : 1192 16-09-77
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Hydrographic Office Number
External Cross Reference Number : 4390
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NU 32 NE 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : HE111 H-5 3677 1H+MH
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :