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SS Thistlegorm

SS Thistlegorm

The Red Sea's most popular and best-known shipwreck of all of time
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A Brief History

The SS Thistlegorm is the Red Sea's most popular and best-known shipwreck of all of time. It was a British freigher belonging to the shipping company Albyn Lyne Ltd. It was one of a group of vessels whose names began with the prefix “thistle” the national flower of Scotland. Launched on 9 April 1940 at the shipyard of Thompson & Sons Ltd in Sunderland, the Thistlegorm was a freighter assigned to transport supplies and war material to the British armed forces at the beginning of World War II.

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Bomb shells underwater
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Anti-Aircraft gun from SS Thistlegorm wreck
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Screw-propeller on the shipwreck SS Thistlegorm
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Wreck of the SS Thistlegorm in the Egyptian Red Sea
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The "Secret" Mission

The Thistlegorm took part in the secret mission code-named "Operation Crusader". It was intended to deliver supplies to the 200,000-strong British 8th Army stationed in Egypt and Cyrenaica under the command of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. In May 1941, the Thistlegorm, with a crew of 39 men, left the port of Glasgow and headed toward Alexandria. The ship was carrying ammuntions of different kind, antitank mines; Lee Enfield MK III rifles; some one hundred motorcycles; trucks; transport trailers; portable field generators; spare parts for airplanes, and land vehicles; medicines; tires; and rubber boots.

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Inside SS Thistlegorm - Truck
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303 Enfield Carabines In The SS Thistlegorm
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The Last Voyage

Thistlegorm was sunk during a surprise attack by a pair of Heinkel He-111 bombers dispatched from flight squadron KG26 in Crete during the night between 5 and 6 October 1941. They attacked her at 0.35 am on 6 October. The attack came as a complete surprise, and the Thistlegorm had no time to defend herself. Two bombs hit the SS Thistlegorm’s ammunition room and at 1:30 am, the ship sank rapidly at the depth of a little over 30 meters.

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Motorcycle Norton 16H on shipwreck SS Thistlegorm

El Tor, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt