The Red Sea's most popular and best-known shipwreck of all of time
Max Depth (meters)
Year of the sinking
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.
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.
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.