Dive Malta - Gozo - Comino with Subway Dive Centre - It's The Best Way...
 

Back to Map

Divesubway Home Page

   

 

 

Scuba Diving in Malta is considered the best diving in the Mediterranean. The Maltese islands are blessed with warm temperatures, even in winter, clear, unpolluted seas, with visibility underwater in excess of thirty metres. Hundreds of kilometres of coastline, many of which are still unexplored, make the Maltese archipelago a favourite with adventurous divers.

 

HMY AEGUSA

 

 

SY AEGUSA - built by Scotts Greenock - Yard No 343
Last Name: HMY AEGUSA (1915) - Previous Names: ERIN (1898)

 

Propulsion: 2,500ihp 15.5 knots
Launched: Monday, 07/12/1896
Built: 1896
Ship Type: Steam Yacht
Tonnage: 1242 tons
Length: 257.7 ft
Breadth: 31.65 ft
Draught: 18.5 ft
 
Owners History
 

Built by Scotts Greenock, in 1896 as the screw schooner Aegusa for I Florio, Palermo.

 

1898 purchased by Sir Thomas Lipton and renamed Erin for use as a tender for his racing yachts named Shamrock.

 

When WWI was declared she was used by the Red Cross to Ferry doctors to France and Salonika. Sir Thomas took part himself.

 

 

3/7/1915 Commissioned as HMY Aegusa and used as a Patrol Vessel in the Mediterranean. Auxiliary Patrol Vessel. 

 
Requisitioned Steam Yacht
082 2 x 3in guns
 
 

The New York Times - Published May 3, 1916

 
On the 27th April 1916: The submarine U-73 positioned 22 mines at the entrance of Valletta Harbour, Malta, Minefield no. 17.  On the same day HMS Russell hit a mine and sunk.  At 20.00hrs the minesweeper Nasturtium suffered the same faith and sank at 2.45am on the 28th April 1916. 

 

Summary of details from Court Martial Report - Loss of the Aegusa – one of the three ships lost in Minefield 17 on 27th April 1916

Court Martial to enquire into the loss of ship and to try Capt Thomas P Walker RNR and the surviving offices and crew – started on 8th May 1916 Case No: 416.S/578
 

The Court Martial: from the evidence provided had to also establish whether the Aegusa was torpedoed or struck a mine. According to Capt T P Walker his ship struck a mine. At the time of impact the engines of the Aegusa where not running and she was drifting.
Letters (report) dated 29th April 1916 and 4th May were submitted to The Admiral of Patrols Malta by Capt Walker, informing him of the loss of HM Aegusa. Six crew members had been killed plus crew members from the HMS Nasturtium.

 
 

 

The Yacht HM Aegusa had received instructions by w/t at 7.00pm to hunt for a submarine that was sighted in the area but on arrival found HMS Nasturtium who had struck a mine being taken in tow by HMS Sheldrake. The Aegusa stood by the Nasturtium to render assistance and sent its life boat to pick up surviving crew members. The Captain of the Nasturtium and 3 crew members remained on-board the Nasturtium to assist in the towing of the ship back to Malta, so the life boat of the Aegusa was sent out again to stay close to the ship.

 

At 10.55pm the Yacht Aegusa struck a mine and started to sink, the captain ordered the crew to man the boats and abandon the vessel  -    “ we just got clear when the Aegusa sank about 7 minutes after striking the mine” – Capt T. P. Walker

 

 

The Nasturtium was settling in the water and listing. Capt T Walker pulled his Jolly boat close to the Nasturtium and stood by ready to assist in the event that the Nasturtium starts to sink. Sea conditions were not good and at 2.30am the Capt of the Nasturtium Robin Wynell Mayow LLOYD and the 3 crew members boarded the Jolly Boat of Capt Walker. At 2.45am the Nasturtium overturned and sank. The Jolly boat with the survivors managed to reach Malta at 11.00am about a mile from Delimara point a Launch from Marsaxlokk picked them up when they were about to land. (Info from letters TP Walker and his evidence during the court martial)

 

Extract from signals made to and from patrols and others on the subject of mines and submarines, below list refers to loss of the HMS Nasturtium and Aegusa

 
References.  R.A.P = Rear Admiral of Patrols / C.X.0 = Chief Examining Officer
 

C.X.O

G.S.O

"Russell struck by mine or torpedoed. “Harrier" hoisted N. flag. Passed to R.A.P

 

G.S.O. (N)

C.X.O.

Hoist "N" Commercial (this is the executive order for putting into force the local arrangements for defence against hostile submarines).

 

A.S.

Patrols A.B.M.V   A.B.W.V.

Submarine active 5 miles off Valletta.

0531

R.A. "Russell"

A.S.

"Russell" been torpedoed 2 miles off Zonker Point, I am on board "Harrier". I think most of Officers and men have been saved.

 

A.S.

Castille, General and all Departments.

Delay all sailing until further orders.

0645

R.A.P.

Nasturtium - Aegusa - Acorn - Safa-el-Bahr

Return at once and search for enemy submarine in vicinity of Malta

0630

A.S.

A.B.M.V.

Look out for mines off coast of Malta.

0918

A.S.

C.X.O.

No ship other than Man of War is to leave Marsa Scirrocco without permission. Haul down the "N" flag unless you can obtain further information of the submarine reported by G.S.O. Let me know before this is done.

 

A.S.

G.S.O. for H.E. the Governor.

I consider “Russell” was destroyed by mine. We have subsequently destroyed two mines in the same vicinity,

1006

R.A.P.

Acorn

Search in the vicinity of Malta for mines and submarine until further orders, but you are not to approach the island within 6 miles during the night.

1040

R.A.P.

Marguerite and Wallflower

Continue your search for mines and submarine until dark when proceed on Patrol Duties in accordance with sailing orders.

1042

A.S.

Sheldrake

Proceed to position 3 miles N.E. of Valletta and hunt for submarine.

1314

R.A.P.

Wallflower, Nasturtium, Aegusa, Safa-el-Bahr

Proceed to 3 miles N. 46 E. of Valletta with all despatch and search for submarine. (Passed to Castille for “Wallflower”) (Passed to Rinella for other three)

1330

Aegusa

A.S.

Expect to arrive off Malta harbour sunset. Present position 3 miles N. 46 E. Valletta

1310

R.A.P.

Nasturtium

Continue your search for mines and submarines until dark and then proceed on patrol duty according to sailing orders.

1510

R.A.P.

Sheldrake, Wallflower, Nasturtium, Aegusa

You are to remain in the vicinity of where submarine was last seen 3 miles N.E. of Valletta searching until further orders.

1650

R.A.P.

Sheldrake, Acorn, Wallflower, Aegusa. Nasturtium, Cyclamen

You should keep 6 miles off the land during the night and close up on the position N.E. 3 miles from Valletta at day break searching for submarine.

1745

A.S.

Sheldrake

Report position of “Nasturtium”

1934

Castille

A.S.O.

“Wallflawer”reports “Nasturtium” has struck a mine.

1932

Sheldrake

R.A.P.

“Nasturtium” struck mine. Passed to R.A.P.

1910

Sheldrake

R.A.P.

“Nasturtium” floating both boiler rooms flooded an towing have tug ready at entrance Sliema Harbour. Passed to R.A.P.

1930

R.A.P.

ALL Patrols

Submarine reported 18 W. 5 at 1810. steering East

1946

A.S.

A.B.M.V. , A.B.W.V., ALL Patrols

Do not approach within 7 miles of Malta. Mines are being found.

1958

Aegusa

A.S.

It would be wise to send tugs out at once to “Nasturtium”. “Sheldrake” trying to tow her back.

2010

Acorn

A.S.

Position obstruction was struck N. 30 E. 3. 3 miles from St. Elmo Light House.

1950

Harrier

A.S.

In view of intercepted signals I am proceeding patrol

1950

A.S.

Harrier

Your 1950 Be careful to keep at least 6 miles away from Grand Harbour except in swept channel.

2019

A.S.

Aegusa

Tugs are being sent.

2018

Aegusa

A.S.

She has a heavy list, crew taken off except few hands on forecastle with boat standing by to assist Tugs with hawsers when they arrive. (Passed to R.A.P.)

2100

Sheldrake

R.A.P.

H.M.S. “Nasturtium” badly holed on the starboard side, listing 30 degrees to Port, floating now, motionless, crew removed. (Passed to R.A.P.)

2138

Sheldrake

R.A.P.

Aegusa torpedoed or mined. Send Tugs. (Passed to R.A.P.)

2150

 

Court Martial Decision and Findings (extract below):

 
Names of the Six  Crew that lost their lives on the HMY Aegusa:
Banks, Alfred Fireman, MMR, (nsnl)
Banks, George H Fireman, MMR, 585671
Best, William F Fireman, MMR, (nsnl)
Lowe, George Fireman, MMR, (nsnl)
Smith, Thomas Assisatant Steward, MMR, (nsnl)
Toms, George Fireman, MMR, 473086
 
Special Thanks to David Agius Re: Court Martial Documentation
 
 

©Divesubway.com - Subway Dive Centre 2007