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X- 127 Lighter Wreck (Manoel Island) K/A CAROLITA

WWII Wreck - Air raid attack sank while moored at Manoel Island on 6th March 1942 - Depth 22 metres




In February 1915, at about the same time that the smaller Lighters of the Y Class were being considered, D.N.C. received instructions to also prepare a design for a larger type of lighter or barge, to be self-propelled, suitable for transporting troops, horses, field guns and landing them on a shelving beach. The matter was one of extreme urgency and the design was completed within four days from the receipt of instructions. The form decided upon was of angular bilge section (pontoon shape) amidships, tapering to a ship shape form at the ends, with a spoon shaped bow to better enable the vessels to take the beach. The Hull was constructed of mild steel, but in order to meet the limits of the plant at some of the smaller yards certain small departures were permitted in order to facilitate the speedy construction of the vessels.  The Vessels were designated X and numbered X1 to X200

Displacement 160 ton(x1 series, 137r(x201 series) normal
Dimensions  X 1 Series 15ft 6inches pp x 21ft x 3ft 6inches
   32.2m x 6.4m x 1.1m
   X 201 Series 98ft pp x 20ft x 3ft 6inches
Machinery  1-shaft Bolinder Diesel Engines, 60bhp (average)
  (DX 1-25 unpowered)
Armament  NIL



Click on picture for large plan and on this link for number reference




At the time sinking on 6th March 1942, the X127 was being used as a fuel lighter, carrying Shale Oil for the Tenth Submarine Flotilla, Marsamxetto Harbour, Malta called HMS Talbot on Manoel Island, it is not known if modifications were required to pump fuel oil.

The war diary report dated 6.3.42 (Friday) - a continuous alert from dusk to dawn was kept up last night by 18 raiders, and slight damage caused at Luqa and Ta-Kali. Today attacks were renewed on the submarine base and aerodromes Talbot (S/M Dept) and the submarine trot were twice attacked, and in the second attack P.39 and P.36 were damaged by near misses, and a Fuel Lighter was sunk.


After sinking and when conditions permitted, archive material suggest X127 (L9) was to be lifted and repaired and continue its dockyard duties, but in Nov 46, X127 (L9) was classed as a war loss and struck off the Royal Navy register. Lloyds wreck register have no archive material on X127 (L9) or any other war losses of X Lighters in Malta except X131 (Water Lighter) sunk no 3 dock, 21.4.42. Archive material states that X131 (L10) had a re-fit in 47 and sold to the Greek Government in 1951.


The Dive: The X-127 Lighter also known as The Carolita Barge is on Manoel Island in Marsamxetto Harbour. To reach the wreck, divers should swim in a south-westerly direction at any depth between 10-15 metres. The seabed around the wreck is muddy and scattered with objects such as hospital beds, wheel chairs and other objects thrown into the sea during and after the war. The torpedo damage at the stern of the vessel is quite extensive. Throughout the dive, octopus, small groupers and thousands of damselfish are encountered. Maximum depth - 22 metres.






Info: www.xlighter.org


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