Caesarea, 1923

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The Casearea awash outside St Helier Harbour in 1923
The ss Caesarea hit rocks and sank outside St Helier Harbour in 1923
The Caesarea approaches St Helier on her maiden voyage in 1910
A contemporary drawing of the shipwrecked vessel

On 7 July 1923 the mailboat Caesarea struck a rock off Corbiére on her way out from the island. She was able to turn round and almost made it back to St Helier Harbour, but sank just outside the pierheads.

She had 373 passengers on board and hit the rocks in thick fog. Water began to enter the stokehold and engine room and the stern was deep in the water, with lifeboats trailing behind as she approached St Helier Harbour. She stuck fast but was refloated on 20 July on a spring tide. Nobody was injured.

Vessel's history

The Caesarea (Official No 131763) was a steel-hulled 1,505 ton passenger ship that was completed as yard No 761 in September 1910 by Cammell, Laird and Co, Birkenhead. She was launched on 26 May 1910 for London and South Western Railway Company, Southampton. She measured 284 ft 6in x 39 ft 1in and was powered by three steam turbines.

From October 1914 to December 1915 she was an Admiralty requisition - armed boarding steamer. In 1923 the registered owner was Southern Railway, Southampton.

She did not return to Jersey after being taken to England for repairs following the shipwreck because she was sold and renamed Manx Maid by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

From October 1941 to 1945 she was an Admiralty requisition - radar training ship HMS Bruce. She was finally broken up at Barrow in 1950 by T W Ward.

A picture taken by stevedore and keen amateur photographer Leonard Skingle
Lifeboats alongside the Caesarea
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