11th January 1917 –
HMS Ben-My-Chree sunk

440px-Ben-my-Chree_(III)_on_her_sea_trials..JPGBen-My-Chree (Manx language meaning “Girl of my Heart”) was a packet turbine steamer between Liverpool and Douglas on the Isle of Man. She was built by Vickers in 1907, She was 390 feet long, with five decks, and could carry 2,549 passengers, entering service in August 1908.

HMS Ben-my-Chree 800x529She was chartered by the Royal Navy in January 1915, and was sent to Cammell Laird at Birkenhead where she was converted into a seaplane carrier. A large hangar was built aft, that could house between four and six seaplanes. Derricks were used to lift the aircraft in and out of the water. Initially there was a 60-foot dismountable take-off platform installed forward of the superstructure but this was soon removed..

nl107_3722_mg_Sopwith_Schneider_Ben_Ma_Chree__Sub_Gallipoli_1917_800x564Once converted, she was initially assigned to the Harwich force, and took part in two abortive raids on Norddeich. Following this, she sailed for the Dardanelles, with two Short 184 torpedo bombers. She was at Lesbos by June 1915. Over the following months the seaplanes were mainly used as spotters for the naval artillery supporting the troops ashore, and also the occasional torpedo attack.

imagesOn 20th December 1916 Ben-My-Chree was sent to the Greek island of Kastellorizo to support French troops fighting the Turks. The Turkish battery opened fire on the steamer, disabling her steering and starting a fire that quickly spread. The crew abandoned ship, and the Turks continued firing until the steamer sank in fairly shallow water. The wreck was refloated in 1920 and towed to Piraeus. After survey it was declared a constructive total loss and was eventually broken up in Venice in 1923.