SS Cambridge (1916)

Cambridge was built by Joh. C. Tecklenborg in Geestemünde, Germany, in 1916 as the Vogtland. The ship was a twin-screw steel steamer, 524.5 feet in length, 56.7 feet in breadth, 37.3 feet in depth and of 10846 tons.[2][3]

  • Vogtland (1919-1922)
  • Cambridge (1922-1940)
Builder: Joh. C. Tecklenborg, Geestemünde
Launched: 1916
Completed: 1919
Identification: UK Official Number: 144589
Fate: Sank after hitting a mine in 1940
General characteristics
Tonnage: 10,855 gross tons
Length: 524.5 feet (159.9 m)[1]
Beam: 65.7 feet (20.0 m)
Draught: 37.3 feet (11.4 m)

Completed in 1919, the ship was surrendered to the British in 1922 as part of the war reparations following World War I, sold to the Federal Steam Navigation Company, Ltd, and renamed.


On 7 November 1940, the Cambridge was outbound from Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane under the command of Captain Paddy Angell. At 11:00PM, two and a half miles south-east of Wilsons Promontory, she struck one of several German mines laid in Bass Strait. The mine exploded towards the aft of the ship, flooding the engine room. A distress signal was broadcast, without reply, before Captain Angell ordered the ship to be abandoned.[4]

The ship sank stern first, in just 45 minutes. Of the 56 crew aboard, all but one escaped in one of the three lifeboats; ship's carpenter J. Kinnear returned to his cabin to retrieve money, but failed to escape despite the efforts of the rest of the crew to rescue him. The three lifeboats were rescued by the auxiliary minesweeper, HMAS Orara and taken to Port Welshpool.


The Cambridge was originally located by local diver Mick Bridle who had an nterest in wreck diving at the time. He researched and spoke to eye witnesses and passed on the location to Blue Nabila who he worked with which used side scan sonar to confirm location. He followed this up with further confirmation with a dive with Fred Billington (a former professional diver)

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