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SS Maloja - sunk off Dover February 1916

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    SS Maloja - sunk off Dover February 1916

    On 27th February 1916, P&O liner SS Maloja sunk about 2 miles off Dover and it is likely that the sinking was the consquence of a British mine adrift in the Channel. This is a modern theory that contradicts the contemporary belief that it was a direct consequence of enemy action - a torpedo.

    The web site Lives of the First World War lists those who died ...

    If you go to page 3, you will find a Mrs Phyllis Mary Making nee Connor.

    She was only 24 years old and was en route to Gibralter, to be with her husband.

    I know this because she was related to me and the story has been passed down to me by family members, chiefly my Godmother who, until very recently, was the family's historian.

    My Great Grandfather (Phyllis' uncle and my Godmother's grandfather) was called on to identify the body, an act that affected him quite badly. It is said that he aged quite rapidly from that point.

    An important part of the story, known within the family but not documented elsewhere, is that Phyllis, who was a strong swimmer, survived the initial impact then helped another lady onto a piece of flotsam. The other lady survived but Phyllis died of exposure while awaiting rescue. The Channel in February is not a welcoming place for human beings.
    Harald Jarl, Honningsvag to Svolvaer, Summer 1985.
    Deck plan geek.
    The first 5 days after the weekend are the toughest.

    Such a sad story...
    Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


      That is such a sad, sad story. Thank you so very much for sharing your connection to the story.

      Interesting story, I found something about it at Wikipedia:

      There are also quite a few photographs of the ship... this story actually interests me and I might have to spend some time reading about it online.
      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
      Main page:

      Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.


      • Clipper
        Clipper commented
        Editing a comment
        There used to be a web site dedicated to the Maloja but unfortunately it disappeared. That site expressed far less certainty about the type and origin of the explosive device. Was it a torpedo or a mine? Was it "friendly" or enemy? These points were discussed and came down in favour of a British mine. The Wikipeda article (as currently written) expresses its different conclusion with far greater certainty.

        There were also some first-hand accounts of survivors, as given at the inquest in Dover. Amongst them was one of a crew member (an officer if I recall correctly) who was in the radio room at the moment of impact. According to his statement, he heard the explosion but only after having walked out of the compartment onto a walkway did he feel a destructive wave buckling the plates beneath his feet. The wave travelled somewhat slowly up the length of the ship (from stern to bow). This gives some idea of the immense destructive power of a mine (or torpedo). They do far more than create a localised hole in the hull.