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War Knight (SS), shipwreck 1918



The SS War Knight was sailing in convoy when she collided with the American tanker OB Jennings on 24 March, 1918, the resulting explosion killed everyone on both ships.
Both ships were towed to the Island, the OB Jennings to Sandown Bay where she burned for 10 days before being torpedoed and sunk by friendly fire. She was refloated, repaired and returned to convoy duty, only to be torpedoed again, this time by a U-boat, shortly afterwards.
War Knight, being towed separately, struck a mine west of Freshwater, and was then sunk by friendly action to quench the fire on board. The fire finally stopped, but her cargo of bacon, oil, rubber, lard and flour was washed out into the sea and then onto the beach. Since food rationing was in force, the people of Freshwater felt entitled to help themselves. Unfortunately, the authorities thought differently and thirty eight people were subsequent arrested and charged for stealing contraband and taken to court in Newport - they were all found guilty and fined from £1 to £5.

See also: Shipwrecks

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