Shipwreck Preservation Society

of Newfoundland & Labrador

Hms raleigh

HMS Raleigh was a light cruiser commissioned in the Royal Navy in 1921. It became the flagship of the Atlantic and West Indies Squadron under Vice-Admiral William Pakenham. On August 8, 1922 it left Hawkes Bay on the northern peninsula of Newfoundland on a short trip north to Forteau Bay in southern Labrador. Apparently, the officers wanted to do some fly fishing there. Nearing Forteau Bay, the ship encountered fog and soon after ran aground close to the Point Amour lighthouse. Out of the crew of 797, 11 were lost in the shipwreck. The hundreds of survivors were taken into the homes of the lightkeepers and local families. The ship's captain and navigator were found responsible for the shipwreck in the subsequent court martial.

The crew salvaged belongings, supplies and classified materials in the weeks following the shipwreck. The Royal Navy salvaged machinery and guns until 1926, when the Raleigh was used for gunnery practice by other Royal Navy warships. The aim was a "cosmetic demolition". Over the following decades, different salvage operations further destroyed the wreck's structure. In the 1960s, extensive use of explosives for salvage left only a debris field, including large quantities of unexploded 7.5 inch shells. Since then Royal Canadian Navy divers have surveyed and removed unexploded ordanace on several occassions. In 2012, divers from the Underwater Archaeology Society of British Columbia conducted initial surveys of the wreck site.

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