HMS Raleigh 

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Photo Credit:

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Photo Credit: Neil-Burgess

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Photo Credit: Neil-Burgess

Wreck Information

Date Lost: August 8, 1922

Fate: Ran aground

Year Built: 1921 Beardmore & Co., Glasgow

Nationality: British

Type: Hawkins Class Cruiser

# Onboard: 797

# Died: 11

Location: Point Amour, Labrador

His Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Raleigh was a cruiser commissioned into the British Royal Navy in July 1921. In August 1921, the ship left Great Britain on a year-long goodwill tour of North America and the Caribbean. 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 and outbuildings of the lightkeepers and local families. The ship’s captain and navigator were later 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 commercial 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 ordnance on several occasions. In 2012, divers from the Underwater Archaeology Society of British Columbia conducted initial surveys of the wreck site.

On the 100th anniversary of the loss of HMS Raleigh (August 8, 2022), divers from the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland & Labrador (SPSNL) visited the wreck and conducted a photo survey of the debris field. The shipwreck has been torn apart by the Royal Navy demolition, commercial salvage operations, wave action and sea ice over the past century.

The SPSNL survey of the shipwreck coincided with a 100th anniversary commemoration, hosted by the Point Amour Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site. Residents from local communities gathered to remember the loss of HMS Raleigh by telling family stories of the ship’s grounding and their care of the crew, and sharing artifacts from the shipwreck collected by family members over the years.



  • Historical Photos

  • Shipwreck Photos

Historical Photos

Specifications / Other:

Owner: Royal Navy

Vice-Admiral: Sir William Pakenham

Gross Tonnes: 9750

Gross Tonnes: 9750

Beam: 19.9 m (65.2 feet)

Engines: 4 steam turbines

Speed: 57.4 km/h (31 knots)

Main Guns:  7 x 7.5 inch

Armour: 1- to 3-inch steel plate

Assignment: Flagship - Atlantic & West Indies Squadron

Captain: Sir Arthur Bromley

Length: 184.5 m (605.5 feet)

Boilers: 4 oil + 2 oil/coal

Draft: 6.3 m (20.8 feet)

Horsepower: 70,000 hp

Propellers: 4

Torpedo Tubes: 6 x 21 inch

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