monarch wreck


The Monarch was not used in the herring industry though it is the same type of vessel. Made of Oregon pine, she was built on Lake Superior in 1915. She would, therefore, have reached the ocean through the Great Lakes Waterway, a system of canals and locks. She was built in a hurry in anticipation of a short life as a minesweeper.

However, Monarch was used instead to service the fleet in Scapa Flow during both world wars. Two ships would move around the fleet, one going clockwise and the other anti-clockwise around Scapa Flow, supplying the fleet with food. It is not known where or what the ship was doing between 1919 and 1939.

She last moved on her own in 1945/6. She lay at Duncans for a time where they took some bits off her, and a gale did further damage to her keel (Herbert Mackenzie, 11.2.2009). She was then bought for fencing posts and towed to Herston, at a cost of £2, by John Laird with the Hoy Head. She was left on the beach and in 1948 was scrapped. John Wylie got the chains from the boat.

The wooden wine-glass wench and chain nearby was used to beach the vessel, and carry up the beach a little every high tide. The wench was previously used for raising masts at each end of the Churchill Barriers. From these masts steel wire was hung to carry the blocks to build up the causeway. The keel lies slightly seaward of the wreck on the foreshore. The curved iron attached to the keel is where the boiler sat.

A much more complete version of the wreck, from the early 1980s, can be seen in the video for the Eurythmics song Here Comes the Rain Again.

Previously, Herston was an important herring fishery and would have had a large fleet. Several ships have been scrapped at Herston since World War II. There are further smaller abandoned boats above the high water mark near the Monarch.

These include a lifeboat from a Norwegian vessel torpedoed during the war. The lifeboat was towed to Stroma and used as a spare boat for supplies. Another boat is the yawl Falcon, built in 1931 and used for racing until the 1970s.

  • Nationality: British
  • Date built: 1915
  • Type: Drifter
  • Builder: Unknown on Lake Superior, Canada
  • Purpose: Supply ship (service boat for the fleet moored in Scapa Flow)
  • Length: c.100ft
  • Cause Lost: Bought for scrap
  • Date lost: 1948