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Rfa Birchoil: Rubha Mealabhaig, South Uist, Sea Of The Hebrides

Oiler (20th Century)

Site Name Rfa Birchoil: Rubha Mealabhaig, South Uist, Sea Of The Hebrides

Classification Oiler (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Birchol; Birchal; Ru Melvich; Benbecula; The Little Minch; Rfa Birchol

Canmore ID 102812

Site Number NF81SW 8004

NGR NF 83404 13123

Datum WGS84 - Lat/Long

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/102812

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish South Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NF81SW 8004 8340 1312

N57 6 W7 13.75

NLO: Rubha Mealabhaig [name: NF 832 128]

Benbecula [name centred NF 82 51]

South Uist [name centred NF 79 33].

Formerly entered as NF82SW 8001 at cited location NF 8424 2411 [N57 6 W7 13.75], and classified as Fueler.

For possible alternative location at NF 8339 1269 [N57 5.77 W7 13.73], see NF81SW 8008.

Quality of fix = PA

Horizontal Datum = OGB

General water depth = 8

Circumstances of Loss Details

-----------------------------

The fleet oiler RFA BIRCHOIL ran ashore.

Source: World War II Shipping Loses.

Surveying Details

-----------------------------

The vessel ran ashore on Ru Melvich on bearing 357 degrees, 6.75 miles from the Trig Point.

24 August 1970. Being offered for tender.

9 October 1970. The wreck was sold to Elliot & Co (divers) Helenburgh.

26 February 1971. The site was investigated by boat using visual and echosounder means. No trace was found and it was assumed to have been dispersed.

Report by HMS HECCLA.

19 August 1975. The wreck is broken up with remains scattered over a large area. There is evidence of recent salvage attempts.

Report by letter from D. Sloan dated 31 July 1975.

28 October 1976. The vessel was not visible on RAF aerial photography dated 1971.

7 August 1984. The position was given as 57 06 00N, 007 13 45W. Only a few plates and a porthole were found at a depth of about 7 metres. Most of the wreck is thought to be in deeper water off Ru Melvick.

Report by Lt M. L. Law, REME.

6 March 1985. The site was dived upon in 1984. The bows of wreck lie close inshore in 3 metres of water and the stern is in 14 metres on a sandy bottom.

Report by P. Camilla, 25 February 1985.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

(Classified as steel RFA oiler: date of loss cited as 29 November 1939). Birchol: this vessel was lost 357 degs 6.5 cables from trig point: identity uncertain.

Registration: London. Built 1917. 1115grt. Length: 66m. Beam: 10m.

(Alternative locations cited at N57 5.77 W7 13.73 and N57 5.76 W7 15.3).

I G Whittaker 1998.

Material reported under RoW amnesty (2001):

A2712 1 small bronze valve, 1 brass valve wheel: from seabed.

(Name cited as Birchal: location cited [in error] as south end of Benbecula).

NMRS, MS/829/35.

Activities

Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 126

Name : BIRCHOL

Latitude : 570546

Longitude : 71344

Date Built : 1917

Registration : LONDON

Type : RFA OILER (STEEL)

Tonnage : 1115

Tonnage Code : G

Length : 66

Beam : 10

Draught : 4m

Position : Exact Position

Loss Day : 29

Loss Month : 11

Loss Year : 1939

Comment : 357 degs 6.5 cables from trig pt is 5705.76/0715.30. Is this really BIRCHOL?

Reference (19 April 2012)

UKHO Identifier : 001886

Feature Class : Wreck

State : LIVE

Classification : Unclassified

Position (Lat/long) : 57.10000,-7.22917

Horizontal Datum : ORDNANCE SURVEY OF GREAT BRITAIN (1936)

WGS84 Position (Lat/long) : 57.09973,-7.23008

WGS84 Origin : 3-D Cartesian Shift (BW)

Previous Position : 57.09612,-7.22888

Position Quality : Unreliable

Depth Quality : Depth unknown

Water Depth : 8

Vertical Datum : Lowest Astronomical Tide

Name : RFA BIRCHOL

Type : FLEET OILER

Flag : BRITISH

Length : 67.1

Beam : 10.7

Draught : 4.3

Tonnage : 2407

Tonnage Type : Gross

Date Sunk : 29/11/1939

Contact Description : Notable debris

Original Sensor : Reported Sinking

Last Sensor : Diver Sighting

Original Detection Year : 1939

Last Detection Year : 1985

Original Source : Unknown

Last Source : Divers

Circumstances of Loss : **RAN ASHORE.

Surveying Details : **ON RU MELVICH 357 DEGREES 6.75 MILES FROM TRIG PT. (AUTHORITY & DATA NOT KNOWN).

**H7923/39 18.12.39 INS AS ST IN 570546N, 071344W. - NM 2843/39.

**24.8.70 BEING OFFERED FOR TENDER.

**9.10.70 SOLD TO ELLIOT & CO (DIVERS), HELENSBURGH.

**H3156/69 26.2.71 INVESTIGATED BY BOAT USING VISUAL & E/S. NO TRACE. ASSUMED DISPERSED. (HMS HECLA, HI53/70). DELETED. BR STD.

**H1286/75 19.8.75 WRECK BROKEN UP, REMAINS SCATTERED OVER LARGE AREA. EVIDENCE OF RECENT SALVAGE ATTEMPTS. (D SLOAN, LTR DTD 31.7.75).

**28.10.76 NOT VISIBLE ON RAF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY DATED 1971. (MS5 PHOT 28.10.76).

**H1309/75 7.8.84 POSN GIVEN AS 570600N, 071345W. ONLY A FEW PLATES AND PORTHOLE FOUND IN DEPTH OF ABOUT 7MTRS. MOST OF WK THOUGHT TO BE IN DEEPER WATER OFF RU MELVICK. (LT M J LAW, REME).

**H1310/85/9 6.3.85 DIVED ON IN 1984. BOWS OF WK LIE CLOSE INSHORE IN 3MTRS OF WATER AND THE STERN IS IN 14MTRS ON A SANDY BOTTOM. (P CAMILLA, 25.2.85).

Charting Comments : POSN FOR FILING ONLY

Date Last Amended : 20/02/2001

Date Position Last Amended : 28/08/1984

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