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No Class

Site Name Cancelled

Classification No Class

Alternative Name(s) Hms Campania

Canmore ID 96655

Site Number NT28SW 8002


Datum Datum not recorded



Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Maritime - Fife
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Maritime
  • Former County Not Applicable

Archaeology Notes

NT28SW 8002 2386 8374

N56 2.4333 W3 13.3333

NLO: Burntisland [name: NT 235 858].

See also NT28SW 8001 at cited location NT 2386 8374 (N56 2.4333 W3 13.333).

The fairway of the Firth of Forth at Burntisland has been rendered safer for navigation by the dispersal of the wreck of the Campania to a depth of 6? fathoms below low water mark spring tide.

Source: Fife Free Press, 23 July 1921.

The fairway of the Firth of Forth at Burntisland has been rendered safer for navigation by the dispersal of the wreck of the Campania to a depth of 6? fathoms below low water mark spring tide.

Source: Fife Free Press, 20 December 1974.

Quality of fix = HSA

Evidence = Swept by Wire (Single Ship/Boat Drift Sweep)

Horizontal Datum = OGB

General water depth = 24

Orientation of keel/wreck = 060240

Circumstances of Loss Details


This ex Cunard liner was built in 1893. It was bought by Admiralty in April 1915 and converted into an aircraft carrier. It sank after dragging its anchor in a squall and colliding port side across with the stern of the HMS ROYAL OAK. There was a boiler explosion before she sank. HMS GLORIOUS, nearby, was also damaged. All the crew were saved.

Sources; Naval history section & Naval library, Dictionary of Disasters at Sea.

An ex Cunard liner built with 5-cylinder triple expansion engines capable of producing 28,000hp and speeds of up to 22knots. After conversion the ship mounted 6 x 4.7-inch guns and 1 x 3-inch AA gun and could carry 10 aeroplanes. The ships complement was around 600.

In 1916 the fore funnel was divided to allow a longer flying-off deck.

H M Le Fleming 1967

Surveying Details


4 December 1918. The wreck's position is given as 152 degrees, 1630 metres from the fixed light at the east entrance to Burntisland Harbour, which translates to 56 02 30N, 003 13 15W. The masts and funnels show at low water. The wreck will be dispersed.

Report by the Commander in Chief, Rosyth.

4 August 1921. The dispersal is carried out to a depth of 11.8 metres and the wreck is no longer a danger to navigation. The green light buoy, about 185 metres to the south of the site will be withdrawn on or about 1 September 1921.

Rosyth general order No.78 19 March 1921.

2 September 1921. The wreck's buoy is removed.

Report by Northern Lighthouse Board.

25/26 February 1941. The least depth over the wreck is 9.1 metres. A green spheroid buoy is laid 090 degrees, 55 metres from the wreck.

Report by Commander in Chief, Rosyth.

18 April 1941. The least depth over the wreck is now given as 9.6 metres. Report by Commander in Chief, Rosyth.

17 March 1948. The bouy is removed.

Report by Northern Lighthouse Board.

20 September 1952. The bouy is replaced on a bearing of 62 degrees, 2.22 miles from Oxcars Light.

Northern Lighthouse Board Notice to Mariners number 11/52.

30 June 1953, The least depth over the wreck is now recorded as 13.7 metres and the buoy is removed.

Report by Northern Lighthouse Board.

6 March 1967. The wreck appears to have broken up into at least three major parts. Part A is the most extensive area of wreckage. Part A's position is given as a bearing of 89 degrees Oxcar Light; 10 minutes to Burntisland west breakwater lighthouse; 128 degrees 40 minutes to Inchkeith Lighthouse. Part B bears Oxcars Light 92 degrees 00 minutes; Burntisland west breakwater lighthouse; 121 degrees 40 minutes Inchkeith lightouse. The wreck was swept by wire drift. Part A gave a clear water clearence of 12.5 metres, but caught the wire at 14.1 metres. Part B gave a clearence of 12.7 metres, but caught wire at 14.1 metres . The least depth by echosounder over the site was 16.3 metres in a general water depth of 25.6 metres. A scour pit was observed with the depth of 26.3 metres. The seabed is mud.

Report by HMS MYRMIDON 31 March 1966.

22 August 1968. The wreck is sold to Metrec Engineering Ltd for salvage.

16 February 1977. The southern part of wreck is reported not found by echosounder and transit sonar during a 6 hour search.

Report by Forth Ports Authority dated 21 January 1977.

9 May 1977. The wreck is shown to be 183 metres long approximately, centred on 154 degrees 1667 metres from Burntisland Harbour Light. The least echosounder depth over the site is 14.2 metres. Metrec Engineering Ltd. have not begun work on the wreck yet.

Report by Forth Ports Authority 25 April 1977.

10 January 1984. Permission is granted to the Royal Fleet Naval Air Arm diving team to dive on the wreck and recover items of historical interest for eventual display at the Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton.

Report by Acting Queen's Harbour Master, Rosyth.

29 August 1986. The wreckage referred to as Part B in HMS MYRMIDON's 1966 report does not exist.

Report by Forth Ports Authority, 6 March 1986.

29 August 1986. Part B: no soundings to the depth of 13.2 metres exist south of the number 9 buoy.

Report by Forth Ports Authority.

Hydrographic Office 1995.

The ocean liner Campania was built by S B Fairfield at Glasgow and launched on 8 September 1892 as the first Cunard Line vessel not to carry sails. The ship served (with her sister Lucania) on the North Atlantic route, holding the Blue Riband for four years until superseded by larger and faster vessels.

After completing 250 voyages, the ship was sold for scrap in April 1914 but passed into naval service, being rebuilt as an aircraft and seaplane carrier and becoming the first warship to carry aircraft in quantity. To this end, the bridge was moved forwards, two new funnels were added, much of the superstructure was removed and a flight deck was added.

The ship served with the Grand Fleet throughout the First World War and was moored off Burntisland on 5 November 1918 when breakage of the anchor cable in a storm precipitated successive collisions with HMS Royal Oak, HMS Glorious and HMS Revenge. Despite attempts at beaching, the ship sank quickly by the stern in 27m depth of water, to remain a danger to navigation until dispersed (in 1947) to a charted clearance of 12m.

Altough this vessel forms the largest shipwreck in the Firth of Forth and is of sigificance as a transitional warship design, poor visibility, strong tides and an abundance of entanglements make this a hazardous and little-visited diving site.

(Full dimensions, constructional details and bibliographic references listed, with photograph of the sinking and general arrangement drawing).

NMRS, MS/829/6, pp. 30-4.

Designated Historic Wreck: controlled area defined as within 150m of N56 02.408 W3 13.412.

Information from Historic Scotland, Designation Order made 7 November 2001.

NMRS, MS/829/39.

The sonar imagery obtained by Wessex Archaeology in August 2004 contradicts the prior suggestion (recorded by UKHO) that the wreck lies in two portions. This record is accordingly superseded, the essentially-intact wreck being located at NT 2377 8369 [N56 2.408 W3 13.412].

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 19 March 2007.

MS/2785 (fig. 2).


Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 1329


Latitude : 560226

Longitude : 31320

Date Built : 1893

Registration : LONDON


Tonnage : 18000

Tonnage Code : D

Length : 187

Beam : 20

Draught : 11m

Position : Exact Position

Loss Day : 5

Loss Month : 11

Loss Year : 1918

Comment : Part only. Collision and sunk off Burntisland. [Rebuilt:1915]

Cancellation (2 March 2013)

This record has been cancelled, and all collection and bibliography links are now attached to a single record for the Campania NT28SW 8001.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 21 March 2013


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