The SS Mohegan

The SS Mohegan was a steamer built in Hull for the Wilson & Furness-Leyland Line who set off on 13 October 1898, en-route from Tilbury Docks, London to New York, carrying 57 passengers, 97 crew and 7 cattlemen. It was at 6.50pm on the evening of the 14th October, that the Mohegan ran onto the Manacles. The ship had struck Vase Rock before drifting onto the Maen Voes reef. The remains of the wreck can still be found today, and are popular with divers, and artefacts such as crockery and brass portholes are occasionally recovered.

The Mohegan had taken a wrong bearing and sailed too close to the Cornish coast. James Hill, coxwain of the Porthoustock lifeboat saw the ship, lights ablaze, heading at full speed towards the Manacle rocks.

Mass burial for victims of the SS Mohegan at St Keverne Church, Cornwall

The ship rolled and sank 12 minutes after hitting the rocks, with the loss of 106 lives. Only her funnel and four masts remained above water. The Porthoustock lifeboat Charlotte was launched in 30 minutes and rescued most of the survivors from the wreck and the water.

Most of the recovered bodies of those who had drowned were buried in a mass grave in St Keverne churchyard, which was given a memorial stained glass window by the Atlantic Transport Line. It was the greatest disaster in the history of the company.