TRIDONIA, HEINZ, JEAN BART
The British barque TRIDONIA was wrecked at Lucas Cove just to the west of Oxwich Point on 30 October 1916. She had sailed under two other names HEINZ and JEAN BART.
The vessel, a steel-hulled barque, was built at Nantes in 1901 for a Dunkirk company and given the name JEAN BART.
In 1913 she was bound from Antwerp for Wallaroo (on the Spencer Gulf, South Australia) with a cargo of pig iron and coke when she ran ashore and was holed on the island of Wardang a little short of her destination.The vessel filled so that most of her hull was underwater. Her crew got ashore and her owners put the vessel up for auction. Believing that she was a total loss and beyond salvage there was little interest. The hull and cargo were knocked down for just £368 to James Bell & Co., grain merchants, of Melbourne. A diver was sent down to inspect the hull and reported that she was not badly damaged and had a hole of just one foot diameter under the bow. Having been patched and pumped out the barque was refloated and towed to Williamstown, Melbourne for repair. She had been ashore two months. James Bell made a handsome profit when they sold the cargo for a little under £5,000 and the vessel for £6,950 to Krabbenhoeft & Bock of Hamburg.
Her new owners named the barque HEINZ.
Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. The passenger steamship KINGFAUNS CASTLE of the Union-Castle Line was commissioned on 8 August as an armed merchant cruiser and sailed for the Cape a week later. On 8 September she was off German South-West Africa, supporting the landing of Commonwealth troops, when she ordered the HEINZ to heave to and fired a blank across her bows. A prize crew of lieutenant, midshipman, signalman, and nine marines boarded her and hoisted the white ensign. The HEINZ was taken in tow but, when the hawser parted, she was ordered to sail for the anchorage at Port Nolloth. Condemned as a prize, she was then sold to the firm of R.D. Braili & Co. of Greenock and registered in London under the name TRIDONIA.
When on passage from Dublin for Buenos Aires in October 1916 she ran into a severe gale and, having lost canvas, was driven unmanageable into the Bristol Channel where she ran ashore drowning her master and two of the crew. She became a total wreck.
The story and a photograph of the wreck will be found here. Scroll down to the TRIDONIA entry.