Shonas Wrecks - Gibel Hamam

This page is an entry in Shonas Wreck Guide.

Photo of the 'Bamburgh' on her sea trials
Photo of the 'Bamburgh' on her sea trials.

Built: 1895 as 'Banbury' or 'Bamburg'
Tonnage: 647 Grt
Owners: M.H.Bland & Co. Ltd - Gibraltar
Sunk: 14th Sep 1918
Loss: Torpedoed by UB 103 whilst on voyage from Swansea to France with cargo of coal. 21 lost inc Master.

This is a relatively small wreck, with the bows, and stern standing clear of the seabed and the midships area broken. The bow is upright on a silty seabed in general depths of 30-36m and the stern lies over with a fairly heavy list to starboard slightly deeper.

From the bow, the diver can swim over the anchor winches and drop into the foc'sle through the openings in the rear. This area has given up one or two interesting items buried in the silty floor. Please DON'T touch anything which looks like a human bone!. In the front of the foc'sle is a hatch leading down further into the bows. Access is possible, but ensure that the resident conger eel is away on holiday that week else you may do domething in your suit which you'll regret later!

Two walker logs have been recovered from the foc'sle area; a Harpoon Log, and a Walker Cherub log, along with spares and associated paraphanalia. Why would a vessel of this size be carrying two trailing logs?

Walker 'Cherub' Log from Gibel Hamam
one of the ships trailing logs recovered from the foc'sle of the 'Gibel Hamam'.

Swimming aft of the foc'sle, you come across the cargo winch the the forward hold, which is silted up but otherwise devoid of anything interesting. Continuing aft, the hull breaks up and continues as scattered plating on the seabed. There are small boxes of 'cargo' here and silver cutlery and portholes can be found amongst the wreckage. This must have been the bridge area, but no evidence of this now remains.

Sketch of the 'Gibel Hamam' as she is today
Sketch of the wreck of the 'Gibel Hamam'.

Continuing aft, you come across the front of the single boiler, poking out of the stern half of the wreck. It is possible to swim along the port side of the boiler, but access is soon restricted due to machinery. The starboard side of the boiler is very silty, but has recently given up sheets of lead and very decorative bronze stair treads.

Swimming aft of the boiler, you can see the cylinder heads of the engine sticking up through the wreckage, although access to the 'engine room' is currently impossible. Behind this is the silted-up rear hold and the rest of the stern remains basically intact, with the steering gear visible on the back of the deck. Access to the stern area is impossible at this time due to the accumulation of silt, although at least one porthole can be seen in the starboard hull plating.

Artefacts recovered from wreck.

Click on the following links to see pictures of some of the artefacts raised from this wreck:
Walker 'Cherub' Ships log , Bunker cover , Brass engine gauge (front view) , Brass engine gauge (back view) , Porthole door , Brass stair tread , Walker 'Harpoon' trailing log , Walker log swivel , Sounding lead , Ships bell , Oil lamp ,

The wreck is owned by a consortium of four divers who have recovered the bell and a sounding lead amongst other items. Any items you do recover should be reported to the Receiver of Wreck in the usual manner.