The Great Ouse was a bucket chain dredger similar to the type shown in the diagram. Despite having a large boiler the vessel had no motive power and relied on being towed both when travelling and whilst at work. To commence dredging the bucket chain was lowered through the bow well to the sea bed and set in motion. The spoil was collected and moved up the bucket chain to the top where it was decanted into chutes to either side which then emptied into tethered barges.
A Diagram to Show Workings of a Similar Ship
On the 14th June 1942 the Great Ouse was under tow in bad weather, probably to Cairn Ryan. The weather caused the cable to snap and the dredger broke free. Drifting helplessly the heavy seas would soon have caused problems for the unwieldy, top heavy vessel and it would seem that it eventually capsized and sank.
This being wartime the loss was not reported in the press, probably for reasons of moral. I can find no reference to the incident in local papers of the time and so I am uncertain whether any crew members perished when the vessel foundered.
|The Great Ouse|
|Ship type||Steam Bucket dredger|
|Propulsion||Steam engine (not for propulsion)|
To find out more about this wreck dive site, have a look at The Great Ouse wreck dive tour.