Latitude 50°18'.951 N
Longitude 004°07'.667 W
Depth 12m
Accuracy 3m (UKHO)
Location Description South of Shagstone
Reference UKHO 17651
NMR 1520853
Craft type Trawler
Date built 1928
Date of loss 27 April 1970
Manner of loss Scuttled
Outcome Abandoned
Construction Steel
Propulsion Steam, triple expansion
Nationality British
Hull length 150 ft
Hull beam 24 ft
Hull displacement 690 tons
Armament None
Built Cochrane & Sons Shipbulders Ltd., Selby
Owners Colby Cubbin

Glen Strathallan

In 1928, Cochrane and Sons of Selby, Yorkshire received a contract to build a 150-foot long, 24-foot beam steam trawler of 690-tons displacement as yard number 1020, ID No. 145305, registered as GW 15.  The screw-propelled vessel was driven by a triple expansion steam engine and was capable of a speed of ten knots.  Prior to the completion of construction, however, the firm that had ordered the Glen Strathallan went bankrupt.  Fortunately for Cochrane and Sons, millionaire Colby Cubbin purchased the unfinished vessel for £30,000 and had it converted into a pleasure yacht.

Upon the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Cubbin loaned the Glen Strathallan to the Royal Navy who fitted her with a 12 pdr gun so she could be used as an anti-submarine yacht with pennant FY010.  The Glen Strathallan performed this service for four years and was returned to Cubbin when the war ended in 1945.  Cubbin used her to travel between the Isle of Man and Scotland, and when he died he requested that the vessel be used as a sea training ship until the end of its useful life, at which time it was to be sunk in the English Channel.  The Merchant Navy used the vessel as a training ship from 1955 until the cost of running it became prohibitive and they agreed to sink the vessel in April of 1970.

Though the trustees intended to sink the vessel in the Hurd Deep in the English Channel, an appeal from Plymouth Ocean Projects of Fort Bovisand resulted in the Glen Strathallan being sunk about 200 yards from the Shagstone at Fort Bovisand to be used as a diving school.  After the engine was removed for display at the Science Museum in London, the Glen Strathallan was taken out to the Shagstone on the 27th of April; the seacocks were opened and vessel sank to the bottom.  At the time she was the first and only ship in Britain to be sunk especially for divers to study as an artificial reef, pre-dating the sinking of HMS Scylla by 34 years.

Unfortunately, the chosen resting spot for the Glen Strathallan was too shallow and too near the eastern entrance to Plymouth Sound and the vessel became a hazard to passing ships.  After a year of debating who would pay for a marker buoy, Fort Bovisand was required to disperse the wreckage in order to improve navigation.

The name of this ship is often misspelled 'Glen Strathallen' or 'Glen Strath Allen'.

This wreck has been adopted by Aquanauts Dive Centre as part of the Nautical Archaeology Society Adopt-a-wreck program.

Diving the Glen Strathallan

After scuttling in April, her bows were to the north-west and the upper works of the ship were only 4ft below the surface at low tide, but by October she had rolled over onto its side. A survey undertaken in March of the next year showed the wreck to be oriented NNW/SSE.

The ship became a hazard to navigation so was dispersed using explosives. What remains is the single large boiler, part of the bows lying on its starboard side, sections of hull plating in amongst the sand flats, reefs and gullies of the seabed. A plan of the site is shown below.

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Glen Strathallan

The Glen Strathallan afloat

Glen Strathallan

The ship being scuttled in Plymouth Sound

Glen Strathallan

Site Plan (SHIPS Project / Aquanauts)

Glen Strathallan

Boiler (Joe Tidball)