Salta before her wartime service
|Owner:||Société Générale de Transport Maritime Steam|
|Operator:||Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company (on behalf of the Admiralty)|
|Builder:||Société des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranée, La Seyne-sur-Mer|
|Launched:||13 March 1911|
|In service:||1911–10 April 1917|
|Fate:||Hit a mine laid by German U-boat UC-26 on 10 April 1917.|
|Length:||137 m (449 ft)|
|Beam:||16.2 m (53 ft)|
|Propulsion:||Steam, twin screws|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h)|
HMHS Salta (His Majesty's Hospital Ship) was a steam ship originally built for Société Générale de Transport Maritime Steam, but requisitioned for use as a British hospital ship during the First World War. On 10 April 1917 she hit a mine laid by the German U-boat UC-26.
Built by the French company, Société des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranée, at La Seyne-sur-Mer for the Société Générale de Transport Maritime Steam. The Salta was chartered by the British Admiralty in February 1915 and converted into a hospital ship. The former liner was painted white with wide green stripes and the insignia of the Red Cross, according to the terms laid down in the Hague Convention of 1894.
While returning to pick up wounded at the port of Le Havre, France, Salta struck a mine at 11:43, one mile (1.6 km) north of the entrance to the dam. A huge explosion smashed the hull near the stern in the engine room and hold number three. Water rushed into the disabled ship which listed to starboard and sank in less than 10 minutes. Of the 205 passengers and crew members, nine nurses, 42 member of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and 79 crew drowned.
The British patrol boat HMS P-26 attempted to come alongside to assist, but also struck a mine and sank.