SS Mount Temple
SS Mount Temple aground at West Ironbound Island, Nova Scotia
|Career (UK)||United Kingdom|
|Name:||SS Mount Temple|
|Namesake:||William Francis Cowper (1811-1888), Baron Mount Temple|
|Owner:||Elder Dempster's Beaver Line|
|Launched:||18 June 1901|
|Maiden voyage:||19 September 1901|
|Name:||SS Mount Temple|
|Fate:||taken by SMS Mowe and scuttled 6 December 1916|
|Length:||485 ft (147.8 m)|
|Installed power:||694 nhp,|
|Propulsion:||two triple-expansion engines, two screws|
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h)|
|Capacity:||1,250 3rd-class and 14 cabin-class passengers|
|Armament:||75 mm gun during WWI|
Originally a Beaver Line ship, she was purchased by Canadian Pacific in 1903. She was one of the ships that responded to the distress signals of the RMS Titanic in 1912.
In 1916, while crossing the Atlantic with horses for the war effort and carrying a large number of newly collected dinosaur fossils, she was captured and scuttled complete with her cargo.
The ship was named for William Francis Cowper (1811–1888), Baron Mount Temple, an English politician, Lord of the Admiralty and chairman of Armstrong-Whitworth. The ship was 8,790 gross tons and was 485 feet long. She had one funnel, four masts, twin screw propellers, and a top speed of 13 knots.
The Mount Temple saw use in November 1901 as a Boer War transport ship.
In 1903, Canadian Pacific Lines purchased the ship, with 14 others, and equipped her with a wireless telegraph. In the early days of wireless telegraphy, the call sign established for the SS Mount Temple was "MLQ."
After two successful Liverpool–Quebec City runs in 1903, the ship ran aground on West Ironbound Island, Nova Scotia in 1907. No lives were lost, but the ship was stranded until 1908, when it was refloated.
Assisting the RMS Titanic
The SS Mount Temple was one of the ships that responded to the RMS Titanic's distress signals on 14 April 1912. The ship's master, Capt. Moore, stopped short of helping Titanic, claiming the ice was too thick to safely pass through. Controversy abounds concerning Moore's recollections of the Mount Temple's true speed on the evening of 14 April 1912, how far away she was from the distress position when she turned to help, and how far she was from Titanic when she stopped. Rumors that Mount Temple under Capt. Moore ignored Titanic's distress rockets abounded at the time and persist to this day. It is said that Mount Temple was the "mystery ship" seen by officers and passengers aboard the Titanic five to ten miles away, rather than the SS Californian as implied by Lord Mersey and the British Board of Trade at the British Inquiry.
War service and loss
For use during World War I she had a 3-inch (75 mm) gun mounted on her stern for defensive purposes.
The Mount Temple departed from Montreal on 3 December 1916 for Brest, France, and then Liverpool, England, with Captain Alfred Henry Sargent at the helm. The ship's cargo was 710 horses and 6,250 tons of goods, including 3,000 tons of corn, and 1,400 cases of eggs. Also on board were 22 wooden crates of dinosaur fossils, collected in the Badlands of Alberta by the Canadian paleantologist Charles H. Sternberg. These were en route to Sir Arthur Smith Woodward, keeper of the British Museum's Natural History Department.
The ship was captured roughly half-way between Cape Race and Spain, roughly 2,000 km (1,200 mi) north of the Azores on 6 December 1916. The SMS Möwe, outwardly a cargo ship, closed with the Mount Temple. After the gun crew of the Mount Temple fired, the Germans fired back and with their superior firepower silenced the gun. Four crew members aboard the Mount Temple were killed in the brief battle. Over a hundred crew and passengers were taken off before explosives were used to help scuttle her. On 12 December 1916, they were brought aboard the captured British ship Yarrowdale and they arrived at Swinemunde, Germany on 31 December. The US citizens among them were released in early March 1917 as the United States was neutral at the time. The others were interned as prisoners of war.
The Mount Temple was the fourth vessel that Canadian Pacific Lines lost during the First World War, and by the war's end, CP Lines would lose a total of 18 ships. Its sister ship (the Montezuma) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-41 on 25 July 1917.
Crew members lost
The four crew members lost on 6 December were:
- Seaman G. Baker, Canadian Merchant Navy.
- Seaman Karim Baqir, Indian Merchant Service. He was buried at sea by the crews of the Mount Temple and Möwe with Captain A. H. Sargent presiding on 7 December.
- Chief Steward William Gilbert (born as William Oddy), Mercantile Marine, age 38, born at Bradford.
- Seaman F. Janssen, Mercantile Marine, drowned, age 61, born in Sweden.
- Trevent, Edward. (1911) The A B C of Wireless Telegraphy: A Plain Treatise on Hertzian Wave Signalling, p. 12.
- Molony, Senan, Titanic Scandal: The Trial of the Mount Temple, Amberly, 2010
- Lord, Walter, A Night to Remember, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1955
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (October 2010)|
- Trevent, Edward. (1911) The A B C of Wireless Telegraphy: A Plain Treatise on Hertzian Wave Signalling. Lynne, Massachusetts: Bubier Publishing.
- Mount Temple Dinosaurs in the Deep
- Mount Temple biography at www.smsmoewe.com
- Mount Temple Timeline and data