Reply To: Loss of the SS Maloja 27 February 1916

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Malcolm Lewis

    The Dover Strait and the North Sea were the scene of constant naval actions between destroyers and submarines on both sides during WW1. The R.N. complained that they never had sufficient destroyers to defend the merchant shipping although the number of sinkings was remarkably low considering the volume transiting the shipping lanes.
    The SS Maloja was the pride of the P&O fleet and had hove to overnight in The Downs on the 26th February 1916 and then continued her passage down the swept channel from North Foreland to Dungeness the following morning. Usually ships were escorted by a destroyer through the swept channel which presumably would have had paravanes streamed. At 1030 am Maloja struck a mine just off Dover thought later to have been laid by the German submarine UC-6.
    What is puzzling is why the channel had apparently not been swept when it was known German minelaying submarines had been active during the night and also whether this important liner had been escorted. As far as I know the press at the time did not query the reasons for her loss.