Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Sinking of the SS Queensmoor

The sinking of the SS Queensmoor off Cape Recife in September 1934 was captured on film and presented on “News in a Nutshell” on BBC. 

Attached is a link to the British Pathe copy of the film on YouTube.

Main picture: The Queensmoor in the process of breaking up 

The 5,000 ton cargo vessel ‘Queenmoor’ struck the rocks near Chelsea point in dense fog on 7th September 1934. She was carrying a cargo of timber from London for East London. As the ship was firmly wedged on the rocks and still upright the crew waited until the following day before abandoning ship and they were taken ashore by tug ‘Sir David Hunter’.
The ship was so badly holed and in such a dangerous position that it was decided any attempt to salvage her would be useless and like the ‘Western Knight’ she was left to be broken up.


The movie contains five sequences viz:

  • Shots of the British cargo ship ‘Queenmoor’ wrecked on rocks.
  • People in the water are collecting wood – cargo from the boat which has been swept off.
  • The camera pans across from two women standing on the shore to show the ship, with her back broken, floundering in the rough seas.
  • Shots of piles of wood on seashore
  • The ship begins to break up






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