The Wreck Of The Folia Lies Peacefully Off Ardmore

The Wreck Of The Folia Lies Peacefully Off Ardmore

On March 11, 1917, the Folia, was en route from New York to Bristol, and travelling off the coast of County Cork when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-53 with the loss of seven lives.folia

We their permission are pleased to include information from the INFOMAR project about where the ship is located.

The Wreck is Location 7km South of Ram Head. Coordinates -07° 41’ 20.77” W 51° 52’ 51.82” N and at a water depth of 33 m.

The SS Folia lies in a general sea depth of 33m and is orientated almost E-W and is badly broken up. A few high points remain including the bow area, the boilers and the stern area consisting of the rudder and small antiaircraft gun.


Wrecks over 100 years old and archaeological objects found underwater are protected under the National Monuments (Amendment) Acts 1987 and 1994. As the SS Folia is over 100 years old, it is protected and a license is required to dive the site which can be obtained

Under the legislation all diving on protected wreck sites or with the intention of searching for archaeological underwater material is subject to such licensing requirements.

Covering some 125,000 square kilometres of underwater territory, INFOMAR (the INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MARine Resource) project will produce integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed. INFOMAR will initially focus on 26 priority bays and three priority areas around the coast delivering: hydrographic maps, illustrating everything from sandbars to underwater canyons and cliffs; seabed classification maps showing the type of sediment on the seabed. INFOMAR provides key baseline data to support coastal and inshore development.

Making this information available to the world aims to stimulate research and development
of Ireland’s 220 million acres under the sea. The data will be of interest to fisheries managers, aquaculture operators, coastal zone managers and engineers, offshore engineering
interests, licensing authorities and those carrying out environmental impact
assessments. Indeed this unique dataset is of interest in its own right because of the sheer volume of data collected


Ardmore – Where Two World’s Collided

Ardmore – Where Two World’s Collided

With an abundance of wonderful sea views, beautiful beaches and heritage-laden shores as far as the eye can see, the temptation to stay longer in Ardmore in County Waterford is practically impossible to resist.

The pillars of Ireland’s Ancient East, are proudly displayed around every corner of our wonderful coastal village and each unveils something truly amazing. And with so much inspiration at your fingertips, we want to share a lesser-known but true-life story from our shores. This story has not been in view for most except for those that explore our deep waters.

This story will transport you back 100 years ago to a time of the First Great War or WWI. It is the story of two vessels that crossed paths. Two captains on opposing sides. Seven sailors who lost their lives. And, a shipwreck that lies silently and in peace only a few miles off the coast of Ardmore.

The First Vessel In Our Story – “The Folia”

The SS Folia was originally called The “Principe di Piemonte” and was built by James Laing & Co. And, was part of Lloyd Sabaudo shipping line. Launched on 28/2/1907 it originally sailed from Genoa to New York via Naples and Palermo. In December 1913 she commenced her last voyage for the Sabaudo line. And, was sold to the Canadian Northern Steam ship line. And, she was subsequently hired to the British company, Uranium Steamship Co. who renamed her “Principello”. Captain Francis Inch was the captain of the Principello whilst she was in their service.


Her details were – 6560 gross tons, length 430ft x beam 52.7ft, two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 14 knots. There was accommodation for 120-1st class and 1,900-3rd class passengers.

Then in 1915 she was sold to Cunard Line and renamed “Folia”. On March 11, 1917, the Folia, was en route from New York to Bristol, and travelling off the coast of County Cork when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-53 with the loss of seven lives.

The Second Vessel In Our Story – “U-53”

The U-53 was commissioned on the 22nd April 1916 and was a class U-51 type of submarine.

It had a speed of 17.1 knots (31.7 km/h) when surfaced and 9.1 knots (16.9 km/h) when submerged.

It had a range of 9,400 nautical miles (17,400 km; 10,800 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced and 55 nautical miles (102 km) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged. And, was expected to reach a test depth of 50 m.


It had a complement of 36 sailors and its armaments included 4 × 50 cm (19.7 in) torpedo tubes torpedo tubes (two bow, two stern), 7 torpedoes and 2 × 8.8 cm (3.5 in) deck guns.

It took part on13 patrols until the11th November 1918. And it reported having sunk 87 merchant ships sunk (224,314 tons), 1 warship (1,050 tons) and 10 merchant ships damaged (46,339 tons).

On the 1st December 1918 it surrendered and was broken up at Swansea in 1922.

The Captains – Captain Francis Inch And Captain Hans Rose 

Captain Francis J. D. Inch was born on the 30th May in 1877 Not an awful lot is known about Captain Inch although despite the fact that he seemed to have been unfortunate on the ships he was involved in. For example, another ship the Volturno disaster caught fire at sea with the lost of 136 souls. Another Ship’s Captain as: “Captain Inch was a very fine seaman, courageous to a degree and imbued with a fine sense of duty. I think I may say I never had a more capable or competent Chief Officer.” We have read that Captain Inch retired from the sea about 1929 and died on the April 22, 1932 aged 53.



The U-53 was commanded by Hans Rose. He was born on 15 April 1885. And, was one of the most respected, highly decorated and successful German U-Boat commanders during World War I.


Rose gained considerable respect both from other U-Boat commanders and also from those that sailed the vessels that was sworn to attack. In particular, he was celebrated for his sense of fairness and humanity. It was even known that when he torpedoed a ship that he would wait until all the lifeboats were filled. There are also reports that he would even provide food and wait until rescue ships were approaching.

We’ve even heard from a book by Lawrence Perry, published in 1918 called “Our Navy In The War”, that Rose had quite a sense of humor. He even sent radiograms telling his enemy of his position and saying “Come and get me, I am waiting. Hans Rose.” Needless to say the U-53 wasn’t there.

Rose sank 79 ships for a total of 213,987 tons during the WW1.

Rose was also well known for an incident in September 1916 when he brought the U-53 to Newport Rhode Island (we have another post coming soon on this incident soon).

Hans Rose also served in a training capacity during WWII and died on the 6th December 1969 (aged 84).


The Sinking Of The Folia

We include a vivid description of what happened when those two ships and captains crossed paths. It was relayed by Sir Edgar T. Britten, R.D., R.N.R. in his autobiographical volume ‘A Million Ocean Miles’.

‘It was a quarter-past seven in the morning that the Third Officer observed the periscope of a submarine some 500 feet from the ship and nearly abeam. Immediately afterwards he saw the feathery wake of a torpedo approaching, and a second later the Folia was hit amidships, the explosion smashing two of her lifeboats. Seven of the crew, including the Second Engineer, were also killed by the explosion, and the Folia herself began rapidly to settle. Four boats were at once lowered, and the rest of the officers and crew were safely embarked. While the lifeboats were still in the neighbourhood the submarine came to the surface, motored rapidly round the ship and fired four shots into her. She next backed away and fired a second torpedo into the sinking vessel. The U-boat then cleared off, but Captain Inch got his boats together, and instructed the officers in charge to steer on a Nor’west compass bearing. Three of them made fast by painters so as not to get adrift from each other, and in this manner the frail boats stood on their course. About 11 am the Captain, under the fog that had crept up, sighted breakers ahead. Creeping along the line of breakers they at last sighted smooth water at the base of towering cliffs. Pulling for these they saw the outline of a house high above, with people standing in front of it. Shouting in unison the crew succeeded in attracting attention and learned that the place was Ardmore, Youghal, Co. Cork, and from there they proceeded to Dungarvan, where they arrived in time to hear the church bells that evening.’

From another source we’ve also learnt of another personal story of Arthur Miller, a 19 year old radio operator. He was one of the last sailors to leave the Folia. He spent over six hours in the water until he reached the shores of Ardmore.


Reading this chilling account, it is hard not to get a sense of the shear terror that must have faced the sailors on the sea. And, even to get a sense of what faced the sailors in the U-boats in their cramped conditions. It is also hard to marry the images that we all have of Ardmore with the hard realities of War.

But on the 11th March 2017, 100 years later, do spare a thought for all the sailors and their families involved. And, also think of the two captains who only briefly crossed paths on that faithful day.

Watch out for some special activities that will mark the 100 year anniversary of the loss of the Folia on our shores.








War Is Hell.

War Is Hell.

On March 11, 2017,  we will reach the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Folia.

She was torpedoed by the German submarine U-53 with the loss of seven lives off the coast of Ardmore.

As with all Anniversaries, it is an opportunity to look back and reflect on what life was like. And, it should becomes instantly clear that there was very little that was glamorous.

Living in such a peaceful village now it is no doubt hard to imagine what it is like to live at a time of war. And, strangely maybe we forget that the submarines primary purpose was to destroy vessels which they saw as their enemy.

As instruments of destruction, U-boats, like the U-53, were very effective but were also not nice vessels to be on.

In fact, according to the BBC of the 375 German U-boats that set sail from German ports in World War One, 202 were lost in action.

We also learn from many accounts that life on the u-boats offered terrible living conditions. Patrols could last anything from three weeks to six months. These ships were cramped and we can only imagine what live was truly like on board.

But it is not too far a jump to recognise that for the hunters and the hunted, war was hell.

One way to get a sense of what it was like for the 30+ men on board is explore a collection of pictures taken from an album of photographs found in the Swan Hunter shipbuilders collection at Tyne & Wear Archives.

The album is from 1918 and documents the a u-boat, U.B. 110, before she was scrapped on the dry docks of Swan Hunter Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend. The twin-screw German submarine U.B. 110 was built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg.

On the 19th July 1918, when attacking a convoy of merchant ships near Hartlepool, she herself was attacked by H.M. Motor-Launch No. 263 and suffered from depth charges. Coming to the surface she was rammed by H.M.S. Garry, a torpedo boat destroyer, and sunk.

The photographs provide a rare glimpse into the mechanics and atmosphere of the raised German submarine and points to what life must have been like on-board.


The control room looking aft, starboard side.


U-Boat 110, Four bow Torpedo Tubes & forward hydroplanes.


The Four Torpedo Tubes.


Four bow Torpedo Tubes & hydroplane on port side.


Forward Torpedo Room.


A general view looking aft.


The Crew’s lockers.


The Torpedo Room showing an overhead arrangement.


Mess Table, lockers and manholes to accumulation battery.


Torpedo Room looking aft.


Crew space.


Control Room looking aft.


Control Room and access scuttle to conning tower.


Control Room looking forward.


Control Room looking forward.


Control Room looking forward to port side.


Control Room looking forward.


No. 5 compartment.


No. 6 compartment.


Side corner of Engine Room.


Diesel Engine Room.


Electric Control Room.


Electric Control Room looking forward.


After Torpedo Room


Electric Control Room looking aft to port


A general view looking forward.


Copyright ‘Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you’re unsure please email


War On Film – Life Beneath The Waves

War On Film – Life Beneath The Waves

Continuing our series on the sinking of the Folia on March 11th 1917 off the coast of Ardmore, we include two films that we hope you find of interest.

Both films offer rare glimpses to what it was like to be on board a U-Boat and also an insight to life on the seas for the ships that they attacked.

The first film gives an interesting account to what life was like on the U-boats and also their use during WWI.

It also includes an extract from the Claus Friedrich Bergen. He was the artist who was on-board the U-53 commanded by Hans Rose and captured so many wonderful artwork of his voyages.

The second film was actually created during WWI.  This silent, tinted documentary film presents the exploits of the U-35 with inter title cards in English describing the sinking of various boats during that campaign.

The Seven Lives Lost On The Folia – 11/03/1917

The Seven Lives Lost On The Folia – 11/03/1917

So often, discussions about shipwrecks give a sense of adventure and even treasure on the high seas. But, these images understandably come crashing down when you hear more of the lives lost at sea. Somehow, hearing the names and ages make this even more real. Information on their occupations on-board give an insight to what lives were like. And, then when you learn about their families it makes the tragic consequences of war on everyone even more real.

Below is information on the seven UK and Commonwealth Merchant Navy Seamen that were lost on the Folia sunk on 11 March 1917 by torpedo from the German submarine U-53 approximately 4 nautical miles East-South-East of Ram Head.

William Louis Beer was 40 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son Of Eliza Beer, Of 7, Fox Terrace, Stapleton Rd., Bristol, And The Late Samuel Beer. Born in Torquay. Rank: Fireman. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

Frank Bidgood was 37 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son of George Bidgood, and the Late Polly Bidgood; Husband of Joyce Grindstad (Formerly Bidgood, Nee Harris), Of 31, Regent St., Clifton, Bristol. He was born in Bristol. Rank: Greaser. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

David Martin Boyd was 42 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son Of The Late James And Agnes Boyd; Husband Of Margaret Mcmillan Boyd (Nee Smith), Of 33, Clifford St., Glasgow. Born in Saltcoats. Rank: Second Engineer. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

Edward Daley was 29 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son Of Edward And Margaret Daley, Of I, Coronation St., Aberkenfyl, Glam. Born At Newport, Mon. Rank: Trimmer. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

Johan Karlsen was 27 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son Of Karl Johan And Kristine Aronsen; Husband Of Florence Karlsen (Nee Brown), Of 11, Brickyard Terrace, Cadoxton, Barry, Glam. Born In Norway. Rank: Assistant Refrigerator Engineer Officer. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

Samuel Stewart (served As Mackenzie) was 42 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son of the Late William And Jane Stewart. Born in Dublin. Rank: Donkeyman. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

Edward Albert Ward was 39 when he died on 11/03/1917. He was the son of the Late John Henry And Charlotte Ward; Husband Of Annie Ward (Nee Mcgrath), Of 61, Frogmore St., St. Augustine S, Bristol. Born in Bristol. Rank: Fireman. Buried: Tower Hill Memorial.

If you know any more information on any of these sailors we would love to hear from you.






Ardmore – When Submarines Laid In Wait

Ardmore – When Submarines Laid In Wait

Over the years of WWI and WWII, many ships fell victim to the destructive power of submarine attack along the coastline of Ireland. And, nowadays we look out to sea enjoying the coastlines and understandably never think that once a powerful fleet hunted their prey and the many British warships and shipping vessels that would be torpedoed.

On hearing of these tragic stories our minds naturally are drawn to the sailors that died or were left for dead in our waters. But there are also fascinating stories of the sailors inside the submarines. What was life like? What images did they see? Well, fortunately we have located some artwork that vividly presents life for one such vessel, U-53 during WWI. A submarine that was active coast of Ardmore. And, which attacked and destroyed The Folia on March 11th 1917, with the loss of seven lives.

This artwork is the work of Claus Friedrich Bergen. In 1917, he was on-board the U-53, commanded by Hans Rose.

We believe that this artwork speaks volumes.








The Teaser Ardmore

Learn How A Group Of Men Became Heroes Overnight

No trip to Ardmore is complete without exploring the stories of the wrecks that litter it’s coastline.

And, one of the most vivid accounts is that of the loss of the Schooner Teaser.

Not just because of the sad tale of the loss of life on that fateful night. But, also for how this event changed the lives of local men who were propelled into the realm of heroes.

Discover the events as they unfolded on that night.

On Saturday morning, March 18th, 1911, the schooner “Teaser” of  Montrose, was wrecked at Curragh, Ardmore with the loss of all hands, during a terrible storm. Read more

Step Into Maritime History – Fee des Ondes

Step Into Maritime History – Fee des Ondes

Fee De Ondes

The Fee des Ondes a French trawler (300 tons) was wrecked in Ardmore on Sunday 27th October 1963. It struck rocks 300yds off Ardmore head and it was blown into Carraig a Phúintín.  All efforts of Youghal Life-boat to get her off failed.

The Cork Examiner of October 28th 1963 says “Two Frenchmen were rescued by life-boat, and seven crew, one of fifteen years old on his first voyage, by rubber raft in a sea drama, off the beach at Ardmore, Co. Waterford yesterday morning. They were the crew of the 300 ton trawler Fee des Ondes out of Lorient, which went aground in poor visibility just before dawn and which was subsequently severely damaged by rocks and pounding waves. Youghal life-boat had been launched and life-saving rocket man, Jim Quain, was alerted, raised the alarm and fired the maroon which brought out the full crew. The crew came ashore by rubber dinghy but the Captain P Maletta and his mate E Dantec refused to abandon ship for a considerable time. They were all taken to the village and Mrs Quain provided hot food and clothing. An abiding memory of hers, is, besides the salt water even seeping down the stairs, was the incident of the crew sitting around her dining room table where a cask of Beaujolais from the vessel, containing about twelve bottles or so was ensconced. They asked her for glasses and imbibed the lot without as much as asking her would she like a glass, never mind a bottle. Lloyds later offered to recompense them for their hospitality, but they declined to accept. The boat being accessible at low water, it was visited by all and sundry during the following days.”

Keeping Watch Over Ardmore Bay – The Old Coastguard Station

Keeping Watch Over Ardmore Bay – The Old Coastguard Station

Set high on a cliff overlooking Ardmore Beach and Bay, this This building was constructed on the Odell Estate for the coastguards in 1867. Today the the old coastguard station still sits in splendid isolation and is privately owned.

It was the second coast guard station in Ardmore, the first one at the Ardmore end of the strand became a victim of coastal erosion. It was contunually manned until the Civil War in 1922 and was abandoned in 1921. It was taken over by the republicans on independence and subsequently burnt down. The old Coast Guard Station is now a private residence.

Ardmore Coastguard Station