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The SS Rohilla was built and launched by Harland and Wolff shipbuilders in Belfast. launched on the 6th September 1906, she wast delivered to the British Indian Steam Navigation Co. Ltd on 17th November 1906. The SS Rohilla was named after Afghan tribes who had sought refuge in India during the 18 th Century.

In 1908 the SS Rohilla entered service as a permanent military. On the 6th August 1914 she was requisitioned as a Hospital ship and became known as the HMHS Rohilla. She was refitted with the necessary equipment and all her passenger accommodation became hospital wards. She was also fitted with 2 operating theatres.

HMHS Rohilla departed from Southampton 16th August 1914 and sailed to Scappa Flow to start training. From there, on the 29th October 1914, the Rohilla set sail for what would be her last voyage. She took a course down the East Coast of England. Her Captain, Neilson, was unfamiliar with the waters and there was uncertainty whether enemy submarines or mines were in the area. To make matters worse the weather had started to deteriorate. By the time the Rohilla approached the northern side of Whitby, the weather was blowing gale force. The Whitby Coastguard saw that the course the Rohilla was heading was directly into the rocky coastline (or “Whitby Rock” as it is called). The crew aboard the Rohilla had no idea of the dangers that they were travelling towards. The Rohilla struck the rocks near Saltwick Nab at 4am 29th October 1914.

Last updated 15 August, 2008

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