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.
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.
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
Rohilla struck the rocks near Saltwick Nab at 4am 29th October