The wreck of the Arctic

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Jonathan Payette

Former Member
Was there any expedition that found and explored the wreck of the Artic, the liner of the Collins Line that sank ? It was 60 miles off Cape Race and I believe there has been around 300 casualties. If so, is there any internet site about it, with pictures and description of the wreck ?

Thanks and have a happy new year,
Hello Jonathan,

As far as I know, no one has mounted an expedition to explore the wreck because there's not much to gain in terms of valuable cargo. The ship didn't carry anything like gold bars or coins and there's probably not much left of her anyhow. She sank in a few hundred feet and after a century and a half, I doubt much of the wooden hull is left.

But I did read somewhere that years ago a fishing boat snagged its nets on the wreck and actually brought up a few artefacts. Some of them might have been dishes. I've searched on the Internet to try to find out what happened to them, but have been unsuccessful.

One of these days, though, I'd really like to see someone go out and survey the wreck site, even if there isn't much to see.

James M.
Can anyone who has read both “The Sea Shall Embrace Them” and “Women and Children Last” (the two books on the PS Arctic wreck) provide any comparison between them. I have read the newer book and am wondering if “Women and Children Last” adds much and if it is worth tracking down.

Not a story that holds a whole lot of interest for me, but I do read quite a bit of maritime history and would be interested in any differences between the two books. Also interested in any additional technical descriptions of the ship.
Women and Children Last and The Sea Shall Embrace Them are remarkably similar books- if you have read one you really need not read the other, although Women and Children Last is a better book. It is like the situation with the two Princess Sophia books- they are both equally good BUT essentially the same book so whichever you read first will be the one you prefer. They both drew heavily from the same sources, and the newer book added little to the story.

JAMES: The story about the recovered artifacts is in Women and Children Last, and the discovery by fishermen was made a few years after the sinking, I believe in 1856 The identification was, of course, tentative. I don't know from which source Brown drew this particular story, or if the original contains any more specific information- such as the location where the wreck was snared or what-if anything-was done with the recovered items.
LOCATION OF THE ARCTIC: The location of the wreck, as given by Captain Connelly of the Mentora in June 1856 was Latitude 46 11' in 45 fathoms of water. No longitude.

The Adriatic, which was the first of the Second Generation Collins Liners (and, as it turned out, the last) was run aground and abandoned at Bonny, Nigeria, in 1885. I have been unable to learn if the hull was later scrapped, burned to facilitate the removal of scrap metal, or allowed to decay away, and would appreciate it if anyone who knows the eventual disposition of the wreck would let me know. Thanks.
"Sway of the Grand Saloon" states that: "After a short life under British colors, she became a store ship off the coast of Africa. Beached there in 1885, she was left to rot."

Not finding much else on her fate here on my end.
Too bad it wasn't a cooler, dryer, environment like the Falkland Islands, or Tierra Del Fuego, where the stranded remains of ships have survived, in some cases , for a century. It would be interesting to be able to see what, if anything, has survived of her.
I recently managed to find a copy of "Women and Children Last" and was surprised at how small it is. It's just a magazine article that was bound and published on its own, if I'm reading the front material correctly.

I haven't read "The Sea Shall Embrace Them", but the reviews and excerpts I've read are discouraging. There's quite a lot of filler and the author seems to want to impress us with his vocabulary and his long, flowery sentences. But this isn't based on a lot; I haven't read the whole thing.

As for remains, there's quite a lot of wood remaining on the Titanic, so there might be more left of the Arctic than we might expect. I'd like to find out. Then again, it wasn't until the turn of the century that somebody found the Carpathia (Had anybody even looked before?)...
Hi Allen, the book I read in High School was a good sized book. You might of found an abridged copy! The one I read had pictures or portraits of some of the passengers including the Brown Family! This one on Amazon that I linked from 1961 has 255 pages!

Yet there is another copy from 1954 with just 25 pages! Wonder what the deal with that one is??
There are three books in my library about the Collins Line

Women and Children Last 1961 GP Putnam's and Sons 253 pgs. by Mr. Brown

The Sea Shall Embrace Them 2002 The Free Press

The Collins Story 1957 Robert Hale Ltd. 192 pgs. by Warren Armstrong.

A good article in American Heritage magazine Feb 1957 "The Unlucky Collins Line" by Ralph Whitney.

The thesis of Walter Lord on this line reside at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA

From these sources I have been able to recreate a good scaled drawing and a painting of the Baltic which is the ship most described of them all.
Hope some of this helps.
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