SS Basil was a 3223 tonne steamship owned by the Booth Line. Her 334 hp engines gave her a steady speed of 10 knots. Late in World War 1 she was requisitioned by the British Government for use as a troop transport ship. She was also used to take Horses, Feed and munitions across to France and was tted, by the navy, with a 4.7” gun on her stern
Built in Belfast in 1895, she was launched as SS Mourne but was sold in 1899 and became SS Basil
On 11th November 1917 she was en route from Southampton to Boulogne, commanded by Captain Edward Whitehouse, with a cargo of artillery shells when she encountered thick fog off the Sussex coast. Around midnight the French Steamer Margaux was on her way from France entering the fog bank at the same time. With no lights to avoid being seen by submarines, both ships were in a head on collision course. They collided head on with the Basil sinking almost immediately not giving the crew time to launch the lifeboats
Booth the owners reported that 48 were killed but other reports state that 13 of her 41 crew survived
The 4.5” Howitzer brass shell casing was recovered 1985 from the wreck of the SS Basil and was fashioned into an oversized Shotgun Cartridge to serve as a collection vessel and to commemorate those who lost their lives during WW1, it was presented to the Prince David Lodge 4915 by W.Bro Dan Williamson and it has been used during the shoot meetings to help raise extra charitable funds from the score cards, the better you shoot the more you raise for charity, or the more it would cost you, (this of course is not obligatory) but it has proven to be very successful
November 2017 (100 years on) any funds raised from this will be donated to one of the Military Charities
Following this date Prince David Lodge 4915, will continue to utilize it as an aid to raise further charitable funds
Happy & Safe Shooting.