Die Strandung des Postdampfers S/S Scotland bei den Färöern (The Wreck of the Mail Steamer SS Scotland in the Faroes) by Richard Kühle. 48 pages, 5 ¾ by 8 ¼ inches, perfect bound, in German, Forschungsgemeinschaft Nordische Staaten, Oranienburg, Germany, 2016. € 9 plus postage from Roland Daebel, Stolzenhagener 4, 16515 Oranienburg, Germany, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the benefits of joining the Research Committee of the Nordic Countries in Germany is the occasional publication of a monograph on a specialized topic. These publications are in addition to the quarterly journal. However, they can also be purchased directly from the organization.
This booklet, published by the committee’s Faroe Islands Study Group, is devoted to the stranding of a small steam boat intended to be used for transporting mail to and from the islands. The SS Scotland was built in 1889 and underwent an overhaul and modifications just prior to its new assignment in February 1904. The plan was for the vessel to leave Copenhagen February 7 going to Leith, Scotland and then through the Faroes heading to Iceland.
Capt. Emil Nielsen and his crew of 19 along with 24 passengers ran into stormy weather as they left the Shetlands and Orkneys and headed into Faroes waters. The Scotland ran aground at Hvalnes Point in Sandoy. Some of the mail was lost but most of the crew and passengers were saved with lifelines to the shore. The author visited the site recently and found pieces of the wreck still on the stony shore.
Mail sacks were recovered from the Scotland, some of them water-damaged. They were eventually delivered to Thorshavn, Reykjavik, and Leith. Two examples of mail that survived are illustrated and described. The author also shows documentation that a physician in Thorshavn lost some books and newspapers that he had just purchased that were on the doomed vessel.
Excerpts from the Scotland’s log, a chronology of events leading up to and immediately after the wreck, a bibliography of resources, and an index, along with excellent illustrations, enhance this fine monograph on a tragedy that fortunately has some surviving postal history.