The Wreck of the Freighter Guerrero (ex–First World War Q–Ship in the Royal Navy)

by John MacFarlane and Christopher J. Cole 2017


The Guerrero in the Surf on the Beach at Mazatlan, Mexico. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

This an image of the stranded freighter Guerrero near Mazatlan Mexico. The image came as part of a collection that was given to the author. The images have no annotation other than the name and location. At first finding details of the situation was difficult but the co–author found an account in the Victoria Colonist newspaper.


The Guerrero in the Surf (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

Built as HMS Dianthus in 1917 by Barclay Curle & Co. at Glasgow Scotland about 1921 she was renamed as the Guerrero. She was 254.9’ x 35.1’ x 17.3’ steel hulled 1415rt. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by the builders.

In 1917 she was a Flower Class Sloop in service with the Royal Navy as a Q–Ship. She was laid up at the end of the First World War and then sold into merchant service as the Dianthus. In 1926–1927 she was owned by Cia. Nav. De Los Estados de Mexico SA (Mexican States Line – agent Williams, Dimond Co.).


Detail of the Guerrero (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

In October 1922 the Guerrero went ashore during violent winds in a tropical hurricane. Almost immediately after they went ashore another vessel, the Isabella also went ashore narrowly missing a collision with the Guerrero. the Isabella’s engines were knocked out and she lost power. She was carrying hundreds of family passengers who feared for their lives. A crew member of the Guerrero swam ashore to summon help. With the aid of a breeches buoy the crew and passengers of the ship were brought ashore safely.

The Guerrero lay broadside to the waves and the vessel was flooding. The waves had driven her well ashore and at low tide she was high and dry on the sand. The weather remained fine and she was not further damaged by the sea. The surf washed in under her bow and stern and left her on a sandbar from which she could be retrieved. For 16 days she was moved little by little off the beach until she was completely free.

The Pacific Salvage Co. vessel Algerine carries out the work which, at the time, others had given up hope of a successful salvage. After a month’s work under the direction of Captain W. H. Logan of Victoria BC (London Salvage Association) she was refloated and sailed to San Pedro under her own power for survey and on to San Francisco for repairs. Most of her cargo was brought to Victoria by the Oaxaco.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. and Christopher J. Cole (2017) The Wreck of the Guerrero (ex–Q–Ship in the Royal Navy. 2017.

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