Fyne Pioneer, Loch Fyne

Site Name: Byron Darnton - Kintyre Peninsula


The Byron Darnton was a 7176gt steel liberty ship built by Bethlehem-Fairfields of Baltimore, USA, and launched in December 1943. She had a successful war career surviving voyages to Murmansk and the Phillipines.


On her final voyage, she left Copenhagen for New York via the Clyde with a crew of 39 and 15 passengers. The weather conditions were poor, with heavy rain and sleet reducing the visibility to almost zero. At almost 10pm, the ship suddenly grounded on Boiler Reef below Sanda lighthouse. Flares were fired and the Campbeltown lifeboat was called out. The heavy seas made rescue almost impossible, but 14 hours later the lifeboat successfully came alongside long enough for everyone aboard the Byron Darnton to get to safety. Only two hours later the ship broke in two and the stern section slipped off the reef into deeper water. By the next day, both sections had slipped off onto opposite sides of the reef. She developed a severe list to starboard and soon sank totally underwater.


The wreck was heavily salvaged.


Dive Site Info

The Byron Darnton now lies in 2 sections on Boiler Reef at the south end of Sanda Island. She is extremely broken up due to tide and swell, and heavily salvaged. Wreckage lies between 9 - 16 metres, with the biggest pieces of wreckage rising 5 metres from the seabed. The majority of the wreckage is unrecognisable. 

When to dive

Good weather and slack water only. This site is very exposed to tide and swell.