The SS Hilda was built by Aitkin & Mansel, Glasgow in 1883 as Yard Number 117 for £33,000.
Launched in July 1882 she was completed in January 1883 and handed over to her owners after completing sea trails on 13 January 1883.
She had a GRT of 848 and was 71.78m long with a 8.86m beam and 4.32m draught, powered by two John & James Thompson and Company compound steam engines and a single propeller she had a top speed of 14 knots. In 1894 she had a refit with new boilers and electric lighting fitted throughout the ship.
Registered in Southampton she was owned by the London & South Western Railway, she could carry 566 passengers and was intitially used on the Southampton - Channel Islands - St.Malo service before transferring to the direct Southampton - St.Malo service in October 1890 until she sank on 18 November 1905 with the loss of 125 lives
Hilda left Southampton at 22:00hrs on 17 November 1905 on her regular service to St.Malo in Brittany carrying 103 passengers. Thick fog forced her to anchor off the Isle of Wight but with the advent of better weather conditions the voyage was resumed at 0600hrs the next day. After midday the weather conditions worsened again and she was unable to reach port due to snow reducing visibility.
Although visibility did improve on a number of occasions attempts to enter the port had to be abandoned, just before midnight another attempt was made to get into port but the vessel hit the Pierre de Portes rocks which lie to the West of the entrance channel into the harbour, soon after running aground the vessel broke in two. Attempts were made to launch the the six life rafts but this seems to have failed although one did wash up down the coast.
Only one crew member (an able bodied seaman) survived together with five passengers. Most of the survivors seem to have saved themselves by climbing the stern rigging.
The remains of wreck lies in 25m of water, the propeller I photographed was removed in 1997.