Council pays for bell salvaged from WWI vessel sunk by mine

The bell
The bell

A bell salvaged from the historic Laurentic shipwreck has been purchased at auction by Derry and Strabane District Council.

The council has forked out £12,000 for the Laurentic’s main bell which was recovered from the seabed off the Donegal coast in 1979 by hobby diver Ray Cossum from Londonderry.

It was in January 1917 that the SS Laurentic, a White Star liner, struck two mines laid by a German U-boat at the mouth of Lough Swilly off the coast of Donegal.

More than 400 people died, many from exposure, as the vessel sank within an hour.

The Laurentic had been on its way to Nova Scotia carrying millions of pounds worth of gold ingots to pay for war munitions.

A spoksperson for the council said it intends exhibiting the bell at the Guildhall for a period.

It is understood that the bell is set to be exhibited at the planned Maritime Museum earmarked for Ebrington.