“A RICH MAN’S PLAY THING”
A quote from Kendall McDonald reads, “The luxury steam yacht Tighnamara was a fine example of what Scottish shipbuilders could do when backed by copious quantities of Victorian money.” Tighnamara was launched into the Clyde at Greenock in 1890, upon completion she resembled an elegant, 165 ft-long, twin-masted schooner shaped vessel with one single funnel.
Most of her fittings were solid brass, even her toilets were highly decorated with blue flowers, curling blue foliage adorning the china wash-basins. The incredibly detailed and decorative nature of the vessel was a sure sign that she was the brainchild of a very wealthy person of stature.
The Tighnamara was also a good sea boat, ideal for cruising the Western Isles. It’s hard to understand why none of her owners kept her for more than a few years. Each owner changed her name meaning she was known as the Katoomba, then Lord Byron and subsequently Imogen. Another change of ownership meant that when the Admiralty hired her for war work in November of 1914, she was known as HM Yacht Verona.
HM Yacht Verona was ordered to navigate Scotland, deployed regarding anti-submarine patrol duties off the east coast from a base in the Moray Firth. HM Yacht Verona was suitably equipped to attack any U-boat she may have met. Equipped with small guns on her counter-stern and two more guns at the bow near her long bowsprit she could undertake and carry out her duties against enemy U boats. She was later modified to take a single depth-charge, which was deployed by simply rolling over her stern.
She never got the chance to use her guns or depth-charge against any of the big mine-laying UC-class boats which were sinking large numbers of Allied ships in small minefields laid off the Scottish coast.
HM Yacht Verona hit a German mine in the early morning hours of 24 February, 1917, when patrolling some four miles south-east of Tarbat Ness. She sank in less than a minute.
For a walkthrough of the current wreck provided by scuba diving experts Bill Ruck, John Leigh and Tim Walsh here