On the 2nd of December 1917 a steamship was sighted through the U-boats periscope so it moved in for "the kill" The target was the 4639 ton British registered steamship KINTUCK, which was on passage from London to Barry ( Wales ) with an empty cargo hold. U-Boat attacks were very common during these times and the S.S. KINTUCK had already survived several previous attacks, one coincidentally a year earlier on 2nd December 1916 off South West Ireland and the other in the Atlantic on 18th June 1917.
At approximately 1.25pm there was a huge explosion onboard the KINTUCK and it was clearly heard on land. It seemed the ship had been hit by a torpedo in the aft hold area and was taking on water fast. The Captain gave the order to abandon ship and the 54 crew members prepared to launch the ship's lifeboats. There was a Northerly gale blowing which made this operation difficult but eventually all six of the lifeboats were launched. The Captain and first officer were the last to leave the stricken ship but they managed to send up the distress rockets before they abandoned the KINTUCK.
The Coastguard lookouts stationed at St.Ives Head spotted the distress flares and quickly summoned the St.Ives lifeboat, the James Stevens No 10 to be launched. It was low water so the lifeboat had to be pulled all the way across the beach and beyond the shelter of the harbour walls. The lifeboat set off under sail at about 2.15pm under the command of Coxswain R.W. Stevens.
Meanwhile the crew of the KINTUCK were hastily rowing away from the sinking ship in order to prevent the boats from being sucked under as the ship went under. The weather conditions made it impossible for all six lifeboats to stay together, however they all witnessed the KINTUCK's bow rise and slip beneath the waves in a cloud of steam and bubbles.
After several tacks the St.Ives lifeboat arrived at the scene and managed to get the sailors from several boats aboard. The lifeboat coxswain then transferred one of his crew members to another boat in order to take charge. The St.Ives lifeboat returned to the harbour and safely landed 34 of the shipwrecked sailors. The boat containing the Captain, Chief officer and eight crew were rescued by the French steamship LUTECE and they were taken to Swansea.
The last boat containing nine shipwrecked sailors was driven ashore by the wind near Mussel Point. The boat was thrown onto the rocks by the waves and smashed to pieces. All but one of the men managed to get ashore, but a fireman was missing and presumed to have drowned. The rest of the survivors were met by a farmers grandson who had heard the explosion and went to investigate. He guided the shipwrecked sailors to Treveal Farm where they were given dry clothes and food before being taken to St.Ives.