The X127 Water Lighter (Coralita)

The X127 Water Lighter (Coralita)

In 1915 Walter Pollack was asked by Lord Fisher of the Admiralty to design and oversee construction of 200 motor landing craft (support vessels) built for 1915 Dardenelles Landing in the Gallpoli campaign during WW1; these vessels were designated ‘X Lighters’.

Nicknamed ‘black beatles’, these vessels were designed to enable landing at steep shelving beaches.  Each one weighed 135 tons, was 35m in length with a beam of 6.5m and had accommodation for 12 men.

The X127 was built in Beverly, Yorkshire, and fitted with a Campbell 80BHP twin prop engine and sent into action.

After the war in 1920, the X Lighters were sold off.  Sixteen of these found home in Malta.  The X127 was one of these.  Still employed as a water carrier, she was then converted to carry fuel oil, carrying shale oil for the Tenth Submarine Flotilla, HMS Talbot, Manoel Island, Marsamxett harbour, Malta.

On 6th March 1942 the submarine base was attacked by dive bombers.  The submarines P36 and P39 were damaged by near misses and the P127 caught fire and sank.  She remains in the same position today, laying upright on a 20 degree slope, the bow at 5m and the stern at 22m.

The dive

Surface swim along in front of the arches, then descend and head westerly at a depth of 10-12m until you reach the wreck.

The P127 is almost entirely intact and has made an excellent artificial reef, particularly for octopus and cuttlefish.

All compartments on the wreck has silt infiltration, so it would be dangerous to enter at all.  Also look out for harbour traffic and keep to the wreck.