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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > 1944 Bombay Explosion Anniversary How Indian labourers found gold from sunken British ship in 2011

1944 Bombay Explosion Anniversary: How Indian labourers found gold 'from sunken British ship' in 2011

Updated on: 13 April,2023 08:50 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

The workers discovered gold bars from the SS Fort Stikine late in February 2011, while digging a new dock in the port city

1944 Bombay Explosion Anniversary: How Indian labourers found gold 'from sunken British ship' in 2011

Representative image. Pic/Istock

The 1944 Bombay Explosion, also known as the Victoria Dock Explosion, occurred on April 14, 1944. The explosion was one of the largest explosions ever recorded, and it caused extensive damage to Mumbai.


In the year 2011, Indian labourers unearthed gold bars from a British cargo ship that blew up killing hundreds of people while docked in Mumbai during World War II.


The workers discovered gold bars from the SS Fort Stikine late in February 2011, while digging a new dock in the port city.


Preliminary examinations suggested that the gold -- in two bars weighing 100 grams and 50 grams (three and a half ounces and one and three quarter ounces) -- was from the stricken ship, a senior police officer confirmed then.

Also Read: 1944 Bombay explosion: St Xavier’s High School in Fort houses pieces of propellers from the explosion

"The contractors have told us about having found gold and the bars belonging to the lot that had sunk with (the) Fort Stikine," said senior officer Quaisar Khalid, who was quoted by AFP.

The Fort Stikine was carrying a cargo of cotton bales, gold, explosives and munitions and had not been unloaded when it caught fire at Victoria Docks in the city then known as Bombay on April 14, 1944.

Also Read: When Bombay was burning in the horrific 1944 explosion

The resulting blast scattered debris for miles (kilometres), fires raged for days and dozens of other vessels in port were destroyed. Between 200 and 800 people were reported to have been killed.

The gold, with an estimated worth of between one and two million pounds at the time, was destined for a city bank to offset the impact of the war on Indian exchange rates.

Some of the gold was found up to the 1970s and returned to the British government but none has been found since then.

(with inputs from AFP)

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