Mull of Oa

The Mull of Oa is the name given to a headland located on the southwestern coast of the area known as the Oa, in the south of the island of Islay, Argyll and Bute. It is surrounded by cliffs which reach 130m / 426 feet in height. There is an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar above these cliffs, while a prominent monument commemorates the American servicemen and British crews who were lost when the HMS Tuscania and SS Otranto troopships went down off the coast in 1918. The former was sunk by a German U-Boat on 5th February of that year killing 266, while the latter was involved in a collision with HMS Kashmir during a storm on the 6th October. Despite a valiant rescue attempt by HMS Mounsey, which saved hundreds of men while suffering considerable damage by coming alongside the Otranto in mountainous seas, the Otranto ran aground and broke apart with the loss of 431. The American Red Cross erected a memorial here in 1920. Many of the victims of the Otranto lie in the Kilchoman Military Cemetery, on the west side of the island.

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