The SS Gairsoppa was a British steam merchant ship built in Jarrow and launched in 1919.
She saw service during the Second World War, providing aviation fuel to put the Spitfires and the Hurricanes into the air.
The name Gairsoppa was given in honour of the town Gairsoppa, a town in the banks of river Sharavathi in Karnataka, India. Gairsoppa, due to its easy access to water transportation and as a centre of commercial crop like pepper was the commercial capital for centuries.
She sailed with several convoys, before joining Convoy SL64 in February 1941. Gairsoppa left the convoy when she exhausted the majority of her fuel and was making her way to Galway, Ireland, when a German U-boat fired a torpedo that sank her and sent 85 people to their deaths.
The wreck of the Gairsoppa was discovered in 2011, and it was announced that an operation to recover its cargo of silver bullion, with an estimated value of £150 million, would begin in 2012. On 18 July 2012 Odyssey Marine Exploration, of Tampa, Florida, reported that it had recovered 48 tons of silver, making this probably "the deepest, largest precious metal recovery in history" (as the Gairsoppa rests in 4,700 metres of water).
The Silver recovered has been re-produced into 999/1000 fine Silver blanks and will used for this special commemoration coin series.