One of the most devastating wars of all time, World War I was spreading havoc in Europe. It was the war fought on land, water and air none of the territories were spared. On 2nd July 1918 when World War I was at its extremity, a ship name ‘S.S Shirala’ was sunk by a German Torpedoes on its way to Bombay (Mumbai) from London. This ship was carrying the uniface banknotes of British India consisting the portrait of King George V.
These consignment carried by S.S.Sirala consisted of unsigned denominations of 10 and 5 rupees with signed 1 rupee banknotes. The one rupee notes were the second print which was pre-signed and was legal tender. This event was the first recorded case of pre-signed notes that sank before arriving in India.
The prefixes of one rupee notes which sunk were A, K, L, M and R. The notes with these prefixes were already in circulation but were later withdrawn. The prefixes of these sunken one rupee notes are not known. Few of these sunken notes were salvaged or were washed ashore and spotted on the southern coast of England. In 1920, a reported case of attempts to en-cash these notes was recorded in India.
The other known sunken treasure was of King George VI during World War II.
To know more about King George V coinage click here.