British and German submarines protected

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British and German submarines protected

Two submarines that sank more than 100 years ago have been made Protected Historic Wreck Sites.

The wrecks of U8, the first German U-boat to be sunk in British waters, and British submarine the A3 (pictured), which sank just before WW1, were protected following advice from Historic England, 

U8 sank in the Dover Strait off Folkestone in Kent in March 1915. Caught in anti-submarine netting, the U-boat was hit by the destroyer Ghurka and forced to surface, where it was abandoned. It later sank after coming under fire from another destroyer, the Maori. The crew all survived and were later marched through town to Dover Castle by the castle garrison.

One of the wreck's two propellers was recovered and returned to the German Navy after being stolen by divers – it had been discovered in Kent being used as a coffee table. The other prop remains missing.

“The U8’s design and construction, complete with six torpedoes, marked a turning-point in submarine development,” said Mark Dunkley, Maritime Designation Adviser for Historic England. “The Type U5 boats were superior to Allied submarines both in fighting ability and seaworthiness.

“The U8 sits upright on the seabed in excellent condition and you can still see its periscopes, radio masts attached.”

The protection of U8 is part of a Historic England project to survey 11 known WW1 submarine losses in English waters, to better understand their condition and deterioration rate.

The A3 sank in February 1912 off Lulworth, Dorset, after being accidentally rammed while surfacing by the depot ship HMS Hazard off the Isle of Wight. The sub was salvaged and subsequently sunk as a gunnery target, and now lies east of Portland.

“The UK has a long and proud maritime heritage and these wreck-sites tell an important story about our past,” said Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch, announcing the designations. “As we mark the centenary of the First World War, it is fitting that we remember the role of the wider war at sea, and I am excited that these sites will be protected for years to come.”

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