Remembrance in Malta

archive – Diving NewsRemembrance in Malta

At precisely 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, scuba divers placed a poppy on the X127 wreck in Marsamxette Harbour, Malta. The WW2 British lighter sank at the spot 75 years ago, after being bombed during an air attack on 6 March, 1942.

Placing the poppy on the 24m-long wreck, a popular dive-site, was the idea of Simon Hewart, a co-owner of Scuba Life Malta in Mellieha.

Before becoming a scuba instructor Simon spent 24 years in the British Army, serving on operational tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan and leaving as a Warrant Officer Class 2.

The large poppy was sourced in the UK from a stall staffed by members of the Surrey Royal British Legion.

The X127 was built by Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing in Yorkshire in 1915.

She was used in WWI for transporting water and also for withdrawing troops during the Gallipoli campaign, and during WW2 was used as a fuel lighter in Malta, where she was unofficially known as the Talbot, carrying shale oil for the 10th Submarine Flotilla.

The wreck is an easy shore-dive, lying on a slope off Manoel Island with its bow at 5m and stern at 22m.

“The poppy was originally going to be placed on the wreck of the destroyer HMS Maori, but conditions were not favourable on the day,” said photographer Simon Apps.

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