Southsea Sub-Aqua Club members have won the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) 2019 Adopt a Wreck Award, and their search for a landing-craft sunk during the D-Day landings has been captured in a documentary called No Roses on a Sailor’s Grave.
In 1944 young sailor Patrick Thomas narrowly survived the sinking of HMS LCH185 during the Normandy invasion. He had never spoken of the incident until, years later on a trip to Normndy, he met archaeologist John Henry Philips, who told him that he would to try to find LCH185.
In August 2017 hydrographer Chris Howlett introduced Southsea SAC members to a documentary team from Go Button Media.
“Chris believed he may have found Patrick’s wreck and recommended us as a dive-team who were capable of undertaking a survey of the wreck-site to confirm its identity,” said club-member Martin Davies.
“When we heard about Patrick’s wish to commemorate his lost shipmates, we were very keen to support the endeavour so that he could honour his friends after more than 70 years, and support John in his promise to find his ship.”
Most of the 7000 vessels involved in the Operation Neptune landings in June 1944 were lost, and many of those who died on them were never found. The divers surveyed the target wreck and created a report, as reflected in the documentary.