100 BEST UK WRECK DIVES

This ship would become a popular wreck-site
This ship would become a popular wreck-site

As the treasured Wreck Tour series was beginning its 180-site run in Diver magazine, renowned shipwreck expert KENDALL McDONALD came up with his personal 100 Best UK Wreck Dives. This ran over 10 months, with his top-rated wreck revealed at the turn of the Millennium.

Some of those dive-sites will certainly have deteriorated since that time, and there have been new wrecks too, such as the Scylla. Divers familiar with the sites are welcome to add their own updates in Comments or on individual Wreck Tours – 26 of which are linked to the 100 wrecks listed below.

Find out how many of these stand-out wrecks are in your own log-books – and how Kendall’s selection matches up to your own. And guess, without looking at Contents, which ship comes out top (clue: it is pictured above)

100 PHOENIX

6,044-ton, A-1 type Mulberry unit, built 1943. 61 x 17m beam, 18m high, drawing 6m, concrete with steel reinforcing rods. Floating “egg-box” of 22 compartments. Part of prefab D-Day harbours being towed by tugs to Normandy. Bofors gun on top platform amidships.

Position: 50 44.63N; 00 42.32W (all positions are GPS).

Depth: 9m.

Sunk: After being raised in 1944, settled again and broke back across hole that was former “parking” place. Showed 12m until used for rocket practice by RAF.

Diving: Known as the Far Mulberry, very broken, partly under sand/shingle. Paradise for photographers with fish including bass, pouting, pollack, brill and turbot. Southern end weed-covered. Northern sloping end, probably stern, clear and home to mussels and dead men’s fingers. East side best preserved, towing bollards in place. Other victims of RAF bombing within finning distance – concrete petrol barge, infantry landing craft, air-sea rescue float called a Cuckoo.

Launch: Selsey, Pagham, Bognor, Littlehampton.

99 BARN HILL

5,439-ton steamer. 117 x 16m.

Cargo: Aluminium ingots, canned food, Halifax Nova Scotia for London.

Position: 50 47.38N; 00 20.33E.

Depth: 4m at low.

Sunk: Set on fire 20 March, 1940, by bomb down funnel from German Dornier. Beached near Langney Point, Eastbourne while burning. Five of 34 crew died.

Diving: Can be shore dive (500m snorkel), but good second boat-dive for beginners. Three boilers show at low tide. Salvaged of metals, but broken. Spread wreckage worth rummage. Many congers.

Launch: Eastbourne.

98 LADY MEATH

1,597-ton steamer. 105 x 13m. British & Irish Line cattle-carrier. Dublin for Birkenhead via Holyhead RN inspection control point.

Cargo: Irish cattle and sheep.

Position: 53 20.47N; 04 36.27W.

Depth: 25m.

Sunk: 16 August, 1940, by first acoustic mine dropped in shipping lanes by German bomber. Explosion during RN inspection. All 20 crew and eight drovers saved. Inspection craft HMS Manx Lad sunk in same explosion.

Diving: Salvage, so fairly broken. Some parts stand upright 8m proud of shingle and sand. Bow section intact, anchor on chain. Bridge off wreck to port with two encrusted gantries. Stern 5m proud. Slack water three hours before both low and high. Often silty, so dive just after turn.

Launch: Holyhead Harbour.

97 LOUIS SHEID

6,057-ton Belgian grain-carrier, built 1920 as Ultor. 127 x 16m.

Cargo: Wheat and general. Buenos Aires for Antwerp.

Position: 50 15.80N; 03 52.20W.

Depth: 10m.

Sunk: 8 December 1939, ran ashore at Thurlestone, south Devon, trying to evade U-47. Had picked up survivors of its earlier victim, Dutch cargo liner Tajandoen.

Diving: Good for novices, best by boat. Broken by storm and salvage. Stem-post shows at low tide. Much plate among kelp. Boilers home to large wrasse. Part of bow on south side of Leas Foot bay. Vis usually good.

Launch: Thurlestone Sands, Hope Cove.

96 PREUSSEN

THE PREUSSEN
PREUSSEN

5,081-ton five-masted steel vessel. 122 x 16m. Was biggest sailing ship in world.

Cargo: General, cement, 100 pianos, Hamburg to Valparaiso.

Position: 58 08.02N; 01 22.17E.

Depth: 7m.

Sunk: 6 November, 1910, driven ashore in Fan Bay after collision with cross-Channel steamer. Lines to tugs towing into Dover snapped in gale. Broken by later storms.

Diving: Wreckage broadside to great chalk cliff of Fan Point. Steel plates galore. Old bottles and gas lamps to be found in heavy kelp. “Stone” cement barrels run length of forehold. Most pianos salvaged. Some ribs show at low springs.

Launch: Dover.

95 MALTA

2,244-ton Cunard steamer, built 1865. 91 x 12m. 212hp compound engines.

Cargo: 2,000 tons general including copper ingots, tin plate and pig iron. Liverpool for Genoa and Venice via Falmouth.

Position: 50 08.13N; 05 42.42W.

Depth: 8m-15m.

Sunk: 15 October, 1889, ran ashore in dense fog under cliffs of Kenidjack Castle, half-mile north of Cape Cornwall.

Diving: Wreckage in kelp and sand patches among boulders. Silver-plated Cunard-crested items – coffee pots found recently. Despite heavy salvage, copper ingots still turn up. Strong currents. Bow in 8m under iron spike driven into cliff. Stern in 15m. Wreck of Italian steamer Aldo Lauro close by. Bronze Age weapons also found in area.

Launch: Sennen, Cornwall.

94 HMS OTRANTO 

HMS OTRANTO
HMS OTRANTO

12,124-ton liner, built 1909, converted by RN to merchant cruiser in 1914. 163 x 19m. 12,000hp quadruple-expansion engines. Nine 6in guns.

Cargo: 665 US troops and equipment, Halifax, Nova Scotia for Glasgow.

Position: 55 45.46N; 06 28.40W.

Depth: 11-17m.

Sunk: 6 October, 1918 in collision with liner Kashmir in same convoy during force 11 gale. Broke up after grounding off Isle of Islay, Scotland. 431 drowned.

Diving: Very broken, salvaged. Much wreckage in Machir Bay. Owned by Tim Epps of Islay, who supplies air. Six massive boilers side by side, each 5m proud in centre of wreckage. Guns nearby. Beware 6in shellcases to right of boilers – warheads fitted. Silver dollars found during salvage. Swell over wreck in westerlies.

Launch: Kilchiaran Bay, Islay.

93 AMBERLEY

2,405-ton collier, built 1953. 80 x 12m. Eight-cylinder oil engine.

Cargo: 2,290 tons coal. Goole, Humber, for Shoreham, Sussex.

Position: 53 02.92N; 00 58.20E.

Depth: 20m.

Sunk: Coal shifted on 2 April, 1973, in Force 9 off Norfolk. Sank after crew airlifted in heroic RAF helicopter rescue.

Diving: Only shipwreck bought by BSAC for divers! Lies on sand so close to drop-off of Blackeney Overfalls (buoyed) that the bow nudges the bank top. Almost intact, coal still inside. Leans to port – deep scour on that side. Some turbulence over wreck.

Launch: Blakeney Harbour (dries), Cley-next-the-Sea, Weybourne.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 95: The Amberley

92 LOCH SHIEL 

1,277-ton fully-rigged iron sailing ship, built 1877. 67 x 11m.

Cargo: 7,000 cases of whisky, bottled beer, general. Brick ballast. Glasgow for Adelaide.

Position: 51 41.78N; 05 07.00W.

Depth: 10m.

Sunk: 30 January, 1894, ran ashore on Thorn Island while seeking shelter from gale in Milford Haven. Heroic rescue of all 33 aboard by Angle lifeboat.

Diving: Very broken in kelp 20m from southern end of island. Some sections surprisingly large, decking still visible. Bricks all over bottom bear Glasgow manufacturer's name. “Whisky galore” on shore for locals and little of cargo recovered by Customs. Divers often find full, but undrinkable, bottles of whisky under sand patches. Good novice dive. Contact Milford Haven Port Authority before diving.

Launch West Angle.

91 INDIANA

2,266-ton British cargo steamer, built 1889. 84 x 12m. 188hp triple-expansion engines.

Cargo: General, plus oranges and lemons. Venice for London, via Valencia.

Position: 50 47.05N; 00 22.20W.

Depth: 10m.

Sunk: 1 March 1901, collided with German steamer Washington in dense fog near Owers. Towed by tug and grounded a mile south of Worthing Pier.

Diving: Dispersed by explosives, but now emerging from sand. Bathroom exposed, complete with taps and china washbasin. Good second dive. Heavily potted.

Launch: Goring, Shoreham.

90 HERZOGIN CECILIE

THE HERZOGIN CECILIE
HERZOGIN CECILIE

3,111-ton four-masted steel clipper, built 1902. 102 x 14m. 

Cargo: 4,250 tons of wheat, Port Lincoln, Australia to Ipswich, via Falmouth. 

Position: 50 12.82N; 03 47.02W (all positions are GPS). 

Depth: 7m.

Sunk: 25 April, 1936, by striking the Ham Stone off Soar Mill Cove in fog. Raised and towed to Starehole Bay near Salcombe, where it was settled upright ready for repairs before its back broke in later storms.

Diving: Popular with photographers and novices – and all divers when weatherbound! Much plate amid kelp. Bow and chain-locker still intact, with anchor-chain leading seaward. Some ribs standing.

Launch: Salcombe.

89 TORREY CANYON

61,263-ton Liberian supertanker, built 1959. “Jumbo-ised” in Japan, 1965, length increased from 243m to 197m, which made it the largest tanker in the world. 

Cargo: 119,328 tons crude oil, Kuwait to Milford Haven. 

Position: 50 02.50N; 06 07.73W. 

Depth: 3-30m.

Sunk: 18 March, 1967, navigational error of ship’s master, striking Pollard Rock, Seven Stones Reef, between Land’s End and Isles of Scilly, at 17 knots. Refloat attempts failed, then back was broken in storm. Oil fouled beaches of Cornwall and Devon.

Diving: Very broken wreck is spread over much of the square mile of reef. Bow section lies to the north-west of Pollard Rock in a deep gully in the granite; stern well to the south. Much growth. Beware unexploded bombs and rockets and a big swell.

Launch: Scilly Isles.

88 FORFARSHIRE

Forfarshire
FORFARSHIRE

270-ton paddle-steamer, built 1834. 55 x 7m. 

Cargo: Cloth, hardware, soap, boiler-plate and spinning gear. Hull for Dundee. 

Position: 55 38.40N; 01 37.25W. 

Depth: 8m.

Sunk: 7 September, 1838, by engines’ breakdown, storm winds and striking the Big Harcar Rock, Farne Islands. 18 survivors out of 63. Nine were saved by William Darling, keeper of Longstone Lighthouse, and his daughter Grace.

Diving: Wreck is on south-west tip of Harcar Rock; little is obvious amid kelp; some timbers, plates, air-intakes, steel ladder and anchor. Some experienced divers use strong north-south tides in Piper Gut to ”fly” over the Grace Darling wreckage, which is mixed with cannon from other ships.

Launch: Seahouses, Beadnell, Bamburgh.

87 ROYAL CHARTER

Royal Charter
ROYAL CHARTER

2,719-ton iron clipper ship. Built 1854. 71 x 12m. Armed. 

Cargo: Gold, valued then at £321,000. Melbourne for Liverpool. 

Position: 53 21.77N; 04 15.20W. 

Depth: 5-20m.

Sunk: 26 October, 1859, blown ashore at Moelfre, Anglesey, after hurricane-force winds broke anchor-cables. Ship broke up. 459 of 500 drowned. Salvage divers have recovered all apart from £30,000-worth of gold cargo.

Diving: Many broken ribs and plating within a few yards of the shore. Sovereigns have been found. Diver Syd Wignall reported locating a gold ingot in 1958, but ran out of air before he could free it. On his return a storm had covered the area in sand. He gave the location as 5m deep, 20m from the rocks.

Launch: Moelfre.

86 UB-81

A UBIII-class submarine at sea
A UBIII-CLASS U-BOAT

647-ton, UBIII-class German navy submarine, built 1917. 58 x 6m. From Zeebrugge to attack shipping in Channel. 

POSITION: 50 29.37N; 00 58.20W. 

DEPTH: 28m.

SUNK: 2 December, 1917, by striking a mine. Bottomed with flooded stern in 30m, 2 miles south of Owers Lightship. A rescue attempt failed. 27 of 34 drowned. Wreck has moved more than 12 miles since sinking.

DIVING: Broken in two just aft of conning tower, which is also badly damaged. Highest point is a gun, which points towards surface, ammunition lying around. Main hatch open to control-room. Parts of gun and bridge telegraph have been removed.

LAUNCH: Bembridge, Portsmouth.

85 CZAR

1,100-ton iron steamer, built 1858. 

Cargo: 1,600 tons military stores from Woolwich Arsenal, Lancaster guns, shot and shell, uniforms, hides, spirits, oil, sugar and spices. Woolwich for Malta

Position 49 57.55N; 05 10.42W. 

Depth: 18m.

Sunk: 22 January, 1859, by hitting Vrogue Rock, half a mile off Lizard, Cornwall. Had turned back suffering boiler trouble in squally weather. Broke in two behind funnel. Captain Robert Jackson, his wife, son and 10 of the crew drowned.

Diving: To north-east of Vrogue Rock, seabed carpeted with round shot and some 9ft guns lie amid iron wreckage. Buttons from uniforms and other small items in clefts in rock gullies.

Launch: Cadgwith, Kennack Sands.

84 HMS PRINCE LEOPOLD

2,938-ton, Belgian steamer, built 1930, converted to infantry landing ship 1941. 104 x 14m. Armed. Isle of Wight to Normandy. 

Position: 50 34.58N; 00 55.87W. 

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 29 July, 1944, by torpedo from German U-boat, striking port-side, midships.

Diving: Despite capsizing on sinking, wreck is now upright, but twisted with starboard list on gravel seabed. Highest point is Bofors gun, 10m proud. Large hole on port side is torpedo damage. Bow lists more than stern, which has 30° lean. Superstructure swept away. Beware depth-charges on racks at stern. Take care on any entry into wreck, metal deteriorating fast.

Launch: Bracklesham, Selsey, Bognor.

83 HMS MONTAGU

HMS Montagu aground
HMS MONTAGU AGROUND ON LUNDY

14,000-ton battleship, built 1901 as Montague, renamed same year. 121 x 23m. Armed. Exercising in Bristol Channel. 

Position: 51 09.57N; 04 40.40W. 

Depth: 5-15m.

Sunk: 29 May, 1906, by running aground in fog on Shutter Reef, Lundy. Massive efforts to refloat wreck failed. Six months of salvage work followed.

Diving: Scattered and broken, but 2m high piles of armour-plate still there amid kelp. Beware live 12in shells in wreckage.

Launch: Ilfracombe or take RIB on Lundy ferry as cargo.

82 MOLINA

1,122-ton, Norwegian steamer, built 1905. 70 x 11m. Le Havre to Swansea. 

Position: 50 33.77N; 01 28.97W.

Depth: 35m.

Sunk: 22 January, 1918, by torpedo, 7 miles south-east of Needles.

Diving: Still fairly intact, standing 8m proud. Was identified by bell recovered by a diver in 1985. Propeller with two blades missing raised by salvage divers. Bow to north-west. Beware thinning plating in danger of collapse.

Launch: Yarmouth, Lymington.

81 CADMUS

1,879-ton steamer, built 1911. 85 x 12m. Armed. 

Cargo: Empty used shellcases for renovation in Britain. Dunkirk to Blyth. 

Position: 53 50.92N; 00 12.45E. 

Depth: 25m.

Sunk: 18 October, 1917, by torpedo 20 miles south of Flamborough Head. No deaths.

Diving: Broken into two main parts near boiler and engines. Spare iron prop lying aft of boiler. Much debris including coils of wire between two sections. Main interest is holds, where cargo of 18-pounder shell-cases were carried. Despite commercial salvage, local divers call this a “shellcase supermarket” and ration divers to two shells each!

Launch: Bridlington.

80 VOLNAY

4609-ton steamship, built 1910. 117 x 15m. Armed. 

Cargo: Tinned meat, butter, jam, coffee, cigarettes, peanuts, potato crisps, anti-personnel shells, timber, Montreal to Plymouth via Barry. 

Position: 50 04.25N; 05 04.03W (all positions are GPS). 

Depth: 20m.

Sunk: 14 December, 1917, by striking a mine 2 miles south-east of the Manacles and attempting to beach in Porthallow Bay.

Diving: Much broken but two big boilers stand clear. Third, smaller boiler is close by, amid bollards, steel plates, ribs and some complete sections. Bow marked by anchor-winches and chain. Stern is broken away, lies 18m to north. Much commercial salvage for brass shell-cases, but many still in silt. Thousands of lead balls on site were originally packed in shells as shrapnel. Beware detonators.

Launch: Porthoustock, Lizard.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 24: The Volnay

79 APOLLO

495-ton, three-masted steamship, built 1874. 55 x 7m. 

Cargo: Granite kerb stones, Aberdeen to Newport. 

Position: 56 16.17N; 05 41.05W. 

Depth: 5-25m.

Sunk: 15 August, 1900, by hitting Bono Reef, Balvicar, near Oban, in fog. All saved.

Diving: Wreck is in gullies near top of reef, which runs down to 30m. First dived by Tunbridge Wells BSAC in 1994. Ribs and plates around engine and condenser. Surrounded by kerb stones from cargo. Single screw is of iron.

Launch: RIBs at Easdale, Isle of Seil; hardboat at Balvicar, near Oban.

78 HMS FALMOUTH

HMS Falmouth
HMS FALMOUTH

5,250-ton cruiser, built 1910. 135 x 14m. Armed with guns and torpedo tubes. 

Position: 53 58.93N; 00 04.50W.

Depth: 16m.

Sunk: 19 August, 1916, by two torpedoes from U-63, while under tow, having been hit in starboard side in previous torpedo attack from U-66. One stoker died later, after all crew taken off.

Diving: Very broken because of salvage after war using 4 tons of gelignite. Bronze propellers removed. Mangled wreck lies north-south on sand and shingle with scour on land side. Fascinating dive for novices and rummagers.

Launch: Bridlington.

77 BASIL

3,220-ton steamer, built 1895. 103 x 13m. Triple-expansion engines. Armed. 

Cargo: Artillery ammunition, Southampton to Boulogne. 

Position: 50 35.00N; 00 41.00W. 

Depth: 35m.

Sunk: 11 November, 1917, by foundering after collision in fog with French steamer Margaux. 13 crew drowned.

Diving: Sits upright, bow section has parted from hull and is listing 45° to port. Stern stands 7m proud with gun pointing aft. Two decks have collapsed. Some shells remain despite salvage of cargo. Engine exposed.

Launch: Bognor, Littlehampton.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 36: The Basil

76 HMS GHURKA

HMS Ghurka
HMS GHURKA

880-ton destroyer, built 1907. 78 x 7m. Steam turbine engines. Armed. 

Position: 50 50.80N; 00 53.17E. 

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 8 February, 1917, by hitting German mine off Dungeness and going down almost immediately. Only five crew were saved.

Diving: Despite being professionally salvaged with much use of explosives, parts of the stern are still intact and stand 8m proud above the general wreckage. Divers should remember that the heavy loss of life makes this a war grave.

Launch: Dungeness, Littlestone.

75 CITY OF WESTMINSTER

6,094-ton former German steamer Rudelsburg, handed over to Britain at end of WW1 as part of reparations, built 1916. 143 x 19m. 

Cargo: Maize, Belfast to Rotterdam. 

Position: 50 01.43N; 05 40.28W. 

Depth: 36m.

Sunk: 8 October, 1923, by striking the Runnel Stone rock in thick fog so hard that she broke her back and knocked the top of the stone right off. All aboard saved by Sennen and Penlee lifeboats.

Diving: Bow very broken in rock gully on eastern face of Runnel Stone at 30m. Stern lies towards south and is more intact and deeper at 50m. Some of superstructure is still in place and upright. Much wreckage nearby may be of other wrecks.

Launch: Sennen Cove, near Land’s End.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 4: The City Of Westminster

74 LUIS

2,484-ton British steamer, built 1916. 116 x 16m. Armed on stern. 

Cargo: 7,000 tons flour, oats, timber and anti-personnel artillery shells, Halifax, Nova Scotia to Portsmouth. 

Position 50 36.45N; 01 09.92W. 

Depth: 17m.

Sunk: 12 April, 1918, when hit in port side by two torpedoes from UC-71 near St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, finally sinking in Sandown Bay. Four crew died.

Diving: Popular dive-site. Broken up by dispersal in 1923 and salvage in 1970, but two big boilers and parts of stern stand 4m proud of seabed wreckage. Shell-cases and brass shell-heads to be found north of boilers, amid hundreds of anti-personnel lead balls.

Launch: Shanklin beach.

73 QUAIL

924-ton British iron steamer, also rigged for sail, built 1870. 67 x 9m. Two-cylinder engine. 

Cargo: General including glassware, wool, potted foods, Antwerp to Glasgow. 

Position: 50 38.03N; 00 18.43W. 

Depth: 42m.

Sunk: 27 August, 1886, by collision in fog with French steamer San Martin.

Diving: Upright with bow broken off and lying port-side to west. Engine clear of rest. Many wooden deadeyes. Jars of potted meat (contents stink!) and much broken glass near bow. Some intact Victorian light ale glasses, wine glasses and water jugs to be found. Bell recovered.

Launch: Goring, Shoreham.

72 HMS ELK

181-ton former Grimsby fishing trawler, built 1902. Requisitioned as minesweeper in WW1 and as dan (marker buoy) layer in WWII. 32 x 6m. Armed. 

Position: 50 18.40N; 04 10.20W. 

Depth: 27m.

Sunk: 27 November, 1940, by hitting sea-mine dropped by German aircraft near the Penlee Point entrance to Plymouth Sound. All saved.

Diving: Stands upright, 5m proud of sand, badly damaged on port side. Bows complete with winch. Entry to engine-room possible. Much dived and has been stripped of brass and other fittings.

Launch: Fort Bovisand.

71 CARARE

6,878-ton “banana boat” liner of Elder & Fyffes, built 1925. 127 x 16m. 

Position: 51 17.83N; 03 44.80W. 

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 28 May, 1940, by magnetic mine in Bristol Channel, in ballast, Avonmouth to Jamaica and Colombia. Seven of 97 crew and three of 29 passengers died.

Diving: Owned by Ilfracombe BSAC. Stands upright and well proud. Bow plates are collapsing inward. Teak decking still to be seen. Hull had 300 portholes, many left.

Launch: Ilfracombe, North Devon.

70 HMS DRAKE

HMS Drake
HMS DRAKE

14,100-ton armoured cruiser, built 1902. 159 x 22m. 30,557hp triple-expansion engines. Many guns and two torpedo tubes. 

Position: 55 17.13N; 06 12.50W (all positions are GPS). 

Depth: 18m.

Sunk: 2 October, 1916, by torpedo from German U-boat while escorting convoy off north coast of Ireland. The captain succeeded in anchoring in Church Bay, Rathlin Island, but Drake capsized later.

Diving: Most-dived wreck off Ulster. Not a war grave, because bodies of 19 killed in torpedo explosion were removed before she sank. Entire hull interior is open through holes blown during Royal Navy salvage. Beware of live ammunition.

Launch: Ballycastle.

69 NEWHOLM

3,399-ton British steamer, built 1899. 100 x 14m. 293hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: Iron ore, Bilbao to Middlesbrough.

Position: 50 12.52N; 03 38.45W. 

Depth: 28-44m.

Sunk: 8 September, 1917, back broken when hit German minefield. Twenty of crew of 29 killed.

Diving: Lies on starboard side, bow down steep sandbank, stern towards shore. Stern rails at 28m near cast-iron propeller. Major break near mast at 32m. Bow section separated and deeper at 43m. Sanded up amidships. Good for marine life.

Launch: Salcombe.

68 POMERANIA

3,382-ton Hamburg-Amerika Line steamer, built 1873. 110 x 12m. 600hp two-cylinder engines. 

Cargo: General, 109 passengers, New York for Hamburg via Plymouth.

Position: 51 02.72N; 01 18.80E. 

Depth: 25m.

Sunk: 25 November, 1878, by collision with iron-hulled barque Moel Eilian off Folkestone. Four out of nine lifeboats destroyed in collision. Forty-eight drowned.

Diving: Highly rated. Lies on port side, bows to the east. Well-broken but parts of deck intact. Some gold and silver coins recovered recently from passenger accommodation. Many clock mechanisms in boxes in holds.

Launch: Folkestone.

67 UC-47

420-ton German UCII-class minelayer submarine of Flanders Flotilla, built 1916. 52 x 5m. Seven torpedoes, 18 mines, 88mm gun. 

Position: 54 01.00N; 00 20.00E.

Depth: 51m.

Sunk: 18 November, 1917, by ramming and depth-charging of HMS P-57. No survivors.

Diving: Bow down in sand. Conning-tower opened, possibly by Royal Navy diver Dusty Miller, who entered the wreck next day to retrieve minefield plans (Diver, September and October 1998). Interior silted up to hatch. Live shells scattered around gun. Stern torpedo-tubes (empty) blown off. Bow torpedo-tubes with doors closed lie clear. Large hole on port-side stern. Aft hatch shut. Stern 6m clear. Both propellers in place. Mine-chute hatches closed.

Launch: Bridlington.

66 SKAALA

1,129-ton Norwegian steamer, built 1906. 70 x 10m. 

Cargo: Patent fuel (coal briquettes), Port Talbot for Rouen. 

Position: 50 11.20N; 03 5the war helm0.33W. 

Depth: 43m.

Sunk: 26 December, 1917, by torpedo from UB-35. One of crew of 17 killed.

Diving: Upright, listing to port. 33m to deck. Superstructure collapsing into engine-room. Propeller is iron. Torpedo damage to starboard side. Fishing-boat wreck lies across No 2 hold. Builder’s plate recovered. Coal briquettes, stamped Cardiff and with royal crown are extremely heavy. Take great care, two diving deaths here.

Launch: Salcombe.

65 OCEANA

Oceana
OCEANA

6,610-ton P&O liner, built 1888. 143 x 16m. 7,000hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: General, plus £747,110 (1912 prices) worth of gold and silver ingots. 40 passengers, 210 crew, London to Bombay. 

Position: 50 42.32N; 00 25.75E. 

Depth: 22m.

Sunk: 16 March, 1912, in collision with Pisagua, 2,850-ton German four-masted steel barque. Nine from Oceana drowned when lifeboat capsized. All except a few ingots recovered in immediate diving salvage.

Diving: One more silver ingot recovered by sport diver in 1996. Beware strong tides, dive only on slack of 30 minutes. Boilers 6m proud amid tangle of wreckage. Sand covers and uncovers some sections.

Launch: Eastbourne.

64 HMS FOYLE

550-ton Royal Navy destroyer-torpedo boat, built 1903. 67 x 7m. 7,000hp triple-expansion engines. One 12-pounder, five 6-pounders, two torpedo-tubes.

Position: 50 16.70N; 04 10.80W. 

Depth: 46m.

Sunk: 15 March, 1917, bow section blown off by German mine in Dover Straits, sank immediately, stern section sank while under tow 3 miles east of Eddystone. Twenty-seven out of 70 killed.

Diving: Very broken. Boilers obvious. Some sections 6m proud. One gun clear, rest under wreckage piled near bow. Torpedo-tubes visible. Starboard side collapsing inwards. Nameplate recovered 1972. Treat as war grave.

Launch: Plymouth.

63 AURANIA 

13,936-ton Cunard liner, built 1917, used as troopship. 156 x 20m. Steam turbines. In ballast, Liverpool to New York. 

Position: 56 36.10N; 06 19.60W. 

Depth: 9-26m.

Sunk: 5 February, 1918, under tow after torpedo from UB-67 hit port side of engine-room. Eight firemen killed. Driven ashore by gale at Caliach Point, Isle of Mull.

Diving: Much broken. Bow 7m proud in 26m, stern badly smashed in 12m. Northampton BSAC found “Silver Pit” (remains of the silver room where liner’s silver plate was stored). Care with underwater back-swell off cliffs. Wreck owned by Richard Greeves of Salen Pier, Aros, Mull, who also supplies air.

Launch: Calgary Bay, Mull; Tobermory.

62 EMPRESS OF INDIA

THE EMPRESS OF INDIA
EMPRESS OF INDIA

15,585-ton Royal Sovereign-class battleship, built 1891. 116 x 22m. Four 13.5in, ten 6in, sixteeen 6-pounder guns. 

Position: 50 29.72N; 02 57.88W. 

Depth: 44m.

Sunk: 4 November, 1913, by shells fired during Royal Navy gunnery tests, holed below waterline, capsized.

Diving: Sits upside-down. Propellers removed earlier. Hole in port side due to salvage of a condenser. Depth to keel 30m. Two openings amidships where contents of mess have spilled out. Portholes “like bay windows”. Do not enter by going in through 3m scour underneath, as most of wreck tight to mud seabed.

Launch: Teignmouth; Brixham.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 70: HMS Empress Of India

61 AKKA

5,409-ton Swedish motor vessel, built 1942. 130 x 17m. Twin six-cylinder oil engines. 

Cargo: Iron ore, Oxeloesund, Sweden for Glasgow. 

Position: 55 56.72N; 04 54.33W.

Depth: 40m.

Sunk: 9 April, 1956, by striking Gantock Rocks, Firth of Clyde due to steering problems. Six killed out of crew of 33.

Diving: Largely intact, upright, and biggest reck in Clyde. Superstructure lies to west. Bow shallowest part at 16m, stern deck at 24m. Beware tides and collapsing areas. Penetrate with great care. Silt easily stirred up in holds, lower decks and engine-room.

Launch: Largs; Gourock.

60 PLYMPTON + HATHOR

PLYMPTON: 2,869-ton British steamer, built 1893. 96 x 12m. 256hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: 4,100 tons maize, Rosario to Dublin, via Falmouth. 

Position: 49 53.00N; 06 20.48W (all positions are GPS).

Sunk: 14 August, 1909, by running on to Lethegus Rocks, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly in thick fog. Capsized later and sank, drowning two islanders engaged in salvage.

HATHOR: 7,060-ton German steamship, built 1912. 144 x 18m. 482hp three-cylinder triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: Nitrate of soda, oil-cake, Chile to Portland.

Sunk: 2 December, 1920, on Lethegus Rocks after breaking free from tow and dragging anchors.

Depth: 33m.

DivingPlympton upside-down under Hathor, which lies crosswise. Hathor boilers clear at 25m. Plympton bows towards shore. Wreckage very tangled.

Launch: St Marys, Isles of Scilly.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 100: Hathor & Plympton

59 MANINA

1,333-ton Greek motor vessel, built 1947. 80 x 12m. Cargo: In ballast, Bergen to Glasgow. 

Position: 59 01.42N; 04 30.30W. 

Depth: 26-50m.

Sunk: 8 April, 1968, ran aground in storm on solitary rock of Stack Skerry, 30 miles off Orkney, badly smashed, slipped off and sank. Nine of 14 crew died.

Diving: Down rock gully tight to Stack Skerry. At 26m remains of bridge, midships and some engine-room parts. Huge mast leads to bow at 43m. Stern with stainless-steel prop at 50m.

Launch: Hardboat from Stromness, Orkney.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 170: Manina

58 TOWARD

1,218-ton British steamer, built 1899. 75 x 11m. 

Cargo: General, London for Belfast. 

Position: 51 07.73N; 01 25.03E.

Depth: 25m.

Sunk: 31 October, 1915, by hitting mine in field laid by UC-6 off the Downs, north-east of Dover. One of four ships sunk in same field within four hours.

Diving: Bow broken from main wreckage by mine explosion on starboard side forward of bridge. Bow 10m clear of main wreckage, upended pointing towards surface, 8m proud. Beware unstable debris in break. The owners welcome divers, but not trophy-hunters.

Launch: St Margaret’s Bay.

57 HMS NORTHCOATES

HMS NORTHCOATES
HMS NORTHCOATES

277-ton trawler, built for Royal Navy as George Corten in 1918. Became commercial fishing trawler 1921 as Zencon. Requisitioned as Naval minesweeper 1939. 37 x 8m.

Position: 50 39.68N; 00 35.32W. 

Depth: 26m.

Sunk: 2 December, 1944, in heavy weather when under tow after engine failure.

Diving: Upright, slight list starboard. Sanded to gunwales. 12-pounder gun and shells on foredeck. Derrick on bow with sweep wire. Remains of twin machine guns on port side towards the stern.

Launch: Bognor, Littlehampton.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 77: HMS Northcoates

56 ABESSINIA

5,753-ton German steamer, built 1900. 165 x 15m. 642hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: General, Chile for Germany.

Position: 55 38.78N; 01 36.27W.

Depth: 10-20m.

Sunk: 3 September, 1921, after hitting Knivestone Rock in Farne Islands.

Diving: Largest wreck in Farnes. Very broken bow section, large anchor and chain lies at west side of reef. Big boiler clear of jumble of wreckage at 18m. Some portholes still to be found. Platework over wide area. Beware tides, dive only at slack.

Launch: Seahouses, Beadnell.

55 PERSIER

5,382-ton Belgian steamer, formerly War Buffalo, built 1918. 120 x 16m. 517hp triple-expansion engines. Armed with 4.7in gun on stern, two 20mm Oerlikons amidships. 

Cargo: Powdered egg, tinned meat, baby food and soap for starving Belgians, Cardiff for Antwerp. 

Position: 50 17.00N; 03 58.15W. 

Depth: 28m.

Sunk: 11 February, 1945, by torpedo from UB-1017. 20 crew lost. Didn’t sink immediately, and propeller cut two packed lifeboats in half.

Diving: Owned by Plymouth Sound BSAC. Bronze propeller and guns salvaged. Bow 10m proud. Lies on port side. Very broken amidships. Collapsed inwards. Three boilers clear near 2.5m anchor.

Launch: Challaborough, Thurlestone Sands.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 52: The Persier

54 THISTLEMOR

4,008-ton British steamer, built 1906. 105 x 15m. 316hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: Coal, Cardiff for Cape Town. 

Position: 51 04.07N; 04 24.28W. 

Depth: 20m.

Sunk: 3 December, 1909, by foundering in Bristol Channel off Clovelly in gale; 23 out of 30 crew lost.

Diving: Ribs stand proud, outlining wreck. Collapsed inwards. Big boilers and engine room machinery exposed. Deep scour round entire stern section. Beware hooks, lines and grapnels – much loved by anglers.

Launch: Appledore.

53 CITRINE

582-ton British steamer, built 1921. 50 x 8m. 

Cargo: In ballast, Belfast to Trevor. 

Position: 54 06.03N; 04 46.02W. 

Depth: 15m.

Sunk: 17 March, 1931, by running aground in thick fog. Ten of 12 crew lost.

Diving: Close to cliff, boiler and engine clear. Iron propeller in place. Bow section partly intact carrying spare propeller, winches, chain and anchor. Bow faces south and stern north. Many wrasse greet divers in hope of food being stirred up.

Launch: Port Erin, Isle of Man.

52 TR THOMPSON

3,538-ton cargo steamer, built 1897. 110 x 14m. Armed with 4.7in gun on stern. 301hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: 5,600 tons iron ore, Algeria to Middlesbrough. 

Position: 50 40.17N; 00 05.63E. Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 29 March, 1918, by single torpedo from UB-57. Three saved from crew of 36.

Diving: Superstructure collapsed. Highest point stern, stands upright and 14m proud. Big break amidships. Gun fallen into wreckage. Shellcases nearby. Sand encroaching. Bell recovered by Bromley BSAC in 1989.

Launch: Newhaven.

51 MONGOLIAN

4,892-ton British cargo steamer, built 1891. 120 x 14m. 582hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: General, London from Middlesbrough. 

Position: 54 10.92N; 00 08.33W.

Depth: 32m.

Sunk: 21 July, 1918, by torpedo from UC-70. 36 of crew lost.

Diving: In one piece, upright, bow and stern intact. Sides collapsing in places. Holds open. Boilers and engines clear from top. Winches in position. Four anchors on decks. Masts lying crosswise. Beware silt.

Launch: Flamborough.

50 HMS M2

HMS M2
HMS M2

1,600-ton Royal Navy submarine, built 1918 as K19. 89 x 7m. Originally carried 12in gun (same as M1). In 1928 gun removed, replaced with hangar to carry folding-wing seaplane with catapult launch. 

Position: 50 34.60N; 02 33.93W (all positions are GPS). 

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 26 January, 1932, while exercising off Portland, probably in attempt to surface and launch seaplane in record time. It’s believed hangar door was opened while still under water. All 60 of crew lost. Eleven-month salvage operation, headed by Ernest Cox of Scapa Flow fame, failed to raise wreck.

Diving: Complete and upright. Jib of recovery crane sticks out forward of conning-tower. Hangar door open, aircraft removed during salvage. All hatches sealed with steel and concrete, except for conning-tower outer hatch which is open, but inner hatch is sealed like all others. This is a war grave, dive accordingly.

Launch: Portland.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 5: The M2 Submarine

49 MALVINA + UB-107

MALVINA ON THE THAMES
MALVINA

Malvina: 1,244-ton iron-screw steamer-schooner, built 1879. 77 x 9m. Armed. 

Cargo: General, London for Leith. Position: 54 08.25N; 00 04.40W. 

Depth: 25m.

Sunk: 3 August, 1918, by torpedo from UB-104 when 1 mile from Flamborough Head. Fourteen lost.

UB-107: 649-ton German UBIII-class submarine, built 1917. 55 x 6m. Believed destroyed by depth-charging of armed yacht and trawlers on 27 July, 1918, off Scarborough, but found entangled with wreck of Malvina by divers in 1985.

Diving: U-boat lies at right angles to steamer and its bow enters Malvina’s broken wreckage by the engines, which are tilted over behind two boilers. Submarine identified by number engraved on prop. Beware strong tidal currents.

Launch: Flamborough.

48 WAR HELMET 

8,184-ton mass-produced British standard steamer, built 1917. 136 x 18m. Armed. 

Cargo: In ballast, London for Barry. 

Position: 50 37.38N; 00 36.50W. 

Depth: 27m.

Sunk: 19 April, 1918, by torpedo from UC-75. All saved.

Diving: Lies upright with bow to north-west. Flattened midships. Three boilers clear. Engine-room easy to locate. Bow complete. Stern well broken. Forward steering binnacle recently raised.

Launch: Littlehampton.

47 ROYAL FUSILIER

2,187-ton British steamer, built 1924. 87 x 12m. 

Cargo: 50 tons rice, 70 tons paper, London for Leith. 

Position: 56 06.53N; 02 35.30W.

Depth: 46m.

Sunk: 3 June, 1941, after bombing by German aircraft in Firth of Forth, capsized under tow. Crew all saved.

Diving: Lies on port side with mud up to centre-line. Intact. Covered by marine growth. Many portholes. Beware trawl-nets over starboard companionways.

Launch: Anstruther; Dunbar.

46 SOMALI

6,809-ton passenger-cargo steamer, built 1930. 140 x 19m. Armed with 12-pounder on stern. 

Cargo: 9,000 tons cosmetics, horses, bicycles, toy lead soldiers, mercury, medical supplies, Jeeps and tyres, Chinese coins, London for Hong Kong, via Firth of Forth for convoy assembly.

Position: 55 33.15N; 01 36.07W. 

Depth: 28m.

Sunk: 27 March, 1941, two days after being bombed by Heinkel 111 and set on fire. Exploded while under tow. No casualties.

Diving: Upright. Extensively salvaged. Stern gun in place. Cargo, particularly bicycles, in clear view. Many bottles. Some coins, but most carried onto nearby beaches. Dive at slack. Beware of strong spring tide currents.

Launch: Beadnell.

45 BRETAGNE

1,439-ton schooner-rigged steel steamer, built 1903. 70 x 11m. 106hp engine. Armed. 

Cargo: 1,888 tons coal, Barry for Rouen. 

Position: 50 29.45N; 03 22. 62W.

Depth: 25m.

Sunk: 10 August, 1918, after collision in fog with French steamer Renee Marthe.

Diving: Property of Bristol Aerospace divers, who raised 12-pounder gun and bell. Beware silt inside and general rusting. Upright. Hand-rails still in position around deck. Stands 7m proud of shingle seabed. Bow to south-west.

Launch: Teignmouth.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 21: The Bretagne

44 HMS P-12

613-ton Royal Navy patrol boat, built 1915. 74 x 7m. 3,500hp twin steam turbines.

Armed. On patrol from Portsmouth. 

Position: 50 39.40N; 01 05.00W. 

Depth: 22m.

Sunk: 4 November, 1918, after being cut in half in collision.

Diving: This is stern section (bow beached Whitecliff Bay). Long, narrow, upright and intact. Depth charges on stern. Throwing arms cocked and loaded. Turbines clear.

Launch: Sandown, Isle of Wight.

43 OSLOFJORD

OSLOFJORD
OSLOFJORD

18,673-ton five-deck trans-Atlantic passenger liner, able to carry 860 passengers and 310 crew, built 1938. Oil engines. 177 x 22m. 

Cargo: In ballast after refit as troopship, Liverpool to Newcastle.

Position: 55 00.17N; 01 23.72W. 

Depth: 15m.

Sunk: 1 December, 1940, when back broken by German acoustic mine, beached close to Tynemouth.

Diving: Largest shipwreck on East coast. Huge amount of broken wreckage on sand seabed. Bow section points seaward. Four diesel engines clear after inward collapse. Pewter, crested pottery, silver salvers and brass portholes often found. Wreckage of 5,317-ton Greek steamer Eugenia Chandris lies in contact near engine-room after she struck Oslofjord wreck on 15 March, 1943.

Launch: South Shields.

42 SEISTAN

4,238-ton steamer, built 1907. Originally Saint Rene, then Headley. 110 x 15m. 408hp triple-expansion engines. Armed.

Cargo: Coal, Tyne to Falmouth.

Position: 54 10 05N; 00 07 10W. Depth: 33m.

Sunk: 23 October, 1917, by torpedo from UB-57. Five lost.

Diving: Intact, upright. Stern section 10m proud, lists to starboard. Midships broken from torpedo damage. Propeller recovered, but cast-iron spare still on deck.

Launch: Flamborough.

41 HMS PORT NAPIER

9,600-ton merchantman, converted to minelayer, built 1940. 150 x 20m. Armed. 

Cargo: 550 sea mines and 6,000 rounds ammunition for 10 AA guns aboard.

Position: 57 15.98N; 05 41.18W. Depth: 21m.

Sunk: 27 November, 1940, after fire broke out during mine-loading at Kyle of Lochalsh. Towed into Loch Alsh where she sank after explosion (not of mines, which were salvaged by RN divers in 1950).

Diving: Lies on starboard side about 300m from shore. Largely intact. Deck-planking still in place as are many guns. Much of hull open to daylight through removal of port-side plating during Navy mine salvage. At stern four minelaying doors provide diver exits. Needs more than one dive to explore this big ship.

Launch: Kyle of Lochalsh; Kyleakin, Skye.

40 DAKOTA

4,332-ton British steamer intended to win Blue Riband record Atlantic crossing, built 1874. 120 x 13m. 900hp compound steam engines. 

Cargo: 218 passengers, 1,800 tons general, including much earthenware, Liverpool for New York. 

Position: 53 25.20N; 04 20.40W. 

Depth: 20m.

Sunk: 9 May, 1877, when helm was put the wrong way, sending ship onto rocks of East Mouse, Anglesey. All saved by lifeboat.

Diving: Broken in three. Boilers form highest point. Sections of hull lean against East Mouse rock. Winches and propshaft clear. Frames in place. Full bottles of wine and many cups have been recovered. Plates scattered over wide area. Beware strong bottom currents.

Launch: Amlwch.

39 RIVERSDALE

2,805-ton steel single-screw British steamer, built 1906. 97 x 14m. Armed with a 12-pounder. 249hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: 4,000 tons coal, Tyne to Savona, Italy. 

Position: 50 11.73N; 03 44.07W. 

Depth: 41m.

Sunk: 18 December, 1917, when being towed off after being beached following torpedoing by UB-31. One man was lost during the salvage operation.

Diving: Owned by Torbay BSAC. Upright and 11m proud. Bow broken away. Recent salvage attempt on coal cargo. Bell has been raised. Prop is iron.

Launch: Salcombe.

38 KENDAL CASTLE

3,885-ton British steamer, built 1910. 105 x 15m. Armed. 353hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: In ballast, Le Havre for Cardiff. 

Position: 50 21.63N; 03 24.62W. 

Depth: 48m.

Sunk: 15 September,1918, by two torpedoes from UB-103 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Paul Hundius, while at periscope depth four miles off Berry Head. Sank immediately with all 18 crew.

Diving: Upside-down, bow cracked open, 12m proud. Bow damage caused by torpedoes, otherwise intact and remarkably well-preserved. Beware fishing nets.

Launch: Dartmouth.

37 HMS CARANTAN

CARANTAN
HMS CARANTAN

407-ton French submarine chaser, taken over by Royal Navy at fall of France, built 1939. 35 x 5m. Armed with 75mm field gun, one 2-pounder, two 20mm Oerlikons, four machine-guns and depth-charges. 

Position: 50 34.95N; 01 56.18W. 

Depth: 32m.

Sunk: 21 December, 1943, when capsized in south-westerly gales off Anvil Point, Dorset, while escorting submarine HMS Rorqual, Portland for Portsmouth. Six of Free French crew of 23 saved.

Diving: Owned by Swanage skipper Eddie Bennet, who has raised big gun from bow. Both propellers lifted. Lies on port side on rock and slate bed. Hull has twist in middle. Parts of the superstructure remain, as does much ammunition.

Launch: Swanage.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 124: The Carantan

36 AEOLIAN SKY

10,715-ton Greek cargo and container motor vessel, built 1978. 149 x 22m.

Cargo: General in holds and on deck, dangerous chemicals in drums, London for Dar-es-Salaam.

Position: 50 30.55N; 02 08.33W.

Depth: 18m.

Sunk: 4 November,1979, when in tow after collision with West German mv Anna Knuppel, which holed her in Number 1 hold. All crew were saved.

Diving: Mostly intact except for bow, which was blown off during cargo salvage attempts. Lies on port side on limestone seabed. Beware accidentally entering this huge wreck when visibility is poor. Much cargo remains in sealed containers in holds. Salvage Association acting for owners.

Launch: Poole, Swanage.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 27 – The Aeolian Sky

35 STASSA

STASSA
STASSA

1,685-ton Panamanian steel steamship, formerly Zena, built 1951. 76 x 12m. 

Cargo: Timber, Archangel for Limerick. 

Position: 57 44.04N; 06 58.02W. 

Depth: 20m.

Sunk: 19 July, 1966, four days after running ashore on Renish Point, South Harris, and being towed by lifeboat into Rodel Bay.

Diving: Almost intact, lying on starboard side. Masts and funnel on seabed beside her lie towards shore. Some timber still in holds. Highest point 10m proud of flat sand. Well dived.

Launch: Rodel.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 6: The Stassa

34 JAMES BARRIE

666-ton British steam trawler, built 1949. 55 x 9m.

Cargo: In ballast, Hull for Icelandic fishing grounds.

Position: 58 48.78N; 03 02.15W. Depth: 38m.

Sunk: 29 March, 1969, when under tow by lifeboat after refloating from reef in Pentland Skerries. All saved.

Diving: Raved about by Scapa Flow veterans. Almost intact, 16m proud. Bronze propeller raised. Upright on seabed of stones.

Launch: Widewall Bay.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 54: The James Barrie

33 BLACK HAWK

7,191-ton US Liberty ship, built 1943. 134 x 17m. Gun on stern. 

Cargo: In ballast, Cherbourg for Fowey. 

Position: In two parts: stern at 50 26.17N; 02 25.30W, bow at 50 36.68N; 02 12.43W. 

Depth: Stern in 48m, bow 12m.

Sunk: 29 December, 1944, by torpedo from U-772, which blew off stern. Forepart stayed afloat but was towed into Worbarrow Bay and beached.

Diving: Bow is a shallow dive over tangled wreckage that has twice been dispersed by explosives. Stern is huge, lying on its starboard side with gun still bolted to platform. Bronze prop has been raised.

Launch: Stern at Weymouth, bow at Kimmeridge.

32 HMS HOOD

HMS HOOD
HMS HOOD

Diving on this wreck is no longer permitted.

14,150-ton battleship, built 1891. 116 x 23m. Well armed.

Position: 50 34.10N; 02 25.22W.

Depth: 18m.

Sunk: 4 November, 1914, as blockship for southern entrance to Portland Harbour, designed to stop U-boats entering or firing torpedoes into Channel Fleet anchorage. Both seacocks and explosives were used to sink her, but she rolled to port and capsized onto seabed.

Diving: Upside-down with kelp covering bottom-plates 2m under surface. Rusting side-plating collapsing, leaving dodgy entrance holes. Swarming with fish. Beware fierce currents.

Launch: Castletown.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 7: HMS Hood

31 P555

1,062-ton US Navy submarine, formerly S-24, built 1922. 66 x 6m. Armed with four 21in bow torpedo tubes, 12 torpedoes and one 3in AA gun. Lease-lend to Royal Navy 1942. 

Position: 50 30.87N; 02 33.43W. 

Depth: 39m.

Sunk: 25 August, 1947 by Royal Navy as ASDIC target after US Navy decided it did not want her returned.

Diving: Upright and complete, 6m proud. Bow to east. Gun in place.

Launch: Weymouth.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 141: The P555

30 MONARCH

MONARCH
MONARCH

1,150-ton Post Office cable-laying steamer, built 1915, requisitioned by Admiralty in 1939. Third cable-layer to be called Monarch. 72 x 10m.

Position: 50 05.90N;01 50.22E. 

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 16 April, 1945, by torpedo in starboard side from U-2324 (Kapitanleutnant Konstantin von Rapprad) while returning to Felixstowe from repairing Suffolk-Holland cable. Two crew lost.

Diving: Owned by BT divers Alan and Fiona Beaumont (given to them as a wedding present). Upright, but very broken, draped in marine cable. Giant cable-laying rollers a major feature at bows.

Launch: Felixstowe, Southwold.

29 USS LST 507

2,366-ton US tank-landing ship, built 1943. 98 x 15m. 

Cargo: 16 Army trucks and landing craft on deck; 22 amphibious DUKWs in hold.

Position: 50 27.15N; 02 43.55W. 

Depth: 50m.

Sunk: 28 April, 1944, when taking part in Slapton Sands “Exercise Tiger” practice for Normandy invasion landing on Utah Beach. Torpedoed by 40-knot German E-boats based in Cherbourg, 202 US servicemen killed. Total US casualties in Exercise Tiger: 638.

Diving: Bow almost completely capsized with entry ramp open to west. Stern lies 200m to south-east upside-down, showing twin four-bladed props and beach-landing skegs. Poking out from under stern is a crushed infantry landing-craft. This is a war grave, so dive accordingly.

Launch: Lyme Regis; Weymouth.

28 METTA CATHARINA VON FLENSBURG

53-ton Danish brigantine, built 1782.

Cargo: Hemp and reindeer hides, Leningrad for Genoa.

Position: 50 21.10N; 04 09.77W.

Depth: 34m.

Sunk: 10 December, 1786 in Plymouth Sound after hitting Drake’s Island in southerly gale.

Diving: In 1973 Plymouth Sound BSAC found bell on top of mud blanket over wreck. Holds revealed to contain hundreds of reindeer hides in excellent condition. Hides are now turned into shoes, handbags, belts and other goods to fund continuing excavation. Dived only with permission of Ian Skelton, project leader, and Glen Peacham, Plymouth Sound Diving Officer, on look-but-no-touch basis.

Launch: Plymouth Sound.

27 SHIRALA

5,306-ton British liner, built 1901. 123 x 15m. 387hp triple-expansion engines.

Cargo: 213 passengers, 5,000 tons general, 180 tons ammunition for Army, 1,700 tons mail, including diamonds, London for Bombay.

Position: 50 40.92N; 00 35.17W.

Depth: 24m.

Sunk: 2 July, 1918 by torpedo in port side from UB-57 (Oberleutnant Johann Lohs). Five crew killed.

Diving: Maximum depth in front of boiler. Sand fills open holds. Bow and stern 7m proud. Much damage from explosives, crane and grab used in commercial salvage. Items found recently include binoculars, telescopes, wine, shell-cases, French perfume, brass clocks, medical equipment, elephant tusks and lorry spares, but diamonds and ship’s bell still in wreckage!

Launch: Littlehampton.

26 WALLACHIA

1724-ton British steamer, built 1883. 79 x 11m. 

Cargo: General, including chloride (on deck in stone jars), glassware, coal, spirits, beer, building materials, Glasgow for Trinidad.

Position: 55 51.67N; 04 57.12W. 

Depth: 34m.

Sunk: 29 September, 1895, by collision in fog with Norwegian steamer Flos. All saved.

Diving: Upright and intact. Settled into mud seabed. Popular with Clyde divers, despite often low vis. Collision damage to be seen on starboard bow. Masts and derricks lie across holds crammed with bottles. Engine-room can be visited via funnel-hole. Take a big torch!

Launch: Largs.

25 POMERANIAN

4,241-ton schooner-rigged Canadian steamer (formerly Grecian Monarch), built 1882. 116 x 13m. 316hp triple-expansion engines.

Armed: 3in gun.

Cargo: Government stores, including 16 hardhat divers’ helmets, London to St Johns, New Brunswick.

Position: 50 33.57N; 02 41.33W.

Depth: 33m.

Sunk: 15 April, 1918 by torpedo in port bow from UC-77 (Oberleutnant Johannes Ries). One survivor from crew of 56.

Diving: Heavy list to starboard on rock and sand seabed. Some continuing collapse of central section. Torpedo damage gave access for recovery of two diving helmets, but one lost while lifting. Other 14 helmets await lucky divers. Bell recovered.

Launch: Lyme Regis.

24 HISPANIA

HISPANIA
HISPANIA

1,337-ton Swedish steamer, built 1912. 72 x 11m. 175hp triple-expansion engine.

Cargo: Steel, asbestos, nylon rope, sheet rubber, Liverpool to Varberg, Sweden. Steel salvaged. Bronze prop gone too.

Position: 56 34.95N; 05 59.15W.

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 18 December, 1954 by hitting Sgeir More reef in Sound of Mull during storm. Captain went down with ship, all other crew saved.

Diving: Intact and upright with slight list to starboard, covered in orange and white anemones. Superstructure, open holds, engine room and deck-houses all explorable. Bow towards Mull. Very popular. Dive at slack only.

Launch: Oban, Lochaline, Tobermory.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 2: The Hispania

23 LUCY

450-ton Dutch coaster, built 1964. 51 x 9m. 360hp oil engines. 

Cargo: Calcium carbide, Barry from Norway.

Position: 51 44.45N; 05 16.55W. 

Depth: 38m.

Sunk: 14 February, 1967 by hitting Cable Rock in Jack Sound, Skomer Island, then drifting with rising tide and finally sinking near North Haven in Skomer Marine Reserve.

Diving: Intact, most-dived wreck in Wales. Only rubble in holds, but stern cabins, wheelhouse and engine room all worth inspection. Take care – there is silting and some bulkheads show signs of collapse.

Launch: Broad Haven.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 3: The Lucy

22 ALAUNIA

HMT ALAUNIA
ALAUNIA

13,405-ton Cunard liner, built 1913. 156 x 20m. 1,324hp quadruple-expansion engines.

Cargo: 8,000 tons general, New York to London. 180 passengers landed at Falmouth. Of 166 crew, two killed. 

Position: 50 41.05N; 00 27.28E. 

Depth: 36m.

Sunk: 19 October, 1916 by hitting a German mine. Two crew lost.

Diving: Lying at 45° on port side but remarkably intact. First 30m from bow almost perfect, more broken amidships and at stern. Anchor still hanging from chain at bow. Superstructure has slid down decks, wheelhouse lies 10m to port. Bow is 12m proud.

Launch: Eastbourne, Bexhill.

21 KYARRA

KYARRA
KYARRA

6,953-ton Australian steamer used as casualty-clearing ship, built 1903. 124 x 15m, 770hp triple-expansion engines.

Armed: 4.7in guns on stern.

Cargo: 2,600 tons general and Australian mails, plus hospital supplies and medical staff, Tilbury for Sydney, Australia, via Devonport to embark 1,000 Australian wounded.

Position: 50 34.90N; 01 56.59W. 

Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 26 May, 1918 by torpedo portside amidships from UB-57 (Oberleutnant Johann Lohs). Six crew killed.

Diving: Stands 18m proud of rocky seabed, and is the most dived wreck in Dorset. Many brass fittings. Holds still contain perfume, red wine, champagne, stout, vinegar bottles, sticks of red sealing wax, bales of cloth, rolls of lino, medical supplies. Recent finds include silver purses, men’s pocket-watches, ladies’ gold watches. Dive at slack; beware strong tides.

Launch: Swanage.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 47: The Kyarra

20 AVALANCHE

1,210-ton three-masted iron sailing ship, built 1874. 64 x 11m. 

Cargo: General, including much pottery and glass, London for Wellington, New Zealand. 

Position: 50 26.56N; 02 50.65W. 

Depth: 52m

Sunk: 11 September, 1877, in collision with 1,488-ton Forest, another sailing ship. Three of 97 Avalanche crew jumped to safety on Forest, which later foundered, with nine crew saved. Public subscriptions raised money to build church at Southwell as memorial.

Diving: Upright, 4m proud, slight list to port. Badly damaged port side near bow, which is twisted to starboard. Collapsed stern marked by champagne bottles. Pottery spilling from holds. Wreck found by Sutton Bingham divers in 1984. One anchor was raised and is displayed at the Avalanche Memorial Church, with beautiful pottery recovered by divers. No entry should be attempted into this wreck. Permission to dive and recover any goods, as granted by the owners, rests solely with those divers who discovered the wreck.

Launch: Lyme Regis; Weymouth.

19 LOANDA

2,702-ton Elder Dempster steamer, built 1891. 100 x 12m. 253hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: Hundreds of cases of gin, rum, champagne and barrels of gunpowder. Hamburg to West Africa. Tales of thousands of newly minted shillings aboard not borne out by manifest. 

Position: 51 08 57N; 01 24 43E. 

Depth: 20m.

Sunk: 31 May, 1908, after being badly damaged on port side near engine-room in collision with Russian steamer Junona. Sank under tow of Dover tugs.

Diving: Upright and 7m proud. Sweeping and collision damage have exposed engines. Bell recovered. Bottles everywhere, but contents undrinkable. Very popular Kent site. Local divers Paul Wilkinson, Peter Lee and Mick Lucas own salvage rights

Launch: St Margaret’s at Cliffe.

18 ARGONAUT

3,274-ton barquentine-rigged iron steam yacht, built 1879. 100 x 12m. 412hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: 113 passengers on one of first-ever package tours, 105 crew, London for nine Mediterranean ports. 

Position: 50 48.55N; 00 50.53E.

Depth: 32m.

Sunk: 29 September, 1908 in collision in fog with 2,355-ton steamer Kingswell. All saved.

Diving: On even keel, 10m proud. Remarkably intact. Stern attractive, with castle effect from 1.2m-square windows. Some salvage work done – condensers removed, to surprise of owners, divers John Nightingale, Ian O’Riley and Malcolm Ilott. Look, but do not take. Beware silting and trawl-nets.

Launch: Rye.

17 DUKE OF BUCCLEUGH

3,099-ton four-masted iron steamer, built 1874. 116 x 12m. 500hp engines.

Cargo: 600 tons hand-painted Belgian china and glassware, 2,533 tons of iron rails and machinery, Middlesbrough and Antwerp for Madras. 

Position: 50 29.50N; 00 26.03W.

Depth: 58m.

Sunk: 7 March, 1889 in night collision with 1478-ton sailing ship Vandalia. All 47 crew of Duke of Buccleugh lost.

Diving: Upright and 8m proud. Masts lying across it. Large split in starboard side close to bridge is collision damage, suggesting it was rammed by Vandalia and not, as its captain stated, the other way round. China and glassware in holds mostly broken, but some intact pieces can be found. Vis usually good.

Launch: Littlehampton.

16 MOHEGAN

THE MOHEGAN
MOHEGAN

6,889-ton four-masted liner, built 1897 as Cleopatra. 147 x 15m. 894hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: 1,280 tons general, including 3,000 slabs of tin, spirits, beer, linoleum, prunes, matches, cheese, nutmeg, preserves, jute, rice, books, coffee, toys, lard, pepper, tobacco, bacon, horse hair, furniture, lace, church ornaments. 53 passengers, 103 crew, London for New York. 

Position: 50 03.33N; 05 02.67W 

Depth: 26m.

Sunk: 14 October, 1898 by striking Manacle Rocks (first Vase, then Voices) when steering wrong course after passing the Eddystone.

Diving: Boilers at deepest part. Bow shallower at 23m. Hull collapsed, leaving ribs and shallow compartments, but items still being found. Dive only at slack; strong tides.

Launch: Porthoustock.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 8 – The Mohegan

15 PILSUDSKI

PILSUDSKI
PILSUDSKI

14,294-ton twin-screw Polish liner converted by Admiralty to troopship at start of WW2, built 1935. 160 x 21m. 2,516hp diesel engines.

Armed: AA guns. 

Cargo: In ballast, Tyne for Australia. 

Position: 53 45.75N; 00 45.67E.

Depth: 33m.

Sunk: 26 November, 1939 after striking German mine 25 miles off Withernsea. 10 crew lost.

Diving: Biggest Yorkshire wreck. Bow section 9m proud, broken off and listing 45° to port. Embossed letters of name on starboard side. Three decks to explore – with care. Stern upright, but more broken, 5m proud. Both props buried in shingle. Beware very strong currents on seabed and overfalls above.

Launch: Hull; Bridlington; Scarborough.

14 MEDINA

MEDINA
MEDINA

12,358-ton British P&O liner, built 1911. Used as royal yacht for Delhi celebrations of coronation of King George V. 165 x 19m. Armed: 1914. 1164hp quadruple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: General, including copper ingots, India for London. 

Position: 50 12.42N; 03 32.18W. 

Depth: 60m.

Sunk: 28 April, 1917 by torpedo in starboard side from UB-31. Six engine-room crew killed, 411 passengers and crew saved.

Diving: Upright, 15° list to port. Reasonably intact despite salvage of copper and passengers’ baggage from forward holds. Stern most damaged and sinking into mud of seabed. Bulkheads collapsing, compartments folding down.

Launch: Salcombe; Dartmouth.

13 SMS DRESDEN

SMS DRESDEN
SMS DRESDEN

5,531-ton German light cruiser, built 1917. 153 x 14m. 31,000hp coal/oil-fired turbines.

Armed: 8 x 5.9in, 2 x 3.4in AA guns, four torpedo-tubes, 200 mines, 559 crew.

Position: 58 52.98N; 03 18.37W. 

Sunk: 21 June, 1919 when scuttled by crew in Scapa Flow.

Diving: Largely intact, lying on her port side. Bow covered in growth. Anchor chains out. Foremast on seabed. On starboard side of intact bridge is a 5.9in gun turret, gun facing forward. Stern intact with gun-turrets in place. Condensers salvaged, leaving hole where three funnels used to be.

Launch: Houton; Stromness.

12 JAMES EAGAN LAYNE

JAMES EAGAN LAYNE
JAMES EAGAN LAYNE LAUNCH

7,176-ton US Liberty ship, built 1944. 134 x 17m. 2,500hp triple-expansion engines. Armed: Bow and stern guns, plus 5 AA. 

Cargo: 4,500 tons war supplies, tank parts, lorries, jeeps, railway rolling stock, US Army engineers’ stores, New York for Ghent, via Barry. 

Position: 50 19.53N; 04 14.70W. 

Depth: 24m.

Sunk: 21 March, 1945, after hit in starboard side by torpedo from U-1195. Beached after being towed by Admiralty tugs into Whitsand Bay.

Diving: Upright, starboard side collapsing. Easy entry to Nos 1 and 2 holds, which hold many railway rolling-stock wheels. Ribs intact. Main engine now covered by fallen decking. Port side a vast sheet of white anemones. Stern broken off by No 5 hold and linked by rope-bridge to main wreckage. This wreck is so popular that local boats run a shuttle service!

Launch: Plymouth Sound.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 62 : The James Eagan Layne

11 ROTORUA

ROTORUA
ROTORUA

11,140-ton New Zealand Shipping Company triple-screw three-deck liner, built 1910. 148 x 19m. Armed: 4.7in on stern.

Cargo: 5,600 tons general New Zealand goods, Wellington via Newport News for London, 238 passengers.

Position: 50 18.47N; 02 59.73W.

Depth: 55m.

Sunk: 22 March, 1917, by torpedo from UC-17. One crew-member killed.

Diving: 11m proud, upright, slight list to port, intact fore and aft. Much collapsed amidships and around engine-room, which leaves six-cylinder steam engines showing well clear. Bell recovered.

Launch: Lyme Regis.

10 CUBA

11,420-ton French liner, built Newcastle 1923, taken as war prize by Royal Navy, used as troopship. 476ft x 62ft. 10,300hp turbine engines. 

Cargo: 223 crew, 29 gunners, 10 Army staff and three signallers. Le Havre to Southampton.

Position: 50 36.00N; 00 58.58W.

Depth: 32m.

Sunk: 6 April, 1945, when in convoy VWP 16, by a single torpedo from U-1195 (Kapitanleutnant Ernst Cordes, who had sunk the James Eagan Layne a few days earlier. Cordes killed with 30 of his crew when depth-charged by destroyer escort).

Diving: Despite some salvage and dispersal, much wreckage stands upright 14m proud. Piles of steel plates and girders on very large site. Most of the 200 portholes are among the tangle. Mud and sand seabed; vis can be poor. Two-metre scour on north-east side.

Launch: Bembridge.

9 HMS ASSOCIATION

HMS ASSOCIATION
HMS ASSOCIATION

1,459-ton 90-gun man o' war, built Portsmouth, 1697. 50 x 14m. Flagship of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell.

Cargo: A vast treasure in chests of gold and silver coins and plate put on board in Gibraltar by British merchants trading in Spain and Portugal. More chests contained government funds for war with France, Sir Cloudesley’s own wealth and many regimental funds and silverware. The estimated value today is £5 million.

Position: 49 51.73N; 06 24.50W. Depth: 5-43m.

Sunk: 22 October, 1707, by navigation error when she ran into the Scilly rocks in the dark. Sir Cloudesley and crew of 650 lost. More than 1,000 lost from other ships following flagship.

Diving: On the Gilstone Ledges, but only with permission of salvor-in-possession Jim Heslin of the Isles of Scilly Underwater Centre. 30,000 coins recovered since relocation of wreck by sport divers in 1967. Nearly 1,000 coins found each year, although many are very worn. Most discovered in crud near iron cannon among boulders in gullies, which can plunge to more than 40m. Stern has yet to be found. Beware rough water and big swells on Gilstone.

Launch: St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.

8 HMS FORMIDABLE

HMS FORMIDABLE
HMS FORMIDABLE

15,000-ton battleship, built Portsmouth 1898. 132 x 23m. 15,000hp triple-expansion engines.

Armed: four 12in, twelve 6in, sixteen 12-pounder and six 3-pounder guns, four torpedo tubes.

Position: 50 13.14N; 03 03.99W. 

Depth: 60m.

Sunk: 1 January, 1915, by two torpedoes from U-24 (Oberleutnant Rudolf Schneider) while on gunnery exercises off Portland Bill. 547 of 780 crew lost.

Diving: Completely upside-down, 40m proud. One propeller has been removed in unauthorised salvage. Another has been blown off, but is nearby and still attached to shaft. Guns can still be seen in casemates (armoured enclosures) crushed into seabed. Big break in hull just forward of the bridge almost cutting wreck in half. War grave – do not enter.

Launch: Dartmouth; Brixham.

7 MAINE

3,616-ton cargo steamer, built 1905. 114 x 14m. 3,600hp triple-expansion engine. Armed: 4.7in gun on stern.

Cargo: 500 tons chalk, 50 tons general, London for Philadelphia.

Position: 50 12.75N; 03 50.88W.

Depth: 37m.

Sunk: 23 March, 1917, by torpedo from bow tube of UC-17 (Oberleutnant Ralph Wenninger) striking port side level with No 2 hold. Despite tow, sank one mile from Bolt Head.

Diving: Upright on even keel on shingle. 15m proud. Most popular dive in Devon. Remains of superstructure to starboard. Most broken on port side near bow. Bronze propeller and iron spare salvaged by Torbay BSAC, which bought wreck for £100 in 1962. Gun gone, bell recovered 1987. Recent deterioration of counterstern.

Launch: Hope Cove; Salcombe.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 1: The Maine

6 SMS KÖLN

SMS KOLN
SMS KÖLN

5,531-ton German light cruiser, built Hamburg 1916. 153 x 14m. (Replacement for earlier Köln, sunk August 1914). 48,708hp steam turbines. 

Armed: eight 5.9in guns in turrets, two 3.4in guns, four torpedo tubes.

Position: 58 53.53N; 03 08.45 W.

Depth: 35m.

Sunk: 21 June, 1919, one of 52 warships of the German Imperial Navy High Seas Fleet successfully scuttled by their crews in Scapa Flow (45 later raised).

Diving: Lying on starboard side, mostly intact. Propellers and one anchor lifted. Some explosive salvage in engine-room near stern. Fire-control tower is ahead of bridge. Top of one port-side gun in turret nearby is highest point at 20m. Stern gun in good condition and turret points dead astern. Some entry holes at bow and stern need great care. Beware disturbing internal silt.

Launch: Houton Bay; Stromness; Burray.

5 RONDO

2,363-ton British standard ship, built as War Wonder in Florida, 1918, taken over by US Government and renamed Lithopolis (1918), renamed Laurie (1930), then Rondo (1934). 80 x 13m. 1,200hp triple-expansion engines. 

Cargo: In ballast, Glasgow for Oslo.

Position: 56 32.27N; 05 54.67W.

Depth: 9-53m.

Sunk: 25 January, 1935, after drifting in Sound of Mull during a blizzard and striking islet of Dearg Sgeir. Attempts to pull her off all failed. Salvage crews started to strip her. Several weeks later slipped off reef bow-first.

Diving: Standing almost upright on bow, Rondo lies vertically down cliff-like side of reef. Stern at 9m encrusted with plumose anemones. Mainmast base at 25m. Mast lies down centre of wreck. Bow section at 38m. Forward holds silted up. Beware nitrogen narcosis in steep descent down wreck.

Launch: Oban; Lochaline; Tobermory.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 35: The Rondo

4 BREDA

6,941-ton single-funnel Dutch steamer, built in Holland,1921. 126 x 18m. 

Armed: 4.7in on stern. Cargo: 3,000 tons cement, 175 tons tobacco and cigarettes, three Hawker biplanes, 30 De Havilland Tiger Moths, spare parts for the aircraft, Army lorries and spares, NAAFI crockery, copper ingots, rubber-soled sandals, 10 horses and nine dogs, London for Bombay.

Position: 56 28.55N; 05 25.00W. Depth: 30m.

Sunk: 23 December, 1940, by near-misses from German Heinkel 111 bomber. Bombs broke piping in engine-room and ship flooded. Taken in tow and beached in Ardmucknish Bay. Little salvage before Breda slipped into deep water.

Diving: Upright, even keel. Gun removed. Bronze propeller and copper salvaged. Explosives used in raising condensers. Sinking into soft seabed. Bow in 24m. Five holds silted, but some cargo can be seen – aircraft in No 1; sandals in No 2; aircraft engines in No 3; cigarette tins in No 4; solid bags of cement in No 5.

Launch: Oban; Ledaig.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 9: The Breda

3 MOLDAVIA

MOLDAVIA
MOLDAVIA

9,505-ton P&O; liner, built Greenock 1903. Commandeered by government as armed merchant cruiser 1915. 156 x 18m. 340hp triple-expansion engines.

Armed: Eight 6in guns.

Cargo: 900 US troops, Halifax, Nova Scotia, for London.

Position: 50 23.13N; 00 28.72W.

Depth: 45m.

Sunk: 23 May, 1918, by one torpedo from UB-57 (Oberleutnant Johann Lohs). 57 US soldiers killed.

Diving: On port side, least depth 28m at stern. Two guns there point surfacewards. Much decking in place at stern on vertical drop to sand and shingle. Other guns amidships in wreckage where torpedo struck. More damage forward. Bow intact. Many of 1,000 portholes still in place. Propellers and condensers salvaged. Vis very good. Beware depth – divers have died on this wreck.

Launch: Littlehampton.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 120: HMS Moldavia

2 SMS KRONPRINZ WILHELM

THE KRONPRINZ WILHELM
SMS KRONPRINZ WILHELM

25,388-ton German battleship, built Kiel, 1914. 175 x 29m. 46,200hp turbines

Armed: ten 12in, fourteen 5.9in, two 3.45in guns, five torpedo-tubes.

Position: 58 53. 65N; 03 09.77W

Depth: 38m

Sunk: 21 June, 1919, in Scapa Flow scuttle of German fleet. Seacocks and valves opened, then smashed. Turned turtle three hours after scuttle order given.

Diving: Upside-down, least depth to top of hull 12m but port side clear of silty bottom. Explored via main deck below vessel. Huge guns. Holes made in hull at engine-room, boiler-room and torpedo-rooms during salvage. Massive warship needs several dives to explore. They don’t come much bigger.

Launch: Stromness; Scapa; Burray.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 33: The Kronprinz Wilhlem

1 SALSETTE

SALSETTE
SALSETTE

She was beautiful and she was fast. Yet she rolled a lot and at her top speed shipped a lot of water. Despite this, passengers to India vied to get a cabin aboard the liner Salsette, which had been built for the P&O Line by Caird in Greenock in 1908.

She was described as “one of the most beautiful straight-stemmed steamers ever built” and, with 600 portholes in her white hull and her yellow funnels, she looked more like a billionaire’s yacht than a passenger liner.

The 5,842-ton Salsette was 132m long with a beam of 16m, and her 10,000hp quadruple-expansion engines and twin bronze screws could drive her along at 20 knots. On her maiden voyage, she broke the Marseilles-to-Bombay record and later beat the Bombay-to-Aden record by a wide margin.

When war came, it was her speed that appealed to everyone. The fastest a U-boat could manage was 13.5 knots on the surface and only 7 knots submerged. The Salsette could leave any submarine standing and, according to gossip, the German Navy’s High Command had put a price on her head, with instant promotion to go to the U-boat crew that could torpedo her.

Whether or not that was true, it is certain that so high was the Salsette’s speed that the 4.7in gun mounted at her stern was never used to fire a shot in anger.

The speed of the Salsette – which was named after a small island off Bombay – kept her safe until plain bad luck and a zigzag course, following Admiralty instructions, took her close across the open mouths of UB-40’s bow torpedo tubes at one minute after noon on 20 July, 1917. Captain Howaldt fired once from periscope depth.

It was flat-calm in Lyme Bay, but no one on board the liner saw UB-40, nor her periscope. Finally, it was the Mate, Arthur Vaughn, on the monkey-bridge, who spotted the tell-tale white-feather line of the torpedo streaking towards them.

He shouted “hard a-starboard”, but it was too late. The torpedo struck amidships on the starboard side near the stokehold, killing 15 men there and in the engine-room. A great column of water rose in the air, taking several lifeboats with it and hurling spars 15m above the head of Captain Albert Armitage, RNR, on the bridge.

The captain said later that, despite the fact that all her watertight doors were shut and her main deck scuttles fitted with deadlights screwed down, he knew at once that the Salsette was done for. “She became dead and it felt as though she was collapsing like a pack of cards.”

Moments later, he gave the order to abandon ship – an evacuation that was completed in five minutes. Forty-five minutes later, the Salsette listed to port and sank.

Howaldt took UB-40 down and sat out several depth-charge attacks before surfacing and sinking another steamer, the British collier L H Carl, just one hour after the Salsette.

Rumours that the Salsette was carrying a vast sum in money to pay troops in Egypt spread soon after the end of the war. Officially, she was carrying 20 tons of cargo for people in Marseilles and Bombay, together with 23 bags of confidential mail for the senior naval officer in Gibraltar, the Army in Egypt and the Viceroy in Bombay.

Spec: 5,842-ton P&O express mail liner, built Greenock, 1908. 132 x 16m. 10,000hp quadruple-expansion engines.

Cargo: 31 passengers and 20 tons general, London for Marseilles and Bombay. Position: 50 29.67N 2 43.07W.

Depth: 43m.

Sunk: 20 July, 1917 by torpedo in the starboard side of engine-room from UB-40 (Oberleutnant Howaldt). 15 crew killed.

Diving: Fantastic. Complete ship lying on port side. Splendid finds amid luxury fittings of interior. Least depth of 32m (to starboard rails).

Launch: Lyme Regis or Weymouth.

Read Our Full Tour: Wreck Tour 11: The Salsette

Also on Divernet: The Joys Of Wreck-Diving, Divers’ new imagery lights up Scapa warships, Guz tech divers set up winter date, Divers find amphibious shipwreck 100m deep off Cornwall

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Beryl humphrey
Beryl humphrey
5 months ago

Dived the kyarra many times, also the rivers dale in Salcombe, in 60s 70s!! I do wonder what condition there in now, great times!!
been diving 57 years! A lot to remember, all over the world!! Beryl watford underwater club!!!

Jen Scholey
Jen Scholey
4 months ago

Excellent resource

Frederick
Frederick
2 months ago

Been there it’s very dramatic with a massive propeller still attached.

Frederick
Frederick
2 months ago

No port holes left on the breda I had the last one.

Frederick
Frederick
2 months ago

It was a challenging dive I see no mention of the theitis sand on the shore opposite.

Frederick
Frederick
2 months ago

A good dive she has a spare propeller on deck but it iron.

Frederick
Frederick
2 months ago

No port holes left on breda as 1985

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