Local Shipwrecks

 

 

 

Loanda

This 2702 tonne steamship was on her way from Germany to Africa on the 31st of May 1908 when she was in collision with the Junona, a Russian ship. The damage was to the port side and she sank before she could be towed to safety.

She is in a general depth of 20m standing about 5m proud. The holds are easily accessible and have large amounts of bottles, clay pipes, and African trading beads scattered around where their packing cases have broken open.

She is fairly close to the shore so the visibility is sometimes quite poor. 

 

 

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Drumtochty

This requisitioned  trawler of 211 Ton,39m long and 7m beam,

sank after hitting a mine laid by a

German submarine on the 29 Jan 1918 whilst patrolling off Dover as part of the Dover Patrol.

She had a crew of 13 of which only the 2 deckhands survived.

The wreck is upright in a max depth of 35m, she is up to 5m proud and very intact apart from the mine damage to the stern.

The decking has largely gone now and it is very easy to drop into the holds which have a lot of ammunition in them.

 

 

UB55­­

This WW1 German attack Submarine was Captained by Klt Ralph Wenninger and had sunk 25 ships before hitting a mine whilst trying to negotiate the Dover Barrage on the 21st of April 1918.

She had a crew of 28 and 7 cadets onboard at the time of the sinking and although many of the crew made it to the surface only 6 were recovered alive from the sea, one of which was the captain.                    ­

 The submarine sits upright on the seabed in a general depth of 34m whilst the decks are at 30m. Most of the damage is to the stern with a small amount of damage to the bow. The periscope is still intact and is extended, the lens of which is still clearly visible. Several of the hatches are open and allow a good view of the internals of this interesting sub. 

 

 

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UB78

This German attack sub was sunk after hitting a mine on the 19th April 1918 whilst trying to head through the Dover Straights.

She is sitting upright on the seabed with a slight list to starboard in a general depth of 27m. The conning tower and deck gun are still in place, there is extensive damage to the stern area from hitting the mine and the forward torpedo tubes have been exposed.

 

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H.M.S. Brazen

H.M.S. Brazen  was a “B” class destroyer built in 1930-31, she had a length of over 323ft and a tonnage of 1360, she was armed with four 4.7 in guns and two anti-aircraft guns as well as eight torpedo tubes. She had a crew of 175 and her steam turbines, producing 34,000hp , gave her a top speed of 35 knots. She fell victim to Luftwaffe dive bombers on July 20th 1940 while escorting a convoy through the Dover straights, her back was broken from the attack, but all but one of the crew escaped.

Today she stands upright at a depth of 30m, and is up to 8m proud although she is broken in  two sections and is partially buried into a sand bank.

 

 

 

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S.S. Cuvier

  The Steamship Cuvier, built in 1883, displacing 2,299 Tons and measuring 100m long by 12m beam sank after a collision, at approx 5am, on the 9th March 1900 off East Goodwin lightship on a voyage from Antwerp to Brazil, under the command of Capt. William Spratly.26 people lost their lives (the first passenger ship to do so in the 20th century); there were only three survivors, the lookout, the man at the wheel and the second officer. The Windsor picked up the survivors, from a capsized boat at 7am, all the others were presumed drowned. The captain and 3rd mate were seen to jump from the bridge, but did not survive. Following the collision (on the starboard quarter) the survivors stated that she blew her whistle for assistance, and shortly afterwards settled down by the stern and sank. Most of the men were in their bunks at the time.

 This is a large wreck standing 12m proud and sits in 43m of water with the decks at 32m and the holds down to 35m, she had accommodation for 80 First Class Passengers. The wreck is quite far out into the channel and often has very good vis. The holds are easy to enter and contain plenty of crockery.

 

HMS Hermes

 

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The cruiser HMS Hermes had seen nearly 14 varied years of service by the outbreak of the First World War. She had started life as a protected cruiser and is historically notable for being refitted in April-May 1913 to act as the first experimental seaplane carrier of the Royal Navy, with a launching platform and room to stow 3 seaplanes. The program involved taking obsolete protected cruisers and converting them into experimental seaplane ships by being fitted with canvas aircraft shelters fore and aft, flying-off platforms, and hoisting booms. She was initially used as a trials ship for seaplanes, to test launching and recovery methods, and to develop tactics for use of aircraft in fleet operations. She was the first of three modified Eclipse class cruisers, commonly known as the Highflyerclass. This equipment was removed in 1913 but refitted in 1914. She was converted back into a cruiser and commissioned in May 1913, but taken out of service at the end of the year and placed in reserve. She was brought back into service on the outbreak of World War I as a seaplane tender.

The ship was one of the early victims of submarine warfare. On October 30th, 1914, Captained by C. R. Lambe she arrived at Dunkirk bringing seaplanes from Portsmouth. The presence of German submarines in the Straits of Dover had been reported on the 29th, and the greatest vigilance was maintained. She cleared Dunkirk for Dover on the early morning of the 31st and, when some eight miles W.N.W. of Calais, was attacked by the submarine, U-27 (commander Wegener), which hit her with two torpedoes. Despite her injuries Hermes remained afloat for nearly two hours. Of her complement over 400, including Capt. Lambe, were taken off by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Companies steamship Invicta, and two destroyers.

 Today the wreck is inverted and slightly twisted with her Port side largely on the seabed, the wreck is very clean of silt and although covered in fishing lines and lost hooks and lures is really hazard free as these are easy to avoid. A maximum depth of 32m, however most of the length the max is only 29-30m with the hull rising up to 22m, the interesting side is the Starboard side which is generally clear of the seabed. The engine room and stern area are very open and easy to look into and there is a companionway running just inside the starboard side from the break which is roughly amidships. The stern is quite broken up but the bows are intact and there are plenty of Guns and other fittings to see, including the very prominent round crows nest.

 

 

VALUTA

Built in Flensburg, North Germany in 1883 this 784 Ton Steamship was owned by H Sandberg and had dimensions of 74m x 10m x 5m. She had a short but eventful history having been involved in a collision with the SS Xantho in 1884 off of Gotland (A large Island off the coast of Sweden), which resulted in the Xantho (Built 1871) sinking with the loss of 1 life.

On the 22 April 1886 the Valuta of Flensburg was anchored up in heavy fog  midchannel during a voyage from Hamburg to Amoor with a general cargo when she was struck by the SS Petropolis of Hamburg sinking an hour later.

Captain Mallgray and his crew of 19 plus 1 passenger abandoned ship and were taken to Dover by the Petropolis where they landed in their own boats and informed the lifeboat station. The Petropolis continued her voyage apparently undamaged.

 The wreck sits very upright in a max depth of 40m,with plain crockery lying all over the deck and most of the basic deck structure still in place. There is a lot of damage amidships; the stern section is very intact with the rudder still in place. This area of the channel can get some quite stunning viz, up to15m. 

 

 

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