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HMS Hampshire 100 Survey Report now available

The report of the Explorers Club flagged expedition I led with Paul Haynes and Ben & Emily Wade to survey the wreck of this famous warship under MOD Licence on the 100th anniversary of its sinking is now publicly available in the downloads section of this site here:

HMS Hampshire Expedition team with MV Huskyan staff in front of HMS Hampshire starboard propeller. From left to right. Ross Dowrie, Paul Toomer, Russ Evans, Gary Petrie, Immi Wallin, Kevin Heath, Emily Turton, Ben Wade, Paul Haynes, Brian Burnett, Rod Macdonald, Marjo Tynkkynen, Greg Booth, Prof. Kari Hyttinen, Prof. Chris Rowland and Mic Watson

The wreck of RFA Prudentia – Scapa Flow

The 2,781grt steam oiler Prudentia sank at Scapa Flow on 12 January 1916. She was lying alongside the oil storage vessel Hermione when, during a severe gale, she dragged her anchor. Her port shell plating was ruptured by Hermione’s anchor – she flooded and went to the bottom of the Flow. This wreck has, for fear of pollution, been off limits to divers since 1977 – however during the survey of HMS Vanguard, the survey team was granted rare access to inspect the wreck. Here’s the link to a short video of diving the wreck.

The wreck of RFA Prudentia – Scapa Flow

Drain the Oceans

Series 2 – Pacific Shockwave. National Geographic Channel

It was a pleasure working with the Drain the Oceans team for their Series 2 episode – Pacific Shockwave, which aired last week. My role was dealing with the sinking of the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecrusier Repulse to a massed attack by 85 Japanese bombers about 200 nm north of Singapore at the beginning of the Pacific war.

Truk Lagoon – Japanese WWII submarine I-169, new video tour posted

One of the Truk wrecks not a casualty of Task Force 58 fast carrier raid Operation Hailstone, in February 1944, is the large Japanese submarine I-169. She was present in Truk Lagoon loading stores on 4 April 1944 when an alarm for an imminent US air raid was issued. I-169 dived before all her deck hatches were closed. Her control room flooded and she sank to the bottom – with crew still alive inside sealed compartments. Despite salvage attempts over the coming days, they would all perish.

11 July, 2019. The sickening desecration of naval war graves in the South China Sea and Java Sea continues

It has recently become clear that illegal salvors have completely removed the Dutch WWII submarines HNLMS K XVII and HNLMS O 16 from the South China Sea off Malaysia. These are naval war graves holding the remains off 79 crew who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Sadly this just adds to an ever lengthening list of naval war graves that are being plundered for scrap in the South China Sea and Java Sea.

The British WWII war graves known to have been targeted are the Force Z battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse. The 10,490-ton heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and the destroyer HMS Encounter have been completely dismantled and removed – whilst the destroyer HMS Electra has been gutted.

The 8,000-ton Dutch heavy cruiser Hr.Ms.Java and the light cruiser Hr.Ms.De Ruyter have been completely dismantled.

The Japanese destroyer IJN Sagiri has been salved. Three Japanese WWII losses in Usukan Bay Borneo, Kokusei Maru, Higane Maru and Hiyori Maru have been removed.

The Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth has been half removed and the heavy cruiser USS Houston has been targeted.

There are reports of a mass grave into which the remains of crew are dumped when found amongst the scrap.

It is disgusting

21 June 2019. Scapa Flow – 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the German Fleet

Just back from a fascinating week up in Scapa Flow as part of the Scapa 100 celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the scuttling of the Imperial German Navy High Seas Fleet there on 21 June 1919. As well as getting a ton of world class diving done, I gave an evening talk highlighting the absolute dearth of information about diving the sunken German warships when I first visited Orkney in 1982. This led on to my idea to write Dive Scapa Flow, first published in 1990, which gave serious diver information for the first time. Now in its 5th, 100th anniversary edition, 19 years later it has evolved along with our diving techniques such that although it still retains the title, it is a very different book.