We have hundreds of wrecks off Dover, below are a few of the ones that we have dived - a huge thank you to Paul Oliver for putting most of the descriptions together:
On 3 June 1905 while on route from Hamburg to San Diego with a general cargo she had moored up in thick fog off of Dungeness, soon afterwords the Channel Fleet of the Royal Navy sailed into the fog and started to slow down, however the Battleship HMS Caesar rammed her causing her to sink almost immediately. Picking up 12 survivors, 18 others being lost the other ships were alerted, however 2 more Battleships collided and a third became entangled with another freighter.
(HMS Caesar suffered significant damage; her bridge wings were carried away and the boats, davits, and net booms on her port side were badly damaged. Caesar was refitted at Devonport to repair the damage).
Today the wreck lies in 40m with some scour to 44m, a general depth of 38-39m broken in 3 parts with the stern standing very proud. She is very nicely placed in a wide area of the separation zone of the shipping lanes on some very nice white sand that improves the light levels considerably.
The cableship Alert was launched in 1918 after being constructed by Messrs Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson.
Along with the Cableship Monarch the Alert was designed to operate in shallow waters only. Her gross tonnage was 941 and the 105 horse power engines were able to drive the twin-screws up to a maximum speed of 10.5 knots. The ship was constructed from steel and had a clipper stem with cable sheaves and a cruiser type stern. Originally she was coal-fired, but was converted to oil fuel in 1920. Three cable tanks of 10160 cubic feet total capacity were fitted. These could hold up to 81 miles of single core cable, 54 of 4 core or 35 of 6 or 7 core.
As a result of other demands during World War I she had to be equipped with the very old and almost broken down cable gear from the first Cableship "Alert". This largely impeded her operational capabilities until it was replaced in 1921 by more modern gear.
After 27 years service, on 24 February 1945, shortly before VE Day, the Alert was when she was torpedoed & sunk while repairing the Dumpton Gap - La Panne cable in the Straits of Dover. All 59 hands—officers and men— were lost.
This 3707 Ton steamship built in 1910 by W Pickersgill & Sons of Sunderland was on a voyage from the Kent Downs to St Nazaire with a cargo of coal when she struck a mine laid by UC-71 on 10 May 1918. This explosion blew the winch and 12 Pounder gun off the poop deck. The crew took to the boats and made their way into Dover harbour.
Diving: The wreck lies up to 12m proud in a max depth of 34m only a few miles outside of Dover Harbour. She is quite intact and there are lots of areas that can be looked into and penetrated and its all quite clean and free of obstructions.The 12 Pounder Gun and some shell cases are lying on the seabed off of her stern.
A 304 Ton former Grimsby Trawler built at Selby in 1914, taken into service in 1914 as an armed Admiralty Trawler that was serving as part of the Dover Patrol when she struck a mine and sank on 28 Feb 1916.
This site and that of the Empress of Fort William are the wrong way around in Dive Kent.
Diving: The wreck is quite broken up and settled into the seabed in a max depth of 27m. It is hard to tell the bow from the stern however the main hull is intact and easy to follow, however the decking and superstructure is very much a jumble on her. The wreck site is quite inshore and can be subject to poor viz and the site is also popular with local fishermen as there is lots of fishing line and weights about as well as a large collection of beer cans.
A single engine aircraft has been found just off the side of here by the The Folkestone Club 501 Divers, the propeller of which has been raised.
This huge 4,765 Ton Swedish MV (Motor Vessel) of Gothenburg was built in 1947 and had a beam of nearly 20m and a 7m draught collided on 24 May 1953 near the South Goodwin’s Lightship with the Panamanian Freighter Fortune in thick fog on a voyage from Gothenburg to Calcutta.
The Andaman started sinking immediately and her crew of 38 abandoned ship. They were picked up by the SS Arthur Wright and transferred to the Dover Lifeboat.
Diving: This wreck is HUGE, she is on her side in 52m of water and the top side is around 35-37m although parts are higher than this. She is very intact but this can be a problem as we often get quite poor viz in this area and it is very easy to penetrate the wreck without realising, a distance line is a must on this one.
In good viz this is an outstanding dive as the ship is very intact and quite comfortable to dive and orientate yourself on. So diving her in good viz is quite easy, in poor viz you need your act together.
Built in Dumbarton by W. Denny & Brothers for the London & North-Western Railway Co. in 1900, the Anglia was 1862 tons with a 424hp triple expansion engine and 2 props, giving her a top speed of 21 knots. She measured 329ft x 39ft x 16ft.
She was taken over as an auxiliary hospital ship in WW1 and as she was crossing the Channel from France on November 17, 1915, with a large number of victims of trench warfare on their way home, she struck a mine (laid by UC-5) and sank one mile east of Folkestone Gate. The steamship struck the mine on the port side, forward of the bridge, the violence of the explosion blowing the Master, Capt Manning, from his position on the bridge to the deck below. Fortunately he was not seriously injured and at once ordered the lifeboats to be swung out, the first of which got away safely with about 50 survivors. The ship initially sank bow first with her propellers spinning as the stern rose above the water before righting herself after this the ship took a heavy list and sank within ten minutes. The total number of wounded on board was 13 officers and 372 other ranks, in addition were the usual medical staff and ship's company. Most of the seriously wounded soldiers were located near where the mine exploded and none survived, in total 129 soldiers and crew were lost. The disaster occurred at about 12:30pm and was seen from the collier Lusitania (voyaging from London to Lisbon), which steamed to the Anglia's assistance and lowered two boats. These had set off when the Lusitania herself struck a mine (again laid by UC-5) and began to sink, Lusitania's boats quickly returned and took off the remainder of her company, with no loss of life.
Diving: The ship was wire swept in 1961 and has unusual vented portholes. Note that she is a war grave and should not be interfered with or have items removed. Today the wreck lies in around 30m water on a sandy seabed and although much broken is still an interesting dive; but must be treated with respect.
This was a former luxury yacht built in 1880 of 268 tons that was being used by the Royal Navy in WW1 to board and inspect suspect vessels in the Dover area. On 31 Oct 1915 she along with 3 others struck mines laid by UC-6 on the 30th.
She is quite close inshore so visibility is limited for most of the year and she lies in 29-31m on a sand and chalk seabed. She is quite proud of this with the upper accommodation still in place, the stern is blown off and you can easily swim into her from here at several levels, this area is very broken up and collapsed as its trails off across the seabed.
This is a very narrow wreck and the bow end makes it feel almost like a lifeboat. The blown off stern is not where you would expect it, to find it you need to swim to the bow or a couple of meters short of the bow, then turn right at 90 degrees and swim about 10-12m across the seabed, you should then find the very intact stern on its Starboard side.
This part is very well preserved as the decking is completely intact and in very good condition, there are several open hatches and you can have a good look in these. Propeller and rudder are still in place and the front part of this section is quite collapsed and broken up.
The B class of submarine was intended for coastal patrol work. The boats had petrol engines for surface propulsion and batteries for underwater propulsion. The design was intended to overcome the limitations of speed, endurance and seakeeping that affected the boats of the previous A class, and the boats were substantially longer and heavier.
Improvements were made to surface speed, about 12 knots and endurance (1,300 nautical miles), but the underwater speed of 7 knots (13 km/h) was much the same as the A class. Seakeeping was improved by the addition of a deck casing, and underwater manoeuvrability by the addition of hydroplanes.
In the early hours of 4 October 1912 HMS B2 was on the surface about four miles north east of Dover when the 23,000-ton steamer SS Amerika, on passage from Hamburg to New York, via Southampton, collided with the submarine. B2 was struck just forward of the conning tower: - a fatal blow that sent the submarine immediately to the bottom.
Diving: The sub is in a depth of 33m on a mixed bed of sand and chalk. Until recently this small submarine has had her bow buried into the seabed, however the whole of the sub is currently exposed from her distinctive bluntly curved bow to the prop covered in anemonies. The conning tower is still in place with its hatch open.
A small motor vessel of 466 Tons she was on a voyage from Greenhithe to Llanelly with a cargo of cement when she was attacked by German aircraft and sunk 7 miles off of Dungeness on the 10 July 1940.
Today the wreck lies in 30m of water, upright and intact, standing 5m proud and quite silt free in a nice sandy area. The hull is very intact with a slight list to Port. The superstructure at the rear is badly damaged and the most interesting part, making for a nice rummage.
There are lots of scallops in this area and she is very easily recognisable from this picture.
A Destroyer built in 1903 by Laird, of 550 Tons and armed with 4 x 12 Ponders, 5 x 6 Ponders and 2 Torpedo Tubes, she was on a voyage from Portland to the Firth of Forth for an Exercise as part of the 2nd Destroyer flotilla, when she sunk following a collision with the Bristol registered SS Hero on 6th April 1909.
She was initially taken in tow but later sank after the crew had been saved by HMS Forward.
Diving: The Blackwater sits in 33m of water and is 3-4m proud for most of her length., however she breaks up a lot in the amidships area where she was struck during the collision
The curved winches near her bow are very obvious. There are lots of holes in her sides where the hull and plates have deteriorated, once you get level with where the bridge would have been the wreckage drops down and becomes very broken up.
Despite the silty sand this is an enjoyable dive subject to who is fining near you. There are also often lots of Scallops in this area.
This Admiralty hired trawler of 284 Tons was patrolling the South Goodwin’s as part of the Dover Patrol when she sank after a collision on 27 October 1915.
Diving: The wreck sits upright and up to 5m proud in a max depth of 30m, she is facing South on a chalk seabed and quite clear of silt. There are quite a few plates missing off of her side and plenty of areas to look into, the bow area in particular is quite open. There are quite a lot of .303 rounds lying around on the deck and her nameplates at the Bow have been cut off. She has been swept.
This is a nice clean wreck and very good for training or experience building dives.
This 2695 Ton Motor vessel built in Masch in 1951 was sailing from Antwerp to Kingston with a general cargo when she struck the stern of the Texaco Caribbean which had sunk the day before on 12 Jan 1971.
The Channel Shipping Separation lanes had been set up some years before but at the time, observance of the schemes was voluntary, but in 1971 a series of accidents in the English Channel led to calls for immediate action - in the most serious incidents, the tanker Texaco Caribbean was in collision with a freighter off the Varne shoals and the following night the wreck was struck by the freighter Brandenburg, which also sank. Some six weeks later, the freighter Niki struck the wreckage and sank with the loss of all 21 people on board
The company Risdon Beazley from Southampton was contacted to remove the wrecks of the Texaco Caribbean, the Brandenburg and the Nikki. The operation lasted 18 months. During that time the area was signalled by 2 lightships and 14 lighted buoys.
Diving: The wreck having been salvaged is quite broken up in a max depth of 32m in the middle of the shipping lanes. Having dived her in very good visibility she was very enjoyable with large parts of the hull still intact, however in poor visibility there could be problems as there are lots of very sharp and jagged points sticking out following the salvage work.
British Navy Destroyer 'B'-class destroyer built in 1928 by Palmer & Co; and entered service in 1931. Brazen measured 323ft x 32ft with a 34,000 hp steam turbines giving a top speed of 35 knots; she was armed with four 4.7" and 2 anti-aircraft guns, eight 21" torpedo tubes and depth chargers.
The destroyer Brazen was escorting convoy CW7 in the North Sea when she was attacked by German bombers on July 21st, 1940 as they traveled through the straits of Dover. She shot down three aircraft before she was hit and badly damaged. An attempt was made to tow her but this proved impossible and she was abandoned and sank some hours after the attack. The Brazen was commanded by Lt. Cdr. Sir Michael Culme-Seymour and carried a complement of 138, of whom one stoker petty-officer died of wounds (after he was taken off the ship) and four stokers were wounded.
The Brazen is one of the wrecks our new Assistant DO, Carl Freeborn, is planning to survey over the next couple of seasons.
The SS Carmen which sank following a collision in thick fog with the Turkish SS Sadikzade on 13 June 1963 is a very big and intact Panamanian Freighter. She has been swept with explosives but these have only taken the top off of the bridge opening it up for exploration.
She is very intact and perfectly upright in 45m, with the funnel around 30m, the top of the superstructure at around 32m and bridge at area around 35m. You can swim all around the open bridge, sit in the Captains bath and swim along the two bridge wings (there is a little bit of netting at the end of one of these).
Swimming out the front of the bridge you drop onto the decks at around 38m, where most of the decking has gone, then you can if you wish drop down into the holds. The cargo of Bauxite has settled down and you are at 43m on the top of this.
The large gash from the collision is very clean and swimming out of this the seabed is at 45m., after a good look around the hold which carries back under the bridge (I did not go all the way through) we head up to the deck and forward to the perfectly intact bow.
At the bow there is a winch room with 2 doors allowing access, this area is very clean and silt free and there is another exit up onto the deck at the very bow. You can also go down another deck level at the bow but there is little in here to see. The visibility here is often very good as the bow faces north and into the current. Behind the bridge there is lots of superstructure debris and working back over the stern hold there is a blocky bit of superstructure, probably an auxillary steering wheelhouse and behind that the intact but bent upwards stern.
My sketch I think is slightly out of scale at the stern end and the hold is a bit larger than shown.
This is a very big and impressive wreck, however it is in a very busy part of the shipping lanes and needs good surface visibility to go ahead and you must return to the shot or risk getting run down by a freighter.
Sunk on 28 July 1894 after a collision with a german Barque off Dungeness. The Castor was en voyage from Algeria to Amsterdam, transporting valuable antiquities. Part of the cargo, marble sculptures were found in 1994 and returned to Turkey, through the receiver of wrecks.
In July 1997 divers from a Folkestone diving club handed over seven 2nd century marble statues to a grateful Turkish Embassy at a special reception in London. The divers had found the statues on the wreck of the SS Castor off Dungeness in Kent. The steam ship had gone down in a collision in 1894 while it was taking the marbles, which included statues of Venus and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, to Holland after they had been illegally removed from Izmir by the Dutch vice-consul. There were various claimants to the marbles, valued at £25,000 and Veronica Robbins, as Receiver of Wreck, decided that Turkey was the true owner. The marbles have now been sent back to Turkey. The return of these marbles has again raised the question on whether the Elgin Marbles in the British museum should be returned to Greece.
One of the divers was all for making the statues part of his patio, untill their importance was realised by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, but the divers will now be well pleased with their salvage reward. The statues were originally in a crate, which was one of two in the cargo. The hunt is now on for crate number 2...
August 1999 Police and Customs officers have searched a vessel in Dover and seized "various marine artefacts", according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The action is believed to be connected with a recent report submitted to the Receiver of Wreck by divers from the British Sub-Aqua Club's Folkestone branch concerning the activities of a foreign-registered motor vessel.
The divers had informed the Receiver of what they believed to be an attempt to plunder the wreck of the Castor, 3 miles off Dungeness. The vessel was known to contain valuable Graeco-Roman marble statues and inscribed stones. The branch made a mid-July visit to the site in their RIB to find the motorboat lying over the wreck with an airlift deployed and divers in the water.
"They were clearly not happy to see us," one of the divers told Diver. "We moved off to another dive site half a mile away and, although we were some way off, we saw what looked like material being hauled up on deck. They continued to work for a while before departing."
The 180ft Dutch cargo ship Castor, bound from Turkey to Amsterdam, sank in 1894 after colliding with another vessel. The wreck, lying in 30m of water with its highest point at 14m, was regularly dived in recent times. No one was aware of its precious cargo until 1994, when members of Folkestone BSAC found a wooden chest in one of the holds. Inside were five inscribed tombstones and two marble sculptures of human heads. Folkestone raised the artefacts and reported them to the Receiver of Wreck. Experts identified them and, in an example of international co-operation, they were eventually returned to Turkey, their land of origin.
Following the find, research at the Rijksmuseum in Leiden identified the cargo's Dutch buyer - and that other stones and marbles were aboard, including a complete Roman marble figure.
Folkestone divers continued to dive the wreck and had only recently located several more chests, their corners protruding from the seabed. One diver reportedly put his hand through a hole in one and "felt stone".
This WW2 Anti-Submarine Trawler of 373 Tons had a short and very interesting tour of duty in WW2 as part of the Dover Patrol. In October 1939 3 U-Boats were destroyed in quick succession which resulted in the Dover straits being closed to U-Boats from this very early stage of the war. One of these U Boats was U-16 which was sunk by depth charges from HMT Cayton Wyke along with HMT Puffin on 24 October 1939, on the Southern tip of the Goodwin Sands.
On the 8 July 1940 HMT Cayton Wyke was attacked by German E-Boats in the same area, she was torpedoed and sunk very close to the site of the U-16.
She is probably the wreck listed in Dive Kent as the site of the U16. The wreck listed in Dive Kent as the Cayton Wyke has been positively identified by her bell as the HMT Etoile Polaire an Armed trawler sunk in 1915. The U16 is probably the part buried Sub about ½ mile to the south.
Diving:There is an inverted wreck with some quite sever damage lying in about 28m of water, it is hard to identify but it does have a sonar dome on the hull and had .303 ammunition and glass batteries recovered from the site.
The hull is quite easy to enter and home to a lot of lobsters.
The Steamship Cuvier, built in 1883, displacing 2,299 Tons and measuring 100m long by 12m beam. She sank after a collision, at approx 5am, with the SS Douvre of Norway on the 9th March 1900 off East Goodwin lightship on a voyage from Antwerp to Brazil, under the command of Capt. William Spratly. The Dovre arrived in Dieppe with considerable damage, but no reports from her that she'd stopped after collision.
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.
Diving: This large, 12m proud and intact wreck sits in 43m of water with the decks at 32m and the holds down to 35m, she had accommodation for 80 First Class Passengers.
There are several breaks along the length and the cabins for these passengers and holds are easy to identify with easy penetration into the holds which have lots of crockery in them.
The wreck is mid channel and gets some very good visibility, with lots of sea life. The breaks in the length allow you good views into the wreck.here are some nets but these are old rope one’s that lay flat and are easy to identify and avoid.
This full rigged sailing schooner with an Iron hull built in 1876 T Royden and Sons of Liverpool was sailing from Dunkerque to Cardiff in Ballast when she was lost off Dover on 19 Jan 1889 following a collision.
Diving: This nice wreck is in a max depth of 31m, standing about 5m proud and only about 10m from the bigger Lariston. This is a nice clean wreck and you can enter her holds which are large, clean and empty. I have a definite feel of diving a sailing ship whenever I have dived her. Her bell has been recovered.
This hired Admiralty steel hulled trawler of 211 Ton, 39m long by 7m beam, sank after striking a mine laid by a German submarine on the 29 Jan 1918 whilst patrolling the Dover Barrage as part of the Dover Patrol. Of the crew only 2 deckhands of the 13 survived.
Diving: The wreck is upright with a very slight list to Port 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. They are quite full of sand but with care you can have a good look around in the gap between the top and the deck.
There are lots of exit points and the decks are at a general depth of 31m with the top of the cargo at about 33m. This wreck is on the very edge of the shipping lanes and care should be taken when diving although the currents will push you up and down channel along the edge of the lanes and not into them.
A 1092 Tons Norwegian steamship that struck a mine laid by UC-6 and sank on 31st October 1915 whilst she was carrying a cargo of coal to France, she is 76m long with a beam of 11.6m and a 5.4m draught.
Diving: This is a big wreck, intact and on its side with its cargo of coal on the seabed around her. She is on her port side in 30m and stands up 10m proud. There are some big, taunt anchor chains running out from the bow end. This wreck is not far outside the eastern entrance of Dover harbour and quite close inshore where she gets some shelter from the cliffs and harbour walls in bad weather conditions.
As she is close inshore she can have very poor viz though, and is very easy to swim into.
Formally the Urania (that’s what the bell says) this 2058 Ton Steel Steamship built in 1896 by Craig Taylor & Co of Stockton was sailing from Huelva to Rotterdam with a cargo of Iron Ore when she was struck near the engine room by the Liner SS Westmorland in dense fog off the South Goodwin’s on the 12 May 1911. She was so badly damaged she soon filled up and sank in 2 minuets. The Captain and 4 hands being sucked down with her and drowned.
Diving: This is a big and intact wreck with the bulk from the bow back to the break from the collision upright and intact standing 6m proud in a general depth of 38m dropping to 41m in the scour by the bow. The decks are at 32m and very clean of obstructions with the open holds and several masts and spars lying across and off the decks. The forward hold is quite empty and the bow is broken off allowing you to swim out of here and look down at the broken up bow section. There is a hole in the chalk seabed where the bow would have struck it. The rear of the main section has a bulkhead intact giving it a very square break profile, you can follow the debris including the prop shafts back to the broken off stern section which would be a reasonable dive on its own.
A 990 Ton Swedish Freighter that sank following a collision on June 3 1940 with a French ship. She is 78m long with a beam of 9m and a draught of 5.4m and had a general cargo including metal ingots.
Diving: The wreck lies on her side in 27m and the top around 20m and is quite big and open, apparently broken in 2 I have only dived her in poor viz and did not get a good feel for her shape except that the current can push you into her holds if you dive her after the HW+4 slack. Located not far from the Eastern entrance to Dover Harbour the site is quite sheltered but being inshore can have some rather poor viz.
Built by Swann, Hunter and Wigham Richardson of Newcastle in 1908 this 2181 Ton steel steamship was sailing from South Shields to Dunkerque with a cargo of 3,300 tons of coal. Her master Captain Shepherd observed the big liner SS Maloja in difficulty ahead 2 miles off Dover having struck a mine laid by the German submarine UC-6, and proceeded to assist her. The Empress then struck a mine herself and the crew had to abandon ship into her lifeboats that were latter picked up by one of the Dover Patrol Destroyers.
Diving: The wreck lies in a max depth of 30m and is quite inshore so prone to some poor viz. She stands up to 7m proud and is very flattened at one end, this end is quite hard to get orientated on as it’s hard to get a feel for the shape of the wreck. The other end is quite proud, up to 7m and far more shipshaped. There is the wreck of an unidentified aircraft off the ships stern.
Hired as an Admiralty Trawler in 1915 this steel hulled 278 Ton Trawler built in 1915 by Jos T. Eltringham & Co struck a mine and sank off of the South Goodwins on the 3 Dec 1915.
She lies at the position given for HMT Cayton Wyke in Dive Kent and the wreck was identified when her bell was recovered., the Cayton Wyke almost certainly lies at the position given in Dive Kent for the U16 as there is an inverted ship with an Asdic pod and .303 ammunition at this location. The U16 is probably the part covered Sub about a ½ mile to the south.
Diving: The wreck is quite intact and stands up to 5m proud in a max depth of 27m, the bow end of the wreck has been blown off and you can enter the wreck here for a swim around the holds which are quite clean and open. The superstructure is relatively intact and this makes for a very interesting dive and the stern is complete. The wreck is very clean and free of nets but can have poor viz due to the proximity of the Goodwin Sands.
This Steel hulled 198 Ton, Admiralty hired trawler, built in 1909 in Aberdeen was serving as a minesweeper in the Dover Patrol when she went out on the 19 Nov 1915 with 2 young RNR officers onboard while her Commander Lt H Beadle DSC showed them the procedures of Patrolling the Dover Barrage.
She struck one of the 4 mines laid by the German Submarine UC-5 and sank, 2 of the other mines had sunk the Hospital Ship Anglia and the Coaster Lusitania 2 days earlier.
The Falmouth III initially sank on top of the Anglia and stayed there until blown off in a gale several days later.
Diving: Today the wreck is upright and quite intact with mine damage to the stern. She is in a Max depth of 30m and the decks are at 25m. The holds are quite open and very easy to drop into, and despite filling with sand you can still have a good look around. The bow is very intact and the majority of the decking has gone.
This is a nice clean wreck that can be seen in 1 dive and has been used for training and progression dives by us in the past.
This wreck is in the position given for the Lucitania in Dive Kent, the Lusitania is about 200m to the SW and much bigger.
This 1335 Ton freighter built in Bremerhaven in 1940 by Atlas-Werke A.G. was on a voyage from Bremen to Cork with an unspecified general cargo on 11 Feb 1963 when she sank following a collision with the SS Canuk Trader.
The wreck now lies on the edge of the shipping lanes in a max depth of 32m. She was swept with explosives in the 1970’s and the superstructure has been blown off, the hull is still very intact and the distinctive masts are laying on the decks which are at 25m. There is damage to the bow area.
This is a nice clean wreck and suitable for relatively inexperienced divers, however as its on the edge of the shipping lanes precautions must be taken not to drift out in this often busy area.
The site is a triangle of 3 wrecks of which this is by far the largest and the most southerly. The other 2 are the WW1 Armed Trawler HMAT Drumtochety and the WW1 German attack Sub UB 55, both of which are slightly deeper in 35m.
In her early days as the Port Navalo (1940-1955)
The British Destroyer HMS Flirt, a small 380 Gross Tonne steel 30 Knotter built in 1897 by Palmers of Jarrow, Armed with 1 x 12 Pounder and 5 x 6 Pounder’s, plus 2 x Torpedo Tubes, she was powered by steam turbine with 3 boilers and 2 screws. The ship is very narrow with dimensions of only 65m length and only a very narrow 6.2m beam.
Diving: the centre of the ship is quite proud standing a good 4m proud in 38m, however it has a lot of fishing net on it, this is big old rope net that covers most of the centre and is easy to lift and look under. The wreck drops down to seabed level as you move forward and kinda peters out.
Built for the United States War Shipping Administration with the hull laid down on the 9th November 1944; she measured 7,240 tons; with triple-expansion engines. She was launched on the 11 December 1944. On the February 6th, 1945, 17 miles west of Ramsgate on a voyage from New York and Liverpool to Antwerp in the convoy TAM-71 the Henry B Plant was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-245. The lookouts had spotted the U-boat 300 yards off the starboard side, but it was too late to evade the torpedo. The explosion severely damaged the ship and she rapidly sank, sinking stern first within five minutes. Most of the eight officers, 33 crew members, 28 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and one passenger (an Army security officer) had to jump overboard, they only managed to launch one lifeboat and four rafts. The survivors were picked up by the HMS Hazard and the HMS Sir Lancelot. One officer, eight crew members and seven armed guards drowned.
Diving: This is a fantastic dive, if you imagine this Liberty Ship on its starboard side you will not go far wrong. The hatch covers are gone and the cargo of temporary bridge tracks and ceramic isolators used on high power cables has slid down in the wreck. All the masts and derricks are in place although most have collapsed down towards the seabed, the guns are present and are intact. The main masts are still in place and reach off into the distance, however as the ship is on its side they do not stand upright. The ship is in incredibly good condition in 42m of water with the top at about 32m; she looks very much like this picture and we often get a good 12-15m of viz. When going forward you go over and under the mast and derricks before getting to the bow, where the bow gun is still on its platform just like in the picture.
The 2243 Ton Iron Steamship the SS Hermann was on a Voyage from Antwerp – Malta with a General Cargo when she was sunk in a collision with the German Barque Peter Rickmers on 29 October 1906 near the Varne Lightship. The ship built in 1881 in Newcastle was fitted with 2 compound engines.
Nothing has been raised to positively identify this wreck, however a process of elimination by local skipper and wreck guru Dave Batchelor has led him to believe that this site is the Hermann, and one day we will bring up the bell.
Diving:The wreck is very broken up in 35m, however following parts of it off can lead you down past 40m. The bow and strange short boilers are intact and there are masts, spars, ropes and canvas about that gives the site a real “shipwreck” feel. There are also lots of bags of cement and shoes lying about.
British Navy, seaplane carrier (ex protected cruiser);Built in 1898; Fairfield Co.; 5,600 tons; 350x54x22; 10,000 i.h.p.; 20-5 knots; triple-expansion engines; Babcock boilers; eleven 6 in. guns, eight 3 in., six 3pdr., 2 m.g., 2 T.T.
The cruiser HMS Hermes had seen nearly 14 varied years 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 Highflyer class. 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.
Diving: 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 nests that can be seen in the pictures below.
On my 2nd dive on her we had 12-15m of viz, and she is a truly stunning wreck in these conditions.
Permission is required to dive this wreck from the French authorities and we are happy to pass on the contact details and information requirements. You will also be required to book in with Cape Griz Nez when on site diving in accordance with SOLAS5.
This hired Norwegian 690 Ton Steel collier was sailing from Immingham to Dover with a cargo of coal when she struck a German mine and sank with the loss of 1 crew member a short distance (1-2 Cables) from the South Goodwin’s lightship position.
Diving: This wreck is completely broken in 2 and the stern half is very impressive being broken forward of the bridge and sitting completely upright on the seabed. You can follow the amidships hold under the bridge then back out and onto the bridge as the front has collapsed.
The bridge is a nice swim around then carrying on along the bridge wings you can look into the stern hold. The whole of this stern section is very intact and unswept, with lots of lobsters in attendance, and I did not notice any nets or entanglement hazards.
The max depth is 32m to the seabed and the wreck stand at least 8m proud of this.
More about this ships history and the sinking here:- http://www.warsailors.com/singleships/hundvaag.html
This Armed trawler of 293 tons was built in 1911 by Cook, Welton and Gemmell of Beverley and was serving as part of the Dover Patrol when she was sunk following a collision on 28 Jan 1917 a few miles South of Folkstone near what was the light vessel.
Diving: The wreck lies in a max depth of 29m, she is upright with a slight list to starboard and very intact despite having been swept. She was identified as her name was on a brass lamp that has been recovered. The gun is off the side on the seabed in line with the highest point amidships on the port side.
The decks are at 24-25m and you can enter the stern accommodation area with ease where there are still bunks on view attached to the hull. At the very stern the 2 toilets are still in place in their curved cubicles. The large winch is on view amidships and the bow is very intact. There is also more accommodation space amidships which can be entered but is much more of a squeeze.
As usual with these very tough old trawlers she has held her shape very well.
This steel 1,056 Ton German Motor Vessel was built in Hamburg in 1953 and was on a Voyage from Wismar to Haulbowling with a cargo of Iron Ingots when she collided in thick fog with the British MV Gannet on 29 March 1965.
Diving: The wreck lies in a max depth of 28m and is quite well flattened for most of her length, however the Bow is intact and stands up to 8m proud and the stern section is also quite proud and upright. Both of these can be easily entered and the wreck is very clean and free of nets and line. The cargo of Iron ingots lies around the site.
F. C. Strick & Co.; 1896; W. Gray & Co.; 2,134 tons; 290X 42-2x19-2; 218 n.h.p.; triple-expansion engines. The British cargo ship Laristan sank after a collision with the s.s. Crimea off Dover on October 22nd, 1899, while on a voyage from Bona to Rotterdam carrying a cargo of iron ore.
The site of this wreck was effectively unknown until a sweep found it and its very close neighbour the Denbighshire in 1961. The wreck has been identified by its bell. It’s original position was reported off the South Goodwin’s, but is in closer proximity to the Varne Bank, just on the edge of the shipping lanes.
Diving: This is a big steel wreck lying in a max depth of 31m and standing up to 12m proud. Many of the plates have collapsed and it’s quite easy to have a look into this impressive wreck. The Sailing Schooner Denbighshire lies parallel with and just next to this site (about 10m away) and there is also a barge connecting the two.
Great Central Railway Co.; 1891; Earless Co.; 1,001 tons;240-3x32-3x15-1; 250 n.h.p.; 14 knots; triple-expansion engines.
The steamship Leicester was mined and sunk two and a half miles S.E. by E. of Folkestone Pier on February 12th, 1916 while sailing from Portsmouth to Cromarty with a General Cargo, plates and silver cutlery have been recovered along with her bells. Seventeen of the crew were killed; the captain was among the survivors.
Diving:This is a nice clean wreck standing up to 7m proud in a max depth of 27m.The wreck is actually sitting on top of a mound on the seabed which makes her quite shallow and a very good training dive site. The wreck is in 2 halves which are close together. We have had a depth of 30m in the area of her when the shot has dragged off. She is intact and ship shaped with quite a bit of damage from the mine.
The Loanda was a 2702-ton, 253hp triple-expansion engines steamer, measuring 328ft x 39ft, built in 1891. The ship was travelling from Hamburg to West Africa, for the Elder Dempster Line, when she collided with the Russian steamer Junona.The cargo was hundreds of cases of gin, rum, champagne and barrels of gunpowder. She was badly damaged on port side near engine room, an attempt was made to save her but she sank under tow on the 31 May, 1908 .
Lots of Lobsters, Edible Crab and Conga's.
The Lusitania was another victim of the same minefield that sank the Anglia. The Lusitania was a steamer of 1834 tons and was carrying government stores and general cargo from London to Lisbon when on November 17th 1915 her captain turned back to assist the sinking Anglia and struck a mine too. All crew were saved.
Diving: Well broken up, parts deck of are still intact, she lies upright 8m proud in 30m. Big anchor on the port side and large impressive bowsprite. Large tyres can be seen along with drums of cable and wellington boots. Silver coins and gold have been recovered from the passenger accommodation as well as British and Portuguese coins and buttons with the ship's crest on them. Lots of clock mechanisms in the holds. The holds are nearly completely sanded up. The stern is intact and still has it's typical rounded shape. Huge iron screw and rudder. Lots of fish and lobster.
A bit of a long term mystery as this ship is not listed in most shipwreck index’s or lost shipping lists. She is charted and has a brief description as an unknown in Dive Kent. Her identity was only discovered when the Bell was raised on 16 Aug 2008.
A late casualty of WW1 the freighter Luna struck a drifting mine off of the Goodwin Sands and sunk on 21 Aug 1919.
On a quite firm sandy seabed in 50m of water the wreck is upright but very badly damaged on the port side from the mine strike; she stands up to 8m proud with the decks tilted down towards the damaged side.
The bridge telegraph has also now been recovered and any dive needs to be planned as a 50m dive as there is limited areas of interest to see on the upper parts.
Binnacle, pot and telegraph off of the Luna.
Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.; 1911; Harland &Wolff; 12,431 tons; 550-4x62-9x34-4; lJ64n.h.p.; 9knots; quadruple-expansion engines.
The P. & O. liner Maloja, Commander. C. E. Irving, R.N.R., the largest ship in the company's fleet, left London on Saturday, February 26th, 1916, for Bombay with 456 persons, of whom 121 were passengers.
On the 27th at about 10.30 a.m. she struck a mine two miles S.W. of Dover Pier and foundered in a very short time, taking with her 155 of those on board. The engines were reversed to take the way off the ship and enable the remaining boats to be lowered, but the engine room flooded and the engines could not be stopped. The
Maloja therefore continued to go astern for some time at eight or nine knots and with a list of some 75 degrees.
The Canadian freighter Empress of Fort William, 2,181 tons, Capt. W. D. Shepherd, endeavoured to render assistance, but was herself mined. The crew of this ship escaped without loss.
Diving: The wreck was heavily salvaged by Rigadon-Beasley and is very broken up now being little more than a large sand filled mound, however the top is at 18m and the sides only drop down 2m to a max depth of around 20m, there are areas to poke around in but overall it’s a very clean site and does make a very good dive for inexperienced divers and training dives.
The wreck is however only 2 miles out of Dover so can suffer from poor viz for a large part of the year.
More details can be found on the interesting web site:- http://www.ssmaloja.co.uk/default.asp
First cable ship designed specifically for the GPO. Fitted with three cable tanks, two forward and one aft. No 1 tank measured 28 ft. in dia by 5 ft high with a coiling capacity of 3890 cu ft. No 2 tank was 28 ft. in dia by 10 ft. high with a capacity of 6600 cu ft., and No 3 tank was 25 ft. in dia by 5ft. high having a capacity of 2730 cu. ft. The cones in the tanks were used to store fresh meat and water. Storage for grapnels, ropes etc was provided forward of No 1 tank.
Johnson & Phillips designed and installed the cable gear which consisted of a combined paying out-picking up machine which had two 6 ft. dia by 2 ft 4 in. wide drums of which the port one could lift 30 tons at ½ knot or 10 tons at 1½ knots while the starboard one could lift 15 tons at 1 knot. Each drum was provided with its own brake so picking up and paying out could be carried out at the same time.
In service until 1915 when sunk either by a mine or torpedo off Folkestone.Back to top
This was a 375 Ton fishing trawler of steel construction built in 1908 by Cochrane and Sons of Selby and was based in Boulogne when she foundered in a storm, reportedly in the Thames Estuary area on the 10 Jan 1937. She is actually positioned 2 miles to the East of the Falls Bank off of Ramsgate.
This is not the wreck of the same name listed in Dive Kent.
Diving: This intact trawler is upright and 5m proud in a max depth of 40m, the large holds are open and empty and the wreck is teaming with lobsters. It is 35m along the decks where you can get a great feel for this shipwreck where many of the deck fittings and structure are still intact.
Part of the WW1 Dover Patrol, HMT Othello II a 206 Tonne Admiralty Trawler was part of the Minesweeper force and sent to Patrol an area between the Goodwin Gate and the Gull Lightship on the 31st October 1915. As she battled her way out to the site against a strong gale from the SSE, at 1155 am she hit a mine laid by UC-6. The explosion caused extensive damage to her Port side amidships and distorted the cabin door and windows so much they could not be opened. The 3 men in the wheelhouse managed to squeeze the cabin boy out of the window but they could not follow and went down with the ship. He was the only survivor of the 10 onboard. This incident caused all the wooden doors in the Dover Patrol force to be replaced with canvas screens which later saved several lives.
Diving: This is a very nice wreck largely intact on a chalk seabed in a max depth of 32m with the wreck rising by at least 6m . The ship lies on her starboard side and the tough trawler hull is very intact still. The cabin, funnel and masts have collapsed but the covered entrances to the stairways, winching gear and the extensive mine damage are all easy to recognise. The holds are open and despite part filling with silt and sand are easy to enter and look around. The wreck site is well protected from Northerly winds under the cliffs.
British Navy, destroyer; 1913; Thorny croft & Co.; 917 tons; 265-2x26-5x10-2; 22,500 i.h.p.; 31 knots; turbine engines;Yarrow boilers; three 4 in. guns, 2 T. T.
The destroyer Paragon, Lt. Bowyer, was patrolling the submarine barrage in the Straits of Dover on the night of March 17th, 1917, in company with the Laertes, Laforey and Llewellyn. At about 10.50 p.m. a German destroyer force led by Cdr. Tillessen steamed into the Straits with the object of breaking the barrage. The first ship to encounter them was the Paragon, which was torpedoed and overwhelmed with gunfire when in the act of flashing her challenge. She was hit by a torpedo and gunfire and broke in half within eight minutes and sank. Some of her own depth charges exploded killing some of the survivors; only ten of her complement of 77 being picked up. The Llewellyn, which came on the scene in time to rescue the few survivors, was also torpedoed but, fortunately, did not sink.
Diving: The wreck is incredibly intact and proud for a destroyer standing 6m proud with the top at 23m with a max depth of 29m to the seabed. The bow is blown off roughly level with the forward gun turret and is apparently some 250m away on the seabed. There are lots of areas you can look into and although there is quite a bit of netting and fishing line on it, it’s all easy to avoid. The seabed is sand and shingle and the wreck is bow end into the current so no silt.
HMT Peridot an Admiralty Trawler of 398 Tons and completed in 1933 was sunk after striking a mine off Dover on the 15 march 1940.
Diving: This wreck sits upright on the seabed in a max depth of 32m, it has apparently been swept, but the funnel and mast are still in place causing it to stand up to 10m proud. The hull and deck stand several metres above the seabed and it is possible to enter the hold under an old rope type fishing net. Both ends of the wreck have extensive damage and there is quite a bit of fishing line about. This wreck also has the muvver of all lobsters patrolling around the engine room area waiting to capture an unwary divers.
This wreck sits in the separation zone on the route used by the cross channel ferries between Dover and Calais and extreme caution should be exercised when diving her. Returning to a shotline is essential as any drifting could prove very hazardous as ferries will be passing as close as a ¼ of a mile either side of you
A Collier of 804 Tons that was sunk by German Aircraft on 25 July 1940, a day that became known as “Black Thursday” due to the amount off losses due to the Germans taking full advantages of their new Airfields in Northern France. This ship was part of Convoy CW8 and had a cargo of coal she was carrying from Blyth to Portsmouth. She had already been attacked on July 9 but survived that to suffer a direct hit off Dover.
Diving: The wreck lies in a max depth of 33m and is quite proud in places, up to 9m. The bow is quite intact and on its side, the remainder of the wreck that I have seen rises up quite proud on its starboard side, but has collapsed along its centre and port side. The proudest point appeared to be a boiler. The wreck is quite clean as far as fishing nets and line but it is quite inshore and can be subject to very poor viz.
Each time I dived it we only had 1 to 3 metres of very dark viz and she looks to be worth a few more visits.
This large ship was built in 1873 for the Hamburg-Amerika Line, she was an iron steamship of 3382-tons, measuring 120m x 14m. She had 600hp two-cylinder engines with single screw giving a top speed of 13 knots. The accommodation comprised of 100 1st, 70 2nd and 600 3rd class passengers.
The Pomerania was sailing from New York to Hamburg via Plymouth in November 1878; she stopped off at Plymouth to offload some of the passengers and $7500 gold and then continued her journey through the channel. Unfortunately as she was traveling off the coast of Folkestone, carrying 109 passengers and 111 crew, she was hit by the iron-hulled barque Moel Eilian just before midnight on the 25th November 1878. The Pomerania was badly damaged and immediately began taking on water. Four of the nine lifeboats were destroyed in the collision and the other five had to take all the crew and passengers, one of the lifeboats was so crowded that it too sank. The steamer Glengarry came to the Pomerania's aid and saved many of the passengers. The Pomerania then took so long to sink that some of the passengers returned to rescue their possessions, unfortunately the ship suddenly sank taking those people with her.
Diving: Highly rated, one of the best dives in the area. The wreck lies on the port side at 27m on a seabed of cobbles, gravel and shell fragments. She is well broken but parts of the wooden deck are still intact. Some gold and silver coins have been recovered from the passenger accommodation. Many clock mechanisms in boxes in holds. Visibility often a good 4m. The wreck supports a large amount of life including sponges, anemones, dead man's fingers, mussels, bib, wrasse, tompot blennies, edible and swimming crabs and starfish.
This was the largest steel sailing ship of her time with 5 masts and a displacement of 5081 Tons. She was 136m long with a beam of 14m and a draught of 9m, quite simply HUGE.
She was the only five-masted full-rigged ship ever to be built and was also the world's largest sailing vessel that was designed and built without an auxiliary engine.
She was carrying a General Cargo including 100 Grand Pianos from Hamburg to Valparaiso when she was in a collision with the cross channel steamer Brighton on 6th November 1910.
Local Tugs tried to tow her into Dover but the line parted in a gale and she drove aground in Crab Bay.
Extensive salvage of the cargo was carried out with the Pianos being lifted up the cliffs before she eventually broke up.
The wreck is very easy to locate as it is just along the coastline from the eastern entrance to Dover harbour, under the cliffs. The ribs of the hull stick out of the sea at low water and there is a line cut into the cliff pointing down to her, which was made during the salvage work.
Diving:There is very little left at the site, with flattened plate and decking and a lot of barrels of concrete, with quite a few hull ribs sticking up. The site can be dived at low water when there is a slack and this means that you can dive on her during your return to Dover after a dive on the High Water + 4 Hours slack.
The max depth I had on her was 7m in a bit of scour, the general depth is abut 3-5m. As she is so close to shore viz can be very poor, the water is often very cloudy here from the chalk.
The Queen was built in 1903 at the William Denny Brothers yard, Dunbarton. She went into service for the SE&C Railway Co. on the Folkestone to Calais route. She was the first steamer on the cross-channel run to be fitted with the new turbine engines. She was fast and comfortable, and could cross the Channel in less than 1 hour and during WW1 was used to move troops from the UK to France.
She was returning from Boulogne to Folkstone with just mail on-board on the night of the 26 October 1916 (Troops were not carried at night) when she got in the middle of a raid by German Destroyers on the Dover Patrol.
The raid had already resulted in the sinking of the old Destroyer HMS Flirt and 7 Drifters patrolling the Barrage, when the Germans came across The Queen. Her crew were ordered to abandon ship and then the Germans sunk her by either torpedo or by placing charges in her, with no loss of life
Diving:The Queen is upright and quite intact in a max depth of 30m. She is quite settled into the seabed with a row of empty portholes above this. The cabins on her deck are still intact and can be looked into. There is a large bank of sand off to the north of her but the south side is very clear.There is a lot of damage and a large hole at the stern end and you can penetrate into the engine room area around here. A very nice dive subject to poor viz off the South Goodwin’s.
The Yugoslav steamship Sabac, built in 1922 of 2,811 tons
With Capt. Milo Catovic at the helm the Sabac was on a voyage from Ploce to Rotterdam with a cargo of bauxite, when she was in collision with the British motorship Dorington Court, 6,223 tons, at 10.55 p.m. on January 7th, 1962, about six miles S.E. of Dover, in dense fog.
The Sabac was badly holed on the port side and sank within five minutes. The Dorington Court and three other ships in the vicinity put out boats to search for survivors, together with the Dover and Walmer lifeboats but most of those found were dead from exposure owing to the intense cold. Only five of her crew of 33, the captain, first officer and three others, survived.
Diving: This is an extremely intact, upright and impressive wreck sitting in a max of 55m. The 2 sets of superstructure are intact and are at a depth of about 37m with the slightly canted deck at around 43m. The accommodation and bridge are very clean and easy to enter with most of the roof gone and lots of entry and exit points. The bridge is higher then the accommodation further aft and stands up to around 35m.
The holds are open and you can drop down to 50-52m in them. The seabed is a little deeper and has portholes lying about on it.
This large steel steamship was built in 1913 at Greenock and was 4091 Tons sailing from Portland, USA to London with a General Cargo when she struck a mine and became another victim of the very successful UC-6 on 26 March 1916. All onboard were saved.
Diving: The wreck sits in a max depth of 33m and is quite intact although large sections are quite plain as the ships sides appear to have collapsed inwards giving a fairly flat profile. The bridge however is fairly intact and the area she is in can have some quite stunningly clear viz, although not when I have dived her. She stands up to 7-8m proud but an average depth of 29m would be a reasonable expectation.
The Strathclyde was built in 1871 by Blackwood, Port Glasgow for the William Burrell & Son shipping company. She was an iron steamship of 1951 tons with a 180hp 2 cylinder compound engine with 2 boilers and a single screw prop and measured 88.7 x 10.72 x 7.71m.
The Strathclyde was sailing from London to Bombay via Suez with 47 crew and 23 first class passengers under the command of Captain J. D. Eaton. As she left Dover on Thursday, February 17th 1876, proceeding at nine knots in clear weather, she was overtaken by the German steamship Franconia approximately two and a half miles from Dover sometime between 4 and 5pm. Capt Eaton ordered his ship to turn starboard but at the same time the Franconia turned to port and a collision occurred.
The German vessel struck the Strathclyde between her funnel and mainmast, cutting into her to a depth of four feet. The colliding vessel went astern only to rebound and strike a second time making another deep hole abreast of the mainmast. The Strathclyde sunk rapidly by the stern. The first lifeboat was lowered with 15 women on board but was swamped by the swell and capsized drowning most of its occupants. A second lifeboat was launched without mishap and managed to save 2 of the drowning people. By this time, the seas were breaking over the vessel as high as the bridge and washing overboard many of those on deck. The captain, 2nd Engineer and a fireman, were the last to leave, jumping overboard as she sank. Of those on board 38 drowned, Capt Eaton was among the survivors.
The subsequent trial, held at the Central Criminal Court in London, of the German master of the Franconia, found the master guilty of manslaughter. On appeal, however, it was discovered that English Law didn't cover him in English waters, and they had to let him go. This led directly to the adoption by Parliament of the existing International Territorial Waters law, which many other countries already used.
Diving: This wreck is a real favorite with some in our dive club being relatively close to Dover and there being a lot to see if the vis is reasonable. She lies in 30m of water on a chalk and pebble seabed and the vis ranges from good (5-10m) to bad (1-2m). Present on the wreck are stone bottles, perfume bottles, jars of preserves, boxes of sheet glass and match boxes. Midships are crates of hand painted teacups and saucers. After the engine room there are areas where inkwells, marbles, bracelets, various bottles etc can be found. Around her broken bow can be found champagne bottles - again the liquid found in the bottles is undrinkable.
The Teeswood was a 1261 Ton Motor Vessel built in 1953 by Burntisland SB Co Ltd of Burntisland, owned by the Constantine Line and sailing from Blyth to Shoreham with a cargo of coal when she foundered in a heavy sea on 26 July 1956. She was reported as sinking off of Dungeness but the wreck is only about 3 miles due south of Dover Harbour.
During the storm the crew were taken off by the Dungeness lifeboat The Charles Cooper Henderson. Her coxswain, George Tart, won the RNLI bronze medal for gallantry in the rescue of nine men from the collier Teeswood on 29th July 1956 in a rare force 12 storm. Between noon and midnight that day, the Charles Cooper Henderson was launched no less than three times. On each occasion, as her coxswain said afterwards, "it took her a long time to get back, pounding against wind and sea".
Diving: This is a very nice, clean and intact wreck lying on its side in a max depth of 33m standing 9m proud with the top at only 24m. She was identified by her bell which was only recovered a few years ago.
The bow and stern are very intact, with the superstructure very much in place, the windows are gone apart from some very big round portholes and you can very easily enter the superstructure.
In the centre the hull has fallen away so the middle section is very open, the wreck lies into the tide and there is very little silt on the shingle seabed. The masts at the bow end are very impressive and still in place.
An Iron hulled steamship built in 1879 by Palmers & Co of Newcastle, 1493 Gross Tonne, owned by Chapman & Ness of Sunderland, she had 2 boilers powering a 2 Cylinder compound engine giving 140 HP.
Her Captain was R Quiller and had a crew of 21; on a voyage from Blyth to Torre Annunziata she sank following a collision with the SS Lotus of Liverpool in a Westerly Force 3 wind on the 21 June 1890 .
Diving: This wreck sits upright on the seabed in a general max depth of 32-34m dropping off to 37m around the stern. The decks are effectively swept as all the superstructure is over the Starboard side on the seabed and she is generally 4-5m proud of the seabed. Her bow has broken off and point up to the surface standing up to 6m proud and she is facing down the channel.
Her Starboard side is by far the more interesting as the Port side is generally plain outer Hull although there is a least 2 reasonable hole’s allowing access for a skinny diver into her holds which are full of coal and sand.
She has been identified by the boss off of her wheel.
The Toward was built in 1899 in Glasgow and was a Steel steamship sailing with a General Cargo from London to Belfast on the 31 October 1915 when she struck a mine laid by UC-6, who was a very successful sub sinking a total of 54 ships. This mine exploded under No2 hatch just forward of the Bridge with the ship rapidly catching fire and starting to settle in the water, the crew abandoned ship and were all picked up, including 5 who had jumped into the sea.
Diving: The wreck is up to 8m proud in a max depth of 31m, she is quite narrow and the bow section is blown off and 10m away. The decks are open and you can have a good look into her along her length. Once you get to the stern section there are quite a few plates missing and it is quite easy to penetrate into her here, just beware some of the gaps are smaller than others.
The wreck is owned by some local divers who do not mind anyone diving her, but object to any cargo or spidge being removed.
A collier of 1067 Tons built in Grangemouth in 1915, she escaped a U-Boat in July 1915 but was unlucky when she struck a mine laid by UC-6 on 12 Jan 1916. The mine struck between the engine room and No 3 hold blowing the hatch covers 30m into the air. She immediately took a heavy list to starboard and commenced to sink. Only the starboard boats could be launched and the crew abandoned ship. They were picked up by the patrol boat Strathyre.
They struck the mine at 1045 Hrs, the ship sank at 1050 Hrs and the survivors were landed at Dover at 1130 Hrs.
Diving: This wreck only a short distance from the eastern entrance to Dover harbour lies in a max depth of 30m on her port side, she is very proud and stands up to 24m. There is extensive damage caused by the mine and wear and tear with some large holes in the hull and lots of spars and beams poking out.
Commissioned in June 1911 the U8 a rare pre War sub with no deck gun.
This sub had some success in the early part of the war but on her 3rd patrol on the 4 March 1915 she was located after getting snagged and setting off an alarm, she was spotted on the surface in heavy fog near the north end of the Varne bank by the officer of the watch on HMS Viking which was commanded by a legend of the Dover Patrol in Lieutenant-Commander Evans (Who later earned immortality when he used his Destroyer to attack 3 German Destroyers attacking 1 with Gunfire, a 2nd with Torpedoes and laying alongside and boarding with cutlasses and small arms a 3rd).
Attacked by the Dover Patrol, after sustaining a lot of damage the Captain ordered abandon ship and they surfaced to do this, becoming the first U-Boat to be photographed sinking as the crew were taken off in lifeboats.
The Sub was taken in tow but as the seacock’s had been opened she sunk off the south end of the Varne Bank.
Today the wreck sits in a scour of 35m with the decks at 32-33m, i did however get a depth of 37m under the stern.
She is 60m long and quite clean of obstructions and having covered the length the impressive bow is very intact. There are however a lot of fishing weights hooks and lines on her.
The site is very silty and although we had some nice Viz of 3-4m it did stir up a bit with the 11 divers on site and we had a few areas of virtually no viz.
However on the 8 Feb 1918 while trying to get through the Dover barrage she was sighted by the Drifter Gowan II and attacked by the Dover Patrol, 20 min after submerging she struck a mine and sunk. She was dived on for the first time in July 1918 by Commander Damant’s outstanding RN Divers “The Tin Openers”.
The Sub is in a max depth of 32m she lies on her Port side and is quite intact with the outer hull largely corroded away. The Gun and conning tower are intact with the conning tower and gun crew hatch open giving a great view into the hull, which despite some sand and silt are still quite open with many of the controls visible.
The WW1 German attack Submarine UB55 was a very successful Sub with a very successful and lucky Captain in Klt Ralph Wenninger. He had previously commanded 2 other successful Subs UB17 and UC17. In UB55 he had commanded 5 patrols in the Channel and Bay of Biscay sinking 25 ships including a selection of 3 very big (Over 3,000 Ton) ships. His biggest prize was the 8,232 Ton Chattahoochie, which despite being in the centre of a very well escorted convoy, he sank during a 2 hour attack after hitting her with 3 torpedoes.
2 of the crew shot themselves, however once the pressure equalised as the water rose 2 of the hatches were opened and 18 of the crew escaped. Some died of air embolisms and the others drifted down the channel with more dying of exposure. 2 hours later 5 or 6 were pulled alive from the sea including the lucky Captain.
Diving: The sub sits upright on the seabed in 34m with the decks are at 29-30m with the small conning tower rising 2m above this; the wreck has a slight list to port. The stern is blown off and there is a bit of damage to the bow. There is no deck gun however the periscope is extended although bent. The Sub is very proud on a firm seabed and at one point you can see right under her. The outer hull has quite a bit of damage now but she is very intact and an impressive site.
There is a lot of sea life at this site and any mugs on the seabed are not from the Sub but debris off of local fishing boats. The wreck of the Trawler Armed HMT Drumtochty lies very close (75m) to this site
Part of the WW1 German Flanders Flotilla, the UB 58 had been commissioned in Aug 1917 and her first Captain was the U-Boat legend “Fips” Oberleutnant zur See Werner Furbringer, who commanded her on 5 patrols before he was admitted to Hospital suffering from exhaustion.
She was in his absence taken out on Patrol by Werner Lowe on the 8 March 1918, 2 days later she was attempting to penetrate the Dover barrage when she was spotted near the Varne lightship at 0400 Hrs and dived, into the minefield. 3 explosions were then heard and debris and oil soon seen on the surface.
The Sub was dived on by RN Divers in Aug 1918, at which time the deck gun which had been blown off was raised.
Today the wreck sites in a max depth of 30m and a general depth of 28m, she is still very intact although the outer hull has disintegrated in places particularly around the conning tower and stern torpedo tube. The bow is completely gone leaving a huge gaping maw into the control room.
Behind the conning tower is an open hatch (probably opened by the RN Tin Openers) and you can look in this at the remarkably intact and silt free engine room. At the stern there is a single remaining propeller and the concrete base of the mine that killed her is just next to it.
The stern torpedo tube is exposed and the end cap has been blown off allowing you to look into the torpedo at the explosive content. Despite the missing bow end this is a very enjoyable and interesting sub dive.
More about this Sub, Captain and crew is covered in the book “Fips Legendary U-Boat Commander 1915-1918” by Werner Furbringer ISBN 0 85052 694 9
The German attack Submarine UB 78 was for many years believed to have been sunk after ramming on the 9 May 1918 off Cherbourg, however the raising of the sub's propellers identified the wreck off Dover as that of the UB 78. This sub had struck a mine of the Dover Barrage on April 19, 1918 while outbound on Patrol as part of the Flanders Flotilla. The Royal Navy had incomplete patrol date information and misassigned credit for some sinkings, causing the confusion with UC 78 (which was the boat sunk on May 9, 1918).
UB 78's patrols:
Ships sunk/damaged. All three were British:
More details on UB 78: http://www.uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=UB+78 (ignore the ships sunk numbers/tonnage)
Propeller from the UB78
Close up the propellers reveal the following information
Kaiserliche Marine = Imperial German Navy symbol, a Crown and M)
(Information provided by Michael Lowery of U-Boat Net)
Diving: The Wreck sits upright on the seabed in a max depth of 27m, the stern has been blown off by the mine and she lies along the current with the bows facing down channel. So the masts, cables and bow net cutter have all gone, there are holes in her outer hull. The gun and conning tower are still in place and she has a list of approximately 40 Degrees to Starboard. The stern is blown off in the area of the stern bulkhead. This is an interesting Sub dive and being a small coastal sub she can be well covered in 1 dive.
She operated across the North Sea, English Channel and off the Spanish coast with the Flanders Flotilla destroying 5 ships, the last of which off the Azores ten days before she herself was sunk. Early on the morning of the 29th August 1918 the submarine was making her way past Folkestone when she was detected by the Folkestone Gate hydrophone Listening Station at 3.05am. The operator remotely detonated the line of mines as she crossed them and she was sunk. Only Ramien, his navigator and 6 men reached the surface.
Before the morning was over the Royal Navy had buoyed the craft and Commander Damants RN Divers were inside the wreck within 2 hours retrieving charts and code books.
Diving: The Seabed generally at 25m, the bow has a bit of a scour under it and you can get 28m there, the deck is at 20m with the conning tower rising up to about 17m. The periscope rises above that to about 15m or so.
More details on the separate UB109 page
The UC46 a UCII Class German WW1 Sub, sunk returning from her first mission by HMS Liberty on the night of 8 Feb 1917. She surfaced on a clear night and was spotted by the Destroyer who opened fire, but this blinded her crew so her Captain, Lt Commander King ordered her to ram the sub which she did. Sinking her with all her crew.
Diving: This is a very intact and interesting sub that sits upright and with a slight list to Port on a sandy seabed at 41m. The decks are at 37-38m with the intact conning tower rising above this. The mine shuts are empty and there is a hole in the side of the conning tower on the Starboard side. The gun points forward and there are still brass ammo cases spilling out of the Port side ready locker.
There is a big old net over this wreck which is quite easy to avoid getting tangled in and is easy to see through to appreciate the wreck still. The external torpedo tubes are still in place and sealed.
This WW1 German UCII Mine laying Submarine of 500 Ton was built in Bremen and commissioned in Feb 1916, was 52m long and had a crew of 30. She had a successful war sinking 27 ships in a year of service. She had 3 commanders in this period and the latest Olzs Schwartz was in the first day of this patrol when they set off alarms trying to penetrate the Dover Barrage on the 20 June 1918.
Several of the attending drifters immediately launch attacks with their depth charges and soon they had bubbles, oil and debris rising from a stationary position. Soon afterwards Commander Damant’s outstanding Navy Divers “The Tin Openers” were on the scene and reported the Sub well broken up, with a huge amount of damage to the underside of the control room area.
Using explosives they gained further access to the Sub to gather intelligence and positively identify her.
Diving: Today the wreck is very broken on a sandy seabed in a General depth of 42m with scours dropping down to 47m and a little deeper at the bow end. The wreck has its large props in place and very prominent and the conning tower is off the side. The removal of the conning tower with explosives was quite standard practice for the Tin Openers. The gun is in place in front of the hole where you can look into the control room area. The mine chutes are clearly on show, elements of the wreck rise up several metres proud with the top being at 37m, however with its broken condition it is better to plan for 43m.
Built in 1902 the 1,091 Ton SS Unity was torpedoed off of Dungeness by UB57 on 2 May 1918 whilst sailing from Newhaven to Calais with Military Ordinance Stores. 12 of the crew were killed, the Captain was amongst the survivors.
Diving:This is a fantastic wreck being upright and intact in a max depth of 40m and a general depth to the decks of 32-35m. The wreck does not look to have been swept and most of the deck fixtures and fittings are very easy to recognise.
There are breaks at both ends and cargo has spilled out, you can travel the wreck at 32m and drop down to 35m in these breaks. To get deeper you need to drop into the scour at the side or stern.
The wreck teams with sealift including Lobster, Crab, Conga Eels, Cuttlefish and there are lots of Scallops on the seabed in this area.
This is one of many unidentified wrecks and is not far out of Dover and we will continue to try and identify her.
Diving: Lying on an undulating shingle seabed with a max depth of 34m this wreck is broken into at least 3 parts.
The bow is broken off and pointing to the surface, there is another section on its side just next to this and then the main section which is lying a lot less proud but with the top at about 30m.
I have shown it as inverted but it’s a long time since I dived this and it may be upright but very clean, it is however quite clean of obstructions and there is a long clear area inside, however beware the bottom inside is quite silty. I cannot remember how clear the far end is, so be very careful if looking to penetrate into this wreck, having landed the shot by the entrance to the main section we covered the area to the bow and back before moving onto this area and did not cover it as well as I would have liked, we did however have room for 2 dives to enter the main section and swim side by side for most of her length, turning around before getting to the end due to air constraints.
This wreck site is quite inshore and can have some poor viz.
Lying just a few miles out of Folkestone Harbour is an unidentified early model fully sail rigged steamship, this ship has plenty of dead eyes and the other normal paraphernalia of a fully rigged sailing ship but also has boilers amidships and a single rather flat early model propeller at the stern.
This fascinating wreck is upright and very intact, the masts and superstructure have all collapsed or been swept away. Her bow and bell are buried into a large sandbank at 29m depth, the intact hull is largely full of sand however once you get to the engine room area amidships the decking is nicely broken up so you can drop into here and have a good rummage around.
Moving back the stern hold is full of soft sand and a lot of crockery has come out of here, if you push your hand down into it you can quite easily feel the plates packed in cases buried here.
Moving back the raised and very intact stern is the highest part of the wreck at 27m and you can drop under this for a look at the propeller and rudder which is the deepest point at 33m.
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.
Diving: The wreck sits very upright in a max depth of 40m, when I dived her a few years ago there was plain crockery lying all over the decks which had most of the basic deck structure still in place. There is a lot of damage amidships; the stern section was very intact with the rudder still in place. This area of the channel can get some quite stunning viz and we had over 15m. The wreck has apparently deteriated in recent years and collapsed on itself. She was identified by her bell.
The Varne Wreck or Plate Wreck site is next to the North Varne Lightship, and far enough out to get some viz whilst being well protected as the shipping avoids both the Varne Bank and the Lightship marking it. This is an Unidentified Wreck in 35m which was a wooden ship with a General Cargo including lots of crockery, glass, cement and muskets have also come up from this site.
Diving: The ship has disintegrated and we are just left with a pile of spidge full of lobsters on the seabed. The centre of the wreck appears to have a large cargo of Cement Bags, whilst one end has the bulk of the crockery, there are lots of plain white bowls and plates around, and the small blue mugs shown below come in 3 sizes.
The wreck has a large colony of Lobsters on it and there is quite a lot of old fishing line and net lying around. The Viz is very good out here generally but once everyone starts digging it can go very bad very quickly in the digging areas. A mild current does help to clear this up quickly.
The W. A Scholten was a 2,529 gross ton ship, length 351ft x beam 38.2ft, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 10 knots. There was accommodation for 50 1st and 600 3rd class passengers. She was built by Robert Napier & Sons, Glasgow and launched for the Holland America Line on 16th February 1874. Her maiden voyage was on the 16th May 1874 when she left Rotterdam for Plymouth and New York.
She continued this service until starting her last voyage when she sailed from Rotterdam on 18th Nov.1887. The following evening (November 19, 1887) there was a thick haze over the sea and the captain of another ship, the Rosa Mary, decided the fog was too think and ordered the ship anchored, about 4 miles east of Dover, and hoped that the mist would lift. Unfortuately the Scholten continued to said on through the mist and crashed into the starboard bow of the Rosa Mary. The Rosa Mary was badly damaged but managed to stay afloat and struggled into Dover Harbour. The Scholten suffered major damage with an 8ft wide hole in her port bow, water flooded into the stricken vessel and twenty minutes after the collision she sank.
Her captain, G.H. Taat, his first officer and 130 passengers and crew were drowned.
Diving: The wreck is mainly upright in a depth of 31m. Plenty of life on the wreck including Bib, edible and Velvet swimming crabs, Tompot Blennies and lobsters. Lots of broken glass and pottery 'slate pencils' in one section. A salvage vessel has been working the ship with an airlift in the past and lots of ropes are lying around. The bow has broken off and lying on the starboard side.
A trawler of 262 Tons that was built at Selby in 1911 and had been owned by a trawler Company in Milford Haven before being hired by the Admiralty in 1914 and put into service as an Armed Trawler of the Dover Patrol. Struck a mine laid by a U-Boat on 28 Feb 1916.
Diving: This wreck is quite broken up with extensive mine damage showing in a max depth of 32m. The hull is still quite intact, however the decking has largely disappeared and at least one end is broken up and peters out.